North Carolina Region Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner 2012

January 12, 2013

The NCR Annual meeting and awards dinner was held Saturday, January 5th, at Caffé Luna in Raleigh.  Over a hundred members attended and the festivities were in high gear.  The food was out of this world!  The buffet featured something for every one, from fresh fruit and cheese, through chilled salmon and shrimp cocktail, sliced ham, grilled sausage, steak, chicken, four kinds of pasta, asparagus and other veggies, and of course, salad. If you left hungry, it was your own fault! All drinks including beer and wines were included in the meal and that kept the conversation going until we went through the buffet line table-by-table. Many thanks to Bibi Tucker for setting all this up!

The annual meeting was rather short. Our Treasurer, Steve Keadle, was off stewarding at Sebring, so RE Rex Deffenbaugh gave an abbreviated report for him. The Region is in good financial shape, despite a rather steep decline in revenue at our races, and it appears that we will break even at this time, but it will be close.  While final numbers will not be available until the end of this month, the good news is that the first deposit at VIR for 2013 has been paid and that we have enough money in the bank to cover the basics for the rest of the season, so we are now focused on being profitable enough to continue the racing program in 2014.  The Solo program, Rex noted, has been very successful, despite losing a venue.  Their participation numbers are up and they continue to put on first-quality events, including an historic North Carolina Autocross Championship.  They have even added new members to the club while doing it!

The results of the recent elections were announced at the end of the annual meeting.  Steve Keadle, running unopposed, will continue as treasurer, while John Lindquist will assume the role of Assistant RE. Blair Deffenbaugh was a popular choice for Member at Large, but the other seat is still up in the air.  Incumbent Ron Gentry and challenger Sam Fouse were tied in the popular vote; so per the bylaws, the Board of Directors will have to choose between them by secret ballot before the next Board meeting later this month.

Following the business meeting, emcee Ed Wentz began the awards presentations by giving away some door prizes. Door prize giveaways were interspersed among the other awards to keep things lively.  There were many gift cards to popular restaurants, some out-of-production model cars, some of those hot calendars produced by the Solo guys in conjunction with the Carolina Roller girls, four free entries to our events at VIR (!), and (gasp!) a huge ceramic cookie jar in the image of Speed Racer that caught everyone’s eye.  It had been donated by Alana Long and we all waited to see which door prize recipient would elect to take it away.  Mid-way through the evening it was chosen by Flag Chief Eric Danielsen, who will be sure to give it a good home.

Here’s a break-down of this years’ awards. Unless otherwise noted they were presented by emcee Ed Wentz, who did a nice job of it. Not all of the honorees could attend but Ed presented their awards as if they were present.  We’ll get their trophies to them later.

Volunteer Awards

Registration (presented by Ginny Condrey)

Outstanding Service – Registration:  Ashley Hill

“She is a steady worker that is willing to pitch in wherever I need her—especially with all the “extra” things that get thrown into registration.”

Rookie of the Year – Registration:  Trish Biamonte

Not her first time as a registrar but her first time back and helping NCR. Considering all the changes in registration—especially online registration—she picked it up faster than I’ve ever seen anyone do it and did a fantastic job!!!

Start  (presented by Ed Wentz)

Outstanding Service – Start:  Chris and Amber Sigmon

Imagine bringing your newborn to the track for the 13-hour enduro because you couldn’t find a sitter.  Now imagine arranging your schedule so that you and your spouse can alternate, with one of you on the start stand while the other tends the baby, all day long.  “Outstanding Service” doesn’t begin to cover it.

Pit and Grid

Worker of the Year – Pit & Grid:  Swanson Williams (WDCR)

Swanson is part of our extended family. A member of WDC Region, he comes down to work pit road for us at VIR.  A past MARRS H-Prod driver, he knows how to communicate with drivers, and if you are late for the grid, then his is probably the last face you’ll see before the folks at turn-one. We are told he always smiles and says a little speech that sounds something like this…

‘Zipper, strap, belts, net, sticker — Good Luck — follow the directions of that worker.’

