Member Spotlights

JRi Shocks

Started in 2007 in Raleigh with four employees, JRi Shocks has been in Mooresville for the past few years. There are more than 75 employees now and more than 25 different  shock applications available. JRi builds custom shocks, and its shop crew handles a variety of shocks for different motorsport applications, from dragsters, to sprint cars, to late models and more. It also offers street model shocks. JRi Shocks now has a full line service shop for the motorcycle division.  This upgrade will allow customers to send their suspension components in for service or upgrade or bring their bike direct to JRi Shocks facility for the same services.

A large part of its business comes from NASCAR Cup teams, and it enjoys 20 percent of that market. In Nationwide, JRi has 70 percent of that market and 70 percent of the Truck market as well. It also serves the NASCAR K&N series’ teams.

JRi also offers outsourcing to teams that don’t have their own shock specialist.  JRi staff assists at track, and make sure each team stays within the legalities of the particular series in which they are competing.

Each specific type of shock has a market manager and two builders. There are pre-assemblers as well as parts staff and shippers in the shop. 

To see the entire product range, visit JRi here.

Corinne Economaki

Racing Electronics

January started Racing Electronic’s 25th year in business. According to Director of Motorsports Communications Services Kevin Hughes, it’s all because of owner Bruce Silver, whom Kevin refers to as “a visionary.”

 Two and a half decades ago, Bruce was selling high-end automobiles, and sold one to a gentleman who owned a race team. After attending an event with his new customer, Bruce had an idea…which ultimately led to Bruce’s first product, a scanner headset. One. Yes, he built one. Now, Racing Electronics offers lots more products, making RE North America’s largest supplier of its kind. RE is also the exclusive vendor to International Speedway Corp. race tracks.

The company services two distinct markets: professionals in the motorsports industry and fans. RE is the official radio of the NHRA, ARCA, Indy Car, ACT, PASS and more series. RE boasts building almost all its own product line, with some electronic work still being completed overseas. It is also capable of large-scale event rentals of 700 to 1,000 radios for entities that don’t have their own supply. RE keeps a 3,000-4,000-piece rental inventory in working order.

It is the place to go and have your custom earbuds made. The “ear lab” has three full-time employees, and it busy, busy, busy. A custom pair, for your Ipod or phone or helmet, can be had for $130. You just have to get squishy stuff squirted in your ear.

RE has 70 employees, 40 of which are full time. Customers can shop at the Concord location, on line, by phone, or at track. The RE website also lets fans know where its trailer will be at any given race. To learn more, visit RE here.

Corinne Economaki

Gavel Auctions

Ron Rossman started in the auctioneering business almost by accident.          

Now, 20 years later, he has it down to a science. As a member of the Auctioneers Association of North Carolina, and licensed in three states, Ron is all about doing it right.

His shop in Denver is home to collectibles (his own) and parts coming up for auction. There is an auction on site every seven weeks or so. The next one is April 13. Check the website here for more details.

Ron and his wife Carol run the business, including the social media aspects. Once he takes on parts, everything is sold. Everything. Ron says the only item that can’t be recycled is carbon fiber. All else is sold for use, or scrap.

Most race teams in the area have bins that fill up with parts earmarked for auction. Ron picks them up, and they are stringently catalogued and stored until the next auction. Ron will also pick up anything else teams want sold, and to that end he has seven trailers and two tractors to facilitate transportation to his shop.

Each auction attracts between 250 and 300 potential buyers and in addition to the auctions in Denver, Ron will also conduct on-site auctions if there is a need.

Corinne Economaki

Central Piedmont Community College

Central Piedmont Community College has been around almost 50 years, and with six locations throughout Mecklenburg County, it offers programs in everything from accounting to welding – with lots in between — in fact, more than 100 programs in all.  And if you’re not quite ready to go back to school, CPCC also offers business development classes and recreation programs for the public. Courses like golf, cooking, exercise, language and arts.

One of the classes offered is a certificate program in motorsports. Run by Laurie Walker and Jeff Kirby, students spend one semester learning about motorsports in general and hands-on fabrication and welding.

