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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Diesels at SEMA - World's largest Auto Accessory Show!

Well yesterday I was a little hard on the boys at SEMA for letting the fox into the hen house regarding us diesel enthusiasts, however they still put on the largest show in the country for automotive aftermarket.

Every company who sell other diesel performance parts such as engine, fuel and intake are represented there to display what is new. SEMA is not for the public but designed for the dealers and distributors of automotive aftermarket parts.

And make no mistake this is where they come to do it once a year for over 30 years.

Why did they decide to play with the EPA, most likely they did not have a choice since they also represent the big 3 automakers and they are part of the show. The big 3 automakers work very closely with the EPA in order to maintain vehicle emissions.

Still my point is valid how can you be innovative when so many rules holds the intelligence of very bright diesel engineers and mechanics who are breaking boundaries?

It all comes back to what DIESEL Motorsports have had as a policy for years - clean diesels on the street and competitors with experimental diesels come to the track!

Offroad competition! They cannot say much when you bring your trucks to a licensed and insured track to compete. That is considered offroad and exhibition.

With that being said for trucks older than 2007, it doesn't mean you can still go on the road and smoke the other vehicles - what that means is you should take the same concerns for the environment and come to the track.

Looking forward to seeing and visiting with all of the trades people I have had relationship with for over 25 years.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I love to support SEMA but it is getting harder when . . .

. . . DIESEL Motorsports don't feel the love! The recently released warning from SEMA Council makes you believe they are on a witch hunt that will never go away.

October 18, 2011
Dear SEMA Member:

We have recently learned that CARB and EPA are planning significant enforcement action against companies that make, distribute or install tuning products for late-model (2007 MY and newer) diesel trucks that are equipped with diesel particulate filters (DPF) if such tuning products offer any of the following features:  (1) the ability to re-tune/re-program the truck to operate while the DPF is removed; (2) the ability to turn off urea (exhaust fluid) injection; and/or (3) the ability to defeat, disable or turn off any other required emissions control system on a late-model diesel truck.  Products with these features cannot be legally sold for on-highway usage.  If you make, sell or install products with these features and they are sold strictly for legal racing use you must be able to make assurances to these regulatory agencies that these products are NOT being used on the street on registered vehicles.  If you cannot make those assurances we encourage you to carefully consider your business practices so as to avoid possible penalties.

SEMA is very interested in protecting you and your future and we hope you’ll find this information valuable.  If you have any questions please contact Jim McFarland, Consultant for SEMA, regarding compliance with these regulatory agencies.

John Russell Deane, III
SEMA General Counsel

You know they tried this four years ago when I requested a Diesel Council at SEMA for all of the industry people to gather and discuss. I was quickly turned away. Soon after all of the companies who sell and manufacture diesel products dropped their displays at SEMA and never came back.

Now they are taking a $500 Million dollar a year industry and helping to scare them away and down by threatening us with the government agencies - a witch hunt!

Most of us already know the CARB/EPA regulations and work with it or around it legally. You don't need to threaten us not to come and display, if you did your research you would know 90% of our competitors trucks are pre-2006 anyway! 

Is it really necessary to bring the government into a private trade show?

Maybe the other industry trade shows such as PRI and IMMS will learn from this mistake and embrace our diesel crowd and industry? 

I have attended SEMA shows since 1986, yes I'm showing my age but this show was built on manufacturers who build automotive aftermarket products. Those products built the performance industry to what it is today, names such as Edelbrock, Flowmaster, Mr Gasket, Holley, and others were the standard. Their products broke new ground and many of their products are now OEM equipment. 

How can the automotive aftermarket grow when it is held back by government regulations and threatened by the very association who we help build?

Just asking? 

Some of the diesel industry's new products and break through technology will help the big 3 develop diesels with more power, more torque, high MPG along with cleaner emissions if they let the experts develop them. Don't hold them back!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Oh the Times They are A Changing - DIESEL Motorsports . . .

Nice old line from an old song that resonates even in today's diesel market place. As new diesels reach the market and the political battles rage between the industrialists and the tree huggers, diesel is still growing because of the utility use of the drive train.

Face it, what pulls a trailer or RV better than a diesel, nothing, exactly! What transports our goods from one side of the country to the other - diesel! What transports our products across the rails - diesel! What now is a re-emergence of river tugs and barges up the rivers - diesels!

