Presented by Centric Parts and its StopTech performance and racing division

December 15, 2009

Video Recap of SEMA and AAPEX

With Christmas around the corner and parts of the country buried under snow, perhaps this video look back at the week in the hot Las Vegas desert that was SEMA and AAPEX 2009...

December 7, 2009

Centric Parts stars in Kohlweiss Commercial

While Centric Parts didn't go all Hollywood and get a dressing room with its name on the door, it is the star of a Kohlweiss Auto Parts television commerial in Redwood City, California.



Not nearly enough motorists ask for replacement brakes by name, so it's great to see Centric Parts get a tip of the hat.

Now get our agent on the phone.

December 4, 2009

Los Angeles Auto Show 2010

The doors to the Los Angeles Auto Show open today. The Brake Room has a sneak peek at some of the cars wearing StopTech at the show...


Fans of Team StopTech recognize this Tri-Point Mazda wearing StopTech Trophy brakes driven by Eric Foss in SCCA SPEED World Challenge series.


Some might also recall that the Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR set the Nurburgring record with StopTech rotors. It also just recaptured the record up at Laguna. The 2010 makes it's debut in Los Angeles at this auto show.


Steve Saleen showed up with slew of cars from his new SMS Supercars company, which included a pair of StopTech-equipped Dodge Challengers including a 570 in yellow.

The show runs through next weekend. You can get info at http://www.laautoshow.com/.

December 2, 2009

Team StopTech in Porsche Print Ad

If you were flipping through AutoWeek this week you might have came across a Porsche advertisement comparing the finish line to a blood line. The ad featured four pictures of different Porsches tearing around the track.

In case you were wondering, yes, that is the GMG Porsche driven by James Sofronas all season as part of Team StopTech. The full page ad was too big to shrink down for this post, but you'll know it when you see it by the big StopTech logo across the vehicle's nose.

How do you get your Porsche into a national advertisement? Try throwing a set of StopTech Trophy brakes on your ride and winning the Long Beach Grand Prix with it.

It worked for James.

November 23, 2009

StopTech turns virtual heads in Forza Motorsport 3

Perhaps the most common car at SEMA this year was a virtual one.

Several booths turned into arcades with playable displays of racing videogame Forza Motorsport 3 for the Microsoft Xbox 360. Whipping by too fast to notice unless you are looking for it is the StopTech logo adorning the race barriers.

One helpful reader sent this photo in...


Don't try this if you happen to spot a StopTech logo during your real track day.

Some displays went overboard with their affection for Microsoft, including this Toyota's Tacoma All-Terrain Gamer (ATG) concept which features four on board Xbox 360s...



FYI - were still editing out footage from SEMA but look for something new in the Centric Parts YouTube channel in December.

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 6, 2009

See ya Las Vegas

Another SEMA/AAPEX show is in the books for Centric Parts, but not before rolling out one more piece of news. This one from Power Slot.

You may recall that last year Power Slot introduced the Power Alloy Enhanced Brake Rotor in and picked up a Best New Product award for it at the AAPEX show.

This year Power Alloy is back but with a brand-new eye catching black finish. You can read the details here.

Dino Crescentini also had a chance to stop by the SEMA booth on Friday after wrapping up the AAPEX show a day earlier. While there, we shot an interview with him about his race season that we'll edit and post to the Centric Parts YouTube channel later in the month.

Thanks to all of you who stopped by. For those of you who missed it, we'll post a video recap to the Centric Parts YouTube channel later in the month.

November 4, 2009

Dino Enters AIA Hall of Fame - Alive!

Another big day for the Centric Parts family in Las Vegas for SEMA and AAPEX. Today Centric Parts CEO Dino Crescentini was inducted into the Aftermarket Industry Association Hall of Fame, which is the highest honor handed out by AIA. You can read the details in this press release.

The quote of the day has to be the one uttered by a visitor to the StopTech booth at SEMA when she heard that Dino was at AAPEX getting this honor.

"I thought he was dead."

Ouch!

The story behind this is that last year another race car driver named Dino Crescentini perished in a track accident during a race in a different series than the one the Centric Parts CEO races in. Obituaries showed up all over race media - with a picture of the wrong Dino - our Dino.

The journalists had used Google Images to find a photo of the deceased. They typed in "Dino Crescentini race car driver" and, not knowing there were two people with the same name in this community, ran the first photo they found.

The situation was compounded by the fact he was scuba diving in a remote part of the world when the news broke. Therefore he was uncharacteristically not returning phone calls.

Over a year later, it turns out there are still a few people out there who did not see the corrections and retractions that ran a days later.

November 3, 2009

Kudos for Centric Parts website at AAPEX

Calling it "truly a fine, fine work of art," the Auto International Association (AIA) today handed Centric Parts a Best Website 2009 award at AAPEX in Las Vegas. You can read the press release for the details.

Not bad for the first day of the show. The Centric Parts family has now earned each of the major awards given away over the years. Technically, Centric Parts had a perfect record this year, as Dan Lelchuk revealed to The Brake Room after the ceremony that this was the only award Centric Parts put an entry in for. With all the effort that went into making the site a reality this year, it was a safe bet the site would come out on top at AAPEX.

SEMA and AAPEX 2009 Begins

The biggest US event for the automotive aftermarket is under way. Stay tuned here for daily blog updates from the plus don't forget to drop in our sister blog, The StopTech Blog.

Centric Parts has a booth over at AAPEX in the Sands Convention Center (#9232) while StopTech and Power Slot are co-habitating at SEMA (#22387 - Center Hall) in the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The StopTech / Power Slot booth at SEMA looks fabulous this year with a new location and a new layout. Dino Crescentini's race winning Porsche is parked right up front.

Centric Parts is in the same location at AAPEX but with some great new news. After nearly 10 years of focusing on brakes, Centric Parts is also adding wheel bearings and seals to the lineup with two complete lines.

So if you are in Vegas stop on by, otherwise, keep checking back for more updates.

