General club news

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

2016 Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner

MG_4997North Carolina Region’s Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner for 2016 was held on January 14th 2017 at the Vailtree Event and Conference Center in Graham, North Carolina. The food was superb! Steak, seasoned chicken, and salmon were featured at the buffet, along with some yummy side items and glorious dessert items, including a cake made for the occasion.

Some of the eye candy available in the adjoining room!

Some of the eye candy available in the adjoining room!

Before dinner, attendees were invited to stroll through the adjoining room and view the owner’s collection of exotic and luxury vehicles.  A Ferrari, a Bentley GTC and a BMW B7 Alpina, were among the high-dollar European marques, along with an Alfa Romeo 4C and a Fiat 500 Abarth.  American muscle was represented too, with a late model Corvette Z06, a Dodge Challenger SRT (800 hp!), and a Viper ACR.  There was even a 1974 Lincoln Mark IV personal luxury coupe, the ride of choice for 70’s era TV private eye Frank Cannon. What a hoot!  And what an awesome collection!  Art Sinnott of F&S Enterprises, NCR’s official photographers at VIR, and Vailtree’s Stacey Polythress Rainey were on hand to take photos of it all.

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Sam Fouse, NC Region RE

James Buckberry

Ginny Condrey

Bruce Dover

Pete Romanowski

After dinner, we held our annual meeting.  RE Sam Fouse opened with a recap of the year and emphasize the dramatic turn-around in our financial position which was achieved by “right pricing” our entry fees, high enough to cover our costs but still small enough to make our events a bargain, considering the “bucket list” track we use to hold our events.  Sam also mentioned the challenges we faced, with the loss of James Buckberry, our Chief Starter, and departure of our Chief Registrar and Office Manager, Ginny Condrey, due to family illness.  Ginny’s departure left a huge hole, one that we are still trying to fill, though Bruce Dover has done an admirable job stepping in for her. And Pete Romanowski is to be commended for stepping in as Chief Starter, a job he never wanted, when James passed  away.

James Shanks, Membership Chair

James Shanks, Membership Chair

James Shanks then gave a short presentation on our membership, which stands at just over 760. The good news is that one in four members is a licensed competition driver, and one in three a licensed volunteer, so we have the means to put on great events.  The bad news is that our membership has declined since 2008. And unfortunately, dues are going up; though you can offset that by volunteering or signing up a new member.  The important thing to remember, James said, is to be friendly; since at any given moment, twenty percent of our members are new, and they will only stay if they make new friends.

Tim Lyons and Morgan Mehler

Tim Lyons and Morgan Mehler

Morgan Mehler, Member-at-Large and Solo Chair, gave a humorous but informative report on the Solo program, which is in fine shape. He also introduced Matt Decker, the new Cape Fear Chapter Coordinator, and told us that they had an active new season planned, with 4 events in Wilmington at Cape Fear Community College North Campus and 6 at Cherry Point Marine base. In addition, they will be hosting the North Carolina Autocross Championship in October.

There were no questions from the floor, so Sam closed the meeting and turned the mike over to emcee Tim Lyons for the awards presentation. Eric Danielsen put together a wonderful slide show presentation, featuring shots of the winners from our events, that played on a side screen as the awards were presented.

We recognized drivers:

Driver of the Year – Majors and SECS – Al Wheatley

Al Wheatley

See bottom of page for update.

Driver of the Year – Majors and SARRC – Alastair McEwan

Alastair McEwan

See bottom of page for update.

Driver of the Year – SARRC – Michael Sperber

Driver of the Year – SARRC – Ron Earp

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Ron Earp and Michael Sperber

“2016 James “Jim” Feinberg National Solo Driver of the Year”
and 2016 SCCA Solo National Champion
Maria Mayorga

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Maria Mayorga, National Champion

Regional Driver of the Year – Solo – Vernon Geddings

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Vernon Geddings

Rookie Driver of the Year – Solo – Christian Williams

Christian Williams

 Spirit of Mazda award – Alex Phelps

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Tim Lyons and Alex Phelps

And we recognized volunteers:

F&C Worker of the Year – Jan Michel

NCR Annual Awards Banquet 2016 44

T&S Worker of the Year – Megan Smith

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Anna Crissman, T&S Chief and Megan Smith

