Recently a market representative all the way from Yamaha Japan came to visit Mark Bartley, owner of Bartley Racing Enterprises LLC of Anderson, MO. Kazuomi Hanabuse, KAZ for short, the Senior Supervisor for marketing of Yamaha Motor Powered Products Co., LTD. flew in after conversing via email for about a year. He wanted to see the Baby Grand Stock car manufacturing operations and see the platform using the Yamaha motorcycle engine.
Bartley states: “In 1995 the manufacturing of frame jigs, body molds, vendor contracts with Yamaha Motors, Hoozier tires, Arrow Wheels, Winters quick-change rear ends, etc. was set up. In 1996 began selling Baby Grand Stockcars to the public. The first season of racing was held in the midwest with a total of 23 races being held.
To date more than 400 race cars are produced competing nationwide AND internationally (36 in the UK, 15 in Canada, 10 in Australia with 15 in Alaska), both on oval tracks and road courses.
The significance of KAZ visiting the manufacturing operations was to work out a deal utilizing a new Yamaha engine. We currently use the XJR1300 (1250CC) that is being fazed out from Yamaha production. Baby Grands have used this engine for over 25 years!
I showed him how ‘GRAND’ it would be if Yamaha built a manufacturing or assembly plant here in McDonald County! He really liked the area.”
It is not known yet what this means for the future relationship with Yamaha, but the community is very excited to be involved in this growing relationship!