Copyright © 1997-2002
Clutch Chatter -- July 2000
SPECIAL DUAL EVENT OFFICIAL PROGRAM
LETTER FROM MARK BADGLEY, REGIONAL EXECUTIVE
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I wanted to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for attending one of the premier Central Division Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) events as sanctioned by the Indianapolis Region.
Whether you are attending the Indy Grand Prix at Indianapolis Raceway Park as a competitor, worker or spectator, I am very pleased to welcome you to one of the countrys most storied National Road Races. This year the event is held in memory of Bruce May. Bruce was one of the regions most respected competitors and a two-time National Champion in Formula Fords. In keeping with Bruces memory, the pole position for the Formula Ford Race will be held open for a special parade lap. Please join all of us in this region in celebration of Bruces accomplishments.
If you are attending the BFGoodrich Central Division Solo II at Converse, this is the first time that this region has attempted to put on an event in this series for a number of years. Please let us know how we can improve in the future to serve your needs.
As you read through this program, you will find descriptions of both Road Racing and Solo II. Both types of events are highly competitive and require a great deal of dedication from all of those involved. In order to fully gain the satisfaction from your membership in the SCCA, I would encourage everybody to support all of the activities in your region. If you are not a member, please feel free to contact me and I would be happy to help you begin your journey in the SCCA. We do provide on the job training.
I have been very lucky to be associated with some of the most talented and dedicated people to ever become members of the SCCA. On behalf of all of the dedicated people in this region that make it possible for us all to enjoy our various activities, I want to again thank all of you for supporting our events, and I look forward to meeting and talking to all of you as the month of July proceeds.
INDY GRAND PRIX
Friday, July 7, 2000
8:00 am - 5:00 pm -- IRP Test Day (not SCCA sanctioned)
Saturday, July 8, 2000
6:30 am - Gates Open
8:00 am -- Begin 20 minute practice sessions for:
Followed by LUNCH
1:00 pm -- Begin 25 minute qualification sessions for:
6:00 pm -- Giant Pig-In party for everyone under the grandstands at turn 13 PLUS Late Models and Trucks on the IRP Oval
Sunday, July 9, 2000
6:30 am -- Gates Open
8:00 am -- Begin 10 minute warm-up sessions for:
8:35 am -- Begin 18 lap races for:
Followed by LUNCH
1:00 pm -- Begin 18 lap races for:
WHAT IS SCCA ROAD RACING?
With more than 55,000 members, the Sports Car Club of America is the worlds largest car-enthusiast organization. To cater to the needs of such a big and diverse membership, SCCA offers a wide variety of automotive competition ranging from autocrosses and solo events to rallies and all-out racing.
In the racing sector, SCCA has separate divisions that address both professional and nonprofessional racing. The pro side has several series to offer such as the high-energy Trans-Am and World Challenge.
The Club Racing side provides a complete range of events that begins with training novice drivers and progresses all the way up to the National Championships. While it is nonprofessional, to call it "amateur" racing would be anything but fair. Although many of the cars arent terribly expensive - often coming right off of used car lots - still others may cost $100,000 or more. And the levels of vehicle preparation and competition are every bit as fierce and professional as are found over on the pro side.
There are three levels of competition within Club Racing. Driver schools teach new drivers the basics and give them a place to gain necessary racing experience under the watchful eye and guidance of veteran drivers. Regional racing is the intermediate plane, and offers fierce competition and high levels of enjoyment, but without the extensive travel and sometimes intense pressure that can be found higher up.
National racing is the highest level in Club Racing and, as the name implies, the goal at this plateau is winning a National Championship. This occurs each fall in the Valvoline Runoffs, the Olympics of road racing, where the top drivers from SCCAs 23 classes square off in a single 30-minute shoot-out for each class to determine who will wear the crown.
To get to the Runoffs, drivers compete around the country in National races such as those here this weekend accumulating points based on how well they do in each. At the end of the season, the top handful of drivers from each of SCCAs geographical Divisions is invited to "go for the gold". With everything on the line in a single roll of the dice, its not surprising that those half-hour shoot-outs have been described as the most exciting 30 minutes in racing.
THE CARS OF SCCA
Formula Cars - Formula cars are pure bred racing machines which were never intended to turn a wheel anywhere but the race track. They are single seat, open wheel machines, and the faster classes have wings to provide aerodynamic downforce to improve handling. The fastest SCCA class is Formula Atlantic where the cars can reach top speeds of 180 mph with lap averages over 100 mph. Formula Continental is a similar, but slightly slower class. The remaining classes use identical stock based engines and therefore provide some of the closest competition. Formula Fords use 1600 cc Ford engines while Formula Vees use air-cooled VW powerplants. Formula 500 cars use snowmobile engines, and Formula Mazdas use nearly stock Mazda motors.
Sports Racers - The Sports Racing classes are also made up of pure racing cars, but they have full bodywork unlike the Formula cars. Spec Racer Ford and Sports 2000 are two of the most popular classes, and their use of identical stock-based engines makes for close racing. The C and D Sports Racing classes are among the smallest in terms of numbers, but they frequently lead the way in terms of technical innovation in chassis design, engines, and aerodynamics.
