Minutes for NCR SCCA March Board Meeting
Wednesday March 16, 2022
Attendees: James Shanks, Bruce Dover, Cameron Conover, Kit Williams, Anna Crissman, Al Heatwole, and Sam Fouse. Blair Deffenbaugh joined the meeting late,
Guests: Chuck Stanley, Chris Schimmel, Ben Tyler, Megan Tyler, and Rob Wilmoth. Frank Killian, Heather Powers, and Casey Grobelny joined the meeting late.
- The meeting was called to order at 7:30 by RE Anna Crissman
- Motion to approve the minutes from the February meeting (Shanks/Heatwole). Approved.
Order and content of the items listed below reflects the order of discussion, as nearly as possible; not necessarily as they appeared on the published agenda.
Treasurer Sam Fouse had sent the financial report to secretary Kit Williams.
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.
Bruce Dover also noted that he had loose cash from registration to turn in to Sam.
James recapped the Triangle Chapter meeting which had roughly 10 people attend and noted they are postponing the next meeting by one week due to the April Super Tour. James also noted that he spoke to Peter Krause about attending a future meeting and giving a presentation on data acquisition in racing applications. Cameron then said that the West Chapter meeting had roughly 11 people and went over the Board minutes and discussed plans for Rockingham Speedway. Anna then covered the Cape Fear Chapter meeting, which she had hosted this month. Frank Schwartz is now a NCR dual member and attended the meeting, where they discussed planning autocross events. Anna also noted that there may be a new Chapter Coordinator in line to fill the vacant position in Casey Grobelny.
- March Event Debrief: We discussed at length the March Into Spring event that had taken place the previous weekend at VIR. James started the discussion by noting that the weather was absolutely atrocious on Saturday and thanked all of the people who volunteered to work outside under such bad conditions. Ben Tyler brought up that in the past we have compensated workers with additional VIP payments when such weather occurs and Anna and Sam noted that they are looking into doing that. Kit spoke briefly about the Time Trial portion of the event, and noted that the attendees seemed very happy with the event, and feedback from the TT drivers has been very positive. The TT event ran smoothly other than one incident of needing to do oil cleanup. Ben Tyler then noted that several of his more experienced flaggers said to him after the TT event that if we were to hold a combined road race and TT event again, they would refuse to flag that event. Ben noted that, as unfortunate as it is, traditionally flaggers dislike TT events, consider them to be boring, and only like to flag races. This statement upset James, who noted that in the past the flaggers supported the region’s events, rather than the region catering their events to the flaggers. This began a discussion about how club racers and time trial-ers do not seem to mix together very well historically and that there were times where this event seemed to continue that trend. There was some concern and confusion that the schedule for this weekend was the way we would be doing things in the future at our regional races, which is not the case. The weekend schedule with a TT was an experiment to see how such a schedule would work. Cameron noted that he didn’t believe the schedule was a failure, but it would need some work to be successful. Rob chimed in that the TT drivers enjoyed getting to see the road racing happening while they were coming in and several of them expressed an interest in club racing. Rob noted that from his perspective the schedule seemed to work well. Anna noted that our number of drivers seemed about normal for our March event, but also noted that historically this is our worst weekend for numbers and for weather, and that the Region may need to look at our options with keeping this weekend or trying to get a different weekend at VIR in the future. Ben then noted that he was not happy with the schedule and that we took time from the road racers to give to the TT drivers. This was a loudly heard complaint from drivers last weekend, however both Anna and Sam pointed out that this complaint was not founded in factual data. The Sunday road races were shortened from 10 laps or 25 minutes to 10 laps or 20 minutes, and of the four race groups we had on Sunday, only one group did not complete all 10 laps and ended based on time, and that group got 9 laps. The road racers completed the same distance they would have completed had the schedule not been changed, but the perception of the races being shortened had become very widespread among the drivers. This began a discussion about how the schedule has, in several people’s opinions, taken time away from road racers in the last 10 or so years. Al said several drivers were very upset about the lack of track time they are being given these days. Al also noted that by giving the TT drivers their track time for less than we charged the road racers, he felt that we were not being fair to the road racing drivers. Chuck Stanley said we need to find a way to get direct feedback about this from the drivers, but he agreed that we have been taking time away from racing in recent years and that we need to stop doing this. Sam then noted that changing our road race events to a single qualifying and two races had been a mistake and he would like to see us return to Sunday qualifying. He did note that we had 16 total hours of track time last weekend and of that, we gave the TT drivers 5 ½ hours and the rest went to road racing. The group then noted again that this was an experiment and not the normal schedule and that March was a good, low risk weekend to try something like this, especially since the Road Atlanta Super Tour was the same weekend. One positive from this schedule was that having fewer race groups meant less down time between sessions, as the changeover from one group to another eats up track time the more groups we have. Sam noted we had 121 drivers registered, but as the weather forecast shored up, that number dropped to 102, and it is likely that fewer than that actually attended. This is about half of what we normally see for our May club race, historically. It was noted that not many DC region or Northeast division drivers attended and have not done so in the past. Anna noted that their divisional series and points requirements are different from ours in the Southeast region and this is a likely reason why they do not attend in significant numbers. The discussion then turned to the weekend schedule and Cameron asked if we could return to having a Sunday qualifying race. He said he has heard a lot of complaints from drivers about only having one qualifying session. The