It was awesome! Well over a hundred members of the North Carolina Region braved the cold to attend the Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner for 2017, held at the Vailtree Event & Conference Center in Graham, North Carolina. This excellent venue was made even more special by the addition of more classic and high-performance vehicles than last year. As the guests entered, they were flanked by two brand-new Porsches, a black GT2 coupe and a blue Cayenne SUV, provided by Foreign Cars Italia, who also provided a spectacular charcoal gray GT3 RS, complete with track wing, factory roll bar and harness.
The Vailtree owners, Tony and Marie Vailati, and their son Anthony, NCR members themselves, were responsible for arranging all this and they had some of their own cars on display as well. Guests were treated to a Z06 Corvette, a Dodge SRT8, and others, including a killer Mustang prepared by Petty Enterprises, also from Foreign Cars Italia. Those in attendance were among the first people ever to see that Mustang in person. It will soon be available from Ford dealers across the country, but this one was Richard Petty’s personal vehicle. In addition to the factory hot rods from the domestic market, the Vailati collection included a pair of bright red Italian missiles, an Alfa 4C and a Ferrari 360. And there was a stunning Bentley GTC convertible, done in ocean blue and blonde leather, with matching honey-blonde wood veneer. Who wouldn’t look good driving that? This display of eye candy was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Many thanks to the Vailati family and to Foreign Cars Italia.
Chris Turner’s local band, Nice & Easy, played jazzy renditions of popular tunes, from Glenn Miller to the Beatles, during the social hour, as well as at dinner, and a cash bar of beer and wine was available from the start to get things rolling. The dinner was excellent. There were entrees of steak, salmon, and chicken, green beans with mushrooms and mashed potatoes, and salad. Pies and a sheet cake with the Region logo were provided for dessert. And there was coffee, which a few members preferred over offerings from the bar.
RE Sam Fouse kicked off the business meeting with a summation of the financial statement provided by Treasurer Heather Powers. Our financial position is good. Except for our March race and the PDX, the Region made money on all of its events, including the two biggest, the Majors and the North Carolina Autocross Championship. And we now had an asset, the Speed Suite at VIR, which will serve us well in the future. Then James Shanks, Secretary and Membership Chair, gave his report.
The Region is healthy, he said, holding steady with about 760 members, of which about 25 percent have racing competition licenses and more than that have licenses in the volunteer specialties. The rest are family, friends, and Solo drivers. James reminded us that to stay healthy the Region must continue to grow, and that to do that we must continue to put on quality events, and above all, be friendly and try to ensure that all who come play with us have a good time. Sam then announced the results of the recent election, noting that the composition of the Board remained the same, with Heather Clark and Morgan Mehler retaining their Member-at-Large seats, and he and James, each running unopposed. Sam closed the business meeting by thanking all the volunteers, especially Mark Senior, who was Race Chair for Majors, and by asking anyone who had not volunteered at one of our events to consider doing so in 2018.
Tim Lyons served as emcee for the awards presentation ceremony, and he did a wonderful job, ably assisted by his wife Brenda in the distribution of door prizes. There were discounted entries for both road races and solos, as well as gift cards and discount coupon books from VIR. A surprise door prize was a super-trick trailer hitch provided by Tim Pierce of Superior Trailers. Tim and his son Blake had a table set up to display this unit, which allows one to change balls easily by rotating a locking mechanism. Tim also had a lovely enclosed trailer on display in the parking lot, provoking some “trailer envy” from those who saw it. And by the way, it was Tim who paid for the band’s dinner. Many thanks to Tim and to Superior Trailers in Burlington, a good place to go when you want to upgrade your towing equipment.
Regarding the awards, it was unfortunate that many road racing drivers could not attend due to the Majors at Sebring, but we will arrange for them to get their awards at a Chapter meeting or at the track in 2018. Tim Lyons took the time to acknowledge not only them, but also the drivers who did well this year but did not get recognized with an award. There is not space to reproduce that list here.
Below are the slides produced by Eric Danielsen for the awards presentation and below that are listed the individual awards. You can see a gallery of pictures from the Banquet HERE.