October 21, 2009

Team StopTech Drives to Twenty-Five in 2009

It turned out to be a truly stellar “Podium or Pole Position” year for Team StopTech2009, which consisted of the select production based race cars from the Tri-Point Motorsports, GMG Racing and Turner Motorsport teams competing on StopTech performance brakes in the Grand-Am Koni Sports Car Challenge Series and the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Series.

The stated goal of the season for Team StopTech, as put forth by StopTech CEO Dino Crescentini who also drives for GMG Racing, had been to accumulate at least 20 combined visits to the podium or pole-position earning qualifiers. Crescentini brought in number 20 by himself when he earned his way to the podium at the Road America Grand Prix. By the end of that mid-august weekend, Team StopTech was up to 22.

A pair of podium visits from Turner Motorsport at the Salt Lake City 200 stop of the KONI Grand Am challenge joined up with GMG Racing’s James Sofronas taking the SCCA SPEED GT season finale at Laguna Seca to ratchet the final 2009 tally to 25 for Team StopTech.

“It has been a fun and remarkable season,” noted Crescentini upon returning to Southern California after the final race. “I think most of us are already thinking about 2010.”

Can Team StopTech match this year’s incredible successes next time around? Stay tuned in 2010.

October 8, 2009

What a Real HOT Lap Looks Like!

We just love this picture sent over to us by Will Turner at Turner Motorsport. It's one of the cars that are part of Team StopTech running Miller Motorsports Park at night...


It's a great reminder of just how hard your brakes are working for you on the track!

September 27, 2009

AMS / NOS Mitsubishi EVO Takes Spring Moutain with StopTech Brakes

The AMS/NOS Energy Drink Time Attack Team’s Mitsubishi EVO X enjoyed a September victory on StopTech brakes at the Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch in Nevada for the 7th round of the Redline Time Attack series.

The team overcame what would normally be considered a comedy of errors if so much wasn’t on the line. The car severely overheated on Saturday when the alternator bracket broke causing the belt and water pump to stop running. After patching things together for Sunday it was determined that the engine was running on 3 cylinders due to the overheating on Saturday.

Having traveled almost 2000 miles, the AMS/NOS Energy Drink Team wasn't about to give up. Tuner Martin Musial tweaked the tune trying to extract more power out of the hurt engine and a fresh set of BFG tires were put on for the first timed session.

Driver Paul Gerard knew he had to set a fast time right away as the engine problems were probably going to get worse. With only a few hot laps under his belt the whole weekend, Paul laid down a quick 2:18.005 lap. Good thing because after the first hot lap the alternator fix let go right after the start/finish line putting the car out of action. Luckily his time was enough to secure a first place finish in unlimited all wheel drive, 3.5 seconds ahead of the nearest competitor.

The AMS/NOS Energy Drink Mitsubishi EVO X was outfitted with BBKs that includes StopTech performance rotors and the cutting edge StopTech Trophy calipers. AMS has accumulated over 40 victories in road racing and hill climbs in 2008, and looks to best that in 2009. Way to go guys!

September 10, 2009

Team StopTech: Euro Edition

We just got word that StopTech’s Trophy Brake System scored its first race victory across the pond, at least that we know of. Euro-tuners Raeder Motorsport is reporting a very successful weekend with their StopTech Trophy-equipped Audi A3. Where? Nurburgring of course. More specifically, on the long VLN Nurburgring track which is the Nordschleife plus the GP circuit.

The first success came on Friday when the A3 set the VLN lap record for a front-wheel drive car. During the training session, Christoph Breuer piloted the A3 through the 24.43 km track with a StopTech STR kit installed in only 8:56.487.

At the next day’s VLN race, the StopTech-equipped A3 took the turns to victory in its class. For those of you looking for a quick German or racing history lesson, VLN stands for Veranstaltergemeinschaft Langstreckenpokal Nurburgring and
this Wikipedia link should help.

September 1, 2009

StopTech and Power Slot Make a Move at SEMA 2009

Those of you heading to SEMA in Las Vegas this year are, as always, encouraged to stop by the StopTech and Power Slot booth at the show. This year you’ll need to look in a different spot.


The hard-to-get-a-bead-on location of last year has been abandoned for booth #22387 closer to the front of the Hot Rod / Racing / Restoration Hall. Instead of concession stands and communal dining tables, StopTech will be setting up shop in the shadow of Ford Motor Company. That’s a literal statement considering that the 400’ X 55’ Ford Booth is right above where the hall level splits, with StopTech will be right below it.


The meetings, and racing season, are not over yet but it looks like Dino Crescentini’s SCCA SPEED World Challenge car will be parked in the booth. This beautiful GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3 was rebuilt from the ground up after a crash at Long Beach yet took first place during its next race at Watkins Glen piloted by the StopTech CEO .


If you miss SEMA this year, there will be another video recap posted on the Centric Parts website by the following week. If you are feeling nostalgic for SEMA 2008 and have 5 minutes to kill, check out last year’s video recap…




The news that will be announced at SEMA by StopTech and Power Slot, plus some big news from Centric Parts to be revealed at AAPEX booth #9232 across town, has been ironed out and internally the level of excitement has never been higher for the annual trip to the desert.

August 18, 2009

...and Dino makes 5: Team StopTech Tally Soars

Team StopTech has surged in the last few days, with five more "podium or pole position" achievements over three races on two tracks.

Four of those came from the SCCA SPEED World Challenge, where the Road America Grand Prix (coincidentally presented by StopTech) served as Round 8 of the 2009 season. Stoptech CEO Dino Crescentini made it to the podium along with Charles Espenlaub of Tri-Point Motorsports, who also served up a top qualifying time along with James Sofronas of GMG Racing. (read release)

A whole country (sort of) away, Turner Motorsport was taking the checkered flag with tag-team drivers Matt Bell and Don Salama. Sure it's two drivers but it only counts as one victory for Team StopTech.

Here's a two minute recap. The yellow (some say "gold") beemer in front for most scenes is our boys charging to victory...



That puts the season total to 22, with a long break before we see the last few races of the season.

Is 25 in range?

StopTech Television Commercial

As teased over at The StopTech Blog before the weekend, StopTech's first national commercial has been posted to their website through the Centric Parts YouTube channel.

Here it is...



