A Long Day at VIR and A Necessary Decision

It’s now 24 hours since I first arrived at VIR around 7:00PM Thursday evening. I’m now back home, the trailer is just now unloaded and parked. I want to run down the past day’s events while they are still fresh in my mind (and awake), because it went by in a blur.

Last evening about 6:30 as we rolled through Roxboro, the entire town was without power and this continued all the way to and including VIR. Fortunately I was staying with Chad Bacon in his motorhome with his son Caleb and Dan Robson, who had convoyed up with me. Robson was going to do the test day with his red car; I was going to do the twin SARRC’s with his white car.

Once we got checked in and unhooked we all took off to Danville in my truck to get some dinner. Milton was completely blacked out and the lower access road was flooded. As we passed, several race trailers were trying to back up out onto Hwy. 62 from that road. We continued on to Danville and the only place we could find with power was the area around the airport. The gas stations and restaurants were packed so full with lines, it looked like Armageddon. We didn’t understand, but continued on. We were stopped just west of the 29 bypass interchange. We were told 58 was flooded all through the Danville river district. We turned around, headed up the bypass to the next exit and turned west over to 29 business. Everything was blacked out but we held out hope we’d find something open with power. We went south on 29 business and made it all the way down to 58 at the river. Everything was blacked out and closed. We gave up, backtracked, went to the Food Lion across from the airport, loaded up with groceries, and headed back to VIR. There were maybe 30-40 trailers in the paddock and the pond was overflowing, crossing the paddock entrance.

I received a text late that night from VIR that the test day would not start until 1PM and that the situation would be re-evaluated at 10:00AM. We all hit the sack about midnight, but I was up at 4:30 unable to sleep and awoken by a text from a member. I should have known it was going to be a long day. The motorhome had a generator so we had power and I had brought my laptop and jet pack with me so I had internet. I found the river gauge site Mark had been watching and it was showing the river at record level above 30′ but starting to fall slowly to 27′ by Saturday 8AM. I went outside and tried to see what I could see with a flashlight but it was hopeless until sunrise.  I texted Tommy Webb at 6:13AM and asked if he would please let me know something directly as soon as he did his drive around. I went back to bed for a nap.

At a little after 7:00 I was awoken by a text alert from Tommy that the test day would NOT start at 1:00 as had been planned, and to expect an update sometime around 8:00. I saw Kerrigan driving back thru the tower gate at about 8:00, so I walked over and he told me that the test day was cancelled. He also said that they could operate our event without power if need be. At this point, we were still on go. At that point, just the test day was to be cancelled.

Turn 1 from the Start Stand

At 8:17AM I was sent a text by Tommy to meet he and Kerrigan at the tech shed. I didn’t see the text immediately so I didn’t head over there until about 8:30 or so. Kerrigan indicated his sources were saying the river had not crested yet, was still rising, and that our event now looked to be in jeopardy also. I asked if he was certain because Mark and I had both seen the river gauge showing it dropping over the next 24 hours. He called his Emergency Management source in my presence to confirm his information. We parted about 8:40 and I went back to our paddock area to start the process of communication. I texted Rick Starkweather at 8:43AM because I knew he had access to the Prod Fest group and he may have not yet bought all their food, etc. I called Butch Kummer and gave him the news so he could broadcast to his people, as I had just talked to him maybe 15 minutes before and told him the event was still on. Those two groups accounted for almost one-third of our drivers. I also texted the 3 Race Chairs and James Shanks.

I suggested to Eric that we wait 30 minutes before sending anything in order to give Mark time to talk to Kerrigan to compare notes on the river data. Shortly after that though (about 9:00) I talked face to face with Kerrigan again and there was no appeal. It was official and final final. I turned and headed straight to the motorhome to write a statement to send to Bruce for broadcast via direct e-mail. It went to him 15 minutes later. We were still operating on the motorhome generator as VIR was still without power.

