Minutes of NCR-SCCA Monthly Board of Directors Meeting
March 24, 2021
Present: John Bodnar, Cameron Conover, Anna Crissman, Blair Deffenbaugh, Justin Deffenbaugh, Bruce Dover, Nikki Edwards, Sam Fouse, Stephen Miller, Mark Senior, James Shanks, Paul Spencer, Chuck Stanley, Ben Tyler, and Rob Wilmoth, all attended via video conference, due to the ongoing threat of the COVID-19 virus. John Bodnar and Mark Senior joined late. Kit Williams did not attend.
- The NCR BoD meeting was called to order by RE Anna Crissman at approximately 7:34 PM, on Wednesday, March 24th,
- John Bodnar, Chuck Stanley, Ben Tyler, and Rob Wilmoth, attended as guests.
- Motion to approve the February minutes, as posted on the Google drive (Shanks / Miller). Passed.
Order of items below reflects the order of discussion, as nearly as possible; not necessarily as they appeared on the published agenda.
Treasurer Sam Fouse reported that our check to VIR of $14,480 for the Majors has not yet cleared, though he expects that to happen next week. And they are still holding our deposit checks for May and October, each one worth $9674, until closer to those events. Sam further noted that we are starting to see revenue from the April Time Trial flow from MSR, as that requires payment up front, and that we will begin charging credit cards for the Spring Sprints on Friday, so revenue from the that will start to arrive next week. He also noted that SCCA National sends us Region membership dues every month, which varies depending on the number of individuals renewing their annual membership that month, and it is generally small, perhaps $800 to $1000 every month. This is usually enough to cover the mortgage on the Speed Suite.
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:
As before, all Chapters held Zoom meetings last month, with just a small fraction of their usual pre-pandemic attendance, although attendance is up at all Chapters. Nikki reported that the West Chapter even had a new member, a corner worker from Asheville, who attended. Anna surmised that the increased attendance might be due to the e-mail we sent out urging people to attend, and she said we should continue that practice. No reports were posted on the Google Drive as of this writing.
- Spring Sprints Preparations. Anna announced that there was a problem with the pre-arranged attendance caps on MSR this morning, which caused some entrants to complain bitterly on social media. Anna responded to them in the hope of straightening them out about what was going on, but there was still much complaining. Our current entry is at 265 unique drivers, out of a cap of 300, so we are in no danger of hitting the limit, but she suggested we should consider raising it, with a hard stop at 350. Up to now, Anna and Bruce have been manipulating the caps behind the scenes to avoid any one group from hitting them. These group-level caps had been foisted upon us by SCCA National when we applied for a sanction; not only did we have to limit the overall number of drivers, but those in each run group. Anna also feels that we should control the paddocking much more tightly than we had planned. Sam pointed out that we had 275 drivers in 2018 and 325 drivers in 2017, with no staged load-in, but that above 325, we should probably try to make an effort. Anna would like us to try to do an abbreviated version of what we did in 2019 by contacting the prep shops and see what their intentions are. She also wants us to try to get the formula and prototype cars on the pavement. She said Sam would be looking into this, if for no other reason than the folks at VIR had pasted the instructions concerning the test day from 2019 on their website, as if they were still current. These say that we, NCR-SCCA, would be handling the paddocking for the test day on Thursday. Sam pointed out this would be extremely difficult, since VIR has rented the track on the Wednesday beforehand, so technically we will not have access until after 5:30 PM. Sam wants Mark to arrange a meeting with VIR next week, because (a) we have none of the out-of-Region volunteers available we used in 2019 and because (b) all of the VIR staff who were there in 2019 are now gone. They have no one who has seen this happen before. Anna noted that Mark, who had not yet joined the meeting, had his hands full with dealing with the new caterers, who want to charge us considerably more for lunch than we have ever paid before. Once Mark joined, he said he would get with VIR to remove the language about us handling the load-in for the test day, and get with Sam about setting up a meeting with them. He added that his only remaining problems involved reserving space in the paddock for the Hospitality tent and impound, which had to happen before teams arrived for the test day, so that would be on the agenda as well. Chuck Stanley asked Mark whether VIR was still planning to charge workers who camp for electricity. Mark said that the track was unlikely to budge on that issue and that Chuck should assume that would be the case unless he, Mark, explicitly told him differently later, but to avoid confusion they would bring that up at the meeting as well.
- March Race at CMP. Anna said that she had talked to Shellie McKee of SCR and everything seems to be coming together, except that we are still short of flaggers. Stephen will be doing the cooking, lunches both days and the social, and Sam has volunteered to assist. Chuck and Ben agreed to meet at the track around 5:00 PM on Friday to see a demo of the electronic Flagger system, assuming the track owners will permit it, since their policy to keep all traffic off the circuit after 5:00 PM. This will be the first time for the Flagger system at one of our events. Its purpose is to provide an in-car display of the current flag condition to the driver. A drivers’ letter about it from the Chief Steward. Scott Malbon, was published and Chief Registrar Betsy Speed sent out a link to it in an e-mail to all participants. The letter explained that, for this event Flagger was requesting participation by drivers in the Prod (Group 1), IT (Group 3) and SM (Group 3), though others were invited to try out the system as well. It was clear from the comments by those attending this meeting that few had read this letter, and it was concluded that many other drivers would also have not read it by the start of the event.