The footage for the commercial was shot at Watkins Glen while, coincedentally, Dino Crescentini was winning the race. Does having a camera on you make you a better driver?

August 13, 2009

Team StopTech Driver Focus: Jason Saini

Jason Saini is unstoppable. He joined the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car series last year for Tri-Point Motorsports and made his mark by landing the Rookie of the Year designation in 2008. This year looks to be an even stronger one after landing his third victory of the season and his second in a row this weekend at Mid-Ohio. Considering that was Round 7, that makes 3 out of 7 in 2009.

The victory in his StopTech-equipped Mazda6 added to his lead in the Drivers’ Championship and put Mazda in the lead for the Manufacturers’ Championship. It also pushed Team StopTech to 18 in its “Podium or Pole Position” season, fueled by Saini’s three wins and a third place podium visit for Round 4.

Before going pro in 2004, Saini made his mark as an autocross driver with a nearly 70% winning percentage. He scored back-to-back National Championships in B-Stock in 2003, and A-Stock in 2004. He was the Pro Solo Champion in 2003 where he went undefeated, and has numerous wins in Tour, Pro Solo and Divisional Solo events. He hit the pro scene in 2004 as part of the Mazda Miata Cup pro-series, finishing in the top five in his fourth ever race. He went on finished seventh in the 2004 championship, and fifth in the 2005 championship.

With Saini squarely in the lead just over halfway through his second SCCA season, it appears the sky could be the limit. Keep an eye on this dynamic, gutsy, successful driver.

July 30, 2009

Team StopTech Eyes 20 in "Podium or Pole Position" Season

The 2009 race season for Team StopTech started with a “Podium or Pole Position” pledge. The company already had a pretty strong race heritage, but the prediction was that this was going to be the best season for StopTech equipped cars in the SCCA SPEED and KONI Challenge circuits, unofficially known as Team StopTech.

The season is just beyond the halfway mark and Team StopTech has already amassed 16 podium finishes or pole-position earning qualifying runs. The latest was Jason Saini scoring the checkered flag at the Autobahn Grand Prix this weekend for Tri-Point, but the season highlights keep rolling in.

While a “podium finish” means third place or better, Team StopTech has enjoyed a fair share of first place finishes. The season started with Turner Motorsports KONI Challenge victory at Daytona. GMG Racing answered with James Sofronas winning the SCCA SPEED GT stop at the Long Beach Grand Prix. Tri-Point chimed in with Jason Saini’s SCCA SPEED TC win in New Jersey. Turner answered back with a historic KONI victory at Laguna Seca before StopTech CEO Dino Crescentini took matters into his own hands with a first place SCCA SPEED GT win of his own for GMG Racing at Watkins Glen.

However, the biggest single contributor to the “Podium or Pole Position” success of 2009 has been Matt Bell of Turner Motorsports. Bell has earned pole-position starts for 5 out of 7 KONI races this season in his StopTech equipped BMW M3.

With 16 of these successes already in the books, can Team StopTech make it to 20? This could be the company’s best race season ever!

July 20, 2009

Tune In Alert: StopTech CEO Victory on SPEED Channel


StopTech CEO Dino Crescentini's 4th of July victory at Watkins Glen, just a day after his birthday, is going to air on SPEED Channel this week. Support the SCCA in particular and production car racing in general by tuning in at 2pm EST / 11am Pacific this Wednesday, July 22nd.

July 10, 2009

Closeup: StopTech CEO's Watkins Glen Victory

You may already know that Dino Crescentini, CEO of Centric Parts/StopTech, took first place at round 5 of the SCCA SPEED GT World Challenge series at Watkins Glen from the official press release. It was a, metaphorically speaking, long road for Crescentini to this, his second career SCCA victory.

A crash during the practice rounds back at the Long Beach Grand Prix took his car out of the running for a few rounds. This was the same car that that opened the SCCA season with a top qualifying time back in Sebring. Up until 4 weeks before the race it was a bare chassis. The crew at GMG Racing gets huge props for knocking the ride back into such great shape that it lands in the winner’s circle, pretty much picking up where it left off.

Here is a one minute clip of Dino’s interview with SPEED Channel moments after winning…



Starting second in his Porsche 911 GT3, Crescentini got the jump on first starting Jason Daskalos’ Dodge Viper, but not as good as teammate Sofronas, who moved his Global Motorsports Group Porsche 911 GT3 to the lead from third on the grid.

Sofronas led Crescentini for the opening four laps before Crescentini put his No. 4 car out front on lap five, out-braking his teammate going into the Inner Loop. That move that earned him the AutoWeek Move of the Race and the victory as he gradually pulled away as Curran and Sofronas traded second place, turning the Fastest Lap of the race with a 1:55.347 (106.114 mph).

It was Crescentini’s second-career win, and came a day after his 49th birthday. He last won a World Challenge GT race at Portland International Raceway for his debut season in 2005.

“I have to credit GMG and especially Steve Ruiz,” said Crescentini, referring the StopTech’s and GMG Racing Team head engineer. “The car has been perfect every time he works on it! He was everything to me. He gave me the car and all I had to do was drive it.””

“Now that was a fun race, running with Dino and Curran, two great drivers, this is what World Challenge racing is all about,” beamed co-teammate and GMG owner James Sofronas. “I had a great start and jumped into the lead for the first 4 laps but I could see Dino had a little stronger car.”

The race will be broadcast Tuesday, July 22 at 2 p.m. (EDT). The SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT Championship next travels to Autobahn Country Club for Round Seven, July 24-26, 2009.

June 24, 2009

Taking Lap Times Seriously

(posted by The Brake Room Staff)

For most, competitive driving conjures up images of whipping around a track wheel-to-wheel or bumper-to-bumper with other cars. The truth is that for most, at some point it’s just going to be you and the car. On most track days, your only bragging rights come from your lap times. For full on races like the SCCA SPEED World Challenge, you first have to get through the qualifier where you are ranked by lap time.

For some, landing a good lap time is part of the overall competition. The recently completed
One Lap of America comes to mind, where competitors literally raced across the country with stops along the way for driving challenges such as Hot Laps.

