Triangle Chapter Report – April 2014

The April meeting of the Triangle Chapter went off in fine style, despite the turn-out being a bit low for this time of year. Maybe it was Spring fever or perhaps folks are getting ready for the upcoming Majors event in two weeks.  In any case, we had in-car video provided by Chuck Hines of his recent outing at CMP in Kershaw in the rain, where he finished 5th in ITS both days, driving his Miata.  Yes, that’s the same Chuck Hines who just got his racing license back.  He wasted no time getting back in the fray chasing those SARRC points. And yes, he drove a Miata in ITS.  Seems you can race Mazda’s little roadster in that class too if you have a mind to.  That must be irritating to the Camaro and Porsche boys who’ve taken to sporting the “Zoom Zoom my A**” stickers at the track lately. Well, they are about to be more irritated I think. According to Grassroots Motorsports, NASA has just certified a sports racer based on Gen 1 and Gen 2 Miata mechanicals.  Can SCCA be far behind?  Only time will tell.  And I think Chuck will also improve his position as he spends more time on track.  Thanks for sharing, big guy!

The business meeting was rather short. We thanked Sam Fouse for his work to date in analyzing the incoming entries for our Majors race.  There must be something to this “Eastern  Conference” stuff because we have as many drivers coming from the Northeast Division of the SCCA as from the Southeast, and we have a significant number of entrants from the Western Regions as well. The Chapter resolved that NCR should pursue finding ways to make our events even more attractive to our neighbors to the north and west. We also discussed the high cost of vendor fees incurred when drivers who register via MotorsportsReg pay on-line using their credit card.  They are more than double what other credit card processors charge.  Over the course of year, those add up to over $20K in fees subtracted from our bottom line!  Want to help hold down the cost of racing?  Guarantee your entry with a credit card on-line, but pay at the track by check!

RE Rex Deffenbaugh gave a short recap of his experiences at the recent SCCA National Convention, held in conjunction with the MSX motorsports expo in Charlotte (and aimed at amateur racers). Mark Senior had also attended. He noted that NASA had two booths at the expo, showing that they were not shy about playing in our back yard. Rex and Mark also noted that the SCCA steward seminars were very, very detail-oriented; which might be a good thing, or a bad thing, depending on how you looked at it. On a high note, however, Mark announced that SCCA has greatly simplified its PDX participation rules, no longer treating them like races, and that this opens the door for us to pursue partnering with our sister clubs in putting on high-speed driving events, so maybe we’ll be able to have some of those at VIR in the future.  SCCA has also liberalized its driver licensing requirements, so that a driver can earn his license in just a single school outing.  But perhaps more importantly for attracting drivers with other backgrounds, SCCA will begin licensing instructors who can attend events put on by other sanctioning bodies and sign them off after having observed their driving at those events. Stay tuned and we’ll try to keep you updated when more information about that program becomes available.  And finally, Treasurer Steve Keadle reported that his seminar on racing and taxes at MSX went well, so well that after reading participant comments, the organizers have invited him back.  Need some advice about how to help defray the cost of your racing using your taxes?  Talk to Steve!

And that was about it for the night.  There were plenty of side conversations as usual, including an extended one about vintage aircraft by the veterans among us, so everyone had a good time.  We also took a moment to wish Pepe’s dad well after learning he was in the hospital.  His illness was the reason Pepe (Blair Stitt) was not with us. I think I heard someone in the back mumble that he was surprised to learn that Pepe had parents. Get well soon, Mr. Stitt!

Why not make plans to join us on Wednesday, May 7th, at the next Triangle Chapter meeting?  Yeah, it will be right before the SARRC/MARRS but you’ll need a short break from car prep anyway, and maybe you can scare up some last minute help. Besides, the Majors will be in the bag by then and you’ll want to hear all the war stories from that.  So I’ll see you there…or at the races!

James Shanks
Triangle Chapter Coordinator


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