Minutes of NCR-SCCA Monthly Board of Directors Meeting
August 19, 2020
Present: John Bodnar, Heather Clark, Anna Crissman, Eric Danielsen, Blair Deffenbaugh, Bruce Dover, Nikki Edwards, Sam Fouse, Al Heatwole, Joe Lyons, Stephen Miller, Chris Schimmel, Mark Senior, James Shanks, Ben Tyler, and Kit Williams, all attended via video conference, due to the ongoing threat of the COVID-19 virus. Justin Deffenbaugh and Heather Powers did not attend.
- The NCR BoD meeting was called to order by RE Anna Crissman at approximately 7:34 PM, on Wednesday, August 19th
- John Bodnar, Eric Danielsen, Joe Lyons, Chris Schimmel, and Ben Tyler, attended as guests.
- Motion to approve the July minutes, as posted on the Google drive (Fouse / Heatwole). Passed.
Order of items below reflects the order of discussion, as nearly as possible; not necessarily as they appeared on the published agenda.
Since Treasurer Heather Powers did not attend, there was no formal report this month. However, our financial position remains largely unchanged from last month.
In addition, Stephen Miller was able to give some preliminary figures for the recent Time Trial at NCCAR in the Time Trial Debrief which follows.
As the details of our finances are confidential, NCR members who wish more information should contact either the Office Manager or any member of the Board of Directors. They are also invited to attend a Chapter Meeting, where such matters are discussed in detail.
Chapter and Committee Reports:
All Chapters held Zoom meetings last month, with dwindling attendance. Al Heatwole explained that his plans for a live Triangle Chapter meeting at Lake Crabtree in Raleigh fell through, after the county decided not to permit reservations. People are welcome to use the shelters on a first-come, first-served basis, so he may look into whether they can get a shelter in the future by having someone stake it out in the afternoon. He also said that he had submitted a Triangle Chapter report earlier in the day, but it had not yet been posted on the Google drive. No other reports had been posted as of this writing.
- Goblins Go Update. Anna said that the Supps for the Goblins Go had been updated to include more COVID-19 restrictions and that they contained a link to a new web page on our NCR website which contains information and links to the current COVID-19 policies of the State of Virginia, the State of North Carolina, VIR and the SCCA, (and also NCCAR), so we won’t have to make changes to the Supps when those things change. Steve Keadle had reviewed the new Supps over the weekend at the Time Trial at NCCAR, where he had been the Safety Steward. Recent changes include the fact that there will be no trophy ceremonies. Instead, trophies may be picked up at the Hospitality tent. Also, only one team member, in addition to the driver, will be permitted in Tech, and then only while the car is there. There was considerable discussion about how to limit the inevitable clustering of people at impound. In the end it was suggested that we need to make it clear to the stewards that either the steward for each group, or a delegate, needs to be at impound as soon as cars come of track, so that when there is no issue, cars and drivers can be released as soon as possible. There was also discussion about how to handle the social. We don’t want to appear to be encouraging clustering at a high-profile venue like VIR. Motion to provide just take-out boxes of food, but no band nor stay-in-place party like we usually do, subject to VIR approval (B. Deffenbaugh / Heatwole, Clark and others). Passed. Mark Senior has been tasked with finding out whether VIR will permit us to provide our own food, as we did at the Time Trial, without paying the VIR “extortion fee” for not using their service, or whether we have to use VIR catering. He will get with Stephen Miller as needed if we are going to provide our own food. Anna also mentioned that there is a concern for getting workers, especially for Flagging and for Tech, and that an announcement from MSR asking for volunteers is planned a month before the event. She will try to tailor that to our needs as they appear at that time.
- NCR PayPal and Other Cash Accounts. Bruce announced that a PayPal account has been set up and will be linked to our bank account so that people can use it to donate to the NC Region Scholarship Fund, once PayPal has verified that the link is good. PayPal will make two deposits, each of less than a dollar, and once we see those, we have to notify them and tell them how much was added, in order to prove that the link is working correctly. Also, a new account for the Scholarship Fund has been set up with Square, which requires a new and separate login from the one we have been using up till now for Registration and Hospitality.
