Sports Car Club of America – Yellowstone Region 108
March 2017 Meeting
The monthly membership meeting of the Yellowstone Region SCCA was called to order by Regional Executive Dean W. Johnson on Tuesday, March 7, 2017, at 6:00 p.m., in the GH&R law firm conference room.
Minutes of Previous Meeting: A motion was MS&P to accept without addition or correction the minutes of the December 2016 meeting as published in the December 2016 issue of Fast Times.
Treasurer’s Report: Secretary/Treasurer J. Reuss reported the current checkbook balance and noted that all bills have been paid. A motion was MS&P to accept the Treasurer’s Report.
Old Business: Steve Gruver indicated that he (still) intends to send in his Solo Safety Steward application.
New Business/Announcements: J. reported that that three event dates had been confirmed for the Yellowstone Drag Strip and are now on the website. A discussion was held concerning doing some joint advertising with the drag strip and it was agreed that such may be beneficial. A discussion was held concerning adding a Saturday evening event prior to the MetraPark event on June 25th. Everyone seemed to be in favor, so J. agreed to pursue the matter with MetraPark representatives. J. reported final negotiations were proceeding for two events at an additional site. Guy Cox reported that due to scheduling conflicts, he would not be able to serve as Chief of Tech at all events this year. However, it was noted that we had plenty of individuals who were qualified to pitch in when the need arises.
The meeting was adjourned at approximately 6:45 p.m.
By the Roving Regional Reporter
The Region Year-End Party and Awards Ceremony was held on February 4th at The Windmill Restaurant in Billings. Pictured below is an elated Woody Jensen being congratulated(?) by his son, Nels Jensen, for winning the Dick Hager Memorial Spirit of the Sport Award. Woody joined SCCA in October of 2013.
Some of the cars I have owned and loved were a 1961 Corvette, 1959 Porsche, 1972 240Z, 1992 Mitsubishi 3000 GT, and now my CRX.
While still working for Billings Public Schools, Nels talked me into buying a $900 Honda Civic CRX as my economy commuter car. I knew he secretly wanted it for himself and several times offered to accept it as a gift from me. SCCA racing was not in my plans until I watched Nels driving in a couple of events. He suggested I give it a try with the Honda. Nels probably knew my interests better than I did. Prior to SCCA, I was more interested in equine horsepower after doing colt starting for a number of years. In my first event with the Honda at GM Petroleum, I certainly didn’t distinguish myself other than feeling way out of control in turns. I used the gas pedal like an on-off switch.
Next, Nels talked me into some Honda modifications and did some great coaching. Along the way, I’ve also gotten good tips from Dwight Gilliland, Dennis McCollough, Dean Johnson, Chris Brewer, and more recently, James Papallo. James races a Honda similar in power to mine and I watch him closely when he’s on the course. I am grateful for the help, assistance, encouragement, and receptiveness from lots of others like J. Reuss, Steve Gruver, and Jerod Staebler.
After wiping out an axle (not uncommon for me), Joel Gruver offered me use of his car to finish out the day. That offer was highly appreciated. There are other individuals needing mention too whose names escape my senior citizen memory. It’s also nice to be recognized by many in the SCCA group for the high degree of skill I have in “cone killing.”
The car number 68 was chose for how old I was at the time I started the SCCA adventure. I’ve been at it for 4 going on 5 summers now. You may see me on the course with a motorized wheel chair in the future!
I was born and raised in Billings until my junior year of high school when Dad was transferred to Rapid City, and then 10 months later to Arvada, Colorado.
My dad was probably the major reason for me getting a car and motorcycle craving from early on. He owned what was known as a “full-service” Conoco gas station that actually filled your tank, washed your windshield, and checked your oil–all with a smile (and a uniform)!
