First of all, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of the volunteers who made NCR’s support for the Runoffs so successful. Thanks especially to Stephen Miller for the outstanding job he did cooking for the North Carolina Region block party. His barbecue and roast pork were the talk of the party-goers. And thanks to all the shuttle drivers who assisted me as the unofficial Goodwill Ambassadors for the Region: Dean Bumgardner, Jan Castelluccio, Ginny Condrey, Eric Danielsen, Rex and Trish Deffenbaugh, Bruce Dover, Natasha Euliss-Uftring, Ron Gentry, Neal Harrison, Frank Killian, Joe Lyons, Tim Lyons, Robert Mayes, Jerry Pell, Dan Robson, Mark Senior, Chris Schimmel, James Shanks, and Mike and Paul Spencer. We heard your praises all over the paddock. We also came close to running over NCR member turned VIR traffic cop Johnny Dunbar multiple times, but despite our best efforts, we succeeded in missing him. Many thanks too, to Mark Senior, for conceiving of an NCR-provided coffee and sweet rolls breakfast for the flaggers, and then helping execute on that for the three race days. It was a huge hit.
I’d also like to acknowledge all the others from NCR who contributed in their chosen specialty areas: Ben Tyler who worked his tail off as the official Assistant Flag Chief for the Runoffs, before, during, and after. Also, Anna Crissman, who served in an official capacity in Timing & Scoring, along with Megan Tyler. All of the following also contributed on behalf of NCR: Judy Davis, Chuck Stanley, Jamie Dzencelowcz (Start); Clayton Condrey, Heather Powers, Fred McKinney (Grid); John Lindquist, Jerry Pell, Frank Killian, Natasha Euliss-Uftring, Lee & Pat Hill (Paddock); Ed Wentz, Joedy Pennington, Erika Deffenbaugh, Tim & Brenda Lyons (Pace Car); Brian Eldredge, Chris Robbins, John Davison, Mo Overstreet, Mark Biamonte, Jan Michel, Gary & Deb Spunaugle, W.A. Wells, Cj Danielsen, William Little, Randel Sink, David Turner (F&C); Jean Quick (Driver Info); Sally Blackburn (CSC); David Dominguez, Chuck Matthews (EV); Patricia Biamonte, Bruce Dover (Registration); Ken Blackburn, Morriss Pendleton, Steve Keadle (Stewards); Sam Neave, Dwight Cooke, Sam Moore (Tech). NCR was well represented, but forgive me if I’ve overlooked anyone.
One I can’t overlook is Buddy Matthews, who we all know was there in spirit in Tech while looking after his Scales room. His name was honored during the “Toast” after the last race on Sunday, as was James Buckberry’s.
Lastly, I saw Peyton “Gloves” Johnson and Thomas Guest’s smiling faces often, and was photographed with them multiple times in multiple places, so despite what you may have heard – I know they were there.
Hats off to all the drivers who participated in the Runoffs and the Solo Nationals. You made those events successful, even if you did not do well, just by being there. Congratulations especially to our new National Champions, whose victories you can read about elsewhere on this site, Broderick Bauguess, Jennifer Bedell, and Anthony Seaber. You did us proud!
Looking Back at 2019
Now that the Runoffs (and most of 2019) are over, it’s a good time to take a breather and review where we’ve been this year overall and where we’re going in 2020.
On the racing side, it’s hard to believe, but we have only had three race weekends at VIR since May of 2018. And by the time next March rolls around, we will again not have had a race at VIR since the previous May. The Region was not permitted to participate in this year’s Runoffs financial success (or failure). We were only granted a small service contract which we fulfilled without financial gain. The Runoffs were completely Topeka’s event. The new reality is that the local Region no longer has any input or authority. We provided cheerful service, but losing Goblin’s Go for two years in a row hurt. Fortunately, the race events we did have this year were successful enough that, as of this writing, we are in good shape financially going into 2020. It should come as no surprise that the Spring Sprints were again hugely successful in 2019, and it has become one of the premier SCCA road-racing events in the entire country. Make no mistake, the Spring Sprints pays the bills for us as a Region and helps subsidize other non-revenue-producing events and fixed costs associated with the Region.
The Cape Fear Chapter’s Solo program continues to be successful in every regard, and consistently produces winners on the national stage. While it does operate under our Charter, the Solo program is essentially self-sufficient financially. The members who make the Solo program work deserve a huge thanks for their efforts. This year the Region is also trying to bridge the gap between solo and racing via our own Time Trial program. Although TT is not yet able to pay its own way in NCR, we hope to continue to develop it towards becoming a viable program. There are multiple opportunities developing on the national stage in this area and NCR needs to be a player, now and in the future. Along those lines, we are conducting our second Time Trial at the North Carolina Center for Automotive Research (NCCAR) in two weeks (Nov. 9-10), and I hope you can join us.
Looking forward to 2020
Looking ahead to 2020, our VIR race schedule is now set. Our April (Spring Sprints) and May (SARRC/MARRS) events will continue and we are all excited to announce that we are getting Goblin’s Go back on its usual October weekend date, after a two-year absence.
For March, while we have our traditional date and program again, there is some news to report with regard to this event in 2020, and possibly beyond. A change of ownership of Carolina Motorsports Park (CMP) is either in the works or has been completed. Along with that change, South Carolina Region (SCR) has lost its traditional Buck Muse SARRC date in late March, at least for 2020. Having partnered with other Regions for race dates back when NCR didn’t have a track, we have reached out to SCR and offered to partner with them at VIR with our March 2020 event. We think it’s a win-win for everyone involved for two reasons. First, it frees up a log jam of SARRC races early in the calendar year. Neither our event nor theirs could realize its full financial potential being just two weeks apart. Merging the two should produce a better event for drivers and workers. Second, assuming SCR gets its late March weekend back next year, we have verbally agreed to partner with them at CMP next year, which should allow us to pursue an alternative program at VIR in March 2021. This could be the return of endurance racing in some format, Time Trial, or some other combination of competition events under VIR’s off-season rate schedule. The objective here is to offer non-traditional motorsports offerings while not giving up any of our traditional racing events.
That’s it for now. Hope to see you soon,
Sam Fouse, RE