March Memories Cancelled

(Excerpted from RE Report – January 2014)

Our “March Memories” weekend has been canceled due to conflicting schedules. SCCA scheduled their National Convention to be held in Charlotte on the same weekend as we normally have “March Memories”. Consequently, we were forced to try to find a substitute date to hold that race, so as not to deny those members who wished to take advantage of the National Convention being so close by. Last year it was in Las Vegas. We weren’t able to schedule an earlier date, because the renovations on the track would not be completed until March 5th and all other possible dates were already booked. Therefore, we reluctantly cancelled the event. Even though we have tried for years to make it otherwise, this race is normally not profitable for us, and we may actually save money by not having it! “March Memories” will return for 2015, and we will work harder to make it profitable then.

VIR has undergoing many changes over the winter. The Oak Tree, as you know, is gone and there will be considerable modifications to the track configuration as a direct result of the paving project. Several corners have been widened; most of the paddock has been paved; pit road is wider and longer; the Start stand will be all new and moved farther down the track toward Turn One. The old Start stand is gone, as well as the trees at Pit Out, therefore allowing a clearer view down track to drivers as they traverse the “kink” at Start/Finish and to remove any solid objects from the edge of the track in a very high-speed area.      Read the entire RE Report here.

Carver’s on Elm Goes Up in Flames

The Restaurant where the NCR Board of Directors meeting is normally held was destroyed by fire recently. Read about it and see video here. We are currently looking for a new location.

North Carolina Region Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner 2013

The annual meeting of the North Carolina Region was held in conjunction with the 2013 Awards Dinner at Caffé Luna in Raleigh, on January 11th. About a hundred members attended and the festivities were in high gear. Just as last year, the food was excellent and the first order of business was to thank Bibi Tucker Harrison, wife of outgoing Member-at-Large Neal Harrison, for having arranged everything. A “banquet committee” of one, she did another outstanding job. Many thanks to Bibi!

Emcee Ed Wentz opened the meeting and introduced recently re-elected RE Rex Deffenbaugh, who gave a short report on the state of the Club. Rex indicated that while we had a very successful year, in terms of successful racing events, that the racing program had suffered some significant financial losses in 2013. We had not anticipated the substantial costs we had to bear to repair that part of the tech shed at VIR which houses our scales. We also spent extra money on upgrading our radios. Additionally our advertising costs were higher than what the revenue from our races could bear. And finally the cost of hospitality, the lunches we feed our workers and the after-racing socials, had spiraled beyond what we can afford. As a result Rex said, we would be initiating some cut-backs in both advertising and hospitality, with the hope of controlling those, since there is so much else in our racing budget which is not under our control, such as track rental, insurance and sanction fees. Rex indicated that the Region will institute a new voucher program for lunches and reduce the amount of hors d’oeuvres, but we will not eliminate the beer (a small cheer went up at this news). He also indicated that we will dramatically reduce our print advertising in favor of using the new “e-mail blast” system that had just been implemented.

Treasurer Steve Keadle indicated that Rex had covered enough of the salient points about our financial situation, so he himself declined to elaborate any further. That cleared the way for the Solo report, from outgoing Cape Fear Chapter Coordinator and Solo Program administrator, Chris Severt. Chris indicated that the Solo program had had its best year yet. They finished the year about $8000 in the black and had more entrants and more cars per event than ever. Much of this was accomplished by increasing the number of 2-day events, which allows the costs for insurance and sanction fees to be spread over a longer period. But also the program had become more efficient due to the dedication and expertise of the volunteers who put those events on. The number of runs per event had gone up, the number of re-runs down, and they were now averaging an unprecedented 92 cars per event. Because of their success, they were finally able to purchase some badly-needed equipment, such as backup timing lights, a new laptop, and a parking lot blower.