Students have ranged in age from 16 to 67, and concentrate on mig and tig welding, chassis fabrication and sheet metal. When completed, students hope to find work in entry-level positions at fabrication shops, or within the HVAC industry.

Kirby has been at CPCC for 15 years, and has taught auto body and heavy equipment classes. His knowledge helps students with direction and possibilities as they move on in their careers.

Walker is the face of the program, always promoting, always looking for internships for her students and for advisors within the motorsports industry. Walker credits Rick Hendrick for his help; he donated funds for the Joe Hendrick Center for Automotive Training, which trains CPCC students in automotive technology.

To learn more about CPCC, visit here.

Corinne Economaki


Mooresville Motorplex

The purpose-built Mooresville Motorplex go-kart track had its grand opening recently, complete with tours, on-track activities and real racing.

Open every day, you can rent a kart and practice your skills, bring your own kart to drive, buy a kart and even garage your kart at the facility so it’s ready to go any time you are.

The 7/10-mile grand-prix style kart track is based on the world-famous Kartdromo Parma in Italy and is built to Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) standards.

That’s a good thing because it means that real, bona fide racing can – and will – take place here.

Race against yourself or others or bring your staff for team building or corporate clients for an afternoon of hospitality; whatever you want can be provided by the sales staff at the Motorplex.

The day of the grand opening (the track has been open six months – long enough for most of the garages to be rented) there was real racing and to no surprise,

NASCAR’s Denny Hamlin (pictured) took home top honors. Scott Speed, another Cup driver, claimed hardware in another division.

All in all, 58 drivers participated in four divisions after the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

To see if you might like kart driving, $25 will buy you a few laps around the track. After that, the sky’s the limit! Take a peek for yourself here and plan a visit to the Mooresville Motorplex soon. It’s fun!


Corinne Economaki


 Do you BioMoto?

That slogan appeared on the shirt of many of the more than 250 eighth graders gathered at Rockingham Dragway March 2. The students braved cold temperatures and occasional snow flurries to participate in the second year of the BioMoto Capstone Competition, which included a pit crew challenge and a student-designed invention event. Despite the less than ideal weather, the excitement was evident as the kids cheered each other on during the tire-changing competition.

The BioMoto STEM Challenge was formed as part of a three-year grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation grant to give middle schoolers a chance to see science through a motorsports’ perspective.

The North Carolina Biotechnology Center, in conjunction with dozens of industry partners including the North Carolina Motorsports Association, created the BioMoto STEM Challenge capitalizes on the allure of motorsports to entice students to learn about STEM disciplines while focusing on fun, challenging and innovative activities focused on health, nutrition and human performance

Thirty-one teams from Cabarrus County, Kannapolis, Richmond County and Rowan-Salisbury participated in the pit crew challenge which included a simulated, timed pit stop with a real stock car. The event wass the culmination of the two-semester educational initiative which included fitness testing at the Appalachian State University Human Performance Lab at the North Carolina Research Campus where students learned about fitness and nutrition as it pertains to an athlete’s performance.

More than 1,500 students from at least 12 North Carolina school districts are expected to have participated in BioMoto STEM Challenge by its completion. Learn more about the BioMoto Stem Challenge here.

Haven Kerchner

Lead 2 Real Estate

Lead2 Real Estate Group

Lead2 Real Estate Group consists of Boston Reid and Frank Bolter. Formed in 2011 after the two saw a need for a different kind of real estate representation, the two have made a name for themselves in the motorsports arena.

They met at a race track (both have motorsports in their backgrounds) and Frank was looking for investment properties. One thing led to another, and they partnered, with Boston the licensed real estate agent, and Frank the marketing brains.

They take a different approach for sellers and buyers. They believe their marketing is better than average – they hire a professional photographer to come and document the properties for sale. And they are compulsively detail oriented, which they say transfers to more sales.

The clientele they serve is 50-50 buyers and sellers, and in two short years they have enjoyed repeat business. The two use an arsenal of professionals (attorneys, appraisers, mortgage lenders, inspectors and pest eradicators) to ensure that all sales and purchases go smoothly.

