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Becoming a Pace Setter

(April 2013) posted on Mon Mar 25, 2013

Panther Graphics has used its racing connection to find wrap success.

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By Mike Antoniak

By then, Kendricks had left his employer and Cross was working with him as a freelancer. The only issue was the time and cost involved shipping equipment back and forth. Now, digital printing on vinyl had become essential to Panther Racing’s look. And, in 2011, “Someone began the conversation, ‘Have you ever thought about doing this in Indianapolis?’” Baumann says. “That seemed intriguing. The more we discussed it, the more we liked the idea, and we began looking for partners.”

Ramping up
It didn’t take much arm twisting to convince Kendricks and Cross to move north, as the core members of what would become Panther Graphics’ full-time staff of five. Once in Indy, they continued in familiar roles: Kendricks as lead printer and installer, and Cross as an installer and specialist in graphic design and file prep.

“Our long-range plans, once we brought [Kendricks and Cross] on board, have always been to offer our services to the public, as a self-supporting business,” says Baumann. “Meeting the needs of Panther Racing would always be a priority, but we also wanted to develop a full portfolio of outside clients.”

Before they could take on any job, however, they needed printing space and equipment. Panther Racing allotted 1000 square feet within its Indianapolis headquarters to the graphics venture, which would operate as a separate entity within the same holding group.

After surveying their print options, Kendricks recommended they invest in a pair of HP Designjet L26500 latex printers, driven by Onyx PosterShop RIPs. As far as print media goes, he’s brand loyal – his preference is Oracal’s OraJet 3551RA with its repositionable RapidAir technology, and the companion OraGuard 290 G gloss laminate film. “Racing cars have special requirements, and I’ve found once these vinyls are stuck, they stay on and hold.”

And unlike popular cars and trucks, for which design templates exist, each racing wrap carries unique requirements, requiring a more custom-design. That responsibility fell to Cross, who uses digital photos, precise measurements, scans, and drawings to guide him in developing the printed sections that comprise each wrap.