Breaking the Sound and Sales Barrier
There are four major recognized sanctioning bodies in the world of SPL competition: dB Drag Racing, MECA, IASCA and USACi (the last two organizations now sharing space for a unified world finals). Owens is on the path to become the World Record holder in all of the organizations. According to the champ, "I started to build SPL cars in 1997. Soon thereafter, I was hired by Precision Power to build demo cars and be a part of Team Gates." That's Gates, as in Alma Gates, the elder lady spokesperson and champion of SPL competition who has more enthusiasm for the sport than most teenagers. Owens continues, "It was in 2002 that my relationship with Pioneer began. Now we have a total of 19 World Titles and, out of those, eight World Championships." We caught up with Alma Gates herself at a dealer event. She mentioned that, "Pioneer and Scott Owens accomplished an amazing thing by breaking the 180 dB barrier. It was a real rush watching Owens in the lanes."
Chris Kehring, brand manager, marketing communications for Pioneer, is responsible for being the liaison between the manufacturer and its SPL team. He attributes Owens' success to the superior product used in the F250. "The current set-up includes 13 12-inch TS-W5000SPL woofers and 52 (yes, you read that right) PRS-D5000SPL amplifiers. The woofers feature a very strong cone design that utilizes carbon fiber to reinforce it. The amplifiers are 'Low Current Density.' This means they feature higher rated components to withstand the rigors of competition without breakdown." Indeed, it is a testament to Pioneer products. The amplifiers were originally installed three years ago and have run through three competition seasons of abuse without any major malfunctions. Kehring continues, "We learn about product design through competition. We see what works in Scott's F250 and incorporate that technology into our newest products." It helps that Owens keeps meticulous records of every time he competes with the system and learns what works and what doesn't. This information is passed along to Pioneer. Kehring notes, "It has been a stigma in the mobile electronics world that Japanese manufacturers could not [deliver products that could] 'get loud.' Scott is breaking that stereotype!"