Meet the Candidates – 2017

The ballots for the NCR 2017 Board of Directors Election will be in your mailbox soon. Please fill them out and mail them to arrive by December 31st. In this year’s election, our Regional Executive, Sam Fouse and Secretary, James Shanks are running unopposed, but we have three candidates for Member-at-Large. They are Heather Clark (incumbent), Morgan Mehler (incumbent) and Joedy Pennington. Below is a brief bio of each candidate.

Sam Fouse, Regional Executive

Sam Fouse

I have been a continuous member of NC Region since July 1976. At one time or another I have been involved in just about every aspect of the Region as an autocrosser, corner worker, EV driver, crew member, instructor, and a driver. My ‘official’ positions of service to the Region have included Solo Chair ’79-’83, Member-at-Large in the early ‘80’s, and again from ’13-’16, after which I began my current term as Regional Executive.

It’s been a privilege and an honor to serve as your RE these past two years. The learning curve for this job is steep and seemingly never-ending, no matter how much experience you think you have. I owe a lot of thanks to several of my predecessors, to a supportive BOD, to a dedicated Office Manager, and to many, many of you in helping me with my ‘education’.

My focus coming into the position two years ago was to try to advance the Region through Marketing and Hospitality. I wanted us to become a more ‘user-friendly’ Region. With the help of several dedicated members in those two areas in particular, we have elevated our position amongst Regions in SEDIV and have earned a positive presence on the national scene. Along the way, we’ve also moved the Region into a more secure position financially.

I look forward to serving you for another two years, as we strive to raise the bar even higher. There are some truly exciting possibilities still in front of us.

James Shanks, Secretary

James Shanks

Hi, I’m James Shanks and I’m running for Secretary of North Carolina Region for a second term.

I think I’ve done a pretty good job so far. I’ve attended all the meetings, taken the minutes, and advised on matters of parliamentary procedure in order to keep things moving. I’ve published minutes promptly enough every month so that the Chapter Coordinators could use them as a discussion guide at their monthly meetings.  I like this job and I want to continue doing it for another term.

For those who don’t know me, here are a few highlights of my 36 years as a member of the SCCA.

  • Member of SCCA since 1981.
  • Member NCR since 1992.
  • Driver’s School 1985. Raced Showroom Stock in my own car from 1986 to 1988
  • Raced a few times in Formula Vee in a borrowed car in 1988 and 1989.
  • Flagger from 1981-2013 and travelled to many pro and amateur events, until arthritis in my knees and ankles has caused me to retire. I’ve been an active flagger for NCR both at Rockingham and VIR, and locally I have done Roebling, Atlanta, CMP, and Charlotte. I have flagged the Runoffs, Trans Am, Indy Car, Formula One, and the 24 hours of Daytona.
  • Most recently, I became defacto Chief of Hospitality at our races, after RE Sam Fouse and I inaugurated the Region’s Hospitality tent at VIR to provide better service to all participants. We provide a single point of contact to handle driver and worker gifts, results, and information requests from drivers, crew, and spectators alike.
  • Active NCR Board member for many years
  • Triangle Chapter Coordinator, off and on, since 1998.
  • Secretary 2016 – 2017
  • Back in 2002, I chaired the Bylaws Committee with Al Fairer, Sara Snider, and Gordon Warren. We drafted the current Bylaws, which had not been updated since 1971. They were adopted in September of 2003.
  • Region’s Membership Chair since 2006. This is a volunteer position which entails e-mailing new members, helping members with renewal problems, and handling information requests from prospective members.

I am certain I can serve North Carolina Region well as its Secretary during the 2018-2020 term.  I hope you will vote for me.

Heather Clark, candidate for Member-at-Large

I have been a member of SCCA (North Carolina Region) since 2006.

During my time in SCCA I have been an active member of the F&C crew. Through my participation my “track family” has grown tremendously meeting flaggers, other workers, driver and crews from multiple SCCA regions as well as other countries. I have also been able to participate in a diverse array of events and have received various awards from the region.