For a select hardcore group of competitors, the lap time is the only true pure measure of a racer. You’ll find many of them in the
Redline Time Attack series where head-to-head driving simply isn’t on the menu. It’s a one track, one driver, one car system where drivers get to make timed runs and keep the best lap time at each stop along the series.

The “brake late, finish first” mentality is in full effect at these races with no other cars to bang into, or be banged into by. There’s literally nobody to blame for a blown turn. If you find yourself up against the clock you might want to consider the
75/25 braking strategy that earned the StopTech CEO pole position for the SCCA season opener this year in Sebring.

StopTech-equipped racers are faring well this season with a pair of victories. One at
Willow Springs and the other at Thunderbolt. The next stop will be in Nashville on July 25 & 26 if you want to get in on the fun and start tracking the series, or even register to participate.

June 3, 2009

Harman Motive sets The Record Straight at Willow Springs

posted by The Brake Room staff

Harman Motive raised the bar over the weekend with the record-setting performance of their StopTech-equipped 2006 Subaru STi at the Redline Time Attack at Willow Springs International Raceway. Sporting StopTech's new Trophy BBKs they managed a 1:26.417 in the Modified Class, AWD Division and set a record for both.

You can read the press release here but we found a video recap of the team's weekend on vimeo...

Check it out!

May Madness for Team StopTech

posted by The Brake Room staff

While we were focusing on all the fun at this year’s grueling 5,000 mile One Lap of America, where the Active Autowerke BMW E46 M3 claimed third place overall and first place in its class AND Team Iron Butt placed 8th overall with their Audi S4, Team StopTech dialed in an incredible month of May.

Jason Saini rolls into June with the Drivers Championship point lead thanks to a pair of May podium visits on the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car series. The month started with a first place finish at round three in New Jersey in his Tri-Point Motorsports’ StopTech MAZDA6. He was back on the podium by the end of the month with a third place finish during round four at Mosport International Raceway. Saini’s was joined on the podium at Mosport by Charles Espenlaub, who finished second in his Tri-Point MAZDA6 on StopTechs.

Turner Motorsport stepped up during May and made history as the first E90 chassis BMW to win in Grand Am racing. In only its fourth racing appearance ever, the Turner Motorsport ST class BMW E90 328i with StopTechs piloted by driving team Don Salama and Will Turner claimed the checkered flag at Round 4 of the Grand-Am KONI Challenge at Laguna Seca Raceway. The team got a leg up after Salama earned a pole position start during the qualifier.

Next for Turner Motorsport was round 5 where the driving team of Matt Bell and Bill Auberlen took their StopTech-equipped BMW for a spin, literally, and still managed a third place finish at the 2009 Lime Rock Park Road Racing Classic.

It may be hard to believe but we are almost halfway through the racing season already. The Brake Room wishes Team StopTech good luck as we roll into the summer. Team StopTech, which is itself not an actual race team, consists of the select production based race cars from the Tri-Point Motorsports, GMG Racing and Turner Motorsport teams competing on StopTech performance brakes in the Grand-Am Koni Sports Car Challenge Series and the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Series.

May 28, 2009

Rumor: Modified Mag to Break Big StopTech News

We got an early heads up on the down-low from a writer over at Modified Magazine that StopTech has a big announcement coming up. Apparently the publication got an accidental early peek at something new from the high-performance brake manufacturer.

Rather than try to cover it up, the word is StopTech copped to the timing snafu and is instead supporting an exclusive first look in Modified Magazine. We also spoke with an editor over at the magazine who was willing to confirm this story. We know they were just closing the issue with an August cover date, which hits newsstands in July. So that's the most likely time we'll find out what's up.

A good guess would be that it has something to do with StopTech’s Trophy Brake Systems (press release / video). Those track-only BBKs premiered with a top qualifying time earlier this year at the first SCCA SPEED World Challenge stop at Sebring.

There has been murmur about a sister program to Trophy but we know that a recent strategy meeting about November’s SEMA show did not include a discussion of Trophy or a sister program. That could mean nothing, or be taken as an indication that it would have already been announced by then. So a mid-summer announcement would make sense, especially with the race season in, um, full gear.

Best bet is to just pick up the magazine. It’s a good rag worth reading if you’re into cars that are cooler after they leave the showroom, which you must be if you are reading this blog.

May 15, 2009

One Lap of America 2009 - A Closer Look

posted by The Brake Room staff

If you have been over to the Centric Parts site you might have noticed a recent press release heralding the achievements of two StopTech equipped cars in this year’s One Lap of America. For those not familiar with it, OLA was started by in the 1970s by Brock Yates, senior editor of Car and Driver Magazine, as a cross country road rally. He went on to write the script for Cannonball Run based on his experiences, and the race continues every year, though its format has changed over the years. Now OLA consists of covering 5,000 miles in 8 days with stops at well known racetracks along the way for performance events such as time trials, races, and skid pads, where drivers earn points.

It’s hard enough on the drivers and vehicles covering the distance between the stops, but the need to perform strong at each one is of paramount performance in order to finish amongst the top teams. This year Active Autowerke claimed third place overall and first place with a BMW E46 M3 on StopTech brakes while Team Iron Butt placed 8th overall on StopTech brakes with an Audi S4. Both teams pointed to the brakes as a factor in their success.

“Active Autowerke just started working with StopTech after being in a long relationship with another company for many years. Active was a bit concerned about the brakes when entering the One Lap of America Race, but felt Active made a good decision,” admitted Mike Hugh, president of Active Autowerke. “Active’s intention or goal was not on placing well but on winning or a high podium placement. We were going into this venue to make a statement that the Active Autowerke system is proven, reliable and the only true choice for BMW M3 performance enthusiasts.”

When asked about how the brakes performed, Hugh beamed “The driver, Catesby Jones, said that the StopTech brakes worked really well enabling him to dive deep into the corners before applying the brakes. This enabled the Active BMW to make up time and help gain valuable points. Catesby said the brakes were not a concern and performed flawlessly.”

