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Sports Car Club of America
Updated: 2 years 10 weeks ago

Dennis Dean Presented with SCCA’s John McGill Award

March 2, 2015 - 8:00pm
TOPEKA, Kan. (March 3, 2015) – Dennis Dean was given the 2014 John McGill award, the final SCCA Club Racing award to be given out this season. The honor was bestowed upon Dean this past weekend as part of the Northeast Division Steward Training Seminar, with NEDIV Exec Steward Kathy Barnes in the role of presenter. The award is given to one Club member who is deemed to have made a significant contribution to the Club Racing program. The winner is chosen by the members of the Club Racing Board, in concert with the SCCA Chief Operating Officer. “This is not an award you work for,” Dean said. “This is an award that comes to you. For five years, while I served as the Vice President of Club Racing, one of my duties was to partner with the Competition Board to select the winner of the John McGill Award. Very few things I did then were as important to me as making that selection, because I had a deep understanding of its significance to the SCCA and to Club Racing. Because of that, I am deeply humbled by being added to the roll of honorees. “To be put on a list with people like Frank Schultheis, Johnny Bornholdt, Rob Walker, and Sue Roethel is something I would never have dreamed could happen and I am honored beyond my capacity to properly articulate it.” The presentation of the John McGill award signifies the final annual SCCA award to be given out for 2014. While the top Club Racing driver, Andrew Longe, was awarded the President’s Cup at the SCCA Annual Convention, many of the other top honors for those involved with the Club Racing program were given away at Divisional and Regional events held throughout the winter months. A complete list of awards given out by the Club can be found by visiting http://www.scca.com/about/?cid=44418. The honors include those given out for service to the Club, in general, as well as the individual areas of competition. Be sure to like the SCCA on Facebook at Facebook.com/SCCAOfficial and follow us on Twitter @SCCAOfficial.

