Minutes of NCR-SCCA Monthly Board of Directors Meeting
March 23, 2016
Present: Sam Fouse, Mike Spencer, James Shanks, Rex Deffenbaugh, Blair Deffenbaugh, Mark Senior, Buddy Matthews, John Lindquist, Bruce Dover, and via conference call, Heather Clark, Eric Danielsen, and Morgan Mehler. Treasurer Steve Keadle was not present due to a prior engagement. John Byers was also not present.
1. The NCR BoD meeting was called to order by Sam Fouse, RE, at 7:31pm, on Wednesday, March 23rd 2016, at Piper’s Deli, 3219 Old Chapel Hill Road, Durham, NC, 27707.
2. The only guest in attendance was Marketing Committee chair Eric Danielsen.
3. Motion to approve the minutes of the January meeting as written (Lindquist/Spencer). Passed.
4. The minutes of the February meeting were amended to reflect the correct spelling of Heyward Wagner’s name and the fact the CCPS rules were only in draft form at the time of the meeting. There was discussion as to whether Steve Keadle had said that the cash in the bank at that time was $18K or $28K. The latter figure was determined to be correct. Motion to accept the February minutes as amended (Senior/Spencer). Passed.
Financial Report: Treasurer Steve Keadle was not present to give a financial report. RE Sam Fouse had prepared a preliminary report on the finances of the “March Into Spring” event, which he planned to give under Old Business.
a) Cape Fear Chapter: Morgan Mehler gave the report in lieu of John Byers, who was not present. The Chapter had its largest turn out for an off-season meeting – 27 people. Morgan credited using Facebook invitations for the increased attendance. He announced that the Chapter would have a presence at the Wilmington Cars and Coffee event April 2nd, with various members bringing their competition vehicles to generate interest in the SCCA. They planned to hand out literature as we have done at other car shows. Bruce Dover was preparing to send Morgan a selection of various brochures from our stockpile for this purpose.
b) Triangle Chapter: Mark Senior reported that 18 people attended and that they talked about recent Club business, including a report on the National and SEDIV Conventions. They also made a point of announcing upcoming events including the Tarheel Sports Car Club HPDE at VIR along with our Solo school and first points event autocross at MCAS Cherry Point.
c) West Chapter: Buddy Matthews reported that they had record attendance of 24 people, due to the fact that they had a guest speaker and sent out e-mail invitations announcing this event in advance. John Haywood, an expert on competition brake systems, spoke. Buddy said they plan to repeat this sort of event using an engine builder in the future.
a. Membership. James Shanks reported that our total was 771 members, about normal for this time of year.
b. Competition Board. Mike Spencer reported that a conference call meeting of the Comp Board had been held the previous night and that the minutes would be available on the Google Drive. The Comp Board was addressed by Morriss Pendleton, who will be the local chief steward for the upcoming Majors event, April 15-17 at VIR. His concerns included that more people would be needed to staff this event and that there had to be plenty of overflow parking near impound for competitors who come to watch the podium ceremonies. It was noted that Mark Senior had been named co-race chair, along with Sara Snider, and his area of responsibility was the Saturday night awards dinner, which would be held in the VIR Gallery because of the large attendance expected, 250-300 people. Sam reminded him that he had to figure out a way to limit attendance using tickets.
Mike said that the major issues with the March event were an unreported fuel spill near Tech and pit lane speeding. Rex Deffenbaugh said that he felt that the pit speed limit sign with the radar unit attached should be moved closer to the entrance of pit lane so as to prevent drivers from being surprised that they were speeding. The point was not to catch and penalize them but to get them to slow down and prevent the infraction. Sam agreed. Code 35 from driver’s point of view was discussed. Sam said he had been in discussions with the WDC Region about its use at the May SARRC/MARRS as there was some push-back about it from the out-of-region drivers who had not seen it in use. The key thing was to explain in the drivers meeting that drivers should maintain a constant gap with the car in front of them and not worry about their exact speed.
It was noted that sources at VIR said that the entire track would be repaved in July, not just the problem areas.