This was the first year that Team Iron Butt, which placed 8th overall out of over 60 teams, rolled with StopTech. “The brakes worked beautifully… especially at Daytona and Sebring, where the needle on the speedometer tends to drift into a range that’s seldom seen,” was the final feedback from team driver Michael Babcock.

Babcock knew his team had a new edge going into the event after some pre-race testing of the new StopTech brakes. “We spent the day at High Plains Raceway shaking down the car… today I’ll be having my eyeballs reinstalled back into my skull. Over the years, I’ve been conditioned to drop anchor at the 5 marker, and hope for the best. Now I’m into the 2’s… simply amazing!”

Babcock comments speak to what this blog and most drivers have been extolling for years. Being able to brake late in turns shaves valuable seconds in a race or time trial situation. For a tip on how to work that more to your advantage, take a look at this post from race car driver and StopTech CEO, Crescentini.

Congratulations to all the teams who embarked and completed the stellar challenge that was the 2009 One Lap of America. You can learn more about the race at http://www.onelapofamerica.com/.

April 28, 2009

Video Recap - Long Beach Grand Prix

posted by The Brake Room staff

Centric Parts has posted a video recap of what StopTech was up to at the 2009 Long Beach Grand Prix. You can watch it here or head on over to the Centric Video Vault to see it along with their other videos.



The Centric Video Vault launched late last year and includes a recap of SEMA/AAPEX 2008 and a sneak preview of the Trophy Big Brake Kit, the racing brake system from StopTech that's been making news and turning heads on the SCCA circuit.

April 24, 2009

Long Beach Grand Prix wrap up

posted by The Brake Room Staff

The Toyota Grand Prix returned the streets of Long Beach, California, for the 35th time last weekend. The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach features four days of races, exhibitions and a lifestyle expo. StopTech, the ultra performance division of Centric Parts based in Southern California, had a presence throughout the weekend both on and off the track.

Perhaps the biggest highlight in four days full of many came during the last race of the weekend when James Sofronas took first place in the second stop of the 2009 SCCA SPEED GT World Challenge Racing Series. It was a victory he fully credited to the StopTech Trophy Big Brake Kit his No. 14 GMG Racing Porsche sported. The Trophy kits premiered at the first stop of the series in Sebring where StopTech CEO Dino Crescentini earned pole position by pulling the fastest qualifying lap in his Porsche.

The SCCA race wasn’t the only one with a winner’s circle represented by StopTech. The Pro/Celebrity Race held a day earlier on Saturday saw Hollywood superstar Keanu Reeves and racing legend Al Unser Jr. each win their category in race-ready Scion tCs with StopTech brakes. Of course, all racers were in identically equipped vehicles including Adrien Brody, Carlos Mencia, Alex Trebek and more., so the odds of a StopTech victory were guaranteed.

The Indy car-heavy weekend also brought a family of StopTech equipped vehicles back to Southern California. No, they don’t make brakes for Indy cars (yet) but the Delphi Safety Team that gets them out of trouble upgraded their two Honda Ridgelines and one Honda Pilot to StopTech’s. These heavy vehicles need to maneuver the racetrack at near racing speeds during yellow flags. The immediate feedback from one of the team leaders and driver was that the improvement was vast and very welcome.

StopTech also had a booth up at the Lifestyle expo featuring a pair of eye-popping racers including the StopTech Mitsubishi EVO X operated by the company’s head engineer, Stephen Ruiz, who also double duties for GMG Racing.

We were there with our video cameras and are putting together a reel for the video library.

For more info on the entire Long Beach Grand Prix, visit http://www.gplb.com/.

April 15, 2009

StopTech brings Stars to a Stop at the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race

posted by The Brake Room staff

All of the identical race-ready Scion tCs in the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race as part of the 35th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach this weekend will feature brakes from StopTech. The race on April 18, 2009, entails a wide range of celebrity drivers raising funds for charity including Keanu Reeves, Adrien Brody, Alex Trebek, Carlos Mencia and more.

It’s the world’s longest-running and most prestigious celebrity racing event. The Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race pits popular personalities against professional racers for a 10-lap sprint around the 1.97-mile downtown Long Beach street circuit.

The Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race is just one of six races that are part of the 35th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, which runs from April 16-19. Centric Parts CEO Dino Crescentini, which includes the StopTech brand, also drives for GMG Racing and will participate in the SCCA SPEED World Challenge Series race. That race is the final event of the weekend on the 19th. The weekend also includes two free concerts, lifestyle events and is open to the public. Visit http://www.lbgp.com/ for race weekend information.

Each Scion tC in the 2009 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race will benefit from StopTech’s patented caliper bridge design along with two-piece rotors that make use of StopTech’s patented AeroHat and AeroRotor technologies. The rock solid calipers and dramatically increased cooling airflow provide shorter stopping distances, better brake modulation, and virtually eliminate brake fade.

This year’s field is comprised of 18 drivers including Hollywood superstar Keanu Reeves, Academy Award winner Adrien Brody, Raven-Symoné from “That’s So Raven” five-time Emmy award winning “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek, Mary Lynn Rajskub from the FOX television series “24,” Tim Daly from ABC’s “Private Practice,” Eric Close from “Without a Trace” on CBS, comedian Carlos Mencia, two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser, Jr., and more.

This year’s event will benefit Miller Children's Hospital at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, California’s largest full-service children's hospital, and Children's Hospital of Orange County, which was the county’s first children’s hospital.

March 23, 2009

Race Report: StopTech CEO earns SCCA Pole Position


Dino Crescentini, CEO of Centric Parts, which includes the StopTech ultra-performance division, earned pole position in Florida over for the 2009 season opener of the SCCA SPEED World Challenge Series before the weekend to be televised nationally later this month on SPEED Channel. The performance on the track was also the debut of the company's Trophy Big Brake Kits, designed exclusively for track use.

Crescentini races a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup for Global MotorSports Group (GMG) Racing in the SCCA Speed World Challenge Series, and has also brought the company’s Director of Engineering, Steve Ruiz, on as the team’s Head Engineer to enhance StopTech’s racing and development programs.

