Minutes of NCR-SCCA Monthly Board of Directors Meeting
May 17, 2017
Present: Anna Crissman, Matt Decker, Rex Deffenbaugh, Bruce Dover, Jeff Eng, Barbara Fouse, Sam Fouse, Steve Henkle, Sarah LaVoie, Buddy Matthews, Rusty Matthews, Fred McKinney, Morgan Mehler, Mark Senior, James Shanks, Ben Tyler, and via conference call, Heather Clark, Blair Deffenbaugh, Eric Danielsen, and Heather Powers.
- The NCR BoD meeting was called to order by RE Sam Fouse at 7:31 PM, on Wednesday, May 17th 2017, at 4304 Market Street, Wilmington, NC, 28403.
- Guests included Jeff Eng, Barbara Fouse, Steve Henkle, Sarah LaVoie, Rusty Matthews, and Fred McKinney, in person, and via phone, Eric Danielsen.
- Motion to approve the March minutes as posted on the Google drive (Senior / S. Fouse).
Order of items below reflects the order of discussion; not as they appeared on the published agenda.
Sam read the report that Treasurer Heather Powers had sent him via e-mail before the meeting. Ms. Powers indicated that our checking account held approximately $166K, with about $5K to $8K yet to be paid, as well as the MARRS sanction fee. Our money market account holds about $12K and she plans to move more money there after accounts are settled for the SARRC/MARRS event. The Solo Program has about $13.5K on hand, and they have begun to purchase items for the North Carolina Autocross Championship (NCAC) event that they are hosting at Cherry Point, the weekend of October 7 and 8. Morgan explained to all that the NCAC was a competition among the 5 autocross clubs active in North Carolina, NCR, CCR, Triad Sports Car Club, Tarheel Sports Car Club, and Highland Sports Car Club (located in Boone). They are expecting a large crowd and some very close competition, and as with our racing program, the Solo folks want to put on the best show they can, since MCAS Cherry Point is the premiere venue for autocross in the Southeast; a destination venue just as VIR is for road racing.
Ms. Powers further indicated that she was working diligently on a detailed financial statement covering our spring events, but that having so many races so close together had put her behind. The Board appreciated her efforts.
- SARRC/MARRS Debrief. Sam said that according to his preliminary estimates, we had cleared between $15and $20K on the SARRC/MARRS event, which was a shock considering that just two weeks before he was projecting a significant loss due to the low number of entries at that time. But, he said, we received more than 50 immediately following the last race at Summit Point. This indicated the difference between regional racing and the Majors, Sam said. Regional racers go from race to race and don’t enter the next one until the last one is completed, and they are sure that the car is OK and they still have sufficient resources to do the next one.
- Majors Review. There was discussion about the results of the survey, provided by the National Office, of the Majors participants on the conduct of the event. A copy of the results spreadsheet has been placed on the Google drive under the title “VIR Super Tour Survey” in the 2017 Spring Sprints folder. It was clear, Sam said, that people were not reading the Supps and that they did not distinguish between the National Office, which was responsible for the class groupings and the compliance issues, the track, which charged for the camping and pit vehicle permits, and the Region, which conducted the event. There were clear problems we had to fix, such as long wait times in Registration and giving the impression that there were people there who were not doing anything, as well as the impression that tech inspectors were unfriendly. We are working on those issues. Buddy commented that with so many out-of-region tech inspectors, many of whom he had never met until the event started, it was nearly impossible to monitor what they were doing effectively, and that many of the tech issues that were cited in the survey were actually out of the Chief of Tech’s control. He especially mentioned compliance and contingency issues. Morgan pointed out that we should not get distracted by the negative comments, that people would always find something to complain about, given the chance. He pointed out that 80 percent of the respondents had rated the event a 4 or a 5 on a scale of 1 to 5, and 10 per cent were neutral, leaving just 10 per cent who were seriously dissatisfied. Sam capped the discussion by announcing his intention to write a letter to all participants, thanking them for participating and addressing some of their issues. The letter is to be distributed via Motorsportreg.com (MSR).
