Triangle Chapter Report – August 2012

RALEIGH, NC – (NCRSCCA) – The Triangle Chapter met August 1st at El Rodeo in Raleigh and we had a rare treat.  Blair “Pepe” Stitt, our SARRC Rep, brought a rare DVD he’d received from long-time member Dennis Shaw.  Dennis couldn’t be with us but this DVD he provided was a priceless collection of video documenting Team Highball’s running of the IMSA BF Goodrich Radial Challenge back in 1979. Not only was there video produced by the team members from back in the day, but there was also a documentary narrated by Brock Yates which followed the endurance series from Daytona to Laguna Seca and the now-defunct Ontario Motor Speedway in California, to Mid-Ohio and Road America.

It was great stuff! We saw the Team Highball drivers Amos Johnson and Dennis Shaw (he had strawberry blonde red hair back in those days!) in their AMC Gremlin and Bob Hennig and his co-driver in the Hornet battling the series-leading BMW 2002 of John Morton and Nick Craw.  Yes, Carolina, that was the same Nick Craw who would one day be president of SCCA and then a delegate to the Automobile Club of the US (ACCUS), which is the official body of the FIA in the United States. There were other makes too, notably Ford Pintos and the original Mercury Capris; and I even think I saw a Chevy (Cosworth?) Vega.  What a hoot, especially when one of the drivers said you could build a car for as little as $6K and run it for about $1500 per weekend!  We paused this historic video for the business portion of the meeting, but the best part came afterward, when Brock Yates narrated a companion video about the teams running an endurance race at the Nürburgring in Germany.  Fabulous!

In the business portion of the meeting, we noted that the Region’s finances were in very good shape, since we had made money on each of the first three races of the year (it’s been a long time since that happened!) and we had received a check from CCR for our share of the profit from the joint race at Charlotte last year.  Now that we had showed them it could be profitable, CCR was going it alone for 2012.  RE Rex Deffenbaugh relayed that he had just returned from the SEDIV Mid-Year meeting in Atlanta, and that we had retained all the race dates we had requested for 2013 without incident.  He also noted that SEDIV’s Butch Kummer had been tagged to be the new Director of Club Racing by the National office and that this would probably prove to be a very good thing for the Club. John Uftring, who is in charge of publicity for the Region, reported that he had placed ads for our two October races in upcoming issues of SportsCar and Grassroots Motorsports. The first one can be seen on page 35 of the September issue of SportsCar.  Nice job, John.

In other news, we learned that Chuck Hines had taken a 3rd place in his last race, despite three (!) broken axles and a strange protest by one of the stewards about the way his front airbox was attached. Fortunately, he won that protest. We also heard that RE Rex Deffenbaugh had co-driven with Randy Deaton in Randy’s Honda in the recent Rally America event at Snowshoe ski resort in West Virginia. I forgot to note where they finished, but Rex reported that they had a blast!  Mark Senior reminded us all that Rally America was created after the (idiots? fools? dupes?) on a previous SCCA National Board of Directors voted in secret to summarily cancel the SCCA Pro Rally program.  They were told by our insurance people that pro rally was “uninsurable” in the US and would die a slow death.  Ten years or so later, it looks like they were just wrong about that!  In more fun news, we learned that James Echells (E-Prod Miata driver) celebrated his 70th birthday by doing his first tandem sky diving jump.  How’s that for an adrenaline rush, James?

Why don’t you plan on joining us for the September meeting (09/05/2012) of the Triangle Chapter? I can’t promise that the news or the video will be as great as it was this month, but it’s always entertaining.  I’ll see you there…or at the races!

James Shanks
Triangle Chapter Coordinator