Turn 17 from Pit in

All during this period and while I was trying to write the statement, I was getting pummeled with e-mails, texts, and phone calls wanting to know what was up. Between 9:03 and 9:32 I received 14 e-mails, plus texts and phone calls too numerous to mention. In all I received calls and and texts from at least 15 of you plus several stewards, often more than once, wondering what was up and were we going to send an announcement. HELL YES, I’M WORKING ON IT! It went to Bruce at 9:15 and I received the e-mail myself back from MSR at 9:32. I had intended the message go to Eric for social media also, but in the madness, I forgot to include him. From official confirmation from Kerrigan to e-mail received was about 30 minutes. I’m not sure how we could have done it more quickly nor why we would need to. I know some of you were going through social media hysteria.

Before I left I took multiple photos, two videos, and headed home. The photos have now been sent to Bruce, Eric, and Blair D. and should begin to appear on the website and thru social media. The paddock was pretty much vacant when I rolled out at about 11:30.

Lastly, Kevin Massey-Shaw approached me and offered the weekend of Dec. 8-9 to us as a make up weekend. This is something for us to discuss. It would be at the regular March rate.

As painful as it was for all of us, I believe VIR made the right decision. I’m also thankful that one of us was there to see first hand what was going on, talk directly with VIR as decisions were being made, and communicate out as quickly as we did. I also want to thank Chad Bacon for bringing his motorhome which served as my electrified base so I could keep my phone charged, run my laptop and jet pack, and thereby communicate with all of you in real time.

That’s it for now. I’m done. It’s been a long day.

Good night,
Sam

Goblins Go cancelled

Fellow competitors and volunteers:

Unfortunately, due to unforeseen flooding of the Dan River, our Goblin’s Go event has been cancelled by VIR management. The river is out of its banks and is up to the edge of and around turn one and is not predicted to subside for the next 24 hours. Although the track can operate without power, it can’t operate with water on it. This area and west of here was inundated with heavy rain for most of yesterday afternoon by Hurricane Michael.

Everyone who registered and paid will automatically receive a full refund. Sadly, some things are out of our control.

Sam Fouse, RE
Anna Crissman, Asst. RE
Bruce Dover, Office Manager and Chief Registrar
Mark Senior, Eric Danielsen, Justin Deffenbaugh, Race Chairs

Updating the Bylaws

A ballot will be mailed to you soon!

A lot has changed since the last time our North Carolina Region Bylaws were updated in 2002. New technology has made some of our practices, like the use of paper ballots for our elections, seem quaint and old-fashioned at best, cumbersome and expensive at worst. There are now on-line services which could handled that for us, as well as using e-mail or other electronic processes which we could anchor on the Region website.  These changes would make voting simpler and easier, and less expensive.

And the composition of our Club continues to change.  North Carolina is now a retirement destination. Many of our new members are some other Region’s former members, and understandably many of those folks want to belong to both the Region where they originated as well as the one where they now reside.  But, our current Bylaws only allow those who specify North Carolina Region as their primary or Region of Record to vote.  That seems overly restrictive, given that some “dual” members are among the most active of our drivers and volunteers. At the same time, we want to encourage participation by younger members in the governance of our Club. After all, drivers as young as 14 can road race, and drivers as young as 6 can participate in the Junior Kart solo program.

Consequently, the current Bylaws Committee, Member-at-Large Heather Clark, former RE and Triangle Chapter Coordinator Mark Senior, and Secretary James Shanks, have proposed updates to the Bylaws to address these issues.  You will be getting a ballot in the mail soon which will allow you to vote on whether to accept these updates or not.

Here’s a summary of those proposed updates:

  1. All members can vote, even Dual Members and the youngest among us.
  2. But officeholders must
    1. Have NCR as their Region of Record,
    2. Be at least 16 years of age, except that the RE and Treasurer must be at least 18, in order that they can legally sign contracts on behalf of the Region.
  3. Elections to office may be held by paper ballot, by e-mail, or other electronic means, by a third-party service, or some combination of these, so long as the process ensures that only eligible members can vote and that votes remain anonymous.
  4. Officers may be removed via the same kind of processes by which they were elected.
  5. Notifications of official meetings, such as the annual meeting, no longer need be by mail.