In addition, they raised $300 at a charity event for our sister SCCA Region, Southern Virginia Region, which had suffered a huge loss due to the theft of their Solo trailer, as well as a carload of toys for Toys for Tots. Chris introduced his replacement for the 2014 season, John Byers, who will take over as Cape Fear Chapter Coordinator and Solo Chair, and closed by making an appeal for used helmets. The Solo program has grown so much in recent years that they are desperately short of loaner helmets. Any Snell-rated helmet, from 2000 or 2005 will do; even motorcycle ones, so all members with used helmets are urged to donate them. Just contact any Board member and we’ll see that they get forwarded to the Solo program.

This concluded the business meeting, and dinner was served, buffet-style. After dinner, emcee Ed Wentz, began the awards ceremony by thanking the outgoing Members-at-Large, Neal Harrison and Wayne Quick, and outgoing Secretary Jerry Pell, for their service. He then introduced new members, Secretary Steve Rose, and Members-at-Large, Heather Powers, and Blair “Pepe” Stitt, both of whom had served on the Board before. Then Ed Wentz began the awards presentations, which were interspersed with door prize giveaways, to keep things lively. There were many gift cards to popular restaurants as well as four free entries to our races at VIR. The following article is a summary of those awards.

North Carolina Region Awards 2013

Volunteers

Before we began with our awards to our volunteers, who have gone above and beyond this year, we pointed out the North Carolina Region members lauded for the many days of service in the December issue of SportsCar?

Treasurer and Steward Steve Keadle topped the list with over 30 days, followed by Member-at-Large and Steward Wayne Quick, with over 20 days. Wayne’s wife and Chief of Sound Control for our events, Jean Quick volunteered between 12 and 19 days at the track, as did our Chief Starter James Buckberry, and one of our Flag Chiefs, Mark Biamonte. Awesome folks! Hat’s off to you all!

Except where noted, the following awards were presented by the emcee, Ed Wentz)

Registration (presented by Ginny Condrey, Chief of Registration)

  • Outstanding Service — Registration:  Walt Michael
    Already a Steward, Walt is a steady worker who is willing to pitch in wherever he’s needed, and he’s always there on Friday night. He even volunteered to go into the paddock and register the guys who came in advance for the test days, so that they didn’t have to leave the track and come back again!

Pit and Grid

  • Rookie Worker of the Year — Pit:  Connie Dunbar
    Neither Connie nor Chief of Pit Road, her husband, Johnnie Dunbar, could be present, but their service was noted. SCCA is all about families. Apparently, Johnnie couldn’t find the right help at the track so he decided to bring it from home!
     
  • Outstanding Service — Grid:  Clayton Condrey
    Just a few years ago, he was Rookie of the Year for Grid; now he’s the Chief. He has “Chiefed” all the events he could. He could not Chief the National because he does not yet have a National license, but he travelled out of Region to work other events to help earn that National. Great effort by a full-time student, not yet 21!

Fire and Rescue (presented by EV Chief Tim Gardner and the emcee)

  • Rookie Worker of the Year – Fire and Rescue:  Jamie Gardner
    Tim Gardner also decided to bring his own help from home! Thanks to you both!
  • Rookie Worker of the Year – Fire and Rescue:  Natasha Euliss-Uftring
    And Tim also recruited new help… the wife of a driver and corner worker, John Uftring. Apparently, Natasha found the paddock too boring.

Pace Car (presented by Ed Wentz, who is also the Pace Car chief)

  • Outstanding Service – Pace Car:  Natasha Euliss-Uftring
    And Natasha did the Region another good turn. She earned this award for her extraordinary efforts to obtain some really cool pace cars for our events. Natasha got Foreign Cars Italia to lend us a Maserati and several new premium vehicles to use. Guess riding the wrecker with EV wasn’t fast enough!

Tech (presented by emcee and Buddy Matthews, Chief of Tech)

  • Rookie Worker of the Year — Tech:  Rusty Matthews
    Buddy Mathews also brought his own help from home and we hear he’s grooming Rusty to be Chief someday. Rusty couldn’t be present, but he will be going to the SEDIV convention with Buddy.

Timing and Scoring (presented by Anna Crissman)

  • Rookie Worker of the Year – T&S:  Daniella Sava
  • Rookie Worker of the Year – T&S:  Felix Ciascai
    These two volunteers are the wife and son of Steward Marcel Ciascai, and though none of them could be present, we applauded their service. Daniella took to Timing so well that by the 13-hour, she was training the race team volunteers!

