by John Lindquist, Assistant Regional Executive
I will surely leave something out, but not on purpose. My first SCCA National Convention and it was worth the trip! You see I am not a gambler so the trip was for the Convention. I did, however, lose $4 showing my wife, Annie, how the slot machines worked. There you have it, bet $4 and lost $4, just what I expected!
Now to the reason for the trip… It seems like it was well attended by folks from all over the country, lots of RE’s and specialty chiefs. One of the first things Jerry Pell and myself did notice, was that the majority of the folks attending were…well, we will just say past mid-life. This was somewhat understandable since travel, work and the like would keep several non-retired folks away.
The opening statement was “It’s a new day in SCCA”. Jeff Dahnert, President and CEO of SCCA, Inc., and the SCCA Board of Directors want everyone to know that we as a Club must change to accommodate our members. A study was done by an outside firm and they came back and told SCCA that we are not retaining new members. For every 10 new members, 9 leave. The reasons vary, but not being friendly and not having the product they want is a big part of the issues. The national staff and the Board of Directors seem to be very willing and on-board with looking into what needs to be done and making an effort to enabling change. Here is the catch: you knew there would be one, we the members, must be willing to embrace the needed changes and be part of the evaluation of growing the club. Membership is at 40,000.
So again the number one issue for SCCA is we are not as FRIENDLY as we need to be to retain new members, so we are losing out. This issue kept coming up all weekend.
All club specialties meeting, by Terry Ozment, VP of Club Racing: Terry is sharp! Lots of items discussed, but it seems the web site and how it is cluttered was a major topic. There is an Apple App being tested right now, coming your way. Lots of discussion about how and who gets what kind of worker license. Yes, there were some heated up folks at this meeting. It was noted that there was a need for more Race Chairs in every Region. There was talk about on-line training for workers to help with their upgrading. Terry did state that, if you need money for training let her know and National may be able to help…for example with fire training, cool! More talk of a specialty newsletter being sent out.
There was a lot of discussion about time trials, PDXs and that we are not the leading club in this area. SCCA is still the premier amateur auto racing club in the world and no effort is being made whatsoever to change that! But, we are not building numbers in Club Racing and everyone thinks that should be coming from Time Trials and PDX. However, it is our Time Trials and PDX programs that are not working. Well, not hard to figure this one out! So there was lots of talk about how to get this back on track and the items that are needed to do so. In some locations, the track is the problem. Good instructors with good programs and personnel to man the corners are needed.
Pro Racing and SCCA Enterprises: I did not know this, but they pay their own way, go figure. There was a lot of talk about the GEN3 SRF, new engine, etc. rolling out in 2014.
Global Rally Cross will be a Pro series conducted by SCCA, not associated with Regional events.
Some ideas for better service: put Tech at Registration. You know, the driver just needs to have his book signed, verify helmet, provide coffee and donuts if lines are long. For workers: ride in the pace car and see what the drivers are seeing, same with the Start stand. Lots of emphasis on “the driver pays the bills”. We all know that without workers, we are not a whole Club, but the money has to come from somewhere, lose the drivers and …point taken.
Lots of conversations about the Majors, at some point there will be just Majors, coming soon. Some Regions will lose their National races. The number of Majors per year will become limited. I think VIR will be safe, but then again I thought my $4.oo bet would make millions!
OK, the Chump Car/Lemons deal. Yes, SCCA is looking at what it would take to bring that group into the fold. SCCA and everyone involved agree that a Chump Car or Lemon is not the same as WORLD CLASS SCCA CLUB RACING. But, what everyone agrees on is that, if we don’t find a way to bring these racing drivers – yes, in their own right they ARE racing drivers – into the SCCA we will keep getting smaller and smaller. What if a Chump driver attended an SCCA event and then decided that moving up to Club racing was next in line for him? Hey what an idea!! And I like the idea that if the Chump driver needed to run into some one that they did it in the Chump series and not in the club series.
So, don’t get excited, they will NOT mix Chump or Lemons on the track at the same time as SCCA Club racing. May not ever happen, but then again someone probably won some money at Vegas!
THANKS for the opportunity to represent NCR-SCCA! We are a good Region, have good members and conduct good events.