T&S Rookie of the Year – Richard Mosley

Richard Mosley

Start Rookies of the Year – Rick Edwards and Chuck Stanley

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Chuck Stanley, Chief Starter Pete Romanowski and Rick Edwards

Pit Road Rookie of the Year – Scott Keadle

Scott Keadle

Scott Keadle

Pace Car Outstanding Service – Joedy Pennington

Ed Wentz, Pace Car Chief and Joedy Pennington

Ed Wentz, Pace Car Chief and Joedy Pennington

Outstanding Service to the Solo Program – Justin Arnette

 

Outstanding Service in Tech –
Dwight Cooke, Rusty Matthews, Barbara Mayes,
Jerry Pell, and Chris Schimmel

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Chris Schimmel, Rusty Matthews, Barbara Mayes, Jerry Pell and Dwight Cooke

Plus a few more volunteers who require special mention:

Solo Worker of the Year – Stephen Miller

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Stephen Miller and son Adam.

For single-handedly starting the Solo Junior Karting program and now brining a second kart to allow other kids to try it out.

NCR Extra Mile Award – Brian Huff

Brian Huff

Brian Huff

For making replacement electronic light controllers for the corner station traffic lights without being asked.

Outstanding Service to the NCR Racing Program
Mark Biamonte, Eric Danielsen and David Turner

"The Three Amigos" Eric Danielsen, David Turnr and Mark Biamonte

“The Three Amigos” Eric Danielsen, David Turnr and Mark Biamonte

For ten years of service as flag chiefs and countless innovations.

(l to r) Eric Danielsen, David Turner, Mark Biamonte, Heather Clark, Brian Eldredge, Ben Tyler

On a humorous note, the incoming flag chiefs, Heather Clark, Brian Eldredge, and Ben Tyler, made their own presentation to their predecessors. Since the boys aren’t going away, just returning to duty on some flag station in the future, their successors gave them each a kit of corner worker necessities, new orange gloves, a break-away lanyard, and a bottle opener to name a few, and a cinch bag to carry it all in. Glad to have you back on the front lines, fellas, and thanks for your service!

 

 

Finally, it was Sam Fouse’s turn to present the major NCR Region awards. First up was a surprise presentation to Eric Danielsen.

NCR Member of the Year – Eric Danielsen223A6259

Eric had already been awarded for his service as Flag Chief.  He’s also a race chair and chair of the newly-formed Marketing Committee. He was instrumental in setting up our e-mail tool so that we could reach all the SCCA drivers east of the Mississippi, and he updates it regularly. This puts us far ahead of most other Regions.  But this year, Eric really put us on the map with the famous “Opie Goes Racing” video that he conceived and produced at this year’s Spring Sprints Majors.

Sam next presented

Workers of the Year to The EV Crew
Tim Gardner, Dave Dominguez, and James Matthews

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Tim Gardner and Dave Dominguez

Our EV guys Tim, Dave, and James, have been awarded before.  This last season they have been doing even more, such as giving up part of their lunch hour to help with the lunch-time drive arounds we do for charity at VIR. And when VIR maintenance couldn’t do it, they jumped in at the last minute to deliver all the deep-cycle batteries to the corner stations for the 13-hour race.

Finally, Sam was pleased to award Lifetime Achievement awards to two of his old friends:

Lifetime Achievement – Don Knowles

Don Knowles

Don, Sam said, is a racer’s racer. He’s won six National Championship in just 18 trips to the Runoffs, one out of every three, and he has done it over a forty-year period. He also competed regularly in endurance racing, running in everything from the 24 hours of Nelson Ledges to Daytona, and in every series that IMSA had to offer for small sedans, Renault Cup, Firehawk, Camel GT, and the Bilstein Rabbit Cup. Don has won a world record of fourteen 24-hour races, and he won three 24-hour race in both 1987 and ’88. He is also the all-time SCCA Escort series winner with 19 wins.  And true to form, he could not be with us for the presentation because he was racing at Sebring. Sam had the pleasure of announcing that Don had won today’s Majors T4 race in an RX-8 along with the pleasure of announcing his Lifetime Achievement award.

