When it comes to favorite seasons among our industry, it would be tough to beat the summer months. Sure, it gets hot, but it’s this time of year that our industry is out traveling the country for various shows, events, and of course races – and we’re there for it.
June was a very busy month for the Engine Builder team. We kicked things off by spending a few days down in the Indianapolis area with a visit to 4 Piston Racing and taking in the 2023 Ultimate Callout Challenge. If you don’t already know, 4 Piston Racing is a performance Honda engine and machine shop that we’ve featured in these pages a couple times over the years. Despite highlighting the shop’s engine work in our content, we hadn’t had the chance to physically go to the shop until this summer.
We drove down to the Danville, IN-based shop to specifically speak with co-owner Luke Wilson and get to know more about him and what makes him a “rockstar” in our industry for a special feature within our Vehicle Care Rockstars brand. Luke has been engine building and doing cylinder head development for more than two decades, and his shop has been at the forefront of Honda performance since it began, and is only getting better.
In addition to his engine work and love of racing, we learned that Luke’s other passions involve spending time out on the water – cruising in a boat or casting a line to fish – pretty much any chance he gets. We’ve got much more on Luke and his rockstar status on page 50 in this issue.
Directly following that shop visit, the team spent a couple days at Lucas Oil Raceway to take in the 2023 Ultimate Callout Challenge. This has become one of our favorite diesel-specific events to cover and attend for a number of reasons. The weather has typically been good for racing, the turnout has been spectacular, and the competition is fierce – both for UCC and for the ODSS event that runs simultaneously all weekend. There is also a great exhibitor area that is well attended, a Show-N-Shine event, a burnout pit, an attendee dyno day, and much more throughout the weekend.
We got to be trackside and walk around the pits in an effort to speak with a number of the racers for future content, and a big congrats to the team at Dirty Hooker Diesel on their overall UCC victory this year.
Later the next week, we hosted a few hundred folks here at Babcox Media headquarters in Akron, OH for an open house of our facility. Attendees got to see how our content gets produced across our various automotive brands, and the many, many ways we work to help our current and prospective customers reach different audiences within the automotive aftermarket.
Following that event, we got about two days of rest before hopping on a plane from Cleveland to Charlotte, NC. We flew down there because it’s been a goal of mine to make it out that way to visit with a number of the great engine shops in the Charlotte/Mooresville area and help highlight what they do, who they are and how they differ from one another.
In the four days we spent there, we visited with 11 shops – Prestige Motorsorts, Gibbons Motorsports, MBE Cylinder Heads & Manifolds, Pro Motor Engines, Harrell Engine & Dyno, Wilkins Racing Engines, Pat Musi Racing Engines, Concord Engines, Poteats Engine Rebuilding, Noonan Race Engineering, and PAR Race Engines. Those last two shops are in Spartanburg, SC, but both were well worth the hour drive! To say that we had a great trip is an understatement.
Every shop we visited was very accommodating, welcoming and absolutely awesome to see in person. We got to speak with shop owners, employees and customers in an effort to capture great content surrounding these shops, the engines they build and what makes them special and unique. Stay tuned for shop tour videos, Engine of the Week content and shop tips and tricks from Race City, USA.
After being in Carolina, we got a week to decompress. However, the following weekend was the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, OH. Thankfully, it’s essentially our backyard, so no travel was needed this time, but it’s always a blast to attend, so it’s something we try to be at most years. This year, the folks at Callies Performance Products hooked us up with some excellent tickets. Watching the teams do what they do in the pits between qualifying sessions and rounds is truly awesome, and of course, the racing is next level.
Speaking of Callies, we also made a trip out to Fostoria, OH at the end of June to attend the Celebration of Life event the crankshaft manufacturer held for its late founder Rick Norton Jr. They offered tours of the facility, food trucks, merchandise, a meet and greet with racers, and an autograph and photo session with three-time NHRA champion Ron Capps. The Greater Fostoria Community Foundation, in conjunction with the Norton family, were also raising money for a scholarship fund in Rick Norton’s name. The scholarship will be for local students looking to pursue a career in the manufacturing or metalworking industries. We appreciated being part of the special day, and we were very glad we got to spend a day with Rick in late 2022 to talk about the history of Callies. See that video on our YouTube channel.
Well, there you have it – a month of summer activity – and we’re not done with summer yet! We hope you enjoy the July/August issue of Engine Builder. EB