MPMC Hall of Fame

SEMA Member News—January 2017

By Katie Carson

MPMC Hall of Fame

  MPMC Hall of Fame
Three MPMC Hall of Fame inductees were honored during an evening reception at the Performance Racing Industry Show.

The Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC) Hall of Fame immortalizes those who have made a significant contribution to the MPMC or to the motorsports parts manufacturing segment as a whole. Three MPMC Hall of Fame inductees were honored during an evening reception at the Performance Racing Industry Show in the Indiana Convention Center.

Jim Hairston, PerTonix

Jim Hairston has spent more than 40 years working in and serving the automotive specialty aftermarket. In 1998, after three decades as director of sales and marketing, Hairston left Hooker Headers for a brief stint at Weiand, eventually moving to PerTronix as director of marketing and product development in 1999, a position he still holds today.

Hairston is also a devoted family man and an avid drag racer. In 2001, he and his wife Kathy formed Hairston Motorsports as a way to introduce sons Clint and Jake to the highly competitive world of Pro Street drag racing. Even with such a seemingly full plate, Hairston served six years on the MPMC select committee, where he was particularly involved in continued development of the Media Trade Conference (MTC).

Above all of these accomplishments, he is recognized far and wide as a tireless and selfless mentor.

Arnie Kuhns, SFI

Arnold “Arnie” Kuhns has made numerous contributions to the motorsports industry. Since 1984, he has been the president of SFI, a nonprofit foundation established to issue and administer safety standards for specialty/performance automotive and racing products.

In the beginning, SFI had only two employees and four product standards for one race-sanctioning body. Since then, Kuhns has helped SFI grow to nine employees responsible for more than 100 quality-assurance specifications, and the organization is affiliated with nearly 200 race-sanctioning bodies.

Along the way, Kuhns has been honored with the USAC Jack O’Neal Award for Motorsports Safety, the SCCA George Snively Award for Outstanding Contributions in Motorsports Safety, an NHRA Wally for Valued Personal Contributions to the Sport of Drag Racing and High Performance Industries, and he is a member of the SEMA Hall of Fame.

Smokey Yunick

Smokey Yunick’s life was filled with stories and recollections that earned him a place in any motorsports or automotive-related Halls of Fame. First in NASCAR and then at Indy, Yunick applied his prodigious mechanical talents to making fast cars go faster. Known for his “innovative” interpretations of rulebooks, many rules were added on Monday morning following a race, courtesy of Yunick.

Several automakers, including Pontiac, Chevrolet and Ford, benefitted from his hands-on engineering and consulting work. He is credited with developing variable-ratio power steering, reverse-flow engine cooling and the extended-tip sparkplug, among other things. Racing safety was also a big concern for Yunick, being the first to propose a fuel bladder, and he designed the first “safe wall” in the ’60s—something that is taken for granted nowadays.

A lesser-known aspect of Yunick’s career was that he was among the group of builders, manufacturers and promoters who formed the World Motorsports Society, which very quickly became the Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council of SEMA.

Full Steam Ahead

MPMC heads into the new year looking forward to its 20th Media Trade Conference, held annually in Santa Ana, California. On January 24–26, 100 motorsports parts manufacturers will set up “showrooms” and meeting spaces within their suites at the Embassy Suites hotel and host private, one-on-one meetings with motorsports media. Hundreds of media members attend this event, and the exhibiting manufacturers have the opportunity for 42 scheduled meetings in three days.

The MPMC MTC is invaluable to both manufacturers and media. It serves as an opportunity to have uninterrupted face time with current connections while also serving as an opportunity to create new connections. Many manufacturers bring their products for display, giving the media the chance to see, touch, feel and photograph innovative parts, providing them with useful content for months to come.

Along with the jam-packed meeting schedules, MTC attendees will be invited to other industry events.

Media Appreciation Reception

MPMC holds a reception on Tuesday evening of the MTC to show its appreciation of motorsports media. The evening serves as a further opportunity for manufacturers and media to connect in a less formal atmosphere. Reception attendees enjoy food and beverages while networking with industry friends.

The council honors one exceptional member of the media with the Robert E. Petersen Award each year. The Robert E. Petersen award is named in honor of the man to whom the motorsports industry owes so much and is presented to an individual from the media who has made a positive impact on the industry and MPMC during the previous calendar year.

MPMC Open Meeting

MPMC members are encouraged to attend an open meeting in collaboration with the Emerging Trends and Technology Network (ETTN). It will take place on Monday, January 23, just prior to the Media Trade Conference and will feature brief council updates from the MPMC chair, followed by roundtable discussions with motorsports technology experts.

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