The first vehicle I was allowed to actually operate was a Honda minibike with a 50cc engine and fold-down handle bars. That planted the seed for many dirt bikes to follow and also an insatiable desire to learn the mechanics of cars and motorcycles. Hot Rod magazine was a great tool for learning and keeping up on all things automobile.
My first car was a 1963 Pontiac Grand Prix which allowed me to learn first hand how things worked as I repaired and modified it for street fun. While working part-time at a gas station during high school, I was fortunate enough to acquire a 1966 Chevelle SS 396/375hp with a recently-rebuilt engine. This car really got me hooked and I spent nearly every dollar I earned improving and maintaining it. I was all about drag racing back then and being in the Denver area allowed me to indulge on and off the street.
I married my best friend Deb shortly after high school graduation which started to divert attention away from all-things-cars to more “domestic activities.” The Chevelle was sold (dumb move) and replaced with a Chevy van which was soon transformed into a camping-capable van with fancy paint. Then, college and working sidetracked anything car-related.
Once back in Billings and reconnecting with a long-time friend, we began attending things like the Black Otter Hillclimb which re-kindled thoughts of cars. However, Deb and I shortly discovered we were proud, expecting parents of twins, so the GTI gave way to a 4-door VW Jetta.
Parenting duties gained all focus for many years until they were in college and a used 350Z seemed like a good idea. I always intended on racing it, but the dates of events never lined up. I upgraded the 350 to a 370Z and was bound and determined to make it happen in 2016. I managed to get to all of the events and now am “hooked.” What a fun sport and what an enjoyable and helpful group to get acquainted with. I am looking forward to participating for many more years.
From the Regional Executive
Let me be the first to formally welcome Nels Jensen as the newest member of the Yellowstone Region. Nels is the son of Woody Jensen. Nels was a regular attendee of Region events until he took some time off to buy a house, have two children, and refit his 1985 Toyota Corolla with a Honda S2000 motor! Although Nels is now in XP class, look for him be be back on top of the leader board.
We have gotten confirmation for three dates this summer at the Yellowstone Drag Strip and are currently working on adding an additional event at MetraPark. It is shaping up to be a good season!
From the Competition Chair
Snell 2005 (or newer) helmets are required this year. We checked out the “loaners” in the timing trailer and 4 out of 6 are no longer legal for SCCA Solo events. Before you get busy with spring cleaning, take a minute to check your helmet. If you don’t, you might end up wearing a sweaty loaner at the first event.
Because of my new addiction that is Solo, I have been thinking about attending a few Tire Rack Solo Amateur Championship Series events this season–if there are any close enough.
The Tire Rack Amateur Solo Champion Series has 10 events listed on their 2017 calendar. I identified four that are (arguably) close enoughto consider attending.
The first is May 27th to 29th at Lincoln Airpark, Lincoln Nebraska (890 miles). The second is June 9th to 11th in Fountain Colorado at the Pikes Peak Raceway (650 miles). Then July 7th to 9th at the Hampton Mills Old Lumber Yard Packwood, Washington (820 miles), and finally, September 4th to 8th, the SCCA Solo Nationals Finale back at the Lincoln Airpark.
For the full schedule, here is the link: https://www.scca.com/pages/championship-tour
From the Webmaster
There will be no membership meeting in April because the Team and I will be attending the annual summit meeting with our (unofficial) sister Region, Maui SCCA. Luckily, our trip coincides with their March 26th test and tune at Maui Raceway Park. We look forward to getting together with Scott Hughes and the gang, Look for photos in the April newsletter.
The woman that parks next to me in the parking garage recently traded her Subaru for the Ford Focus RS pictured below, The 350hp, all-wheel-drive beast has got to be the ultimate sleeper-particularly in “Stealth Gray.” I am thinking of leaving her a note to check out the Hennessey HPE 400 ECU upgrade for $695 that will turn up the wick to 388hp and 445 lb-ft of torque!
May 2, 2017 (No meeting in April)
GH&R Law Firm
175 N. 27th Street, Suite 903