Flagging and Communications (presented by Eric Danielsen, Chief F&C)

  • F&C Worker of the Year:  Paul Hoecke
    Paul is a seasoned veteran who is a long-time member. He is a qualified Corner Captain who continues to hone his flagging skills and train new people. Paul is a quiet person who can always be found pitching in when help is needed. He helps set up, tear down and clean up. Paul does it all!
     
  • Rookie Worker of the Year – F&C:  Sam Via
    Sam first worked F&C as a team volunteer during the 2012 13-Hour. He thought it was the coolest thing and got excited every time he saw a Miata on the street. He flagged 4 of our 5 events in 2013 and plans to venture into Pro events this year. His enthusiasm for Flagging is contagious; expect big things in the future.

Solo Program (presented by Chris Severt, Solo Chairman)

  • Solo Worker of the Year:  David Culp
    David is a worker’s worker. A deacon in his church, there have been some Sundays where he has arrived early at an event, helped set up, and used the blower to clean off the site, then left to go to church, and never even had a chance to run himself!
     
  • Outstanding Service to the Solo Program:  Gaylord Spaulding
    Gaylord is a long-time member of the SCCA originally from out-of-state who, since relocating to our area, shows up at every event to help out, and he doesn’t even drive!

Drivers

Solo Program (presented by Chris Severt)

  • Rookie of the Year — Regional Solo:  Adrian Willis
    It was quite a year for this rookie. He not only won his class overall, but was 12th overall in the PAX index, surpassing many a seasoned competitor.
     
  • Driver of the Year — Regional Solo:  Brandon Wiggins
    Eight times he won his class at our events, so he also won it overall as well. And if that wasn’t impressive enough, he was second in PAX points as well. Truly a great season!

Racing Program

The SARRC series

NCR had more than a couple of SARRC Champions this year:

  • FV, Shannon Jones, 176 points (winner of a DOY award in 2010)
  • STU, Alex Phelps, 192 points (winner of a DOY award in 2012)
  • T2, Mickey Snow, 144 points (also second in T2 with 156 points)
  • IT7R, Blair Stitt, 120 points

There were also several hard-fought battles, where it’s no shame to come in second:

  • Victor Seaber took 2nd in FS, only 1 point behind first place with 101 points. Victor won a DOY award back in 2002.
  • Alastair McEwan took 2nd in FB with 126 points.
  • Rickey Thompson took 2nd in ITR with 184 points among 21 competitors.
  • Jeff Giordano took 2nd in ITS with 167 points and he had 101 competitors.
  • Michael Sperber took 2nd in ITA with 159 among 83 competitors.

All of which brings us to the next award, with one of the hardest fought battles in the Division. There was a four-way tie for first place going into the SIC. Two drivers qualified on the front row and then dueled lap after lap, passing and re-passing each other until only one remained. The video on YouTube is awesome to watch. So with his first place in IT-7 and 180 points against 31 eager competitors, NCR awards

  • Driver of the Year — Regional Racing:  Steve Rose
    That’s quite a long way for a guy who won a Hard Luck and Perseverance award last year!

Endurance Racing

But SARRC isn’t the only series we run in the Southeast, there’s also the ECR Enduro championship, and some NCR drivers did very well in that too. For example, there were a couple of second in class finishers

  • Paul Perez in IT7R and Tom Long in STU, both former DOY winners took second place finishes in the ECR, as did Bernie Baake in IT7.

And

  • Jim Taggart (last year’s DOY for overall performance) took first in STU.

