Before we began with our awards to our volunteers, who have gone above and beyond this year, we pointed out the North Carolina Region members lauded for the many days of service in the December issue of SportsCar?
Treasurer and Steward Steve Keadle topped the list with over 30 days, followed by Member-at-Large and Steward Wayne Quick, with over 20 days. Wayne’s wife and Chief of Sound Control for our events, Jean Quick volunteered between 12 and 19 days at the track, as did our Chief Starter James Buckberry, and one of our Flag Chiefs, Mark Biamonte. Awesome folks! Hat’s off to you all!
Except where noted, the following awards were presented by the emcee, Ed Wentz)
Registration (presented by Ginny Condrey, Chief of Registration)
- Outstanding Service — Registration: Walt Michael
Already a Steward, Walt is a steady worker who is willing to pitch in wherever he’s needed, and he’s always there on Friday night. He even volunteered to go into the paddock and register the guys who came in advance for the test days, so that they didn’t have to leave the track and come back again!
Pit and Grid
- Rookie Worker of the Year — Pit: Connie Dunbar
Neither Connie nor Chief of Pit Road, her husband, Johnnie Dunbar, could be present, but their service was noted. SCCA is all about families. Apparently, Johnnie couldn’t find the right help at the track so he decided to bring it from home!
- Outstanding Service — Grid: Clayton Condrey
Just a few years ago, he was Rookie of the Year for Grid; now he’s the Chief. He has “Chiefed” all the events he could. He could not Chief the National because he does not yet have a National license, but he travelled out of Region to work other events to help earn that National. Great effort by a full-time student, not yet 21!
Fire and Rescue (presented by EV Chief Tim Gardner and the emcee)
- Rookie Worker of the Year – Fire and Rescue: Jamie Gardner
Tim Gardner also decided to bring his own help from home! Thanks to you both!
- Rookie Worker of the Year – Fire and Rescue: Natasha Euliss-Uftring
And Tim also recruited new help… the wife of a driver and corner worker, John Uftring. Apparently, Natasha found the paddock too boring.
Pace Car (presented by Ed Wentz, who is also the Pace Car chief)
- Outstanding Service – Pace Car: Natasha Euliss-Uftring
And Natasha did the Region another good turn. She earned this award for her extraordinary efforts to obtain some really cool pace cars for our events. Natasha got Foreign Cars Italia to lend us a Maserati and several new premium vehicles to use. Guess riding the wrecker with EV wasn’t fast enough!
Tech (presented by emcee and Buddy Matthews, Chief of Tech)
- Rookie Worker of the Year — Tech: Rusty Matthews
Buddy Mathews also brought his own help from home and we hear he’s grooming Rusty to be Chief someday. Rusty couldn’t be present, but he will be going to the SEDIV convention with Buddy.
Timing and Scoring (presented by Anna Crissman)
- Rookie Worker of the Year – T&S: Daniella Sava
- Rookie Worker of the Year – T&S: Felix Ciascai
These two volunteers are the wife and son of Steward Marcel Ciascai, and though none of them could be present, we applauded their service. Daniella took to Timing so well that by the 13-hour, she was training the race team volunteers!
Flagging and Communications (presented by Eric Danielsen, Chief F&C)
- F&C Worker of the Year: Paul Hoecke
Paul is a seasoned veteran who is a long-time member. He is a qualified Corner Captain who continues to hone his flagging skills and train new people. Paul is a quiet person who can always be found pitching in when help is needed. He helps set up, tear down and clean up. Paul does it all!
- Rookie Worker of the Year – F&C: Sam Via
Sam first worked F&C as a team volunteer during the 2012 13-Hour. He thought it was the coolest thing and got excited every time he saw a Miata on the street. He flagged 4 of our 5 events in 2013 and plans to venture into Pro events this year. His enthusiasm for Flagging is contagious; expect big things in the future.
Solo Program (presented by Chris Severt, Solo Chairman)
- Solo Worker of the Year: David Culp
David is a worker’s worker. A deacon in his church, there have been some Sundays where he has arrived early at an event, helped set up, and used the blower to clean off the site, then left to go to church, and never even had a chance to run himself!
- Outstanding Service to the Solo Program: Gaylord Spaulding
Gaylord is a long-time member of the SCCA originally from out-of-state who, since relocating to our area, shows up at every event to help out, and he doesn’t even drive!
Solo Program (presented by Chris Severt)
- Rookie of the Year — Regional Solo: Adrian Willis
It was quite a year for this rookie. He not only won his class overall, but was 12th overall in the PAX index, surpassing many a seasoned competitor.
- Driver of the Year — Regional Solo: Brandon Wiggins
Eight times he won his class at our events, so he also won it overall as well. And if that wasn’t impressive enough, he was second in PAX points as well. Truly a great season!