Some of the events I have had the pleasure of working are: Club Racing at VIR, Summit Point, Mid-O and CMP (PDXes); the 24-Hours of Daytona; the 12 Hours of Sebring; Petit Le Mans; F1 at COTA; WKC (karts) at VIR and at Summit Point; Red Bull’s Global Rallycross at MCAS-New River; and IndyCar at Mid-O.

Some of the awards I have received are: the NCR Rookie of the Year (2006); NCR F&C Worker of the Year (2010); NCR Worker of the Year (2011); NCR Assistant Flag Chief from 2011.

I have just completed my 2nd year as a Member at Large. I have also completed my 1st year as one of the three Flag Chiefs. Working with everyone, we’ve tried a few new things, some worked, some not so much, and see a road ahead filled with more trial and error to find what works best for our Region and those who come play with us. While it’s time consuming, and at times a bit overwhelming, the positive outcomes of all the work that is put in is well worth it.

Morgan Mehler, candidate for Member-at-Large

Morgan Mehler

My name is Morgan Mehler and I ask for your vote for Member-at-Large on our Board of Directors for 2018-2019.

I have served on the BOD since 2016 and hope to continue to do so for the next term.  The Club has had a fantastic two years and we have high hopes and goals for an even better next two and I would love to continue to work toward these goals on your behalf.

I am fortunate enough to know many of you, but I look forward to meeting many more in the future.  For those who do not know me, part of what makes me excited about continuing to serve on the BOD is the well-rounded perspective and experience with NCR that I bring.

I have been an NCR SCCA member since 2007 and began as an autocrosser with the Cape Fear Chapter.  I live in Wilmington and have been an active part of our growing autocross program since joining the SCCA.  Since then, I have done it all: I have worked grid, flagged, autocrossed, run PDX, and road raced over the past decade (and even attended one rallyx!).  In 2017 we hosted our first PDX in several years and I hope we can continue to host such events that bridge the gap between autocross and road racing.

I hope you will allow me to continue to serve as a member of the Board to help continue the momentum we have built through 2018 and 2019.

Joedy Pennington, candidate for Member-at-Large

Joedy Pennington

Hello everyone this is Joedy Pennington. I am running for the position of Member-at-Large on the Board of Directors of the NCR Region 55. I Have been a member of SCCA since 1998. I am a Corner Worker, Tech Inspector, Starter, Assistant Pace Car Chief (Pace Car Driver)  and also a Race car Driver (Mazda RX7, IT7). I have served on the Board twice before as a  Member-at-Large. While on the board, I served  on the Business and Finance Committee and basically did whatever the Board asked me to do. I am asking for your vote and I thank you in advance.

NC Region’s New Permanent Home at VIR

At some point early-on after VIR reopened, almost twenty years ago, our F&C team was granted permission to use what became known as the “Flag Shack”. It’s the building back in the corner of the paddock as far from the tech shed as you can get. I believe it also serves as a utility pump house of some sort, and may have had some other purpose at one time.

It became home to F&C, and is where we housed all the radios, coolers, corner station kits, fire bottles, flag bags, etc. With potentially 17 corner stations to supply for, it was a tight fit, but we made it work. It was also the site of our way-too-early-in-the-morning Corner Worker meetings, every day, of every event, for all these years. Our volunteers met, collected their gear, received corner assignments and instructions from the respective Chiefs, along with an occasional pep talk from Stewards, and sometimes even from the R.E. It became hallowed ground for NC Region, and will likely remain so. It was also free, which certainly helped.