Crescentini pulled the fastest lap during the qualifying sessions at Sebring International Speedway on Thursday, March 19, to earn a pole position start for the race the next day. Crescentini held his pole position through the start of the race and remained a podium contender through the 15th lap of the 20 lap race. Contact with another vehicle after a yellow flag restart forced his vehicle into the pits on lap 16.

“Winning the qualifying round yesterday and earning pole position like we did validates the technical efforts GMG Racing and StopTech have put into the vehicle,” said Crescentini after the race “The fun part as a driver is facing all of the moment-to-moment challenges on a crowded track on race day shoulder to shoulder with racing professionals.”

Trophy BBKs, first announced late last year at the Performance Racing Industry show (watch video / see news item), feature ultra-lightweight racing calipers in four- or six-piston configurations providing a 20-percent weight reduction without sacrificing stiffness or performance. Full floating versions of StopTech’s patented AeroRotor/AeroHat two-piece rotors eliminate pad knock-back and increase cooling airflow by 15% for consistent performance and pedal feedback under the unique combination of hard cornering and braking found on the track. These BBKs sport a “natural” finish for an attractive in-wheel presentation and also include billet aluminum mounting brackets with stainless steel caliper studs and DOT-compliant stainless steel braided brake lines. Trophy BBKs make no compromises found on hybrid systems designed for both street and track.

The next race up for Crescentinti will be in Long Beach on April 19th as part of the weekend long Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix. The Brake Room will be there with with exclusive behind the scenes coverage. Also keep an eye out in the next week or so for some in-car footage of his pole position earning performance.

March 19, 2009

TrACkTICS: Dino’s 75/25 rule for braking on the track

Posted by Dino Crescentini

Any of you who read the recent “Science of Stopping” post from Steve Ruiz about the reality of balanced brakes probably got a bit of an eye-opener on the complex physics behind slowing down a vehicle. His insights focused on the effort that goes into the brakes long before the car ever hits the pavement.

Now imagine yourself behind the steering wheel at over 100mph barreling down on a sharp turn that is only a few dozen yards away. Throw another car right behind you and maybe another off to your side and you get an idea of what I face over a thousand times during the racing season as a driver for the Global Motorsports Group racing team in the SCCA SPEED World Challenge series. The concept of “balance” becomes very dynamic on the track.

Perhaps no skill is harder to execute perfectly on the track than slowing a race car at the limits of its braking performance. Braking changes the race car's weight distribution, posture, and handling characteristics. Do it right and you gain valuable time on the competition. Do it wrong and that podium finish gets farther and farther away. Do it really wrong and… well, you have probably seen the footage of what happens.

For a race car driver, most if not all of the braking happens in preparation for a turn. So not only is the vehicle’s balance shifting forward, it is also shifting side to side from the inside to the outside of the cornering direction. Even with the best equipment in this situation, each wheel is dealing with either too much weight for efficient braking or too little to optimally transfer the stopping power through the tires to the road.

So now what?

Probably the first lesson we learn, and one I would like to impart to you, is that the most efficient way to slow a car is in a straight line. This is when the car's weight is evenly distributed to both sides. The mission here is to complete as much of your braking as possible before commencing the turn.

When braking and turning at the same time, neither braking nor cornering occurs optimally, creating a true lose-lose situation. So getting as much of the braking underway as possible before the turn will pay dividends that can translate into victory.

This may create a bit of a disconnect for some of you. Cutting your velocity before the turn seems like a slow strategy in a speedy sport, but this is where having great brakes comes in. The shorter potential stopping distance of racing brakes and tires allows us to start braking much closer to the turn and still get our speed down to a manageable level before we need to move the steering wheel. Racers look to racing brakes for the ability to brake late so they can keep their hard earned momentum as long as possible.

Ideally all braking should be done before the wheel is turned for a corner. That’s easy when putting around a parking lot looking for a spot at the mall, but unrealistic in the heat of a race or time trial. However, on the track with the right car and equipment (I drive a StopTech-equipped but mostly stock Porsche for GMG) you should aim for my 75/25 rule. Essentially, you should realistically pull off about 75% of your deceleration before turning and cap off the last bit by the time you are 25% into the turn. That puts your vehicle into its best performance zone for three quarters of each turn. That is quite an edge.

The technique required is to very quickly get your brakes to the limit to start the deceleration, then ease back a little off the brake pedal as you start the turn until you are a quarter of the way into it.

It takes a knowledge of your car’s abilities and practice on a track, not a walled one in case you overshoot the turn. Watch the SCCA races on SPEED channel, which features production based race cars, and you’ll see the 75/25 rule being applied all over the place. Once you get it down, you will be glad you did.

Happy racing!

Dino Crescentini races for GMG Racing and is the CEO of Centric Parts, which includes the ultra-performance StopTech brand

March 15, 2009

Centric Celebrates Dual Award Wins


Centric Parts has picked up a pair of accolades in the past few weeks – from their customers. Automotive Parts Associates and Monro Muffler Brake both singled out Centric Parts for their efforts and successes during recent annual gatherings

Centric Parts was named 2008 Branded Vendor of the Year by Automotive Parts Associates (APA), a leading member-owned cooperative representing over a billion dollars of purchasing power annually, during an award ceremony in Phoenix. APA became a member-owned cooperative in 1994 and has since grown from under 10 warehouses to approaching 200 warehouse locations with more than 350 company owned stores.

This is the second time Centric Parts has earned the honor, having also claimed the title in 2006. APA gives out this award annually to the company with the highest-quality sales force, efficient order fill process, great cataloging and quality products. In particular, Centric Parts was recognized for high order fills, quick turnaround times, being first to market with late model applications, providing and supporting innovative new products, low rate of warranty claims, and exceptional sales and technical support.

Centric Parts also earned a 2008 Vendor Excellence Award from Monro Muffler Brake, Inc., a leading provider of automotive undercar repair and tire services with over 700 locations across the eastern United States. The awards are given out annually to high-performing companies that are reactive to Monro’s needs with a two-way approach to working together to build business.

Monro Brake Muffler has been working with Centric Parts to provide quality replacement brake rotors and drums, brake pads and shoes and hydraulic cylinders to motorists through their over 700 locations. The two companies continue to explore other opportunities to work together such as opening a pipeline for performance brakes products from StopTech, the ultra-performance division of Centric Parts.