Europe has gone almost completely diesel, why are the States behind the World trend domestically?

The big three automakers have been behind in technology but they are scrambling to catch up in the past two years. Ram has introduced some pretty impressive domestic truck models along with work fleet trucks and both Ford and GMC has been adding new features to their diesels lines.

Now that the diesel truck is advancing in technology what are they doing for the domestic car market?

Only thing that has been announced the the new little Chevy diesel to be released in 2013 (high mileage economy vehicle). It will be the first real domestic diesel vehicle released in America for over 80 years (not including failed attempt of gas engine conversion in the 70/80s).

Can they move any slower? Are we going to have to look to Europe models like the VWs, Audis and Mercedes for diesel cars? Come on guys the technology is there, even approved by the stingy EPA!

But the truck is still the work load of the diesels, pulling and hauling every day of the week in every town, city and state no matter what the occupation.

And yes, the aftermarket is researching what can be added to make the diesels run better, add more performance and get the extra miles per gallon the owner is looking for in their truck (of course while remaining within legal guidelines)!

It is getting harder and harder to find used diesel trucks every where you look and when you do find them, they are priced pretty darn high! Price what the market will bear is the free market in the US and it shows when looking for used diesel trucks.

If you drive a truck for work or haul a trailer or RV, then you better hop on now before they get real hard to find!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Meeting Friends with the same likes-DIESEL Motorsports!

The big draw at a diesel event is the customized diesel trucks but what many find is the friends you will meet! Friends that have or live the same lifestyle that you do!

I have found many friends and good people at diesel events, many with the same likes and hobbies as myself. Then again, there is a lot of working people who look for the same kind of people they can socialize with that enjoy the same hobby or past time.

DIESEL Motorsports is one of those hobbies that tie these people together from all walks of life from all over the country. Throw in that communicating is so much easier today with the new social medias such as Facebook, texting, Twitter and the Internet, and you can communicate daily with the people you met last weekend. It doesn't matter they live three states away, you'll see them again at the next event or in a couple of months!

Many talk of the same jobs or related jobs since they use their diesel trucks in that kind of work be it farming, construction, trucking or automotive garages.

Their other hobbies are generally the same such as hunting, fishing, offroading, boating and camping. It is a rural lifestyle that is most likely not politically correct in many social circles.

So what draws these type of people together - DIESEL Motorsports! It's a lifestyle that is not duplicated any where else.

Friday, October 21, 2011

What's new in equipment for 2012 Diesel Motorsports?

I'm getting ready to head to SEMA/AAPEX show next week and there is always new products announced and released at the show. Not always diesel since the shows have never been diesel friendly but some crossover parts that are acceptable will be launched there.

I saw some new products in advance at the PWA show just last month and diesel specific that should make a huge difference this year for the diesel enthusiasts.

Many of the true diesel performance parts don't display at SEMA because of their relationship with the EPA/CARB. Can't say I blame them for not wanting that kind of exposure but by attending you do see a lot of new truck parts and accessories along with building awareness for the sport.

I see a resurgence of new electronic programmers since the electronics can do so much more these days. Not just programmers but multi-function dashboards that can offer so much more in providing important information from your truck's computer chip.

Finally diesel is getting noticed by the wheel and tire manufacturers, we'll see some new options coming very soon for the 8-Lug wheel and tire. This is most needed since it is hard to find performance options for our trucks.

Fuel system options along with newer and hotter injectors will soon be hitting the marketplace, the more power our guys are wanting and the demand for higher end systems will be made available after the first of the year!

Stronger engine components will continue to be released by popular manufacturers who are now building specialized diesel components for strength and performance. Everything from cams to pistons to rods!

I will have a full report when I return from SEMA what is new and coming up this next year for DIESEL Motorsports.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

NEW RAM Trucks - not Dodge anymore!

At the Texas Event this last weekend I had a chance to drive and experience one of the new diesel pickups from RAM (no longer Dodge)! Yes they are branding the new trucks as RAM trucks- built RAM tough!

This ain't your old dodge truck with a plain interior! I drove the new 3500 Longhorn Edition - oh MY! What a beauty, hand tooled leather seats, etched metal on the dash trim with all of the electronic gadgets that a car/truck can carry!

