THE DRIVE with Alan Taylor | Episode #309

A wealth of automotive knowledge is very present at the SEMA show every year. The Shell Pioneering Performance “Live on Stage” Experience played host to some of the greats in the industry. We begin the hour with Gale Banks of Banks Power, who has played a large role in military engines for 41 years, and he gives us an inside look on what his company is working on now. Changing lanes, NHRA Top Fuel World Champion, Larry Dixon, tells us that they will be awarding one lucky winner the opportunity to ride in the passenger seat in a recently designed two-seater Top Fuel car. Then, John Hennessey, President of Hennessey Performance, touches on the sweet rides he brought to SEMA, such as the 6×6 VelociRaptor, and the unveiling of the highly anticipated Venom F5. Nancy Bruner, Chief Digital Officer for Shell Lubricants, and Tony Frassetto, Senior Account Manager for Universal Technical Institute (UTI), then jump on stage. They talk with us about their partnership, and Tony shares a little about the school. Then, Barry Meguiar of Meguiar’s, discusses the car hobby history and his busy schedule of jet-setting to car shows all over. J Haynes of Haynes Publishing is up next to share the story of how their company began. After that Rutledge Wood, NASCAR Personality, shares about a project he built with eBay Motors. We end the show with a special announcement from Colin Abraham, President of Shell, Steve Ledbetter, President of Jiffy Lube, Chris Powell, President of Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and Patty Lanning, Vice President of North American Marketing for Shell Oil. Tune in now.

  • [00:00:00] Emerging Economies Performance is Four Cylinders
  • [00:05:53] Banks Power and Heavy Duty Military Trucks
  • [00:12:31] Take a Funny Car Ride with Larry Dixon
  • [00:19:53] Twin Turbo EcoBoost V6: The Power You Need
  • [00:27:09] Hennessey Tuner School to Fuel Youths’ Passion
  • [00:35:55] Shell and UTI Make Automotive Dreams Come True
  • [00:47:59] Barry Meguiar Enjoys Wandering Around SEMA
  • [00:54:47] Haynes Automotive Manuals in the Beginning
  • [01:02:10] Rutledge Wood Works with eBay Motors
  • [01:10:15] McDonald’s Coffee in a Lamborghini
  • [01:18:12] Shell, Jiffy Lube, and Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Discover more about segments and guests below…

[00:00:00] Emerging Economies Performance is Four Cylinders

Banks Power was founded in 1958 and has been building engines for the military for 41 years. Gale Banks, President and CEO of Banks Power, chats with us about where the company began. He also discusses his passion for turbochargers and shares that for over 40 years he has been preaching small, highly turbocharged engines. Recently, he purchased a four-cylinder Mustang and plans to do a duke out with a friend who bought a four-cylinder Camaro. Power can come in surprising packages, and Banks Power is working hard to prove that. Gale shares that they are also working with a very old concept, water injection, with the hopes for more horsepower, more torque, and better fuel economy. Learn more about Banks Power now.

[00:05:53] Banks Power and Heavy Duty Military Trucks

Our military trucks are of utmost importance for the safety of our troops. Banks Power has been working with the military since 1976, and even helped engineer the original Humvees. Those rides were something special in the ‘80s but now they do not afford the necessary protection for our soldiers, and it was never a good off-road vehicle. President Gale Banks tells us that Banks Power has joined forces with a few companies, Oshkosh truck, Lockheed Martin, and BAE Systems. They have developed a Banks version of the Duramax, which is the power behind the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle that replaces the Humvee in a big way. These companies are working hard to keep those serving our country safe.

[00:12:31] Take a Funny Car Ride with Larry Dixon

Three-time NHRA Top Fuel World Champion driver Larry Dixon hops on the mic at the Shell Pioneering Performance “Live on Stage” Experience at the 2017 SEMA Show. This guy was almost the NHRA Alcohol Funny Car Champion a few weeks ago but he lost due to a wreck after a fuel line leak. Larry’s wildlife also includes his wonderful family and he just recently moved into the marketing business. He is aiding Traxxas in introducing a new two-seat top fuel dragster, and one lucky winner will have the opportunity to take a ride in it with Larry himself. Larry Dixon is taking on the racing world one lap at a time. Listen now.

[00:19:53] Twin Turbo EcoBoost V6: The Power You Need

When it comes to making a living out of building fast things,  John Hennessey of Hennessey Performance knows how to do it right. When gearheads hear the name Hennessey, they know they can expect a quality, speed machine. The VelociRaptor 6×6, the Exorcist, and the Venom F5 were the rides that John had cozied under the Shell Pavilion at the 2017 SEMA Show. We chat with him about power and he assures us that while he loves and misses the sound of a hearty V8, the twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 can still make all the power you need. He’s up-fitted over 1,000 Ford Raptors and he knows their power well. Looking for serious power knowledge? Look no further than Hennessey Performance.