Production and GT - The Production classes (EP through HP) and GT classes (GT1 through GT5) are made up of cars which were originally designed for street use. However, they have been highly modified for racing. While they a bear strong resemblance to their street-going cousins, a close look tells you that it is only skin deep. The front runners use tube frame chassis and the bodywork has been modified to permit super-wide racing slicks to fit under the fenders. The cars range from Trans Am type Corvettes and Porsches in GT1 to Triumphs and Austin Healeys in GP and HP.
Showroom Stock, Touring and American Sedan - The two Showroom Stock classes (B & C) are comprised of cars that not only look like what you drive on the street, but frequently ARE driven on the street. The cars are completely stock except for safety equipment and are fully street legal. All components must be stock and absolutely no performance modifications are allowed. Some of the closest racing comes from these classes, so dont let the lack of noise fool you. Theres no lack of excitement on the track. The Touring classes (T1 & T2) are similar to Showroom Stock, but allow more modification for safetys sake since the cars are faster. A Sedan is the fastest growing class in SCCA. It is made up of good old American cars like Camaros, Mustangs, etc. While not allowed the extreme modifications of the GT category, the class is popular because it is easy to build a competitive car.
The Valvoline Pro Vee Series presented by ADPAC is a semi-professional series for the Formula Vee class. Highly competitive and fun to watch, this series is structured not only to recognize the winner, but to reward and involve any and all Formula Vee competitors.
AN INTRODUCTION TO SCCA RACE WORKER SPECIALTIES
For those of you who have never worked as a volunteer at an SCCA race, here is a primer on the different specialties as seen by a new arrival. The most obvious workers are the puzzling creatures in white out by the turns. They wave an assortment of flags, they run to the aid of cars and drivers in distress, they exercise some type of official control over the racers, and they communicate among themselves with some sort of weird sign language. "Who are those people, anyhow? And what the heck are they doing?"
Well, they go by different titles in different sections of the country - flaggers, corner workers, communicators, turn marshals, and several others. However, no matter what theyre called in your part of the world, "those people" are all race officials; theyre all volunteers and theyre all there for the same purpose - SAFETY.
Along the way they also expedite activities and help to keep the event on schedule plus a host of other things, but their primary function is safety. They advise drivers about unseen dangers or problems ahead by means of flags and hand signals. They keep central race control informed about whats happening on their stretch of the track by radio or phone system. They act as the first line of response in case of an accident. And they have their own intricate system of sign language for communicating complex messages over long distances when theyre away from the radio or phone net. (And, yes, those messages sometimes are catty comments about a drivers technique.)
They also are out there all day long, in any kind of weather, with little or no relief. And they wouldnt give it up on a bet. Because they get the best seats in the house. No one gets any closer to the action and no one gets any better view, except the drivers...and theyre generally too busy to enjoy it.
Important as they are, though, the corner workers are very much like the tip of an iceberg: theyre the most visible part of something that is immensely larger. While it takes dozens of them to safely staff a race, it can take hundreds of people (all volunteers) to put together and operate the entire package required by a typical racing event.
There are many different jobs, most of which are referred to as "specialties". For a moment, lets pretend that youre at the track for the weekend.
Before anything can happen at the race track, someone has to actually organize the event. Although theyre about the only group that isnt formally recognized as a specialty, the race chairman/chairwoman, assistants and committee members are absolutely essential. Theyre the ones who rent the track, prepare and send out the entry blanks, sell ads for the program, arrange for ambulances and extra port-a-johns, and a thousand other things necessary for a well-run race weekend.
Okay, weve got a race track and all of the operational details are organized. Nothing can happen until the Registrars open their doors. They sign-in the drivers, crew members and everyone from all of the other specialties. Once everyone has cleared registration and signed the insurance waivers, we can get underway.
Final authority at the event rests with the Stewards. The Chief Steward is in overall charge, assisted by operating and safety stewards. A committee called the Stewards of the Meet handle administrative and rules enforcement matters
After registration drivers need to get set up in the paddock and unload the race car. Paddock Marshals will guide them through tricky or congested areas and can help them find a spot.
The next stop will be the tech shed. If a class is slated for safety inspections at this event, Scrutineers (tech inspectors) will check over the car and driving gear for compliance with safety rules. If not, theyll check just the gear. If a driver does well in the race, hell be back again, and theyll check the car for legality.
Next, well head to the false grid, the staging area for going on the track. Grid Marshals will assign cars a waiting spot and will look the driver and car over to make sure that all of the required safety gear is there, that seatbelts are properly fastened and tightened, and that theres nothing obviously wrong with the car. Later, when its time to race, theyll position the cars in the proper spot on the grid.
As cars leave the false grid and head for the track, Pit Marshals will guide them safely through the pits. It can get very crowded and confused. Once on the track, cars first come under the control of the Starters. Among other things, they get to wave the green flag to turn the field loose and the checkered flag to end the race. They also can call a driver in if a mechanical problem has been spotted on a car...or if the Stewards would like to have a word with you
All the while cars are on the track, Timers & Scorers are monitoring lap times and counting laps. Theyll determine who starts on the pole or back in the pack, if theres a lap record or not, and whos won the race.