These trucks drive like a smooth Cadillac  and yet have the power to pull whatever you need. The engine noise was almost non-existent from the inside and the seats were comfortable with soft thick country leather (heated and air conditioned!).

Ram has now joined the elite in comfort and utility with these new trucks, it's like sitting in your living room in your comfy chair watching tv as you drive down the road. But don't be fooled underneath is still the Cummins power plant that can muster any strength you need to pull a trailer or equipment.

We used it briefly to pull a water trailer on the grounds (full of 500 gallons of water) with little of no effort it pulled it over to where we needed it.

Our local Ram sponsor Classic Chrysler/RAM in Denton Texas supplied us with about six of these beauties for the crowd to look at during the show. I highly suggest you take a look at these new RAMs before you purchase your next vehicle . . . it ain't grandpa's truck no more - whew . . . what a ride!

Monday, October 17, 2011


Yes, I have been sent this on more than one occasion, a recent message sent just last week by a diesel competitor! I'm sure motivated by a few drinks and keyboard courage had a lot to do with it.

This niche automotive market did start in the country and backwoods but has developed into large business with millions of dollars being made by major corporations and manufacturers. When that happens progress is apparent and it becomes a transition of taking a local sport or hobby and turning it into business. 

When it turns into business then business professionals get involved and start to run the sport so bigger companies and manufacturers can feel assured their involvement is protected and void of the big three letters "LLL"!

The big three concerns:

Legal - is the sport legal, licensed, insured and follow automotive safety guidelines! They do not want to have to defend what is illegal or considered politically correct in society.

Liability - are they protected if there are accidents, concerns, etc.? They need to keep their image clean of controversy and claims. 

Lawyers - they DO NOT want them involved and use them when they only have too!

As a business if we can assure them that the sport is clear of the three "LLL"s then they are interested in being involved. When the correct business structure is setup and presented in use some of the old standards and businesses who started the sport cannot continue to operate as in the past.

Some of the old standards of the sport get upset that someone or some business is trying to change how the sport is operated  and conducted. Yes, some of the old camaraderie is gone along with partying into the night, but it is replaced by professional competitive activities that is there for everyone without infringing on other's rights or property.

It's called PROGRESS . . .

NASCAR started the same way in it's birth in the back roads of the South and over the years was replaced by big business into what it is today. Is DIESEL Motorsports on the same path?

Don't know! But it's the right way to progress and I'm sure it is not popular with a lot of people who liked it the old way. We started DIESEL Motorsports just over 5 years ago with just 6 sponsors and that has grown to about 20 current sponsors, that is progress!

We held a small but very successful event this past weekend in Texas with no problems, lots of diesel enthusiasts and competitors and had a great time doing it. Some of the old along with the new group was there and they competed plus hung together for almost three hours after the event was over - great times along with progress!

BACK OFF? - We are just getting started, I don't think so!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The BUSINESS end of DIESEL Motorsports . . .

Most people come to the events wanting to have a good time with their diesel pickups, see friends, and watch the different diesel trucks compete be it racing, pulling or dyno.

What goes on before or during the event in order to make this all happen?

We get a lot of calls of people wanting to hold large diesel events and what does it take, most of them think a couple of thousand dollars. Unfortunately that wouldn't even rent the track, maybe barely pay for the personnel for a one day event.

Most drag strips rent from $6000-$15000 for the day depending on the location, then there is the insurance for the event at the track. The sled for the pulling, the track prep equipment, the dirt, people to run it and the electronics to display and radio the results.

The drag strip provides some personnel but the association has to supply the rest, the SFI techs, registration, front gate, etc. The cost of flying them in and housing them, feeding them and transportation for them  while they are in town is all included in the costs of the event.

Everything from tents for the vendors, tables, chairs, etc we either rent or buy in order to provide a service for our sponsors. We hang over 150 banners at the events and take them down, some are stolen by fans which is why we always ask for extras. Simple tasks as providing lunch and water for the 20 plus workers during the day is no small feat but helps when they are not too picky about what we provide.

The amounts of funds it takes to coordinate all of the functions is in the thousands of dollars and a combination of sponsor's funds, front gate profits and registration combined pays for most of the expenses.