Lifetime Achievement – Bill King

Bill King

Sam opened his remarks on Bill by relating that it was Bill who had convinced him to join at an autocross back in 1976.  Bill had already been a member since 1964, and has the distinction of being the only active member who attended both the first race at VIR in 1957 and the last before it closed in 1974. In between he was a winning rallyist, a corner worker, a driver, and a writer. He was Bulletin Editor in 1976 and its most frequent contributor, exhibiting a talent for writing that later served him well as PR Manager for the Goodyear racing program in the Nineties. He was SSB champion in 1976, showing he knows how to drive as well as write. He was RE in 1981, and launched the first National at Roebling Road that Year. He was also the guy who convinced Rockingham to build the infield course, and helped design it with Steve Coleman.  That course opened in 1978 and was our mainstay for years. Eventually Bill moved on to the SCCA National Office, where he launched the Sports Renault Program (now SRF) and the Playboy Endurance Series (now the Pirelli World Challenge).  His accomplishments and his influence are too numerous to mention all at once, so it was with pride Sam awarded him his Lifetime Achievement award.

As our Guest of Honor, Bill then gave a short talk in which he entertained us with humorous stories and anecdotes from his time among the big names of sports car racing. It was a hoot! See the 7 min video with Bill telling his “how I got hooked on cars” story. Watch the 5 min video with Bill telling how he met Boris Said and two other anecdotes. Bill explains his book in 5.5 min about the History of VIR.

Thanks, Bill!

UPDATE!

(left to right) Al Wheatley, Don Knowles and Alastair McEwan, who were unable to attend the Banquet, received their awards at the Triangle Chapter Meeting in Raleigh on February 1st.

Bill King to Speak at NCR Banquet

billkingBill King, author of two books about VIRginia International Raceway, will be the guest speaker at this year’s NC Region Annual Awards Banquet. Bill and his wife Gloria are both long time NC Region members and have been involved in the Club on all levels since the 1950s. For more information and registration for the Banquet, please click the link above.

Bill King is/has been a publicist, marketer, journalist, race series organizer, author and raconteur, who has worked for Nick Craw, Leo Mehl, Paul Pfanner and Roger Werner. Original program manager, SCCA Spec Racer/Sports Renault, ’84. Created Playboy Endurance Series (now World Challenge) from clean sheet of paper, ‘85. PR manager for Goodyear Racing, ’86-’92; contributing editor and special projects manager for RACER, ’94-‘01, general manager, Speedvision.com, ’99-’01; and business development manager for Swift Engineering and Morse Measurements. Prior to ’83, N.C. Region F&C Chief, Bulletin editor and RE, ‘80 Area III John C. Reuter Award recipient and “daddy” of the SEDIV Double National. Racing career highlighted by the ’76 SEDIV SSB title and helping launch the Renault Cup in ’82. Honorary member of the Road Racing Driver’s Club.

Report from the 2016 Runoffs

by Sam Fouse

In 2013, SCCA celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Runoffs at historic Road America, which in my opinion is the ultimate ‘bucket list’ road course in the United States, both for the driver and the spectator. That event also marked the end of the line for multi-year contracts for Runoffs venues. Starting in 2014 and going forward, the event began rotating around the country: east, west, and in the middle.  First up in 2014 was Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, which was the first western Runoffs since Riverside in 1968. In 2015, the Runoffs returned to Daytona, the site of some of the earliest championships (’65,’67,’69). Next year, we’ll be visiting Indy for the first time ever, then back out west in 2018, before returning east again in 2019. Sites for ’18 and ’19 as of this writing are still TBD. Heard lots of rumors, nothing solid.

For 2016, the Runoffs circus visited the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the first time since 2005, which at the time was the last year of a 12-year run at the historic track in NE Ohio. You may think of Mid-Ohio as an old line club road course, but it’s actually 5 years younger than VIR (‘62 vs. ‘57). It has a special place for me, as it is where I attended my first sports car race as a teenager in 1967 and was also the site of my one and only (to-date) Runoffs entry, in 1995. If you are interested in the history of the Runoffs and of SCCA National Championship racing in general, I highly recommend you visit www.scca.com/runoffs, go to the sidebar on the right, and scroll down to “Runoffs Media Guide and Record Book”. There you will find a well put together 68 page history in a downloadable pdf format.