And there are others watching. Race cars can be very loud, but SCCA has a strict noise limit. Sound Control officials are the watchdogs. Break the limit in practice or qualifying and a driver will be called in for repairs. Break it in the race and theyre history.
If a car should be uncouth and spread oil or coolant around the track, the Course Marshals go to work getting the track ship-shape again. If things get nasty, Emergency Services will respond with a wrecker, fire truck or ambulance, and Medical Services will be on alert. Meanwhile, the Pace Car Driver will lead everyone around at a safe speed until the course is clear again.
Each of the specialties has its own licensing program and a training program geared for newcomers who want to take part. All are open to any adult. In addition, every specialty that doesnt require access to danger areas is also open to minors making events even more family oriented. (As a benefit, everyone working in any of the specialties automatically receives a $500,000 insurance blanket from SCCA.)
Perhaps the neatest thing about the specialties is that you can join in. You can become part of the inner circle of racing. For more information on SCCA in the Indianapolis area you can call 317-892-4206.
LATE MODELS & TRUCKS ON THE IRP OVAL
Saturday, July 8, 2000
5:00 PM Practice
$5.00 per person w/ your SCCA credentials.
INDY GRAND PRIX RACE OFFICIALS
Chief Steward -- Bob Burns
INDY SOLO II GRAND PRIX
A Quick Tour Through the World of Solo II
|Marlene Obenour||Kent Weaver|
|11402 Wayfair Place||4406 Cordell Drive|
|Fort Wayne, IN 46845-1441||Kettering, OH 45439-3046|
Or see our Web Site at http://www.spec-rx7.org/~cashmo/cendiv/
Jul 8-9 -- Indy Grand Prix National Race at IRP
Jul 22-23 -- BFG Solo Event/Indy Region Solo Event
Jul 23 -- Clutch Chatter Deadline (FIRM)
Jul 30 -- Road Rally Points Event
Aug 8 -- Board Meeting at Laughners Cafeteria
Aug 19 -- Road Rally Points Event
Aug 20 -- Solo II Points Event
Aug 22 -- Clutch Chatter Deadline
These are highlights of the recent Indy Region Board of Directors meeting. If you have questions about the region's affairs, please attend the next meeting or contact any officer or board member.
Treasurer's Report: Income and expenses from recent events are being allocated. We are about where we expected to be at this time of the year.
Membership: 611 members.
Road Rally: The next two events are in good shape.
Solo: May event and Australian Pursuit had good turnouts. Planning for BFG event coming along.
Driver School/Regional Race: All of the bills are in.
Double Regional Race: The Observers Report targeted the lack of workers in several areas.
National Race: Electric cars are out, but the rest of the planning is in place.
Planning Committee: Had their second meeting
The next board meeting will be 8 August 2000 at 6:00pm at Laughner's Cafeteria on US 31 South.
This years theme seems to be "No Rain". It has rained on the afternoon of the Speedrome event for the last 3 or 4 times we were there. But not this year. Amidst all forms of dire weather predictions for the last 16th Street Speedway event, it was dry as well. The event results for both are detailed elsewhere in this issue.
Our big "Indianapolis Solo II Grand Prix" is just around the corner. This is the July 22/23 B.F. Goodrich Cendiv Solo II Championship event that Indy Region is hosting. Please pre-register and avoid the late entry fee. There is an event advertisement and entry form elsewhere in this issue. We encourage everyone to attend this premier event. Thanks again to all of you who have volunteered to help.
On another note, please take advantage of the upcoming Indianapolis Grand Prix at Indianapolis Raceway Park on July 8-9 to check out what SCCA road racing is all about. This is a national event, and is certain to be an exciting weekend for competitors, workers, and spectators. You are all encouraged to attend, as this event is open to the public. We could also use some extra help on course - up close and personal. See the information elsewhere in this issue, or call one of the board members, to see how you can be involved trackside as more than just a spectator.
The Mid-Season Points Standings are published in this issue. Be sure to qualify your points and join/renew prior to September 1 to be eligible for the year-end awards. If you have any questions, or believe there is a discrepancy, please contact Dave Hart.
Just a reminder that Cathy and I will be looking for someone to pass the Solo II lead to in the following months and encourage anyone interested in becoming more involved to work together with us so that we can have a smooth transition at the end of the year. We will continue to be active with the Solo program, but are looking forward to playing a somewhat more passive, "behind the scenes" role.
