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Publication Changes In The Motorsports Realm


2012 Team Hot Wheels Ford Fiesta at SEMA 2011

2012 Team Hot Wheels Ford Fiesta at SEMA 2011

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There have been some business changes worth noting in the insular worlds of racing and race-directed publishing this week.

We learned the Steve Lewis is divesting Performance Racing Industry (PRI), the magazine and industry-only trade show, to the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association, which any one not living in a cave knows as SEMA.

What this will do to the overwhelming professional and race-oriented feel of the annual PRI show in Orlando is anyone's guess.

While the SEMA show at Las Vegas each fall is intended as a trade-only program, it seems to attract a less-than-industry-oriented crowd than does PRI, which is always limited strictly to the trade each December.

SEMA is keeping PRI editor John Kilroy as head of its PRI adjunct, and Kilroy has a passion for racing that is as heavy as Steve Lewis'.  "Steve Lewis launched the PRI concept a quarter of a century ago, as an organization totally dedicated solely to the racing industry," Kilroy said. "It was Steve's dream that PRI continue to serve the racing community and to 'nest' PRI with an organization that clearly understands PRI's heritage and the role we play in how the racing industry conducts business. We are pleased to have found that strategic partner in SEMA."

The rationale for this sale to SEMA by Lewis is his desire to follow the career of son Michael, who is moving up through the European ranks. Passion for the sport of motor racing is one of Lewis' prime directives and one has to hope he'll still come haunt some of the races where Michael isn't competing.

On another publishing note, after 20 years in business and 11 years of majority ownership with Haymarket Media Inc., RACER Communications has returned to its roots, as founders Bill Sparks and Paul Pfanner have retaken the helm of RACER magazine and its ancillary operations, including www.racer.com. The duo kept this operation pretty close to the vest and the changeover was only announced early in the week, just as the magazine approaches its April, 20th anniversary issue.

A book that's been known - since its inception - for its imagery as much as its spectacular editorial work - RACER looks to improve on that reputation with the return of its founding fathers. Laurence Foster, who has been working with the magazine throughout its Haymarket tenure, traded his British Wellington boots a long time ago for a surfboard and remains in charge of the editorial department.

Racers Rob and Chris Dyson, who invested in the original RACER brand return as anchor investors in the new Racer Media & Marketing, Inc. "We believe in the brand, we believe in the team and we believe in the sport," Chris Dyson said. "The evolving media landscape presents incredible new opportunities for racing to communicate and connect with its audience in the years ahead, so we're excited to renew our links with the RACER brand and help drive it to the next level." Dyson Racing are the reigning LMP champions in the American Le Mans Series.
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