3 vehicles named 'Best on Bridgestone'
LAS VEGAS-Bridgestone/Firestone named three customized vehicles the ``Best on Bridgestone'' during the Specialty Equipment Market Association/International Tire Expo (SEMA/ITE) show in Las Vegas.
The first-place winner was a 2003 Ford Focus built by Bob Folkestad of SPAL Advanced Engineering in Des Moines, Iowa. Mr. Folkestad will receive $2,500 plus a crystal trophy and wall plaque. BFS also plans to take the vehicle on a limited national tour. The top three vehicles also will be featured in a full-page ad in an issue of SEMA News.
The $1,000 second place award went to Trent Van Arsdalen of Trent's Trick Upholstery in Baltimore, Ohio, for his 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier. The $500 third place award went to Steven Grew of Wet Okole Hawaii in Costa Mesa, Calif., for a 2003 Honda Element.
BFS said it plans to make the contest, which was judged by a panel of BFS employees, an annual event. The customized vehicles were equipped with Bridgestone-brand tires.
BFS introduces Firehawk design
LAS VEGAS-Bridgestone/Firestone launched a special edition of the Firestone Firehawk race tire at the SEMA/ITE show that will debut during track activities for the 88th running of the Indianapolis 500 in May 2004.
The tires will feature a new sidewall design with the Indianapolis Speedway's ``wing and wheel'' official logo in full color next to the Firestone name and logo.
Firestone is the official tire of the Indy Racing League and the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.
BFG partners with Skip Barber
LAS VEGAS-Michelin North America Inc.'s BFGoodrich brand has signed on as the official tire supplier for Skip Barber Racing as part of a three-year exclusive contract, the tire maker announced during the SEMA/ITE show.
The agreement includes the Skip Barber Racing School, the Dodge/ Skip Barber Driving School, the Skip Barber Formula Dodge Regional (4) Race Series, the Formula Dodge National Championship presented by Racer and the Skip Barber Challenge Series. The agreement also includes sponsorship of other championships and racing series.
``This new partnership provides synergies at a variety of levels and allows us to build upon our unmatched motorsports heritage,'' said Thom Peebles, brand director for BFGoodrich.
The brand had provided street-legal racing tires in 1986 and 1987 to the Barber Saab Pro Series, but this is the first time the brand has provided racing slicks for various Skip Barber-managed racing series.
SEMA auction boosts scholarship
LAS VEGAS-A silent auction held during the SEMA/ITE trade show raised more than $100,000 to benefit the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund.
More than 80 items were donated to SEMA's Businesswomen's Network (SBN), which coordinated the event, according to the Diamond Bar, Calif.-based trade organization.
The lead item was a 2003 Ford Expedition, customized with products from SEMA members including Toyo Tires, American Stitches, Billet Superstores, Borla, K&N, L&G Paint, Optima, Packasport, Phoenix Images, Street Scene, Waeco USA, Westin Automotive and WTW.
Other items donated by SEMA-member companies and their employees included jewelry, racing collectibles-such as two-time NASCAR Winston Cup winner Jaime McMurray's driving suit-artwork and miscellaneous items including dinner with broadcast personality and master mechanic Sam Memmolo, round-trip airline tickets and a metal-coated snowboard.
Proceeds of the silent auction benefit the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund which, to date, has awarded more than $350,000 to hundreds of students pursuing careers in various segments of the specialty automotive industry.
American Racing debuts 28-inch wheel
LAS VEGAS-Being called ``perhaps the most outrageous new wheel ever displayed'' during the SEMA Show's 37-year history, American Racing displayed an oversize 28-inch custom rim at the trade show.
The custom wheel is part of the company's Twenty Inches Strong premium wheel collection.
It increases the overall wheel diameter by two inches over contemporary ``big wheels,'' according to SEMA. Fitted to Kumho custom tires, the 28-inch TIS-01 rims were shown on a custom Hummer display vehicle.
Christopher J. Kersting, CEO and president of SEMA, said ``the idea of specialized wheels and tires is fundamental to any custom car or truck. They are the primary step when a consumer decides to set his or her vehicle apart from the standard model, be it a Mini Cooper or Hummer. Custom wheels and tires are the most obvious defining fashion or function statement vehicle car owners can make.''
TRMG donates $21.5K to TRIB
LAS VEGAS-The Tread Rubber Manufacturers and Repair Group (TRMG) presented the Tire Retread Information Bureau (TRIB) with a check for $21,500 during SEMA/ITE to support the organization's efforts to help the cause of retreading.