See you at Converse
|2000 INDIANAPOLIS REGION SOLO II SCHEDULE|
|Jul 22-23||BFG #4 / Converse, IN|
|Aug 20||16th Street Speedway|
|Sep 17||Australian Pursuit / Speedrome|
|Indianapolis Region SCCA Solo II||Points Event #3|
|Indianapolis Speedrome||June 6, 2000|
|1||Scott Holley||BMW M Coupe|
|2||Kevin Klink||Pontiac Formula WS6|
|3||Clark Howey||Chevrolet Corvette|
|1||Jay Hofacker||Mazda Miata|
|1||Clemens Burger||Toyota MR2|
|2||Darren Daubenspeck||Mazda RX-7|
|3||Jeff Alexander||Toyota MR2|
|1||Brett Striegel||Plymouth Neon ACR|
|1||Cindy Fineberg||Dodge Neon ACR|
|1||Patrick Tipton||VW Golf GTI|
|2||Ed Wolf||Toyota Celica GT|
|3||Les Ramirez||Honda Civic|
|1||Glenn Brown||Nissan 300ZX|
|2||David Johnson||Chevrolet Camaro Z28|
|1||John Kudlaty||Eagle Talon|
|2||Alan Ausbrooks||Subaru Impreza RS|
|3||Jason Strain||Honda Prelude|
|1||Dave Alexander||Toyota MR4|
|1||Jack Tovey||Chevrolet Corvette|
|1||Paul Lazaro||Mitsubishi Eclipse GST|
|2||Ted Drummond||Pontiac Firebird - Red|
|3||Scott Burton||Pontiac Trans Am|
|1||Paul Fox||Chevrolet Corvair|
|2||Warren LeVeque||Chevrolet Corvair|
|1||Michael LeVeque||Pontiac Fiero|
|1||Phil Wehman||Caterham Super Seven|
|1||Larry Metz||Zink C4 Solo Vee|
|1||Greg Murphy||Honda Civic EX|
|2||Steve Linn||Nissan Sentra SE-R|
|2||Chris McGuire||VW Rabbit GTI|
|3||Joe LeBlanc||VW Corrado VR6|
|1||Nick Hart||Comet Mach 1|
|3||Dave Hart||Comet Mach 1|
|4||Becka Nichols||Emmick Express|
|1-SS||Tiffany Howey||Chevrolet Corvette|
|1-ES||Sam White||Ford Mustang LX 5.0|
|2-ES||Corey White||Ford Mustang LX 5.0|
|Indianapolis Region SCCA Solo II||Points Event #4|
|16th Street Speedway||June 18, 2000|
|1||37.479||Scott Holley||BMW M Coupe|
|1||46.714||Erin Holley||BMW M Coupe|
|1||42.075||Steve Knitter||Porsche 911 Cabriolet|
|1||41.425||Bruce Faucett||Mazda Miata|
|2||44.253||Jay Hofacker||Mazda Miata|
|1||45.922||Catherine Faucett||Mazda Miata|
|1||42.231||Sean Murphy||Pontiac Fiero|
|2||43.570||Jeff Alexander||Toyota MR2|
|3||44.825||Darren Daubenspeck||Mazda RX-7|
|1||41.994||Brian Gard||Plymouth Neon ACR|
|1||43.766||Cindy Fineberg||Dodge Neon ACR|
|2||47.088||Valerie Gard||Plymouth Neon ACR|
|1||51.081||Alberto Pizzato||Nissan 240SX|
|1||43.611||David Johnson||Chevrolet Camaro Z28|
|2||49.211||Andrew Bratt||Dodge Truck|
|1||41.958||Gustavo Hammerly||Acura Integra-GSR|
|2||45.271||Alan Ausbrooks||Subaru Impreza RS|
|1||45.055||James Owens||VW Jetta TDI|
|2||52.039||Dave Debolt||Chevrolet Citation|
|3||54.249||Sean Underhill||Saturn SC1|
|1||44.636||Sean Harshey||VW Scirocco|
|1||42.418||Paul Lazaro||Mitsubishi Eclipse GST|
|2||47.457||Larry Hathcoat||Ford Mustang Cobra|
|1||39.021||Lee Miller||Pontiac Fiero|
|1||38.448||Warren LeVeque||Chevrolet Corvair|
|2||41.487||Mark Gillespie||Chevrolet Corvair/Yenko/Stinger|
|3||42.796||Paul Fox||Chevrolet Corvair|
|1||38.810||Richard Atkins||Fiat X-1/9|
|1||42.821||Steve Linn||Nissan Sentra SE-R|
|2||43.714||Chris McGuire||VW Rabbit GTI|
|3||44.625||Joe LeBlanc||VW Corrado VR6|
|4||45.933||Martin Ausbrooks||Honda Accord|
|5||46.211||Leonardo Bonvino||Honda Civic|
|6||47.066||James Lin||Acura Integra GS|
|7||47.110||John Ausbrooks||Honda Accord|
|1||38.307||Dave Hart||Comet Mach 1|
|2||38.594||Nick Hart||Comet Mach 1|
|3||45.202||Greg Nichols||Emmick Express|
|1-HS||34.503||Dennis Dunkman||Honda Civic EX|
|2-ES||35.705||Corey White||Ford Mustang LX 5.0|
|3-ES||36.046||Sam White||Ford Mustang LX 5.0|
|Indianapolis Region SCCA Solo II|
|Mid-Season Points Standings|
|Through and Including Points Event #4|
|6||DSP||Ken Ka-Ki Chu|
16th STREET ASPHALT ADVENTURE
SUNDAY, August 20
16th Street Speedway Parking Lot, 1501 West 16th Street, Indianapolis
Rain or Shine
Karts Welcome! (Contact Dave Hart for Rules) It is the judgment of the Solo Safety Steward whether the course design, surface, solid objects, and type of karts running present an unsafe mix (2000 Rulebook 2.1.D). Please contact the Solo Chairman prior to the event to determine the likelihood of limitation or exclusion occurring.
