Many of you here have spent untold hours on project cars – be they destined for turning race laps, ogling at a Cars & Coffee, or hauling you to your favorite backroads fishing spot. You have it clear in your head what you want, you start out with the best of intentions, you’ve got the energy, and a proper budget. THEN … reality sets in and you recognized the thunderous scale by which you underestimated what was necessary to do the job right. For nearly 15 years I held onto a pile of receipts for a Lotus Europa restoration project; I did so, in case I were ever stupid enough to be tempted by the allure of restoring an “affordable exotic” car, I would runaway screaming.
What if … what if you had a project of such immense importance you were unwilling to compromise? What if you realize the cost of compromising would cost far, far more than the cost of doing things right? Well, bucko, you would sweat the details, question and challenge past assumptions, you would conduct “what if” scenarios. Hopefully, you would also be sufficiently wise to reach out to experts both to help guide your effort and review your plans.
I think you will agree, the SCCA is facing unprecedented change and challenges: everything from increased competition from other racing bodies for drivers, workers, and officials, competition for track time, both from other car clubs and alternative use groups, disappearing solo venues, aging membership, with the upcoming generation of Millennials seemingly as interested in a virtual experience as the real thing. The thing is those challenges can all be met, with the right leadership executing the right strategic plan. The SCCA national Board of Directors (BOD) has sworn to find the right SCCA President, even if it took months and months of work to do so. Your BOD has worked relentlessly to find THE right person for the job. We looked at people in and out of the racing industry, with and without SCCA history – what we required appeared at times to be a bullet proof unicorn. As you will have read elsewhere, we are thrilled to have Michael Cobb join SCCA, Inc. as President/CEO.
Fortunately, we had a simply outstanding candidate pool for this critical club leadership role. Michael has heart and mind, passion, experience, and perspective. His professional experience was so strong, he made the initial candidate cuts without the BOD’s knowledge he was an SCCA member and active participant in SCCA solo competition. Yup – Mike is an incredibly qualified professional, a passionate “car guy,” who is “one of us.” You will soon read much more about our new SCCA President. But, this is only the beginning … while he will hit the ground running. He now will take the same diligent, professional approach in structuring plans as we did in finding him. That doesn’t mean he’ll be sequestered for months on end – quite the contrary, he already has plans to reach out to our Regions, broaden his view of current SCCA events, dig, question, and listen to our membership.
Now, with Michael’s hiring, I’ve been looking at building a rallycross car from a 996 C4 … hmm, how hard can it be?
SCCA racers are vastly better than average when it comes to car control (and having fun with cars). Many of you instruct at HPDE's and race schools. As satisfying as it is for an instructor to get someone who has never been on track before up to speed or help find that half a second improvement to a long time “track rat,” a good number of racers have found a great way to “pay forward” their car control skills is by training teens in car control fundamentals -- skills that can save a young driver from what may otherwise be a terrible accident.
The leading cause of death to Americans, ages 16 – 19, is auto-related accidents. Further, 20% of deaths among vehicle passengers of all ages occur while a teenager is driving. Tire Rack Street Survival (TRSS) program is outstanding at helping transfer knowledge to the “good kid,” who finds himself in a driving emergency, so he can come out of it alive, preferably avoiding an accident altogether. TRSS is the largest, non-profit, hands-on teen defensive driving program in the country.
Since 2008, Oregon Region SCCA, working with Oregon Region Porsche Club of America, has sanctioned 18 TRSS events at Portland International Raceway. That’s nearly 600 young area drivers who have gained hands-on defensive driver training. SCCA sanctions our Street Survival events – providing us with insurance coverage – while Tire Rack has been the amazing primary sponsor of Street Survival. Sponsorship from Michelin Tire and Enterprise Rental Car help hold costs down to $75 per student.
