Gearing Up for Leadership Days

SEMA News—July 2011

Gearing Up for Leadership Days

It’s the Time of Year When SEMA Recognizes Its Leaders and Gives Back


The Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser recognizes the dedicated service of the SEMA Board of Directors and introduces the new Board and Hall of Fame inductees.

We’re about a month away from when SEMA will pause to recognize the efforts of its
Board of Directors and celebrate the election of 19 new Board members as well as four Hall of Fame inductees at the
SEMA Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser. As the outgoing Board members are honored for their service, the newly elected directors will be introduced and welcomed by SEMA members. This year’s event will be held at a new venue on Friday, July 29, 2011, at the Renaissance Hotel in Long Beach, California. It is the culmination of SEMA Leadership Days—three days filled with activities that celebrate the spirit of the industry and its members.

Pinewood Drag Races

Presented by eBay Motors, the Pinewood Drag Races—where miniature race cars and trucks are built for the Stock class by children from Childhelp and Victory Junction Gang Camp and then sponsored by participants through their donations to the charities—are one of several SEMA summer fundraising events, which also include the Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser. Participants who sponsor a child’s car will be designated as the team owner and race under the child’s name. Proceeds from the activities benefit Childhelp and Victory Junction charities. Childhelp is an organization that assists abused and neglected children, and Victory Junction Gang Camp provides life-changing camping experiences to disabled and chronically ill children.

eBay motors returns for the third year as the presenting sponsor in support of the SEMA Cares Charities. Famous Rhodes, eBay Motors senior director, put it this way: “The Pinewood Drag Races are an opportunity for eBay Motors to give back to the community. We take great pride in working to bring the community together to make a positive difference in the lives of others.” 

Pinewood Drag Race participants enter their own derby cars or trucks for a chance to win the coveted Council Cup.

Participants can also enter their own derby cars or trucks for a chance to win the coveted Council Cup. The drag races will start at 12:00 p.m. and feature three classes: Stock, Modified and Unlimited. The finals will take place during the cocktail reception shortly before the banquet begins.

The race will also feature an auction of pinewood cars painted by the kids from the charities to resemble the cars of their favorite NASCAR, IRL or NHRA drivers. Each derby car will be autographed by both the child and driver, providing an exclusive item for auction. “The Starting Lineup” auction will take place online at and at the Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser.

“Last year’s SEMA Pinewood Drags were fantastic,” said Joel Ayres of Tākit LLC. “Not only did we get more than 200 kids’ cars sponsored, but also we had the first annual Builder’s race. Some of the industry’s top car builders built pinewood cars that can only be described as ‘unbelievable.’ After the race, they were auctioned off on eBay to benefit SEMA Cares and the children of Childhelp and Victory Junction Gang Camp. The SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN) won the first Council Cup challenge as well as the Grand National championship. Both kids and adults had a great time, and we raised money to help those children who are less fortunate. This year, with Luanne Brown taking over as chair of SEMA Cares, and as Dave Williams, Tom Brooks and Eric Saltrick work their magic, the derby races will be the best yet. SEMA Cares is very appreciative that the SEMA Board, Hall of Fame and the staff share this event in helping the kids.”

Recognizing the SEMA Board of Directors andHall of Fame Inductees

The Installation Banquet & Gala Fund-raiser recognizes the dedicated service of the SEMA Board of Directors—a wholly volunteer group of industry leaders who are elected by the membership to lead the association’s efforts. As the outgoing directors are thanked, those who have been newly elected to serve the association will be welcomed.

As of press time, voting for the new Board is still underway. The candidates for all SEMA Board categories include: 



  • Doug Evans, Source Interlink Media
  • Nate Shelton, B&M Automotive Group


  • Joel Ayres, Tākit LLC (Incumbent)
  • John Brueggeman, 3M
  • Jim Chick, Bestop Inc.
  • Raymond King, Federal Mogul
  • Tim Martin, K&N Engineering Inc.
  • Mike Spagnola, Street Scene Equipment (Incumbent)
  • Brock Weld, BMF Wheels
  • Steve Wolcott, ProMedia LLC
  • Jeep Worthan, Auto Meter (Incumbent)

Distributor/Retailer and Services:

  • Greg Adler, Transamerican Auto Parts
  • Donnie Eatherly, P&E Distributors Inc. (Incumbent)
  • J.R. Moore, Performance Warehouse
  • Famous Rhodes, eBay Motors
  • Brock Rude, JR Motorsports
  • Van Woodell, Weathers Auto
    Supply Inc. (Incumbent)

Manufacturers’ Rep:

  • Jeff Bates, Bob Cook Sales (Incumbent)
  • Joel Rosenthal, Gantt-Thomas and Associates Inc.

The 2011 SEMA Hall of Fame inductees include Gray Baskerville, Art Chrisman of Chrisman’s Auto Rod Specialist (CARS), Chris Economaki of National Speed Sport News and John Towle of Performance Warehouse Association, who will also be celebrated at the gala. The inductees will be honored for their dedication, service and devotion to their businesses and the industry.

Street Performance Council BusinessTechnology Conference

In addition to the Pinewood Drag Races, the 2011 SEMA Leadership Days includes the Street Performance Council (SPC) Business Technology Conference, to be held July 27 at the Renaissance Long Beach Hotel. An intermediate/advanced technology group will convene for the day-long conference, which will include panel discussions and keynote speakers covering topics focused on the role of mobile content marketing, inbound customer relationship management (CRM), emerging research and development technology and new online opportunities for manufacturers
and distributors.

The 2011 SEMA Leadership Days will include individual and collective council meetings, Board of Directors’ functions and a Town Hall meeting and the annual Business Technology Conference. For more information about the Pinewood Drag Race or any of the other activities that will be held in conjunction with the SEMA Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser, contact Michelle Harris at

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