Registration & Tech: -- 9:30 AM - 10:30 AM
Driver's Meeting: -- 10:45 AM
Event Start: -- 11:00 AM
$15.00 Members -- $18.00 Non-Members
Contact: Dave or Cathy Hart at (317) 849-2495 or email@example.com
Round 3 of the 2000 Regional Rally Championship is history. Our thanks to David and Roberta DeBolt for putting this event together. After three seasons as Rally Chairman for the Region we talked them into actually putting on an event. I thought that it went really well.
The fourth points event of the season is scheduled for Sunday, July 30. This will be a relatively simple TSD Tour. This means that we go back to our normal A, B, C, and Novice classes. Other than a short section of gravel getting from the last checkpoint to the site of the party, the entire course is paved. The start point is at the Wendys at the Cloverdale exit from I70 (Exit 41). This is about 30 miles west of I465.
There are special rules for this event in that we are allowing more than two people to a car so that you can bring your family along. The event ends at Turner Woodards Wasatch Lake Resort near Poland, IN (this is in the vicinity of Lieber State Park). Recreational opportunities that we can partake of include hiking, fishing, swimming, and tennis. Turner is providing food and drinks, so it would be very nice if the regulars would give me a call and tell me how many people you plan to bring. This will help Turner prepare so that there is enough food, but a minimal amount of waste.
A LITTLE HISTORY OF HANCOCK COUNTY RESULTS
|1||E-1||Candice & Frank Pope||-822.997 (T)|
|2||E-2||Richard & Janet Atkins||-822.427 (T)|
|3||E-3||Jim Bredle/Damon Beals||-818.570|
|4||E-4||Benton III & Benton IV Tackitt||-755.451|
|5||E-5||Don Reynolds/King Doxsee||-752.356|
|6||N-1||Andrew Bratt /Therisa Lloyd||-751.513 (T)|
|7||N-2||David & Ellen Johnson||-729.472 (T)|
|8||E-6||John Marshall/Roger Bland||-704.227|
|9||E-7||David & Jeff Alexander||-668.555|
|10||N-3||Paul Lazaro/ Lori Milburn||-659.801|
|12||E-8||Steve & Carolyn Phillips||-485.780|
2000 RALLY SCHEDULE
Jul 30 -- Wasatch Lake Rally -- Vic & Pat
Aug 19 -- Anywhere Is Rally -- Bob Burns (twi-night)
Sep 10 -- Frank or Candi -- Frank & Candice Pope (Tour/Course)
Oct 22 -- Ken Osieki (Tour)
Nov 19 -- Dan Cook (Course)
WASATCH LAKE RALLY
JULY 30, 2000
The Rally will start at the Wendys at Exits 41 of I-70, approximately 30 miles west of Indianapolis, at the intersection of I-70 and US231 just North of Cloverdale, IN. Look for the checkpoint sign.
Registration: -- 11:30 12:30 PM
Drivers Meeting: -- 12:30 PM promptly
First car starts course: -- 1:01 PM
First car completes course: -- Approximately 4:30 PM
Members of SCCA: $10 -- Nonmembers: $20
Concept of the rally: This is an easy TSD rally. Only public, paved roads are used. After the rally, there is 1 mile of gravel to Wasatch Lake. All instructions will have official mileages. Scoring will be done by a combination of timed checkpoints and by determining the location of a number of pictures provided to you.
The rally will end with a catered party and outdoor activities such as swimming, hiking, tennis, and fishing at Wasatch Lake Cabins. Any number of persons per car is allowed, providing they are wearing seatbelts. Bring your family and friends.
For further information: Charles Hanson (317) 780 - 9007 (Leave a name and phone number if you get voice mail. I travel a lot.)
Question #1 -- SCCAs new CEO:
Where did SCCAs newly selected CEO come from and how was he selected by the Board of Directors?
The process to select a new President and CEO of SCCA was begun long before my recent election to the BoD. The Board began nearly two years ago by forming a Search Committee that consisted of Chuck Shapiro, Roger Eandi, and Dan Sherrod who were all on the BoD at that time. This committee worked with an executive search firm to solicit and evaluate candidates. Based on criteria that they developed and reviewed with last years Board, the Search Committee narrowed the field to a handful of candidates who were presented to this years Board in May. As a new Director, that was the first time that I really became involved in the process. At the May BoD meeting the candidates were ranked pending background checks and contract discussions. Since that time there have been many serious discussions held between the Directors regarding what we needed in a CEO and who could best provide it. As with any discussion of this magnitude, there were a variety of opinions, viewpoints and concerns expressed by different Directors. Ultimately the Board voted to offer an employment contract to Mr. Steve Johnson.
Steve Johnson was most recently a Vice President for the National Hot Rod Association. This gave him exposure to the only other US sanctioning body that is primarily member based, with both amateur and professional arms. Prior to that he was involved in various facets of management and marketing for several major firms.