Lead2’s business encompasses buying, selling, residential, commercial, rental income, and house flipping. Their NCMA involvement is important as they would like to be your resource for any and all real estate questions you might have, no obligation. They want to be your go-to team for real estate.

Contact Boston at 704-975-6742, or Frank at 704-791-9020 with your real estate questions.

Corinne Economaki

Simpson Performance

Formed in 1959 by Bill Simpson, the Simpson Performance Products we know today was bought by Carousel Capital in 1998. Since then, Carousel has purchased Safety Solutions (2011) and more recently HANS.

The company has 200 employees over five locations; Mooresville, N.C., New Braunfels, Texas, Harbor City, Calif., and Brownsburg, Ind. HANS is still represented in Atlanta.

VP Marketing Debbie Bishop showed me around the Mooresville location and when asked if Simpson has an average customer, replied, “Male. Every age group.” Simpson services the youth market all the way up to professional teams. Most of its customers are Saturday-night grass-roots motorsports participants.

Simpson has more than 300 distributors on the United States and a global distribution network with growing sales in Europe. The company has been working on FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) certified products and has the 8860 and VUDU helmets to show for it. The 8860 is made here in the United States, the first FIA certified helmet to own that distinction.

Simpson’s sales force is found on the phone, on the internet, and at the track. It services teams in NASCAR’s top three series; NHRA, where it is dominant; dirt track racers, and road racers too. Simpson’s contingency programs give back to the motorsports community in a variety of series.

Simpson’s engineering team is constantly working in new and improved products, often with input from customers. Three new suits have been introduced this year, and a number of different designs and color combinations are available. Simpson has a partnership with DuPont and Simpson reps often travel overseas to see the latest technologies and trends in all products.

The longevity of this company and its proven track record earn it an honored spot on the motorsports world. Yet it doesn’t rest on its laurels. The Simpson folks are constantly striving to better the product line and are proud of the relationships they have formed with their customers. To see the entire Simpson product line, visit here.

Corinne Economaki


Back in 1897, Otto Jostens set up a little watch repair shop in Owatonna, Minnesota. Now, 115 years later, Jostens is a worldwide concern with more than 5,000 employees across 12 or so locations with independent sales representatives everywhere.

The Jostens name is synonymous with class rings. Yet in the course of its growth, it has expanded, partnering with schools on caps and gowns, diplomas, yearbooks and of course, athletic and other trophies.

Jostens also has a large presence in sports, including the NCAA and the Heisman Trophy, and manufactures 95 percent of the collegiate bowl game trophies every year.

Jostens has always been in professional motorsports, with an expansion in 2000. It works with IndyCar, NASCAR, NHRA, IHRA, ARCA, World Karting Ass’n, ARCA, World of Outlaws, Supercross and Arenacross, and the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

When Daytona International Speedway was repaved in 2010, the folks at Jostens came up with a unique collectible. After moving 750,000 pounds of asphalt that took 15 tractor-trailers loads to its facility near Oklahoma City, Okla., keepsakes were made from the previous racing surface in a variety of designs and prices. To see them, visit the Jostens website here. Similar items were made with track surfaces from Phoenix, Michigan and Pocono.

For the NCMA, Jostens generously provides the Industry Awards and the Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award (see photo with Humpy Wheeler). Vice President Motorsports Division Curt Bruns says Jostens is “honored to be a part of the NCMA and to provide the awards.”

It’s only a part of Josten’s involvement in giving back to the industries that support its product line. It contributes to foundations and is, in the case of motorsports, a contingency sponsor on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, among other sponsorships.

Bruns says that even though the company is more than 100 years old, the employees strive every day to conduct themselves as an industry leader and to always be innovative. Its product line supports that claim. Visit Jostens here.

Corinne Economaki

Fifth Third Bank

Tom Heiks, president and CEO of Fifth Third Bank’s North Carolina affiliate, took the time to share the vision the bank has for its motorsports involvement.

Fifth Third started life in the Ohio Valley as Fifth National Bank, opening its first doors in Cincinnati in 1858. The bank was purchased by Third National Bank in 1871, hence the name Fifth Third Bank.