You can read copies of the Bylaws showing the struck wording and the new revisions in red  here and you can see the final product as posted here.

We hope you will agree that these changes are good ones.  But whether you agree with the proposed changes or not, please return your ballot by October 15, 2018. Ballots postmarked after that date will not be accepted.

Thank you for voting!

My 1000th Facebook Friend

by Eric Danielsen

I don’t know whether to file this under “It’s a Small Racing World After All” or “Le Mans Magic,” maybe you can help me.

Tuesday, June 19th, Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris France – While waiting to board American Airlines flight 0787 which was delayed 45 minutes, a man approached me inquiring about my Le Mans marshal poste 8b & 9b shirt. I was on the final leg of my fifth journey marshaling the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the greatest road race in the world, and was more than happy to discuss the past weekend’s event.

Mike Taylor and his wife, Tina, were on their honeymoon, traveling to the UK then to Atlanta, GA, where they lived. They spectated the race and he was curious if I was involved. I asked if he was interested in seeing some trackside (off duty) video I recorded, to which he replied, “Sure!” and sat next to me.

He asked me where I was from, and I responded, “Virginia, VIR is my home track.” He told me he raced at VIR last April, SCCA Spring Sprints, and asked if I might have been on the turn 1 crew that recovered and returned his bumper cover. He wanted to say, “thank you.” I told him, “No, I hadn’t, I was running around taking pictures during that event.” Quickly I looked at the pictures on my phone since I had taken several of drivers and their cars.

Mike drives a Honda Civic in the STL class. It just so happened that I was on the false grid while that group was staging and had taken a few pics of some of the drivers getting ready to go on track.
Wow, there were two pictures of a racer putting in his earbuds, and he looked like the guy sitting next to me! I asked, “Is this you?” showing him the pictures.

It was! How incredible was that?

I asked if he would be my friend. He identified his Facebook profile on my phone and happily accepted my friend request. Then my boarding group was called, and with friendly waves, I departed.But that is not the end of the story.

Once safely home, I shared the tale and Mike’s picture with Heather Clark, Flag Chief of the VIR Spring Sprints. She quickly texted me a picture of herself and the turn 1 crew with a recovered bumper cover.

left to right: John Davison, Bill Forman, Heather Clark, Sam Via, and Cj Danielsen

There she is with a bumper cover on her ATV flanked by John Davison, Bill Forman, Sam Via and, would you have guessed it, my own son Cj!

Yep, that’s Mike Taylor’s #39 white, red, and black cover. I’m glad they retrieved it intact and returned it to be raced again.

The next day Facebook notifies me of my 1000th friend, Mike Taylor.

So now I ask you, should this be filed under “It’s a Small Racing World After All” or “Le Mans Magic”?

SARRC/MARRS results posted!

2018 Club Racing Results Updated after SARRC/MARRS @VIR

 

If you have any questions or concerns about these results please contact Anna Crissman kf4usq@gmail.com

Board of Directors Meeting

by Bob Brookfield

Have you ever attended a NCR Board of Directors meeting? Well I have.

On March 20 Sara and I made the long haul from up here in Wardensville, WV (you could look it up on a map) so I could sit in on a BOD meeting.

I was a member of DC Region for over 20 years and never saw anything inviting members to attend a BOD meeting. But since transferring our membership to NCR some 10 years ago I have seen the meeting notices and thought about attending. In 2018 I became determined to attend a BOD meeting. But then the date always conflicted with a doctor appointment of Sara’s.

Then the February meeting was changed from Wednesday to Tuesday. I thought, “Hot damn, I can go to the meeting and Sara’s appointment would be the next day.” Then reality set in. It is about a 6+ hour drive to Piper’s Deli from up here, which would be followed by another 3 hours run to the doctor’s office. So that put the kibosh on February.

But, being a determined old fart, I got the March and April appointments changed to Saturday, thereby freeing us to come south to a BOD meeting. And I am damn glad I did.