As a track, Mid-Ohio offers an appropriate challenge with some off-camber, blind turns, and is best characterized as a mid-speed ‘stop-n-go’ track with only one significantly long straightaway, when compared to Daytona, Road America, or some of our other SEDIV tracks. In the bigger picture as a facility, since all of the paddock space lies outside the track surface, it offers almost unlimited paddock space, much of it paved, which seemingly stretches forever up the hill behind. That also leaves a terrific infield geared to just spectating, and there is abundant camping space. I have seen a lot of change at Mid-Ohio since my first visit in the 60’s, when the paddock was just a grass slope behind a block control tower at start/finish. Most of the change occurred during the Jim Trueman (Red Roof Inns)/CART era when the paddock was leveled and paved, with much of the fill being used to build the spectator hills. One thing that hasn’t changed though, is the scenic village of Lexington nearby. Mid-Ohio is definitely worth a visit and it remains one of my favorites.

This year’s event enjoyed some of the most perfect weather I can ever remember during a Runoffs week, and I’ve attended about 30 of them in one capacity or another. At this point I’d like to thank Dennis Shaw for allowing me to ‘camp’ in his motor home for the week right along the fence just up from turn one and the trailer of Wayne and Jean Quick. We had a great spot to access just about everything.

Understand that a Runoffs effort, whether by driver, crew, or worker, is a major commitment of both time and money, far in excess of any other SCCA event. Expect ten days of lodging minimum for driver and crew, not including towing time at both ends. For drivers, add to that several sets of tires ($) and bringing all your best stuff ($$), not to mention weeks of prep work in advance.  With all that said, 8 NC Region racers participated this year: Eric Cruz in FE, Donnie Isley in FV, Bob Wheless in P1, Doug Piner and Bryan Yates in P2, Alex Phelps in STU, Kirk Knestis in STL, and our 6–time National Champion Don Knowles in T4. Although they didn’t bring home any hardware this year, they all raced well and finished respectably.

Our worker contingent included some of our best: Heather Clark, Ben Tyler, Megan Smith, Mark Biamonte, Anna Crissman, Heather Powers, Mo Overstreet, and of course Wayne Quick as a steward. I’m sure they represented us very well, and please forgive me if I’ve left someone out that I wasn’t aware of or didn’t see personally.

Clayton Condrey stayed busy all week crewing for Doug Piner while Dan Robson and Dennis Shaw supported Chad Bacon in GT3. I’m sure there were lots of other NCR members attending as crew also, but I have no source to reference them.

Overall, Runoffs participation in some classes was lighter than I’m sure SCCA had hoped for, and many races were shortened by incidents that unfortunately resulted in the clock running out early. To be fair, Mid-Ohio doesn’t have a lot of space to safely park cars during a race, so many incidents were worked ‘live’ that we might not have had to at VIR. However, there were still some close, hard-fought, full-length races. Overall, it was an excellent week for spectating and there’s no place that I’d rather be than at the Runoffs in the fall.

The sights, sounds, smells, and most importantly, the people, are why we all attend. Along those lines, of course there were the usual parties and banquets during the week. I attended the Richland County Chamber of Commerce feast in Mansfield on Monday, as did many NCR members, followed by the Mazda banquet on Wednesday, and the SCCA tent party on Thursday evening. And since none of our guys were racing on Friday, three of us snuck away to visit the Air Force Museum in Dayton on Friday. That is a visit I highly recommend. Should be right on the way to or from Indy next year.

Speaking of Indy, I expect the turnout for next year’s Runoffs will easily exceed this year by quite a bit for two reasons: 1. It’s Indy (bucket list), and 2. SCCA has now lowered the bar to qualify. Look for the NCR contingent to grow next year also. As they say, all it takes is time and money.

A Few New Things

by Heather Clark

This year held quite a few firsts for me as an NCR-SCCA member. I became a Member-at-Large on the Board of Directors, attended the Runoffs held at Mid-Ohio and decided to become one of the three “wise guys” of F&C for the 2017 race season, which also means I’ll be a member of the Competition (Comp) Board.

I must have bumped my head or I am just a glutton for punishment, right?

