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.

Pete Romanowski Steps up to Chief Starter

by: Eric Danielsen

The NCR Board of Directors happily accepted Pete Romanowski’s offer to step into the position of Chief Starter. After James Buckberry passed away last month, his position needed to be filled. Pete is already Chief Starter for South Carolina Region and the Petit Le Mans. As a member of the North Carolina Region, it’s fitting that he volunteers to play Chief Starter at VIR.

He plays Chief so well. “I do it for the love of the sport” says Pete, “someone has to do it (Chief Starter), I’m the logical choice. I’ve stepped in for James before. Ten years ago at Kershaw, James asked me to be Chief for the first time, when he couldn’t make it,” Pete recalls.

He’s going to miss James Buckberry. “James and I were like brothers. We’d take care of each other. We’d talk after the races back at the hotel. James used to get up early and leave a cup of coffee for me outside my door. I’m going to miss the little things like that” Pete reminisces.

“I’m not going to do this forever. Hopefully by the end of next Spring I’ll have someone to take my place as Chief Starter” dreams Pete.

When asked, what is the key to success? Pete tells us, “Once the Green Flag is shown, Start becomes another corner station. It’s like a corner station with extra duties. That’s the way I’ve always felt about it”

He should know. He’s been flagging since the 70’s.

Romanowski’s first memory of racing was the sound of the cars. “It was in Europe somewhere; I only remember the sound.”

Born in Essen, West Germany in 1946 Pete was 10 years old when his family moved to Buffalo NY. The first race he remembers attending was the 1969 Can-Am race at Watkins Glen where he saw Bruce McLaren win. When he moved to Florida he began volunteering as a corner marshall at Palm Beach International Raceway “before they changed its name to Moroso. Now it’s back to PBIR,” Pete informs us.

“My ‘Swamp Rat’ name was ‘Bearded Rat,’” Pete shares, “ask Chuck (Stanley) what his ‘Swamp Rat’ name was.”

“We didn’t need a license back then; nobody thought about insurance. I started in 1976 and didn’t join SCCA until ’79.”

He’s “worked” all the stuff down in Florida: Daytona, Sebring, Pro, and Club races.

When there wasn’t a race, he would autocross, or drive in TSD rallies, or whatever else was going on that had to do with cars.

He received his National F&C License before getting National Starter. He’s worked as Corner Captain just about everywhere he’s been, most notably, as the Captain of Turn 5 during the 24-Hours of Daytona for 15 years.

Captains of the 24 staff their own turn and run it like a Flag Chief. “I recruited my own people, set up the rotation, and dealt with any problems. Sometimes I had to chew somebody out, I tell it like it is, but I never lost anybody…they always came back”, Pete says with his gravelly voice.

Known as “Uncle Pete” to countless flaggers, Romanowski has endeared himself to so many Marshals and Starters. As he keeps them “straight”, Pete never forgets the fun, “You gotta keep it fun, or they won’t come back.”

Pete obviously has fun with flags in his hand, because he’s been coming back for a long time. Rest assured he is not going to retire just yet, “I’m going to be wherever I’m needed,” he confirms.

James Buckberry

James Arthur Buckberry: July 3, 1950 – July 7, 2016

James Buckberry

by Bruce Dover

James Buckberry was many things to many people. He was a caring and loving father…”hard on the outside, but good on the inside”, to his son Justin. He was a proud grandfather to Owen and had just been told, about a week before he died, that there was another grandchild on the way. To his co-workers at Dell and elsewhere, he went by the nickname of “London”. In conversation, he was always ready with a witty comeback, followed by a big smile and laugh.

