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    • By NAPA
      Mooresville, NC (January 18, 2023) – Kasey Kahne Racing (KKR) and NAPA announced today that they have agreed to a multi-year contract extension. Brad Sweet will continue to pilot the team’s No.49 machine as he has been the primary driver since 2017 when the partnership began.
      “We have had a blast teaming up with NAPA on the 49 and are thrilled to have the opportunity to keep winning with them. NAPA is a great partner, and it’s so fun to see how many store owners and employees join us at the track throughout the year,” said Kasey Kahne, president of Kasey Kahne Racing.
      The partial partnership began in 2017 when Sweet claimed 2nd in the World of Outlaws Series point standings. Concluding the 2017 season, NAPA elevated their role to become the primary sponsor of the No.49, which has since won several of the most prestigious sprint car racing events, the 2018 Knoxville Nationals, 2019 King’s Royal & the 2019 Jackson Nationals. Sweet and the NAPA No.49 team are looking to Drive for Five consecutive championships in 2023! The new season will kick off Thursday, February 9, 2023, at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Florida.
      “I’m excited to continue our partnership with NAPA. We’ve won four championships and countless races together. I’ve met so many great NAPA store owners and employees along the way and am excited to continue representing the NAPA family across the country,” said Brad Sweet, driver of the 49.
      About KKR
      Kasey Kahne Racing, located in Mooresville, NC, was formed in 2005 and employs more than ten people dedicated to sprint car racing. The organization fields two entries in the World of Outlaw Sprint Car Series; Brad Sweet (No.49) and former NASCAR Cup Series driver Kasey Kahne (No.9). In 2013, KKR’s Great Clips No.9, driven by Daryn Pittman, won their first World of Outlaws Series Championship while earning the Kasey Kahne Racing organization their first title as well. Brad Sweet joined KKR in 2012 and has since then won four consecutive World of Outlaws Series Championships along with a list of historic event wins.
      About NAPA
      Through nearly 6,000 auto parts stores and over 17,000 auto care and collision centers in the U.S., NAPA has America’s largest network of parts and care. The NAPA Network is supported by nationwide distribution centers with more than 700,000 available parts, accessories, and supplies. Widely recognized for quality parts, rapid availability and knowledgeable people, NAPA Auto Parts stores serve automotive service professionals, do-it-yourselfers and everyday drivers with quality parts, accessories and supplies to keep cars, trucks and equipment performing safely and efficiently. For more information, visit
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    • By Counterman
      Auto-Wares Group of Companies has announced its 2022 Supplier Award winners.
      This year, Auto-Wares recognized eight companies for their collaboration, contributions and success throughout the year.
      The awards were presented at the Auto-Wares Group of Companies end-of-year Winter Live Sales Meeting in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where more than 200 company employees were in attendance. The Auto-Wares team gathered to sharpen selling skills, learn about product innovations, discuss the automotive aftermarket and present awards to high performers.
      Auto-Wares Group of Companies recognized Valvoline as its Supplier of the Year for 2022.
      “Auto-Wares has a long history of providing top-quality automotive parts and services to its customers, and Valvoline has been an integral part of that success,” Auto-Wares said in a news release. “Valvoline has consistently provided Auto-Wares with high-quality products and exceptional customer support and service.”
      Michelle Allen, vice president at Valvoline, and Todd Mullins, strategic account manager, were in attendance to accept the award.
      Valvoline is a leading provider of automotive lubricants and services, with a history dating back to 1866. The company is known for its innovative products and commitment to quality and has earned a reputation as one of the top suppliers in the industry.
      “We are proud to partner with Valvoline and are honored to recognize them as our 2022 Supplier of the Year,” Auto-Wares said. “We look forward to continued collaboration with Valvoline and are excited to see what the future holds.”
      2022 Award Winners
      2022 Supplier of the Year – Valvoline 2022 Rising Star Supplier of the Year – BBB Industries/OE Turbo Power 2022 Sales & Marketing Supplier of the Year – Bosch 2022 Data & Technology Supplier of the Year – NA Williams/Delphi Technologies 2022 Outstanding Shipping Suppliers of the Year BBB Industries Standard Motor Products MotoRad Precision Remanufacturing Battery Specialists Inc. 2022 Reps of the Year Cindy Ford, Standard Motor Products Patrick Mulrooney,NA Williams The post
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    • By Counterman
      As modern cars and light trucks continue to grow in complexity, their maintenance needs are changing. Component failures that were commonplace just a decade or two ago are becoming much less common today.
      An example of this is the throttle-position sensor (TPS). This small plastic sensor would be mounted on the throttle body, usually on the opposite of the throttle cable. The TPS was used to tell the engine control unit (ECU) what angle the throttle body was being opened to by the driver, and the ECU would adjust the fuel as needed based on this data as well as other inputs.
      A faulty TPS reading can cause a number of drivability concerns, including:
      • Unexplained bucking or jerking of the engine
      • Surging engine idle
      • Engine stalling, stumbling or hesitation
      These sensors were rather inexpensive and usually pretty easy to replace. They didn’t fail too often, but I can remember having to replace them on a few of my own vehicles, as well as some customer vehicles. So what happened to throttle-position sensors, and why don’t we see them as often today?