In addition to that base, we also had a 10×20 garage unit in the “Club Member Garages” rental section out near the main gate that housed “memories”. By memories, I’m referring to all those assets leftover from the Rockingham days, plus boxes of archives and things we needed then, but which we’ll likely never need again. Garage 36 had become an almost forgotten time capsule from that period before the resurrection of VIR, from 1979 to the rebirth. Parked out front of garage 36 were two or three trailers the Region owned, one of which James Shanks and I re-purposed as the Hospitality trailer a few years ago. I remembered it as the Region’s Solo trailer from the 1970’s and the domain of Phil Hennrich. I could not let that piece of his history disappear. Fortunately, VIR had also been granting us the garage 36 ‘tomb’ rent-free all this time.

First Flag Meeting at Speed Suite

On March 7th of this year though, all that changed. VIR needed and wanted the flag shack back, to be converted to office space for their growing Marketing Department. They offered the meeting space beneath the pit garages for our meetings, but that would not solve our storage dilemma. The timing, just three days before our first event of the season, couldn’t have been worse. Although we were given a somewhat flexible moving schedule, the pressure was on for us to move. The only solution, quick and dirty, was to secure another garage (#34), and move everything to that location. Our F&C crew pulled it off sometime before, during, and after the Spring Sprints weekend. It was a tight squeeze stuffing everything into a 10’ wide cube with little or no walking-around room. To add insult to injury, we now had to pay rent, for both 34, and going forward, 36 as well. Suddenly we were paying $300 per month for 400 square feet of basic unconditioned storage. It was as if VIR had turned on us. We still love you, but…you have to take the bitter with the sweet. Sometimes that’s the way it is with family. I’m reminded that they had allowed us to use the flag shack and garage 36 all those years rent-free, plus last year they had our Scales Room re-roofed and never asked us for a penny.

It was quickly obvious though, that this could only be a temporary fix. A permanent solution would have to be found. Multiple ideas were discussed: everything from buying a good-sized trailer, which would be no larger than garage 34 and could only house F&C assets (sans vehicles), to buying a parcel in the Raceplex and contracting the construction of our own structure. It became painfully obvious to us that our needs for space exceeded the former, and our bank account could not support the latter. Ironically, in a Board meeting, a reminder was offered by a guest, that something called a Speed Suite existed. They were assumed to be too expensive, but we concluded they might be worth a look-see.

So what are Speed Suites? They are semi-finished 30’ x 40’ fee-simple shop space units finished in 2007. Unlike the storage garages, they are insulated, and have heating and air-conditioning. There is also a shop sink already installed, plus stub-outs for an internal bath. There is an owners-association shared community bath, complete with shower, just two doors down. The units all feature an extra wide and tall roll-up garage door along with a separate pedestrian door. Altogether, 1200 square feet of conditioned space available for ownership rather than rent. Member Peter Krause owns a unit himself. Seemed too good to be true,…if we could afford it.

Shortly after that meeting, several of us scheduled a visit with Connie Nyholm, CEO and owner of VIR to take a look at a unit coming up for re-sale in the complex. Ironically it was the property of none other than Harvey Siegel, who along with Connie, were the ones most responsible for the re-birth of VIR. The asking price was essentially the same as the original price when the units were first finished ten years ago – $125,000. The unit (#6) also had an ideal location, being an end unit, next to Ace Drive, the road we all come in on during registration, access to which does not require going through the main gate, making it even more convenient.

It was time to see if we could make the numbers work. After consulting with Steve Keadle’s financial and tax expertise, we concluded that an investor group composed of members was not a realistic approach to buying the unit. The decision was then made to try to go it alone – i.e. let’s see if we can buy the unit on our own. One significant note needs to be made here. Since NC Region was first organized in 1954, we could not find any record of the Region ever having borrowed money for anything. Yes, we’ve bought things on account, short-term, but everything else has either been bought directly via check, or member-financed via expense reimbursement. In short, the Region had zero formal, recognized credit history. Plus, we are a 501c4 Non-profit Corporation. We kind of don’t fit in the usual mold, so it might have been a long shot. But we decided to go for it anyway with our banking partner, BB&T.