To those of us who worked with him through SCCA, he was a conscientious Starter with a penchant for enforcing pit out blend line violations. He even had custom shirts printed with “Don’t Violate Me” on the front, along with a diagram of the Blend line at pit out. He had one for Carolina Motorsports Park, in Kershaw, SC and one for VIR and loved to attend the morning Driver’s meeting at both tracks to show them off to the drivers and warn them of the consequences for the violation. He served as Chief Starter at both of those tracks. And, drivers knew when they saw him in the Start stand as they rolled down the straightaway looking for a green flag to start their race, that if they weren’t lined up properly, all they’d see was that big cowboy hat shaking back and forth, telling them to go around and try again. To Jamie D., he was a mentor, who helped usher Jamie from raw rookie (and I do mean raw!) all the way to his National license. There were lots of bumps along the way, but James was always there for Jamie. He was a unique individual and he will be sorely missed.

James was born in London, England in 1950 to George and Gladys Buckberry. His dad worked in an art gallery in London and his mum worked in an office. At the age of 16, he joined the Royal Marines…something he was very proud of and really enjoyed. According to his sister, he basically joined because he was a loner. He served 4 years active duty and 8 years in the reserves. While living in England, he married Christine and had two children, Karen and Ian. In 1986, at age 36, while working for Decision Date, he transferred to the United States. Just one year later, he joined the Sports Car Club of America. In 1989, he earned his U.S. citizenship. He was married to Terri from 1987 until 1995. Son Justin was born in 1986.

After a lifetime of smoking cigarettes, he was diagnosed with COPD toward the end of 2015. That forced him to carry an oxygen bottle around with him and made just climbing the steps to the Start stand at VIR a major effort…something that would leave him out of breath when he reached the top. He made the decision, around Christmas time last year, to step down from his position as Chief Starter and try some other specialty. He then asked the NCR Board of Directors to appoint someone else to that position. However, before that could take place, he had a serious heart-to-heart talk with his good friend, Pete Romanowski, who convinced him that his many years of experience as an SCCA Starter could best be used to train new Starters. Consequently, he withdrew the notice of his intent to resign.

The last SCCA function he attended was the West Chapter meeting on July 5th in Greensboro. He showed up wearing a “boot” and was on crutches. He had broken his foot by tripping over a stump while Justin and he were cutting limbs down in his yard 2 or 3 weeks earlier. Despite all that, he was still talking about going to Charlotte for the Daylight Into Darkness race in August! That was a Central Carolinas Region race and he was their Chief Starter, so he would find a way! That meeting of the West Chapter was held in a building owned by Jerry Pell and the Chapter members were having a cookout around back on the ground floor. The meeting itself was to be held upstairs and there was no elevator available, so James left early, after he’d had a little time to eat and socialize with the attendees.

Two days later, he was cutting his lawn and apparently had a heart attack. His next door neighbor saw him lying in the yard and called 911. James had died. He had just celebrated his 66th birthday 4 days earlier.

His funeral/memorial service was held on July 12th at the Loflin Funeral Home in Liberty, NC and was well attended by many NC Region members who came by to say their farewells.

In the wake of his death, a big void has been created. The Start stands at VIR and Kershaw will never be the same again. Many of us who worked with him will never again see a car cross a blend line without thinking of James. I know I surely won’t. 

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(Below, left) The early days, prior to the Royal Marines. I’ll bet you could hear him coming a ways off with all that hardware dangling and jangling!

(Below, right) Newly recruited and all squared away!

 

(Below) With daughter Karen and son Ian in England.

(Below, left) Looking young and buff at Cherry Grove around 1989, with 3 year old Justin. Wait…Is that a shark?!

(Below, right) His first really big hat!

(Below) At Justin’s wedding with ex-wife Terri.

(Below) With newborn Owen.

(Below) Go ahead! I dare you!

 

 

Looking for something to do for the next 20 weeks?

