Minutes of NCR-SCCA Monthly Board of Directors Meeting
March 20, 2018
Present: Bob Brookfield, 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, 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, March 20th 2018, at Piper’s Deli, 3219 Old Chapel Hill Road, Durham, NC, 27707.
- Eric Danielsen and Ben Tyler attended as guests via telephone. Bob Brookfield and Jennifer Dover attended in person.
- Motion to approve the February minutes, as posted on the Google drive (Senior / R. Deffenbaugh). 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 money market savings account, and approximately $106K in the general Club account, because VIR had not yet cashed our check of $31K from ten days ago. That balance should drop to about $75K when that check clears. Solo had about $6600 in their account, reflecting their most recent, and successful, event. Sam noted that it appears that we lost between $2000 and $3000 on the March race itself, but that when the unallocated expenses of $3600 per race day that our races need to provide for the rest of the Club’s operation are included, our total loss was between $9000 and $10,000 for the weekend. Rex opined that this was far better than he expected given how many people had withdrawn by Sunday afternoon. Sam noted in passing that he and Heather Powers were still working on a detailed financial report for 2017.
- March Into Spring Debrief. Sam noted that we had 55 fewer cars participate in SARRC races on Sunday than we did on Saturday at the March Into Spring event, as drivers anticipated the bad weather, even though it did not arrive until after lunch on Sunday, and only actually affected three race groups. Anna Crissman reported that there was a lot of confusion among the Stewards over what to do, which resulted in conflicting orders and suggestions from them about how to handle the sudden departure of so many cars. Of the four formula and prototype cars which qualified Sunday morning, none showed up to race in the afternoon, and the Stewards could not decide how long after they waved the green to start a race with no cars that they could wave the checker and declare the race over and complete. So, there was a period when no cars were on course and everyone was just waiting in the rain and the cold. In the following group, only one ITA car out the twelve or so which qualified in the morning showed up to race. He circulated until half of the required laps were complete and was declared the winner. All of the pro series SMX cars which qualified competed in the last race of the day. Eric opined that they should have combined all three of the last groups to save the most time. Anna announced that going forward, the Comp Board would produce an inclement weather timeline in advance to reduce the confusion and chaos over what should happen when things go bad. Ben said that the timeline we had used, which was devised so that the Saturday and Sunday schedules would be approximately the same, irritated many corner workers. There were no races before lunch and the lunch period began at roughly 10:50, which they felt was too early. Anna and Sam were firm about the virtue of having a schedule that allows the drivers to go out at approximately the same time every day, and that the Sunday quiet hour necessitated an early lunch on Saturday. Anna said she hoped that by including the timeline in the Supps, a recent innovation which had been adopted for the upcoming May race, much of the griping would disappear once all parties knew what to expect. Eric suggested that we print that schedule on cards so the volunteers could easily carry it with them, and Anna took this under advisement. The only other problem she noted was that Johnny Dunbar had complained to her that drivers who were late to the grid at the start of their race, and subsequently entered from the pit lane, were not stopping to have their equipment checked first, despite being directed to do so. She advised Johnny that he should call in these infractions, and any others, over the net, so that something could be done about them. She added that future editions of the Supps would include language to cover this situation. Rex said that he noted that we had 4 golf carts on Saturday, some of which were seldom used. Eric, who had been Race Chair, said that initially he had rented four, one for the Race Chair, one for Tech and the Stewards to share, one for Pit and Grid, and one for Registration. On Sunday, he turned in the ones for Registration and for the Race Chair, as these were not being used, since they were both using private vehicles instead. This saved $160 in rental fees as a result, so we should be more careful in how many we rent in the future.