Solo. Morgan Mehler reported that the event at MCAS Cherry Point, March 5 – 6, went very well, despite the fact that each driver was only able to get in 5 runs on Sunday instead of the usual 6, because they had 118 drivers participating. The school on Saturday had about 35 students. The Solo program has transitioned to its new structure smoothly. The next event would be at their old site in downtown Wilmington as their site at Cape Fear Community College was unavailable during construction. He said that leads on new sites were always welcome and that he was particularly interested in the PNC Center in Raleigh. Mark Senior advised that Tarheel Sports Car Club had been asked not to return to the PNC Arena, so he thought pursuing that was not likely to bear fruit. Seymour Johnson Air Force base and Rockingham were floated as potential sites for the Solo program to explore. Morgan said that any airport with more than one runway would also serve.
c. PDX/Time Trials. Morgan Mehler reported that he was still pursuing Rockingham about holding a PDX there, but had little time to work on it so far. Mark Senior, who heads this committee, said that he was still pursuing the idea of join event with Tarheel Sports Car Club later in the year.
d. Marketing. Eric Danielsen reported that the additional driver contacts we had added to Constant Contact resulted in our bill from them rising to $90/month from $60/month, as we reached a new price tier. This he regarded as a small price to pay as our e-mails seemed to be working well. Sam interjected that we already had 149 entries for the Majors and that we needed to send out another e-mail by the 28th even though it would overlap with our announcement of the SARRC/MARRS event. Eric said he was planning to shoot a video at the Majors to use a marketing tool, already looking forward to the Goblins Go in October. He said he also thought we needed to buy a Hospitality tent with our region logo on it for branding purposes.
Blair Deffenbaugh asked for $100 per event to continue his work on social media, plus an additional $30 for the Majors. Motion (Lindquist/Spencer) to grant Blair these funds. Passed.
e. Charities. It was noted that with Blair Stitt’s departure from the Board there was no member in charge of our charitable giving. The March charity had been the Diabetes Association, just as it had been in the past. There were no drive arounds scheduled at the Majors, so there was no charity associated with that event. Angels Among Us, the fundraising arm of the Brain Tumor Center at Duke, was our traditional charity for the SARRC/MARRS and would remain so. The Spay/Neuter Clinic in Virginia had been associated with the Goblins Go for a few years. Sam reported that he had been approached by Clyde Kiser at the March event to consider The Raptor Center, in Huntersville, NC, which rehabilitates injured birds of prey, as a charity. This was deemed as worthy as the Spay/Neuter Clinic. Motion (Lindquist/Spencer) to adopt The Raptor Center as the charity for the Goblins Go. Passed.
f. Banquet. Buddy Matthews reported that Heather Powers had been in contact with the Empire Room in Greensboro getting a quote. John Lindquist said he had called the Marriot in Greensboro and asked them to send him a quote as a backup plan.
g. Awards. Past RE Rex Deffenbaugh, the de facto committee chair for 2016, advised that it was too soon for anything to have occurred in this area.
March Into Spring Data and Estimated Financial Results: Sam thanked Eric, as race chair, for providing him with a photo of the VIR final bill at the track, taken on his phone. While this was hard to read, it enabled Sam to start his analysis early. It was noted that in the future, all race chairs should use the copy machine to make a copy of the bill before paying it and deliver that copy to Sam at the end of the event. Sam also thanked Bruce Dover for giving him administrator privileges in MotorsportReg.com (MSR) as there was a lot of data in there which could be analyzed. See “March Race Comparison 2015-2016.pdf”, a spread sheet which Sam produced comparing this year’s and last year’s event fees and participation rates, for details.
Basically, in 2015 we had $38K in expenses and lost $10K on the event, while in 2016, we needed about $45K to break even, and we got $55K, almost entirely due to our new entry fee rates, because we had only 13 more cars than last year. Sam said that he expects that our expenses will total just over $44K, and he highlighted some of them. We had approximately 160 worker credits at $35 per day and an extra $400 for VIR security staff. Trophies were about $2300, but this was $1200 under budget, despite the use of the more expensive photo ones. Morgan said that there was some griping by a driver who was second in a race of just two who did not get a trophy. Sam said this would pass as future events would have the trophy policy in the Supps. It is already a bit more liberal than the GCR (which only spells out trophies for the Majors) in that we give a trophy for a 1st place finish even when no others enter.
With regard to food, Mike Collins of Meathead Racing gave us an unexpected $500 for the social, which will help out in the end. Sam said, and others agreed, that the social worked well, and that future race chairs should use it as a model, as it was only $1500. He also said that the shopping list he got from Mark Senior for drinks and packaged snacks at the warehouse store was perfect; and that he gave it to Justin Deffenbaugh to be shared among all the race chairs in the future. The total bill for food, including the pre-packaged morning sundries was $3650, which was about $250 more than expected, but easy to live with.
The bottom line, Sam said, was that we made money, but he cautioned the Board that we could not expect this to always be true for a March race, since in this case we had a perfect combination of great weather, no huge unexpected bills from VIR relating to on-track incidents, and both trophies and food on budget.