Each of the twelve Directors formed their own opinions regarding the important aspects of the job and how they should best be met. The only thing we agreed completely on was that once the man for the job was selected, we were all going to do our utmost to help him in his new job. Now 55,000 members get to form and express their opinions. That in itself should be an interesting introduction to the SCCA for Mr. Johnson. However, he vows that he is up for the challenge and excited about moving into the job. I urge you all to do as I plan to do. Offer him a warm welcome, and get him off to a good start in this job that is so important to all of us.
Question #2 -- SCCA Bylaws:
What are the merits of the proposed bylaws change which the membership has been asked to vote on?
Most of what is proposed in the new bylaws revision is merely a clean up of things which are out of date. Our operations have changed somewhat in the past few years and most of the changes just bring our bylaws into line with the direction our club operation is headed.
The one substantive change involves the creation of two new Areas to give increased representation to the Southeast and Northern Pacific divisions. The under representation of these portions of the country was an issue during my previous time on the BoD (1991-1996). Several redistricting proposals were initiated during those years but none got past the BoD to become a ballot to the membership. This proposal makes the needed changes without any impact to Central Division, which was a point of contention in several earlier plans.
I support the new bylaws and urge you to vote for them.
I have just learned of the passing of Bruce May. I am deeply saddened, as Bruce was instrumental in starting me in SCCA competition. I went to Bruce's house to get my novice permit and spent time with him. He was the best promoter of SCCA I have ever met. He was a decent and generous man who was a champion and still had time to help a newcomer in SCCA become a competition driver. I was in awe of Bruce and hope that I could someday become close to being the man in a car that he was. At times like these my thoughts and prayers go to his family. I loved Bruce, and he was what the SCCA should strive to become -- a great racer and a friend to the novice. I can't forget the intensity that Bruce brought to racing and the demeanor of this champion. The arrogance of his car with the passing flag on the nose showed the spirit and drive that fuels a great competitor. I am deeply saddened by the untimely death of this man that had a young family and bright future.
I bought a go-kart from Bruce and called him regularly about this kart. He always had time to discuss racing and made me feel special. It is not the worth of a man in dollars that matters, but the heart of a champion that takes the time to help those less talented with their aspirations. I am devastated by Bruce May's passing, and my prayers and concerns go out to his family and friends. I will promise to try to be the racer that Bruce exemplified in his career and help those that I can. I know that I will be forever changed by the kindness and concern that Bruce May had for me. I will do what ever I can to keep the memory of Bruce alive and strive to be the kind of racer that Bruce was while he was alive. I will never be the champion that Bruce May was in SCCA racing. I will never accomplish his lofty goals. Yet, from this point forward, I will strive to be the kind of man that he was in the SCCA. I only hope that Bruce is in that promised land where he can be with those racers that have passed before like Jimmy Clark, Graham Hill, and Mark Donahue and others. May his dreams see their full potential in the heavens. I know I am a better person because Bruce May has touched my life.
With Love and Eternal Respect,
Dr. John M. Reisert
FV #39, FM #31
By the time we find out Indy Region news over here in Paris, Illinois, it is often way too late. This is the penalty for living in an outlying area .
The other night my former crew chief called me up and told me he had overheard Steve Knapp on RPM tonight mention that he was in town "to attend Bruce Mays funeral." I hung up the phone and called Terrance Garrett, and to my utter dismay, it was true.
I really only had one experience with Mr. May. In 1997 I showed up at the April event on the oval at IRP with a pathetic Club Ford and a Novice Permit. Coincidentally, we were in the next pit down from Bruce, the current SCCA Formula Ford National Champ. After struggling through the first practice session with a car that didnt want to turn left, my crew chief suggested I have a chat with the bloke in the next pit. After all, I was barely out of the 30 second "barrier," and Bruce May was running 23s and lapping two seconds a lap faster than the best F2000 car. Intimidated, but with nothing to lose, I asked Bruce for some set up advice
Now I know full well that it was not a national event, and needless to say, Bruce was not intimidated by my twenty year old Club Ford; nonetheless, he shared some fairly important set up and driving tips (ok, so he told me to stay way up high out of his way.) The next session though, I got down into the 26s, and the car at least thought about turning left.
The only reason Bruce didnt lap me three times in 30 laps was a mercifully timed yellow flag two-thirds into the race. But, at least my car turned left.
After the race, I was jazzed after finishing second to the current national champ. We were drinking beer and tearing down and packing, and we got to chatting again. Bruce had a son a year or so older than my oldest boy, and we put off loading up long enough to share a few stories about "dadhood." Why I remember his boys name is Wyatt is beyond me as this was the only time I met Bruce, but the impression was clearly made. He was a loving and concerned father.
In some ways it is easier for us racers to handle April 7 or June 2 than it is for us to deal with the reality of life. Jim Clark and Bruce McLaren died doing what they truly loved. Bruce May should have died in a racecar. He would have been happier; and we might have understood.
My condolences to his family. I hope sometime Ill run into Wyatt at IRP.
Remotely located in rural Michigan, Grattan is an interesting track with multiple elevation changes. Most turns are blind, off-camber or change direction at the exit. These combinations occur either within the turn or in the braking area shortly before. The "normal line" turns out to be not-so-normal and the turn numbering system tends to be confusing to the first-timer. Depending on which publication you read, youll find a "10 turn course" or "13 or 14 turns (depending on how fast you are going)." Most drivers find the course to be challenging and complicated at first, but rewarding and fun once they figure out the layout.