As a Member-at-Large I’ve learned quite a bit about the operations of the region from planning, to making changes that have bettered the club as a whole, to carrying out/reviewing events. It takes time: emails – lots of emails; meetings – better attended in person than via teleconference as it’s much easier to hear and the food and beer at Piper’s Deli is amazing (to all those I text so you can understand what you’re hearing you’re welcome); and patience. Lots and lots of patience. I have another year to go in my stint as a Member-at-Large but have already gained much experience to add to my resume that I would never have obtained at my job. I very much look forward to the workings of the Board in 2017. Whether you choose to become a Board Member yourself, attend meetings, or submit feedback (positive feedback is needed as much as negative feedback), I highly suggest you do so.

Next: The Runoffs. I had never flagged the Runoffs in my 10 years as a flagger and the 2016 Runoffs were being held at Mid-Ohio which I was trying to get back to play at.

Quick background: went to Mid-O for the first time with Ben Tyler (his home track) for the 2013 Grand-Am event. This is the one during which Gustave Yacaman lit up the #6 Shank Ford. If you look this up on YouTube you’ll see two q-tips. Yes, that’s Ben and me. Since then I’ve been wanting to get back up there as I had a blast! This was my chance to do both. As it worked out, Ben and I went up for the Majors this past June during which time Mid-O threw everything it could think of at all of us at T-5 that Sunday…

Anyway, the Runoffs. Not to disappoint, I had a blast! There were many track family members there that I already knew, flaggers, drivers, crew members and EV alike, but I met many, many more. I would not say that the Runoffs were like Club events on crack, more like on steroids, but so much fun! Laughing trackside, giggling long into the night way up the hill, beer, trees on fire, some great racing…This particular visit I had yet another new experience. I was part of the team at T2 (the Keyhole) that helped tip the Mini Cooper back onto its wheels. I am yet again working on which events I’ll be able to get back to Mid-O for in 2017. I am also working on making it to the 2017 Runoffs at Indy as I’ve yet to go there.

Certainly not last, but last on this list: taking on being one of the Flag Chiefs for the region for 2017. Some of you may not know the following: Brian “Axle” Eldredge, Ben Tyler and I are relieving the three former wise guys (Eric Danielsen, Mark Biamonte and David Turner) of their Chief-like duties. They’ve done it a while and it’s time they got to go back and play trackside to brush up on their skills. The three of us have been to many tracks for events under various sanctioning bodies. We have experienced ways of performing F&C duties that may or may not work for our region. As Flag Chiefs we can affect positive changes within NCR’s F&C crew and ultimately helping strengthen the region as a whole. Plus, they said there’s beer? Or maybe it was that it will take much beer to make it as a Flag Chief. Hmmmmm.

Meet the Candidates

The ballots have all been mailed out. If you haven’t received yours already, you will be receiving it soon. Please take the time to fill it out and mail it back. There’s only one office that’s being contested this year…Treasurer.

Last year, we only had one candidate for each opening, so there was no need to send out ballots. We saved the money we would have spent on stamps and everything else and used it elsewhere. This year we have a choice to make.

Be sure to get your ballot in the mail so we’ll have it by December 31st.

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Candidate for Assistant Regional Executive

Duties (per NCR Bylaws):

“In the absence of the Regional Executive, the duties of that office shall be assumed by the Assistant Regional Executive…” The Assistant RE also serves as Chairman of the Competition Board which has the duty to “1) oversee the operation and conduct of all competitive events sponsored by the organization, in accordance with established SCCA rules and procedures; 2) enforce the rules and regulations of such events.”

_______________________________________________

Mike Spencer

First of all, thank you very much for taking the time to read candidate bios! Knowledgeable members voting for their Board of Directors leads to a better Board, to better race weekends, and to a better North Carolina Region.

My name is Mike Spencer, and I am your Assistant Regional Executive. As the name implies, this role assists the Regional Executive. However, there is another very important responsibility. The Assistant RE also runs the Competition Board, which is made up of all the various specialty chiefs. The Comp Board meets at different times during the year to plan for upcoming NC Region race and to discuss events shortly after they are run. The lessons we learned from 2016 and earlier are used to make the 2017 events even better.

I first joined SCCA in the early 80s and participated in AutoCross for several years. Once my kids came along, my wife and I agreed that my hobby would get shelved “for the time being”.