- Time Trial Debrief. Stephen Miller reported that we had 65 drivers for the TT we just had at NCCAR this past weekend, August 15 – 16. 45 of them completed all three segments of the event, despite the fact that we had to shutdown for lightning and severe weather on Saturday afternoon. There were no complaints, he said, about the cancelled sessions, and everyone was pleased with moving the food from the cancelled Saturday-night social to Sunday-afternoon lunch. Stephen further indicated that he estimated that we indeed made money, even if only a small amount. This is a significant milestone for the TT program. Also, Stephen said that he got a lot of positive response about running in both directions. People saw it as running two tracks in one weekend. Going forward, he would like to streamline registration for the October 31st event, which will be discussed under New Business. There was one contact incident this past weekend and Stephen is waiting on the report from Steve Keadle. The only other bad thing was that there were three cracked windshields, due to gravel from the paddock being deposited in turn 9 and then kicked up by the tires of another car, since the distance from the paddock to grid was so short, when running in the (new) clockwise direction. This can be avoided by having the cars make a little loop before entering the course, a practice that was adopted this past weekend as soon as the problem became evident.
- New TT in October. Another TT is planned at NCCAR for October 31st – November 1st, and two changes are already in the works, Anna explained. The first is that transponder rental will be included in the price. People who supply their own transponder will help defray the cost of shipping the transponders that we do rent. The rationale here is that newbies don’t really understand what a transponder is, and asking about it is off-putting. The only decisions they should have to make are member or non-member, track day or time trial, and both days or just one. Including transponders in the price would require that we bump our rates twenty dollars, to $319 for both days for members, $329 for non-members, who will automatically get a weekend membership to the SCCA. These automatic memberships are the second way we will streamline registration. After discussion, these rates were adopted by consensus. Stephen added that he had been considering a schedule with 4 run groups, which could be reduced to three, depending on the number and type of entries we receive. He promised to send out a copy of the schedule he was proposing. Anna also wants to try the Speedwaiver system for this event, to see how viable it is, and the cost, she said, should be minimal for the number of participants we have, since they have revised their rate schedule recently. She asked Bruce to get registration on MSR open by next Monday, August 24th, if at all possible. Both Anna and Stephen thought that we might do well despite the fact that the date is Halloween, because so many communities have already curtailed trick-or-treat and other festivities, but we won’t know until we get registration open. After discussion of how effective our online ads were (very effective) and how much we had spent, about $200 of the initial $500 that was budgeted; it was decided to continue and expand this activity. Motion to make available the unspent remainder of the $500 ad budget from this past TT to the next one in October (Williams / B. Deffenbaugh). Passed. Nikki Edwards introduced the idea of turning the three events we will have in October (Goblins Go, a pair of autocrosses at Cherry Point, and the TT at NCCAR) into a Targa-type event, where participants are scored based on their performance in each of the three. Stephen and Anna were very much in favor of this, provided we would allow the participants at the Goblins Go to chose either road racing or the Time Trial that Blue Ridge Region will be hosting on the Patriot course, as their first event. The second would be one of the two autocrosses scheduled at Cherry Point for the following weekend, and the third would be this TT under discussion. Participants would not be required to use to same car in each venue, so that road racers in particular would not be at a disadvantage. And obviously, some kind of scoring system would have to be worked out. Stephen suggested fastest lap at each TT plus Pax position at the autocross, with some kind of modifier for a road race lap at VIR; but this could be worked out later, Anna said. The only real down side is the extra work some people would incur organizing and scoring this event. Nikki and Stephen said they saw this as a way to boost participation and “cross-pollination” between the different types of competition. Anna agreed and suggested that a committee be formed to pursue a scoring system. Motion to form a committee consisting of Stephen, Blair, Kit, and Nikki, to come up with and present to the Board, by the end of next week, a scoring system for the Targa and to obtain buy-in and cooperation of Blue Ridge Region (Miller / Heatwole). Passed. Ben Tyler spoke up and said that he was very impressed with what he saw at the TT and that Kit should be recognized as the official flag chief. Motion to designate Kit Williams as Flag Chief for TT Events (Clark / Crissman). Passed. John Bodnar raised the issue of whether we should continue to include a track day when we have such low participation. Kit responded that it functions as a hook to pull people in. Everyone knows what a track day is and when it is explained that they can get their lap times recorded as well more track time, they sign up for the TT instead.
