Minutes of NCR-SCCA Monthly Board of Directors Meeting
February 20, 2018
Present: Heather Clark, Anna Crissman, Rex Deffenbaugh, Bruce Dover, Jennifer Dover, Sam Fouse, Buddy Matthews, Heather Powers, Mark Senior, James Shanks, and via conference call, Eric Danielsen, Morgan Mehler, Joedy Pennington, Ben Tyler, and Kit Williams. Blair Deffenbaugh did not attend.
- The NCR BoD meeting was called to order by RE Sam Fouse at 7:30 PM, on Tuesday, February 20th 2018, at Piper’s Deli, 3219 Old Chapel Hill Road, Durham, NC, 27707.
- Eric Danielsen, Joedy Pennington, and Ben Tyler attended as guests via telephone. Jennifer Dover attended in person.
- Motion to approve the January minutes, as posted on the Google drive (Senior / Clark). Passed.
Order of items below reflects the order of discussion; not necessarily as they appeared on the published agenda.
Treasurer Heather Powers announced that we had about $77K in our savings account, and approximately $19K in the general Club account, while Solo had about $5000 in their account. She was still working with Sam on an end-of-the-year balance sheet and a more detailed financial report for 2017. Sam noted that it appeared that we had in fact done better than Heather had projected last month. It now appears that we finished the year about $31K ahead, not the $15K that she estimated before.
- SEDIV Accounting. SEDIV collects various fees (or taxes, as Sam prefers to call them) from its member Regions. There is a headcount fee based on the number of members in each Region, a flat $25 per event scheduling fee, and a per-entry fee for every entry in a sanctioned event. Heather Powers has been faithfully paying the latter two fees for our events, but SEDIV was not cashing the checks. This resulted in an overpayment for March, because she concluded, after more than 5 months, that the check must have been lost in the mail, when in fact it was only misplaced on their end. Also, SEDIV is supposed to bill us for the Region event scheduling fee, but they had not done so for the last year. Instead they cashed all our checks the day before the SEDIV annual meeting, presented us with a bill for both last year’s and this year’s event scheduling fee as well as last fall’s Goblins Go at the RE breakfast, and thereby inferred that we had underpaid our event payments. It turned out that they had mistakenly used CFR’s Majors car counts rather than ours to calculate our bill for the 2017 Majors. Sam reported that he had some discussions with Jim Creighton about all of this before he finally got an apology. It was decided by consensus, that going forward, Ms. Powers should not send SEDIV any monies until they first send us a bill, and that she and Bruce will continue to verify the car counts before any checks are written.
- National Convention Wrap-Up. Anna Crissman reported that the National Convention highlighted the importance of developing programs which look to the future, specifically programs for children, like the Solo Junior Kart program, and the Tire Rack Street Survival program aimed at young adults, who are new street drivers. These are things we should be doing to grow the Club going forward, she said, and the SCCA Foundation will help with the funding. In addition to the funding it provides for the SCCA Archives at the International Motor Racing Research Center (IMRRC) at Watkins Glen, the SCCA foundation is tasked to assist Regions in putting on these programs. Kit Williams interjected that the Solo group had already applied for funding from the SCCA Foundation to expand their very successful Junior Kart Program. Anna added that we could have a fundraiser for the SCCA Foundation and they would let us earmark which program(s) those funds would be used for. We should think about that, she said, when we get to the issue of which charities our lunchtime drive-arounds at VIR will support in 2018. With regard to the Street Survival program, Rex said that when he looked into that some years ago, he came to conclusion that Tarheel Sports Car Club, jointly with the BMW Club, had that program sewn up. They were already doing it well locally, so we should find out what they are currently doing with it these days, to see whether there is room for us to be involved.
- SEDIV Convention Wrap-Up. Sam and Mark felt that the SEDIV convention was poorly organized. In particular Mark said that there was no agenda or topic list available in advance, despite that he had asked for one, and that the planning meeting got combined with the tech meeting at the last minute. No one seemed to know what was going on, and the planning items were introduced and voted on very quickly with almost no discussion. Sam reiterated his dislike for the way SEDIV is organized and run. In a substantive note, he said that the SARRC Runoffs or SIC was scheduled for October 6th and 7th at Roebling Road. Although there is no requirement that it be there, it was being held there due to the low cost of the track and the fact that there are not enough entrants to pay the rent elsewhere. It was also decided, he said, to abandon last year’s “winner-take-all” scheme and go back to the prior system of points accumulated throughout the season, with the SIC counting for more than other events. Sam also heard from Lee Hill and Heyward Wagner that they wanted the SCCA National Convention to return to Las Vegas again in 2019, so he believes that this is likely.