February 25, 2009

The Science of Stopping: Balanced Brakes

Posted by Steve Ruiz, Director of Engineering for Centric Parts

An upgrade is not an upgrade when it has a negative impact on your vehicle’s performance. Brake upgrades can often fall into this category as performance enthusiasts pursue a “bigger is better” mentality without putting consideration into the concept of optimum brake bias for their vehicles, also known as having balanced brakes.

Optimum brake bias is obtained when a vehicle's front-to-rear brake force ratio (or force bias) exactly matches that vehicle's dynamic front-to-rear weight distribution (or weight bias). We say dynamic here because when a car is being braked we have the obvious weight shift forward taking some of the static weight that was on the rear wheels and shifting it forward. There are also aerodynamic loading factors involved as well, but we save that discussion for a future post.

The system goal then is to distribute brake force so that all four tires are simultaneously generating deceleration proportional to the four individual dynamic corner weights with only a slight calculated front bias for stability. This will maximize brake efficiency and consequently minimize stopping distance.

It is purely the combination of these two factors - brake force and dynamic corner weight - that determines a vehicle's optimum brake bias. Therefore, when selecting a big brake upgrade one should be aware that changing the force (or torque) output of the front brake components without changing the force (or torque) output of the rear brake components can cause an undesirable shift in bias.

The most dramatic brake bias mismatches are usually brought about by big brake "upgrades" which are not properly matched to the intended vehicle. How can this occur? Any time that a bigger front rotor is installed there is a simultaneous need to decrease the effective clamping force of the caliper to offset the increased leverage and therefore torque created by the larger rotor. Unfortunately, too many of these "upgrades" do not take this factor into account, and those applications end up with both bigger rotors and the same or larger pistons which serve to drastically shift the brake bias forward. As a result, stopping distances can go up dramatically.

On the race track during qualifying or a timed lap mode these effects are amplified, as outbraking your opponent by a few feet every lap can result in a multiple car length advantage by the checkered flag and during wheel-to- wheel racing the advantage can result in a safe legal pass. On the street, improper bias can also lead to shorter effective brake pad life because a set of brakes not contributing as much as they could be will lead to higher front rotor temperatures and more front pad wear – the opposite of what should be the goal. In most cases drivers will experience earlier and greater ABS activations too.

For obvious reasons, the risks are highest when upgrading only one set of brakes and rotors. StopTech is the only brake upgrade company providing proper brake bias with front- only brake upgrades. In fact they have a trademark on “Balanced Brake Upgrades” as a term. This is of course key if your budget or the rules only allows for upgrading the front axle and you are looking to maximize performance.

February 24, 2009

The Centric Story

posted by The Brake Room staff

As the presenters of The Brake Room blog, it seems fitting to take a closer look at Centric Parts.

Centric Parts, which includes the StopTech and Power Slot divisions, is a leading manufacturer and supplier of aftermarket brake components and systems for everyday cars, performance duty vehicles and ultra performance vehicles. Centric continually innovates significant improvements to brake technology for the street and track, having earned four patents along the way. Centric’s brake pads, such as the PosiQuiet line of premium Metallic, Ceramic and Extended Wear formulas, provide superior performance, quality and value.

The company was founded in 2000 in Southern California and has enjoyed solid growth every year since. Today the company operates multiple warehouse and manufacturing facilities totaling 438,000 square feet and exceeding 500 employees.

Centric’s executives bring with them extensive experience and insight. Dino Crescentini, CEO of Centric Parts has several successful aftermarket companies under his belt as founder and senior executive, including Autospecialty and StopTech and has been a race car driver for the last three decades. He currently races as part of the SCCA SPEED World Challenge Championships on the Global Motorsports Group team. He will be a regular contributor to The Brake Room during the racing season.

Dan Lelchuk, president of Centric Parts, started in high school with a job at a small auto parts store and has been part of the auto aftermarket business ever since, holding positions with several import parts suppliers including Beck Arnley and Brembo as well as also having worked with Crescentini at Autospecialty. Dan will also post to this blog from time to time to offer a Centric view of the industry plus share some news about the company activities.

Stephen Ruiz, Centric Parts’ Director of Engineering and a recognized industry expert, comes with over 20 years of brake and friction materials experience as well as race car design, engineering, and manufacturing. Steve will begin a regular "Science of Stopping" collumn on this blog starting later today.

The company is rounded out with skilled and seasoned experts from across the industry. This encompassing knowledge of the industry brought by the executive team is further expanded on through Centric’s dedication to research and development. The company has one of the industry’s best programs for tracking and cataloging original equipment, and devising quality aftermarket and OE parts for consumers, mechanics and car makers.

Centric’s catalogs, a practical standard in the industry, now boast over 40,000 braking system parts supporting nearly every make and model from passenger cars to medium duty trucks manufactured since 1937. In the process, the company has earned a string of braking technology patents, has been repeatedly awarded by the Friction Materials Standards Institute for catalog and program excellence, and has earned the highly coveted TÜV approval on several big brake kits.

Originally focusing on replacement parts for everyday use, Centric parts has aggressively expanded into the performance market by acquiring StopTech as the ultra-performance division in 2006 and Power Slot in 2007 as the performance division.

February 23, 2009

Centric CEO suits up for SCCA Racing Season with Global Motorsports Group

posted by The Brake Room staff

Dino Crescentini, CEO of Centric Parts, will once again ride with Global Motorsports Group (GMG) for the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED GT World Challenge Series when the 2009 season kicks off at the Sebring International Raceway in Florida on March 18-20. This will be his first race since Crescentini was one of three drivers on the team that won the Baja Challenge at the grueling Baja 1000 late in 2008.

With that victory under his belt, Crescentini is optimistic about the 2009 SPEED GT season. “This will be GMG racing’s first full season with Stephen Ruiz, StopTech’s Director of Engineering, as the team’s Head Engineer,” stated Crescentini. Ruiz assumed the role late last season, followed by some of the GMG’s best races. “Steve Ruiz is a magic ingredient that can transform the car from something you fight into something that works with you as a driver, which is key when driving an agile Porsche against the more horsepower driven competition found on the SPEED GT tracks,” he added.

