Booster Masthead

June 1999 Issue Highlights

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AutoZone to Finish Chief Auto Parts Conversion
Exhaust Noise Rule Clarified by the CHP
ISC to Merge with Penske Motorsports


AutoZone has targeted September to complete the conversion of the 281 auto parts stores in California which still carry the Chief Auto parts brand name.

AutoZone purchased Chief Auto Parts in June 1998 and has been working to convert or close the sites during the past year.  AutoZone has already relocated 31 and remodeled 61 Chief Auto Parts stores into AutoZone stores in California, Nevada, Tennessee and Texas.

AutoZone has also converted and reopened 94 Express locations acquired from Pep Boys in October 1998.

"Our AutoZoners have a great track record of delivering unbelievable results in unprecedented timeframes," said Tim Vargo, president and COO of AutoZone.  "We're tremendously encouraged by the improvements in productivity in all of our converted stores."

AutoZone currently retails parts from 2,700 AutoZone and Chief stores in 39 states.  The company also sells heavy-duty truck parts through 43 TruckPro stores in 14 states and automotive diagnostic and repair software through Alldata.


In response to aftermarket and consumer concerns, the California Highway Patrol has clarified its state exhaust noise regulations.

There had been some confusion regarding this issue in the law enforcement community and some citations were issued to drivers with aftermarket modified tailpipes or muffler tips simply because they were not original equipment.

Under California regulations, exhaust noise from a vehicle cannot exceed 95 decibels on a standard or modified exhaust system.

According to CHP Information Bulletin 98-100, the CHP and local police officers are advised that the California Vehicle Code does not automatically prohibit modifications that increase exhaust system noise levels over that of factory-installed systems.  That is, a modified exhaust system can be noisier than the original as long as it doesn't pass the 95 decibel mark.

Because there is no equipment available to officers to test noise levels on the road, officers are advised to use their best judgement to tell if a vehicle is producing over 95 decibels of noise.  If so, they will issue a "notice to correct" or "fix-it" ticket to the driver.

Drivers will then have the opportunity to adjust their exhaust system so its noise level is below 95 decibels or present evidence that the vehicle is in compliance with the 95 decibel standard and get the ticket nullified.

ISC to Merge with Penske Motorsports

International Speedway Corporation and Penske Motorsports Inc. have signed a merger agreement to combine their two "motorsports entertainment" companies.

The new company, which will operate under the ISC name, will manage 10 motorsports facilities across the United States with more than 800,000 seats and 400 suites, including the California Speedway in Fontana.  This year, the two companies will promote more than 100 motorsports events.

The combined companies will also manufacture and distribute racewear and fan collectibles, operate a motorsports-oriented radio station, and market Goodyear-branded tires in the East and Southeast among other diverse business activities.

Under terms of the agreement, ISC will acquire the 88% of Penske Motorsports stock that it does not already own for $50 a share or approximately $700 million in total.  The merger is expected to close "early in the fourth quarter."

Originally published in the June/July 1999 issue of Automotive Booster Magazine.
Copyright 1999 by KAL Publications Inc.

Covering the California auto parts aftermarket since 1928.