Pit Notes: May 2008

 www.SpeedStyleMagazine.com editor Bill Moore, reporting from Indianapolis, where he is spending “the year of May” prior to the big race, advises that the State of Connecticut and John Fitch are working together to resolve the costly oil contamination problem on Fitch’s property.  Also, that in addition to his own reports and photos from Indy, his E magazine is chronicling Fubish Lousewort’s return to the venue as reported by his creator, the Voice of America’s John Birchard.

Warren Brown writing in the Washington Post about the reality gap between what we see and what we get, “What we see in TV commercials and read in zoom-zoom product reviews is mostly fantasy. Some of us might have the wherewithal to buy a super-performance car. But hardly any of us driving in metropolitan America will have the opportunity to exploit its full potential.”

SAMA president Ron Beasley touts online photos of the press group’s “spectacular” April meeting featuring the 2009 Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMG (www.SAMAonline.org) and says any current press members of other autowriter groups tempted to visit Miami’s sunny climes will be accorded a member’s discount at the group’s monthly meal meetings and special events.  The April luncheon also raised SAMA’s contribution to the Frank Washington fund to $630.00. GM VP Bob Lutz is their May speaker.

The last AWCom heard from Adam Barrera (July ’06 Newsletter: www.autowriters.com/archives), he was an energetic and enthusiastic Junior in the Jack Valenti School of Communication at the University of Houston bent on becoming an auto journalist.  Now just graduated, he asked in a recent phone call if starting out in automotive PR even if only for a company and products he believed in would jeopardize his credibility and ability to switch to auto journalism.  He said he had three offers. AWCom noted that many well-known auto writers, David E. Davis, Jr., William Jeanes and Brock Yates among them, have successfully worked both sides of the marketing street. But, Barrera was reminded, “A PR person is ‘a paid advocate in the court of public opinion.’  Your employer pays you to advance his or her interests – usually, for more than you will make starting out as a journalist.”  So far, in addition to his own site (www.highmilege.org)he remains a Category Editor for Expo TV posting reviews and blogs to encourage car owners to share their experiences with shoppers seeking honest opinions.”

The Motor Press Guild’s fourth annual PR Satisfaction Survey of auto journalists has been sent to U.S. and Canadian auto writers of record.  If you have received your invitation to participate and have questions or if you have not received an invitation and believe you should be included in the survey, contact John Rettie at John@johnrettie.com.  The survey results are valued by all major auto makers as a guide to monitoring their PR practices from year-to-year.

Construction is proceeding apace at New Jersey Motosports Park, so much so that tickets for the summers events, starting with a long weekend race schedule August 7 to 10 are on sale. Check www.njmp.com  for the complete season schedule and photo updates.