Death of a motorsport- Is car audio competition dead?

Posted on 04. Oct, 2009 by in Announcements, Industry News

Car audio competition walking dead? Photo By Sam Valliere

Car audio competition walking dead? Photo By Sam Valliere

This weekend (October 3rd and 4th) marked the 22nd annual USACi World Finals event in Tulsa, OK. Held at the Tulsa Convention Center, this year’s event was a unified World Finals, combining the USACi (United Sates Autosound Competition International) finals with dB Dragracing finals. Featuring a combined total of 100 competitors (including those registered in multiple events), the competition side of things was smaller than that of previous years. With the receeding economy, traveling to a world finals event becomes increasingly more difficult. It was no surprise that many of the competitors were regional, with the majority of them coming from surrounding states like Texas, Missouri, Louisiana and Arkansas, and several from Oklahoma. There were of course a few coming from further away, such as Chicago.

Where my peoples at? Over at the unemployment office probably

Where my peoples at? Over at the unemployment office probably

Walking into the convention center, I was shocked and disappointed. Where just three years ago, it was standing room only, this weekend,

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you were hard pressed to find anybody there that was not a competitor or somehow associated with the event. The spectator level was damn near zero. Even the manufacturers didn’t bother to show up. DB Drive was the major sponsor of the event and their presence was felt by the giant semi-trailer that was next to the stage. Car Toys, one of the biggest car audio shops in Oklahoma (where Gary Biggs, 7-time world champion, got his start) had the next biggest booth, and they footed the bill, not the manufacturers they sell. There were no giveaways, no T-shirts, no swag at all. Not that that is important to me, but handing out free stuff gets people in the doors, and the place was empty. It was very disappointing. I do not expect much in the future from USACi or dB Dragracing. Though the word on the street is that this year’s event was bigger than last year’s, held in Dallas, TX. I spent the day at the event trying to get photo shoots lined up for future feature stories, but that only took about an hour because nobody showed up for the car show. And to think that the Convention Center cost $13,000 for two days.

8 Responses to “Death of a motorsport- Is car audio competition dead?”

  1. Aaron

    04. Nov, 2009

    You should’ve checked out MECA World Finals in Nashville. We had over 50 SQ competitors and 60+ SPL competitors plus several non-audio competitors that showed up for Show and Shine.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Joe

    23. Jan, 2010

    Like NHRA drag racing, car audio competitions have become to complex. Locals that build big “music” systems for small town standards have no chance when pro’s are building one notes SPL rigs that are pushing 10,000 watts per sub. Just 10 years ago the Circuit City road show DB Drag series would pull over 100 competitors and several hundred spectators in New Orleans.
    In the past a customer would compare the SPL of there daily driver stereos. Now these vehicles are not street legal, they only hit one note, and the subs would melt down if they werent burping them.
    A car stereo should have a range of 20-20k. The average song is about 3 minutes so they should be able of playing a full song.
    They should have a long sine sweep “60 seconds” that plays 3 times and the SPL score is averaged. This would force competitors to install a actuall stereo capable of playing “music” and not just a tone and it has to be able to hold up for 3 minutes.
    I had a truck with 24-10′s back in 97 that would hit 157 db legal. It had several sets of component highs and the crowds loved it when I would play regular music during the show and I played it almost constantly durring the day. Now days people see a lot full of vehicles with 1 inch lexan windshields, one note vented spl boxes, and the owners won’t dare play anything for the fans because it doesnt play music. It just buzz’s a single note. Thats no fun. Its not a stereo that they can relate to. Its a preassure box and its boring.

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  3. Ebrahim

    19. Feb, 2010

    I guess it all comes down to cost. I remember I went to the Spring Break Nationals in 1998 and they gave away cds and t-shirts. Now you would be lucky to get anything for free by them. Also some US car audio companies have their products made in China and will NOT be surprised that ALL car audio companies would have their products made in China in the next five to ten years from now.

    Darn politicians.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Ralph Randall

    26. Feb, 2010

    No, they are not dead. The State Fair was in Tulsa that weekend……

    130+ cars in SPL (USACI)
    50+ cars in dBDRA
    49+ cars in USACI SQ
    57 cars in the car show..

    New City, new (earlier) dates, state fair, etc….

    Any question go to We have more events than ever, our average attentance is the highest in 10 years, and no one is slowing down excpet for the manufacturers who have closed their promotional accounts and decided to let us do it without their support. The glitz and glamour that thatir dollars afforded my be gone for now but the spirit and more inpotant the service sound off events serve to thsi industry is stronger and more needed than ever.

    I stand behind the number, visit the USACI event list today.

    Reply to this comment
  5. sid216

    28. Feb, 2010

    I agree with Joe 100%

    Reply to this comment
  6. Jerry

    16. Jan, 2011

    Joe is right. I used to read Car Audio Mag when they showed stealthy installations and focused on SQ. Instead, some dumbass decided that they should only cover demo cars with 30 subs installed in orange fiberglass interiors. To make things worse the car audio industry also has their heads up their ass. The headunits look like it was built by Nike and the technology is outdated. We’re living in a time where I can probably download an app that turns my phone into an RTA analyzer, I expect no less from my headunit or sound processor. To be honest home audio is where the action is at.

    Reply to this comment
  7. kyle

    04. Mar, 2011

    i working in caraudio 20years , now i feel no hope , i close down my shop , go to china take a chance,but even in china ppl is no interest in car audio , they can spend a lot for an dinner, but they dun spend any in car audio.from 2008 i think car audio is over. now 2011,i tried many things,but still not work.ill back to hong kong. and find other things to do.all i can say is fml, why ppl spend at apple(iphone ,ipad,mac…etc)but dun spend any in car audio . that’s need to ask to caraudio manufacture.what’s alpine, pioneer ,rcokford……what they doing? help the car manufacture ?to beat us ?

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  8. Karlos

    11. Jul, 2011

    This certainly is good news!!!

    Reply to this comment

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