Hello and welcome to 2014 and a new era of racing at VIR!
The 2013 racing season was a successful one, but financially it left much to be desired. For 2014, we are definitely going to have to cut some of our expenses in order to balance our budget. That, however, is easier said than done. We need to control costs and our options are limited. The cost of track rent is fixed; our sanction costs and insurance costs are not in our control and about the only variable we have any control over is our efforts at hospitality. That is a peculiar issue, however, since the Pagoda, which our contract with VIR stipulates is the only source we can buy food from, adds a mandatory 18% gratuity. So you may see lighter or even missing parts of our normal fare in the coming year. The one thing not on the table for cutbacks is the beer party – that will continue. You may just have to plan for meals at the end of the day.
We had some expenses, in 2013, which we will not have during 2014. For instance, the Scales Room at Tech required some unplanned repairs and subsequently that structure is now considerably better constructed than previously. Many thanks to Sam Fouse, Buddy Matthews, Jerry Pell and Dwight Cooke for their efforts in making those repairs!
Also in 2013, we spent more on advertising than we have previously. In 2014, that expense will be all but eliminated. Due to the efforts of Sam Fouse, Eric Danielsen, Bruce Dover, Jeff Eng and John Uftring we now have a new email system that you have already seen the results of and we will concentrate our advertising efforts there. We will be letting our potential customers know that, since all SCCA licensed drivers are eligible to run the Majors race, that allows them to get an early opportunity to drive the new track configuration and, hopefully, that will be the catalyst to get more cars on track for the Majors.
Most of you should know by now that our “March Memories” weekend has been canceled due to conflicting schedules. SCCA scheduled their National Convention to be held in Charlotte on the same weekend as we normally have “March Memories”. Consequently, we were forced to try to find a substitute date to hold that race, so as not to deny those members who wished to take advantage of the National Convention being so close by. Last year it was in Las Vegas. We weren’t able to schedule an earlier date, because the renovations on the track would not be completed until March 5th and all other possible dates were already booked. Therefore, we reluctantly cancelled the event. Even though we have tried for years to make it otherwise, this race is normally not profitable for us, and we may actually save money by not having it! “March Memories” will return for 2015, and we will work harder to make it profitable then.
VIR has undergoing many changes over the winter. The Oak Tree, as you know, is gone and there will be considerable modifications to the track configuration as a direct result of the paving project. Several corners have been widened; most of the paddock has been paved; pit road is wider and longer; the Start stand will be all new and moved farther down the track toward Turn One. The old Start stand is gone, as well as the trees at Pit Out, therefore allowing a clearer view down track to drivers as they traverse the “kink” at Start/Finish and to remove any solid objects from the edge of the track in a very high-speed area. Additionally, we will change the way workers are fed during race weekends. We will initiate a new voucher system to compensate them for lunch and other meals.
Our plan is to make 2014 profitable to offset 2013’s short comings.
Anyone with ideas as to what other measures we might take to cut expenses, please let me or any other member of the Board know. Your input would be considered and greatly appreciated.
Rex T. Deffenbaugh, Regional Executive
NC Region, SCCA
W – 919-467-2884 H – 919-542-1457