The re-opening of VIR in 2000 and the timely encouragement of a good friend convinced me to get involved again. Since I only had AutoCross experience at that time, I started as a Flagger. Not too long after that I obtained my Competition License. Since then I have also worked on Grid, Pit Road, and driven the Safety Car. My family is involved, too. My daughter, Ericka, has been a Safety Car Communicator since (I believe) the first 13-hour race. She also has experience in the Start stand. My son, Paul, was at that first 8-hour endurance race that became the 13-hour “Charge of the Headlight Brigade” the following year. He has been crewing for me and got his Competition license in 2015.

I believe that someone who regularly “plays on both sides of the Armco” is in an excellent position to address issues from both a driver’s perspective and a worker’s perspective. All of us in NC Region are very fortunate to have such a wonderful playground in VIR. I will do everything I can to ensure that our race weekends continue to be safe and fun activities for everyone involved!

In this post, you may click on any of the candidates’ names as links to our email addresses. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have or offer any suggestions.

Enjoy the off-season. I hope to see you at the track in 2017!

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Candidates for Treasurer

Duties (per NCR Bylaws):

“The Treasurer shall, subject to such conditions and restrictions as may be made by the Board of Directors, have custody of all monies, debts, and obligations belonging to the organization. The Treasurer shall receive all monies and deposit same to the North Carolina Region, SCCA, Inc. account. The Treasurer, and the Regional Executive, shall have control over and supervision of all payment of true debts and obligations, and shall maintain such records as are in accordance with accepted accounting procedure. The Treasurer shall be bonded at the expense of the organization, and will perform the duties of the office in the manner described in the Operations Manual.”

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Steve Keadle

  • Joined SCCA in 2003 and worked F&C.
  • Accepted into SIT program in 2005.
  • Completed training and promoted to Divisional Chief Steward 2007.
  • When new Steward grades were established in 2008, promoted to National Steward.
  • Awarded NCR’s E. Gordon Warren Steward of the Year in 2008.
  • Volunteered to procure NCR worker gifts 2009 to present.
  • Current Regional licenses in F&C, Grid and Registration.
  • Current Divisional licenses as Time Trial Chief & Safety Steward and Course Inspector.
  • NCR Treasurer and Board member 2009 to present.
  • 2nd place 2012 NCR Solo Novice Class.
  • Speaker at 2014 & 2015 SCCA National conventions in Charlotte, NC.
  • 29 years as a Tax Accountant.

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Heather Powers

Hello to my fellow NC Region members!

My name is Heather Powers and I am running for Treasurer on your Board of Directors. If elected, I promise to work with our Event Administrators and Specialty Chiefs to look for opportunities to save money and to develop a budget to help us stay aligned with our financial goals. I will work with our Solo Group so that we can develop additional reporting and communication to allow us to share more information between the BOD and the Solo Team. They are running a great program and I would like to provide the BOD with better visibility to that.

If you would like to keep up with what is going on “behind the scenes” in the Region, you can view the Board Meeting minutes here. Additionally, if you have any questions for me or want to share your ideas about the Treasurer position or as your Driver Representative on the Competition Board, please feel free to contact me at 336-707-1344 or hpowers15@yahoo.com.

  • Member of BOD for 20 out of 26 years as a SCCA member
    • Member at Large
    • Assistant RE
  • Driver Representative on Competition Board for 5+ years
  • Volunteered in almost all Specialties
  • Been a member of the Annual Awards Committee
    • Worked with Trophy supplier to select the trophies to give out
    • Created and designed the Crew Member Award
  • I have received several Outstanding Service awards, a Worker of the Year, and a Member of the Year
  • I have held a completion license for 25 years.
    • I got my start in Solo Racing
    • I have raced in many classes including various IT classes, SM, FP, and STO
    • Instructor for PDX
    • Instructor for Club Racing Driver Schools
    • Won a Tarheel Cup Championship
    • In 2015 finished 2nd in IT7 in SARRC

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Candidates for Member-at-Large

Duties (per NCR Bylaws):

“The Members-at-Large are responsible for providing additional input for decision-making, and will endeavor to represent all viewpoints of the membership at meetings of the Board of Directors.”

