Two for the Road USA
Automotive News and Reviews

Coffee Talk With Cathy

December 7, 2013

Up close in personal with P.A.P.A. and auto celebrities


The Phoenix Automotive Press Association – A Mystery Organization?

unnamed-6You’ve probably heard of the American Business Press Association, the American Amateur Press Association, and of course the big daddy of them all, the Associated Press Association. What about P.A.P.A. the Phoenix Automotive Press Association? Does that ring a bell?

There are about (25) active P.A.P.A. members who are journalists of some sort – that means book authors, videographers, motorsports, museum owners, public relations specialists, magazine writers, internet bloggers, auto photographers and artists, car auction owners, auto manufacturers and even a realtor specializing in homes with garages for four or more cars.  It’s not a club for enthusiasts, but rather a fraternity of like-minded folks who love the automotive industry and want to share current and upcoming industry news in order to stay abreast of the ever changing business.

The meetings are once a month at the Phoenix Art Museum. The guests are unbelievable, thanks to the who’s who of members and their long line of contacts.   It’s not unusual to have Craig Jackson of Barrett Jackson or Drew Alcazar of Russo and Steele at a meeting, the next week celebrity racecar driver and high performance school owner Bob Bondurant. There are presentations by auto manufacturers, race teams, authors and car museum owners. Dues are very little and at the end of the year the organization donates to groups and schools that continue to support traditional journalism and furthering the education of the auto industry.

The most memorable moment for me was meeting and breaking bread with Edsel Ford II, the great grandson of Henry Ford II.  We were an intimate group of about 15 and we enjoyed stories of his great grandfather and the direction of Ford Motor Company. What a nice man he was, modest and candid with all of our questions.  I’m always impressed with our visitors, even if sometimes they get a little too technical for me.  The best part is I can count on a fellow member to explain it to me later.   For more on P.A.P.A. go to

Chevy and Nascar at P.A.P.A.

*photo of Jamie McMurray

*photo of Jamie McMurray

It was a pleasure to meet and have a presentation from the Chevrolet Racing Team. Jim Campbell, Vice President of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports for Chevrolet were in town for PIR and stopped by to visit us.   Jim discussed Chevy’s activities at SEMA and their approach to integrating performance parts across the Chevy line. Jim demonstrated how NASCAR fans become fans of Chevy products at the dealership level. There is a method to the money they put in to NASCAR and their drivers.

Speaking of drivers, we had the pleasure of a one on one meeting with Jamie McMurray.  Jamie talked about the difference in strategy when racing on a restrictor plate track compared to a short track and the difficulty winning a race on a super speedway.  Jamie talked about his relationship with his dad, which gives him encouragement after each race.  Jamie said there is nothing more important than his children, and one of the pics that he shared was of him and his son Carter at Talladega when he won. The win was followed by lots of hugs and tears. unnamed-5

Other visitors from the Chevy Race Team were Jim Brumfield, Pat Suhy, Terry Dolan, Nicki Dolan and Jan Thomas.

It isn’t every day you get to meet a descendent of Ford or a racecar driver, but even without the celebrities, the Phoenix Automotive Press Association keeps to a standard of journalism and media that doesn’t always include Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We communicate in many other ways like pad and pen, telephone and face to face.  I love my job!

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