Former Polaris execs go from motor oil to cooking oil

Former Polaris CEO Ken Larson and former Polaris Vice President of Marketing Ed Skomoroh are working together again, this time as investors in a company called Restaurant Technologies. Larson is the chairman of the board, as well.
The company is privately held and based in Eagan, Minn. The company makes and services machinery that stores, handles and disposes of cooking oil used at restaurants. Fast-food giant McDonalds is a client.
“You need to look at it as a long-term investment,” Skomoroh said. “We won’t have any returns for maybe another five years. We’re in our growth period. All of our earnings are going back into the business to create more distribution centers.”
Polaris Establishes Hall Of Fame
With an audience of world-wide dealers, Polaris Inc. announced the creation of a Polaris Hall Of Fame. The celebration was part of the company’s “Way Out Weekend” 50th Anniversary party at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in July.
Inducted into the Hall were Polaris’ three founders: David Johnson, Allen Hetteen and Edgar Hetteen. Other charter inductees included longtime Polaris employees Orlen Johnson and Raynold Monsrud; retired company executive W. Hall Wendel, Jr. and Polaris dealers Mies Outland of Watkins, Minn., and Headingley Sport Shop of Headingley, Manitoba, Canada.
The company also honored two longtime supplier partners: Fuji Heavy Industries, an engine supplier since the late-1960s; and TEAM Industries, a supplier of numerous precision-machined components.
900 Fusion Track Change
Dealer feedback has resulted in a production change on the Polaris 900 Fusion. The machine, originally slated for a 1-inch-lug track, will now use a 15- by 121- by 1.25-inch Camoplast Rip Saw track. The 1-inch lug was originally chosen to work best with the machine’s speed, but dealers who rode the machine last spring said the machine didn’t hook up well enough.
Further testing with a 1.25-inch lug track showed improved acceleration without sacrificing top speed, said Polaris Snowmobile Marketing Communications Manager Ted Smokstad. The change will not affect the price of the sled, but 900 Fusion owners will need to buy a rear cooler protector kit if they install studs. Polaris offers the kit as an accessory. The tunnel is stamped with stud protectors.
Straightline, Straight South
Jason Houle, owner of Straightline Performance in Forest Lake, Minn., spent some time in Puerto Rico in April — tuning snowmobile engines. Houle, and other employees, were invited to bring their expertise — and sleds — to the Ponce International Speedway in the town of Ponce.
In addition to making demonstration runs of their 2002 Polaris pro stock asphalt drag sled, Houle helped ATV racers tune their engines. A large number of the ATV racers use Rotax 670cc engines and transfer the power through Polaris clutches, Houle said. But he added that a lot of the racers don’t know how to tune snowmobile clutches and their machines don’t perform to their potential.
Houle and employee Dale Ibister helped several of the racers swap springs and weights. Their work helped some racers pick up five or six mph and shaved .2- to .3-second off their times in a 660-foot run, Houle said. The races usually attract about 150 ATVs, drivers and thousands of fans.
Schuldt Moves To 50 Below
John Schuldt, racing manager at Amsoil, will take on a new position with 50 Below, a marketing technology firm based in Duluth, Minn. Schuldt’s position at Amsoil will be covered by Ed Newman, who will continue handling corporate team and event sponsorships, and Kevin McBride, who will continue with sponsorship requests. Amsoil is based in Superior, Wis.
Pro Snowmobile Grass Drag Racing may be coming to a television near you. Series owner Ken Crouch has secured a contract with Speed TV to broadcast three races — Hastings, Michigan; Fenwick, Ontario; and Haydays in Minnesota — on the Lucas Oil “Over The Edge” extreme motorsports show. The races will be three half-hour segments featuring race coverage, mixed with some behind-the-scenes action, of six classes: Stock 600, 700 and 800, Improved Stock 1000, Pro Stock 1000 and Heavy Mod 1000. Each episode will air twice, starting in November. The events covered are part of the International Snowmobile Drag Series, which will crown International Champions at series’ end.
Team Changes
– Snocross’ Hentges Racing Team has signed pros Justin Tate and Brad Pitlik, each to a one-year deal. Todd Wolff will return as the team’s manager. The team will ride Polaris machines.
– Earl Reimer and Ryan Kenny will race for a new snocross team: Boss Racing out of Winnipeg, Manitoba. The team will race Polaris sleds. Team owners are drag racer Garry Querel and Wayne Ostopowich. Öhlins is a major sponsor.
– Todd Krikke and Chad Gueco will ride Yamaha in the Midwest International Racing Association enduro events, as well as the Soo I-500. The team manager is enduro racer Troy Pierce.
– Snocrossers Shaun and Kurtis Crapo are back with Arctic Cat this season. The brothers, along with Robbie Malinoski and Ryan Simons, will race out of the Team Olah trailers. psb

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