- Code 35. This discussion grew out of concerns that surfaced at the SARRC/MARRS about how Code 35 can be implemented so that it is fair. Several SSM drivers from WDCR reportedly indicated that they might not come back next year if Code 35 is implemented in the current fashion. Sam interjected that he had received word from Deanna Flanagan, Director of Club Racing, that we would be allowed to implement Code 35 at the Majors next year, though they would prefer a faster overall speed, such as 45. That was rejected by several Board members as out-of-step with what other organizations and tracks were doing. But clearly this was a recognition by the National Office that we were doing something right. It was noted that there are two elements that a driver should observe, maintaining his gap with the car in front and slowing down. Of these two, Rex, and several others, said that maintaining the gap was the most important part. The key element seemed to be enforcement, and as of now, neither element is being enforced well, because the stewards have a hard time explaining how Code 35 should work, and thus imposing penalties for violations. Sam proposed that we form a committee and send a survey out to drivers asking whether they had ever been part of a Code 35 procedure and whether they preferred that to the full-course-yellow-and-pace-car system used at the Majors. Motion to form an ad hoc committee to study the issue and come up with a procedure that would work (Mehler / Crissman). The committee shall consist of Anna Crissman, Morgan Mehler, the three Flag Chiefs — Heather Clark, Eric Danielsen, and Brian Eldredge, Ken Blackburn representing the Stewards, Mark Senior as VIR liaison, Heather Powers as Driver Representative, and Sam Fouse, for a total of 9 people. Passed unanimously.
- VIR Speed Suite. Following last month’s recognition that even with two garages at VIR, the Region was still short of space to hold its equipment, Sam had gone to VIR, along with James Shanks and Bruce Dover, to examine a “Speed Suite” (one of twelve garage-type spaces in a building in the Raceplex) that is currently occupied by Harvey Siegel. All twelve units are currently occupied, the other 11 by various other folks, on Raceplex property that is not leased, as Sam was told by track owner Connie Nyholm, who also has a unit there. The suites are 30 by 40 feet, climate-controlled, with a passage door and a roll-up garage door, and more than tall enough for a lift. They are stubbed for plumbing so that a bathroom could be added if desired, and there is an external communal bathroom. Harvey is willing to sell his at the same price he bought it at when it was new, $125,000. There are two ways we could obtain the building, Sam said. We could attempt to buy it outright, or we could attempt to lease it from a new owner. Buying has problems because the Region has no credit history, but we do have the same bank that VIR does, BB&T, and they might be willing to give us a mortgage. Alternatively, Sam proposed that a group of members could form an LLC and buy it, with the intention of leasing it back to the Region at cost. The members of the LLC could take the tax advantages of depreciation, whereas the Region, as a non-profit 501(c) corporation could not. Sam foresaw a group of perhaps 100 members buying shares at $250 each to provide a $25K deposit and getting a loan for the rest, with the Region’s rent covering the mortgage and other expenses. Sam said he realized that this a big step and he wanted everyone to just think about it for now. It might, he said, solve not only our storage problem at VIR but also provide a convenient place for Registration, if that could be worked out. When questioned about the complexity of writing the contract for membership in such an LLC, Sam said that such contracts were common in the construction of commercial buildings and that standard ones were available. He said that he had already asked Steve Keadle, our former Treasurer, to look at the numbers and he thought they were favorable.
- Runoffs Rumor. Sam explained that as part of his meeting with Connie Nyholm about the Speed Suites, she had unexpectedly asked him whether he knew anything about the Runoffs being at VIR in 2019. Sam said he told her that she would know before he did, because she or her staff, notably Kerrigan Smith, would be contacted directly by the National Office, possibly by Lee Hill, Chairman of the Board of SCCA, or Deanna Flanagan, Director of Club Racing. Ms. Nyholm said she had never met nor spoken to either of them. Bruce gave her their contact information. The point, he emphasized to the Board, was that despite the rumors which are circulating, having the SCCA National Runoffs at VIR in 2019 is not a done deal. James observed that perhaps the National Office was waiting until the new president was appointed, and the announcement of Michael Cobb to fill that position had just come a few days ago.