But Jim didn’t run many races. Our winner of the Driver of the Year trophy in Endurance Racing won more than double the points (51) though he only finished second in class. But that class was Spec Miata with 83 other competitors. He also scored 13 National points ​and 24 in SARRC, a very active season. So our Enduro Driver of the Year is

  • Driver of the Year — Enduro:  John Linger

Rookie of the Year

Every driver has to start somewhere and some keep at it. We are fortunate enough to have one who has come on board recently and cannot seem to get enough. He tried racing a couple of times before. But it’s been 35 years since he raced the last time and he didn’t do it for very long. For all intents and purposes then, he’s a rookie. So eager was he to compete that he went all over the place to get his competition license, to Summit Point and to Thunderhill in New Jersey. Then he raced the SARRC/MARRS with us and even tried out one of our Solos in his Spec Miata. But when he got a chance to buy a good, used Spec Racer Ford he jumped at that, and he raced at Roebling, Summit Point, and VIR in that class. No, he didn’t win his class, but he’s getting better all the time. So keep an eye out for our

  • Rookie of the Year – Regional Racing:  Randel Sink

National Competition

This year saw a big change in National competition with the arrival of the Majors. It was a year in transition, but NCR had many drivers fiercely competing for their shot at the RunOffs, and the chance to be National Champion.

There were some hard fought battles to second place:

  • Wayne Quick, GT3, Ford Probe, 19 points
  • Jim Taggart, STU, Lotus Exige, 112 points

And some folks who took home first place honors in the Division, notably

  • CJ Moses, T2, Mitsubishi Evo, 110 points (our 2012 DOY in National Racing)
  • Robert Noell, FM, STAR MAZDA, 129 points

And there were guys who showed their mettle at the RunOffs despite not having finished so well getting there:

  • Doug Piner was only 3rd in SEDIV in DSR and he finished only 6th at the RunOffs but his run up from having qualified 13th so impressed the SCCA judges that they awarded him the Sunoco Hard Charger award for his efforts.

But the real battle, as far as North Carolina Region was concerned, was in GT2. The top three drivers in GT2 in the Southeast Division are all North Carolina Region members: Russ Snow in his Corvette, Pete Peterson in his Toyota Celica, and Kurt Roehrig in his Camaro. Talk about racing your buddies! In the end, the guy who was victorious had a whopping 135 points and is our Driver of the Year in National Racing. He also qualified 13th but finished up in 7th at the RunOffs.

  • Driver of the Year – National Racing:  Russ Snow

Hard Luck and Perseverance

Sometimes things never go right. When that happens, many people just quit. Others are made of sterner stuff. Twenty-five years ago Dwight Cooke was part of the 25th Anniversary RunOffs, in the same yellow TR4 that he races today. It was his ambition to be part of the 50th Anniversary RunOffs in that car as well. So he embarked on a full season of National Racing to get there. But that’s tough in a car that arguably belongs in vintage racing. Still, he managed to get third place finish in the Division in E Prod, even if his point total was less than half that of the second place guy. Dwight was going to compete in the RunOffs again and that was that. But the fates seemed to be against him.

The Triumph blew a head gasket after the first qualifying session and he had to be towed from the grid. To make matters even worse, the tow guy was in a hurry and didn’t hook the car up properly. Instead of using the tow hook, he wrapped the strap around the roll bar for Dwight to hold, but he didn’t do it properly. Sure enough, when the tow driver turned his vehicle, the strap slipped and Dwight had to grab it with his free right hand. But then his hand became entangled in the strap and before the tow driver stopped, the strap severely injured Dwight’s hand. Dwight had to go to the emergency room and have his bloody fingers stitched up. Ouch!

There was no time to work on the car. No time for his hand to heal. It seemed hopeless. But the next day, his friends helped him cut up an old glove, wrap his bandaged hand in a Nomex sock, and fill the leaking TR4 up with water, so that Dwight could take the grid. He took the green and completed 2 laps before he had to pull in. The rest is history. He made the 50th Anniversary RunOffs despite the damage to his car and to himself. It wasn’t easy and surely was painful. And for that we award him this trophy in best spirit of the SCCA:

  • Hard Luck and Perseverance:  Dwight Cooke

Tarheel Cup Pro Series

The Tarheel Cup Pro Series is the Region’s own professional series and it was only fitting that the Series Administrator (and newly-elected Region Secretary) Steve Rose present the year-end awards for that series to close the Awards presentation ceremonies.