SCCA Convention Ends on a High Note with the Awards and Hall of Fame Ceremony

February 21, 2015 - 8:00pm
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Feb. 21, 2015) – The Sports Car Club of America Awards and Hall of Fame Induction Presented by Mazda closed out the 2015 SCCA National Convention and MSX Expo held at the Charlotte Convention Center Feb. 20-21. The banquet saw the presentation of four of the Club’s highest awards, in addition to the induction of the 2015 Hall of Fame class. To start off the awards, the Member of Excellence was given to JD King. King was selected by the Board of Directors for his extensive contributions to the Club. He is most known in the Solo community, but he has plenty of experience in wheel-to-wheel racing. In 1997, King was involved in an industrial accident that caused him the loss of his left arm. However, that did not deter King from following his passion for the Club and is even an active competitor and Club Racing administrator to this day. Andrew Pallotta took home the Solo Driver of the Year award following a performance in which he captured the National Solo Championship in Super Touring Xtreme, beating a field of over 60 drivers by more than 0.5-second. Pallotta was selected by the members of the Solo Events Board for his noteworthy performance at the Championship meet. “I am so surprised by this that I don’t know what to say,” Pallotta said. “Nick [Barbato] and Darren [Seltzer] are amazing drivers, in their own right. I can’t believe that I was chosen for this award over them. I have to thank everyone who has helped me along the way. There are too many to name, but without you this wouldn’t have been possible.” Next up on the docket was the President’s Cup, which was given to Andrew Longe. Longe was announced as the award winner by three-time President’s Cup winner and motorsports legend Roger Penske in a video recorded message. This award is presented to the driver who showed the most ability, competitiveness and success at the National Championship Runoffs as selected by the Stewards of the Meet and the Chief Steward of the event. Longe’s 20-lap battle with Kyle Kelley for the Touring 2 title more than qualified as the finish was decided by just 0.047-second, the second-closest Runoffs finish of the transponder era. The final award of the night was the Woolf Barnato award, presented by last year’s winner Bob Dowie. Current SCCA VP of Solo/Rally Howard Duncan was revealed as the winner, as selected by the previous three winners for his outstanding long-term contribution to the Club. A pleasantly surprised Duncan accepted the award. “I can’t believe I am up here receiving this award,” Duncan said. “I figured I was going to be able to take it easy tonight since I knew I didn’t have to worry about speaking. I was just planning on standing up here to direct traffic. However, this is a huge honor and I thank everyone here for this opportunity.” To finish the evening’s festivities was the induction of the newest class to the SCCA Hall of Fame. Each new member was nominated by the general membership and hand-picked by the selection committee based on both on- and off-track contributions to the Club. Included in the class were Dr. George Snively, Ron Sharp, Bob Tullius, Roger Johnson and Oscar Koveleski. Accepting on behalf of Snively was Dr. Dan Thomas, the President of the Snell Memorial Foundation. Snively’s research into head trauma was sparked by the death of William “Pete” Snell at an auto race in 1956. It was determined that Snell died because of inadequate head protection. Snively decided to further research the problem and presented his findings to the San Francisco Region SCCA. As his research gathered momentum, it eventually led to the founding of what we now know as the Snell Foundation. The organization is responsible for certifying helmets for many applications and pushes to increase the effectiveness of those safety devices. Ron Sharp was the next inductee. He made a name for himself more as an event organizer, but also spent plenty of time at the controls of a racecar. Among his accomplishments were the successful move of the Runoffs from Road Atlanta to Mid-Ohio and the successful production of the Des Moines Grand Prix. “When the Des Moines Valley Region found out, in 1988, that Trans Am was planning on having a street race, our region looked at is as a real opportunity,” Sharp said. “Not many regions get the opportunity to participate in something like this. As a show of support, our membership exploded from about 130 to over 400. We were able to work with many of the chiefs from the Central and Mid-West Divisions to make the event a success. We all knew that street races have their own personality, and set of problems, but with hard work from the team we were able to make the event happen.” Bob Tullius etched his name into SCCA history with many successful years behind the wheel of various cars. His Group 44 race team became one of the most fearsome organizations in SCCA Club Racing, at a time when there were not many full-fledged amateur race teams. Tullius also proved to have success in the professional ranks scoring numerous Trans Am and other professional wins. “I thought sitting on the grid for at the Runoffs was nerve-wracking, but not to worry this is much worse,” Tullius said. “My friends and supporters, many of whom are here tonight, are extremely important to not only my racing success, but my life in general. The life of a racer is a mixture of high highs and very low lows. Without good support, it makes dealing with those cycles very difficult.” Roger Johnson was the penultimate inductee during the evening. Johnson made his mark in the Solo community, most prominently as a course designer. While that is part of his legacy, Johnson also produced the materials by which new course designers learn the craft. Aside from that, Johnson has also introduced an international flair to the SCCA Solo program. For the past two seasons, in connection with former F1 and IndyCar driver Eliseo Salazar, Johnson has brought a contingent of Chilean drivers to Lincoln, Nebraska, to compete at the Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Championships. Closing out the ceremony was the formal induction of Oscar Koveleski to the SCCA Hall of Fame. Koveleski joined the club in 1950, scoring his first win a year later. He went on to race in the Can-Am series and also took part in the 24 Hours of Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring. He also has an A Sports Racing National Championship title to his credit. Additional information on the SCCA Hall of Fame, including past year’s inductees, can be found here. Also, information on the Club’s various awards, including past winners, can be found here. Like the Club on Facebook at Facebook.com/SCCAOfficial and follow the Club on Twitter @SCCAOfficial.