      Throttle-By-Wire
      Throttle-by-wire technology has been called by many names, but it operates on a simple principle – an electronic throttle body is used to meter the air entering the engine. This electronic throttle body is controlled by the ECU based on a number of inputs including accelerator-pedal position, mass airflow, manifold air pressure, wheel speed and more. But the important thing to understand is that there is no longer a mechanical link between the accelerator pedal under the dashboard and the throttle body on the engine. So why is this important?
      By decoupling the accelerator pedal from the throttle body, automakers are able to precisely control the throttle angle in all operating conditions to maximize throttle response and traction, reduce emissions and improve fuel economy. Throttle-by-wire systems are able to maximize the benefits of variable-valve timing and direct fuel injection by precisely controlling how much air is introduced to the engine.
      With the advent of throttle-by-wire systems, we’ve seen a change in how the ECU measures the throttle position. The TPS still is being used today, but it’s now incorporated into the electronic throttle body. In fact, some electronic throttle bodies may contain more than one TPS. By using multiple sensors, the ECU can monitor and compare both sensor inputs. Redundancy in electronic systems can be a very good thing.
      We’ll talk more about the pros and cons of throttle-by-wire a little bit later, but the fact that the TPS is now incorporated into the electronic throttle body can be a big drawback down the road. You see, it means that the system is now less serviceable than it was in the past. If a TPS failed on a cable-driven throttle body, you could replace the sensor for around $30 to $40 and be back on the road. If a TPS fails inside an electronic throttle body, now you have to replace the entire unit, and that could cost hundreds of dollars.
      Then, after the electronic throttle body has been replaced, you’ll need to perform a “relearn procedure” so the ECU can learn how the new throttle body reacts to input, and where the internal mechanical stops are located. Failing to perform this critical step can cause a number of drivability concerns, and a costly customer comeback.
      There has been a trend in the automotive space for quite some time now where components are becoming more and more “modular.” When I say “modular,” I really mean “pre-assembled.” After all, vehicles are engineered to go down the assembly line as fast as possible. They’re not engineered to be easy to work on. So it makes sense that automakers would get creative with incorporating certain components together into a modular assembly that can be installed more quickly. Of course, the major drawback with this idea is that the replacement costs are increased, and that cost will eventually fall onto the vehicle owner once the warranty period expires.
      Advantages & Disadvantages of Throttle-By-Wire
      Throttle-by-wire systems offer a number of advantages. They contain fewer moving parts, so that means less maintenance and lower overall vehicle weight. Their precision allows for improved fuel economy and reduced tailpipe emissions, as well as a better overall driving experience for the typical driver. Finally, the throttle body can be used to help the traction or stability control regain vehicle control.
      These systems also have a few drawbacks. They’re more expensive to develop, manufacture and replace. They’re more complex due to the wiring and electronic control units that are used. Some drivers may complain about a time delay or “lag” in engine response after they change their accelerator-pedal input.
      Finally, they’re harder to service for technicians. Sure, there aren’t any cables or linkage points to grease or maintain, but the real difficulty lies in the electronic controls. Complex wiring and communication systems are needed in order to control the electronic throttle body and related systems. There also are special procedures that must be followed whenever servicing the electronic throttle body. If an electronic throttle body is replaced, the relearn procedure must be performed. This has a profound effect on engine performance, drivability and idle quality.
      If you find yourself selling a replacement electronic throttle body to a customer, there are a few questions you should be asking. Do they have a scan tool that’s capable of bi-directional control? A simple code reader won’t work here. They need the real thing in order to relearn the new electronic throttle body. Many electronic throttle bodies are installed in plastic intake manifolds, so it’s a good idea to sell them a new throttle-body seal as well. Finally, it’s a good idea to check with the customer to see if they’ve inspected the wiring harness and connections for any signs of rubbing, fraying or other issues. These sorts of problems can come back to bite them later on down the road.
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    • By Counterman
      Parts Authority announced it has acquired B&L Auto Parts and Paint, headquartered in Bangor, Maine.
      The transaction was finalized on Dec. 16.
      B&L Auto Parts and Paint has served the Maine area for more than 47 years. The business opened its doors in 1975 as a small independent parts store, and has grown into a 22,000-square-foot facility that provides customers with one of the largest selections of parts and specialty products in the area, and delivers first-class customer service, according to Parts Authority.
      “Parts Authority is a fast-growing, innovative automotive parts distribution business leader,” said Gerald Doane, owner of B&L Auto Parts and Paint. “Their unmatched parts availability and customer-driven values align with B&L’s, creating synergy. The B&L team will significantly benefit from joining a company that respects and fosters the growth of its team members.”
      “Gerald and the team at B&L have been committed to providing customers with the best parts and customer service possible,” said Randy Buller, president, and CEO of Parts Authority. “This is an amazing opportunity as we expand Parts Authority into new territory. I want to welcome all the talented people at B&L to the team!”
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