Road Racing Driving Awards
Driver of the Year – Majors ~~~~~~~ Bryan Yates
First in class P2 in the SE Conference and first in SARRC North as well.
Driver of the Year – SARRC ~~~~~~~ Jason Connole
First in Spec Miata in SARRC and 11th in SE Conference. 23rd of 72 at the Runoffs.
Driver of the Year – Enduro ~~~~~~~ Michael Brandt
First in SRF3 in the ECR in his first full season of racing, beating 2 other Region members in a class of 14.
Most Improved Driver ~~~~~~~ Rodney King
Second in ITR in SARRC and 3rd in ECR, finally coming into his own.
Road Racing Rookie of the Year ~~~~~~~ Mark Bradley
Third in ITR in SARRC in just his first season.
Hardship and Perseverance ~~~~~~~ Chad Bacon
Rebuilt the car from the ground up in the nick of time, but had two motors blow at the Runoffs, and finishing just one lap.
Hardship and Perseverance ~~~~~~~ C. J. Moses
Qualified 2 cars in 2 classes for the Runoffs, only to have both of them broken in mishaps. DNS for both on race day.
Solo Driving Awards
“2017 James “Jim” Feinberg National Solo Driver of the Year” ~~~~~~~ Jennifer Bedell
Jennifer is now a two-time SCCA National Champion! Amazing performance.
Driver of the Year – Solo / Regional ~~~~~~~ Patrice Bousquet
2017 PAX champion. He won a State Championship at NCAC beating a dozen other drivers by almost a second.
Rookie Driver of the Year — Solo ~~~~~~~ Jarhett Doyle
Takes instruction well and has improved at every event this season.
Our volunteers are our most precious resource and some deserve special recognition every year. We couldn’t have done it without them.
F&C Worker of the Year ~~~~~~~ David Turner
Former Flag Chief is our radio tech, with all that entails.
F&C Outstanding Service ~~~~~~~ Rich D’Arconte
Assists the Flag Chiefs, attends all our events, and represents the Region well at other venues.
F&C Rookie of the Year ~~~~~~~ Randy Bishop
Gung-ho enthusiasm that’s contagious.
F&C Rookie of the Year ~~~~~~~ Mario Cortes
So eager he even recruited his mother to help! See Mario’s video here.
Grid Rookie of the Year ~~~~~~~ Libby Killian
Took to it like a duck to water.
Pit Road Rookie of the Year ~~~~~~~ Sandra Gentry
A welcome addition to Pit Road.
Solo Worker of the Year ~~~~~~~ Christian “Kit” Williams
From rookie, to registrar, to MSR guru, to chief of Solo T&S for 2018 in one season.
Outstanding Service to the Solo Program ~~~~~~~ Thomas Guest
Announcer, recruiter, all-around volunteer.
Outstanding Service to the Solo Program ~~~~~~~ Jane Miller
The backbone of the expanding Junior kart program.
Outstanding Service to the Solo Program ~~~~~~~ Elizabeth Severt
Tireless effort putting on the best North Carolina Autocross Championship yet
Outstanding Service to the Solo Program ~~~~~~~ Justin Arnette
Tireless effort putting on the best North Carolina Autocross Championship yet
Outstanding Service to the Solo Program ~~~~~~~ Tara Arnette
Tireless effort putting on the best North Carolina Autocross Championship yet
Outstanding Service to the NCR Racing Program ~~~~~~~ Bill Foster
He helped move F&C every time they were “re-homed.” Always volunteering to help, he has wrenched on other peoples cars, delivered food to corner stations, provided driving instruction, and makes suggestions for improvement with a positive attitude.
Member of the Year ~~~~~~~ Steve Keadle
Eight years as treasurer, Steward on the Comp Board, all-around volunteer who kept the volunteer gift program going all by himself for years
Worker of the Year ~~~~~~~ Anna Crissman
Drafted to be Assistant RE, she got the Supps and schedules out on time, and made possible the remote printing at the Hospitality tent, all while being Chief of Timing and Scoring.
