Kyle Tucker/DSE Wins SEMA Battle of the Builders and GM Design Award
The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) announced Kyle Tucker as the winner of the first-ever SEMA Battle of the Builders competition with Angelo Vespi’s ’69 Camaro. The announcement was made in mid-November at SEMA Ignited, a new event designed to celebrate the builders and showcase the products from the trade-only SEMA Show.
Tucker competed in the SEMA Battle of the Builders along with more than 125 other vehicles customizers throughout the country. Editors from leading auto magazines selected the Top Ten finalists for the competition. The finalists then became the judges to determine who would ultimately be named the winner of the competition.
Top Ten Finalists:
Mike and Jim Ring
Mike and Jim Ring, Jeff Kinsey, and Kyle Tucker were announced as the Top Three competitors during SEMA Ignited, where producers were filming for a nationwide television special currently scheduled to air on the Velocity Network on March 8, 2015. The one-hour show will highlight innovations in vehicle customization and raise consumer awareness for the aftermarket industry. The TV show will profile Tucker as the first-ever SEMA Battle of the Builders winner, along with other competitors, to showcase the talent, creativity, and craftsmanship involved with vehicle customization. While the SEMA Show is a trade show that is not open to the general public, SEMA Ignited was open to consumers and provided them with a chance to preview new automotive accessories on many of the vehicles that were on display during the 2014 SEMA Show.
The Detroit Speed-built ’69 Camaro also claimed the very prestigious GM design award for “Best Chevrolet Sports Car” at the SEMA show. “To be named the winner in a group that includes some of the very best offerings from GM was a huge honor,” reflects Tucker. “This was a fun and exciting project, and to be able to work with such a great customer like Angelo Vespi, made it an even more pleasurable experience. We would like to thank ARP for showing off our most recent build in their 2014 SEMA booth.”
Weld Acquires CCW
Weld, manufacturers of Weld Wheels, has acquired Complete Custom Wheels of Holly Hill, Florida, a manufacturer of premium forged road race, sports car, and luxury car wheels, creating CCW Forged Performance. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Weld president and CEO, Norman Young, says CCW’s championship-winning road racing heritage and uncompromising attitude aligns perfectly with Weld’s philosophy and corporate DNA, making it a strategic fit for both companies.
“CCW is the perfect complement to Weld’s current product range,” said Young. “CCW’s ability to produce high-performance forged racing and sports car wheels is proven through over 25 national and international road racing championships.”
With deep roots in road racing and luxury European car communities, Young said the transaction provides Weld with access to a new portion of the market it previously did not cater to. Weld intends to keep CCW’s Florida manufacturing facility intact and looks at CCW as a new sister brand to round out its portfolio.
Eastwood Names New President and CEO
Brian Huck has been promoted from Vice President of Marketing and Sales to President and Chief Operating Officer of The Eastwood Company. In his new role, Huck will oversee the entire Eastwood Company business unit including channels, product development, and the expansion into retail; including strategic planning, acquisitions, and business development.
“I am very pleased that Brian has agreed to take this new leadership position,” said Curt Strohacker, chairman and founder. “Brian’s 20 years of high-level business experience in the direct-to-consumer and retail channels is just what we need as we continue to grow our retail presence with all forms of online marketing. I am very excited about Brian’s new appointment, which will allow me to focus on many things I want to do for our company and with my family.” Strohacker will remain as the chairman of the board.
In his six years at Eastwood, Huck has been instrumental in driving significant growth both online and offline, and will now continue to lead Eastwood’s growth in the future. When asked about the appointment, Huck commented, “It’s been an amazing ride at Eastwood over the last six years, and it’s been an absolute privilege to be a part of what Curt started more than 35 years ago. I look forward to being a part of our charge into the future and know we’ve assembled a phenomenal team to do just that.”
Popp Squeaks Out Second Optima Victory
After two action-packed days of competition, and challenges from past champions and newcomers alike, Danny Popp and his ’03 Corvette Z06 were able to garner enough points to claim the prestigious title as winner of the 2014 Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational.
“It’s been incredible to drive on the most historic tracks during the 2014 season,” says Popp, after holding up the huge Invitational trophy. “We will definitely be back next year!” Danny also won the 2011 Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational, and his name will now be engraved on the traveling trophy for yet another year after an incredibly close win (less than one point) over Brandon Ranvek’s ’06 Mitsubishi Evo.
A total of 103 vehicles competed in the event, held for the first time at Las Vegas Motor Speedway over the weekend of November 8-9. They faced a series of competitive driving events, including the Wilwood Speed Stop Challenge and the RideTech Street Challenge Autocross during the day on Saturday. Later that evening, competitors faced public roads on the Detroit Speed Road Rally Challenge, which ended with the Showtime Motorsports participant reception at the new Shelby American headquarters in Las Vegas.
The high-speed BFGoodrich Hot Lap Challenge took place on the 2.4-mile road course all day Sunday, with all of the competitors pushing themselves and their vehicles to the absolute limit. The road course action was paced by the Red Line Oil Camaro, which set a baseline lap time for all the competitors to challenge. Driven by experienced road racing champion and Optima PowerPro Brand Ambassador James Clay, the Roadster Shop-built ’14 Camaro was then put to work as a camera car.
Each vehicle’s overall quality and craftsmanship was reviewed by a carefully chosen group of judges during the Lingenfelter Performance and Design Challenge. Every portion of the Invitational event offered precious points, and when scores were finalized, Danny Popp, had acquired more than any other competitor.
The new Las Vegas Motor Speedway location proved to be very fan-friendly, and future events will surely continue to draw large crowds. For the first time, a manufacturers midway was assembled at the event site, and a wide range of performance industry parts makers displayed their products and services to interested competitors and spectators.