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Auto racing trade show plans to stop in Orlando starting in 2005

Author: Jerry W. Jackson

Publication: Orlando Sentinel

Date: June 22, 2004

A major racing industry trade show will move to Orlando from Indianapolis beginning next year, bringing about 40,000 attendees and $26 million in spending, industry representatives confirmed Monday.

Auto racing is going like gangbusters. We just ran out of space in Indianapolis, said John Kilroy, a vice president of Performance Racing Industry, which puts on the annual show by that name every December. We'll expand in Orlando, because we have the capacity to expand there.

The show, ranked among the top 100 in the nation in square footage by Tradeshow Week magazine, soaks up about 300,000 net square feet and will be held in the newly expanded North-South section of the Orange County Convention Center beginning in 2005.

Open to industry professionals only, the show features products and services for a wide range of racing from drag racing and stock car racing to road racing and open-wheel racing such as sprint and midget cars.

Bill Peeper, president of the Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau, said the show will immediately rank among the top 10 percent of trade shows at the newly expanded center, providing another big boost to the center in a hotly competitive national market.

This comes at a time when we need the business, Peeper said. It took us three years of solicitation to get them here.

The show is expected to stay in Orlando through 2007, Peeper said, and the community will work to keep the event in Orlando even if Indianapolis expands its center in an effort to reclaim the show.

While the final contract has not been signed with the Orange County Convention Center, both Peeper and Kilroy confirmed that the decision to move to Orlando in December 2005 has been made and the contract issues are minor.

Kilroy said this December's show will be the seventh year it has been held at the Indiana Convention Center & RCA Dome, and the event has sold out each of the past four years. The center has about 300,000 square feet, while Orlando has about 2 million square feet in two buildings flanking International Drive.

We had a list of people who wanted in but no space. This was a hard decision for us, but we're just responding to the needs of the industry by moving to Orlando, Kilroy said.

The show features about 3,100 booths, and attendees range from NASCAR team representatives to racing engine builders and small retailers who service the more than 1,300 racetracks of all types and sizes throughout the country.
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