2015 Hot Rod Power Tour: Day 2

By | June 7, 2015

B Line Auto Company

Just as the Hot Rod Power Tour is the Mecca of car cruises, the Midwest is home to some of America’s most extreme weather.  Our group of SEMA Young Executives hit the road this morning at 9:00 AM, in hopes to reach Champaign, Illinois soon after the show at Parkland college opened it’s gates at 12:00 PM.  After a beautiful drive through SE Wisconsin, including Lake Geneva, we had a hospitality stop at Heidts Engineered performance. Heidts, located in Lake Zurich, Illinois, manufacturers and distributes hot rod and muscle car products.  After a brief stop for some food and tour of their facility, we were back on the road.

Heidts Hot Rods

Not long after leaving Lake Zurich, we ran into the mother of all storms.  Lightning (not of the Ford SVT variety) followed us clear to Champaign.  Even now, we are under a tornado warning.  Keith and I took the lead after Heidts in the Stingray and relied on RainX to keep our vision clear.  Tim Brueggemann’s (B-Line Auto) 1953 F100 has some issues with fogging up the windows and so he and Cathy Clark of Bob Cook Sales had some wet backsides by Champaign.  Needless to say, we found which cars had leaks :/.



Stop 2 at Parkside College was called early due to the weather and by the time we go to town, it had been packed up.  We weren’t able to network with any future professionals in our industry but we certainly had an adventure.  Tomorrow we’ll be headed for St. Louis, Missouri.  Follow the rest of our quest to network with the industries young enthusiasts and future professionals with #YenPowerTour!

2015 Hot Rod Power Tour: Day 1

By | June 6, 2015

2015 Hot Rod Power Tour

Several months ago I was selected to join the SEMA Young Executive Network on the 2015 Hot Rod Power Tour.  For any car guy, the Power Tour is a chart topping bucket list item and I have been looking forward to the trip every since.  The Hot Rod Power Tour is touted as the worlds larges road trip.  For those that make the entire trip from start to finish (7 cities in 7 days) it’s over 1,500 miles and in total there are over 2,000 cars making the trip.

Today marks the end of day 1 of #HRPT15 in Madison, Wisconsin.  It was hands down the biggest car show I’ve ever been to.  As a SEMA YEN member, one of my tasks on this trip is to seek out other young enthusiasts and help foster the future of the automotive aftermarket.  The way we see it, the upcoming generation, even my generation, is the future of the industry.


My partner in crime this week will be Keith McWilliams, a product engineer from with the Comp Performance group (commonly known as Comp Cams).  We’re hitting the road in his 1976 Stingray Corvette along with 8 other SEMA Yen Members.  Near the Autocross track, we ran into Zac and & Jess.  A couple of local boys to Madison, WI with a pair of SVT Ford Focus’s.  Finding young enthusiasts under the age of 35 can be tough at a show of this size that is predominantly made up of the older generation that can afford the type of cars that are common to the Hot Rod demographic.  In truth, there is a place for everything at a show this size… as you can see here in the upside down Ford Bronco.

Upside Down BroncoNeither Jess or Zac work in the automotive industry, Zac works in plastic engineering and Jess is in the food service industry.  That doesn’t stop them from being involved.  Both cars completed the autocross course in less than 26 seconds, quite a bit faster than the majority of V8 cars they were up against.  While Zac and Jess don’t work in the industry it doesn’t mean they couldn’t if they wanted to.  The truth is, we need more enthusiasts.

Though I wanted to, I haven’t alway worked in the automotive industry.  A lot of networking in the industry has helped me to achieve many of my career goals and those connections are helping me to advance and gain valuable experience.  More importantly, they are helping me to enjoy my career more every day.  The goal of the SEMA Young Executive Network is to help people like Zac and Jess to realize this and provide networking opportunities for them to get into the industry should they choose.

SEMA Young Executive Network

We met a lot of unique enthusiasts today and will meet a lot more throughout the trip.  Stay tuned for some more in depth stories as we go along and be sure to follow our adventures on Instagram through #YenPowerTour.  You can find me at @ISpeakPerformance.


