Please be aware that I am trying to get this report written and filed in record time. This is my way of trying to get the June 7, 2016 Chapter meeting and all of the irregularities that came with it handled completely, finished and tucked away in Region archives where they can’t cause any more problems.
What seemed to be a rather mundane first Tuesday in June went haywire, at least for the West Chapter of the North Carolina Region of the Sports Car Club of America. Just after 4:00 PM, my phone rang and I found John Lindquist telling me I was the man of the hour. Then he informed me that he had just received a call from Steve Martin, informing him of information that he had received via the internet, that the place the West Chapter had been using for monthly meetings for well over 5 years was no longer open. It appeared that the closing had been over the previous weekend and, from what we had to go on, was to be considered final. A later investigation of the event shows that the State Revenue Department had chosen to close the establishment on what they referred to as a permanent basis for unspecified reasons. This started a very frantic effort to secure an alternate site for the night’s meeting and the notification of all of the regular attendees. As has become quite normal this was quickly remedied with a call to Jerry Pell who graciously offered the use of the conference room at his building on Swing Road which is about a mile from the normal meeting place. Many in the NCR are already familiar with this building as the Region’s Boards (Board of Directors and Competition Board) both were invited to use the venue a few months earlier this year when the site of their regular meetings was not available. Thanks again Jerry.
Once everyone had been notified and assembled for the meeting, everything seemed to settle down. I proceeded to inform the West Chapter members of the recent activities of the NCR BOD at their meeting on May 18, 2016 at Piper’s Deli in Durham. A brief synopsis of the Minutes of the Board meeting was presented and much discussion was forthcoming from the 11 members in attendance. I will now attempt to convey to any one reading this report some of the feelings expressed and what action the West Chapter members would like to see the BOD take on some of the activities being planned for the rest of the 2016 racing season.
- All seemed happy to see the condition of the bank accounts and are eagerly awaiting Steve Keadle’s further reports on our financial situation.
- No one had much to say about Sam Fouse’s wrap-up of the SARRC/MARRS but were happy to see that our changes had made things better in many ways.
- No comments were made regarding the refunds or our attempts at getting a uniform policy regarding same but really not a controversial topic.
- Picnic- I reported to the Board that the proposed move to High Point had fallen down and this delay had led to problems getting back to our previous site in Gibsonville and had most likely killed the picnic for this year. Mike Spencer’s request to attempt to move it to VIR during paving shutdown didn’t get much comment other than a frown from James Buckberry. The BOD gave Mike a go for it and report ASAP.
- John Lindquist commented on the booth we will have at the IMSA pro race at VIR. The plans are being made and anyone wanting to be involved should contact John at 336-622-6225. It will take about 5 people to man the booth each day.
- There was a bit of surprise that SEDIV was charging the Region for the entries at the Majors at VIR, but we will just need to wait to see what Sam Fouse finds out at the MidYear meeting in Atlanta. Charge right now is $4020 but will be disputed/discussed.
- As there were members of the West Chapter involved in the problems at the Enduro at the SARRC/MARRS, there was much discussion and opinion about what was done at the race and what has been presented to the BOD to remedy the problems. West Chapter members feel that communication to drivers both in the Drivers meetings and from the Start stand need to be improved. In attendance, Chief Starter James Buckberry said that where the sign and flags were displayed may have caused some of the problem and the procedure and signage will be changed for future races. All involved felt that the change in the duration of the race was poorly communicated and shouldn’t be repeated except in an emergency.
- Trophy distribution drew considerable discussion and Mike Cooke and Dwight Cooke both feel that the decision to not give 3rd place trophies when there are only three finishers, was not in the spirit of the sport. Biggest disappointment voiced as the result of this policy was the report that after working all night to repair a damaged car and returning to race the next day, not only was Mike not awarded a trophy for 3rd but he was not allowed to stand on the podium with the 1st and 2nd place finisher for a photograph. No one at the meeting last night was happy to hear about this. There was little to no comment about the fact that we would mail trophies to anyone not picking them up at the podium. If we can spend the type of money that was reported in the minutes to mail trophies, we can damn sure afford to award a 3rd place trophy to someone who, through no fault of their own, didn’t beat a 4th finisher who didn’t enter.
- Boy, this group really got cranked up about the issue we seem to be having with the SM crowd not having enough sense to drive through the paddock at the advertised speed and actually racing through the paddock to garner a place up front in qualifying. There were many who wanted to know, who was the driver who hit the pedestrian in the race to the grid? Also, what action was taken against the driver and why wasn’t he shown the exit gate to VIR? How many times will this blatant activity be allowed to go on before we request that all SM entrants hand push their cars to the grid for qualifying? Actually, maybe the proposed idea from Mike Spencer that we assign qualifying grid spots to all groups that happen to be over a certain number, was considered a good idea with Dwight Cooke saying that many Major races have already adopted that procedure based on the order of how the entries are received. This, plus much stiffer penalties for paddock speed violations would suit these West Chapter members.
- The next portion of the minutes that really got the discussion going was the discussion by Sam Fouse of the work he is doing to get the 8/13 hr race operating on a profitable basis. As everyone in the West Chapter knows, we have inherited this particular race for at least one more year as we seem to never manage to decide that we don’t want to do it again until it is too late in the next year’s contract making schedule to not inherit it again. Toward that end, the West Chapter about two years ago let it be known to the Region that they were not in agreement with the Region holding this event again. We have as a Chapter requested that all necessary efforts be made to not only not have this two race back-to-back weekend in October again, but rather arrange with the VIR management for us to move one of the weekends to a new date. At our BOD meeting with the VIR Management team, we had been told by them that if we will request a change at an early enough time that they will attempt to shuffle the rental schedule to get us off of this killer schedule that we have been on for years. To date, I don’t know of any attempts on our part to sit down and address a change. Hopefully there is still time for us to get such a change made before we inherit another take it or leave it situation. The West Chapter doesn’t ask the Region to lose the date at VIR entirely, but just move it to one that will allow us some slack to bring a schedule that can more likely benefit the members of the NCR. If the change that we as a Chapter request happens to call the end of the Enduro Era of the NCR, so be it. We sure as hell gave it our all, and then some. If all of the losses NCR has incurred in the running of this event were totaled up I would expect the toll would surpass $100,000. Far too much for the few NCR members and drivers who chose to participate. Please don’t view this attitude as a veiled hope that this year’s Enduro will fail to produce the type of revenue that we have been missing for several years. Even if it does, and we don’t take a bath financially I don’t think the West Chapter will be persuaded to consider changing, now that the finances seem to have changed. We want to do something different and at a different time on the calendar and for a different group of drivers (ours, for a change).
I know that this has been a bit of a departure from my past West Chapter reports and even though there have not been too many of them, this is actually a real report as I caught a bit of heat last night for my failure as Chapter Coordinator to provide the BOD with an accurate appraisal of the feelings of the members of the West Chapter especially as they pertain to the elimination of the annual enduro. We just don’t want to endure it any more.
Buddy Matthews ended this meeting with a question to the group about who was planning to go to Mid-Ohio for the Runoffs in September. A few responded, but for now, no plan to get together a group for the trip exists. If interested, contact Buddy at 336-312-8858. or [email protected]
Thanks for your patience,
Buddy Matthews, West Chapter Coordinator