Day Two of SCCA National Convention Filled with Program-specific 2020 Sessions

February 20, 2015 - 8:00pm
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Feb. 21, 2015) – In staying with the SCCA Convention’s forward-looking theme, Saturday’s docket comprised of a series of panel discussions focused on specific areas of competition. Sessions were held for the Solo, Club Racing, Time Trials and RallyCross communities at the Charlotte Convention Center, on Saturday. The subject of SCCA Solo competition was the first item on the list. VP of Rally/Solo and Special Programs Howard Duncan started the discussion with an overview of where the program has been a in the past and the overhead view of the future direction. Eric Prill, SCCA COO, moderated the deliberation that included Duncan, Steve Hudson (Past Solo Events Board Chair), Brian Connors (Current SEB Chair), Raleigh and Velma Boreen (Regional Solo Development). Panelists tackled many subjects including participation, attempting to keep rules current with technological advancements in the auto industry and event format. Digital technological advancements, in regards to membership interaction, were also part of the discussion. “Test-n-Tune events seem to be on the rise, especially at the regional level,” Raleigh said. “With these types of low-key events, the focus is more on fun rather than competition. There isn’t the pressure knowing all I have is four runs to get it right. That allows for a more social aspect among the participants.” The Club Racing program was the next to take center stage. Like Duncan, Prill broke down the past and future direction of the program. When the discussion portion opened, Greg Creamer posed questions to the panelists, which included Prill, Deanna Flanagan (Senior Manager, Club Racing), Jim Wheeler (Club Racing Board Chair) and David Arken (CRB member). Many of the topics were future-focused with as it pertains to rules, future events – such as the yearly movement of the National Championship Runoffs – and the social aspect surrounding each race event. A renewed focus on camaraderie at Club Racing events was the hot-button topic. “As evidenced by the Runoffs at Mazda Raceway, the social aspect of our events has fallen flat over the past 10 to 20 years,” Flanagan said. “We do the on-track stuff very well, but engaging an increasing number of people is important. The Runoffs held at Road Atlanta and Mid-Ohio were before my time, but I’ve heard the stories that many of you have lived. The overall goal is to increase the fun factor.” Technology was another issue touched on by each of the four panelists. Flanagan highlighted the importance of the technological integration in the participant-facing applications, with enhanced registration on the forefront. Prill also teased a more interactive aspect of the Club’s website, which will be rolled out later in the year, in addition to a new potential corporate partnership with a major consumer electronics company. Wheeler and Arken addressed issues pertaining to technology as it relates to technical rules and regulations. The topic centered mostly on the collection of data and its usage in governing performance characteristics within each class of racing. The Time Trials session was led by Heyward Wagner with a panel that included SCCA Board of Director members Brian McCarthy and Tere Pulliam. Discussion centered on bringing more participants into the Club. The session participants agreed that getting potential participants the opportunity to sample what SCCA has to offer is the best way to convert those prospects into full members. The RallyCross 2020 session was the final of the program breakout sessions. Steve Hyatt, the RallyCross chairman, led the final 2020 session of the event. Hyatt reported on the RallyCross program in from 2014. The discussion soon shifted to spit balling ideas to get more participation in the program. The idea of creating women’s class, in addition to brainstorming ways to get the message regarding the program in front of the general public, were two examples of what was discussed to help grow the program. The day’s festivities will come to a close with the 2015 Awards and Hall of Fame Induction ceremony Presented by Mazda, scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Grand Ballroom of the Hilton Charlotte Center City. Additional information on the Convention and MSX Expo, including schedules, session descriptions and registration information, can be found at www.msxexpo.com.

