NC Region recruits new members at the IMSA Tudor event at VIR

Last weekend, August 21 – 23, the Marketing Committee for the Region tried a new tactic. Instead of trying to recruit new members at Car Shows and Cars-and-Coffee events, were the attendees have a wide variety of automotive interests, they decided to try reaching out to fans at the IMSA Tudor event at VIR. The thinking was, “Hey, these folks are ‘pre-qualified’. They paid money to see a sports car race. Maybe they’d like a chance to get even more involved.” So arrangements were made.

Mike Rose, Marketing Director at VIR, and Crista Walker, who coordinated the vendor displays, gave us a great display space. Thank you both for allowing us to set up on the midway where people couldn’t help but see us. Region member, and former Assistant RE, John Lindquist, did some digging and got us a 10×20 display canopy and found us people who would agree to display their cars. Region member, and former Secretary, Jerry Pell not only agreed to display his lovely red-and-silver Spec Miata, he stayed all weekend manning the booth! Hats off, Jerry! But John felt that more of a “hook” was needed to get the fans’ attention. He contacted member Bob Wheless, who got in touch with member Victor Seaber of the VIPER program at VIR, and Victor asked John Salmon for a loan of his L2 Sports Racer. This Mazda-powered sports racer, a handsome and exotic piece of automotive wizardry, runs in both the IMSA “prototype lite” L2 class and in P1 with the SCCA. It was John’s canopy, too. Wow! What can you say, but “Thanks, guys!”

The sports racer and the Spec Miata did the trick. The cars lured folks in for a closer look. Then the members under the tent passed out flyers about NCR and our remaining events for the season, as well as a tentative schedule for next season. We gave away old copies of SportsCar and brightly-colored brochures from the National Office about what we do. Those fans that were interested in being offered a spot on someone’s crew for the October events gave us their e-mail addresses. There were over 50 of them, and many were surprised that we would offer such a deal. In short, this venture was a big success. Let’s hope these new prospects come out and join us in the future.

There are so many more people to thank for this success. Thanks to Member-at-Large Sam Fouse for creating the local flyers and for getting those brochures from the National Office. Sam also manned the booth all day Friday and Sunday. Thanks also to NCR Office Manager Bruce Dover for printing Sam’s flyers on short notice. Thanks to all the volunteers who took time to talk to prospective members. Besides John Lindquist and Jerry Pell, who were there all weekend, volunteers included RE Rex Deffenbaugh, Tim Lyons, Doug Hooper, Dan Robson, and myself, James Shanks. We should probably even thank the members of the Tarheel Sports Car Club, who had a booth next to us, and fed some of us lunch on Saturday, and shared their beer too! Thanks a lot, guys! Those of us who were there had a great time. And, of yeah, there were these big time sports car races going on which we could watch from time to time, IMSA Continental GT and Lamborghini Trofeo. Cool!

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Below: Jerry Pell’s Spec Miata being admired by a couple of interested spectators. Maybe future SM drivers?

 

Below: John Salmon’s L2 Sports Racer. What serious SportsCar fan could walk by that and not stop?!

Good weather! Good food! Good friends! And vintage cars!

The North Carolina Region held its third annual picnic at North East Park in Gibsonville on Saturday the 8th of August and it was a blast. The weather couldn’t have been better, sunny, in the low 80’s, and no humidity to speak of, thanks to thunderstorms earlier in the week. The food was fabulous! Master Griller (and Chief Starter) James Buckberry (left) served up both hamburgers and hot dogs, with all the fixin’s. (I had two myself!) Barbecue chef (and Worker of the Year) Pete Romanowski prepared his most excellent pork and beans with green peppers and other secret ingredients, which literally got rave reviews. And everybody else brought an assortment of chips, potato salad, cole slaw, snacks, cookies, and even cake! We had over 35 people so there was lots of food. We ate well!

It was a very laid-back affair. West Chapter coordinator and Chief of Tech, Buddy Matthews (on left, in picture at right) brought softball equipment, along with most of the other supplies, but I think we only used it to weigh down the paper products so they didn’t blow away with an occasional breeze. We all preferred just to chat and catch up instead, without the pressure of having to get a race underway. People came from all over. Flag Chief Eric Danielsen made it in from Roanoke, Virginia! Heather Clark and Todd Cohen took a weekend off from flagging and came in from the West Chapter. So did Dwight Cooke, who brought me a huge stack of old Bulletins for the Region History project, including some from the years 1997 thru 2000 that we did not have in the archives. Thanks, Dwight! And even RE Rex Deffenbaugh managed to make it up from Moncure. That’s a bit of a drive! There was even a new guy, not a member yet, named David Wooten, who came by to see what we are about. He has a Honda he wants to campaign and he’s looking for help. David came all the way up from Wilmington to visit his wife’s family, but had to stop by to make some new friends. So, next year I don’t want to hear any excuses for not showing up at this picnic just because Gibsonville is a bit off the beaten path. Like VIR, it’s a fabulous facility. You just have to make an effort to get there. It’s worth it! Just ask Annie and Steve Martin who were among the first to arrive.

I got to meet and interview Tim Lyons about his long “career” with the Club in GT1. I also met his good buddy and crew chief Darryl Hunter, his wife Rhonda, and Tim’s wife Brenda Lyons. Darryl added his perspective to the interview and the gals joined in from time to time. I also chatted with Jerry Pell and Paddock Marshall Hayden Beatty about their racing careers. Lots of good stories there! But I couldn’t get to all of them. I saw Dean Bumgardner talking about his NASCAR racing with a group that included John Lindquist and his wife Annie and Steward Clyde Kiser, but I never managed to do more than just say “hi” to them all. There were lots of interesting conversations to join.

Oh, and the cars? Well, the king of the hill was Treasurer and Steward Steve Keadle’s 1970 Ford Torino (left) in competition trim (blacked-out grill and hood with “429 cu. ci.” emblazoned in big white letters). Steve said it cost him about $140 to fill it up with the proper fuel at eight dollars a gallon. And he used almost half of it driving the beast up from Cary with his son Scott, who was in from Atlanta. Steve smiled when he said he gets lots of waves but nobody ever even tries to beat him off the line at stop lights!

The other car that brought a smile to every one’s face was Hayden Beatty’s early 70’s MGB with the chrome bumpers and the roll bar. It’s a pretty little tomato-red time machine and Hayden looks perfect driving it. Of course there was more modern iron too, like Romanowski’s sinister grey Mustang coupe and Tim Lyon’s brilliant blue M3. And of course, we had a couple of Miatas, too. Can the members of the SCCA get together anywhere without a few Miatas showing up? It seems unlikely.

So all in all, we had a great time. Why not make a vow to join us next year? I can promise you it will be a very pleasant Saturday afternoon.

Below, (left side bottom to top): Carol Bumgardner, Darryl Hunter, Rex Deffenbaugh (right side, top to bottom): James Shanks, Tim and Brenda Lyons, Dean Bumgardner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below, (left to right): Scott and Steve Keadle, Todd Cohen

Below, (left to right): Scott Keadle, Todd Cohen, Steve Keadle, Eric Danielsen, Buddy Matthews, Heather Clark