As crew for Dave Hart, his wife Cathy and I made it to Grattan around noon Friday for an afternoon of test/tune. The weather was overcast with some sunshine, which turned out to be the best weather of the weekend. Intermittent showers and cool temps were the standard for the following two days.
The weekends entry list included 8 drivers in 7 cars from Indy Region. The first drivers to take the track for Saturdays practice and qualifying were Alan Knell, Dave Thomas and Brian Duncan in Group 3.
Alan Knell (#57 BG) put his Knell Racing/NGK/Vilven Tire Baby Grand on the class and group pole over Dan Schaut (#77 BG) of Milwaukee Region and a group of ITA, ITB and LC cars. He battled Schaut in the rain after giving up P1 in the first turn. Knell said, "I got around him in turn 2 on lap 5, then something broke on his car on lap 6, which handed me the BG lead and class win. I was able to hold off the group until it started raining with 3 laps to go. Those front wheel drive Hondas and the Saturn hooked up and were able to get around me." In addition to his BG win and 4th overall finish, Knell posted a new track record during qualifying coming in 3.5 seconds under the existing record which he also owned. "Ive been here many times, but this was my first time in the rain. Im pleased with my run, but the track seems a lot rougher than in the past, especially around turn 5," Knell lamented.
Knell lives in Champaign, Illinois but enjoys being an Indy Region member, "For the people and the competitiveness of the region." His greatest memory is from 1985 when he beat Tony George (IMS) for the Rookie points award.
Knell took a break on Sunday only to strap his friend, Rick Neale (OVR), into his car so he could get experience piloting a Baby Grand. Knell stated, "Ive had the most fun racing this car than anything else Ive driven. Im letting Rick run it today because hes considering getting one for himself. Watching my own car go around this course is a horrible thing. Its more nerve-racking than being behind the wheel." Neale and Schaut ran only two laps during qualifying due to windshield fogging problems. This meant the two cars who qualified 1st and 2nd in Group 3 Saturday would start in the back of the field for Sunday.
During the race, both BGs worked their way through the field, but not without multiple incidents of pushing and shoving. "You would think the other cars were fighting for the National Championship. They weren't even in our class," said Knell. Neale led with a group fast lap of 130.2 before being drilled in the side by a spinning car. He pulled it in the pits, thinking he had destroyed the car. "There was nothing damaged on the car other than rubber marks," said Knell. Neale went back out, one lap down, caught Schaut and raced with him till the end, thinking Neale had made up a lap. Neale ended the day in 2nd, 18th overall.
Knells weekend didnt get off to a great start. According to Alan, "As we were coming through Grand Rapids last night, a drunk driver ran a stoplight and hit us head on. It damaged the front, passenger side of the camper and he left the scene. We have no idea who hit us. The cops are still looking for him. I was really glad to get the pole and win on Saturday after all of that."
As I skimmed through the entry list for the weekend, something different caught my eye among the ITB entries. There, Dave Thomas was listed as a VW driver. Nothing unusual, except for the fact that Wendys appeared in the sponsor column. Was this the Dave Thomas, founder of the Wendys restaurant chain and star of his own series of television commercials? Of course not, but it was Indy Regions Dave Thomas (#96 ITB VW Golf), "I have no idea how that made it on the entry list. That space was blank when I sent it in. Someone who thinks theyre funny here in Western Michigan must have added it to the list," lamented Thomas.
In his first visit to Grattan, Thomas finished 4th in class and 13th overall on Saturday. "At this place, its a matter of survival. I was able to pick up a few positions just by being out there. Attrition really counts here," said Thomas.
Sunday, Thomas qualified 7th in class, "I got hit by an ITA Corolla in qualifying. He smashed in my right rear panel and did a bit of damage to the tire. I will say Grattan is one of the most challenging tracks in CENDIV, especially when it's wet." During Sunday's dry race, Thomas made up a few positions going four-wide into T1 at the start. Once everyone got sorted out, he found himself 3rd in class. "The second place car had too much of a margin for me to make up. I'll take it," said Thomas.
Finishing 12th overall and 8th in class for Saturdays Group 3 race was Brian Duncan (#38 ITA Honda CRX), new to this track, in his second year of racing, and coming off an ITA class win at Indys IRP Double Regional. "Im learning that driving my car like an off-road four-wheel-drive doesnt work well here. I had a big spin coming onto the straight out of the last turn. I got loose, did a 360, slid up the hill on the outside of the track to the left, came back down and continued on," stated Duncan.
On Sunday, he qualified his DC Devoss sponsored CRX 8th in class and 13th overall. He ended the day 10th in class and 16th overall after receiving a black flag following the start, "As the pack approached the start, I decided to peek around the car in front of me to see the starter stand, which wasnt visible from my position. Race Control admitted that I did not move ahead before the green, but I moved out of line. At green, I stepped on it and improved to 5th or 6th. I had a great time overall and learned a lot more than how to interpret the GCR."