In Photos: 2015 NASA Utah Round 2

By | May 31, 2015

NASA Utah Region Round 2

NASA Utah Region Round 2

Yes, I know we’re behind in posting these photos..can I blame it on the rain?? How about blaming it on Rio (crude / obscure 80′s reference)??? No??

So, instead of talking about seat time, and learning your car, and advancing you knowledge of performance driving, I’ll just point you to NASA’s website for all the delicious details in what they offer up the wannabe racer to the experience racer.

And for those that attended the event, here are results.

Thanks again to the NASA Utah folks and everyone at Miller Motorsports Park!

[photo | Chance Hales | Mike Gillilan]


Racing Blip: 2015 Chevrolet Sports Car Classic

By | May 30, 2015

No. 5 Action Express Racing @ Belle Isle

No. 5 Action Express Racing @ Belle Isle

Welcome to Motor City – aka Detroit, Michigan! Welcome to the 5th stop on this year’s IMSA/TUDOR schedule.

Similar to Long Beach, at this stop, IMSA/TUDOR is not the headlining event. It’s performing in a supporting role this weekend to IndyCar. For those in attending the race in person, you’ll also be treated to SPEED Energy Formula Off-Road racing and the GT and GTA classes of Pirelli World Challenge running on the same street circuit. And speaking of classes. Only P, PC, and GTD of IMSA/TUDOR are racing on the streets of Belle Isle this weekend. What Happened to GTLM, for most of the teams, they’re off in France prepping for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Some things to look for:

As this is a street race, with no run-off areas, 3 classes running..yeah, there will be some cars kissing the walls. Happened during qualifying, happened during practice sessions, it’ll happened during the race tomorrow.

Also note that this is a shorter race then the “normal” races. At a 100 minutes, this will be more of a sprint race then a moving chess match that is a 12 hour race. Meaning, pit strategy, tire strategy, driver changes are less of an issue.

In P (prototype), a good battle between WTR Racing and Action Express Racing, lap after lap with the two swapping places for faster lap. In the end, Action Express Racing, at the hands of Christian Fittipaldi, turned the fastest lap – to the tune of 0.05 secs faster then Ricky Taylor of WTR Racing.

In PC (prototype challenge), the battle for pole came down to the VERY last lap. With the No. 38 Ric-Man Detroit ORECA edging out RSR Racing by 0.004 seconds. Let that sink in for a moment. 4/1000ths of a second separates first and second place car in this spec class!

The race starts on today (5/30/15) at 12:05pm ET – head on over to IMSA for the verity of ways to view this race.

And this wouldn’t be a racing blip without a link to the spotters guide!

[photo | IMSA]

‘Murica! Meet the 2016 Camaro, Viper, and Mustang

By | May 21, 2015

2016 Chevy Camaro

May has been a big month for American automakers.  We have seen the arrivals of a redesign and new variant, and some tweaks to some of America’s most American cars, the Chevy Camaro, Dodge Viper, and Ford Mustang.  No matter what your flavor of GM, Mopar, or Blue Oval there is something for everyone.

The most anticipated of the three is the unveiling of the all-new Chevy Camaro.  While to the untrained eye it looks like nothing new, but, look closer and there are very parts that carry over.  The design is sleeker, the body made of aluminum (allowing for 200lbs of weight savings), and the new base engine is a 2.0 turbo 4.  That’s right.  But this is no case of Chevy trying to keep up with the Joneses, instead, the turbo 4 produces less power than the V6 model at 275 hp and 295lb/ft.  A V6 option remains available now producing 335 hp with the SS models borrowing the LT1 out of the Corvette making 455 hp and lb/ft.  Six speed manual and eight speed automatic transmissions are available on all models regardless of what engine lies under the hood.  A reveal event was held at Belle Isle, Detroit.