Guest Speaker – Heyward Wagner
Heyward Wagner grew up in the SCCA. The son of avid flaggers, he was a corner captain at the Runoffs in 1999, and has flagged many a race around the country. A successful autocrosser, he was a Pro Solo Champion in 2000 and he launched the SCCA’s Solo Matters publication in 2010. He is now Director of Experiential Programs, such as Track Night in America and Targa Southland, and he was just appointed SCCA’s Director of Marketing this past year. He graciously volunteered to share with us his views on what will make the SCCA successful in the future. If we can summarize it in a nutshell, this is it.
Heyward made a distinction between the shared experience of what we do, the shared fun of it, and the process of what we do, the complex rules and procedures we follow which result in winners and losers. Only a few of us can be winners but all of us can have a great experience, and that experience is what we need to focus on if we want this Club to be successful and thrive in the future. Hey, this is supposed to be fun!
North 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.
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.
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 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.
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
Driver of the Year – Majors and SARRC – Alastair McEwan
Driver of the Year – SARRC – Michael Sperber
Driver of the Year – SARRC – Ron Earp
“2016 James “Jim” Feinberg National Solo Driver of the Year”
and 2016 SCCA Solo National Champion
Regional Driver of the Year – Solo – Vernon Geddings
Rookie Driver of the Year – Solo – Christian Williams
Spirit of Mazda award – Alex Phelps
And we recognized volunteers:
F&C Worker of the Year – Jan Michel
T&S Worker of the Year – Megan Smith
T&S Rookie of the Year – Richard Mosley
Start Rookies of the Year – Rick Edwards and Chuck Stanley
Pit Road Rookie of the Year – Scott Keadle
Pace Car Outstanding Service – Joedy Pennington
Outstanding Service in Tech –
Dwight Cooke, Rusty Matthews, Barbara Mayes,
Jerry Pell, and Chris Schimmel
Plus a few more volunteers who require special mention:
Solo Worker of the Year – Stephen Miller
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
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
For ten years of service as flag chiefs and countless innovations.
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.
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
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, 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
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.
Bill 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.
Tom Long will be the guest speaker at the next West Chapter meeting, to be held Tuesday, November 1st at Coopers Ale House (part of Wyndham Garden Hotel) in “The Jamestown Room” in Greensboro. Tom is a native son and those of us who have watched his success in racing are mighty proud of him! We hope many of you will attend what will be a very interesting evening. Y’all come!
Tom is a full-time driver with SpeedSource Mazda Motorsports, the factory Mazda effort in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Series Prototype class. In the 2015 Daytona Rolex 24hr, Long led overall for Mazda in the SKYACTIV-D program, the first Mazda and diesel to lead the race overall in its history.
Tom started his racing career in grassroots sports car racing with the SCCA Showroom Stock and Spec Miata classes as a member of the NC Region. He quickly took a liking to lightweight sports cars, setting multiple track records and winning championships while competing in the SCCA Runoffs with podium results. Tom then went on to win the 2005 Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup National Championship before moving into the Grand-Am Continental Tire Series in 2006. By 2007, Long was on the steps of the Grand-Am podium, winning his first race in the series at home track VIRginia International Raceway in 2009 with the Mazda MX-5 Freedom Autosport team. For 2010, Long was a regular in both the Grand-Am Rolex and Continental Tire Series, winning multiple races and a top-5 result in the championship. 2011 and 2012 have been Long’s most celebrated results to date, leading several hours of the 2011 Daytona Rolex 24hr going on to a podium finish with Dempsey Racing’s Mazda RX8; while also finishing runner-up in the 2012 Continental Tire Series ST Championship with Freedom Autosport.
On the off weekends, Tom works as a professional driving coach and instructor. He is also a house coach for the VIR Drivers Club. Tom graduated from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte in 2004 with a degree in business marketing.
You can email him at email@example.com.