Today, Fifth Third has $122 billion in assets and operates 15 affiliates in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Georgia and North Carolina. Its four main businesses are commercial banking, branch banking, consumer lending and investment advisors. In other words, something for everyone.

Fifth Third came to North Carolina via the purchase of First Charter in 2008, and now has a strong presence in the state. The decision to enter this arena was based on the growth profile and demographics of the region. The magnitude of the motorsports industry was of particular interest to Fifth Third, and its Charlotte office has talented and experienced motorsports bankers on staff to serve this business segment. The parallels to the automobile industry in Ohio and Michigan, in which Fifth Third was and is involved, provides a business-to-business opportunity that incorporates motorsports in North Carolina.

With so many banks in the Charlotte region, Heiks says Fifth Third is distinguished by its approach, a holistic and consultative approach that brings innovative ideas and solutions to its customers. Each affiliate is able to independently make decisions regarding regional involvement. For example, the Fifth Third office in Cincinnati is the official bank of the NFL Bengals, while the office here concentrates on motorsports.

Fifth Third has partnered with Roush Fenway Racing, sponsoring Ricky Stenhouse this year and also working with the CARS Trade Show to be held in Charlotte later this year. Visit here to learn more.

Corinne Economaki

Industrial Hard Carbon

Industrial Hard Carbon, in Denver, is a two-year-old successor to Anatech, which was formed in 1981. Owner George Barr told how the company got its start in motorsports. “In 1999 a Cup owner – who had two cars – had heard about ‘thin film’ in Europe used to coat wrist pins.” That was the start of Anatech’s introduction into automobile racing. Since then, the company has hard carbon-coated valve train components, transmission shifters, and suspension components. Its motorsports clients include NASCAR series’ teams, Sports Car Club of America teams, NHRA teams, Porsche Club members and drag boats.

The company also does industrial work for a variety of industries including medical instrumentation, oil and gas, printing, and aerospace.

IHC is in the process of completing its International Standards Organization 9001 certification. It’s an expensive investment that produces a significant return by validating the traceability of the company’s work.

IHC partners with its customers and the staff prides itself on the good relationship with manufacturers. There is a high level of inspection completed on all incoming material. The focus on what serves customers includes a high level of quality and engineering. The business is steady all year long as it works with motorsports teams whose logistics managers keep things moving along.
While the folks at IHC are understandably protective of the processes and equipment used, I can tell you that a private tour – after signing a non-disclosure agreement – was pretty darn interesting. Thanks to Carrie DiMarzo for her time. Visit their website here.

Corinne Economaki

Boatsman Gillmore Wagner

The big news at Boatsman Gillmore is that it’s now Boatsman Gillmore Wagner. The merger of the two firms makes it the second or third largest locally owned CPA firm.

With 35 people in two locations, Dale Gillmore and Adam Boatsman explained that their business model is to add value over and above what they are paid to do. They work on goals with their business owners and consider themselves an accounting and consulting firm. The two – who are brothers in law – formed the firm six years ago. Dale felt that the Charlotte area was open to entrepreneurs and to date five percent of the firm’s business is derived from motorsports clients.

Other areas they service include construction, real estate, manufacturing, doctors and dentists, insurance agents, architects, engineers – Dale and Adam say their client list is “as diversified as Charlotte’s industry is.”

One of the areas in which they focus is when a business owner has significant wealth invested in his or her business. That is usually not investible, and BGW becomes a financial planner on how to best monetize the business asset.

Right now, clients are concerned about possible tax increases, although Dale and Adam’s stance is there are opportunities for planning regardless of any tax changes coming our way.

They call themselves a team for folks who want a more personalized process in accounting and financial planning. See if they might be right for you here.

Corinne Economaki

Choate Construction

Founded in 1989 in Atlanta by Millard Choate, the construction company now boasts eight offices in the Southeast, including the one in Charlotte. Reputation is Everything. That’s Choate’s tagline.

With motorsports clients that read like a who’s who – Hendrick, Penske, Roush, Michael Waltrip, Stewart-Haas, Kasey Kahne Racing, Curb Motorsports, TRD, JR Motorsports, Speedway Motorsports – the Charlotte office keeps approximately 100 employees busy with projects in the racing industry and others.