2016 Dodge Viper ACR

In 1999, Dodge first introduced the Viper GTS ACR.  ACR stood for “American Racing Club.”  The first ACR was the Scuderia or Superleggera version of the Viper only it was out before those Italians came to be.  Since then every iteration of the Viper has gotten the ACR treatment.  This is the new version.  While the original ACR was only saw suspension and brake upgrades with a minor increase of power, the SRT10 version has taken on more of a race car for the road approach with a big wing and race inspires graphics.  The new version has evolved from that.  It too features a massive, adjustable rear wing, an extendable front splitter with complimentary dive planes, a rear diffuser, and of course the stripes.  The new ACR also sees suspension and brake upgrades like before now coming standard with carbon ceramic brakes.  Power only jumps to 645 hp, up from 640 hp, but, extra care has been taken to save weight. The stereo has a generous three speakers, the seats are manually operated instead of electric, and the carpet has been replaced with one that has a thinner weave.  They say less is more.  All this can be had for $117,895 but they will all be built to order, meaning the car will truly be your own.

2016 Ford Mustang GT California Special

Normally we wouldn’t cover simple trim level upgrades but in this case we felt a bit of nostalgia.  You see, Ford is already making changes to the new Mustang.  These changes include a pair of optional packages, the Pony Package and a return of the California Special.  Thee packages are simply minor aesthetic changes and actually aren’t interested in those.  What we are interested in is the turn signals.  Yes, you read that right.  Back in 1967 Ford offered a Deluxe package for the Mustang which included things like aluminum dash trim, different door panels, and hood mounted turn signals.  It was a very popular option and the turn signals made their way over to other muscle car like the Dodge Charger (I even recently bought such a hood for Project Pony Up but more on that later).  Ford is bringing these turn signals back.  They will be mounted in the current hood scoops and will be standard equipment on the GT.

Photos: Autoblog, Dodge, Ford

In Conversation: Bruno Carneiro

By | May 12, 2015

Bruno Carneiro

Bruno Carneiro

Around the beginning of the year, I was introduced to a 15 year old young man named Bruno Carneiro. Don’t let his age fool you. He’s every as serious about racing as must adults! He has an interesting backstory about his involvement and upward movement in racing. Something I felt you, the fine readers of Daily Derbi, might enjoy.

So arrangements were made and photo shoots were scheduled.

What follows is an email interview between myself and Bruno, with only slight editing for spelling and grammar.

Bruno, thanks for joining us today. Why don’t we start with giving our readers an idea of how you got started in racing?

Hi, guys, thank you for having me! I began racing when I was only 4 1/2 years old! I have always watched racing and love understanding how race cars work and the speed and the science behind it! I would constantly watch Formula One and IndyCar races with my dad and remember being continually fascinated by it! I would always play with my Matchbox cars or my Hot Wheels and create tracks as well as different racing series, and also I remember making car noises with every car I played with. At the time, my aunt and my dad both worked for Rodizio Grill. When my dad would have meetings with the staff and the founder of Rodizio Grill, I would sometimes have to go and listen. While I was there, I really had nothing to do, so I would get the salt-and-pepper shakers and begin to make race tracks on the restaurant tables. I would have the salt become one racing team and have the pepper be another! If not that, I was always mimicking race-car noises in my head and pretending to be driving one. Ivan Utrera, who is the founder of Rodizio Grill, noticed how I constantly thought about it  and had a passion for racing! He was very intrigued and interested by how much I thought about racing and how much I loved it. He went and bought me my very first go kart!! I began to do test and compete in the local UKC (Utah Karting Championship) races! I was very fast from the start and, in my first season, I won 23 of the 24 races! People began to see I was doing pretty good! And that is how it all began; after 11 years, here I am now!

Tell us more about your karting school.

My karting school is a very fun and unique school that I have built with the fundraising that I have been doing for seven years. It was time for me to find new pats on how I could not only help and give back to the sport of racing, but also have a different way for me to raise money! In my karting school, I work one-on-one with kids between the ages of four all the way until adults, working on getting the correct lines, acceleration, braking, safety of karting, and having the basic understandings of driving a go-kart! I currently have four karts, which are dedicated to the karting school! I am proud to say that I have saved up the money that I made last year with my karting school and I have put it into giving back to the sport by sponsoring the four-cycle classes in the 2015 UKC season!