The SARRC series
NCR had more than a couple of SARRC Champions this year:
- FV, Shannon Jones, 176 points (winner of a DOY award in 2010)
- STU, Alex Phelps, 192 points (winner of a DOY award in 2012)
- T2, Mickey Snow, 144 points (also second in T2 with 156 points)
- IT7R, Blair Stitt, 120 points
There were also several hard-fought battles, where it’s no shame to come in second:
- Victor Seaber took 2nd in FS, only 1 point behind first place with 101 points. Victor won a DOY award back in 2002.
- Alastair McEwan took 2nd in FB with 126 points.
- Rickey Thompson took 2nd in ITR with 184 points among 21 competitors.
- Jeff Giordano took 2nd in ITS with 167 points and he had 101 competitors.
- Michael Sperber took 2nd in ITA with 159 among 83 competitors.
All of which brings us to the next award, with one of the hardest fought battles in the Division. There was a four-way tie for first place going into the SIC. Two drivers qualified on the front row and then dueled lap after lap, passing and re-passing each other until only one remained. The video on YouTube is awesome to watch. So with his first place in IT-7 and 180 points against 31 eager competitors, NCR awards
- Driver of the Year — Regional Racing: Steve Rose
That’s quite a long way for a guy who won a Hard Luck and Perseverance award last year!
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
- Paul Perez in IT7R and Tom Long in STU, both former DOY winners took second place finishes in the ECR, as did Bernie Baake in IT7.
- Jim Taggart (last year’s DOY for overall performance) took first in STU.
But Jim didn’t run many races. Our winner of the Driver of the Year trophy in Endurance Racing won more than double the points (51) though he only finished second in class. But that class was Spec Miata with 83 other competitors. He also scored 13 National points and 24 in SARRC, a very active season. So our Enduro Driver of the Year is
- Driver of the Year — Enduro: John Linger
Rookie of the Year
Every driver has to start somewhere and some keep at it. We are fortunate enough to have one who has come on board recently and cannot seem to get enough. He tried racing a couple of times before. But it’s been 35 years since he raced the last time and he didn’t do it for very long. For all intents and purposes then, he’s a rookie. So eager was he to compete that he went all over the place to get his competition license, to Summit Point and to Thunderhill in New Jersey. Then he raced the SARRC/MARRS with us and even tried out one of our Solos in his Spec Miata. But when he got a chance to buy a good, used Spec Racer Ford he jumped at that, and he raced at Roebling, Summit Point, and VIR in that class. No, he didn’t win his class, but he’s getting better all the time. So keep an eye out for our
- Rookie of the Year – Regional Racing: Randel Sink
This year saw a big change in National competition with the arrival of the Majors. It was a year in transition, but NCR had many drivers fiercely competing for their shot at the RunOffs, and the chance to be National Champion.
There were some hard fought battles to second place:
- Wayne Quick, GT3, Ford Probe, 19 points
- Jim Taggart, STU, Lotus Exige, 112 points
And some folks who took home first place honors in the Division, notably
- CJ Moses, T2, Mitsubishi Evo, 110 points (our 2012 DOY in National Racing)
- Robert Noell, FM, STAR MAZDA, 129 points
And there were guys who showed their mettle at the RunOffs despite not having finished so well getting there:
- Doug Piner was only 3rd in SEDIV in DSR and he finished only 6th at the RunOffs but his run up from having qualified 13th so impressed the SCCA judges that they awarded him the Sunoco Hard Charger award for his efforts.
But the real battle, as far as North Carolina Region was concerned, was in GT2. The top three drivers in GT2 in the Southeast Division are all North Carolina Region members: Russ Snow in his Corvette, Pete Peterson in his Toyota Celica, and Kurt Roehrig in his Camaro. Talk about racing your buddies! In the end, the guy who was victorious had a whopping 135 points and is our Driver of the Year in National Racing. He also qualified 13th but finished up in 7th at the RunOffs.
- Driver of the Year – National Racing: Russ Snow
Hard Luck and Perseverance
Sometimes things never go right. When that happens, many people just quit. Others are made of sterner stuff. Twenty-five years ago Dwight Cooke was part of the 25th Anniversary RunOffs, in the same yellow TR4 that he races today. It was his ambition to be part of the 50th Anniversary RunOffs in that car as well. So he embarked on a full season of National Racing to get there. But that’s tough in a car that arguably belongs in vintage racing. Still, he managed to get third place finish in the Division in E Prod, even if his point total was less than half that of the second place guy. Dwight was going to compete in the RunOffs again and that was that. But the fates seemed to be against him.
