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!
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?!