General club news
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.
Sam Fouse, RE
Mark Senior, Race Chair
Eric Danielsen, Marketing Chair
Bruce Dover, Office Mgr & Registrar
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!
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.
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.
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.
Anna Crissman has served as ARE since being appointed by RE Sam Fouse after ARE Mike Spencer resigned from the position due to increased job requirements in 2017. Prior to that, Anna was serving as Member-at-Large. When she was appointed ARE, Rex Deffenbaugh was appointed to serve out Anna’s term. Anna is running unopposed.
Heather Powers has served as Treasurer since being elected to that office in 2017. Heather is running unopposed.
Please read the brief bios below, submitted by each candidate and decide who you would like to vote for as Member-at-Large. The link to the voting page can be found in the email you will have received if you are a North Carolina Region member.
Candidates for Member-at-LargeDuties (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.”
I’m Rex T. Deffenbaugh, an incumbent Member-at-Large for North Carolina Region and current competitor. I’ve served for over 20 years on the Board in many capacities, including 6 years as Regional Executive. My time on the Board has led to a number of great relationships with National, South East Division and other Regions and Divisions, which facilitates the communication we need to continue putting on great events. I also provide the board with historical experiences and judgement on a regular basis. I attend nearly all Board meetings in person and will continue to. Please vote for me for Member-at-Large and I will continue to serve your interests in racing. Thank you.
Mark Senior has been a member of NCR SCCA for over 25 years. He started out in road rally, moved to autocross, then high performance driver schools and ultimately achieved his lifelong dream of road racing. He has served the Region as both Regional Executive and Asst. Regional Executive. He currently serves on the Board of Directors as the Triangle Chapter Coordinator. He is also currently the Region’s track liaison to VIR and serves as the Race Chair for the Region’s National Race. He has also served as a volunteer in Flagging, Grid, and Timing & Scoring. Mark is planning to turn over the reins of the Triangle Chapter Coordinator position this year and is running for the Member-at-Large position so that he can continue to use his extensive knowledge to help move the Region forward.
Voting is only allowed by members of the North Carolina Region and will be done on MotorsportReg.com (MSR). All votes will be anonymous and MSR will validate that each voter has a valid, not expired, SCCA membership and that they are a member of the North Carolina Region. In order to do this, each voter will need to have an account on MSR. If you don’t already have one, it’s easy and free to get one. Just go to motorsportreg.com and click on Create Free Account at the top right of the page. Each voting member must have an individual account on MSR.
Each member of SCCA has a unique membership number. That number and the name of the member must be the same on both your SCCA and MSR accounts. For instance, if you used your full legal name when joining SCCA, but then used a nickname when setting up your MSR account, you’ll need to go in and edit your MSR account to match exactly what SCCA has on file for you. If you joined SCCA as William Robert, but your MSR account says Billy Bob, you won’t be allowed to vote without changing it on MSR.
Also, for those of you who have the old-style SCCA family memberships, using the format of 123456_1, your membership number in MSR will have to match exactly. None of the following will work: 123456 1, 123456-1, 12345601 or 123456. So, please make sure that your membership number is entered accurately in MSR and that your membership has not expired.
If you have any issues when trying to vote, contact Bruce Dover, NCR Office Mgr & Registrar, at NCROffice@ncrscca.com or you can call or text 919-423-6015. If you are a NC Region member, but NCR is not your Region of Record with SCCA, you’ll need to contact Bruce for a link to vote
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:
- All members can vote, even Dual Members and the youngest among us.
- But officeholders must
- Have NCR as their Region of Record,
- 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.
- 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.
- Officers may be removed via the same kind of processes by which they were elected.
- Notifications of official meetings, such as the annual meeting, no longer need be by mail.
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!
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 email@example.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
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.
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
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.