- TT at NCCAR. Anna announced that we finally had a contract with NCCAR. They have raised their fee for security services since they have hired off-duty police to serve in this capacity. This contract is just for April. Registration is open on MSR and we currently have 15 driver entries. We need to get an e-mail together advertising this event, Anna said. She added that Heyward Wagner and John Hunter said they would then advertise it to their customers as well. She also wants to get the social media (Facebook) advertising going, since this worked well in the past. Motion to make as the default advertising budget for TT on social media advertising one entry’s worth, (currently about $300), for targeted ads per event. (Crissman / Senior). Passed. Stephen said that we should address the delay in getting the contract with Sam True, in person once we are on site, because it costs us entries having to delay so long in announcing the event and opening Registration. Time Trial folks typically plan their attendance well in advance. Stephen also suggested that we have flyers to pass out at our racing events for any potential cross-over entries. In other news, Stephen mention that the Pine Mountain Hillclimb was coming up and that they needed volunteer help. He expected worker registration to open in a week. Driver registration was already open, but had reached its cap, with new registrants being waitlisted, although room would probably be made for well-established drivers and teams.
- SARRC/MARRS. Tomorrow, April 25th, Anna said, is the day that the SARRC/MARRS Supps are due to go to the stewards. Bruce said he wasn’t sure he could meet that date, because he had been very busy with the Super Tour, but he would try. Justin raised the issue of the increased sanction fees for enduros, and the fact that many drivers are still in the dark about what is going on, and why we are doing what we are doing. He observed that, despite our best efforts, there never seems to be enough communication to drivers about what is changing and why, and he would like to ameliorate that if possible. He would like to see an explanation for all of it in the e-mail that will be sent to drivers advising them that Registration for the SARRC/MARRS has opened. Anna countered that there is a line in the Supps themselves explaining it, under the heading of Sanction Fees, but Justin reminded her that these are seldom read by drivers and never in advance of signing up. It was suggested that we add a checkbox to the registration form on MSR to acknowledge having read about the changes or one that indicates which series, like Tarheel and APC, will not allow driver changes. Sam offered to put everyone on an equal footing for the remaining discussion by offering his “Cliff’s notes” version of a summary of how we got here. Until December 2020 there was but one sanction fee for the weekend. Now the National Office wants an additional sanction fee (and compliance fees) for an “enduro” included in a sprint race (“SARRC”) weekend. And “enduro”, per the GCR, is “any race which permits a co-driver.” It has nothing to do with the length of the race. Sam added that, while looking at results from previous years, only about 20 percent of the entries in our enduros utilized a co-driver, but under the changes proposed by the National Office, the additional sanction fees would be leveled on all participants, resulting in an increase in fees for us of about $3000 per weekend. Sam also pointed out, after questions, that since the GCR defines an enduro as any race which allows a co-driver, one way to avoid the new fees is to not allow co-drivers, and to turn the “small” 45-minute enduros of the Tarheel Cup and the Atlantic Pro Cup into simply longer sprint races with a short mandatory pit stop. It was agreed that the changes meant that holding an actual enduro in a race weekend would not be profitable any longer, unless it were a long one, with an increased entry fee to cover the increased sanction fees. Justin declined to make a motion, but said he would get with whomever was going to send out the announcement e-mail to make sure it was adequate when the time came. Anna indicated that would be Sam who would approve the wording, and Sam added that he needed to first get with Rich Messick, the APC, administrator, so that they could issue a joint statement about the future of their respective series. Sam then added that he planned to get with Jim Creighton at CMP this coming weekend to discuss the future of the ECR series. Sam said that he absolutely wanted all three series to continue in some form.
- Erroneous Announcement at the Time Trial Natonal at VIR. Nikki said that at the awards ceremony for the TT National at VIR last weekend, Heyward Wagner told those assembled that NCR and SCR would be alternating their March race dates in the future, so that an early spring TT at VIR would be possible, despite the fact we had told him it was off the table for 2022 and 2023 when the Runoffs return to VIR. Anna reiterated that Heyward was fully aware of this fact and she was not worried about his incorrect comments. Justin said he would like to gather data after the CMP event, perhaps from a survey, to see what drivers actually think about the change. And then publish the results, possibly with participation data, to show why we make the decisions we do. Mark added a positive comment about the TT National, which he attended, and he said that it was clear that it was bringing a lot of young drivers into the Club and should be supported, if at all possible, going forward.
Motion to adjourn at 8:35 PM (Senior / Fouse). Passed.
Note: There was a post-meeting informal discussion about lithium-ion batteries and fire hazard that they pose, since they must be immersed in water to be put out, should they overheat and catch fire.
Submitted by Secretary, James Shanks.
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