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Blair Deffenbaugh

Hi, my name is Blair Deffenbaugh. At 25 years old I am a 25 year member of SCCA. I have been active in the club from the time I could walk and talk. I started out in timing and scoring, gaining a divisional license with eligibility for a national license. As soon as I reached the age, I went out and started corner working and not long after that I earned my competition license. I remain active in timing, on the corner and on the track.

Having been an active member for so long I know and am very close to the club and its problems. The key to the club’s success is having active participants on the board. In the last year we have had more club participants on the board than ever before and we have worked better than ever before. Volunteers know what volunteers want and drivers know what drivers want. I have served one term as Member-at-Large and look forward to serving again.

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Anna Crissman

Hello, my name is Anna Crissman, on record I have been a member of North Carolina Region since 2001. I have been involved in SCCA or some form of racing since I was a young child.  Once VIR reopened in 2000, I became reengaged with SCCA and became very involved in Timing and Scoring. As a worker and the Area 12 DA of Timing and Scoring I understand that there are many intricacies that you experience behind the scenes that are hard to understand if you don’t get involved. I also have crewed and been involved with helping drivers in various capacities. There are many things that impact the drivers experience within our organization that many people who volunteer may not be aware of.

I feel like I can see both sides of the equation and am willing to help make our events and Club terrific for all involved.Often we develop an “us vs. them” mentality because we haven’t experienced an event from the other side of the track. We need to do everything we can to make it so that all groups feel represented and engaged in our process.

I want to be involved in streamlining our procedures to make them more user friendly. I also want to be involved in upgrading our technology where possible and broadening our training so that we can be even better than we have ever been. I enjoy the friendships and families that I have made at the racetrack, they keep me laughing/giggling most of the time. Racing should be fun for everyone!

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NCR Has Two New 2016 Solo National Champions

A record setting 1306 competitors took to the Lincoln Air Park September 6th – 9th for the 2016 Tire Rack Solo Nationals Presented by Garmin VIRB, and 23 of them traveled all the way to Nebraska from the North Carolina Region!

2016 saw NCR drivers bringing home 8 trophies, including National Championships for Maria Mayorga in G Street Ladies, and Andrew Pallotta in G Street! (That’s Maria at the wheel in the photo above. Photo: Jeff Eng)

Congratulations to all that experienced Nationals, to those who won trophies and to Maria and Andrew on their championships!

2016 North Carolina Region Drivers

B Street Justin Barbry
Mike Jones
Justin Arnette
6th  (Trophy)
27th
46th
BS Ladies Abby Smith
Nikki Edwards
Tara Arnette
6th
11th
12th
C Street Matt McGrain 19th
CS Ladies Jennifer Vance 3rd  (Trophy)
E Street Eric Peterson
Mark Miller
13th  (Trophy)
45th
ES Ladies Jennifer Bedell
Chris Peterson
2nd  (Trophy)
3rd  (Trophy
F Street Michael Feeney
Dick Rasmussen
19th
30th
G Street Andrew Pallotta National Champion
GS Ladies Maria Mayorga National Champion
H Street David Spratte 14th
HS Ladies Gwen Habenicht 2nd  (Trophy)
STX Aaron Buckley 30th
CSP Adrian Willis
Bryce Willis
13th
19th
SMF Ladies Shelby Turbeville 4th

Below: New National Champions Andrew Pallotta & Maria Mayorga

Additionally, some NCR drivers went out to Lincoln extra early for the 2016 Tire Rack ProSolo Finale, September 2-4.  Congratulations to all that participated and those who took home trophies!

B Street Justin Barbry 2nd  (Trophy)
E Street Eric Peterson 2nd  (Trophy)
F Street Michael Feeney
Dick Rasmussen
8th
12th
H Street David Spratte 3rd
Ladies 2 Jennifer Bedell
Gwen Habenicht
5th  (Trophy)
15th

 

The following is an account from Team .:RAWRRR, about their experience competing in BS/BSL driving a 2016 VW Golf R at the 2016 Tire Rack Solo Nationals Presented by Garmin VIRB.

40 Hours of Driving for 6 Minutes of Racing

Attending the Solo Nationals for the first time was an amazing experience, one which is difficult to even put into words.  The largest event most of us have ever been a part of up to this point was one-tenth as large as Nationals.  There were a record 1306 competitors at the 2016 Solo Nationals, or in other words, Team .:RAWRRR and 1302 other racers.

