Feature Friday: Open letter from Jim Hiland of Bilstein
Just want to relay to you some of my experiences traveling around to race tracks over the last 15 years since we began our relationship with U.S. Legend Cars Intl. Inc.
Since Legend cars, Thunder Roadsters, and Bandoleros use one shock part number per car, there is no need for me to attend your races for the purpose of helping the racers shock tune their cars, and no need to be there to work with our "deal" team to make sure they're faster than the other shock company's "deal" team. The absence of the "deal" process regarding shocks in and of itself is a huge dollar saver for all of your participants. Racers who are not on a "deal" and actually have to buy their shocks rarely consider that racers like them, the ones not on a "deal", are literally paying for the shocks on the cars of the teams who are on a "deal". Shock "deals" make everyone's shocks more expensive because someone somewhere is paying for the "deal" guy's shocks.
But when I'm in the field working with racers in other classes, I often find myself in a pit area populated with a group of Legend Car racers. One of my favorite memories was from one of the big races held at Orlando Speed World during the PRI show, maybe around 2006. USAC rookie, Brian Gingras, had set fast time in a twenty year old sprint car powered by a Mopar and I was celebrating because the car was equipped with ASN Series Bilsteins. When it was time for the feature, a group of my Sprint Car buddies made a spot for me on the top row of the back stretch bleachers; that's when the Legend Cars rolled out for their main event. A lot of the guys sitting with me were from other parts of the country and some had apparently never seen a Legend Car, so they weren't exactly sure if the race was worthy of their attention. That night is such a great memory because afterward several of them confessed that the Legend Car race was one of the finest races they'd ever seen. This was high praise from these people because we'd all seen a lot of good Sprint Car races together over the years. I was so proud to tell them that every car in that race was racing on four Bilsteins, all four the same valving. There were a lot of questions and a lot of dropped jaws, especially when I told them what the shocks cost and that teams could get by with a minimum number of spares because the shocks were all the same.
I've had several similar experiences over the years when I've been with racers from other classes or colleagues who had never seen a Legend Car race. It happened again recently when Bilstein sponsored the evening's racing at the famous Irwindale Speedway in California. We had our own VIP suite, tent display, etc. I worked the pits talking to the racers in the touring modified group and racers in local classes and only got to watch from the bleachers in the pits when certain cars were on the track. The suite was full of Bilstein employees and our guests, and I didn't get up there until it was almost time for the Modified feature to start. Soon as I walked in the room the whole group started gushing about the amazing race they'd just witnessed. I really didn't know what they were talking about until one of them pointed to a photo of a Legend Car on the wall and said, "It was those". Most of my colleagues there that night work in our aftermarket department, not in motorsports, and therefore weren't familiar with the circle track classes. One of our managers asked if any of the Legend Cars raced on our shocks and really lit up when he found out that every one of the Legend Cars is equipped with Bilstein and that you are one of our very largest motorsport customers. It gave me a lot of satisfaction to listen to my workplace friends talking to each other about what they'd seen, the passes, the side by side, even reliving it with hand motions. I think that's the stuff that makes race fans. At the end of the night's racing, while they were filing out and riding the elevator down to ground level some were still talking about that exciting Legend car feature.
Wow, we are so proud of our partnership with U.S. Legend Cars. Thanks again for using our products in the world's premier spec racing series.
Lucas Oil Modified - "Bilstein Fast 75" Results - June 27, 2015
1. Chad Schug 2. Darren Amidon 3. Donald St. Ours 4. Lawless Alan 5. Aaron Wells 6. Parker Steele 7. Austin Farr 8. Mark Lungerich 9. Richard Leigh 10. Danny Nikolai 11. Colton Page 12. Troy Briesch 13. Mike Vanderlip 14. James Lieser 15. Jetson Lieser 16. Tyler Hicks 17. Mike Cohee 18. Mike Shively 19. Jordan Hyland 20. Brandy Flores 21. Mike Brosius 22. Matt Bowen 23. Johnny Dressler
Jim Hiland has been with Bilstein since 1990, and has been a USLCI partner since 2000. Bilstein Shocks went through a rigorous testing process on the fifth-mile at Concord Speedway. Ryan Zeck drive 20 consecutive timed laps with the (then) current brand, then another 20 on the Bilstein Shocks. Inevitably, the Bilstein Shocks proved to be option. Bilstein shocks provide a perfect example of why racers do not need to pay extravagant costs to buy and maintain shocks in a grass roots level racing series. We are proud of this partnership, and look forward to where it may go in the future!