Our Treasurer, Heather Powers put together our financial statements, I drafted a loan request, and off to the bank we went. We would ask for an 80% loan-to-value making up the difference with a 20% down payment in cash. To our amazement, BB&T didn’t say no. In fact, they were impressed with our financials and were very positive about our chances, so we made formal application and moved to contract with Mr. Siegel.

After lots of back and forth with the bank, insurance brokers, and the shuffling of papers long-distance, the signing, closing, and recording of documents finally occurred September 5-12, 2017. Subsequent to closing, Mr. Siegel made a generous donation to NCR of $3,000 to help with final cleanout of the unit and the moving of our property from the rental garages. All in all, we think it was a very good deal. At last, we had a permanent home at VIR. Ultimately, we are tripling our available space plus building equity, at a monthly cost under what a comparable unit would likely have rented for, if we could even have found one. And finding one in as good of a location would have been very nearly impossible.

So what can we use it for? I want to point out right up front that this will not just be a new flag shack. It belongs to all of the members of NC Region, and we may use it for the benefit of all of the membership, including, but not limited to the storage of Region merchandise, archives, and both F&C and general assets. We can also use it for worker meetings, socials, even Executive and Comp Board meetings, etc. We may use it occasionally for worker registration, but it cannot be used for general registration because of insufficient parking, and it is illegal under state law for it to ever be used for any kind of overnight lodging under any circumstances.

Now, to enhance its functionality and utility, we would like to build a simple bath, a kitchenette (to include a sink, refrigerator and freezer), and a secured closet. A storage loft above all of that would also allow us to leverage the space to store rarely used and/or bulky items. Everyone will get a chance to invest a little sweat equity in this endeavor over the winter as we strive to make this a useful home for the Region for the long haul.

Folks, this purchase was made possible through the efforts of all of us, as well as of those who have gone before us. NC Region has endured through good and bad, we’re still here, and we’re doing better than ever. Now we finally have a permanent home that can never be taken away, ironically almost exactly 60 years after our founders conducted our very first race at VIR in August, 1957.

Sam Fouse, RE

2017 Tarheel Cup Pro Series Results

The Tarheel Cup Pro Series (TCPS) is a points-based ‘pro’ series sponsored by NC Region. Unlike the also-popular Carolina Cup Pro Series, it does not award prize money and therefore does not charge the additional prize fund fee. Both series are 45-minute races held in conjunction with the usually longer 90-minute ECR series enduro races. While multiple CCPS races are held at 4 different venues around the Southeast, including VIR, TCPS races are only held at VIR. That also means that VIR is the only venue offering both series (for now). TCPS simply offers competitors an additional, but lower-cost opportunity to compete and receive event awards in races longer than a SARRC sprint race, but shorter than a full ECR enduro.

For 2017, 55 drivers accounted for 89 TCPS race entries versus 93 race entries in 2016. While 11 drivers entered the required three or more races to qualify for year-end trophies in 2016, only 3 did so in 2017. Also, 54 of this season’s 89 entries occurred at the last event weekend of the year – Goblin’s Go in October. To be fair, the cold weather and event overlap with a Majors race the same weekend probably curtailed entries in March, limiting participation to just 12. Otherwise the total entries likely would have exceeded those in 2016, and more drivers would have met the minimum requirements.

TCPS points are awarded using the same system used to award SARRC points, based on a declining scale, with bonus points added for the number of competitors defeated at each race.

It’s no surprise then, that the 3 drivers who participated in the required minimum number of races, naturally ended up as their respective class champions and will receive a nice year-end trophy at our annual meeting and awards banquet in January. Don’t worry if you can’t make the meeting. We’ll make sure you get it. Here are your year-end trophy recipients for 2017:

Roger Gillespie, ITE (also 2016 Runner-up)

Robert Mitchell, IT7 (defending 2016 Champion)

Mark Senior, SMSE (defending 2016 Champion)

Thank you all for your participation. We look forward to another successful season in 2018.

Sam Fouse
TCPS Administrator