Panel Discussion on SCCA Future Caps Opening Day of Club Convention

February 19, 2015 - 8:00pm
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Feb. 20, 2015) – The SCCA 2020 panel discussion featuring SCCA Club and partner executives deliberating the future of the motorsports industry and the Club’s role within it capped off the first day of the 2015 Sports Car Club of America National Convention and MSX Expo on Friday, held at the Charlotte Convention Center Feb. 20-21. Lisa Noble (CEO/President), Eric Prill (COO), Robert Clarke (SCCA Pro Racing President and SCCA VP of Business Development) and Tire Rack Vice President Matt Edmonds held a conversation to tackle some of those issues. Moderated by long-time Club member and professional motorsports broadcaster Greg Creamer, the talk took on many of the toughest questions facing those in the motorsports industry. Much of the early discussion was centered on how to get younger generations involved in motorsports. To that end, Noble made her opening comments with an eye on getting the general public interested in their vehicles once again. She made the point that the Club was not created solely for the sake of competition, but to promote a community of auto enthusiasts. “Our broader goal should be to attract those who do not yet know they are interested in cars,” Noble said. “The number of car owners out there is huge, but many of those people would not consider themselves car people. Often times they do not realize it, but there is an emotional connection forged with their vehicle. The key should be to emphasize that connection.” Creamer’s initial question was on the overall health and interest in motorsports in today’s world. This served as the stepping-off point for the discussion. “What we have is a basic erosion of interest in motorsports, and sporting events in general,” Clarke said. “What we have to do is understand how to engage the younger generations in what we are about, which is cars. There are so many different things for our younger generations with which they get involved. It’s hard to compete amongst all the background noise.” Clarke went on to explain that neither the vehicles nor the format featured in motorsports competition catch the eyes of younger generations. The challenge not only lies in finding exactly what attracts those younger viewers, but then understanding how to engage those points. As the conversation continued, the focused narrowed on SCCA’s role in this over-arching process. Each panelist agreed that SCCA is in a prime position to lead the effort to push motorsports, and the automobile, back into the public’s general consciousness. “The Club is at an interesting point in time,” Prill said. “There are many of us that have been members for years, but there are also many other folks out there who would like to get involved in a more personal way. Our goal should be to bring down those barriers to make our organization more accessible.” One of the remaining challenges discussed was how to make non-members aware of what SCCA has to offer, even if not strapped into a racecar. The recognition and gratitude surrounding the sheer number of volunteer hours needed to put on a successful event was one echoed all four panelists. “I want to look at the participation in our Club from a personal aspect,” Edmonds said. “As a major part of the Tire Rack Street Survival program, we have people in our organization interested in getting more involved all the time. We need to get as many people out to an event as we can. It’s not just about competing. There are some many different aspects in which to get people involved.” The conversation ended with a soft reveal of the Track Night in America driven by Tire Rack.com concept, promising a formal announcement in the coming days. Heyward Wagner, Director of SCCA Experiential Programs, introduced the program that promises evening lapping sessions at a reasonable price, at tracks across the country. Further details outlining the program will be made available in the coming days. Day Two of the SCCA Convention is slated to begin Saturday, at 8:30 a.m., with the MSX Expo floor set to re-open at 10:00 a.m. The entire event will conclude with the SCCA Hall of Fame and Awards Banquet Presented by Mazda, scheduled for Saturday at 6:30 p.m. Additional information on the Convention and MSX Expo, including schedules, session descriptions and registration information, can be found at www.msxexpo.com.

SCCA Members Recognized With National Level Awards

February 19, 2015 - 8:00pm
TOPEKA, Kan. (Feb. 20, 2015) – Eight SCCA Club Racing, RallyCross and Solo awards were presented to the respective winners at three Divisional Conventions, and two Regional Conventions, during the month of January. The presentation of these awards, which have historically been given out as part of the SCCA National Convention, were moved to the Regional and Divisional Conventions to present the awards in front of each driver’s friends and peers. As part of the Rocky Mountain Divisional Convention, held Jan. 25, Rupert Berrington was given the Spark Plug Award. This is an annual award given to an individual, Region or Division that has made an outstanding effort in promoting and publicizing RallyCross using many media platforms. In total three awards were given out at the Southeast Divisional Convention, on Jan. 31. Charles Wright, the SEDIV RallyCross steward, accepted the Divisional RallyCross Program of the Year award on behalf his division. The Tennessee Valley Region was presented with the RallyCross Region of the Year. As part of the festivities, Rick Mitchell was given Club Racing’s David Morrell Award. This honor is given to an active National Chief Steward for exhibiting outstanding performance and dedication to the sport while upholding the highest of principles. Morrell was selected by the Chairman of the Stewards and the remaining Executive Stewards. Presented the same day on the opposite coast at the San Francisco Region Solo Awards Banquet, Mark Scroggs took home Solo Rookie of the Year honors. Scroggs earned the award after claiming the G Street National Championship in his first trip to the Tire Rack Solo National Championship. With limited competition experience, he earned the title with a 0.4-second margin of victory over 26 other drivers. On Feb. 6, two awards were presented at the Chicago Region awards dinner. Al Varacins was awarded the Club Racing Crew Chief of the Year, while Daniel Bender was named the winner of the Kimberly Cup for being the most improved Club Racing driver after winning a Touring 4 National Championship. At the Midwest Division Convention that same night, Cliff Ira was named the Jim Fitzgerald National Rookie of the Year in Club Racing. Ira was the Super Tour Lite National Champion in 2014. Still to be given out at the SCCA National Convention during the SCCA Hall of Fame and Awards Banquet presented by Mazda on Saturday, Feb. 21, are the Woolf Barnato Award, Member of Excellence, President’s Cup and Solo Driver of the Year. The RallyCross Dirty Cup will be awarded to the winner at a future time. Below is a summary of awards and the winner, broken down by discipline. Club Racing Crew Chief of the Year: Al Varacins, Chicago Region David Morrell Award: Rick Mitchell, Atlanta Region Jim Fitzgerald National Rookie of the Year: Cliff Ira, Buccaneer and Kansas City Regions Kimberly Cup: Daniel Bender, Chicago Region RallyCross Divisional RallyCross Program of the Year: Southeast Division RallyCross Region of the Year: Tennessee Valley Region Spark Plug Award: Rupert Berrington, Colorado Region Solo Solo Rookie of the Year: Mark Scroggs, San Francisco Region Additional information on each award presented by SCCA can be found here. Like SCCA on Facebook at Facebook.com/SCCAOfficial and follow the Club on Twitter @SCCAOfficial. 

