While RacingJunk spends the PRI Show meeting fans, giving away t-shirts, leading new and old members through the posting process, and following up on news and cool cars, the rest of the show has it’s own agenda!
The PRI Show is a celebration of the racing industry, and part of that is looking forward and looking back. From autograph sessions with John Force and Robert Hight, to displays of nostalgia dragsters and 80s NASCAR and Indy stars, the show brings together the past, present and future of racing. Two aspects of the show which highlighted this were the Drag Illustrated 30 Under 30 announcement, which honors the future of racing (see story here) and a special viewing of the premier episode of the fourth season of Legends: The Series from Competitionplus.com owner and publisher Bobby Bennett.
Hosted by Aeromotive, the episode focuses on popular racer Eric Medlen who lost his life in a testing accident.
Before the episode aired, Bennett thanked Aeromotive for hosting the event, and welcomed Medlen’s father, John, to the stage who thanked the audience and the industry.
In the invitation to the event, Bennett stated, “This was the toughest Legends: The Series episode I have ever attempted to produce. The emotions are so raw we had to stop filming a number of times because either John or myself was overcome with tears. Eric touched so many people and was such an electric personality. The stories of his early life, his life on the road, his tragic accident and then the unquestionable after-life experiences John shares are simply amazing. John Medlen in the strongest man I know.”
There weren’t many dry eyes in the audience as Medlen narrated the story of his son’s joyous life, his journey to crewing for John Force Racing with his father, the beginning of his career behind the wheel, and finally, his untimely death. Despite the heartbreatk, the spirit of those who live and love to race was viscerally present.
Legends: The Series aims to capture the history of the sport, to reflect on how it has changed, and to celebrate those who have devoted their lives to it.
“We are proud to be a part of this iconic series,” says Steve Matusek, CEO of Aeromotive. “It’s so refreshing to see a series like Legends: The Series capturing the history of our sport, and telling the stories and emotions which go with them. I’m a big fan of the program, and I believe the more people who see it will likewise become fans. I think it lays the foundation to pass on these valuable stories to future generations of drag racing fans.”
It’s a poignant reminder of how ephemeral the elements of racing can be — not only a pass that’s over in 6 seconds, but lives so quickly taken. But the episode, and the show, are equally passionate reminders of how racing is a family, a community, a sport that’s bigger than the individuals involved and how it can bring people together to build a moment that becomes something more.
Below are a few more highlights from the show: