TOPEKA, Kan. (Jan. 19, 2017) -- The 2017 SCCA® National Convention got underway Thursday night at South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas with the Club's annual meeting. Lee Hill, SCCA's Chairman of the Board, got things started with an overall update on the Club's year. According to Hill, the SCCA saw challenges in 2016, as well as triumphs. And the organization is already off to a great start in the New Year.
"We shattered the previous participation record at the Tire Rack Solo® Nationals in Lincoln and had an outstanding National Championship Runoffs® at Mid-Ohio with great racing throughout, and RallyCross® also had a successful National Championship event once again in Indianola, Iowa," Hill said. "Already in 2017, the Club started off the SCCA U.S. Majors Tour® season at Homestead-Miami with over 260 entries, followed by the first Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA Super Tour event at Sebring a week later with over 360 entries, as well as a Majors Tour race at Auto Club Speedway with just under 200 entries – all of which are substantial increases from last year."
Robey Clark, President and CEO of SCCA Enterprises, brought meeting attendees up to speed on SCCA Enterprises by noting that Spec Racer Ford is still being supported by Enterprises and is the fourth most popular racecar used at U.S. Majors Tour events. Spec Racer Ford Gen3 is the second most popular vehicle, just behind the Spec Miata class.
"Going forward in 2017, Enterprises will continue with a few updates to the cars and improved support at the track," Clark said. "For the first time in many years, Ford Performance is providing a cash contingency for the top 10 finishers at Hoosier Super Tour races for the SRF3 cars and Mazda will be providing a similar cash contingency for the Formula Enterprises cars entered in the Hoosier Super Tour this year."
During the annual meeting, SCCA Pro Racing® President and CEO Mike Collins announced some fantastic news about the Trans Am® Series. After marking its 50th Anniversary in 2016, the Trans Am Series, presented by Pirelli Tire, and SCCA Pro Racing have signed an unprecedented 25-year agreement with the Trans Am Race Company (TARC). The landmark deal is the continuation of TARC's licensing and services agreement with SCCA Pro, securing the management, marketing and operational platform that has seen Trans Am grow substantially since the creation of the original 2011 partnership.
"SCCA Pro Racing is dedicated to running, managing and supporting programs that align with SCCA Club Racing," Collins said. "SCCA Pro is proud that we will continue our relationship with the Trans Am Race Company for the next 25 years. By committing to a long-term relationship with mutual goals, our organizations can focus on making the series great by leveraging both of our resources together to offer a clear path from amateur motorsport to professional racing."
The SCCA Foundation also had great news to share Thursday night. John Zuccarelli, Chairman of SCCA Foundation, said an agreement was signed in July with the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen, New York, to house and display the SCCA archives.
Finally, a preliminary financial report was delivered Thursday night showing a 2016 Consolidated Net Loss of $510,289, with a large part of that due to an estimated Net Loss of $756,418 from Pro Racing. However, Hill pointed out that SCCA, Inc. had a decent year and SCCA Enterprises was solidly profitable, but SCCA Pro Racing struggled with unexpected snags in the inaugural Formula 4 season.
"We already have new leadership in place and performing well at both of our for-profit subsidiaries," Hill noted. "Robey Clark has SCCA Enterprises operating on a solid financial footing while Mike Collins focuses SCCA Pro on mutually beneficial, long-term partnerships and building F4 into a marquee series."
Along with updates on the Club's general wellbeing, a handful of awards were handed out Thursday. Tom Burke Awards are presented to Regions for exemplary efforts to activate and grow the SCCA. This year's recipients include:
- Small Regions (under 200 members) – Great River Region, Paul Gilbert, Regional Executive
- Medium Regions (201-400 members) – Mohawk Hudson Region, James Bucci, Regional Executive
- Large Regions (401-800 members) – Finger Lakes Region, Charles Tanck, Regional Executive
- Jumbo Regions (over 800 members) – Chicago Region, Rick Bentson, Regional Executive
The Region of the Year Award gauges Region's management team performance relating to the SCCA's Goals and Business Strategies. Winners are as follows:
- Small Regions (under 200 members) – Montana Region, Bob Nommensen, RE
- Medium Regions (201-400 members) – Utah Region, Kevin Schultz, RE
- Large Regions (401-800 members) – South Jersey Region, James Tornetta, RE
- Jumbo Regions (over 800 members) – Washington D.C. Region, Paul Anderson, RE
And finally, the RoadRally Regional Achievement Award went to the Northern New Jersey Region, the RoadRally Divisional Achievement Award was received by the Northeast Division (NEDIV), the RallyCross Regional Achievement Award was garnered by the Iowa Region, and RallyCross Divisional Achievement Award went to the Northern Pacific Division (NORPAC).
The SCCA National Convention continues Friday and Saturday with the Leadership Summit where much will be shared and learned during nearly 50 seminars. The three-day convention then concludes Saturday night with the SCCA Hall of Fame and Awards Banquet where Pete Brock, Dennis Dean, Larry and Linda Dent, Joe Huffaker Sr., Lyn St. James, Phil Hill and Jim Kaser will be inducted into the SCCA Hall of Fame.
Photo: Lee Hill (left), the new SCCA Chairman of the Board, presents honors to outgoing Chairman John Walsh (right)
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Jan. 21, 2017) – Eight individuals who have made significant contributions to the Sports Car Club of America® and the world of motorsports became official members of the SCCA® Hall of Fame Saturday evening during the Awards Banquet that closed out the 2017 SCCA National Convention at the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The SCCA National Hall of Fame was created in 2004 to preserve, protect and record the history and accomplishments of the Club by acknowledging those members who have made a significant impact on the development of SCCA, be it through service to the national organization, achievements in national competition, bringing national recognition to SCCA, or a combination of these factors. Nominations were submitted to, and reviewed by, the Hall of Fame Nomination and Selection Committees before the inductees were selected.
The 2017 Hall of Fame class includes Peter Brock, Dennis Dean, Larry and Linda Dent, Joe Huffaker Sr., Lyn St. James, Phil Hill and Jim Kaser. These latest inductees join 67 others in the Hall of Fame as those who have positioned the building blocks that elevated SCCA's stature in the motorsports world for more than 70 years.
Peter Brock, at only 19 years old, was the youngest designer ever hired by General Motors. In November 1957, at only 21 years old, he drew the sketch which GM VP Bill Mitchell picked to become the Stingray. A native of the San Francisco Bay area, Brock also began racing with SCCA around that time.
Brock went on to work with Carroll Shelby. During his time with Shelby, he helped create the Shelby American brand logos, merchandise, ads, car liveries and more. He also designed the Shelby components of the Shelby Mustang GT350, as well as the iconic Shelby Daytona Cobra coupes that won the 1965 FIA World GT Championship.
In 1965, Brock started Brock Racing Enterprises which later became Datsun's West Coast factory race team competing in SCCA D Production races with Datsun 2000 roadsters. In 1970 and 1971, BRE took on C Production with 240Zs and earned national championships. He followed that up in 1971 and 1972 with 2.5 Trans Am® national championships in Datsun 510s.
"For me, the SCCA was the beginning of my life's involvement with cars," Brock said. "We really put Japanese cars on the map here in the United States, and I hope to think my involvement in the SCCA helped elevate the Club to a more 'international' level.
Dennis Dean began his involvement with SCCA as a tech inspector due to his interest in all things mechanical. Because of his insight as a tech inspector and his Navy training, his documentation with respect to tear-down checklists and other procedures have kept many stewards out of trouble over the years.
At the Regional level, Dean provided Washington D.C. Region a wonderful set of standards that are still being used today. He later joined the SCCA stewards program where his unparalleled technical excellence served him and the Club well. But beyond that, Dean exemplified all the personal attributes that have been stressed to SCCA stewards.
After many years as an outstanding SCCA volunteer, he took on a new challenge in 1996 when he joined the SCCA staff as Vice President of Club Racing and Rally/Solo. And after his stint with the national office, Dean found time to further expand his impact with ever increasing involvement in the Runoffs, providing guidance and leadership to the Hall of Fame project, and serving on the SCCA Foundation Board. In each of these areas his impact has been felt both now and into the future.
"This means an awful lot to me. It's very humbling," Dean said about joining the Hall of Fame. "You look at who is in our Hall of Fame and it's friends and acquaintances, but it's also heroes. I was totally taken aback when I learned I'd been nominated. It took a while for the news to sink in. To become a part of the fundamental history of the Club, that's pretty amazing."
SCCA members Larry and Linda Dent designed the SCCA Safety Steward program, a vital initiative that has improved motorsports safety as a whole. Since 1967, Larry has been an SCCA Chief Steward. He also served the SCCA for nine years as a member of the Board of Directors. He was a member of the Executive Committee, serving as liaison to the Competition Board. He also helped as Chairman of the Board of the SCCA Foundation, serving three years in that capacity during which time he significantly improved the Foundation's financial standing. And while Larry is the one that held the "official" titles, make no mistake that he and Linda worked as a team over the years to advance the Club.
"It was a shock when we learned about being inducted into the Hall of Fame. It means so much to have my wife inducted with me," Larry said. "The one thing we want to emphasize above everything else, you get out of this Club what you put into it. My wife and I put a lot into it, and we're proud of that."
For more than 30 years, Joe Huffaker Sr. was one of the most successful racecar constructors. In 1954, he was contracted to build an Austin-Healey Special. The car, known as the Huffaker-Healey, was a common site in the late 1950s on race tracks in Northern California. In 1959, Huffaker joined British Motor Cars in San Francisco to open a competition department. Known as BMC Competition Department, this effort spawned a very successful string of cars including the BMC Formula Juniors and Genie Sports Racers. During this era, BMC Competition Department became one of the largest racecar manufacturers in the United States.
From 1964 to 1966, Huffaker's attention was turned toward Indianapolis 500 competition. He helped build the famous MG Liquid Suspension Specials, for which he received an engineering award for design and development. Huffaker also helped develop safety technology in the form of the deformable fuel cell.
Not forsaking SCCA racing, BMC Competition continued to build dominate production racecars such as MGBs and Jaguar XKEs. But in 1967, Huffaker left BMC and formed Huffaker Engineering where preparation of winning cars continued. These included SCCA championship winning MG Midgets, MGBs, Triumphs and Jensen-Healeys. In the 1980s, Huffaker Engineering built Pontiac cars for the Trans Am and IMSA series.
"I really appreciate being involved in the SCCA all my life," Huffaker told Saturday's audience via Skype. "Thank you for including me in the SCCA Hall of Fame. It's a big honor for me."
Lyn St. James started in Florida as a racer in Showroom Stock classes, and was the 1976 and 1977 Florida regional champion. A two-time class winner at Daytona, a class winner at Sebring, and a class winner at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring, she has also competed at Le Mans and was a 1988 record speed holder of 212.577 at Talladega in a Ford Thunderbird. James entered 53 SCCA Trans Am races and was a top-five finisher seven times. She also entered 62 IMSA GT races, and was a top-five finisher 17 times. She is the only woman to win an IMSA GT race driving solo, when she won in 1988 at Watkins Glen.
The Indy 500 Rookie of the Year in 1992, James went on to form the Women in the Winner's Circle organization dedicated to the advancement and promotion of women in the motorsports industry. Outside of racing, she was also the President of the Women's Sports Foundation during the early 1990s.
"This is obviously a very big honor," St. James said. "SCCA is what started me on this journey and I'm glad they remembered me."
The only American-born racer to ever win the World Drivers' Championship, Phil Hill was one of the first dozen members of the California Sports Car Club. He began his storied career wrenching on others' cars and went on to compete in major SCCA races. He piloted assorted Alfa Romeos, OSCA's and various Ferrari's for wealthy car owners, and quickly gained a reputation as the man to beat in West Coast racing.
In 1955, Hill was the SCCA Champion in D Modified, driving a Ferrari to wins in 8 of 14 races, including the inaugural event at Road America. He began racing outside the U.S. that same year, which later landed him a drive with Ferrari in Formula One. But beyond Formula One, Hill exhibited a great deal of prowess as an endurance driver. He was an overall winner at Le Mans and Sebring three times, and became Sports Illustrated's 1959 Sports Car Driver of the Year.
Alma and Derek Hill, Phil's wife and son, were at the banquet Saturday night to accept the award. Derek said, "My father was forever talking about the SCCA. It was the beginnings of his career back in the early '50s. SCCA is the fabric of motorsports in America and it's great for my father to be honored like this."
James E. "Jim" Kaser, who passed away late in December, was the original head of SCCA Pro Racing®. He oversaw the first SCCA professional racing series, the United States Road Racing Championship (USRRC). The success of USRRC led Kaser to organize a series initially involving two Canadian races, thus giving birth in 1966 to the Canadian American Challenge Cup, more commonly known as the Can-Am series. Soon after, Kaser's Pro Racing department introduced America's longest running road racing series, the Trans-American Sedan Championship, later known as Trans Am.
It was Kaser's success with these series that resulted in the most significant change ever to the Sports Car Club of America. The organization turned from being an amateur's club to a professional, international sanctioning body and organizer.
Anastacia Kaser, Jim's daughter, and Eric Duncan, Jim's grandson, were on hand Saturday evening to accept the Hall of Fame award. Anastacia noted that, "Jim was really pleased to hear he was being honored in this way, and he was really happy to be inducted with such a great group this year."
Eric added, "'Pop' was someone that helped evolve the Club in a lot of different ways and I'm sure he'd want to see the Club continue to evolve."
A handful of Club awards were presented Saturday evening, too. The Woolf Barnato Award went to Jim Rogaski, of the San Francisco Region. This is the SCCA's highest award and is presented to a member who has made an outstanding, long-term contribution to the Club.
The Member of Excellence Award was presented to Sydney Davis Yagel, of the Houston Region. This award is given to an SCCA member who provided a great contribution to the Club during the previous 12 months.
The John McGill Award was earned by Allen Davis, of the San Francisco Region, and Dave Kettler, of the Milwaukee Region. This honor is presented for significant contribution to the Club Racing Program. The winners were chosen by the Club Racing Board and the Vice President of Club Racing.
The RallyCross Dirty Cup was awarded to Warren Elliott, of the New England Region. This accolade is presented by the RallyCross Board in recognition of an individual's extraordinary contribution to the sport of SCCA RallyCross over time.
The Robert V. Ridges Award was presented to Mike Thompson, of the Land O'Lakes Region. This award is presented to the SCCA member who exemplifies the highest degree of dedication and sportsmanship in Road Rally, and who has made an outstanding contribution to the success of an event. This is the first time this award has been presented in five years.
Brian Linn, of the Cal Club Region, also picked up the President's Cup awarded to the SCCA driver demonstrating ability, competitiveness and success at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs®. And Cindy Duncan, of the Central Kentucky Region, was presented the SCCA Solo Driver of the Year, which is awarded to the competitor who demonstrated exceptional skill or overcame major obstacles to produce an outstanding performance at the Tire Rack SCCA Solo® National Championship.
To close out the banquet and 2017 National Convention, SCCA VP and COO Eric Prill announced that the location for the 2018 SCCA National Championship Runoffs will take place October 16-21 at Sonoma Raceway in Northern California, a venue where the Runoffs have never previously been held.
TOPEKA, Kan. (January 18, 2017) – SCCA Enterprises and SCCA Pro Racing have been merged into one subsidiary entity of the Sports Car Club of America, named SCCA Ventures Inc., the SCCA Board of Directors announced today. The former subsidiaries will continue to operate as independent divisions within the SCCA Ventures structure.
The move allows a more structured oversight and reporting process for the for-profit arms of the Sports Car Club of America, and provides a number of administrative advantages for the businesses.
"To the outside world and for the customers and clients of the entities, this change will appear seamless," Lee Hill, SCCA Inc. Chairman, said. "Pro Racing and Enterprises will continue to operate as before. Instead of each being SCCA wholly-owned corporate entities, they are now divisions of a single wholly-owned corporate entity, with some administrative tasks, such as accounting, combined."
The oversite of Ventures is a five-person corporate board, which reports to the SCCA Board of Directors. Dan Helman, Vice-chair of the SCCA Inc. Board of Directors, serves as Chairman, with a slot for an at-large appointment (former SCCA Chairman John Walsh), SCCA's senior finance employee (Mindi Pfannenstiel), and the respective Division presidents (Mike Collins and Roby Clark). Each division's current board will remain active as a committee to guide the respective operations.
