MetalWorks attends SEMA 2017

Combining the nonstop buzz of Las Vegas with the world’s largest automotive tradeshow is a guaranteed good time, and SEMA 2017 didn’t disappoint. All the fun aside, SEMA is serious work, and where we keep on top of what is new and hot in the automotive industry so we can offer our customers the latest technologies and aftermarket components.

We strapped on our walking shoes and checked out all that SEMA had to offer. It is always fun to see what will be unveiled, and the direction the industry is leaning towards. One thing was more apparent than ever—80s-era body styles are the next thing. We saw a number of sweet builds base off from square body trucks, 3rd gen Camaros, and fox body Mustangs.

We hope you enjoy checking out a quick peek into some of the amazing builds that were on display. You can check out our BLOG posts for additional images: http://metalworksclassics.com/#blog

Tricky Maneuvers

It was in thick and anxious anticipation that I waited for my press credential clearance for the Red Bull Air Races. Their second year being held in a hover over the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, this was a great opportunity to take a new angle of attack on a sport and facility that I have become comfortable with.

This degree of motorsport is yet another marginal hue according to the United States demographic. Internationally however, the Red Bull Air Race Championship has been flying high for eleven years. Similar in tone to Formula 1, the Air Race Championship frequents exciting and affluent cities all over the world. Before hosting their series finale at Indy, the pilots had already put on a dazzling display in Saudi Arabia, Japan, Russia, Hungary, Portugal, and Germany and did a fly- by off the beaches of San Diego. Indy is far from the most populated event, though with a few more years of traction, and a prayer for good weather, it could be.

Finally, with email confirmation in hand, I ran down to the offices that are kiddy corner to the famed Speedway. Upon entering, I noticed a dramatic shift. All of the credential girls had turned into 50’s-inspired flight attendants. (EXP WHAT IT LOOKED BEFORE) In the spirit of branding domination, Red Bull converted both the credentials office and the media center into lux cocktail lounges. Complete with potted plants, huge translucent murals on the glass walls, and more helpful stewardesses, the place was almost unrecognizable.

This is precisely why I wanted to see this spectacle. Where the Indianapolis 500 is steeped in history and fans, this over-the-top effort to make an impression through details is a different approach to this facility.

Last year, both classes of planes put on a great show. In the title series, referred to as the Master Class, a German pilot by the name of Matthias Dolderer was handed the win and championship with one more event to go. This time around it was mathematically down to a handful of pilots, whomever won the race would take home the prize.

With the sun shining and the wind low, it was considered ‘perfect flying condition’ by most of the pilots. One- by- one they zipped through the puffy nylon pylons. Each run required three trips through the course before loop–da–looping around and starting the circuit again. The name of the game is to complete the task as perfect as possible. Penalties take form as additional time added to the run. These penalties can be for clipping a pylon, not going though the two- pylon gates in a horizontal fashion, flying too low in the course or flying too high in the course, pulling too many g’s on the loop and others.

In short- not just any pilot have the skill to do this. The Red Bull series itself knows the level of competency needed and hand picks the pilots to compete. This is very different from most motorsports where drivers show up with their bag of cash from sponsors and deals with a team. Here, Red Bull assigns the pilots to the stables and hooks sponsorships on their own. Everybody gets a slice of the pie.

A mechanic who was dutifully buffing his plane broke all of this down to me. “Each plane has one man. I am the man for this plane,” he said wearily. “We ship the planes from one country to the next, then assemble them close to port. They fly them to the track.” He said.

“So you have to completely disassemble their plane between races?” I asked. “Yes” he sighed “we pretty much rebuild them from the ground up overnight.” It was no wonder why this gentleman looked exhausted.

Even though the weather was shockingly beautiful for qualifying, a cold, harsh rain set in for race morning. The officials called off the support series, named the Challenger Class, and the qualifying order from the day before stood as results. This made French born Melanie Astles the first woman to win a major event in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway track history. “I am glad that I won here at Indy,” she said “but I do my best flying in the rain and in the wind. I was looking forward to going out there today and showing my best, but I am still happy with the result.” She said.