TCPS Driving Awards (presented by Steve Rose, TCPS Series Administrator)

  • STU Champion:  Alex Phelps
  • IT7 Champion:  Heather Powers
  • IT7 second place:  Rex Deffenbaugh
  • IT7R champion:  Blair Stitt
  • ITA 3rd place:  John Lindquist

A complete list of award winners is already posted in the TCPS final points page on the Region website, http://www.ncrscca.com/sites/default/files/results/club/2013/tcps/TCPS_POINTS_2013.pdf
 

NCR Prestige Awards

Prestige awards (presented by the emcee and the RE Rex Deffenbaugh)

We saved the best for last. These are the awards we give to individuals for going beyond what everybody else does. These are people who really make this Club special.

Worker of the Year

You will all remember that this was the year that we lost one of the most dedicated volunteers this Club has ever known, Phil Hennrich. He left a huge void and someone had to step up to fill it. “Radio” Phil took care of the radios, the walkie-talkies that are vitally necessary for the running of our races. We provide radios to every specialty, not just F&C. It’s a huge job on a normal race weekend. But this year the radios had to be re-banded because the FCC had mandated that the frequency bands get narrower, and this had to be coordinated with VIR. And many of our headsets were wearing out, as were the expensive rechargeable batteries that power the units.

Our Worker of the Year was up to the challenge. He took over as radio tech job from Phil Hennrich and we have never been in better shape. He checked and fixed every headset, switch, plug and cable. He bought some new equipment. He changed the way we handle and store the headsets to prevent unnecessary damage. He built a radio base station for race control when VIR took theirs out. And he coordinated reprograming the radios when the FCC mandated narrow banding of the frequencies came due. And he did all this while providing the Board of Directors with a detailed budget for them to examine and approve. We knew exactly what we were getting into and now we have never been in better shape. The consensus is that our radio problems at our races have dropped to almost nil. For this we award

Worker of the Year:  David Turner

Member of the Year

The tech shed at VIR is a rather large building with 2 parts. One side is empty and used for inspections and tear downs. The other houses the expensive scales owned by North Carolina Region. We had that half of the tech shed constructed by an outside contractor soon after VIR reopened, but he wasn’t our guy. He did a horrible job. The siding warped and the windows rotted because they were improperly installed. That shed was ours to maintain because it houses our equipment and we needed to replace it all. The cost of the materials alone was over ten thousand dollars. But our Member of the Year stepped up. He volunteered to be our general contractor, located vendors who could supply the specialty materials, coordinated with VIR, and provided the lion’s share of the labor on the rebuilding of the tech shed. Other volunteers, Buddy Matthews, Jerry Pell, and Dwight Cooke, volunteered their time and effort under his direction. Our Member of the Year and those other volunteers saved the club many more thousands of dollars and provided a desperately needed service.

Our Member of the Year also saw another need the Region had and again he stepped up to fill it. For a couple of years now the Region’s Board of Directors had talked about building an e-mail system that could be used to contact all of our members, and all of the drivers who might be interested in running our races. We had a tool, Constant Contact, which the Flag Chiefs were using to contact our volunteers before each race but we needed to build much bigger databases if we were to expand its use. That was a big job and no one had yet stepped up to do it. So that’s what our Member of the Year did. He contacted the National Office, got them to provide him lists of drivers from Regions all across the eastern half of the United States, extracted their e-mail addresses from those spreadsheets and built that huge database. He built a smaller one of just our members as well, and we recently used it for the first time to send every member in the North Carolina Region an update about this annual meeting and the fact that our March race for 2014 would be cancelled. You’ll see more such e-mail blasts in the future. Every time you get one, you should silently thank our Member of the Year. So for these reasons, the North Carolina Region awards

Member of the Year:  Sam Fouse

Thanks, Sam!

 

Election Results

The ballots have been t abulated and the results are:

Regional Executive – Rex Deffenbaugh, re-elected for a 3rd term

Secretary – Steve Rose

Members-at-Large – Heather Powers and Blair Stitt

There were 183 valid ballots returned. That’s just over 25% of the membership. 

Congratulations to the winners!