2017 NCR Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner Recap

It was awesome! Well over a hundred members of the North Carolina Region braved the cold to attend the Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner for 2017, held at the Vailtree Event & Conference Center in Graham, North Carolina. This excellent venue was made even more special by the addition of more classic and high-performance vehicles than last year. As the guests entered, they were flanked by two brand-new Porsches, a black GT2 coupe and a blue Cayenne SUV, provided by Foreign Cars Italia, who also provided a spectacular charcoal gray GT3 RS, complete with track wing, factory roll bar and harness.

Our gracious hosts – Anthony, Marie and Tony Vailati

The Vailtree owners, Tony and Marie Vailati, and their son Anthony, NCR members themselves, were responsible for arranging all this and they had some of their own cars on display as well. Guests were treated to a Z06 Corvette, a Dodge SRT8, and others, including a killer Mustang prepared by Petty Enterprises, also from Foreign Cars Italia. Those in attendance were among the first people ever to see that Mustang in person. It will soon be available from Ford dealers across the country, but this one was Richard Petty’s personal vehicle. In addition to the factory hot rods from the domestic market, the Vailati collection included a pair of bright red Italian missiles, an Alfa 4C and a Ferrari 360. And there was a stunning Bentley GTC convertible, done in ocean blue and blonde leather, with matching honey-blonde wood veneer. Who wouldn’t look good driving that? This display of eye candy was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Many thanks to the Vailati family and to Foreign Cars Italia.

Chris Turner’s local band, Nice & Easy, played jazzy renditions of popular tunes, from Glenn Miller to the Beatles, during the social hour, as well as at dinner, and a cash bar of beer and wine was available from the start to get things rolling. The dinner was excellent.  There were entrees of steak, salmon, and chicken, green beans with mushrooms and mashed potatoes, and salad.  Pies and a sheet cake with the Region logo were provided for dessert. And there was coffee, which a few members preferred over offerings from the bar.

Sam Fouse, RE

RE Sam Fouse kicked off the business meeting with a summation of the financial statement provided by Treasurer Heather Powers. Our financial position is good. Except for our March race and the PDX, the Region made money on all of its events, including the two biggest, the Majors and the North Carolina Autocross Championship. And we now had an asset, the Speed Suite at VIR, which will serve us well in the future. Then James Shanks, Secretary and Membership Chair, gave his report.

James Shanks, Secretary & Membership Chair

The Region is healthy, he said, holding steady with about 760 members, of which about 25 percent have racing competition licenses and more than that have licenses in the volunteer specialties. The rest are family, friends, and Solo drivers.  James reminded us that to stay healthy the Region must continue to grow, and that to do that we must continue to put on quality events, and above all, be friendly and try to ensure that all who come play with us have a good time. Sam then announced the results of the recent election, noting that the composition of the Board remained the same, with Heather Clark and Morgan Mehler retaining their Member-at-Large seats, and he and James, each running unopposed. Sam closed the business meeting by thanking all the volunteers, especially Mark Senior, who was Race Chair for Majors, and by asking anyone who had not volunteered at one of our events to consider doing so in 2018.

Brenda & Tim Lyons

Tim Lyons served as emcee for the awards presentation ceremony, and he did a wonderful job, ably assisted by his wife Brenda in the distribution of door prizes. There were discounted entries for both road races and solos, as well as gift cards and discount coupon books from VIR.  A surprise door prize was a super-trick trailer hitch provided by Tim Pierce of Superior Trailers. Tim and his son Blake had a table set up to display this unit, which allows one to change balls easily by rotating a locking mechanism.  Tim also had a lovely enclosed trailer on display in the parking lot, provoking some “trailer envy” from those who saw it. And by the way, it was Tim who paid for the band’s dinner. Many thanks to Tim and to Superior Trailers in Burlington, a good place to go when you want to upgrade your towing equipment.

Regarding the awards, it was unfortunate that many road racing drivers could not attend due to the Majors at Sebring, but we will arrange for them to get their awards at a Chapter meeting or at the track in 2018. Tim Lyons took the time to acknowledge not only them, but also the drivers who did well this year but did not get recognized with an award. There is not space to reproduce that list here.

AWARDS

Below are the slides produced by Eric Danielsen for the awards presentation and below that are listed the individual awards. You can see a gallery of pictures from the Banquet HERE.

 

Road Racing Driving Awards

Driver of the Year – Majors ~~~~~~~ Bryan Yates
First in class P2 in the SE Conference and first in SARRC North as well.

Driver of the Year – SARRC ~~~~~~~ Jason Connole
First in Spec Miata in SARRC and 11th in SE Conference. 23rd of 72 at the Runoffs.