- F&C Equipment Issues. Ben said that he had taken a long look at our radio needs before the upcoming Majors and had determined that we would need 90 of them to adequately equip that event, including backup radios for all the corner stations, and additional units for the National Staff, Pit and Grid, and pace cars. He said we had 37 good units and 35 marginal (old) ones, which could be used for backups, and that we needed to purchase about 20 units immediately, plus headsets, including a pair of two-channel ones for Pit and Grid. He estimated the cost of new radios at $280 per unit, and standard headsets at $225. Heather Powers spoke up and said she had been in contact with the radio tech, David Turner, and had authorized him to purchase 18 new radios and headsets already, including a pair of two-channel ones. Ben agreed to follow up with David and verify that the units would be on hand for the Majors. Heather Clark said she would check with Cowboy at the track about the actual cost of renting additional units from them if we run short. Bob Brookfield spoke up and said that more tables were needed in the Speed Suite for worker registration. Sam said that he was going to purchase a big new one from Home Depot for the Hospitality tent. If more were needed for the Speed Suite we could pick some up at Lowe’s, although we currently have four tables and eight chairs there already. He noted that the tables for the tent were from Home Depot and were not identical to those in the Speed Suite, which were purchased from Lowe’s.
- Bulletin Archives. James announced that Jenny Ambrose, the head archivist at the International Motor Racing Research Center (IMRRC) at Watkins Glen, had sent him PDFs of the NCR Bulletins they had on hand from the 1960s in the SCCA Archives. These he had passed on to Bruce, who would soon be putting them on our website along with all the others we already had, bolstering our collection. James noted that we were probably among the first SCCA regions to have made use of the Archives, and that its keepers at the IMRRC were probably as excited as we were to make some of their efforts more public. Bruce had printed some paper copies of these 17 issues for those in local attendance to share, so as to make more concrete what we were talking about. Sam said he had perused a few and they were quite enjoyable. For example, he related that he had read a hilarious account of a pair of Region members making the trip to Sebring in 1966, during which their VW bug blew its motor and they had to rent a Corvair Monza to continue their journey, and afterward they towed the Beetle home behind an MGB! On a more somber note, Bruce said that while the Bulletin archive was fine, many of the on-line web pages which replaced it when we went to web publishing had been lost in the transition to the new website, and that Jeff Eng, the webmaster, had told him that these were unrecoverable. So, there are now some rather large gaps in our more recent history. James also reported that he had learned that a digital archive of the first few decades of SportsCar magazine was commercially available, which may explain why the SCCA Archive was not collecting paper issues of SportsCar at this time. This digital archive covers every issue from 1944 to 1970 and can be had for $375. James said he thought the Region might want to acquire one, but that he was not certain whether it could be shared through our website, which is something he would have to ascertain before recommending purchase. In a related issue, Tim Lyons had recently donated his personal collection of SportsCar, from the early 70’s until now, to the Region, and these issues were in cardboard boxes in the Speed Suite. James is planning to acquire some plastic boxes for them and creating an inventory later this year.
- Driver Request for a Refund. Bruce said that he had heard from an NCR driver who went home early on Sunday without notifying us and now wanted a refund. All other drivers who had withdrawn had followed the published guidelines and had received full refunds. Sam suggested in discussion, a full refund less $50, which is the approximate cost of one volunteer worker’s meals and worker credit for a day. There was then a counter-proposal. Motion to give him a complete refund (Senior / Shanks). Failed. There followed a rather acrimonious debate about whether we should withhold some portion of a refund and if so, how much, especially for people who just decide they don’t want to race in the rain. Sam said that Jim Creighton had suggested to him that we adopt one entry fee for both days with no refunds since the National Office does not give them for the Majors. Other Regions, such as CCR and SCR, Sam said, jack up the price of their Saturday races ($275 vs. our $235) to cover the cost of early withdrawals. Neither position currently has any support, either with Sam or the Board. but the consensus was that we should develop a coherent policy going forward, and the general issue was tabled until the next meeting. A compromise motion was suggested. Motion to refund this driver the discounted race fee that he actually paid ($210) less $25, or $185 for filing his request late. (R. Deffenbaugh / Powers). Passed.
- Bad Weather Refund Policy. This issue could not be separated from the one above, and as just noted, no consensus was reached on what the policy should be going forward. This issue was therefore tabled until the next meeting.