Always smiling, always on time, no matter the weather, Swanson was nominated by his Chief, by some of the stewards, and by a couple of drivers.  How could we be so fortunate?

Outstanding Service – Pit & Grid:  Pam Thompson

Out on YouTube you can see a video of this lady splitting the grid for the ECR race at VIR for the Goblins Go this past October. It is great to see a worker doing their job and doing it well; but more importantly, having fun while doing it. The amazing fact about this event is that Pam was the only grid worker registered for this event and we had 78 cars in that first group. She gave a crash course to two stewards, an SIT, and even the Paddock Marshall, all recruited at the last minute, on how to work the grid. She stepped up and took the lead, and everyone followed.  And they all had a great time. Pam Thompson exemplifies what we have come to expect of an SCCA worker.

Flagging and Communications (presented by Eric Danielsen)

F&C Worker of the Year: Joe and Sandy Gray (Susquehanna Region)

Yes, they come all the way from Pennsylvania for every event!  They are members of our extended family at VIR and come all that way just to help us out.

Outstanding Service – Flagging and Communications:

  • Jan Coleman-Mitchell
  • Richard Mosley
  • Alan Martin

These folks volunteered at every event we had at VIR in 2012!

Hard Luck and Perseverance:  Jeanne Cochran and Glenn Samuels

The propane refrigerator on their camper leaked and exploded.  And the camper burned to the ground with everything in it.  But did they miss an event? Nah!

Racing Program (also presented by Eric Danielsen)

Outstanding Service to the Racing Program:

Hayden Beatty 

Whenever you do such a good job that people from outside the Region sit up and take notice, it’s time that your peers recognize you as well. Lots of racers have commented to us that they have never been greeted so well at a race track nor had a local representative as helpful as Hayden in getting them paddocked.   But, in November the VIR Manager of General Operations Kerrigan Smith told the North Carolina Region Board of Directors, “I wish all the other groups who race with us had a Hayden Beatty.  He’s invaluable in making things run smoothly.” A founding member of this Region and a Lifetime achievement winner, Hayden is still showing us how it is done.

Tim Gardner

Early in 2012 Tim coordinated with the F&C chiefs and VIR’s EV to participate in the ‘burn’ part of NCR’s semi-annual Crash & Burn School. Tim’s efforts didn’t go unnoticed by VIR. This year, for the first time ever, VIR invited NCR EV to work Pit-Road for the ALMS race. This is a result of Tim’s leadership.  Also NCR EV personnel are headed to Tampa FL in March to get another Crash & Burn certification. And Tim has recruited two more members who want to work EV in 2013.

Tim has taken his crew and made NCR known all over the Southeast, including CMP at Kershaw, Roebling Road at Savannah and Charlotte Motor Speedway. NCR has even been represented at a rally in the Cascade Mountains of NY!

E. Gordon Warren Outstanding Steward:  Harold “Cricket” Harvey

Cricket already has won a lifetime achievement award for his service to the Club, which goes back to the 70’s at least.  Someone said he’s been doing it “since the wheel was invented and two guys disagreed about which wheel was faster.”  But whenever he started, his fellow stewards voted to give him the E. Gordon Warren Outstanding Steward award this year. Sometimes known for his “tough love” when it comes to penalties, he knows the GCR by heart and he’s dedicated to making the competition fair for all. As one steward put it, “I’m glad the pop quizzes he gives the rest of us on the rules aren’t scored.  But if I could pick the team to get an event moving and keep it on schedule, Cricket would be at the top of my list.”

Solo Program (presented by Chris Severt)

Solo Worker of the Year:  John Byers

A long time autocrosser, but relative new guy to NCR, John has proven an invaluable member of the Solo Staff.  He rarely misses an event or meeting and has taken on more than his fair share of responsibilities.  Among many things in 2012 he designed two event courses, tech inspected hundreds of cars, and even became the Region’s first Junior Kart Steward!

