RALEIGH, NC – (NCRSCCA) – The Triangle Chapter started off 2012 with a bang! Our first meeting of the year was so well attended that it was standing room only by the time the meeting started. And what an assortment of folks we had!
Tom Long was there, fresh from his recent drive at the Rolex 24 in Daytona, where he helped put the Dempsey Racing Mazda RX-8 into tenth place in the GT class. Carl Cason, Jr., who crewed for the I-Moto Mazdaspeed 3s, also came, along with his dad, Carl Sr. Good to see you guys! And, while we are on the subject of Daytona, Dennis Shaw, who raced Daytona four times during the 1980’s with Team Highball, was there to congratulate Tom and Carl on the showings their teams made. Dennis was not alone, however. He brought along long-time members (1967!) Sam Fouse and Dan Robson, who had crewed for him “back in the day.”
This group of “old timers” and the other members present enthusiastically welcomed some prospective new members, Kenneth Butron, Jesse Dunn, Vanessa Perry, Chris Arthur, and Chris Daley. These folks have a keen interest in getting started in motorsports, and many of them have automotive-related careers! Welcome to you all!
Before the meeting started, we were entertained by in-car video from Mark Senior of his team’s ’92 Acura in the Chump Car race last summer at VIR. Everyone agreed it was a hoot! And, we were treated to some cool nostalgia by Brock Nicholson, who brought along some mounted 8×10 black-and-white photos of VIR from 1963 and 1964. There were shots from the Coca-Cola pedestrian bridge (yes, Carolina, they let people sit on it and dangle their feet over the side as the cars roared by underneath!) showing Cobras, Corvettes, and even a Lister! And, there was a great shot of the track from “Spectator Hill” through the wood-and-wire fencing.
We started the meeting itself by presenting a Regional Driver of the Year award to Jeff Young, who had been unable to attend the annual awards dinner. He was roundly applauded by all those present, especially fellow recipient Neal Harrison, who shared that honor for 2011. Both of them had fought their way to first place in their respective classes among huge fields of competitors. Jeff credited his to his Dennis Shaw built motor for helping him get there. And Neal agreed – he had a Dennis Shaw motor too. So we took a show of hands and about a dozen drivers admitted that they also raced with engines built by Dennis Shaw!
During the business meeting we discussed the Region’s financials for 2011 and discussed the new Tarheel Cup Pro Series (TCPS). On the financial side, the Chapter roundly applauded Treasurer Steve Keadle for helping us keep to within one per cent of our projected budget in a year which saw declining revenues. Steve in turn thanked the committee chairs and specialty chiefs for understanding that money was tight and keeping their expenditures in check. The Region finished the year, as we always try to do, with enough money in the bank to finance another year of our racing and solo activities, as a hedge against disaster, so that we could continue as a club, even if we lost money on every event.
The Series Administrator of the new TCPS, Steve Rose, was on hand to answer any questions about the new series, which will have its inaugural run at our March Memories event, March 10 – 11. Similar in nature to the Carolina Cup, the new series offers drivers from more classes the opportunity to participate in their own ”pro” events. There will be groups for “Big Bore”, “Wings and Things”, and others, as well as the usual IT and SRF collection. In addition the series will cost less to join, and provide quicker payouts, offering drivers more return for their money. Steve said that as administrator he was open to all suggestions for making the series better and would consider making format and administrative changes as they went along. Here’s hoping the new series is a success!
We closed the meeting, as we usually do when there are new members present, with round-robin introductions, going around the room and one by one introducing ourselves and highlighting our backgrounds and interest for the new people present. It was great to see the range of ages, interests, and experience present. Following that, Tom Long provided commentary on video footage of him in-car at Mid-Ohio in September, while people broke into smaller groups to talk about their plans for 2012.
Why don’t you make plans to join us in March on the 7th? That’ll be just after our first Solo event, I believe, and just before our first “race meeting,” as they used to call them, at VIR. I’ll see you there … or at the races!
Triangle Chapter Coordinator