North Carolina Region recruited 15 new members at the IMSA and SCCA Pro Global MX-5 Cup races at VIR during the weekend of August 26 – 28. Member-at-Large John Lindquist organized our presence there, with three race cars under two 10X20 canopies, and staffed by over fifteen Region members who volunteered their time to talk to prospective members over those three days. We were the largest display space there, save for IMSA’s title sponsors Continental Tire and Weather Tech. Eric Cruz provided his Formula Enterprises racer, David Knoche his Spec Racer Ford, and Dan Robson was on hand all weekend to answer questions about his scratch-built Mazda Proteg5 GT car. That collection of hot hardware drew many visitors to our display area, where they were met by eager members of our Region, who explained their particular passion for amateur motorsports. Who were they? Many thanks to these volunteers: Justin Barbee, Patrick Pardee, Dwight Pardee, Blair Deffenbaugh, Steve Martin, Dean Baumgardner, Ben Tyler, Bruce Dover, Eric Danielsen, Megan Smith, James Shanks, Sam Fouse andMatt Decker
Many visitors were impressed that they were able to meet with real competitors in solo and road racing, as well as car builders, flaggers, timers, scrutineers, and even Region officers. That, together with a special one-time-only at-event discount of $35 did the trick, making this the most successful membership drive in Region history. Where did the discount come from? The National Office kicked in $15 and the NCR Board of Directors agreed to forego our $20 annual due for the first year for those who would sign on the dotted line right there. And it worked! You should be seeing these folks at our events soon.
Welcome aboard new NCR members!
- Marty Baucom
- Dario Lavonde
- Adam Lavonde
- David Klebanow
- Chris Swink
- Jennifer Swink
- Nathan Buhr
- Ronnie Weatherly
- Joe Lyons
- Henry Gerrits
- George Tsantes
- Robert White Jr.
- Jeffrey Martin
- J P Roach
- Billy Gilliam
May you all do well at your first event! Go fast!
submitted by James Shanks, NCR Secretary
Last weekend, August 21 – 23, the Marketing Committee for the Region tried a new tactic. Instead of trying to recruit new members at Car Shows and Cars-and-Coffee events, were the attendees have a wide variety of automotive interests, they decided to try reaching out to fans at the IMSA Tudor event at VIR. The thinking was, “Hey, these folks are ‘pre-qualified’. They paid money to see a sports car race. Maybe they’d like a chance to get even more involved.” So arrangements were made.
Mike Rose, Marketing Director at VIR, and Crista Walker, who coordinated the vendor displays, gave us a great display space. Thank you both for allowing us to set up on the midway where people couldn’t help but see us. Region member, and former Assistant RE, John Lindquist, did some digging and got us a 10×20 display canopy and found us people who would agree to display their cars. Region member, and former Secretary, Jerry Pell not only agreed to display his lovely red-and-silver Spec Miata, he stayed all weekend manning the booth! Hats off, Jerry! But John felt that more of a “hook” was needed to get the fans’ attention. He contacted member Bob Wheless, who got in touch with member Victor Seaber of the VIPER program at VIR, and Victor asked John Salmon for a loan of his L2 Sports Racer. This Mazda-powered sports racer, a handsome and exotic piece of automotive wizardry, runs in both the IMSA “prototype lite” L2 class and in P1 with the SCCA. It was John’s canopy, too. Wow! What can you say, but “Thanks, guys!”
The sports racer and the Spec Miata did the trick. The cars lured folks in for a closer look. Then the members under the tent passed out flyers about NCR and our remaining events for the season, as well as a tentative schedule for next season. We gave away old copies of SportsCar and brightly-colored brochures from the National Office about what we do. Those fans that were interested in being offered a spot on someone’s crew for the October events gave us their e-mail addresses. There were over 50 of them, and many were surprised that we would offer such a deal. In short, this venture was a big success. Let’s hope these new prospects come out and join us in the future.
There are so many more people to thank for this success. Thanks to Member-at-Large Sam Fouse for creating the local flyers and for getting those brochures from the National Office. Sam also manned the booth all day Friday and Sunday. Thanks also to NCR Office Manager Bruce Dover for printing Sam’s flyers on short notice. Thanks to all the volunteers who took time to talk to prospective members. Besides John Lindquist and Jerry Pell, who were there all weekend, volunteers included RE Rex Deffenbaugh, Tim Lyons, Doug Hooper, Dan Robson, and myself, James Shanks. We should probably even thank the members of the Tarheel Sports Car Club, who had a booth next to us, and fed some of us lunch on Saturday, and shared their beer too! Thanks a lot, guys! Those of us who were there had a great time. And, of yeah, there were these big time sports car races going on which we could watch from time to time, IMSA Continental GT and Lamborghini Trofeo. Cool!