With one eye on the radar, Flight Control opted for a later start time for the Master Class. Unlike other events held at IMS, the Red Bull Air Races continue rain or shine- the heavier deciding factor being wind speed. The blustering breeze made the pylons dance all morning.

While waiting for the weather to clear, the pilots stationed at the front of their hangars to do interviews with media, talk with sponsor guests, and interact with fans. One of the front -runners for the series title, Japanese team Falken pilot Yoshi Muroya even hosted a special guest. 2017 Indy500 Champion and fellow countryman, Takuma Sato was close by all weekend.
Another contender for the race win and series crown was a veteran of the sport, American, Kirby Chambliss. “I have logged over 27,000 hours (of flight),” he said “that’s like taking off and landing four years later.”

After the gaggle of fans continued on, Chambliss rolled his Red Bull-spangled plane to the front of the hangar and grabbed an armful of tall, thin energy drink cans. I watched as he methodically set them up around the open floor area. Glancing up, he felt the need to explain the method to his madness. “This is my test track,” he motioned. “I like the flight simulator fine, but this just helps me picture what I need to do out there better.” Carefully, the two- time World Champion demonstrated the path he would take around the big course outside by using his hand to simulate the plane. After a couple of circuits he explained how the day was going go.

After each pilot takes a qualifying time, the Master Class grid is set. Much like drag racing, two pilots are slotted against each other. The better time moves on to the next round. They go from 14 pilots, to 8, then move on to 4. The last round is a shootout, best time takes all.

The wind and mist carried on throughout the rounds. Late in the previous day, the race officials made it clear that clipping a pylon, whether it was moved by the wind or not, would result in immediate disqualification. A few would be knocked out of the running by this rule enforcement, including Chambliss.

Muroya set the bar high out the gate with a new track record of 1min 03.026 seconds, which no one could touch. It came down to he and the Czechoslovakian, Martin Sonaka in the Red Bull colors. Leading the points going into this final round of battle, not only was the race win, but also the series championship was at stake. The fatal flaw of a missed vertical maneuver added four seconds to Sonaka’s time, and he could not recover. This handed the win and crown to Muroya, making him the first Japanese pilot to win a championship in series history.

Amongst screams and jubilation, Takuma Sato appeared in Victory Circle to congratulate his friend. Only four points granted Muroya the series championship, and mere seconds gave him the opportunity to kiss the bricks at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“We love this sport,” said an Air Race fan by the name Jim. He and his wife had avidly followed the series for years, and had the helmet full of notable signatures to prove it. “We don’t like any other organized sports. If you can’t get killed in the stands, then it is not exciting enough for me. We are from San Diego and saw them on their way out here. This is our first time in Indy!” When asked if he would come back for the already- promised Red Bull Air Race in 2018, he was quick to reply “Absolutely.”

Oregon Festival of Cars

A sure sign that summer is coming to an end is the Oregon Festival of Cars, held each September in Bend, Oregon. Broken Top Club’s driving range is the venue and is a perfect setting. This is a weekend event which starts Friday morning with an optional tour which leaves Ron Tonkin’s Gran Turismo in Wilsonville. With a leasurely drive through country roads, it takes a different route every year. It ends at a car wash in Bachlor Village with all the beer and wash supplies provided, the labor is on you. Later everyone meets in the showroon of Kendall Porsche for dinner, drinks and conversation.

Saturday morning starts with the placement of cars on the driving range with public viewing beginning at 10:00 a.m. The variety of cars is one of the many things I enjoy about this show, with everything from hot rods, customs, classics and muscle cars, to sports cars and classics. This year the featured cars were Badass Cars, and there was a wide variety to choose from. After the show there is a banquet for participants to close things out.
Sunday for those left standing they can choose to participate in a tour which ends with lunch. If you find yourself in Bend the middle of September this is a must see.

A Whole Other Animal

“How do we describe Global Rally at it’s simplest form? Crazy cars that drive over jumps, handle gravel, dirt and pavement sections. A lot of action.”
Oliver Eriksson driving the RedBull sponsored Honda Civic.

