SEMA 2017: Burning Rubber At Ford Out Front

While much of the SEMA Show is about static displays of cutting-edge products, there are some really active outdoor events. One of the most prominent is the Ford Out Front display, which showcases all of Ford’s latest hardware in a tire-torturing, crowd-pleasing interactive display. It’s fun to watch and SEMA attendees can also sign up for ridealongs. We caught up with Director of Ford Performance Dave Pericak and NASCAR driver Ryan Blaney to learn more about the action.

“We are out here at Ford Out Front. This is the biggest attraction out here at SEMA. We are showcasing all of our performance products out here,” Dave enthused. “We’ve got Mustangs. We’ve got an RS running behind me. We’ve got Raptors running behind me. I had the opportunity to take Ryan out and we were just using the new Drift Stick that we introduced, which is an electronic handbrake.”

We caught up with Ford Performance Director Dave Pericak burning rubber with NASCAR driver Ryan Blaney using the new Drift Stick at Ford Out Front during the SEMA show.

The whole idea is getting them to experience these products. — Dave Pericak, Ford Performance

Clearly this is a way to get potential customers excited about Ford products, but it’s also a really great way to experience some of the latest hardware in person and from the passenger seat.

“The whole idea is getting them to experience these products and translate that experience into Ford sales,” Dave explained. “Obviously we want to sell cars, but giving this kind of access to drivers like you and engineers that work on the cars and to the cars themselves, this is what this show is all about.”

Even the Ford-sponsored drivers get to take in some of the fun, as Ryan explained to us regarding his first chance behind the wheel in a Focus RS equipped with the new Drift Stick.

Ford demonstrated all of its Ford Performance vehicles and machinery built by its racing and manufacturing partners at the SEMA show. The best part was that attendees could watch the tire-shredding action and sign up for ride-alongs in many of these amazing machines. (Photo Credit: Larry Chen/Ford Performance)

“I never saw it before and I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into,” Ryan said. “…You drove it first and kind of taught me what to do and then I drove it. It’s unbelievable. You just pull the handle, it locks the rearend, and it’s in a drift.”

I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into. — Ryan Blaney, NASCAR driver

Upon hearing that review, Dave said something that we often think about when reveling in all this hardware.

“What other OEM do you know that would be doing something like that?” Dave asked with a smile.

For more on the Ford Performance Drift Stick, check out our full coverage here. And, if are planning to hit the SEMA show next year, don’t miss a chance to participate in Ford Out Front.

About the author

Steve Turner

As Executive Editor of FordNXT and Ford Muscle, Steve Turner brings decades of passion and knowledge to Power Automedia. He has covered the world of Ford performance for over 20 years. From the swan song of the Fox Mustang to the birth of the Coyote, Steve had a front-row seat.
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