For anyone who has never been to the Performance Racing Industry tradeshow, more commonly called the PRI Show, it is tailored to an exclusive group of industry professionals. That’s right, you’ll have to be involved in the business of racing: whether that’s building race engines, being part of a race team or manufacturing racing products or equipment, you’ll need a racing background to be granted entry.
Set inside the Indiana Convention Center in the heart of the racing capital itself, Indianapolis, the annual PRI Show is a combined lifestyle and business experience that this year runs from December 10 – 12. Featuring roughly 1,200 exhibitors, the show highlights the latest advances in racing components, shop-machining equipment and engineering solutions, as well as special exhibits and seminars. There’s a lot to see, but it’s more than just the cool new parts, gadgets and equipment that make the trip to Indy worthwhile.
“Beyond the new products and equipment on display, the people who work at the show in the exhibits have a tremendous expertise when it comes to going fast, and the people-part of the show is very powerful,” says John Kilroy, vice president and general manager of PRI. “It’s a great place to go if you have technical questions, because there are people in that building who can answer those questions.”
If new is what you’re looking for at PRI, it will be all around you in the form of racing and equipment products. “Manufacturers gear up for the PRI tradeshow as a big opportunity to introduce everything that’s new for the next racing season,” Kilroy says. “You have to not just shop the big brand names and the companies you’re aware of, but it’s very valuable to check out what’s on display in every 10-by-10 booth. The great thing about the show is the product that’s there that surprises you. It’s that product or company you didn’t know and you find out it offers you a solution for your racing business or race team that’s the best part.”
Outside of the product arena, one of the things PRI is doing new this year is working with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum. The museum in conjunction with PRI will have a special exhibit at the show called the Evolution of the Indy Car. “They’ll have six Indy cars on display from throughout the decades,” Kilroy notes. “For engine builders, they’re going to bring over some historic motors as well. So it’s fun and just for the people in attendance at the PRI Show.”
And just as history can be one of our best educators, PRI ensures attendees are given a chance to pick up some educational tidbits through its seminars. A highlight of the seminar program this year will be Pat Musi of Pat Musi Racing Engines. Musi has been a great race engine builder and dominated in NMCA Pro Street in the ’90s with fast cars and fast engines. Pat and his daughter Lizzy will present a seminar Friday morning from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. on what he’s learned and his experience from running a race engine business.
“Year after year we try to invite race engine builders who have been in business a long time to share what they have learned along the way and how they keep the doors open year after year,” Kilroy says. “So I’d advise race engine builders to find time in their schedule to attend this seminar.”
In addition to seminars that PRI organizes for Friday and Saturday mornings, many PRI exhibitors will organize seminars on their own throughout the show days. So you’ll want to look at what exhibitors are planning because you may find a parts manufacturer is giving the perfect seminar for you and you won’t want to miss it.
Engine Builder magazine will also be introducing the winner of our annual Performance Engine Builder of the Year Award in a special ceremony on Friday, December 11. You’ll be able to stop by our booth (booth #5110) and visit with the winner following the presentation.
Another ‘do not miss’ area of the show floor is Machinery Row. PRI will have 100 companies in this section alone with machines plugged in, operating and actually performing work on race parts.
“For race engine builders it’s a big magnet and a big reason to attend the show,” Kilroy says. “In this area you can comparison shop and see demonstrations, so it’s really the best opportunity for people in the business of building race engines to shop for machinery. Those exhibitors know the engine builders stopping by are in a special category. Race engine builders are very demanding and need things done in a special way and need to have repeatability. So these exhibitors bring their best equipment to the PRI Show because it matches up with the demands of the race engine builders shopping the show.”
Overall, the show will have more than 100 new companies that haven’t exhibited before, offering attendees a nice new crop to shop. “People attending the show should plan to shop all three days of the show,” Kilroy says. “It’s a big space with a lot to see and you don’t want to have these three days go by and wish you had spent more time there.”
The key? Have a plan and work it. Check out www.performanceracing.com/tradeshow/ for an exhibitor list, interactive floor plan and list of seminars.