1. Majors Budget Estimate and Awards Banquet. Part of this issue was discussed under the Comp Board report. Sam recapped the events which had transpired since the last meeting. He learned at the March event that SCCA National wanted us to put on an Awards banquet Saturday night, April 16th, as part of the Majors, since ours was the finale of the Southeast Conference. They would pay us $5000 to help defray the expenses. Since this was a major undertaking that would require considerable VIR involvement, Sam asked Mark Senior, our VIR liaison, to chair it as an assistant race chair. Mark agreed and he reported that he was working on a menu with VIR catering staff. Due to the expected size of the event, 250 – 300 people, this would be held at the Gallery and not at the Pagoda. Despite the large size, attendance will have to be limited, probably by tickets, and there is already a box to be checked on the MSR web site for drivers to use to indicate whether they plan on attending the social. Mark is hoping to secure a band or a DJ for the event. Mark also noted that while he was sending regular e-mails to Sara Snider, the Race Chair for the event, about his progress, she had not responded to him yet.
2. SARRC/MARRS Budget Estimate and Entry Fees. Sam reported that planning for the SARRC/MARRS event is also in progress. The entry fee structure was basically the same as for the March event, but with the discount for entering a second race reduced by $25 and that for a fourth race raised by a similar amount to reflect the fact that MARRS drivers typically sign up for just the 2 MARRS races, and that they traditionally outnumber the SARRC drivers. He noted that raising the discount for a fourth races costs us very little as the sanction and fixed fees for that driver had already been paid. Forty-four percent of drivers at the March event entered more than 2 races, so this would still be a substantial benefit to them. Justin Deffenbaugh is the Race Chair for this event, having traded with Mark Senior for the Goblins Go, when he has a conflict.
3. Contract for V8 Road Racing Series. Sam announced that he had received a contract letter from Butch Kummer regarding including the V8 Road Racing Series in our Goblins Go event in October. The letter is out on the Google drive. They will race with the “big bore” group and have no issues with cars not in the series racing with them. They want a sprint race of 25 minutes or more on Saturday and a feature race on Sunday with extra laps, totaling at least 50 miles. The only other thing they want is space to paddock together. They will handle their own trophies over and above the standard SCCA ones. Sam saw no reason not to include them. Motion (Lindquist/R. Deffenbaugh) to sign the contract. Passed. It is now up to the Comp Board to work them into the Goblins Go schedule. The question was raised whether the Prod Fest group is also going to be part of that event. Sam replied that he thought so, but that he would contact them to make certain.
4. Booth at VIR IMSA race. Jon Lindquist headed up this event last year and reported that it would be held again on August 26. He has had sign-up documents on the Google Drive since January but no one has signed up. The general consensus among Board members was that it was too early in the season to be concerned about this and it would have to wait until after the SARRC/MARRS event in May. It was noted that the Board had passed a motion last September to grant a free entry to both John and Jerry Pell at a regional event of the choosing, but that they had not been sent a document to that effect. Bruce Dover promised to talk to Ginny about how she wanted to handle that. Buddy reminded everyone that more free entries had been promised last year to drivers who attended the RunOffs and that not all of them had used them yet. He promised to send his list of them to Bruce to be included in the talks with Chief Registrar Ginny Condrey.
5. Cost of Advertising on NCR-SCCA Web Site. John Lindquist said he thought that we should publish a list of ad rates for our web site so that we might sell ads on it like we used to do for the Bulletin. He suggested that a business-card sized ad should be $25/month or $300/year. There is an item on the web site now which directs an e-mail to the webmaster, Jeff Eng, but John said that nothing happened when he tried it some time ago. He did not get a reply. After discussion it was decided that this issue should be the domain of the Marketing Committee under Eric Danielsen. Motion (Spencer/R. Deffenbaugh) to empower the Marketing Committee to come up with a workable solution. Passed.
6. Costs to Rent Various Race Tracks in MSR. Sam reported that he had received an e-mail from MotosportReg.com highlighting the fact that track rental was going up all over the country. They provided a list of rental rates to back this up. He sent them a reply indicating that they should raise the estimate for VIR from $14.5K per day to $15.5K. They did so within 30 minutes. Sam noted that except for tracks with outrageous fees such that only professional series could afford, such as Daytona at $33K/day, VIR was not just the most expensive track in the Southeast, but one of the most expensive venues in the country.
7. Revision of the Refund Policy Regarding Cancellations due to Rain. Buddy Matthews said he was tired of people bowing out of our races only because it was threatening to rain. He proposed that those who were withdrawing when rain was likely should have to have their cars inspected to be sure that they in fact would not run before a refund was granted. It was noted that this should be an issue for the Comp Board at a future meeting. Further discussion was postponed due to the lateness of the hour.
Motion to adjourn at 9:09 PM (Spencer/Senior) Passed