“My dad is Neal Chance, and he’s been producing converters for years,” he said. “I grew up in a family where that’s what we did for a living. I literally grew up at the dragstrip.”
Chance worked in the family business until the 1980s – “I realized I could either love or work with them, and I wanted to keep loving them,” he said with a laugh – when he moved into the auto lift industry. At the time, lifts were almost exclusively for the relatively affluent in society, due to their cost and the limited size of residential garages. However, Chance and Gemini changed that with the development of a parking lift that could be mounted on casters. The lift, for which Chance holds a patent, allows people to not only raise and lower their cars, but to also move them around in their garage, thus further taking advantage of the space. Plus, its affordable price of $3,000 meant serious amateur racers and hobbyists could purchase them.
“We know that the typical racer or gearhead is our typical customer, and we appreciate them,” he said. “Our success is due to support from them.”
Cory Heckenlaible is exactly one of those typical racers Chance describes. Heckenlaible won the Mod ET world championship at last year’s Summit SuperSeries. Winning the Gemini Lift prize has definitely eased his repairs and racing prep.
“I had definitely heard of [Gemini Lifts] before the competition, but I didn’t think I was going to win,” he said via phone. “It’s definitely easier than doing everything with jack stands.”
Heckenlaible, who is from Utica, South Dakota, previously used an old lift for any repairs or modifications, but it “squeaked and moaned.” The new lift, obviously, is in much better shape to work with.
“On the first pass at [the Summit SuperSeries], I popped a wheelie and messed up my bumper, license plate and my engine a little bit,” he said. “This winter, I had to put in new rear-end gears; an engine dyno. Raising and lowering the car, instead of having to get underneath it or on top of it, is a lot easier.
“I certainly don’t know what I’d do without it now.”
Chance is always focused on furthering the capabilities of auto lifts, and his current project is an aluminum lift to go with the aluminum trailers racers use to transport their cars. “We recognize the difficulty of using an all-steel lift in an aluminum trailer,” he said. “The ‘Razor Thin’ lift is much lighter and easier to use.”
Gemini Auto Lifts has been manufacturing two- and four-post auto lifts for private and commercial use since 1992. They have experience building everything from two-ton capacity hobby lifts to 100,000-pound lifts for military applications. Their merger with Rad Lifts in 2011 added 20 years of experience in lift construction to an already knowledgeable business. For more information on Gemini Auto Lifts, visit their website at www.geminiautolifts.com and for more information on the IHRA, visit www.IHRA.com
Article by: Chris Pennant