Driver of the Year – Enduro ~~~~~~~ Michael Brandt
First in SRF3 in the ECR in his first full season of racing, beating 2 other Region members in a class of 14.

Most Improved Driver ~~~~~~~ Rodney King
Second in ITR in SARRC and 3rd in ECR, finally coming into his own.

Road Racing Rookie of the Year ~~~~~~~ Mark Bradley
Third in ITR in SARRC in just his first season.

Hardship and Perseverance ~~~~~~~ Chad Bacon
Rebuilt the car from the ground up in the nick of time, but had two motors blow at the Runoffs, and finishing just one lap.

Hardship and Perseverance ~~~~~~~ C. J. Moses
Qualified 2 cars in 2 classes for the Runoffs, only to have both of them broken in mishaps. DNS for both on race day.

Solo Driving Awards

“2017 James “Jim” Feinberg National Solo Driver of the Year” ~~~~~~~ Jennifer Bedell
Jennifer is now a two-time SCCA National Champion! Amazing performance.

Driver of the Year – Solo / Regional ~~~~~~~ Patrice Bousquet
2017 PAX champion. He won a State Championship at NCAC beating a dozen other drivers by almost a second.

Rookie Driver of the Year — Solo ~~~~~~~ Jarhett Doyle
Takes instruction well and has improved at every event this season.

Volunteer Awards

Our volunteers are our most precious resource and some deserve special recognition every year. We couldn’t have done it without them.

F&C Worker of the Year ~~~~~~~ David Turner
Former Flag Chief is our radio tech, with all that entails.

F&C Outstanding Service ~~~~~~~ Rich D’Arconte
Assists the Flag Chiefs, attends all our events, and represents the Region well at other venues.

F&C Rookie of the Year ~~~~~~~ Randy Bishop
Gung-ho enthusiasm that’s contagious.

F&C Rookie of the Year ~~~~~~~ Mario Cortes
So eager he even recruited his mother to help! See Mario’s video here.

Grid Rookie of the Year ~~~~~~~ Libby Killian
Took to it like a duck to water.

Pit Road Rookie of the Year ~~~~~~~ Sandra Gentry
A welcome addition to Pit Road.

Solo Worker of the Year ~~~~~~~ Christian “Kit” Williams
From rookie, to registrar, to MSR guru, to chief of Solo T&S for 2018 in one season.

Outstanding Service to the Solo Program ~~~~~~~ Thomas Guest
Announcer, recruiter, all-around volunteer.

Outstanding Service to the Solo Program ~~~~~~~ Jane Miller
The backbone of the expanding Junior kart program.

Outstanding Service to the Solo Program ~~~~~~~ Elizabeth Severt
Tireless effort putting on the best North Carolina Autocross Championship yet

Outstanding Service to the Solo Program ~~~~~~~ Justin Arnette
Tireless effort putting on the best North Carolina Autocross Championship yet

Outstanding Service to the Solo Program ~~~~~~~ Tara Arnette
Tireless effort putting on the best North Carolina Autocross Championship yet

Outstanding Service to the NCR Racing Program ~~~~~~~ Bill Foster
He helped move F&C every time they were “re-homed.” Always volunteering to help, he has wrenched on other peoples cars, delivered food to corner stations, provided driving instruction, and makes suggestions for improvement with a positive attitude.

Region Awards

Member of the Year ~~~~~~~ Steve Keadle
Eight years as treasurer, Steward on the Comp Board, all-around volunteer who kept the volunteer gift program going all by himself for years

Worker of the Year ~~~~~~~ Anna Crissman
Drafted to be Assistant RE, she got the Supps and schedules out on time, and made possible the remote printing at the Hospitality tent, all while being Chief of Timing and Scoring.

Guest Speaker – Heyward Wagner

Heyward Wagner grew up in the SCCA. The son of avid flaggers, he was a corner captain at the Runoffs in 1999, and has flagged many a race around the country.   A successful autocrosser, he was a Pro Solo Champion in 2000 and he launched the SCCA’s Solo Matters publication in 2010. He is now Director of Experiential Programs, such as Track Night in America and Targa Southland, and he was just appointed SCCA’s Director of Marketing this past year. He graciously volunteered to share with us his views on what will make the SCCA successful in the future. If we can summarize it in a nutshell, this is it.

Heyward made a distinction between the shared experience of what we do, the shared fun of it, and the process of what we do, the complex rules and procedures we follow which result in winners and losers. Only a few of us can be winners but all of us can have a great experience, and that experience is what we need to focus on if we want this Club to be successful and thrive in the future. Hey, this is supposed to be fun!