Outstanding Service to the Solo Program: Justin Arnette

2012 presented many challenges to the Solo Program.  Justin more than arose to the occasion and helped make it our best year yet.  He assumed the role of Timing & Scoring Chief; with help from wife Tara, did most of the leg work on the 2013 Cape Fear Track Stars Calendar; designed the NCAC T-Shirt; and not to mention overhauled our online registration system.  2012 would not have been a success without the contributions of Justin Arnette.


Solo Program (presented by Chris Severt)

Rookie of the Year – Regional Solo:  Ashlee Yoh

At the beginning of 2012 Ashlee could only compete with a licensed driver in the passenger seat because she was only 15 years old with a Learner’s Permit!  The extra weight never slowed her down though.  She turned 16 mid-season, as well as graduated from Novice class to Ladies class, where she finished 4th for the season.  She attended every event and stepped into a worker role in the Timing & Scoring trailer, a daunting task for most rookies.  Ashlee handled it all with the poise of a pro and even earned herself an Event Staff “yellow shirt”.  Her efforts, both working and behind the wheel, were enough for us to combine the usual Rookie Worker and Rookie Driver awards into one!

Driver of the Year – Regional Solo: Michael Jones

A member of South Carolina Region, Michael has made NCR his second home running our Solo series full time.  His performance this year has been nothing short of impressive.  Out of the six events he attended, he took home the hardware for Top PAX time of the day 4 times, usually in convincing fashion.  He won the Pro Class Season Championship, finished 2nd in Class as well as being the top scorer for the NCR Club Cup team at the NC Autocross Championship.  As a gesture to show that he is truly a member of the NCR family the Solo Program is giving Michael a Dual Membership along with his award.

Driver of the Year – National Solo: Gwen Baake

Gwen won the 2012 H Stock Ladies National Championship in her famous Mini Cooper, Tiny Blue!  The determination and talent required for such a feat needs no elaboration.  We are honored to have her in our midst and very proud of her for bringing a Jacket back to North Carolina.

Racing Program (presented by Ed Wentz)

Regional Racing, SARRC and ECR

North Carolina Region is blessed with having a lot of accomplished drivers.  You’ll hear about some of them here.  But, before we get to those accomplishments, we should recognize some drivers who make NCR unique.  We have drivers who volunteer for other duties when they are not driving, who help out at the track, who serve on the Board of Directors, who volunteer for projects when help is needed. We could not make this Club run without them. Here’s a short list of drivers who competed on the track in 2012 and volunteered in one capacity or another:

  • Mark Senior,
  • Blair “Pepe” Stitt
  • Heather Powers
  • Bill Foster
  • Steve Rose
  • Jerry Pell
  • Ken Blackburn
  • John Lindquist
  • Wayne Quick
  • Patrick Pardee
  • Peter Krause
  • and all three of the Deffenbaughs, Rex, Justin, and Blair.

So, it is gratifying to award one of these volunteers a driving award as well.  This fellow grew up at the track.  He has a National License in Timing and Scoring.  And most recently he worked corners when he wasn’t driving, particularly at the 13-hour, where he Captained a turn. So it is with great pleasure that we observe that he is following in the footsteps of his father and brother. He was nominated by other drivers and in his first year of competition he already has a couple of podium finishes.

Rookie of the Year – Regional Racing:  Blair Deffenbaugh

Winning SARRC drivers

NCR had many SARRC Champions this year:

  • IT7   NEIL GUELDNER  184 points
  • DSR  DOUG PINER 192 points
  • SSB  ALEX PHELPS 192  points
  • GT1  SCOTT MURPHY  24 points
  • FV  SHANNON JONES 166 points
  • F500 BOZ MARCHI   96 points (a tie for first)
  • EP  RANDY CARTER  184 points
  • GTL  KEN BLACKBURN 120 points
  • GT2  MILES BAREFOOT  120 points
  • ITS  CHUCK HINES  180 points

There were several hard-fought battles, even among our own drivers:

  • SAM FOUSE took second in GTL behind Ken Blackburn with 72 points
  • JEFF YOUNG had a tremendous rivalry with Chuck Hines in ITS, which went all the way down to the last lap of the last race.  He took second with 166 points.
  • MICHAEL MOULTON took second in GT2  behind Miles Barefoot with 68 points.

