April '19

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20 THE SHOP APRIL 2019 "We make sure that people who are about to or have already purchased any of the race-only products are aware of the legal ramifications of installing these parts on a street-driven car," Miller explains. "This info is included on our website and our printed materials, and we include hard copy notifications in the packaging of our racing products. We make the installer aware of the legal liabilities—we practi- cally holler Hey, it's a race part, so I feel like the installer and end-user, once properly informed, are ultimately responsible." Simons counters: "The burden is on the manufacturer if you knew or should have known it was going on a street car." Either way, Weckerly warns, it's ulti- mately in everybody's best interests to play by the rules. "We can label dedicated racing parts as for racing use only," he says, "but if the industry abuses race-only, we'll lose the ability to use it." SEMA is again looking to offer assistance, including performing a comprehensive update of available emissions regulations information, as well as continued support of the national RPM Act that looks to clarify laws ensuring late-model vehicles can legally be turned into competition- only race cars. "It's an issue that's not going away, and I don't see it getting any easier," Spagnola says. However, Simons notes that recent deal- ings he's had with the EPA and CARB have been positive. "I'm encouraged by their willingness to work with the industry." In the meantime, a cooperative approach is needed, Fickler believes. "Our best defense is good-faith compliance." NEXT-GEN GEARHEADS The question is always circulating—how is the performance aftermarket going to attract the next generation of gearheads? "That's been a concern since 1971," says Spagnola of SEMA Garage, referencing an old news report. "I'm excited about youth involvement in the industry." Why? He points to the 2,800 high school auto shop programs across the country, the rising popularity of competitions such as Formula Drift, and the observation that there were more tuner cars than trucks on display at the 2018 SEMA Show. "We're seeing a lot of positive change," he notes. Of course, young enthusiasts are going to do things their own way. For instance, Weckerly explains how attendees at Hol- ley's annual LS Fest snatch up hoodies, kids' shirts and onesies from the apparel tents. "It's a totally different crowd than at the Hot Rod Reunion," he says. "It has evolved. Younger drivers are moving on to the cars they are interested in." But some similarities remain. "Today's youth crave adrenaline," he adds. "Cars are the next level of adrenaline rush." Reports have shown that students as young as seventh and eighth grade are already expressing interest in personalizing their vehicles, Aeromotive's Fickler notes. That interest is reinforced in videogames such as Gran Turismo that incorporate cus- tomizing elements into gameplay. Having spent time instructing new drivers, AEM's Miller says young enthusiasts The 15,000-square-foot SEMA Garage in California offers tech transfer, custom scanning, 3D print- ing, measuring sessions, an emissions lab, a training center and various vehicle technology ser- vices to help performance manufacturers with product development. (Photo courtesy SEMA Garage) PERFORMANCE VIEWING THE LANDSCAPE Holley's annual LS Fest is among the newer events that attract a younger generation of performance en- thusiasts. (Photo courtesy Holley Performance Products – facebook/lsfest) The rate that technology is allowing builders to make horsepower is amazing. (Photo courtesy Holley Performance Products – facebook/lsfest)

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