The first meeting of the Triangle Chapter for 2013 was held at our favorite watering hole, the El Rodeo restaurant in the Townridge Shopping Center in Raleigh, where Pleasant Valley crosses Glenwood Avenue. As usual, the food and the service were excellent, as was the dinner hour entertainment. Member at Large Wayne Quick provided in-car video from the inaugural Eastern Conference Majors race (Double National) at Sebring the weekend of January 4th – 6th. We seldom see in-car video of Sebring here in the Triangle since it’s a long way to go, so it was a real treat to see that track from behind the wheel of Wayne’s GT3 Ford Probe. His wife Jean, ever the proud crew chief and spouse, was quick to point out that Wayne took a second place in one of the races there. Congratulations, Wayne! And thanks for sharing! By the way, some of the rest of us, Sam Fouse, Dan Robson and myself, were surprised to see that there’s now a large motel adjacent to the track and visible to the drivers. Guess it really has been “awhile” since we were there!
The business meeting centered around the negotiations that the NCR Board of Directors had just completed with the National Office in Topeka over our upcoming Majors event, the Oak Tree Double National in April. The event promises to be huge as we are expecting the same twenty per cent bump in entries that other Regions holding Majors have seen, including Central Florida, which hosted the Sebring race that Wayne attended. That’s a good thing, because the National Office wants an additional $25 per entry over fees from last year, though they will be picking up the trophies and perhaps contributing to the Saturday night social. Anyway, we think that we can still bring that race off in the black without increasing the entry fees over last year, so long as the increased car count holds true. Only time will tell.
We also covered the final financial results for 2012, since those weren’t available when we last met in December. We finished the year about $10K below the break-even point, which was disappointing but livable in the short term. The good news is that we have taken some steps to try to boost our entries for 2013 and right now we think the new season looks bright. On the positive side, we have paid our early deposit to VIR and we have cash in the bank to cover our expenses. We’re so confident that 2013 will be better than 2012 that we reduced SARRC entry fees by $10. (Can I hear an “Amen!” from all the drivers, please?). And be sure to notice the full page ad for our races on page 47 of the March issue of Sportscar.
Things are still not where they should be on the membership front. As of this writing, the Region has 710 members, which is about fifty below where we should be for this time of year. We are hoping that will improve as the season wears on and the economy improves. Fittingly enough we had a new member and some prospective members attending the meeting, so we closed with round-robin introductions. Ric Cooley was there and he surprised us by saying he had purchased a Citation Formula Ford and was getting back into racing after a long absence. After chatting about “the old days” I think we determined that Ric had last been a member when Bill King was RE. Welcome back, Ric! Two other guys, Brandon Miller and Reid Garrett, had not joined up yet but they were curious as to what we were about. It was great to see that they were serious enough to just show up and meet the folks. Here’s hoping they will attend the March event at VIR with us. And Brandon said he might just give Solo a try. That’s the spirit! Welcome aboard, guys!
That was about all there was to our meeting, except the usual bench racing and talk of what other people had been up to. Seems like everyone is working on a car and itching to get back out to the track. Why not check out the March meeting of the Triangle Chapter just before that first event, and make plans to meet at the track the following weekend? We’ll be back at El Rodeo and we’ll hope to see you there…or at the races!
Triangle Chapter Coordinator