The donation helps kick off TRIB's 2004 fund and membership drive, said Jack Woodland, chairman of the TRMG for the coming year.
As for adding new members, the goal is to have every retreader and dealer selling retreads join TRIB, said Harvey Brodsky, TRIB managing director.
Goodyear extends two supply pacts
LAS VEGAS-Goodyear signed two supply agreements during the SEMA/ITE show with long-time customers TBC Corp. and SURE Tire Co.
The tire maker agreed to supply TBC with tires for an additional 10 years. Goodyear, through its former Kelly-Springfield Tire Co. subsidiary, has been supplying tires to TBC since 1963.
``Our relationship with TBC remains excellent, and we are honored to earn the confidence of TBC management in the form of this new 10-year agreement,'' said Jon Rich, president of Goodyear North American Tire.
Goodyear also extended its relationship with SURE Tire for another five years, which includes the continued supply of Remington tires to the marketing group.
``Coming from a key customer group, this is another vote of confidence in Goodyear's plans to turn around our North American business,'' Mr. Rich said.
Larry Day, TBC president and CEO, said the company has been ``delighted'' with the turnaround in Goodyear's North American tire business under Mr. Rich. ``We're confident the beginning of the turnaround is in place,'' he said.
ASA Tire launches intelligence software
LAS VEGAS-ASA Tire Systems introduced a new software program at the SEMA/ITE show designed to help tire dealers better manage their businesses.
Called Analytix, the new business intelligence system is a methodology to analyze the data that tire dealers already have in their systems at an executive level, said Wayne Croswell, ASA Tire Systems president.
``It's really for owners-the guys who call the shots to see if a business is healthy or not,'' he said.
The software works with ASA's TireMax and TirePro databases and provides a series of pre-built analytical views giving insight into key business drivers and performance indicators.
Analytix contains both monthly and daily analyses and presents the information real time allowing users to drill down for detailed data analysis, ASA said.
The daily analysis allows the entry of goals providing daily and weekly tracking so shortfalls can be spotted early, ASA said. The monthly analysis provides more than 20 unique views and provides both comparative and trend analysis.
Software users also have the option to create custom spreadsheets.
The software is available only to current ASA customers, although the company is considering offering it to non-customers, who could run it in their own systems through an interface, Mr. Croswell said.
Three win Michelin, TIA scholarships
LAS VEGAS-Michelin North America Inc. and the Tire Industry Association announced three winners of their joint scholarship program during the SEMA/ITE show.
The $10,000 grand prize scholarship went to Lacey Speck, a 4.0 honor roll student at Eastwood High School in Pemberville, Ohio, who is majoring in communications at Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio.
She was sponsored by Speck Tire Sales Inc. in Bowling Green, Ohio.
Two $5,000 scholarships went to Erin Raisner, sponsored by Dapper Tire in San Diego, and Stephanie Yang, sponsored by American Kenda Rubber Ind. Co. Ltd. in Reynoldsburg, Ohio.
Ms. Raisner attended Vacaville High School in Vacaville, Calif., where she was on the honor roll all four years and also was a California Governor's Scholar. She is studying political science at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
Ms. Yang was a member of the National Honor Society and graduated with highest honors from Worthington Kilborne High School in Worthington, Ohio. She is currently attending Northwestern University in Chicago.
Davin Wheels adds non-spinners line
LAS VEGAS-Davin Wheels Co., the originator of the continuous motion custom wheel, has added a line of non-spinning performance wheels to its line of spinning products and launched a line of lower-priced ``Streetspin'' wheels to make the spinning technology products avaiable to a wider range of customers.
The Davin Speed is a three-piece, rotary-forged wheel featuring a hub-centric application. Its distinguishing characteristic is a one-spoke, carbon fiber call-out in red or black.
Available in five- and seven-spoke designs in 18- to 22-inch diameters, the Speed line has fitments for Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, Corvette and Viper, as well as luxury performance vehicles like Mercedes and BMW. It will be available in early 2004.
Streetspin offers ``affordable luxury'' to auto enthusiasts with design cues taken directly from Davin's signature Revolution series. The wheels will be available in two styles, SS1, a traditional five-spoke design, and SS2, which pays homage to traditional mesh-style wheels, and is available in fitments for more than 125 vehicles.
Base wheels will be available in diameters ranging from 18 inches to 24 inches. The product is due for release before year-end.