Tara Arnette, Abby Smith, Justin Arnette and Mike Jones worked throughout the year toward their goal of attending the 2016 Tire Rack Solo Nationals Presented by Garmin VIRB.  These four friends and competitors became Team .:RAWRRR, based on their car, a 2016 Volkswagen Golf R.  Team .:RAWRRR knew they would be an underdog in the BS/BSL class but felt that if there was rain their chances would improve, though the primary goal was to simply experience Solo Nationals and all that it had to offer.

Team .:RAWRRR arrived in Lincoln, Nebraska from eastern North Carolina on Sunday, September 4th after spending the previous 2 days on the road towing for approximately 20 hours.  Along the way Team .:RAWRRR played “Snap Crap,” a game conceived to help make the, often, long haul to Lincoln a little more entertaining.  Competitors from around the country are given a list of items to find and take photos of on their way both to and from Lincoln.  The list is open to interpretation which makes it quite fun and a good way to help pass time during the long tow to Lincoln, Nebraska from North Carolina.

Once on site, Team .:RAWRRR established base camp along with several other competitors from the NCR and neighboring regions such as SCR, CCR, etc.  The paddock area is where most shenanigans take place and is a great place to spend time.  Not only do you see plenty of car prep, but also “site improvements” such as tents, couches purchased from Craigslist, large inflatable rubber duckies, etc., and plenty of competitors who are friends that only get to see one another one or twice a year getting reacquainted.  NCR’s site at Cherry Point is one of the larger sites on the east coast, yet the paddock area alone at the Lincoln Air Park is larger than all of the Cherry Point site.  As such, it is hard describe what it looks like as 1300 autocrossers showed up and slowly filled the space in their own unique way.

Once settled, Team .:RAWRRR got registered and passed tech and then spent some time watching the Pro Solo Finale.  Monday was spent recovering from the two day tow, making car prep changes and completing several course walks on both the East and West course.  Team .:RAWRRR was scheduled to run the East Course Thursday and West Course Friday.  Tuesday and Wednesday were spent watching other competitors run and getting in additional course walks as often as possible between run groups.  Plus, Team .:RAWRRR had two time slots scheduled on the test course, which was used for final tuning and scrubbing in a new set of tires.

Thursday.  Race day.  After an early arrival for one last course walk on the East Course, Justin and Mike worked the first run group followed by Abby and Tara working the second.   The guys ran in Group 3 and the ladies in Group 5.  All four members of Team .:RAWRRR laid down their best runs of the day on their very first run.  All team members thought they had underperformed for the day and looked forward to day two, as rain was in the forecast and the all-wheel drive of the Golf R looked promising against a horde of Corvettes and S2000s.

Friday.  Race day, take 2.  Groups 1 and 2 saw cool and windy conditions, and just as Group 2 was finishing the sun came out and temperatures quickly increased.  There would be no rain to help Justin and Mike in Group 3.  The guys laid down solid runs that they deemed, “pretty good, but not great,” and concluded that in the dry the Golf R is simply outclassed in BS by the Corvette and S2000.  After lunch the ladies ran in Group 5, as the clouds quickly rolled in.  A push was made to get in dry runs before the rain came, but only the first drivers got in dry runs.  After a 2 hour delay due to lightning, racing resumed in the rain.  Finally, the Golf R and Team .:RAWRRR lived up to its potential as Abby and Tara drove very well, with Abby even laying down BSL’s fastest time of the day in the wet and Tara the fourth fastest.  After Group 5 finished and Team .:RAWRRR’s Nationals were complete, a protest arose in the run group regarding whether the dry runs were to count, or not.  Team .:RAWRRR concluded that either way the protest went they would unfortunately not be leaving Lincoln with a trophy so they decided to pack up and begin the long haul back to North Carolina.

Team .:RAWRRR worked together to make it to this event and would not have made it to Lincoln individually and certainly would not have had such an amazing experience.  Team .:RAWRRR recommends that EVERY autocrosser make it to Nationals at least once; to find some true friends and go as a team.  Tara concluded, “I didn’t walk away with a jacket, I wasn’t even close, but the experience and energy of being around 1,300 other racers was worth the 40 hour drive.”  On the way home Team .:RAWRRR even began discussing next year….