- IMSA Event. Sam said John Lindquist had volunteered again to organize a Region tent and car display at the three-day IMSA event at VIR, August 25-27, just as he had last year, provided that we would authorize a similar budget of $1000 for it. It was noted that we signed up 35 new members at that event last year, due to deep discounts provided jointly by the National Office ($15) and NCR (our $20 Region dues). Despite the loss of income, James Shanks, as Membership Chair, said that he felt that it was important that we maintain a high profile at this event for goodwill advertising and because people seemed pleased to see us there. Motion to authorize $1000 to put on this event (Senior / R. Deffenbaugh). Passed. Anna suggested that we arrange to show the “Opie Goes Racing” video at our display and the Board members informally agreed.
- Ideas for October 21st Event at VIR. Sam said that it was time for us to get serious about what we were going to do with the one-day event we had scheduled at VIR for Saturday, October 21st. A 13-hour enduro was out of the question, because we had not contracted for Friday and also because it appeared that expensive enduros everywhere were dying, except perhaps for Chump or Lemons events. Even SJR’s famous “Devil in the Dark” event in April had failed to draw any more than 16 cars and was probably finished for good. After discussion, it was clear that a multi-use day was not going to fly at VIR either. The soloists were adamant that the skid pad was unsuitable, and that members of the Region had no desire nor experience running a rally-cross in the dirt. Running a solo on the Patriot course while other events were going on was rejected as too complex and not likely to draw enough entrants. Ditto for go-karts as a main event on Saturday. An SCCA driver’s school was rejected too, because, after looking at the track time requirements (over 180 minutes for each run group), there would not be time for anything else. That left only a PDX, possibly combined with an ECR-TCPS-CCPS to attract instructors and to substitute for the one that was going to be eliminated from the Sunday schedule for the Goblins Go the week prior, due to the requirements of all the other groups racing with us that weekend. Sam said we should also consider combining the PDX with an open test day instead, as then we could break up the sessions and not have to worry about trophies or results. Mark Senior advised that Tarheel Sports Car Club charged $450 for their two-day event, featuring 4 sessions per day of 20 minutes each. It was observed that we would have to offer at least 3 sessions and charge in the neighborhood of $150 for a one-day PDX to undercut Tarheel, but that an entry fee that low would probably not be workable. Sam proposed that the Comp Board take this up and figure out a workable proposal for discussion and adoption at the June Board meeting. Motion to refer the matter of determining a workable proposal to the Comp Board by the next Board meeting (Senior / Crissman). Passed. It was noted that we would have difficulty attracting corner workers to a PDX event, even with a race attached, so we might have to include hiring VIR people in our budget. Mark Senior said he would check with VIR to see whether go-karting might be made available to our volunteer workers on Sunday, while Chin Motorsports was on the main course, as an inducement for those workers to participate.
- Website Issues. Bruce Dover took this opportunity to bring up several issues he was having with the new website, notably menu items overlaying each other when accessed on a mobile phone and some things from the old website, which were missing from the new, that he wanted to transfer. Jeff Eng said that he could not provide access to the old site for Bruce without making it generally available, but suggested that perhaps they could work out an unannounced schedule, where he could turn it on and Bruce could then retrieve stuff. He promised to work with Bruce until all the issues were resolved. Sam took this opportunity to praise Jeff for his outstanding artwork on our Spring Sprints commemorative t-shirt, which was so popular that we were sold out of it.
- Annual Dinner. James Shanks brought up the annual dinner, which did not have a committee working on it as yet. Buddy Matthews was not interested in heading up the committee again, but agreed that perhaps others in the West Chapter were, and he would bring that up at his next Chapter meeting and report back. He did indicate that the folks who ran the Vailtree Center, where it was held last year, had said that they would very much like to have us back, so it might be relatively simple to arrange for this year if we used that facility. Heather Powers had expressed interest in heading the annual dinner committee at one time, but now that she was buried under the task of being Treasurer, she would have to think about it. Morgan Mehler said that the Cape Fear Chapter would consider taking it over if the West Chapter declined to do so.
Chapter and Committee Reports: As of this writing there were no reports posted on the Google drive under May for 2017.
Motion to adjourn at 9:12 PM (Senior / Mehler). Passed.
Submitted by Secretary, James Shanks