Johnny joined the military after high school, served his time, and then used the GI Bill to go to college. He really didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life and began messing with cars and going autocrossing. He worked a short stent helping at a friend’s shop and then got a job at PFC Brakes doing sales and technical support. This job took him all over the world supporting various racing platforms.
His next job was at OG Racing selling safety gear and brakes. He was also making custom seat inserts for race teams. He began working with Elan (makers of the NP01) making seats and started looking at the extrusion they had for their wing. Eventually, they gave him one and he did some testing against a typical carbon wing. Turns out, the Elan profile added several MPH down the back straight and in turns at Road Atlanta. Right then, he knew he had something that works. He made a kit for the BMW M3’s and started making wings for all different vehicles.
Now he has 7 people and they help all sorts of teams with the aero needs. On top of creating wing kits, Nine Lives Racing can also do CFD analysis and provide information and parts to complete the aero package.
Jonny Mill grew up in a small town in California and moved to LA as soon as he graduated high school. He worked at a talent recruiter and had various jobs in the entertainment industry with advertising and marketing. He always enjoyed cars, but things really took off when he developed The E-Stopp (an electronic parking brake). It was intended for handicap vans but soon found an amazing niche in the automotive restoration market. He was approached by Bryan Harrison of SEMA to compete in the first SEMA Launch Pad competition and took first place. After that, he started an innovation company and then began doing marketing/advertising for various TV shows and networks.
He recently took a position at WheelWell.com where users can showcase their car builds. It has grown to an online hangout for car enthusiasts to share reviews, link to all the products used in their build, and even facilitate selling their vehicle. WheelWell’s latest push is their marketplace which allows users to purchase the parts they see on the user’s build. They have even introduced a “mod score” which rewards users for generating their own content and provides discounts in the marketplace.
To check out all the builds, or even add your own ride, check out WheelWell.com
Charlie Eklund moved down to Houston, TX to attend Tuner School in 2017. The people at Hennessey Performance saw something special in Charlie and offered him a job in the admissions department for the school. Since then, Charlie has been the face of Tuner School to narrow down the applicants and help them get jobs after graduation. To further help them out, Charlie helps students find part time jobs while taking classes and they even offer a house where the students can rent a room and not have to worry about furniture.
John Hennessey started Tuner School because he was getting multiple inquiries on how to work on cars and tune them. So, he just decided to meet that specific need and develop a curriculum with various industry experts. The classes are capped at 15 students to focus on providing the best education possible.
Richard Tomlin owns a paint, restoration, and fabrication shop south of Houston, Texas called Apex Auto Works. He made a name for his shop by building cages for Spec Miatas and was cranking out one a week. The shop is located on the way to a road course so he catered to the weekend racers and was able to do anything they wanted from complex fab work to paint and body.
He recently embarked on a new venture by developing an absorbent powder called White Pony Dry. It is far superior to kitty litter at quickly soaking up spills so that you can clean up and get back to work.