Buddy Matthews 1942-2018

Alfred “Buddy” Matthews, long time NCR member, racer, Chief of Tech, former RE  and current Chapter Coordinator for the West Chapter was killed last night in a head-on collision with a truck on Hwy 49. He was driving his Miata.
Buddy was RE from 1987 through 1994, Assistant RE in 1986, and seemingly Chief of Tech or co-chief forever (officially since 1989). He was DA for Tech for a number of years as well. The Region presented him with several awards, including a Lifetime Achievement award in 2005.

We will miss him.

Visitation will be on Friday, December 7th from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Haynes Lineberry Funeral Home, 515 North Elm Street, Greensboro, NC 27401 , with a Memorial Service the following day at 11:00 a.m. at the same location.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to the American Heart Association.

NCR Awards Banquet Returns to Wilmington this Year

NCR’s Annual Awards Banquet returns to Wilmington this year, on January 12th at the Brooklyn Arts Center in downtown Wilmington.
For more information, prices, dinner menu, etc., please click here.

Goblins Go cancelled…again!

Fellow Competitors and Volunteers:

As I write this, it’s mid-50’s at VIR with cars on track, but unfortunately, depending on which forecast you choose to believe, for next weekend it looks like a high of 38 to 41 with a strong possibility of wintry mix, to straight out snow with accumulation. Therefore, both NC Region and VIR believe we have no choice but to cancel next weekend’s scheduled race and time trial event.

As part of our agreement with VIR for this event, it was mutually agreed that either party could cancel a week prior due to weather or lack of participation, or both, without consequence, and although we have 102 cars pre-registered, the forecast looks ominous. There are only two things we know of that VIR shut downs for – flooding, and snow. We’ve already experienced one and are now about to experience the other, both within 60 days.

All registrations will be canceled on MotorsportReg and entry fees refunded in their entirety.

Sincerely,
Sam Fouse, RE
Mark Senior, Race Chair
Eric Danielsen, Marketing Chair
Bruce Dover, Office Mgr & Registrar

Mark Senior Awarded National Race Administration Worker of the Year at Runoffs

Mark Senior, NCR Member, former RE, Triangle Chapter coordinator and Race Chair has been awarded the National Race Administration Worker of the Year in Sonoma, Califonia at the 2018 Runoffs.

The SCCA press release stated, “Race Administration Worker of the Year is Mark Senior of the North Carolina Region. Cool, calm and collected, he is a quiet, hard-working guy capable of adapting to handle any situation. He is efficient, easy to work with, has a great can-do attitude and is a great example of how to execute Race Administration duties.”

Congratulations Mark! A well-deserved award!

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

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”?

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