discussion then turned to our May race schedule and Blair noted he is working on the race groups, but adding a second qualifying is very difficult when we add in our enduro group, which we did not have at the March race. It was noted by Anna that when we did run a second qualifying session in 2019, we received multiple complaints from drivers. It would seem that people tend to complain about things they are not happy about, but do not give positive feedback when we do something they like. Blair noted that in the last 10 years, the schedule has changed significantly, and the schedule for each event is different and has to be tailored to the event, the weekend, and the number of drivers we have. There was a discussion about when to schedule the ECR enduro for May, and Sam noted that when we put that group last in the day, hardly anyone sticks around for it. The last time we did this to the enduro group, we had 6 drivers go out on track. We then discussed altering the schedule to run later into the day, as we rent the track from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm. Ben asked if we could start at 8 am, and Anna said no, as that would mean we start the day by paying the track for overtime from 8:00 am to 8:30 am. Ben noted that he believed flaggers would be okay with running until 5:00 pm, rather than 4:30 pm as we have been doing recently, but if we ran until 5:30 pm that would likely lead to some upset workers. Blair then noted that if we were to extend our normal run time to 5:00 pm instead of 4:30 pm he could likely make a Sunday qualifying happen without the ECR group running on Sunday. Ben then asked why we could not do both, as he remembered us doing this in the past. Blair noted that the more race groups we have the more difficult it is to make the schedule happen, especially because of more time lost to changeover. The scheduling of the ECR has an impact on this as well, as previously noted. This then began a discussion about our past schedules, as different people seemed to have different memories about what we had done in previous years. At this point in the discussion, Anna noted that we had spent considerable time discussing the March event and said we should move on to the next topic on the agenda.
- April Super Tour Planning: Anna moved the discussion on to the upcoming Hoosier Super Tour at VIR. She said there was a computer error and the registration for the event had opened very briefly on Tuesday before being shut down. This was not intentional and Anna said she and Bruce were handling the situation. They plan to open registration as originally intended on Thursday at noon. Sam then began to give the Board some details about the load in process and the planning for it. He said it is a complex and difficult task to get everyone on site and in the correct place but he is doing his best and taking all the lessons we learned in 2019 and applying them here. He said he has had plenty of people volunteer to help him on the actual days of loading. Anna then added that we have bought out VIR for worker camping, including electrical fees, so there will be no need for camping passes for the weekend. Sam later added that those wishing to paddock on the paved areas would need to pay for that space, and that is how the camping buyout was able to be done. Sam then noted that the track has been rented out by VIR on Wednesday, making our load in process much more difficult as we are not technically allowed to enter the track until 6:00 pm. Sam said he had reached out to the group renting the track on Wednesday and they had agreed to let us start loading in at 4:00 pm, but only in specific areas of the paddock. The biggest concern for Sam is the teams and prep shops, as they need specific and large areas. Sam’s plan is anyone participating in the test day on Thursday will load in on Wednesday, everyone else will load in on Thursday. Another complication is that anyone registering for the test day must do so in South Paddock, as VIR is running the test day themselves and not through us. Anyone helping Sam with load in can use the Patriot paddock, and electricity will be provided. Bruce has added extra registration hours on Friday evening. The flag meeting is planned to take place at the Gallery, but there will not be a tent and we were quoted a shocking price to put up the tent by VIR. Ben expressed concern in the event of rain, and Anna said there would need to be a backup plan in that case, but there was not a solid one as of yet. The event shirts have been ordered. Mark Senior is working on food for the event. There will not be wifi available outside of the North Tower and Anna will be working as the Timing Chief for the event. Sam noted to Ben that he will need radios on Wednesday for load in, and Ben noted this may work but could be complicated by VIR running the test day on the same frequencies that our radios are programmed to. Ben also noted that the previously approved new radios had not been acquired yet. Heather Powers then asked Ben a few questions about the Grid and Pit radio headsets. This led to a conversation from Frank Killian about the new challenges that Grid is facing now that VIR has taken down the old Grid covering. He discussed several issues that they ran into at the March race, including traffic flow for drivers who are joining or rejoining a session after the session has already begun, including drivers going too fast through the Grid area as they go to rejoin and drivers going straight onto track rather than go through the Pit lane first. Sam said a number of signs will be made to help with multiple concerns about the Grid area. Everyone noted that the Grid and Pit will need more workers than normal for the Super Tour. Sam then said he and Anna had met with SCCA National officials on a video call and went over changes to the track and other concerns before they arrive for the Super Tour. One of the stewards has asked us to provide SOC parking at the North Tower. They also plan to reorganize the space around the tech shed and potentially move impound to where our hospitality tent normally goes. There are not specific plans yet but we will need to be ready to adapt to what the National series stewards ask for. Chuck Stanley asked about parking for start, and Sam did not currently have an answer for him. James brought up a serious issue he had during the March race regarding printing results. This has been a problem and was hoped to have been resolved, but James said it has not been fixed and is making his job very frustrating. Anna indicated that John Bodnar should be working on a solution for James’ printing issues before the April event
Motion to Adjourn (Shanks/Heatwole) Passed at 9:00 pm
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.
Submitted by Secretary,