The business end of it is endless if you don't know where to properly place your marketing and advertising dollars, we have tried newspapers, radio, web, and even tv but radio seems to work the best for us in rural areas. Normal rates are anywhere from $1500 to $5000 for a week of advertising depending on the local stations.

Gathering of sponsors to fund the events that DIESEL Motorsports plans for the year is a job that never has an end. No sooner you wrap up one event you are selling on the next event, calling all of the local shops, businesses and vendors who care to try and sell products to the fans. Local sponsors need to see a return on the monies they spend so they need to sell more than what the booth or sponsorship costs!

The selling and gathering of yearly sponsors is a full time job that requires hours or preparation, phone calls/conferences and face to face meetings. You first have to convince the person you are selling to and then he has to get approval from the rest of his group for the funding. This requires answering questions surrounding the effectiveness of DIESEL Motorsports in relationship to their business or products plus a ROI! I have sold to companies over three years before they could get approval and feel comfortable putting their funds into our sport. They want to see the numbers and can you help them sell their products or services. Every year they evaluate the results in order to justify the funding for the next year. We have to help them provide the numbers in reports and figures.

The time we spend on lobbying is huge since this helps convince more and more manufacturers to get into the sport which results in more sponsors plus new performance products for DIESEL Motorsports. Some of the new products are fantastic and will sell quite well in our industry, knowing which products to push and ask for is the experience we bring as an association that knows what enthusiasts will buy for their trucks. We passed out over 35,000 flyers for future events at trade shows last winter promoting our sport and sponsors.

So the BUSINESS end of DIESEL Motorsports is a lot of hard work long before it hits the track and is a bigger part of time than the events. That being said we are quite happy when the final product (event) is over and then we proceed to the next!

See you at the track and enjoy what so many others have put into the effort in order for the event to happen!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Texas - is Truck Country. Period. DIESEL Motorsports . . .

DIESEL Motorsports® is holding it's Texas Diesel Roundup in little over a week for the third year, and yes there is a lot of country down there, and yes there is a lot of trucks down there!

Experian Motor Division reports Texas leads the country in a lot of statistics when it comes to trucks:

* More than one in four vehicles (26.91 percent) in Texas are pickup trucks

• Texas has the highest proportion of rear-wheel drive vehicles (36.86 percent)

• Texas has the highest proportion of 8-, 10- and 12-cylinder vehicles (29.37 percent)

• also Pickup trucks accounted for 20.57 percent of all vehicles in operation in Texas

. . . so basically I am saying Texas is truck country!

That is why we are so excited about coming back to Texas for the event where we will be featuring diesel pickup sled pulling, drag racing, dyno, show-n-shine and a vendor alley. Every thing in Texas is bigger and you need a lot of truck to get there, that's why diesels are a hot commodity in the state.

The type of trucks and people we meet in Texas are generally nice people who love their trucks, their families and their sport! They are very passionate about their trucks and they standup to a good challenge any day of the week.

With trucks sales up 8.5% Nationwide this year over last year, the truck market is still growing in states like Texas. Diesel trucks are for the serious worker in construction, hauling, farming, automotive and recreational lifestyles.

If you want to see a lot of trucks in one location come to our event in Texas, they are friendly and will tell you all about their trucks!

For more information on the event go to: www.DIESELmotorsports.US

Monday, October 3, 2011

LOOKING for the right Manufacturers . . . DIESEL Motorsports!

Just one more event in a couple of weeks and I'm already working on next year's programs! I have already sent out next year's contracts for manufacturers to see who wants to market to our diesel enthusiasts. The cycle starts all over again for us and quite frankly I enjoy this portion of the year more than anything.

I'm back in my element, automotive marketers and leaders who are looking for new ways to sell their products to potential buyers. In our case, diesel enthusiasts who are looking for new products and getting familiar with existing products. These manufacturers are the sponsors who spend money with us in order for DIESEL Motorsports® to put on events that attract diesel enthusiasts..

The one item most manufacturers forget, behind every performance diesel is IT'S STILL A PICKUP! Our enthusiasts still need accessories and parts for pickups, everything from floor mats to tonneau covers. Also any hard part for a diesel truck, water pump, starter, alternator, etc., our guys still need the parts to keep their used rebuilt trucks going.