Those words rang in my ears as I looked around the Lucas Oil Speedway- Red Bull Global Rally cross hybrid track. What exactly was I looking at? The guest sanctioning body took the basic .686 mile pavement oval and made some additions. Instead of turn two, the Rally cars would cut through a dirt chicane out in the infield and over a large gravel jump laid adjacent to start/finish, and loop around in a mud puddle before rejoining the pavement course between turns three and four. Sitting on a grassy knoll, surveying the scene in front of me I realized that this adaptation of auto racing was both vaguely similar and completely different.

In this version of racing, a fast start is key. Each race lasts roughly 10 minutes depending on the course. The race weekend schedule is littered with a bunch of these short sprints, each finish designating points to set up the main event. That being said, the race weekend is extremely laid back. Two days of racing equates to maybe six or eight shorts bursts of competition by the title series, called ‘Super Cars’ followed by a development group referred to as the ‘Lights.’ In all, there is a lot of flexibility in the schedules, fostering a laid back and casual atmosphere around the track.

The only the pit crews seem to be flung into a frenzy. This style of racing is so rough on the cars that a lot needs to be cleaned, replaced and monitored between each bout. Once the car comes zipping in off of the track, it is immediately propped up on jacks, the hood is flown open, and a little army of technicians descend on the race-fresh vehicle. Quick engine changes are common and each crewman has to have hustle in their job description.

The Red Bull Global Rallycross series has twelve races, most of them in the United States. Each course is made- to order for race weekend, each having a completely different layout and challenges. A few elements are consistent. The track must have pavement and dirt, all must have a jump of some kind and all must involve what the series refers to as a ‘Joker.’

A Joker is an addition on the racecourse that every driver must take once in each race. They are not allowed to take this route on the first lap, but they can take it only once per round. Sometimes the course is designed so that the Joker is a short cut, and sometimes the Joker is the long way around. The key is taking the Joker lap to strategy.

In the main event that I attended, the Supercar winner, Scott Speed driving the Olberto sponsored Volkswagen Bug for Andretti Autosport took the Joker when he was comfortably out front so that the long lag time did not affect his position. His teammate, Tanner Foust in the Rockstar Energy Drink Volkswagen Bug finished second and Steve Arpin in the Lorenbro motorsports Derive Efficiency Ford Fiesta rounded out the podium.

Upon celebrating in Winner’s Circle, it was clear that the series focused on the younger fans. After the traditional podium pictures and champagne fight, the drivers invited all of the kids to come up on stage and have their photo taken. Shortly thereafter, each of the podium winners spent as long as needed in order to sign every autograph and take every picture requested. This time is not a luxury in other styles of racing and I personally think that this attention to the younger demographic is what is fueling the sport’s popularity. Admission cheap, the racing is fast and the pits are open to anyone that bought a ticket to the show. The drivers are diverse, young and often very accessible.

“Global Rallycross is so different to what usually comes around here.” Commented Sebastian Eriksson (no relation to Oliver Eriksson) driving the other Team Red Bull sponsored Honda Civic. “I think it is fun for the fans to see something different. They seem to enjoy it very much.”

MetalWorks Hits the Salt!

“The salt flats are hallowed ground for hot rodders” is a statement I’ve heard many times, so I figured I’d better make the journey and find out for myself. I was lucky to have been invited to attend Speed Week at Bonneville with the Hot Iron Car Club out of Salt Lake City, so they snagged me at the airport in their hot rods and we made the two hour journey to the sacred salt. ”

Experiencing the salt flats for the first time is amazing, and a real visual overload. I have attended many styles of racing events, and seeing these vehicles built specifically for top end speed was really eye opening. A group of hot rodders from our local area was there to race their model A roadster for the first time. We were able to share the experience with them of prepping the race car, then, make their very first pass on the rookie course which earned them their racing license on the longer courses. You couldn’t help but get drown into the excitement, and the “need for speed.”