SCCA National Convention Kicks off With Annual Meeting

February 19, 2015 - 8:00pm
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Feb. 20, 2015) – The Annual Meeting served as the starting gun to the 2015 Sports Car Club of America National Convention and MSX Expo, held at the Charlotte Convention Center on Friday morning. The meeting was the first of several leadership and informational sessions for SCCA members. The over-arching theme of the Convention is 2020. Not only does the theme encompass a look forward in a five-year timeframe, but also a clear look back at where the Club has been in the past year and throughout our history. By referencing what worked in the past and what did not, the goal is to move forward with a clear vision and renewed vigor in what we can do in moving SCCA forward. SCCA President/CEO Lisa Noble opened the meeting, welcoming members of all stripes. The mic was then handed off to Chairman of the SCCA Board of Directors John Walsh. Aside from welcoming members on behalf of the Board, Walsh also spoke to many of the personnel changes within the organization. That included the induction of two new board members, Area Three Director Lee Hill and Area 11 Director KJ Christopher. Noble then took over the stage to outline the direction of the Club moving toward the future. One highlight put forth by Noble was the creation of new programs to further enhance the Club membership experience. New programs like Track Night in America, the Classic American Muscle Challenge, Solo Trials, Track Fest, Starting Line program enhancements and the ongoing push for an SCCA Kids Club were some of the notable programs that were introduced. Robert Clarke, SCCA Pro Racing President, stepped into the spotlight to review past events put on by the organization and what to look to for the upcoming race season. Clarke touted the increased participation in the flagship programs of SCCA Pro Racing, including Pirelli World Challenge, Trans Am and the Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich. Servicing the FIA Formula E international racing series and Formula Lites series, here in the States, are the largest two new lines of business for Pro Racing. Clarke closed his remarks by sharing his reflections of what Pro has meant to the Club, emphasizing the importance of the independently-owned subsidiary moving forward. Eric Skirmants, the Principal of SCCA Enterprises, stepped up to the podium to review 2014 an look toward 2015 plans. The Spec Racer Ford Gen3 rollout was a focal point for Skirmants. He made a point to speak to the importance of moving their suite of products forward. “At the core, participation is our biggest focus,” Skirmants said. “When we get more racers to buy our products that creates more customers for the Club in the form of race entries. The importance of the synergy between our organizations is paramount.” Mindi Pfannenstiel, SCCA Senior Director, Finance and Human Resources, broke down the financial performance of the Club. That included a net income just under $56,000, and the assurance that the organization is on the correct financial pathway moving toward the future. Raleigh Boreen, Chairman of the SCCA Foundation, wrapped up the program-based portion of the meeting with a review the Club’s philanthropic arm. The Foundation is charged with running the Tire Rack Street Survival and Formula SAE programs, as well as proper preservation of the Club’s archives. The biggest project facing the Foundation in the next year is the relocation of the archives from their current facility in Indiana to the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen, New York. Walsh closed the annual proceedings and called for an adjournment to the meeting. Additional information on the Convention and MSX Expo, including schedules, session descriptions and registration information, can be found here.


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