By attending BOD meetings one can get a better handle on what the leadership has to go through each month. I won’t go into detail about the proceedings, you can get all that when the minutes are posted online. But I am bloody glad we made the trip. Sara did not want to sit in so she stayed in the motel while I attended. Will I attend the April meeting. Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, you can bet your sweet bippy I will. And if you really want to know what is going on in the region I suggest you join me.

Lastly, a word about the weather. Snow had started falling as we headed north. But as we went along we could see that it had not amounted to much. I was feeling quite comfortable as we headed north on I-81 and could see that not much white stuff was on the ground. But as we approached Woodstock, VA we could see that more had come down in that area. Normally we get off I-81 at that point, but having come that way from home thru what snow had fallen in the National Forest with no problem, we could see that returning via that route may have been dicey. So we continued on up to the Strasburg exit and headed for home sans problem. Hopefully there will be no snow in April.

See y’all at the Major and hopefully at the April BOD meeting’

Ciao

GUTBUSTERS

by Bob Brookfield

Back in the mid-90s when I was a member of the DC Region I began writing a column about places to dine in the area around Summit Point. That was at a time when the region did not provide a dinner for the workers etal and we went out to Charles Town or Winchester to dine. When we began to get a free dinner the need to go out went away and so did the column. But recently Sara and I decided we would like to find some places in Danville where we could get a good meal. So, I contacted Heather Clark, a Danville resident, about places to go. And man, did she come through! I got two pages of places to try. What follows is a review of the first of them.

616

That is a different name for a restaurant, but that is where we went.
Finding it at 616 North Main Street in Danville was easy, thanks to the built-in GPS in our new MAZDA3. We went there on the Saturday evening of March Into Spring. I was gabber-flasted to find that we were able to park in the street about 100 feet from the restaurant. We were seated immediately at a nice table for two.

As we started reading the menu in comes, a bunch of guys in white. I turns to Sara and says, can’t be too bad of a place if the let flaggers in. The bunch was Dave Turner, Chris Robbins, Gary Barrows, Brian Eldrege, Dewitt Payne. Turns out that those guys have been eating at 616 for a long time. Pretty cool.

Since we don’t drink we just ordered Coffee and unsweetened Iced Tea. Now to the good stuff. Because of the surgery she had Sara is unable to eat a whole lot at one time. But it didn’t stop me. Started off with a bowl of French Onion Soup. And was that every GOOD! They didn’t just whisper onion over the bowl like some places I have been, them bowl were full all the way plumb with onions. Very good start to the evening. Then Sara ordered the Charcuterie Board and I had Garden Salad with Chicken and Citrus Vinaigrette. While we were waiting for that the chef send us a sample of steak. That was a pleasant surprise and very good, Just a couple of nibbles, but nice. Sara greatly enjoyed he Charcuterie and I was very happy with the Salad. The greens were a delight. In other words, it wasn’t just Iceberg lettuce.

Then came dessert time. Being a long time fan of Bread Pudding I ordered that and Sara had Chocolate Mousse. And, bless her heart, she gave me a taste. All I can say about both desserts is, DEELICIOUS!

Now for the kicker. When I was doing the original column I had a criteria of $20.00 for a good meal. But that was 20 plus years ago and prices have gone up. Our tab came to $54.54 including tax. So, at about 25 Bob apiece that works out. Will we go back. Damn straight! Just not this year, tho it is tempting. We just want to check out some of the other places Heather listed. And again, a bit thanks to Heather for her help. And 616 was at the top of the list.

There will be another place or two after the Majors. Until then, happy dining!

VIRginia International Raceway Named 2019 Runoffs Venue

TOPEKA, Kan. (Jan. 24, 2018) — The Sports Car Club of America® has officially announced the 2019 SCCA® National Championship Runoffs® will be held October 8-13 at beautiful VIRginia International Raceway (VIR) in Alton, Virginia. This will be the very first time the Runoffs has been held at the sprawling venue located near the border of Virginia and North Carolina.