Below: Jerry Pell’s Spec Miata being admired by a couple of interested spectators. Maybe future SM drivers?
Below: John Salmon’s L2 Sports Racer. What serious SportsCar fan could walk by that and not stop?!
The North Carolina Region held its third annual picnic at North East Park in Gibsonville on Saturday the 8th of August and it was a blast. The weather couldn’t have been better, sunny, in the low 80’s, and no humidity to speak of, thanks to thunderstorms earlier in the week. The food was fabulous! Master Griller (and Chief Starter) James Buckberry (left) served up both hamburgers and hot dogs, with all the fixin’s. (I had two myself!) Barbecue chef (and Worker of the Year) Pete Romanowski prepared his most excellent pork and beans with green peppers and other secret ingredients, which literally got rave reviews. And everybody else brought an assortment of chips, potato salad, cole slaw, snacks, cookies, and even cake! We had over 35 people so there was lots of food. We ate well!
It was a very laid-back affair. West Chapter coordinator and Chief of Tech, Buddy Matthews (on left, in picture at right) brought softball equipment, along with most of the other supplies, but I think we only used it to weigh down the paper products so they didn’t blow away with an occasional breeze. We all preferred just to chat and catch up instead, without the pressure of having to get a race underway. People came from all over. Flag Chief Eric Danielsen made it in from Roanoke, Virginia! Heather Clark and Todd Cohen took a weekend off from flagging and came in from the West Chapter. So did Dwight Cooke, who brought me a huge stack of old Bulletins for the Region History project, including some from the years 1997 thru 2000 that we did not have in the archives. Thanks, Dwight! And even RE Rex Deffenbaugh managed to make it up from Moncure. That’s a bit of a drive! There was even a new guy, not a member yet, named David Wooten, who came by to see what we are about. He has a Honda he wants to campaign and he’s looking for help. David came all the way up from Wilmington to visit his wife’s family, but had to stop by to make some new friends. So, next year I don’t want to hear any excuses for not showing up at this picnic just because Gibsonville is a bit off the beaten path. Like VIR, it’s a fabulous facility. You just have to make an effort to get there. It’s worth it! Just ask Annie and Steve Martin who were among the first to arrive.
I got to meet and interview Tim Lyons about his long “career” with the Club in GT1. I also met his good buddy and crew chief Darryl Hunter, his wife Rhonda, and Tim’s wife Brenda Lyons. Darryl added his perspective to the interview and the gals joined in from time to time. I also chatted with Jerry Pell and Paddock Marshall Hayden Beatty about their racing careers. Lots of good stories there! But I couldn’t get to all of them. I saw Dean Bumgardner talking about his NASCAR racing with a group that included John Lindquist and his wife Annie and Steward Clyde Kiser, but I never managed to do more than just say “hi” to them all. There were lots of interesting conversations to join.
Oh, and the cars? Well, the king of the hill was Treasurer and Steward Steve Keadle’s 1970 Ford Torino (left) in competition trim (blacked-out grill and hood with “429 cu. ci.” emblazoned in big white letters). Steve said it cost him about $140 to fill it up with the proper fuel at eight dollars a gallon. And he used almost half of it driving the beast up from Cary with his son Scott, who was in from Atlanta. Steve smiled when he said he gets lots of waves but nobody ever even tries to beat him off the line at stop lights!
The other car that brought a smile to every one’s face was Hayden Beatty’s early 70’s MGB with the chrome bumpers and the roll bar. It’s a pretty little tomato-red time machine and Hayden looks perfect driving it. Of course there was more modern iron too, like Romanowski’s sinister grey Mustang coupe and Tim Lyon’s brilliant blue M3. And of course, we had a couple of Miatas, too. Can the members of the SCCA get together anywhere without a few Miatas showing up? It seems unlikely.
