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Progressive Racing Engines Claims Contingency Connection Engine Builder Of The Year Award

Posted By Admin On February 9, 2012 (8:25 pm) In Company ProfilesFeaturesHeadlinesNews

For the 2011 season, COMP Cams and RHS partnered with the Contingency Connection to sponsor the COMP Cams/RHS Engine Builder of the Year Award. The winner of the year-long affair was Miami Gardens, FL, company Progressive Racing Engines.

Each year, the Contingency Connection teams with product manufacturers as well as racers to bring various benefits to both parties. The manufacturers receive a great deal of exposure for their services and products, as competitors are required to run the various companies decals to be eligible for the prizes. These decals increase visibility and product awareness. Racers benefit from the program by having the opportunity to win an array of product certificates each race night from some of the top product companies in the business. Tracks also indirectly benefit from the program as they are able to provide additional prizes to their drivers, and it costs them no money.

The 20111 COMP Cams/RHS Engine Builder of the Year, Progressive Racing Engines builds power plants for a wide range of racing applications.

It was decided for the 2011 campaign to not only reward the top performing drivers for their accomplishments, but to also honor participating manufacturers for their achievements. The result was coined the COMP Cams/RHS Engine Builder of the Year Award. Engine builders from across the country took part in the program as they battled for bragging rights, but when the final checkered flag dropped it was Progressive Racing Engines who claimed the coveted title.

The company is operated in Miami Gardens, FL, by partners Steve McInnis and Brian Hintz. It was founded in late 1988 with the intent of producing power plants for off-shore motorsports such as power boat racing. While McInnis and Hintz enjoyed working in the marine motorsports world, they eventually began to do some projects for circle track competitors as well.

“We learned pretty quickly that we preferred to deal with the circle track business as opposed to the boats, McInnis explains. There were more rules and constraints on the circle track side, and we enjoyed the confines of what could and couldn’t be done. It was pretty much open-season in the boating world, and it was getting pretty stressful to stay involved in that end of the business.”

As a result, Progressive Racing Engines began to hone its skills in producing top-notch circle track engines. Despite primarily focusing on the circle track program, the company also worked in developing engines for the drag racing realm.

“Our heart was really in the circle track world, but we also began to find satisfaction in drag racing as our clients quickly began to win,” notes McInnis.

Notable accomplishments by Progressive Racing Engines customers on the drag strip include the 2009 ORSCA 10.5 National Championship for Bill Futch, and most recently, the engine builder claimed the Drag Radial Series Championship with Mel Nelson, who won an impressive ten out of eleven events on the circuit.

One of the most memorable victories for Progressive Racing Engines came in 2003, when Mario Gosselin powered the company’s first-ever ARCA engine to a win at Nashville Superspeedway.

“We knew we had built a solid piece, but we didn’t know exactly how that engine would stack up, since it was our first endeavor into ARCA,” comments McInnis.  “After Mario won that race with our motor we were beyond elated. That was truly something special for us to be able to accomplish, and until this day we still hold it in the highest regard.”

The company has achieved much to be proud of on the track over the years, but for McInnis, his proudest accomplishment may have very well come in the negotiating room. During the 2009 and 2010 seasons, McInnis became quite concerned about how local tracks in his home state of Florida were brutally scheduling against one another. The end result was that tracks were only drawing ten or so cars for their events, and as a result, losing money.  Steve knew that something had to be done to save racing in his area, and took action.

“It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that these tracks were slowly but surely killing each other with their scheduling. I knew that if they would work together that everybody could be successful again, he says. Not only did I not want to see local racing die for the sake of the sport, but realistically I knew that if these tracks all went under, then my business was going to take a hit. If these racers had nowhere to race, they would no longer need my engines.”

He was instrumental in the formation of the Florida United Promoters Series for the 2011 season, which allowed the tracks to work together in scheduling asphalt Late Model events. The tour was met by great car counts and successful shows for tracks and drivers. A Progressive Racing Engines customer, Tim Russell, claimed the inaugural season championship with the tour.

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