- Paddock Marshal. Anna announced that Hayden Beatty is retiring and Johnny Dunbar has volunteered to do this thankless job for March, but after that, we have no one for this position. Johnny cannot continue due to the requirements of his career job. Anna received no replies to her e-mail asking for volunteers or suggestions on whom to ask to volunteer. Mark Senior suggested we send out a Region-wide want ad for a paddock marshal, and for assistant race chairs, with detailed job descriptions and some incentives included. We need to entice people to seek these positions, he said. Sam suggested that we could ask one of the more affable and friendly VIR guys “with a good attitude” if they would be interested in the job as a paid position. Eric Danielsen said he had some new members who live in Danville in mind for the job, but that he was waiting until the March race so that he could talk to them in person. Buddy added that the paddock marshal needs to be someone who can “get around” more easily than some of our older members with ambulatory problems due to age.
- Meeting with VIR. Mark recapped the meeting we had with Kerrigan Smith and Tommy Webb of VIR on the evening of February 8th at the Pueblo Viejo restaurant in Hillsborough. With regard to the Runoffs in 2019, Kerrigan had said that he told Eric Prill of the SCCA National Office that he should utilize us, NCR, as a resource in the planning because we were well-aware of how a race should be run at VIR and we put on very successful events there. He did confirm that we would lose only our Goblins Go event for 2019, but that our other race dates between now and then would not be affected. The only changes to the facility that Kerrigan would admit to being considered before the event were repaving of the access roads and possibly leveling some of the area near the skid pad for better use as overflow paddock space. With regard to the current season, he emphasized that all substantive issues should go through Mark, as that made sure we were all on the same page, though each race chair will order food from VIR catering separately. One substantive issue that is still outstanding is the availability of track-owned pace cars. Mark made it a point to tell Joedy Pennington, who was present on the phone, that the availability of VIR’s pace cars was still up in the air for races other than the Spring Sprints Majors, and that he would let Joedy know as soon as Kerrigan had an answer for him.
- Meeting with VIR EV. Heather Clark had set up a meeting with Cowboy (David Crumpton, Safety Director at VIR) and Matt Flora (who handles tire wall repair and other maintenance duties during races) with Sam and herself on Saturday, February 10th. James Shanks and Bruce Dover were also in attendance. The purpose was to discuss how to implement our full-course yellow (FCY) procedure more effectively now that it was clear that we would not likely be using the Code 35 procedure during our events. Two things were clear, she said. One was that EV was comfortable dispatching as soon as they could see a safety car behind them, so the sooner we could get it out, the sooner they would go. The second was that they needed to have control of the communications net while they were working. That would considerably expedite the clean-up procedure. The corner personnel needed to be told that an FCY condition was not a time to update held calls nor to ask about other non-critical items, and the Stewards needed to “chill out” and not continually ask for updates on how things were going. They needed to be reassured that Cowboy and Matt would be doing the best job they could to get us back to racing as quickly as possible. To this end, Sam said he intends to attend the Friday night Stewards meeting, and he would like Heather, as Flag Chief, and Cowboy to attend with him. He plans to tell Morriss Pendleton, Executive Steward for the Southeast Division, and Assistant Chief Steward for our March Into Spring event, that he wants to do this for every race going forward. Concerning pace car dispatching, Joedy observed that having two pace cars available during “Regional” events was difficult, since among our pace car drivers, only he and chief Ed Wentz were not active racers as well.
- Worker Issues for the March Event. Heather Clark announced that we were at least 10 people short of the minimum staffing requirement for corner stations for our March race at VIR. Another e-mail announcement would be going out soon to try to recruit more volunteers. It was determined that VIR would need at least a week’s notice if we wanted to hire any of their staff to assist, since normally their workers look at our races as their weekends off, and make plans to do other things, so they are not available on short notice. After discussion, Heather agreed to contact VIR and request some of their workers if she did not have enough volunteers by next Tuesday, February 27th.
- Charities for 2018. After much discussion, the Board informally agreed on the following list of charities to be the recipients of our lunchtime arrive-around collections in 2018:
• March Into Spring – American Diabetes Assn
• Spring Sprints – Hole in the Wall Gang camp
• SARRC/MARRS – SCCA Foundation — Street Survival
• Goblins Go – Cancer Society including Angels Among Us (Duke)
- F&C ATV, Radios, and Fire Bottles Update. Sam got the F&C ATV to Rex as promised and he is looking at it. Heather Clark said they have not yet found a suitable second ATV to purchase, to which Sam added that he had discovered that Sunbelt Rentals, who provided lights and generators for the skid pad during last year’s Majors, also rents side-by-side ATVs and that we should look into that as an interim solution. Heather Clark also reported that she plans to have the fire bottles examined this weekend. Heather Powers added that she had talked to David Turner about delaying any new radio expenditures in the short run since we are short of funds in advance of our first racing event of the season. She said we could replenish them easily after the Majors.