[00:27:09] Hennessey Tuner School to Fuel Youths’ Passion

When John Hennessey of Hennessey Performance was young, fast cars equaled one cool dude. Working on cars meant that for every one thing that worked another thing failed; a learn-as-you-go process. This got John to thinking and he decided to create a program for young automotive enthusiasts to learn how to modify cars the right way. This immersion program teaches students that being a mechanic or technician is also about having great character, work ethic, and a professional attitude. John also reveals a little bit about the unveiling of the Hennessey Venom F5 which is scheduled for the following day. Explore more about a school that is inspiring our youth for an automotive future.

[00:35:55] Shell and UTI Make Automotive Dreams Come True

We are on the verge of a new wave of automotive technicians; it’s time for many of the grease monkeys to hang up their hat. When lunch lets out for Universal Technical Institute (UTI), it very much resembles a street race scene from a film, most of these students are car enthusiasts. We talk with Tony Frassetto of UTI and Nancy Bruner of Shell about the automotive future they are paving. There is a serious shortage of diesel and car techs in America and UTI’s comprehensive program aids roughly 90% of their students in finding a job right out of college. With locations all around the states, this school is trying hard to meet the needs of techs and they still haven’t enough space. Do you have a little car lover in your family?

[00:42:16] Saving the Dying Car Hobby in the 1970s

The car hobby is no doubt a grassroots movement and without some of the key players from the past, we are not sure what it would look like. Gearheads have started many of their own groups because of their shared passion of one engine, make, or model. Barry Meguiar of Meguiar’s tells us that in the ‘70s the hobby was dying and so they decided to make the show Car Crazy. The show helped create a cheerleader like buzz around the industry and has kept this passion alive. To this day, Barry and his lovely wife sponsor many car shows and make their way around to as many as they can. What was the first car show you remember watching?

[00:47:59] Barry Meguiar Enjoys Wandering Around SEMA

After all the Car Crazy television, that has been on the air for the past 25 years, Barry Meguiar, President of Meguair’s, is happy to take a break. This car-loving man has kept plenty busy and this year he was delighted to wander around the SEMA Show. He also tells us that he is anxiously awaiting the arrival of his new Ford GT, which is set to arrive in December. Barry has a car passion so strong that it has even been passed down through his genes. His daughter runs the Benedict Castle Concur, which is a collector car show that benefits Teen Challenge. Discover more about this ultimate classic car guy!

[00:54:47] Haynes Automotive Manuals in the Beginning

Have you ever been scratching your head in the garage trying to fix your ride? Well, hopefully, you have a Haynes Manual on hand and can get to the bottom of it. J Haynes, CEO of Haynes Publishing Group, shares the timeless story of how his father started the company. It all happened when his father and a buddy were building an engine and were confused by the manufacturer’s information. Then they decided to take about 1,000 pictures of taking apart and rebuilding an engine. It turns out that this made it incredibly simple and the idea was born. Haynes still brings cars into the shop and documents working on them from the ground up. These detailed manuals are now available online at the tap of a button, and there are thousands of videos to accompany them for those who need to see it in action. Does your garage have a Haynes Manual in your garage?

[01:02:10] Rutledge Wood Works with eBay Motors

eBay Motors recently approached Rutledge Wood, NASCAR personality, about building a charity car for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund. Rutledge immediately jumped on board. The guidelines were simple – parts and car must be bought and sold on eBay.  Rutledge chose his best friends, Mike Finnegan and K.C. Mathieu, as his building team. The 1967 Ford Mustang fastback, named ‘Red, White, and Rowdy’, was on display at SEMA.  Rutledge tells us that it was really neat to see people that were bidding on the car inspecting it at the booth.  If you need great parts at affordable prices, look to eBay.

[01:10:15] McDonald’s Coffee in a Lamborghini

When you grow up in Birmingham, AL it’s quite possible that there are not many exotic cars rolling around. Rutledge Wood, former host of Top Gear, grew up in a car-loving family so his passion began early but when Top Gear brought him a Lamborghini to drive he didn’t know what to do. Rutledge decided to do what he would in any other car, cruise through McDonald’s and grab a cup of coffee. While this proved to be a problem, due to no cup holders, it showed that Rutledge was just a regular guy who was living the dream after responding to a craigslist ad. Hard work and a random viral YouTube video led him to host the American version of Top Gear. The History Channel misses Rutledge, so he is now diligently working on a new show. We can’t wait!

[01:18:12] Shell, Jiffy Lube, and Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Sometimes when a collaboration comes together it can be oh-so-sweet! Well, that’s the case here and Shell has gotten the opportunity to host their title race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Colin Abraham, President of Shell, discusses Shell’s involvement in motorsports. Steve Ledbetter, President of Jiffy Lube, tells us how thankful they are to leverage the heritage of Shell motorsports and Pennzoil for this great event. Chris Powell, President of Las Vegas Motor Speedway, is so thrilled to announce that Pennzoil will be sponsoring their Monster Cup. Patty Lanning, Vice President and General Manager of North America Marketing for Shell, gives us the low down on how you can enter to win a trip to the Pennzoil 400. Listen now.

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Episode Credits:

  • Program Host: Alan Taylor
  • Producer: Jason Masters
  • Production Assistant: Joanne Bolden
  • Audio Engineer: Dave Milligan
  • Copy Editor: Jess Baumgardner

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