If you’ve never worked or driven at a race somewhere other than VIR, you should know that traveling to new tracks can be a great way to meet new friends, build on existing friendships, and learn more about what we do! Anyone who has traveled around will agree. So, how about visiting one of these wonderful facilities:

Summit Point Raceway in Summit Point, WV – Host Region Washington D.C. Region. For more information visit WDCR’s website: WDC REGION

Charlotte Motor Speedway near Charlotte, NC – Host Region: Central Carolinas Region. For more information visit CCR’s website: CENTRAL CAROLINAS REGION

Road Atlanta near Braselton, GA – Host Region: Atlanta Region. For more information visit Atlanta Region’s website: ATLANTA REGION

Roebling Road Raceway near Savannah, GA – Host Region: Buccaneer Region. For more information visit Buccaneer Region’s website: BUCCANEER REGION

Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course near Mansfield, OH – Host Regions: Ohio Valley Region and Cincinnati Region. For more information about working F&C visit Lake Erie Communications’ new website: LEC.  For information about working all other specialties, or driving, visit Ohio Valley Region’s website: OV REGION or Cincinnati Region’s website: CINCY REGION

 

Tired of the Snow and Cold Weather? Well, hang in there…racing season is coming!!

Does the recent weather have you feeling like this?

But you’d rather feel like these guys?

Well, worry not friends! The most wonderful time of the year is nearly upon us! That’s right! It’s almost racing season and this year, that’s not the only exciting news the North Carolina Region of the SCCA has in store for you!

Read it here first, folks:

Carolina Cup Pro Series
Returns to VIR!
March 12-13, 2016
March Into Spring at VIR
Double SARRC, ECR &  TCPS & CCPS
We’ll be running DOUBLE everything! That’s right – a Double SARRC, as well as Double ECR, Double TCPS and RETURNING THIS YEAR… Double CCPS races.
Drivers will be able to enter two enduros at once. ECR, TCPS and CCPS will run concurrently. Enter the 90 minute ECR and also run either the 45 minute TCPS or 45 minute CCPS at the same time!
For Majors drivers this is also a great opportunity to get some valuable practice time in on the cheap for the upcoming dual-conference Majors event at VIR.
 
Registration opens on Groundhog Day on MotorsportReg.
In case you were wondering –  the average daytime high in Danville, Virginia in early March is around 60˚F with the azaleas starting to bloom. Spring racing weather!

We’ve Lost Sam Overstreet!

The North Carolina Region has lost a dear friend. Sam Overstreet passed away early Friday morning, March 20th, after a lengthy illness. No services are planned and her husband, Mo, asks that you not contact him by phone. Also, if you’re going to send a card, don’t send a sad, gloomy one…try to be positive, maybe a fond remembrance of Sam. Mo’s had enough “sad” lately!

Chuck Stanley, former F&C Chief for NCR posted the following on Facebook:

“It’s been 24 hours since I woke to find a dear friend, a sister Warrior in White was finally rid of a most hideous disease that robbed us all of her being with us any longer. Sam fought with dignity, grace and the charm only she had. So many friends, so many stories and memories but one thing can also never be forgotten. Her loyalty grew loyalty and her dear husband, Mo, will always be remembered side by side, sharing his undying love for Sam while he supported her through this terminal journey. A chunk of my heart is in Sam’s hands and will remain, she was a true friend and compatriot no one can match. Rest in Peace my dear friend, your journey here is now through but save a spot on a corner in heaven and know all your friends here are looking still to your guidance.”

Some time back, Chuck wrote a Member Profile about Mo & Sam. see it here

The following obituary is from The News & Advance of Lynchburg, Va

Elda Prudden Overstreet, known by all as “Sam”, of Rustburg Va., died on Friday, March 20, 2015. Sam was born on December 14, 1946, in Perth Amboy, N.J. to the late Orrin Dwight Prudden and the late Elinor Cash Prudden. She attended and graduated from Stratford College in Danville, Va. and the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va. Sam married Michael “Mo” Overstreet on January 2, 1981, and they enjoyed 34 years of marriage together. In 2007, she retired from Framatome/Areva after thirty-two years. In addition to her parents, Sam was preceded in death by a brother, Neil Prudden. Sam leaves behind her husband, Mo; a sister-in-law, Betty Prudden of Indian Trail, N.C.; and four nieces, Liz Prudden of Charlotte, N.C., Alexandra Prudden of Brush Prairie, Wash., Meredith Goins of Maryville, Tenn., and Jenny Greene of Matthews, N.C. Services will be private. In lieu of flowers, macaroni and cheeses, etc., please consider making a donation in Sam’s memory at www.psp.org. Tharp Funeral Home, Lynchburg, is assisting the family, (434) 237-9424. To send condolences please go to www.tharpfuneralhome.com.