- Virtual Safety Car for May. Based on the recent letter from Eric Prill, Vice President and Chief Operations Officer for Competition Operations in the SCCA, we will NOT be using the Virtual Safety Car (VSC) procedure at VIR, known locally as “Code 35”, because the National Office cannot figure out how to make it enforceable and equitable under our current rules. They have declined to add it to the GCR, so it has no legal standing at our races.
- Proformas for March and April races. Sam indicated that he had been looking at the numbers for our upcoming races to get a feel for how we might do financially. The March race currently has 82 distinct drivers and cars registered, for a combined count of over 200 entries, which is way ahead of last year, so we should do well unless it snows. That does not seem likely given our weather forecast for the next three weeks, so far as it stands right now. We raised the entry fee for the Spring Sprints Majors $40, which doesn’t even cover our 4 percent rise in the track rental fee, but it makes us look very attractive compared to the other Majors in the Southeast. Sebring was a three-day event at $595. It is the cheapest one due to the fact that the sponsoring Region gets a discount in the track rent because they provide workers for other events. Homestead is a three-day affair at $650, and Atlanta is charging $575 for a two-day event with no test days in advance. COTA is a whopping $850 for their 3-day format, while we are just $675. Since we are not renting generators for the skid pad, only lights this year, our expenses will be reduced, and should we get as many as 350 cars, we might conservatively clear $60K. That figure is deceiving, Sam said because, with only one event in October, each race day has to pay a bigger share of the Region’s unallocated expenses, for things like the annual dinner, web hosting, and the like.
- Entry fees for May SARRC/MARRS. Based on the foregoing report, Sam suggested that we raise our May entry fees by $10 across the board. Once again this does not even cover our 4 per cent rise in track rental. The Board agreed by consensus. Sam said he was still working on the proforma for that event.
- Speed Suite Fit-Up. Sam said we need to schedule some work days at the Speed Suite so he can proceed with the remodeling, which is to include a bathroom, kitchenette, and secure storage closet, and possibly a storage loft for things like the traffic lights we used for the 13-hour Enduro. The first order of business is to obtain some plywood for the shelving we transferred from the garages, so that we can empty the big rack shelving that Mr. Siegel left behind and dismantle it.
- SCCA National Archives. James reported that he had been in contact with Jenny Ambrose, the chief archivist at the IMRRC at Watkins Glen, after he discovered that they have copies of The Bulletin from the 1960’s which we don’t have. His plan is to get PDFs we can put on our website along with our others. He also plans to spend some time looking over their inventory to figure out which issues our members have that are not currently in the SCCA Archive. He then plans to suggest that our members might consider donating their paper copies to the Archive, so that they might be preserved for posterity. One topic he has broached with Ms. Ambrose is about SCCA’s Sports Car magazine. It has been produced by Paul Pfanner’s company, which also publishes Racer magazine, since the early 80’s, so they own the copyright and the responsibility of preserving and digitizing those issues. But what about before that? James believes those prior publishers are out of business, so it would be up to the SCCA to preserve the previous issues. This is of interest because Tim Lyons has contacted James about donating his collection of Sports Car, which dates to the 70’s, to the Region; and we already have E. Gordon Warren’s collection from the 50’s and 60’s. James wants the IMRRC to know this and to investigate what should ultimately happen. The early issues we have, 1955-1957, and 1960-1969, appear to be irreplaceable.
- A CRE in Conjunction with One of Our Events. The traditional driver’s school at Roebling Road, the Hyler Kraft Memorial event, was held last weekend and was very poorly attended. Fewer than 20 new drivers participated. This led Buddy Matthews to suggest that we might consider holding a Club Racing Experience (CRE) event in conjunction with one of our racing weekends. A CRE involves having an instructor go out on course with a student for a low-pressure introduction to high-speed race driving in an eligible car. There will also be classroom instruction and post-session debriefs so that students get both the basics and feedback on how they are doing. At one of our races, the CRE could be “just another run group,” Buddy said. All the instructors we would need would already be present at the race anyway, and the track would already be rented for the weekend, so the cost would be much lower than any standalone event. The big attraction is that a student could obtain an SCCA Competition License through participating in two to three CRE events, assuming he or she does well and accumulates enough time on track. Buddy pointed out that there are complete documents on how this should work on the SCCA website. Those are located at https://www.scca.com/pages/club-race-experience and https://www.scca.com/pages/cre-rules. Sam suggested Buddy digest those rules and make a formal proposal for adding a CRE to one of our events.
Chapter and Committee Reports: As of this writing there were no Chapter or Committee reports for February 2018 posted on the Google drive.
Motion to adjourn at 9:00 PM (Clark / Senior). Passed.
Submitted by Secretary, James Shanks