So all in all, we had a great time. Why not make a vow to join us next year? I can promise you it will be a very pleasant Saturday afternoon.
Below, (left side bottom to top): Carol Bumgardner, Darryl Hunter, Rex Deffenbaugh (right side, top to bottom): James Shanks, Tim and Brenda Lyons, Dean Bumgardner
Below, (left to right): Scott and Steve Keadle, Todd Cohen
Below, (left to right): Scott Keadle, Todd Cohen, Steve Keadle, Eric Danielsen, Buddy Matthews, Heather Clark
When: Saturday, August 8, 2015, 9am – 8pm
Where: NE Guilford County
North East Park, 4010 High Rock Road, Gibsonville
Registration is now open on MotorsportReg. Be sure to list any and all guests you plan to bring with you when you register.
North East Park is a large family-friendly park with something of interest for all ages…
- a Carousel
- a Train
- Miniature Golf
- Ball fields of many types
- An Aquatic Center for your swimming enjoyment
- and lots of hiking trails!
The NC Region will provide hot dogs, hamburgers and soft drinks. To fill out the food, please bring a dish of your favorite picnic fare, or a dessert.
Please note: This venue allows BEER as our ONLY alcoholic beverage and ONLY IN CANS. Additionally, it may ONLY be consumed in the picnic shelter and NO OTHER PART OF THE PARK. And, don’t forget that we have to be out of the park by 8:00pm.
Don’t miss out on this opportunity to experience some fun and fellowship with your fellow Club members. More details to be sent as we get closer.
Anyone who would like to help out, please contact:
Buddy Matthews at 336-312-8858 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Pete Romanowski at 336-707-1884 or email@example.com
Danville, Virginia – March 25, 2015 – VIRginia International Raceway is hosting its annual Spring Open House and Charity Laps event April 3 to benefit Victory Junction, a moving nonprofit that enriches the lives of children with serious illnesses by providing life-changing camp experiences at no cost to their families. In addition, VIR will hold a special ceremony memorializing the track’s iconic oak tree with the replanting of a descendant of the original tree.
The iconic oak tree, which stood for more than 200 years and fell in the summer of 2013, served as a prominent feature, symbol and welcome shade to the track’s south end. Last year, VIR discovered “the son of oak tree,” which had been planted from an acorn taken from the original tree about ten years ago by a former VIR employee. Through consultation with the Virginia Department of Forestry, the tree will be transported and replanted near the spot of the old oak tree. The new location will be outside the track, approximately 150 feet from the original location, providing more stable ground and accommodating modern racing safety regulations.
The tree replanting ceremony will take place from about noon to 1 p.m. during the April 3 Open House event. The ceremony will also unveil a memorial marker made from the tree’s wood and which will be placed on the ground where the old oak tree once stood. Connie Nyholm, owner and CEO of VIR, will speak and photo opportunities will be available.
“We’re honored to welcome the community to the Spring Open House, a day of reflection, transformation and new beginnings,” said Nyholm. “For fans like me who felt a great loss with the falling of the original oak tree, the replanting is really a meaningful, welcome addition to our track. The whole day will be a great chance to celebrate VIR, check out all of the wonderful amenities and live out racing dreams to support a deserving cause.”
During the Spring Open House and Charity Laps event, guests can drive their own cars on VIR’s historic 3.27-mile full course for 15 minutes with a donation of just $25, all benefiting Victory Junction. Special guest Austin Petty, grandson of racing legend Richard Petty and brother of Adam Petty, will be keeping his brother’s dream alive offering ride-alongs in Adam’s No. 45 racecar for a minimum donation of $45. Additionally, Richard Petty’s signature Mustang will be on display at the event. Guests also have the chance to take ride-alongs around the track in one of the world’s quickest and most unique supercars, the Ariel Atom, for a $15 donation.
Throughout the family-friendly event, guests can also enjoy VIR amenities free of charge, including the kart track and shooting courses. The property will be open to the public April 3 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information on VIR, visit www.virnow.com.