The 2004 SEMA show is one of those events that can be a real barometer of where the automotive market is heading. Last year there were more booths and attendees than ever but we noted a lack of really interesting and innovative parts and were disappointed in how few new drag cars there were.
This year there were more cool parts, but none that really hit the mark. On the plus side, there were more drag cars, more drift cars and plenty of imports throughout the show. The strong cars were the established EVO VIII and 350Z and a relative newcomer, the Scion tC.
Sometimes the big news is not the parts on display but in the announcements companys make. The most exciting announcement was made by the NHRA. The 2005 Summit Sport Compact schedule will have the Pro classes running at two POWERade domestic drag race events. That's monumental.
The Extreme Rush events, where Pro FWD and Pro RWD classes ran exhibition passes at POWERade events last year opened the door for this to become a reality. The numbers put up by the Pro RWD guys in particular rival the times of Pro Stock which "spoke a language" that the POWERade fans understood.
The POWERade dates will include all Pro classes with a points championship and be scored like any other Summit event. It should be interesting to see if the POWERade fans will appreciate a 9-second all-motor Honda.
As the hairs on the back of my neck returned to their regular position and the shock of the news wore off a bit I remember looking to the dark side; wondering about and hoping there would be no catastrophic oil downs, no rowdy fans firing soda cups or other projectiles at the invading imports.
The last race of 2004 was a flawless gem that clicked off like clockwork. I am confident that the racers will recognize the moment at hand and come out with their A-Game.
For more of the haps and the peeps at SEMA 2004 check our extensive booth patrol and new product round-up starting on page 86. Be on the lookout for the April issue; there should be some hardcore dyno testing going down. We have been on the warpath and expect to get some of the new turbo kits we saw on display in Las Vegas into our venerable Dyno Cell, spinning the rollers and pumpin' out the charts. Check you all later.