Auto Service World
Feature   October 1, 2003   by Auto Service World

Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week

November 4-7, 2003, Las Vegas, Nevada

Shows Provide Speed to Market, in More Ways Than One

Two-time Daytona 500 winner Micheal Waltrip will strap himself into a truck for the NAPA- presented Driven To Rock event at Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week in Las Vegas. We don’t know if his wife Buffy is coming.

Everyone knows that Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week is all about seeing, firsthand, opportunities for profit, new products, and ideas–there are thousands of exhibitors to make your way through–but if you like to see what all those parts can do when they’re put together, you can do that too.

One of the headline events being held around the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX)–being held at the Sands Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nev., November 4-7–will feature NASCAR Winston Cup drivers taking on each other and the 3/8-mile bullring at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The AAPEX Driven To Rock exhibition race, presented by NAPA Auto Parts on November 5, will host six of the most prestigious names in Winston Cup racing going wheel-to-wheel, and door-handle-to-door-handle in the Speed Truck Challenge.

NASCAR Winston Cup drivers Michael Waltrip, Sterling Marlin, Jimmy Spencer, and Kenny Wallace will race in a Speed Truck Challenge event at the 3/8-mile high-banked oval bullring at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The 20-lap exhibition race will have the first 10 laps raced heads up after the Winston Cup drivers qualify for starting positions, and the last 10 laps of the race will be inverted. The Speed Trucks are one of the fastest divisions racing at the bullring, with lap times of 16 seconds.

The 99-lap feature event for the Speed Truck Challenge will follow the exhibition race.

“When I was approached by Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Driven to Rock about the Winston Cup guys driving in my truck series, of course I was excited, but I have learned from the past that not all things happen the way you understand and plan for and I needed more information from the promoters, Joe Puma and John Meringolo of DTR Events,” says Jay Rutherford, president of the Speed Truck Challenge.

“After much due diligence, we realized Driven to Rock is the real deal and the opportunities for the Speed Truck Challenge, its owners and drivers and sponsors made present by this promotion are phenomenal–especially when the first race will be held Wednesday evening during the world’s largest automotive trade show, AAPEX and SEMA in Las Vegas, as all of our sponsors will be there and the opportunity to talk with new sponsors is made available,” says Rutherford.

Donuts and Coffee to Headline Presentations at AAPEX

Blockbuster presentations by corporate executives from four of the most successful companies in the world– Starbucks, Krispy Kreme, Southwest Airlines, and Disney–will be made at AAPEX on November 4 and 6.

AAPEX attendees will hear about branding, customer service, product quality, and corporate culture from the very companies who have perfected these business practices and today are looked upon as examples of successful, unique and profitable corporations to benchmark from. Seminars will be held from 7:45 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Tuesday and Thursday in the Sands Expo Center prior to the show opening.

Seminars on Tuesday, Nov. 4 include:

Starbucks Coffee Company will present “Brand is not Everything…But It’s Close” from 7:45 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.;

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts will present “Quality Wins Customers With Every Bite” from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Seminars on Thursday, Nov. 6 include:

Southwest Airlines will present “Outrageous Customer Service,” 7:45 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.;

Disney will present “Culture Drives Business,” 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

For more information and to register to attend the seminars ($20 each), go to Seating is limited. Each seminar will include a continental breakfast.

Sema Show Gets Hands-On

Product demonstrations have taken a big leap forward at the Specialty Equipment Market Association Show portion of Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week.

Show-floor installation clinics in the Las Vegas Convention Center have been a part of SEMA for many years, but there was always the question of just how well some of the performance parts actually performed. Now attendees can get the answer.

The SEMA Proving Ground, presented by Yokohama Tire, will provide new hands-on experiences for buyers and journalists attending the SEMA Show in Las Vegas this November. The area, between the Center and South Exhibit Halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center, will be available for SEMA Show exhibitors to demonstrate their performance products at driving stations including autocross-like circuits, slaloms, and skid pads.

“We try to provide as many tools for our Show’s exhibitors as we possibly can,” said Peter MacGillivray, SEMA vice president of marketing and communications. “This is yet another way to get their products in front of the buyers at our show.”

The SEMA Proving Ground will open Tuesday, November 4, at noon and continue in operation through Thursday, November 6.

Exhibitors can book a driving station for half a day.

Their buyer customers, prospects, and the media will use “Access Passes” from the participating exhibitors to take their place behind the wheel of a vehicle on the SEMA Proving Ground.

The Jim Russell Racing Drivers School, headquartered at Infineon Raceway, Sonoma, Calif., will manage the SEMA Proving Ground, providing professional driving instructors for the demonstrations.

Sema Expands Sections

This year’s SEMA Show will have twelve (12) sections. They are: International Tire Expo; Wheels & Performance Tires; Car Care & Accessories; Mobile Electronics; Performance Marine; Racing & Performance; Restoration Marketplace; Restyling & Accessories Center; Street Rod Alley; Tools & Equipment; Trucks, SUVs, Truck Caps & Accessories; and Business Services. The three new sections–Car Care & Accessories, Tools & Equipment, and Business Services–will be adjacent to each other. Icons for each of the sections will help direct buyers and exhibiting personnel through the show.