Triangle Chapter Report – March 2014

The March meeting of the Triangle Chapter went off in fine style. Our resident videographer, Justin Deffenbaugh, brought us in-car video of his dad, RE Rex Deffenbaugh, competing in the NASA-sanctioned Sandblast Rally down in South Carolina. What a hoot! We saw him and his co-driver barreling along those sandy trails in Cheraw, at least for the first five miles or so, until they broke an axle. Whoops! Maybe it was because Rex, the navigator, was wearing his new red racing shoes instead of his lucky old blue ones. Or maybe it was because switching to a limited-slip diff wasn’t the hot set up in Randy Deaton’s Honda Civic. But they needed some way to limit wheel spin because Randy, the driver, only knows one throttle position, flat out. Anyway, sorry you broke, guys. Better luck next year!

With a few choice comments about the morons in SCCA who let pro rally get away from us some years back and have forced our stalwart members to compete in non-SCCA events, we held our meeting. First off, the Solo program did splendidly well in 2013, over $11K to the Club’s bottom line. Hats off to ‘em! If you haven’t been to one of our increasing popular autocross events, you should make plans to go.

Next we discussed the racing program. It isn’t news that we took a substantial financial loss last year, what with declining entries and steadily increasing costs and a few unexpected expenses. But we are working hard to try to overcome that. We will be dropping the Region’s 800 number, which is now seldom used in these days of cell phone minutes, and we’ll save about $950 a year with that. We also have plans in place to try to control expenses for things like food at the track, and we have implemented a new e-mail system to replace the expensive print advertising we used to try to increase our entries. This year we have some less-expensive promotional ideas which we think will have a bigger impact. Eric Danielsen, race chair and flag chief, has come up with a proposal to give some lucky driver a free entry, by having a drawing at the driver’s meeting among those who register in the first 3 days. That should create a buzz! And Sam Fouse, Member at Large, has floated the idea of a memorial gift for both drivers and workers alike, commemorating this, the first annual VIR Spring Sprints, which is the new name for our upcoming Majors event in April. We can’t call it “The Oak Tree Double National” any more – not only are there no more National races in SCCA, there’s no more Oak Tree! Even VIR has dropped that image from their logo. So if all goes well, every participant will go home with a keepsake to remind them of this first outing on the newly reconfigured and repaved VIR. Hope you all can make it!

In other news, Chuck Hines reported that he attended the driver’s school at Roebling Road and that he now has his license back. Congratulations, Chuck! I know you are eager to get back on track. He may even run the Majors! Chuck said there were 34 students in his class, and 14 of ‘em ran Spec Miatas. The fields will be full this year!

And Member at Large “Pepe” Stitt says his old digs are spruced up and ready for sale. Anybody interested in a twelve-thousand square foot shop with a 12 ft. ceiling and a lift, and a house attached? It’s on two and half acres in Wendell so you don’t have to worry about annoying the neighbors no matter how late you work! The house has been upgraded with new tile and countertops too! Give him a call if you’d like to see it. He’s ready to deal!

Finally, the SCCA National Convention is this weekend in Charlotte and the RE, Rex Deffenbaugh, and Assistant RE, John Lindquist, will be attending for sure, as will some other members. Sam Fouse said he’ll be attending the MSX Motorsports expo held in conjunction with it, where Treasurer Steve Keadle will be presenting a seminar on racing and taxes. So you won’t want to miss the April Triangle Chapter meeting so you can hear how it all turned out. I’ll see you there, Wednesday, April 2nd…or at the races!

James Shanks
Triangle Chapter Coordinator
jrshanks@bellsouth.net