What do you like the most about running in a Star Mazda open-wheel car?

What I love about my Formula Mazda is that it is one of the best cars to start out in and learn in! It is a five-speed manual, so I have the opportunity to be able to master using the clutch and driving an H-pattern car! Not only that, but the Formula Mazda also has a great sense of weight transfer since it is such a soft car, which is vital to understand and master! Not only that, but I get to sense speed on the straight and through the corners! It is a great car to move into and learn from!

Why did you decide to switch from karts to open-wheel cars?

I have always loved the beauty of an open-wheel! In karts, you get to sit very low to the ground when in the seat, and I am able to process this over when I am in the Formula car as well! It has also been shown that if you can drive an open-wheel car well, then you can do well in many other types of racing cars!

What, or whom, inspires you to keep pushing in racing?

Ayrton Senna is a hero and an icon to many people! He was an impressive man that was very quick on track as well as a very humble and inspiring man off the track! He created charities to help struggling kids in Brazil and always did things for the better! Ivan, who is the founder of Rodizio Grill, is also a very inspiring person I look up to because of how far he has come in his life by creating such an amazing life! He is an amazing person who I would like to be like in the future! But for sure a person that pushes me has to be my dad! He is always behind me pushing me on to do great things and making sure I’m doing as much as I can to have my dreams come true! Although we fight a lot like in any relationship, he is always pushing me on and motivating me so I can achieve success!Where do you see yourself in five years from now? How about 10 years?In five years from now, I see myself being in the Road to Indy! I have always wanted to be in the Mazda Road to Indy! It is an amazing ladder system that can take a driver all the way from an entry-level to a middle-level car (USF2000) to the Pro Mazda Car, to Indy Lights to the pinnacle of it all, IndyCar! I hope to see my self racing in IndyCar in 10 years! It’s always been a dream! But if I get there all depends on how hard I work now to make it happen!

How easy was it for you to transfer from karts to open-wheel? What has been the biggest obstacle so far?

Bruno Carneiro - vertical

The karts really taught me a lot by understanding how the kart/car is reaching on track and to changes that have been done! Thanks to karting, I learned so much and I believe that it is the reason for why I am doing well in the cars! I would have to say that my biggest obstacle is being able to fully master the gearbox! But I enjoy every bit of it. This is the beginning and I can’t wait for the future that’s to come!

What advice would you give to anyone interested in becoming a racer?

As it applies to any sport, once you commit yourself, you need to make sure you do as much as you can to stay dedicated in what it is you want to become! A great idea for getting started is trying out karts to see if you become interested! It is always good to look for help, advice and even do classes (that I offer) to help further your understanding of karting! From then on, it’s just getting more help on driving and making sure that you get as much time in the kart to get really well used to it and create a connection with your kart! After that, begin looking for series or programs that are available nearby! I race in the Utah Kart Championship here in Utah and it’s fantastic! Do as many races as you can and most importantly do well so you can get noticed and have the potential to get noticed, possibly get sponsored and even move up in the world of motorsports!

How important do you consider social media for “up and coming” and established racers?

Social media has become the pinnacle of our generation! So many people have social media accounts and check them constantly! It has been a great way for me to reach out to new fantastic people and build friends that have supported me along my many years of racing! They are always there commenting and liking to help me out and I can’t thank them enough!

For those readers interested in following your journey, what social media platforms to you post to on a regular basis?

I have many different types of social media that I post a lot on keeping all my followers updated on my new exciting adventures! My Facebook is Bruno Carneiro Motorsports! My Instagram is @brunocarneiro21 and my Twitter is @brunokarting This is a great way to stay updated on how everything is going!

I think that wraps it up, again, thanks for spending some time with us!

Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to come and talk with you guys!

Bruno Carneiro

[photos | Scott Pettett | Mike Gillilan]