Notes on the SCCA National Convention

The 2014 SCCA National Convention was held in Charlotte, NC on March 7-9. Attending, on behalf of the NC Region was Mark Senior. Following are his notes on the sessions he attended:

Risk Management session – SCCA National wants all forms electronically. NCR needs to check on what damage at our events is covered, as we may be able to claim things like track damage. Things which may be damaged, such as Armco, are covered. Their comment was, “When in doubt, send it in”. There are deductibles to take into account. In order to make a claim, NCR needs to complete incident reports and needs someone to fill them out. There is also an event request form for coverage of meetings and other non-competitive events. It was also noted that if we hire anyone to work for us, we need to get a certificate of insurance.

Time Trial Town Hall – Roy Mallory, Chair TTAC Committee, hosted the Town Hall. He noted that we can run any SCCA legal vehicle now, as well as street legal cars. TT license only requires a self-filled out medical form and some kind of approved competition license. The really long and detailed rule book and driver manual are now only two pages. The Event Rules book is 14 pages. Out west, they have an ITJunk class for Lemons and Chump cars. Craig Farr is the SE Division TT Rep. We now only need one corner worker per station and can run a limited number of stations. This will make it easier for us to partner with other organizations such as Tar Heel Sports Car Club. We also don’t need as many officials as previously. If we use track workers, we need to make them temp SCCA members for the weekend, unless they are covered by track insurance, which they likely are. We can effectively have one official perform all official functions. The Tech rules for PDX are very flexible. We can do annual tech if we want. Lots of other Regions are performing solo type event tech as opposed to race level tech. They only check for things like good tires, battery secure, wheels won’t fall off, and helmet meets rules. Some folks use self tech. It was noted that, due to insurance issues, the push is for a minimum inspection by club and the use of language that puts the responsibility and liability back on the entrant.

Solo Town Hall – It was noted that national participation was up 4 percent in 2013. They noted they received lots of email when they changed the rules to require street tires for Stock Classes. It was noted that claims for Solo events was down last year which is making Risk Management staff happy.

Hall of Fame induction – I note that during Kathy Barnes induction, the image of her car revealed a sticker on her speedometer that says “Have fun”. I think we should all do this to remind us why we are here.

Majors Town Hall – This session was led by Butch Kummer and Terry Ozment. In 2013, we had 19 events, a total of 3526 participants, an average of 185 entries per event and 3 festivals. They took a survey with the following results: “Some like, some don’t”. In 2014, anticipate 25 events. Five events have been run to date with 991 entries, which averages out to 198 per event. Terry noted that Regional participation is up as well, so the 2 series do not appear to be hurting each other. It was noted that they will be having Formula 1000 at 2 events and a “Speedfest “at Barber. Butch discussed changes for 2014. All events will be double weekends with a Sprint/Feature format. Podium festivity will be for the feature race only. All qualifying sessions count for both races, as well as the best lap in the sprint race. 115% of track record rule will be applied. Butch characterized that as “the no wanker rule”. The idea of using the track record to decide is so that folks have an idea if they will be allowed to run before they put their car on the trailer. The question was voiced that, since all laps are qualifying, when do we say you’re too slow to race? Butch said that we can black flag a driver during a race if they are not “getting into it” and holding things up. Another question was, “Will additional drivers show up if no wankers will be there?” It was noted by Terry that there is a similar rule in the GCR already. There will be additional compliance checking based on requests from drivers. Butch noted they are trying to reduce the number of classes in run groups to make the races more fun for drivers and easier to follow for spectators. It was noted that there will be contingency for both Majors races, but for other race series, sponsors will only pay out per sanction, so one per weekend for most events. The Majors series will have Series Tech Chiefs who will have to work with the Region Chief of Tech. East Series Tech Chief is Bill Etherington. The Series Chief will deliver all paperwork to drivers for continuity.

Butch described the Barber Speed Fest. Five run groups; Formula Fords, SRF, F-500 and 600; $495 entry fee; 30 minute sprint race Saturday and 50 mile feature race Sunday. Some other Majors highlights included – Future live video cast; increased conference champion recognition; different awards; season-long trophy; and name on Champaign bottle. When asked if there were any other ideas, he responded that he is hoping they can have additional festivals and Invitationals. They are considering split groups for feature races. Someone asked about financials from last year and Butch said that they lost money, but that was expected, given how new the series is. They hope to break even this year and are ahead so far. Someone asked about National sponsorship to offset cost. Butch said that is their goal. One Region said “Give us money to put on the races”. Butch noted they would love to do that and they are looking for more sponsorship. He noted they are also looking for new and different tracks to run. Someone suggested that the series count out-of-conference events. It was noted that it’s easier geographically for some folks to attend out-of-conference races than all in-conference races. Another asked if an event could count in two conferences? Butch noted they are considering realigning conferences as a possible solution. When asked for any other ideas:

  • Some suggested a Majors endurance series. (Diana Flanagan has registration info).
  • Terry discussed concerns with permanent numbers and problems with Region number crossover.
  • Terry said that National appreciates folks working with them through growing pains and that, with trying to be flexible and give folks what they want, comes complexity.
  • Someone voiced a concern about trying to cram too much into a day and running over an hour and workers not liking that. Butch noted that they have been finishing at 4:30 most races this year.
  • Someone asked if we want to offer discount for multiple class entries. This is up to the Regions.