Over 80% of our diesel market is used trucks, that is a lot of trucks that need more hard parts and performance upgrades to keep them running for a long time. More and more young people are getting into the cheaper used diesels and fixing them up to compete while the older crowd is buying newer trucks for the comfort and ease of a new pickup.

Who is the right manufacturer?

The manufacturer who wants to be in our programs of promoting not only our sport but also DIESEL Motorsports®. Provide us with the correct materials to promote their product(s) at our events, decals, banners, product display, promotion materials and give-aways so we can properly promote their products to the crowds during the events.

Help promote DIESEL Motorsports® through their web site, product inserts, decal insert, and advertising our events on their diesel related advertising. Be a part of the direction we are trying to take this movement, family oriented diesel events where performance minded enthusiasts can compete legally instead of on the streets. It will only help it grow and sell more of their parts, products and services.

It becomes a synergy between diesel products, the shows and the enthusiasts, one that is positive and professional. Almost a county fair atmosphere is prevalent at the events along with enthusiasts inspecting everyone else's trucks, and a vendor alley where one can find new items for their trucks.

If a manufacturer cannot find a local store or provide personnel to attend the shows make sure to provide us with a display of products. Our enthusiasts want to see the latest in technology at the events and find out what is becoming available.

Just this last year Covercraft joined our sponsors promoting their SeatSavers truck seat covers. They attended a couple of shows so the attendees could talk with a factory trained person about their products and left us with a small display of the product with plenty of pass-out materials that supported their products. Many of our truck owners use seat covers and they found that Covercraft was available at many of their local shops and stores. The ladies really liked the pink camo seat covers!

A perfect example of a truck accessory manufacturer who found the diesel market was not just performance but pickup trucks.

Just a couple of weeks ago I attended the first of the industry's trade show and found many of the companies now wanting to produce performance parts for the diesel industry because they have heard it is growing. What a good feeling to have when you are approached and asked about the up and coming DIESEL Motorsports® trend in automotive sports.

LOOKING FOR THE RIGHT MANUFACTURERS? If you fit the description give me a call before SEMA, PRI and IMS since we will be at all of them.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

SERIOUSLY? . . . DIESEL Motorsports!

I recently received a email from a good sponsor who helped us put on a event and he was quite disturbed by an email he received from one of our racers that was given a gift certificate as a prize. This was a gift certificate given to them by one of their good suppliers and sponsor of the event.

No strings attached just a gift certificate for an item on top of receiving a cash purse. They were disturbed because of the response by the racer! It wasn’t a  “Thank you”, or “could I receive something else I already have one of these”, their response is below:

“I am just writing to inform you that we have decided NOT to accept your
cheap junk -------- system that we won in the --------- class at ---------- event.
The voucher we sent in said it was for a free system, come to find out its 4 inch installer series, SERIOUSLY? You can stick that worthless system up your #@*$#@#@$.
it is under the name "__________" just so you know that way you can send it
through the shredder.”

Wow was all I could say at first.

Regardless of the prize that was given, the size of the product, or the type of product, is this a professional way to communicate to a major company in the industry how much we appreciate them participating in the sport?

This is a statement I would expect from a backstreet bar room patron after their 10th drink or the guy walking the streets pushing the shopping cart talking to himself – but one of the racers who is representing our sport that we have tried to pull up it’s bootstraps from the barrel fire booze fest race and launch into a professional level at a Class 1 drag strip?

I apologized immediately to the sponsor for our racer.

You see guys every negative comment made about or to someone about our sport is a reflection upon all of us. Not just the Association, the drag racers, the pullers – but all of the diesel community. This type of person who wrote this statement is now representing every one of you in the diesel community, that is how this major corporation and their management now view all who are involved in diesel motorsports.

When major companies see this type of attitude they not only want to turn their backs on the sport but the entire diesel competitor community. Every racer or puller who in the future sends this company a request to sponsor their vehicle or event will make them think of this person’s response.

“Remember last time we tried to help or give these guys something, forget it, it isn’t worth the trouble”! Then they will allocate the funds or prizes to another group that has not caused them any trouble. Least path of resistance.

It’s a shame when one individual or group of agitators ruins it for everyone else in the diesel community. Call it negative energy or bad karma but it surrounds them like a black cloud and pulls everyone else around them down.

We can choose to ignore the people who wrote this email to our sponsor and try to leave them behind but like anything bad the taste is still there for quite a long time.