Just to give you an idea of what kind of personnel it takes to undertake a large construction project, here’s a sample: project managers, superintendents, pre-construction managers (who have engineering backgrounds), administrative staff, field staff, marketing professionals, and management.

The client usually brings his or her architect together with the contractor to work together on a given build. The team approach favored by Choate coordinates all aspects of work. Choate uses Building Information Modeling software and the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Rating system. You can see some of the LEED implementation in the Charlotte office.

Choate is licensed in 40 states and a visit to the website is pretty impressive. Choate has Fortune 500 and Global 500 clients, many of which represent the 70 percent of new projects it starts each year from repeat clients. Many thanks to John Dudas for the tour. Start yours here.

Corinne Economaki

Pro Cal Professional Decals

Pro Cal Professional Decal

The folks at Pro Cal Professional Decals may be the only ones involved in motorsports who take their vacations during the busy racing months in the summer.   They’re busy now, getting decals and wraps ready for the NASCAR and other motorsports customers who are preparing for the new season, and they’ll stay busy through February.

Pro Cal recently added a location in Concord (its headquarters is in Rock Hill, S.C.) to better serve its motorsports clients. There are 30 employees – who have a combined 150-plus years of experience – across the two locations, and the firm is 30 years in the making. The Rock Hill location focuses on corporate fleets that include small local businesses and firms like CPI Security.

Pro Cal currently services five Cup teams, some Nationwide and Truck teams in NASCAR, as well as drag racing and Grand Am road racing teams. While some sponsors design wraps for cars,   Pro Cal also designs schemes with sponsor and team approval. The end result is a one-piece 3M vinyl “wrap” that covers the car nose to tail. Pro Cal has the rights to all the contingency decals so they too can be embedded into the design. In addition, Pro Cal makes all the General Motors head- and taillight decals and all the Chevy “bowties” used by teams in various motorsports applications.

Teams can wrap their own car, or the car can come to Pro Cal. It’s mostly show cars that are seen in the Pro Cal shop which sometimes get a “photo shoot” scheme wrap. Pro Cal technicians also go to the cars, and apply wraps in race shops.

Most teams going to Daytona, for example, have a primary and a backup wrap and one called a “truck spare,” which is right-side only since that’s the most likely damaged part of a car involved in a crash.

While visiting, the NASCAR media hauler was in the shop for a  facelift. It takes 20 to 30 hours to “unwrap” the tractor-trailer and another 40-50 to re-wrap; the rig will likely be there for a week.

It’s a far cry from the old days when all this was done by hand. To learn more, visit ProCal here. You can also visit Pro Cal’s Facebook page here.

Corinne Economaki

Greer & Walker

If you have spent some time in the motorsports arena around  Charlotte, sooner or later you’ll hear of Greer & Walker. This multi-level accounting firm had its first motorsports client almost by accident shortly after it was formed in 1984. Now, about 10 percent of its business is derived from the motorsports industry.

Jim Reichard, Tony Smith and Jason Lewis were kind enough to sit down and explain what Greer & Walker does and for whom. Of the 100 or so employees, around 70 are certified public accountants.

Of the NASCAR-related motorsports clients, some are teams, some are suppliers, some are drivers, and some are foundations. The firm also has some non-NASCAR teams as clients. The firm also has areas of expertise in construction, financial services, manufacturing and distribution, not-for-profit and real estate.

Greer & Walker also offers corporate finance (mergers and acquisitions) guidance, litigation support, business outsourcing, and auditing. Greer & Walker does something not too many accounting firms do — provide wealth management services for its clients who meet the threshold of a $1 million investment.

According to Jim Reichard, the hot topic these days is estate taxes (will the law change for 2013 or not?) and the potential of the Affordable Health Care Act to impact tax consequences for its clients. Whether to accelerate deductions this year or wait to see what Congress decides is another area in which Greer & Walker is providing advice. Same with capital gains tax rates. As Jim says, sometimes they wish they had all the answers. But with experience comes knowledge, and you can bet the folks at Greer & Walker are exploring all the options for their clients.

To learn more about Greer & Walker, visit here .

 Corinne Economaki


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