It is also said that once the salt gets into your skin, you’ll be hooked for life… I know I’ll be back. I hope you enjoy checking out some of the images we captured over the weekend.

The Brickyard 400 in Pictures: A cultural phenomena

NASCAR and Indycar are two very different worlds. The fans, the cars and the whole spectacle of it all is like comparing apples and oranges. Working around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, that difference is striking when comparing the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400.

Trying to integrate a younger crowd into the race weekend, there was a large two day concert festival called ‘400 Fest’. Main attractions included Major Lazer, the Chainsmokers and other electronic ‘dance’ type music.
The race itself was a feat of endurance. Withstanding a rain delay and 14 yellows, Kasey Kahne prevailed as the winner in the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet.

Walking through the hallowed grounds of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, there was something interesting to capture around every corner. This is: The Brickyard 400 in pictures.

30th Annual PNW Nations

I’ve been to a number of Goodguys events over the years but it’s hard to believe that this year’s event in Puyallup was the 30th Annual such event, WOW! And what an event it was. Wall to wall cars, more than I ever remember seeing at any of the previous events I been to. Now, I must say that I have never been lucky enough to attend any of their event outside of the Northwest but “our” event is no slouch, ever!

I heard several total participant numbers, one above 3000 and just below 3000, registrants and I don’t know the actual number but, the Fairgrounds were packed. There were cars in every corner on Saturday. And vendors galore. There was a little swap meet and quite a number of cars for sale, on the grounds and in the parking lot, some of them, very good deals in my estimation.

There were two that I thought were worth noting, a 56 Ford Victoria, older restoration that I though was in great shape for only $13,500 asking, a heck of a nice car for the money and this one was in the parking lot across the street from the “Blue Gate.” The other one I wish I could afford to buy was a 1933 Ford 2dr Sedan, older hot rod, showing some wear and use but a very decent looking car. It was in the swap meet area with an asking price of $21,500, I think. I asked everyone I knew there to loan me the money so I could buy that car! No takers unfortunately, I’m surprised, aren’t you?

The Goodguys Rod & Custom Association awarded 78 total winners in the same number of varying classes. Unfortunately, that’s too many to try and list here but suffice to say there were a ton of spectacular cars at this year’s Goodguys Rod & Custom show. If you’ve never been, put next years on your calendar for the end of July. The date hasn’t been announced yet but keep checking the Coming Events section of the paper for all the events down the road.

2017 Salem Roadster Show

She’s all history now! They were rockin’ at the State Fair Grounds back on February 18th & 19th at the Americraft Center, Saluting the Salem Roadster Show for 2017. One hundred entry’s, plus a few extra past winners, of Custom Cars, Classic Stockers in Trucks and Cars plus a handful of Super Show Bikes were displayed. Several thousand classic car enthusiasts were treated to some of the Best of the Best show cars from all over the West Coast. From Canada to Central California and all over the Pacific Northwest, the only vehicles invited by co-show producers Bob Symons and Greg Roach are the top trophy winning cars from pervious show car events. Greg and Bob’s special winning cars this year in memory to the late Doug Gatchet’s 1956 Nomad and his 1964 El Camino was Greg’s choice and for Bob, he selected Lee Dixon’s 1968 GTO. They were all three delicious super show class rides. Like past Salem Roaster shows, every car, bike and truck are winners and the proud owners of these fantastic show dream machines are rewarded with a beautiful Salem Roadster Show Winning Jacket.

We at R&R NW Publication would like to thank Bob and Greg for another fantastic show, we would also like to thank both of you and your scores of happy volunteers that help and assist the running of your classy very professional Salem Roadster Show. We would also like to recognize and thank Bob and Greg for the Thousands of Dollars your Salem Roadster Show has raised and donated to a host of local, regional, and national charitys. Doernbecher Children’s Hospital Cancer Program through KDCCP, The National Red Cross and the Roberts Charter High School Foundation plus several more out-reach charity programs have benefited over the past eleven years. In our eyes this is what makes your Salem Roadster Show one of the best shows ever.