But, SARRC isn’t the only series we run in the Southeast, there’s also the ECR Enduro championship, and some NCR drivers did very well in that too. For example, there were a couple of second-in-class finishers

  • ITB  JEFF JOYCE     33 points
  • ITS  KEN MAYNARD    51 points

And some first-in-class winners as well

  • STU     Jim  Taggart    24  points
  • ITR      Allan Haggai    24 points
  • SSB     Alex Phelps      36 points

Which brings us to the next award, with a first in class in both the SARRC and the ECR

Driver of the Year – Regional Racing:  Alex Phelps

Enduros and the Charge of the Headlight Brigade

Of course, no talk of enduros would be complete without discussing our own signature event, the 13-hour Charge of the Headlight Brigade, which draws drivers from all over the world, and even some from the professional ranks.  VIR has noticed; so has the National Office of the SCCA, and they have both encouraged us to grow that event into something even bigger.  We’ve had some pretty impressive drivers here, so a win after 13 hours of racing is quite an accomplishment.  But how about if you win and it’s the first time your co-driver has ever even sat in the car?  And never driven in the dark before?  This is a real “local boys make good” story.

Drivers of the Year – Enduro:  Tom Long and Chris Long

National Competition

We all know about the difference between National and Regional Level competition and how it takes an extra level of commitment to compete on the National level.  The competition is harder, the races farther apart. This year NCR was blessed by having Don Knowles win his SIXTH National Championship in T2.  And what can you say about that?  How can you top it?  We recognized Don as National Driver of the Year when he won his 5th Championship.  Should we give him yet another trophy for his mantelpiece?

Does he need another dust catcher from us?  The awards committee didn’t think so, and besides there was another NCR driver in the same T2 class who gave Don a real run for his money.  He impressed the committee even more. He finished first in National points in the Southeast in T2, with 72 points to 43, and figured to be a real threat at the RunOffs, until he cut a tire at the Cumberland National and rolled the car into the wall.  You can watch it unfold on YouTube.  Ouch! Never say die, however, he procured a backup car for the RunOffs but lost the motor before he could seriously challenge for the lead.  So we are very pleased to announce this award.  Always driving his heart out, this driver truly embodies the spirit of SCCA National racing

Driver of the Year – National Racing:   CJ Moses

SCCA Drivers

In the history of the SCCA, there have been drivers like Walt Hangsen and Jerry Hanson, who won in multiple classes multiple times, and seemed to race in every class they find a ride for.  Our last driver is one of those.  He wasn’t at the Awards Banquet, because he was down at Sebring preparing for his first race of next season.

In Regional racing he competed and earned points in four classes,

STL (24 points), SM (48 points), ITS (29 points, and he was third overall in STU with 116 points.

In the ECR, he took first overall in STU, and co-driving with Don Knowles his team led the 13-hour Charge of the Headlight Brigade for well over an hour until they were tagged by another car.

In National Racing, he competed in three classes: STL, where he tied for tenth; STO, where he was seventh; and STU, where he was second overall in the Southeast Division with 61 points.  At the RunOffs, hard luck in qualifying had him start in 22nd spot in STU, but he finished in 6th , earning him the Sunoco Hard Charger Award.

For all this then, we are proud to award

Driver of the Year – Overall Performance:  Jim Taggart

Prestige Awards (presented by Ed Wentz)

We save the best for last.  These are the awards we give to individuals for going beyond what everybody else does.  These are people who really make this Club special.

Worker of the Year:  Johnny Dunbar

Our Worker of the Year has gone from Rookie to Master in just a few short seasons with us.  He started with nothing but a smile and a can-do attitude.  He listened, he learned and then he did what SCCA workers have always done; he taught others.  Now he does his job as if he were born to it.  Others have noticed too.  Stewards have commented that he does a great job.  Another one of our award recipients tonight, Hayden Beatty, who won a distinguished service award himself, nominated this recipient for an award, saying that he was a huge help in getting things set up for a race, especially for the 13-hour.