The Triumph blew a head gasket after the first qualifying session and he had to be towed from the grid. To make matters even worse, the tow guy was in a hurry and didn’t hook the car up properly. Instead of using the tow hook, he wrapped the strap around the roll bar for Dwight to hold, but he didn’t do it properly. Sure enough, when the tow driver turned his vehicle, the strap slipped and Dwight had to grab it with his free right hand. But then his hand became entangled in the strap and before the tow driver stopped, the strap severely injured Dwight’s hand. Dwight had to go to the emergency room and have his bloody fingers stitched up. Ouch!
There was no time to work on the car. No time for his hand to heal. It seemed hopeless. But the next day, his friends helped him cut up an old glove, wrap his bandaged hand in a Nomex sock, and fill the leaking TR4 up with water, so that Dwight could take the grid. He took the green and completed 2 laps before he had to pull in. The rest is history. He made the 50th Anniversary RunOffs despite the damage to his car and to himself. It wasn’t easy and surely was painful. And for that we award him this trophy in best spirit of the SCCA:
- Hard Luck and Perseverance: Dwight Cooke
Tarheel Cup Pro Series
The Tarheel Cup Pro Series is the Region’s own professional series and it was only fitting that the Series Administrator (and newly-elected Region Secretary) Steve Rose present the year-end awards for that series to close the Awards presentation ceremonies.
TCPS Driving Awards (presented by Steve Rose, TCPS Series Administrator)
- STU Champion: Alex Phelps
- IT7 Champion: Heather Powers
- IT7 second place: Rex Deffenbaugh
- IT7R champion: Blair Stitt
- ITA 3rd place: John Lindquist
A complete list of award winners is already posted in the TCPS final points page on the Region website, https://ncrscca.com/wp-content/results/club/2013/tcps/TCPS_POINTS_2013.pdf
NCR Prestige Awards
Prestige awards (presented by the emcee and the RE Rex Deffenbaugh)
We saved 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
You will all remember that this was the year that we lost one of the most dedicated volunteers this Club has ever known, Phil Hennrich. He left a huge void and someone had to step up to fill it. “Radio” Phil took care of the radios, the walkie-talkies that are vitally necessary for the running of our races. We provide radios to every specialty, not just F&C. It’s a huge job on a normal race weekend. But this year the radios had to be re-banded because the FCC had mandated that the frequency bands get narrower, and this had to be coordinated with VIR. And many of our headsets were wearing out, as were the expensive rechargeable batteries that power the units.
Our Worker of the Year was up to the challenge. He took over as radio tech job from Phil Hennrich and we have never been in better shape. He checked and fixed every headset, switch, plug and cable. He bought some new equipment. He changed the way we handle and store the headsets to prevent unnecessary damage. He built a radio base station for race control when VIR took theirs out. And he coordinated reprograming the radios when the FCC mandated narrow banding of the frequencies came due. And he did all this while providing the Board of Directors with a detailed budget for them to examine and approve. We knew exactly what we were getting into and now we have never been in better shape. The consensus is that our radio problems at our races have dropped to almost nil. For this we award
Worker of the Year: David Turner
Member of the Year
The tech shed at VIR is a rather large building with 2 parts. One side is empty and used for inspections and tear downs. The other houses the expensive scales owned by North Carolina Region. We had that half of the tech shed constructed by an outside contractor soon after VIR reopened, but he wasn’t our guy. He did a horrible job. The siding warped and the windows rotted because they were improperly installed. That shed was ours to maintain because it houses our equipment and we needed to replace it all. The cost of the materials alone was over ten thousand dollars. But our Member of the Year stepped up. He volunteered to be our general contractor, located vendors who could supply the specialty materials, coordinated with VIR, and provided the lion’s share of the labor on the rebuilding of the tech shed. Other volunteers, Buddy Matthews, Jerry Pell, and Dwight Cooke, volunteered their time and effort under his direction. Our Member of the Year and those other volunteers saved the club many more thousands of dollars and provided a desperately needed service.
Our Member of the Year also saw another need the Region had and again he stepped up to fill it. For a couple of years now the Region’s Board of Directors had talked about building an e-mail system that could be used to contact all of our members, and all of the drivers who might be interested in running our races. We had a tool, Constant Contact, which the Flag Chiefs were using to contact our volunteers before each race but we needed to build much bigger databases if we were to expand its use. That was a big job and no one had yet stepped up to do it. So that’s what our Member of the Year did. He contacted the National Office, got them to provide him lists of drivers from Regions all across the eastern half of the United States, extracted their e-mail addresses from those spreadsheets and built that huge database. He built a smaller one of just our members as well, and we recently used it for the first time to send every member in the North Carolina Region an update about this annual meeting and the fact that our March race for 2014 would be cancelled. You’ll see more such e-mail blasts in the future. Every time you get one, you should silently thank our Member of the Year. So for these reasons, the North Carolina Region awards
Member of the Year: Sam Fouse