“We’re thrilled to take amateur racing’s most prestigious event to one of the most beautiful and challenging racetracks in the country, returning it to the Eastern United States for the first time since 2015,” said Eric Prill, SCCA Vice President & COO. “The VIR visit continues SCCA’s current practice of moving the Runoffs to different locations around the country each year. And with the amazing track, facility and backdrop VIR offers, we’re sure the Runoffs will be a ‘must-attend’ for our entire membership and racing fans alike in 2019, and a fantastic way to cap SCCA’s 75th anniversary year.”

Recognized as one of Car and Driver magazine’s top six road courses in the nation, VIR draws thousands of spectators each year for some of the best road racing in the country. Its uphill Esses and sharp elevation changes not only make it a fan and driver favorite, but VIR has also received international acclaim and rave reviews as one of the most exciting road courses in all of motorsports.

Connie Nyholm, VIR’s Owner and CEO, noted that the track first opened in 1957 as one of the country’s first permanent road racing circuits. Recognizing greatness, the 3.27-mile track — which will be used for the Runoffs — has remained exactly the same since, with the only change being widening some places to offer safer run-off room.

“I can’t tell you how excited we are to welcome the best amateur drivers in the U.S. for the 56th edition of the Runoffs,” Nyholm said. “SCCA sanctioned the very first race here, and again in March 2000 when Harvey Siegel and I re-opened the resurrected VIR. Having the 2019 Runoffs will be an important part of VIR’s history.”

The first official event at VIR was an SCCA race that attracted stars like Carroll Shelby, Carl Haas, Bob Holbert, Augie Pabst, Don Yenko, Dr. Dick Thompson and Walt Hansgen. The track became a fixture in SCCA racing and a favorite among racers due to its high-speed straights, challenging turns and dramatic elevation changes. Today, the venue plays host to the Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA Super Tour, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and Pirelli World Challenge.

While racing is the heart of VIR, the expansive 1,300-acre property is so much more. America’s first true “motorsport resort,” it’s an entire vacation destination with a number of onsite hotel and lodging options. Within the property’s rolling hills and miles of lush forest, guests can enjoy unique amenities such as the exclusive Driver’s Club, dining options, spa, karting, skid pad, and even shooting sports. Located near Danville and South Boston, Virginia, the circuit is within 45 minutes of 1,500 hotel rooms and 100 restaurants. Contact VIR at lodge@virnow.com or call (434) 822-7700 x101 for lodging assistance.

The Runoffs, which caps the Summit Racing Equipment SCCA Road Racing program each year, has evolved into what is now commonly agreed to be the pinnacle of American motorsports. Since 1964, the SCCA has crowned National Champions at the winner-take-all, single race Runoffs format through dozens of separate races over three days. In 2019, there will be three days of qualifying, followed by three days of racing. VIR joins Riverside (1964, 1966, 1968), Daytona International Speedway (1965, 1967, 1969, 2015), Road Atlanta (1970-1993), Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (1994-2005, 2016), Heartland Motorsports Park (2006-2008), Road America (2009-2013), Laguna Seca (2014), Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2017) and Sonoma Raceway (2018) as Runoffs hosts.

While the SCCA looks forward to the 56th Runoffs at VIR in 2019, racers are currently qualifying for the 2018 Runoffs being held October 16-21 at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. The traditional 12-turn, 2.52-mile course layout will be used for that event.

About the Sports Car Club of America:
The Sports Car Club of America®, Inc., founded in 1944, is a 67,500-member motorsports organization that incorporates all facets of autocross, rally and road racing at both Club and professional levels. With headquarters in Topeka, Kansas, the SCCA annually sanctions over 2,000 events through its 116 Regions and subsidiary divisions. Much of the SCCA’s activities are made possible with support from the following Official Partners: Chevrolet, the Official Truck of the SCCA; Hawk Performance, the Official Brake Products of SCCA; Mobil 1, the Official Oil of SCCA; Sunoco, the Official Fuel of SCCA; and Tire Rack, the Official Tire Retailer of SCCA. To learn more, please visit www.scca.com.

Photo: An aerial view of VIRginia International Raceway
Credit: Courtesy of VIRginia International Raceway

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!

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