Yet, our worker of the year is never looking for any accolades.  He just keeps looking for ways to improve things.  He smiles almost shyly when someone says “Good Job Dude!” and more importantly, he never seems to get upset even when those he’s trying to serve are less than courteous.

Members of the Year

What kind of an award is appropriate for someone who steps up and volunteers to make a new competition series a success?  We had two brand new series this year, and the folks who administered them worked long hours to make them a success.  They knew the reputation of the Region was on the line, and if they blew it, we’d have a black eye for a long time to come.

Racing Program

In the racing program the Board of Directors felt that we could no longer support the Carolina Cup, given the way it was being run, even though it brought us a lot of entries for our racing events.  We could not abandon that revenue; we would need to replace it.  Our secretary, Jerry Pell, proposed a new series, the Tarheel Cup, as a replacement, but one thing was clear to the Board, and that was that we would need a dedicated individual to administer it and make it work.  And he did, all while running his own racing program in IT-7. He worked extra hours promoting the events to other drivers, and he made sure the checks to the winners were timely, and the accounting was accurate to the penny.  Our new series owes whatever success it has to him, and it increased the stature of North Carolina Region in the Southeast. For this reason, the North Carolina Region awards

Member of the Year:  Steve Rose

Solo Program

But road racing is only half of what we do.  Down East they have been running one of the most successful Solo programs in the Southeast.  Its numbers are growing.  They have added new members to the club and this year they put us on the map with other autocross clubs in North Carolina by hosting the North Carolina Autocross Championship.  This is a team-based competition between the five autocross clubs in North Carolina. NCR had never hosted an event of this magnitude before.  In years past we were lucky just to find drivers who would be willing to form a team and compete.  But this year was different.  We hosted the event, and thanks to our partners, the United States Marine Corps at Cherry Point, we provided an awesome venue. That was no small job.  The Marines let us play on their turf but only if we met their special criteria in terms of service to their members and base security.   There were many meetings and countless details to attend to, and compromises that had to be made, and that meant long hours by our organizers.

But in the end it was worth it. The organization and the after-event social at the NCAC were lauded by all the clubs who took part. They agreed that NCR had raised the bar.  So for making all this possible, and increasing the stature and visibility of North Carolina Region, we award

Member of the Year:  Chris and Elizabeth Severt

Lifetime Achievement:  Sam and Mo Overstreet

Members since 1983, Sam and Mo are known throughout the country as flaggers extraordinaire.  They have been everywhere and done everything.  They enhanced our stature by working for VIR.  And their biggest contribution is in the form of training and recruitment.  Every flagger has been sent to “Mo’s Flagging Page” on the internet at one time or another.  This training tool is an extraordinary compendium of information about how to be a corner worker.  It covers everything from what kind of clothes to wear, to how to handle emergencies, to how to use hand signals, to track maps of the Overstreet’s favorite venues.  It’s been used by flag chiefs all over the country and is mentioned at seminars at the National Convention. Mo has recently extended his reach by becoming a steward.  But he and Sam still flag whenever they can.  They have represented us at the RunOffs too many times to mention, at dozens of pro races over the years, and they have been representing NCR as track flaggers at VIR.  There is no doubt that they have helped raise the level of professionalism among that group, and among every group they have ever been a part of.

In support of the nomination of the Overstreets for this Lifetime Achievement award, we received a letter from former NCR Flag Chief, Chuck Stanley (you may read it here). 

Tarheel Cup Pro Series Driving Awards

The final awards presentations of the night were given by Member of the Year and TCPS Administrator Steve Rose.  He presented TCPS class trophies to the following recipients, who were in attendance at the dinner:

  • Alexander Phelps 1st SSB
  • Boz Marchi 1st F500
  • Steve Rose 1st IT7
  • Heather Powers 2nd IT7
  • Rex Deffenbaugh 3rd IT7
  • Jerry Pell 2nd ITA
  • Neal Harrison 3rd ITA

Other class winners can be found on the NCR website.

Steve’s presentation closed the 2012 Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner.  2012 was a great year and we are looking forward to an even better 2013.

James Shanks
2012 Awards Committee Chair


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