- Awards Dinner and Bylaws Complication. James reminded everyone that we have a reservation at Shell Island for our annual awards dinner on Saturday, November 21st. That gives us a very compressed time schedule to select award recipients, since our last event, the TT, will be just three weeks prior. Given that Eric should have at least a week to make the awards, that means we will have to select the recipients in just two weeks from the last event. Furthermore, with the dinner being in November, it has to be separate from our Annual Meeting, as required by the Bylaws. The Bylaws specify that the Annual Meeting be within 30 days of the close of our fiscal year, which is December 31st, and that the new officers be introduced and start their terms at that meeting. They also specify that voting for new officers should start on the first Wednesday of December and conclude on December 31st, and that nominations for new officers have to be in the Secretary’s hands at the close of the November Board meeting. This would normally fall on the third Wednesday of the month, which would be three days before the date of planned awards dinner. So, unless we want to change the Bylaws, and no one does, we need a separate Annual Meeting in January. Fortunately, the Bylaws are mum about how it should be conducted. It could be by Zoom or we could even post a video of the RE giving her “state of the Region” address, and the required Treasurer’s report, as well as the introduction of new officers, and let people call or videoconference in if they have questions or issues to discuss. Anna said she likes this latter idea and suggested that the call-in might be held in conjunction with the January Board meeting. Furthermore, since she does not think that the SCCA National Convention will be a factor this year, she plans to look at weekend dates in January on which a more formal Annual Meeting and combined January Board meeting might be held. This idea was well-received.
- Office Printer Update. Bruce has been notified by Les Chaney, one of our members, who also services the office copier, that it has reached its end-of-life. He can upgrade it to the next model as part of our existing service contract, though that newer model is also quite old and will go out of service relatively soon, as well. Instead he has proposed replacing the existing black-and-white unit with a color one, which will not only copy and print in color, but scan in color as well. The cost for this is estimated at just under $1000. There was considerable discussion concerning the service contract and the time frame for this to happen. Motion to adopt the color copier proposal as long as it can be implemented by the end of the year (Shanks / Senior). Passed. Anna charged Bruce with getting information on how much the new service contract for the new machine was going to run us.
- Changes to the Goblins Go Entry Form on MSR. Sam Fouse noted that he and Bruce had sent an e-mail ad to all licensed drivers in NEDIV and SEDIV that registration for the Goblins Go would open this past Monday, and we already have 80 entries. He said a second e-mail ad announcing that registration is in fact open is planned for later in the week. He himself registered as a volunteer, and he raised an issue with Bruce about how the option to donate to the scholarship fund now works for volunteers. The box for donation has been replaced with a link to a completely separate web page, which requires you to scroll down past the explanation of the scholarship program in order to donate. This is not what he, or John Lindquist, the program administrator, want to have happen. It makes donation too complex and as a result, will lower the amount of donations. Bruce indicated that it now worked that way for everyone, drivers included, and he said that Heather Powers had wanted to do it this way to keep things separate. There was considerable discussion about why this was not desirable, and that MSR would keep track of the amount of donations, so there was no need to do it this way for drivers, who would be paying us money anyway. For volunteers, having a separate system would avoid having a relatively high transaction fee for a small donation. Motion to reinstate the donation button we had in March for drivers (Miller / Shanks). Volunteers will have to contribute through PayPal when that is all set up, Anna said.
Motion to adjourn at 9:11 PM (Clark / Crissman). Passed.
Submitted by Secretary, James Shanks.
PS: There were two post-meeting announcements of note.
- There will be a charity autocross in Roanoke, VA, put on by the Blue Ridge Region, on Saturday, September 19th, for the local Kiwanis Club. It is to be held in conjunction with Kiwanis’ traditional all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast. Eric Danielsen is the contact person and Heather Clark will be the Flag Chief for the event.
- Stephen Miller announced that, while there would be a Solo Town Hall meeting about this soon, it was likely that the Junior Kart Program would continue to be suspended until the COVID-19 pandemic was over.
Please note that all NCR members are welcome to attend NCR Board of Directors meetings.
If any member should have a question about the Region or its activities, please contact the Office Manager or any member of the Board.