LAS VEGAS — Inventor and Colorado repair shop owner Kevin Robinson has advanced to the finals of the 2022 SEMA Launch Pad competition with his TRAC Tire Jack, a tool designed to make removing or installing a wheel/tire from a vehicle safer, simpler and easier.
Robinson is vying for the Launch Pad grand-prize package valued at $92,000. He and co-finalist Susan Pieper of DMOS Collective Inc. will make their final pitches Nov. 3 at the SEMA Awards Banquet, being held at the Westgate Hotel adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center.
The pair's inventions and business plans will be judged by custom vehicle designer Chip Foose, Addictive Desert Designs founder Jared Hare, DUB magazine and TIS Wheels founder Myles Kovacs and Alex Parker, industry advocate and CMO of Redline Detection, the 2020 SEMA Manufacturer of the Year.
The pair advanced to the finals after making a pitch Nov. 2 in front of the judges and a live audience at the LVCC.
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Pieper's invention is Stealth and Delta Car Shovels, "indestructible" advanced-designed shovels that are easy to stow and mount on various vehicle racks and platforms.
"Winning SEMA Launch Pad is truly an opportunity of a lifetime," Kovacs said. "Not only does each competitor benefit from the experience, but we are also able to shed light on the products and services that fill a gap in the industry and can inspire future inventors to do the same."
The SEMA Launch Pad has served since 2013 as the ultimate product-pitching competition for the automotive aftermarket. In addition to competing for a prize package that includes booth space at the SEMA Show and promotion on national television, contestants build connections and receive support from established experts who serve as judges and mentors in the program.
Robinson was a Top 5 finalist in 2021 as well, with his TRAC Tire Rotation Assistance Cart, a shop tool designed to make tire rotations and new tire installations less strenuous, thereby minimizing the risk of injury from lifting heavy wheels and tires.
That product is now in production through Gaither Tool Co. and being sold by Gaither, Myers Tire Supply and others.
The TRAC Tire Jack can be described as a lever with caster that a shop technician uses to remove a tire/wheel assembly from a vehicle jacked up slightly off the shop floor. The tech slides one end of the TRAC Tire Jack under the tire/wheel assembly with lug nuts removed, steps on one end of the jack, lifts the assembly and moves it away from the vehicle.
The tool's design allows individuals to remove the tire/wheel assembly without having to lift with their back. The welded-steel tool weighs five pounds and is 18.5 by 5 by 2 inches.
Robinson promotes the tool with: "Work smarter not harder, use the jack-not your back."
The Top 15 semifinalists are displaying their products at dedicated Launch Pad Corral in the Central Hall of the 2022 SEMA Show at the LVCC.