TOPEKA, Kansas (Jan. 4, 2017) -- James E. "Jim" Kaser, the first head of SCCA Pro Racing®, passed away last week in Naples, Florida after an illness. Kaser oversaw the first SCCA® professional racing series, the United States Road Racing Championship (USRRC), and will be inducted into the SCCA Hall of Fame during the 2017 SCCA Hall of Fame and Awards Banquet taking place later this month.
The success of USRRC led Kaser to organize a series initially involving two Canadian races, thus giving birth in 1966 to the Canadian American Challenge Cup, more commonly known as the Can-Am series. Soon after, Kaser's Pro Racing department introduced America's longest running road racing series, the Trans-American Sedan Championship, later known as Trans Am®.
It was Kaser's success with these series that resulted in the most significant change ever to the Sports Car Club of America®. Lee Hill, SCCA's new Chairman of the Board of Directors, said that is when the Club turned from being solely an amateur's club to also become a professional, international sanctioning body and organizer.
"We were very sorry to hear of Jim's passing," Hill said. "He was a very significant figure in the early years of the club, was the first head of SCCA Pro Racing, and is probably best remembered as the architect of the USRRC, Can-Am and Trans Am."
Kaser was a driver but became a fulltime employee of the SCCA in 1963.
Campaigning mostly Alfas on Midwest circuits, Kaser dabbled with a Lotus II, Corvette, Porsche RSK and a Formula 1 Lotus 19.
He stated in 1963, "time being what was, I gave up racing when I went to work for the SCCA, though Chuck Stoddard and I did drive a factory Alfa to a class win at the '64 Sebring."
Photo: Jim Kaser, in sunglasses, chatting with driver Denny Hulme
Photo Courtesy of Kaser Family
TOPEKA, Kan. (Jan. 3, 2017) – The SCCA® Board of Directors has finalized its 2017 fee structure for dues, sanctions and insurance. The BoD approved the changes during its December meeting.
Of note is a small $5 increase in dues for both regular and weekend members. Lee Hill, the new SCCA Board of Directors Chairman, said the revised membership fee will go into effect March 1, 2017.
"Raising prices is never popular, but in preparing the budget for 2017 it became obvious that some increases were going to be required in order to maintain balance," Hill said. "The slight membership increase applies to both regular and weekend memberships, and is the first increase in eight years. The decision to change dues was not taken lightly, but was felt to be the most effective and equitable avenue available."
Sanction and Insurance fees were also finalized and are available for online review here.
The 2017 SCCA® Hall of Fame class will be officially inducted January 21 during the Hall of Fame and Awards Banquet that caps off this year's SCCA National Convention taking place at the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
But how are the inductees selected, you ask? That decision falls to committees composed solely of SCCA members who volunteer their time to this important process. Currently, the committees are searching for new members to be part of the decision-making team.
The three committees are as follows:
- Nomination Committee: Chooses slate of possible inductees based on member nominations.
- Legacy Committee: Focuses on nominations from the first third of the Club's history.
- Selection Committee: Selects annual inductees from recommendations.
Committee terms are limited and each year new volunteers are invited to join the process. Participation is not time-consuming and many consider it a very rewarding experience. By recognizing those who have had a significant impact on the Club and the sport, the Sports Car Club of America® Hall of Fame seeks to preserve our history and inspire our members.
Those interested in being involved with one of the three committees only need follow the steps below:
- Write a brief resume of your SCCA experience and involvement.
- Indicate your interest in participating in one of the SCCA Hall of Fame Committees.
- Email your information to SCCAHoF@scca.com or send it to SCCA Hall of Fame, 6620 SE Dwight St; Topeka, KS 66619.
- Submit your information before Feb. 1, 2017.
Individual Hall of Fame Banquet tickets for January's event can still be purchased online. Everyone is invited to come and recognize this year's eight inductees: Pete Brock, Dennis Dean, Larry and Linda Dent, Joe Huffaker Sr., Lyn St. James, Phil Hill and Jim Kaser. And be sure to take time now to submit your information to join a committee and be part of the process in the future.