Crescentini will debut Trophy Big Brake Kits from StopTech on his Porsche GT3 this season. These are the first kits from the company designed for use on the track only, featuring ultra-lightweight calipers and a full-floating version of the company’s patented AeroHat coupled with patented AeroRotors.

“Porsche’s stock brakes are exceptionally good for original equipment, but StopTech’s Trophy Big Brake Kits go the extra distance for serious performance on the track,” commented Crescentini. “Porsche is my personal vehicle of choice on the track or off, so it was important to me that StopTech offered significant performance enhancement on those cars.”

As a Porsche driver, Crescentini prefers the SPEED GT street courses such as the Grand Prix of Long Beach in California and the Thunderbolt Raceway in New Jersey. “The Porsche GT3 is a great cut-and-thrust vehicle, so put me on a track with good brakes and lots of tight turns and I can leverage every advantage over cars that dominate on long straight-aways,” says Crescentini. “Plus I am not spooked by the concrete barriers typical of street courses, which can be unnerving to some drivers.” It is this attitude that has earned Crescentini the nickname “Street Fighter” amongst some colleagues.

Dino Crescentini was born in Los Angeles and began racing various motocross and desert events in 1972. He has expanded his racing resume for over 30 years, having participated in Alfa Club Races/Time Trials, Trans-Am series, Can-Am vintage car races, and many more classes of events before joining this current SPEED series. Along the way he has won several Rising Star of the Race awards and was named 2004 SPEED Touring Car Rookie of the Year. On the business side, he co-founded StopTech in 1999 in Southern California and departed a year later to start Centric Parts, which later added Power Slot and StopTech and performance and ultra-performance divisions.

Crescentini’s SPEED GT racing schedule with GMG Racing this season:
  • Sebring International Raceway in Florida (March 18 – 20)
  • The Grand Prix of Long Beach in California (April 17 – 19)
  • Thunderbolt Raceway in New Jersey (May 1 – 3)
  • Mosport International Raceway in Canada (May 15 – 17)
  • Watkins Glen International in New York (July 3 – 5)
  • Autobahn Country Club in Illinois(July 24 – 26)
  • Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Ohio (August 7 -9)
  • Road America in Wisconsin (August 14-16)
  • Road Atlanta in Georgia (September 23 – 25)
  • Laguna Seca Raceway in California (October 9-11).

The races will be broadcast on SPEED Channel.

Crescentini will start contributing his racing insights to The Brake Room blog here next week, and we will feature race reports and in-car footage throughout the season.

Related links:

Global Motorsports Group (GMG)

StopTech Brakes

Centric Parts

SCCA World Challenge

February 13, 2009

Centric Muscles Past 40,000 Parts



Posted by The Brake Room staff

As first reported in Aftermarket News, Centric Parts has cruised to the 40,000 parts milestone with the release of big brake kits for the SRT-8 and R/T versions of the 2009 Dodge Challenger. This is a fitting product to cross the line with, considering the company's recent focus on muscle cars including kits for the Charger and projects with Roush and SMS.

Many notable product releases from Centric Parts throughout 2008 fueled the company’s march to the 40,000 parts achievement. These included StopTech’s track-only Trophy BBKs for serious racing performance (click here for video preview of Trophy BBK) as well as Power Slot’s award-winning Power Alloy rotors which feature superior performance and durability in an entry-level, single-piece design.

Centric Parts’ expansive catalog now boasts over 40,000 braking system parts supporting nearly every make and model from passenger cars to medium duty trucks manufactured since 1937.

View the original story.

February 10, 2009

Turner Motorsport Scores Victory at Daytona



Turner Motorsport gave Team StopTech its first victory of the 2009 racing season by winning the Grand-Am Koni Sports Car Challenge race at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida with the No. #96 StopTech Brakes BMW M3. The feat was the first Koni Challenge win ever for a BMW M3 at Daytona Speedway, a track long dominated by more powerful cars, and handed Turner Motorsport its record-setting 14th victory for a GS team in Koni Challenge history.

Team StopTech, which is itself not an actual race team, consists of the select production based race cars from the Tri-Point Engineering, GMG Racing and Turner Motorsport teams competing on StopTech performance brakes in the Grand-Am Koni Sports Car Challenge Series and the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Series. Both series are broadcast on SPEED channel throughout the year.

The famous Daytona International Speedway challenges racers with a 3.56-mile, 12-turn course that requires precise braking and control to capitalize on its selection of hairpin turns. The winning No. #96 StopTech Brakes BMW M3 from Turner Motorsport pulled 2:01.046 on its fastest lap during the 74 lap race that kicked off the 2009 Koni Challenge Series on January 23, 2009.

The win was Auberlen's 12th in Koni Challenge racing and second in the last three races going back to last year. It was co-driver Matt Bell's first win among the ranks of professional racers. Bell drove the first part of the race then handed the reins to Auberlen during one of the race's cautions.

Heads up: The Brake Room is planning some special coverage of the Long Beach Grand Prix this April. Stay tuned for more info.

February 9, 2009

The Brake Room is Open




Posted by Dan Lelchuk, president of Centric Parts

Welcome to The Brake Room. We are pleased to present this online destination as an opportunity to not only look inside our company and its divisions, but also provide a brake-focused perspective on the automotive aftermarket in general.

As this site grows you will find mechanical tips on brakes, racing tips on braking, a deeper look into the science of stopping, profiles of vehicles that stop traffic and can stop on a dime, industry commentary, updates on highlighted races and racing teams, and much more.

On the company side, you’ll get the heads up on the latest news, programs, and product innovations from Centric Parts as well as Power Slot and StopTech, our performance and ultra-performance divisions.

This wide cross-section aims to have something to offer anyone with an interest in production performance cars. That broad demographic includes performance car owners, collectors, mechanics, and garage owners as well as parts manufacturers, distributors and retailers. These are the people who make up the "Brake Nation"and this is their Brake Room.