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Bench Racer with Steve Turner—Trading Places

Posted By: Evan J. Smith
Bench Racer with Steve Turner—Trading Places
Written by Steve Turner
Photography courtesy of HPX
For those of us active in the automotive performance industry, there was a time when there was a sizable gap between the end of the typical racing season and the beginning of a new one. Sure, the SEMA Show kept us busy in late October or early November, but over the years other events like the PRI Show and the SEMA MPMC conference turned the off-season into a trade show season.
That means chasing the world of high performance is a year-round challenge, but I am not complaining. A break is always nice, but I get a bit antsy if I sit still for too long. Moreover, being at the forefront of the latest products and projects is one thing I love about working in the media side of things for decades. 
Back in the old days when ink on paper was the only option — yes, there was a time before the internet — we media types used to get early access to all the cool stuff before anyone else. That was fun, and on occasion, it still happens, and I savor it. These companies will just spring things on the internet with no warning. That can be fun too, but a bit stressful for those covering the action.
That is one cool aspect of trade shows, as companies often earmark the debut of a product, project, or partnership for a trade show where it will get attention from those in attendance and all those who are curious and watching from afar. As you may have read on these pages or seen elsewhere, there is a new trade show player emerging next year, as the High Performance Expo is set to take over the Charlotte Convention Center from June 3-5, 2025. 
“The High Performance Expo will be a car-centric playground showcasing the best of auto racing and the automotive aftermarket like no other,” said Greg Walter, NCMA chairman of the Board, and executive vice president and general manager of the Charlotte Motor Speedway. “There is no better place to hold this annual event than Charlotte, North Carolina, home of auto racing and a community rich in history and passion for modifying and racing the automobile.”
Held in a town immersed in motorsports and backed by the North Carolina Motorsports Association, HPX is different for a couple of reasons. First, its timing is during the heart of the season for all manner of racing and automotive events. Moreover, rather than being a trade-only event, it is meant to fuse industry and consumer access to a wide range of events, including celebrity appearances, new product announcements, product demonstrations, and more. 
“The North Carolina racing industry has long wanted to design an experience like HPX to more easily connect our industry and our passionate fans,” Scott Lampe, vice chairman of NCMA and CFO of Hendrick Motorsports. “HPX 2025 will celebrate this great industry through the lens of our unique community, bringing a level of authenticity featuring VIPS, drivers, celebrities, and experts, which can only be done in one place — Charlotte.”
The idea of fusing a trade show with a wide range of other automotive action is an exciting prospect. Compelling live events — whether they are races, car shows, or events like this — are among the best ways to get people out of the house to enjoy life, and appreciate the things they love, like fast cars.
Being a fan of cars and trade shows, I hope to make it out to the HPX if the NMRA/NMCA racing schedule allows it. Even if I am at the racetrack, it will be interesting to see what this event brings to the table as it evolves.
Announced on April 4, 2024, a new automotive racing and performance trade show dubbed the High Performance Expo, or HPX for short, is set for June 3-5, 2025. Its near mid-year timing is unusual as most auto trade shows take place in the off-season. It will also combine industry and consumer involvement, where most shows are officially industry-only. It looks like an exciting addition to the automotive calendar.

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