- Adverse Weather Worker Incentive. Anna Crissman proposed an adverse weather worker incentive for those volunteers at the March event who had to stand out in the wet and cold while very little was going on. She herself would not be eligible since T&S was indoors. Only F&C, Start, Pit and Grid would be. Motion to grant those volunteers an additional day’s worker credit of $35, if they come back to work in either April or May (Crissman / Senior). Passed.
- Steward Driver Meetings. The mandatory drivers’ meetings following each qualifying session on Saturdays are taking too long. This results in a huge problem if they don’t end before the next group comes off track, because impound is already full of cars and there is no place for the new group to go, causing chaos on pit road and near the base of the tower. Anna announced that for May, Chief Steward Steve Keadle was trying to address this issue by preparing and publishing his standard remarks in advance, for all drivers to read, so that only questions and serious issues, such as split starts, would need to be addressed at the meetings, and they could be shortened. He hopes to make them no more than 5 minutes each.
- Spring Sprints Final Preparations. With the skid pad torn up for resurfacing, it is unlikely that we will be able to use it for paddock space this year, but only time will tell. People may have to paddock around the construction area instead of on it. The availability of pace cars from VIR is still very much up in the air, as it seems they have not received their new allotment from Nissan for 2018 as of yet. Sam opined that we ought to just rent some suitable cars if nothing else is available, as we should not have to ask members to use their own vehicles. He also said that he is still waiting for a final t-shirt design and program cover from Jeff Eng. The program will contain the same information as last year; only the cover will be different, And Sam said he is working on some new signs, one to direct people to Registration, to be placed at the intersection of Ryan’s Way and Ace Drive, and the other which specifies that worker registration only is at the Speed Suite.
- Speed Suite Plans and Workdays. Sam announced that he has a preliminary plan drawn up for outfitting the Speed Suite. It features a bathroom on the left and a same-sized security closet on the right with a kitchenette in between, and overhead storage for seldom-used items, such as the traffic lights. He noted that we should probably look at getting a separate chest freezer as well. But in the short run we will need to have some work days or work parties scheduled to move stuff around and take down one of the big engine racks left behind by the previous tenant. He suggested we plan on scheduling them between the Sprints in April and the SARRC/MARRS in May. Since no one else had any suggestions, Sam said he would propose some dates soon and let people vote on when they wanted to do it.
- SARRC/MARRS Supps. The Supps for the SARRC / MARRS in May are all but done, including the new timeline, Anna said. It was quickly decided that four golf carts would be needed for that event, despite our earlier discussion about some going unused in March. If it turns out that they are not needed, Mark Senior said, then the Race Chair (Justin Deffenbaugh) could always return them. The issue of rollbacks in addition to the wreckers provided by VIR also came up. It was decided that one would be sufficient for May, but we would add a second one for the Spring Sprints.
- Annual Banquet Location. Morgan reported that the Cape Fear Chapter was willing to host the annual awards dinner in Wilmington for 2018 if no one else was, but that they would need to be given the go-ahead immediately to start working on it. Buddy said he saw no reason why it should continue at the Vailtree in Graham, even though it had been very successful there, but he wondered whether it was not the Triangle Chapter’s turn to host. Sam quickly spoke up and said that there was no interest in Raleigh and that they could not even find a willing successor to Mark Senior as Chapter Coordinator despite his having asked several people to do it. Motion to have the Cape Fear Chapter host the annual awards dinner in Wilmington for 2018 (Crissman / Clark). Passed. Morgan said he would inform Elizabeth Severt, as she would be the chief planner and chair for this event.
Chapter and Committee Reports: As of this writing there were no Chapter or Committee reports for March 2018 posted on the Google drive.
Motion to adjourn at 9:05 PM (Clark / Senior). Passed.
Submitted by Secretary, James Shanks
Temporary Replacement for the Secretary Needed for the Next Meeting. As we were leaving the premises, it was decided to host the next Board meeting at Piper’s on Wednesday, April 18th, as the facility will not be available the day before. James Shanks, the Secretary, unfortunately, will be out of town, and unable to attend, due to a family obligation. He will be traveling when the meeting occurs and so will not be able to join by phone either. So, the remaining Board members will have to find a temporary replacement.