It has been long in coming, but we made it. Honda Performance Development (HPD) has survived and frankly, in our humble opinion, flourished, on the first day at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, NV today. It was quite the debut, and we are proud of the turn-out. There were some high -profile visitors, some Honda Racing fans, a potential family reunion and all-around car fanatics to be seen everywhere. In what better place could we spend our time during the off-season, when not at the race track?
The day started off with a press announcement at the Honda display given by Erik Berkman, president of HPD, and Bruce Smith, vice president of parts operations for American Honda, relating to both Honda’s production cars and HPD’s grassroots activities, specifically the Formula F engine and Honda Racing Line programs. That was followed by a visit from Paul Tracy himself. He stopped by to say, ‘Hello’, and admire the new Honda Racing/HPD Formula F modified Fit engine. (If you haven’t seen it, you should check it out!)
As the day progressed, race fans, car enthusiasts and potential business contacts made their way through the maze of production cars and both grassroots- and pinnacle-level race cars and engines. Still, one of the more interesting non-car-related things to happen in the Honda booth today was the meeting of two potential relatives. One gentleman spotted another’s last name on his SEMA credential and, lo and behold, both had a cousin from the same city, with the same first and last name. The family connection has yet to be confirmed, but we at HPD would like to think that Honda Racing has brought the family together – or at the very least, provided the platform/booth to help make it happen.
Continuing into the afternoon, we got another high-profile visitor: Marco Andretti. Marco came by and spent some time signing autographs for Honda Racing fans and car fanatics alike. It was great to have Marco as a part of HPD’s presence at this inaugural trade-show event, considering his family’s history with Honda Racing.
We got to meet many people from all over the country today. There were many who had a story about a CART race they saw “back in the day,” or how Honda had “dominated” the competition in IndyCar, resulting in no competition at all. And then there were those devoted Honda car owners who were simply interested in all in which Honda is involved. No matter what their reason for visiting the Honda display, we at HPD and American Honda were pleased to talk with them. It gave us a chance to speak to the public about all the things we work so hard on behind the scenes, and many were happy to be our captive audience … well, at least until they exited the display and re-entered the madhouse that is SEMA!
With Day 1 under our belts, we would like to think we are a little more prepared for what to expect from the crowds and fans at SEMA, but we will have to wait and see and let you know tomorrow whether our expectations are as reliable as our engines. Stay tuned…