Taking to the track in Group 4 were Robert Pfeffer and Dave Hart. In his third visit to Grattan, Pfeffer (#10 TCC Corvette) sat on the class and group pole before winning TCC (Touring Challenge for Corvettes-www.tccracing.com) and overall on Saturday. "We had a tight race with a lot of traffic, dicing and good clean racing which really showcases what our series is about," stated Pfeffer. Jeff Corbell (#22 TCC), of Chicago passed Pfeffer early. "He got around me in traffic, then went off in the bowl. That just proves that old age and treachery will overcome youth and exuberance every time," laughed Pfeffer (44 Corbell is 24), "Im glad our series decided to return to Grattan this year after skipping it in 1999. Its a technical track, but really fun once you get used to it."
Wet qualifying for Sundays race found Pfeffers Pace IR sponsored Corvette on the pole again. His hope for rain during the race was crushed as the drying conditions and bursts of sunshine made a difference for him this time on the circuit. Pfeffer ran without incident, finished a frustrating 3rd, but held on to the TCC championship lead.
Fridays testing went well for Dave Hart (#9 AS Camaro) as he learned the track and got accustomed to the challenging layout. "IRP is the only track Ive driven. The first couple of laps here at Grattan were a little scary, with all of the blind turns and elevation changes. It progressed into a day with times only 4 seconds off of the track record, so I felt like I accomplished quite a bit for a beginner," said Hart.
Hart qualified well Saturday morning, putting his Hart Motorsports Camaro in a solid position, "Fridays testing paid off and surprisingly, I was able to drive the same line in the wet as I did in dry conditions." For the race, officials split the run-group into two sections, starting the TCC Corvettes three turns ahead of the rest of Group 4. Extra pace laps were needed as the report of, "Fowl on course," came across the radio from race control. A group of Canadian geese decided to stroll on the track on a mission separate from the intent of the racers. After the green flag fell, Hart lost ground and trailed Eric Jensen (#62 AS Camaro) by 4 seconds. He picked up the pace by lap 7, passed Jensen and led by more than 5 seconds with the 3rd place car nearly a minute behind. This lasted until late in the race when, "I got a little hot through turn 1 and the rear-end started coming around on me. I corrected two or three times and it finally came around, spinning off-track at the entrance to turn 2. I re-fired, but had to wait for traffic to pass so I could get moving again." Hart held onto 2nd but had less than two laps to catch Jensen. He managed to close in on the leader by the time the checkered flag fell. "After the spin, I didnt stand a chance. I drove hard, but couldnt regain the ground I lost, " said Hart. As a side note, Jensen assisted the previous owner of Harts car in its construction.
Sunday mornings qualifying wasnt much better for Hart, "The track was the wettest it had been all weekend, "I lost it coming up the hill out of the hairpin, did a 360 in the grass, but continued on." He qualified almost 4 seconds behind class pole sitter, Frank Robinson (WOR), a different driver of the same #62 Camaro he raced on Saturday. Hart was a little more tentative for the first few laps of Sundays race, "I let Robinson get away from me, but made up a 7 second deficit by lap 10, passed him and stretched my lead after he started having a fuel problem." Hart eventually lapped the third place car and went on to capture his second win in four SCCA Club Racing starts. "The race was fun. It was nice to finally have a dry track again (like Friday). This is a nice facility I had a blast."
Heading out in Group 5 this weekend were Renee Edwards, Tony Fesi and Bruce Shire. Edwards (#33 F5 Mark 7 KBS) qualified 4th and posted a strong run during Saturdays race to capture the lead. She pulled away only to spin going into 3, giving up the lead. She was able to hold onto 2nd place and get within 10 seconds of the leader, but it wasnt enough. Renee ended the day 2nd overall and 2nd in class. "This track is a lot rougher than it was last year, especially in the esses," said Edwards.
Sunday, she qualified 8th on a wet track, was in 4th after the first turn and held that position until the finish. "I just wasnt' pushing it hard enough in the beginning. The first three cars got away from me. By the last lap, I was only about 2 car lengths from 3rd," said Edwards.
Tony Fesi and Bruce Shire (#28 F500 Red Devil) split driving duties with Fesi qualifying their Team Fastr/Cronatron/Specialty Welding/Color Concepts car Saturday and finishing 2nd in class after a spin in turn 5. "I got airborne over the hump and lost it. This is my first time at this track and the first time on rain tires. I swore Id never race on rain tires," said Fesi. The Red Devil debuted a new paint scheme this weekend. Tony said, "We got tired of the Michigan crowd calling it The Big Banana so we had Color Concepts of Indy put a purple stripe on the car and paint our helmets to match."
Shire qualified the car in the rain Sunday, but had a dry track for the race, posting a finish 6th in class and 10th overall. "This is a tough, demanding, yet great course. If you dont set up for the first turn properly, you basically blow it for the rest of the circuit. I got really comfortable by lap 9. It helped having the two of us give feedback. I felt comfortable in traffic with the corner workers doing an excellent job with the Passing flag. My teammate is a little jealous that I got to run on a dry track," said Shire. The team also acknowledged the appreciated help of their crew, Bruces " dedicated and gorgeous" wife Karen, who has aspirations of getting behind the wheel of an IT racer someday.