There’s an expression, “Givers Gain,” or stated differently, we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. I guarantee you, “Givers Gain” holds true when you see the teen driver who going in to class has no clue how to correct a skid, has never practiced maintaining control of his vehicle during an evasive driving maneuver, and really doesn’t know how to use ABS the way it was intended – suddenly has that light bulb go off and they gain new, real world applicable driving skills.
For the past several years, our TRSS events have sold out quickly. I strongly encourage you to volunteer at our sold-out March 12th TRSS event. We have Will, Tim, Allie, Rich, Joe Blair, and Peter Lovejoy (former SM racers) already signed up to instruct. Ken's response must be stuck in his outbox :-) because he's a regular instructor too. Looking through this mailing list, there are about another 10 of you who have instructed ... some of you, several times over. We could use about 8 more instructors for March 12th .
Note: student drive their own cars. All driving takes place in the North Paddock of PIR. There is no use of helmets or special safety equipment, as the idea is to show kids how to respond to an emergency in the course of their normal driving. Important to note: we do not reference racing or building speed beyond that set mph specified for a driving exercise. Finally, there is a short on-line instructor certification class for any new instructors. Karen McCoy can send you the link and I can send you some material on the driving exercises when you volunteer. Also, there’s a swell yellow golf shirt for you – just need to know your shirt size. Please hit me up with any questions. Thank you!
The Sports Car Club of America Board of Directors named Lee Hill, of Brandon, Florida, as the leadership's Chairman during its December meeting. Hill replaces outgoing Chairman John Walsh, who had reached his six-year term limit on the Board of Directors.
Hill is completing his second year on the Board as the Area 3 Director. An SCCA member since 1993, he has been a regular competitor in Spec Racer, Spec Racer Ford and Spec Racer Ford Gen3 for more than two decades. He was a Central Florida Region Assistant RE for five years, the Region's webmaster for nearly 10 years, and is a frequent F&C volunteer.
Outside of SCCA activities, Hill operated an information publishing business, Hill-Donnelly Directories, which was sold in 2002 to a publicly traded information company, but Hill stayed on and acted as the division's president for another three years. He has also conducted various consulting activities, primarily in information and business process management/improvement.
"I'm honored and gratified to have been selected by the Board of Directors as Chairman for 2017," Hill said. "I look forward to addressing the SCCA's needs in the coming year, beginning with the opportunity to bring a new, highly-qualified President to the Club."
The BoD also set its slate of officers for the 2017 calendar year. Dan Helman (Vice Chairman), KJ Christopher (Treasurer), and Tere Pulliam (Secretary) remain in their 2016 roles for the coming year. Bruce Lindstrand will serve as the first alternate.
Additionally, the 13-member board appointed duties for committees and liaisons to oversee the Club during the 2017 calendar year. Those assigned to fill Board committees are as follows:
- Budget & Finance: Christopher (Chairman), Marcus Merideth, Helman, Lindstrand, Jim Weidenbaum, Charlie Davis
- Compensation, Audit and Investment: Helman (Chairman), Chris Albin, Pulliam, Weidenbaum and Bob Dowie
- Planning: Arnie Coleman (Chairman), Helman, Jack Burrows, Dowie, Weidenbaum, Earl Hurlbut and Albin
Board liaisons to various committees and subsidiaries are as follows:
- Solo Events Board: Dowie, Hurlbut
- Club Racing Board: Lindstrand, Merideth, Davis
- Time Trial Advisory Committee: Pulliam, Weidenbaum
- Executive Stewards: Pulliam, Coleman
- Court of Appeals: Coleman, Dowie
- RE & Operations: Dowie, Burrows
- Road Rally Board: Hurlbut, Dowie
- RallyCross Board: Albin, Coleman
- SCCA Foundation: Weidenbaum, Lindstrand, Burrows
- Ventures: Helman (Chairman), Lindstrand
- IT/Website: Christopher, Weidenbaum, Coleman
- Governance Committee: Pulliam (Chairman), Coleman, Burrows, Helman, Davis
- Strategic Planning Committee: Coleman, Weidenbaum, Merideth, Burrows, Albin