MotorSportReg.com and register now.

As always, we are really in need of workers for Friday, so if you can make it, we would really appreciate it. '>

F&C Newsletter – April 9, 2014

North Carolina Region SCCA F&C

VIR Spring Sprints – April 18th – 20th, 2014

SPRING HAS ARRIVED!

The long cold winter is finally over and spring is here! What better way to celebrate the arrival of spring than a trip to VIR for the Spring Sprints. Three wonderful days of The Majors. National races that are always a thrill. If you’ve not signed up to work yet, go immediately to MotorSportReg.com and register now.

As always, we are really in need of workers for Friday, so if you can make it, we would really appreciate it. 
Flag meetings are at 7:30 AM all 3 days at the flag shack. Of course, there will be coffee, coco and an assortment of Danishes and fruit. Lunch will be provided all 3 days including the Friday and Saturday night socials. You don’t want to miss it. As always – we appreciate your help.

The full schedule and supps are available on the NCR web site.

If you have special requests, accommodations, things you want to let any flag chief(s) take into consideration, email us ASAP.

Sincerely,
Your Flag Chief du jour

New Start Stand at VIR

The old Start stand, which had stood in front of the Control Tower on the front straight since VIR reopened in 2000, is no more. It was torn down on November 6th and the trees at Pit Out are gone as well. This was done to make room for a widening of pit road. The new Start stand, whose design has just been finalized (click on photo), will be built in the vicinity of Pit Out. The trees were removed to give the Starter a clear view of the front straight, to give drivers a clear view of Turn One as they come down the front straight and a clearer view as they enter the track from Pit Out, as well as remove any solid objects from the edge of the track in a very high-speed area. The new Start stand will be more like a Start “bridge”, as they have at Road America. Much like a diving board design, it will still allow Starters to see everything they could from the old location, as well as have the added benefit of being able to see and control traffic leaving pit road. The new location of the Start stand will make it possible for spectators to view the start, but particularly the finish of races, from the Pagoda’s upper deck and surrounding areas, therefore, enhancing the spectator’s experience of attending races at VIR.

Another much needed change (below), is some added apex curbing at the “kink” on the front straight. And…look at that view of Turn One from there!

To register, http://ncrscca.motorsportreg.com gets you straight to our events. Drivers and Volunteers register through the same event.

Click Register, Continue, Continue, Check the Box for SELECT REGISTRATION TYPE, Check VOLUNTEER REGISTRATIONS.

Email flagchief@ncrscca.com if you need more information.

If you need help with getting an affordable room contact Sara Snider by today Monday 10/14. FYI, the 13 hour weekend is up against the Martinsville NASCAR race this year.

'>

F&C Newsletter – October 14th, 2013

HEEEEEEEEELP!

We have half of the flaggers needed to run the last two races of the season. Go to NCRSCCA.MotorsportReg.com to register NOW! …if you haven’t already.

To register, http://ncrscca.motorsportreg.com gets you straight to our events. Drivers and Volunteers register through the same event.

Click Register, Continue, Continue, Check the Box for SELECT REGISTRATION TYPE, Check VOLUNTEER REGISTRATIONS.

Email flagchief@ncrscca.com if you need more information.

If you need help with getting an affordable room contact Sara Snider by today Monday 10/14. FYI, the 13 hour weekend is up against the Martinsville NASCAR race this year.

 

Goblins Go – October 19-20, 2013

The flag meeting is @ 7:45 on both Saturday and Sunday with a Green Course at8:30. The flag meeting is held at the North Flag Shack building in the paddock up near the grid. Lunch will be provided each day and there will be a social Saturdayevening after the racing.

The following flaggers have signed up:

Mark Biamonte
Todd Cohen
Jan Coleman-Mitchell
Lynn Combs
Eric Danielsen
Dian Dingle
Earnie Dingle
Don Drennon
Brian Eldredge
Michael Hastings
Alan Martin
Kirby Murray
DeWitt Payne
Chris Robbins
Chuck Stanley
Douglas Thompson
David Turner
Michael Wahl

Sign up now on NCRSCCA.MotorsportReg.com

 

13-Hour – October 25-26, 2013

On Friday the flag meeting is at 4:30 at the North Flag Shack, with a green course at 5:30. There will be a 1 hour qualifying session followed by a 1 hour night practice. There will be a social Friday night after practice. Worth 1 Worker Credit Punch.

On Saturday there is a pre-race breakfast from 6:30 to 7:45 at the Pagoda. The flag meeting is at 8:15 at the North Flag Shack. Lunch and Dinner will be provided on Saturday. Worth 2 Worker Credit Punches.

The following flaggers have signed up:

John Bodnar
Steve Bridges
Heather Clark
Todd Cohen
Jan Coleman-Mitchell
Eric Danielsen
Casey DeSteunder
Don Drennon
Brian Eldredge
Pablo Escalera
Bill Forman
Rachel Forman
Thomas Guest Jr.
Collin Johnson
John Lakatos
Alan Martin
Leigh McBride
Mack McCormack
Morgan Mehler
Kirby Murray
Laurence Polley
Kyle Ray-Smith
Glenn Smith
Lance Snyder
Timothy Stoll
Eric Thomas
Douglas Thompson
David Turner
Ben Tyler
Michael Wahl
Jim Wheeler
Elizabeth Winiarz

Sign up now on NCRSCCA.MotorsportReg.com

Mark is the flag chief for the Goblins Go and Eric is the flag chief for the 13 Hour. If you have any questions or comments you can contact us at flagchief@ncrscca.com

Other News…

Nominations are being accepted for 2 members-at-large, secretary and RE. Nominations are due by the Board of Director’s meeting November 20th 2013.

Annual banquet tentative January 11th 2014, Raleigh NC, Cafe Luna.

Flagging & Fire School February 2014

NCR Flag Chief du jour

North Carolina Region SCCA

F&C Newsletter – October 9, 2013

North Carolina Region SCCA

October 9th, 2013

The fall series for races are just around the corner. Plan on coming to VIR for two great weekends of racing. We start in less than two weeks with the Goblins Go SARRC/Double ECR/Tar Heel Cup races on Oct 19th and 20th. Then the following weekend we have the Charge of the Headlight Brigade 13 hour race Oct 25th and 26th.

We desperately need volunteers for both events, especially in F&C. If you have already registered, thank you! If not, please think about joining us. If you have friends who might be interested in experiencing the racing excitement, encourage them to come along.

Also, as a reminder, we have the NCR Volunteer Incentive Program where we will reimburse workers for up to $35 dollars in expenses per day.

Finally if you need help with getting an affordable room, contact Sara Snider by Monday 10/14. FYI, the 13 hour weekend is up against the Martinsville NASCAR race this year.

Please Go to NCRSCCA.MotorsportReg.com to register.

Goblins Go

October 19-20, 2013

The flag meeting is @ 7:45 on both Saturday and Sunday with a Green Course at 8:30. The flag meeting is held at the flag shack building in the paddock up near the grid. Lunch will be provided each day and there will be a social Saturday evening after the racing.

Sign up now on NCRSCCA.MotorsportReg.com

13-Hour

October 25-26, 2013

The flag meeting on Friday is at 4:30 pm with a green course at 5:30. There will be a 1 hour qualifying session follow by a 1 hour night practice. There will be a social Friday night following the racing.

On Saturday, there is a pre-race breakfast from 6:30 to 7:45. The flag meeting on Saturday is at 8:15 am. Lunch and Dinner will be provided on Saturday.

Eric will send an update on other activities planned for this weekend.

Sign up now on NCRSCCA.MotorsportReg.com

Mark is the flag chief for the Goblins Go and Eric is the flag chief for the 13 Hour. If you have any questions or comments you can contact us at flagchief@ncrscca.com

NCR Flag Chief du jour
North Carolina Region SCCA