August 2017 Newsletter

August 2017

Sports Car Club of America – Yellowstone Region 108  

Region members Jerod, Kaitlin, and Tate Staebler recently caught up with former Region member Lara Tallman and her CA Sport/Reardon Racing race team who were testing at Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI. Pictured above is one of the team’s cars, a Porsche Cayman GT4 Club Sport.
Meeting Minutes

August 2017 Meeting 

There was no monthly membership meeting of the Yellowstone Region SCCA for August. 

Yellowstone Drag Strip II

By the Roving Regional Reporter

 The course at YDS II was truly a “Corvette course,” and you needed a Corvette (or a Corvette powerplant) to place in the top three. John Bonner’sLS-powered Mazda made its 2017 debut by taking fast time of day edging Bill Blaquiere’s Z06. Bill was 0.654 seconds behind Bonner and Bonner’s co-driver, Geoff Sloane, was 0.744 seconds behind Blaquiere. Three seconds behind Sloane were the Hondas of Lane HolmbergJames Reuss, and Kaitlin Staebler. (Brother beat sister this go-round by 0.319 seconds.) Course designer Dean Johnson was 7th overall in his MX-5, and 2016 Driver of the Year, Guy Cox, was 8th. Landon Horst in a Ford Focus ST and Richard Olson in a VW GTI rounded out the top ten. 

Notable performances were turned in by new member Carl Jones who placed 11th overall in his 1993 Ford Mustang and  (10-year-old) Tate Staebler who placed 23rd in his Bertelli kart. First-timers Steff Lozano, Kendra Armstrong, and Chelsea Prince finished 26th, 27th, and 28th. The Region’s “PAX Queen,” Jackie Bell, placed 9th in the PAX standings and 15th overall. Yeah, Jackie!

Blaquiere, Horst, and Bonner were 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in PAX scoring.

30 drivers took a total of 225 runs on the long, fast course. However, it sure got hot. The thermometer in my truck was in the high nineties as I towed the timing trailer back to Laurel. 


What I Did On My Summer Vacation

From the “Real” Newsletter Editor

In July, the Staebler Racing Team went on an “educational work trip” to Wisconsin!  After seeing Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers in concert at Summerfest with fellow Region member J. Reuss, we headed north to Elkhart Lake, WI.  Any true race fan knows what is located in Elkhart Lake, WI – ROAD AMERICA!   

  My aunt, Linda Reuss Benson (driver of a Mini Cooper S), alerted Road America’s staff that the Yellowstone Region was coming to visit.  That scored us a private and exclusive tour.  As we drove through the gates at Road America, we were all enthralled by the Porsches, Bimmers, Stangs, and Evos roaring by us through turns 12, 13 & 14 – also, the Northwoods Shelby Club was having a track day.

 We were delighted to discover that former Region member Lara Tallman, was there with her race team – CA Sport/Rearden Racing.  They were testing and tuning their Porches and BMWs and allowed us to tour the pits and the team’s toy hauler – she even let Region member Tate Staebler sit in a Rearden Porsche. 

 After spending a few moments in the gift shop located behind the pits, our tour guide & SCCA member, Mr. Duck Waddle (that’s his real name, look it up) loaded us up and we started on our track tour.  Our first stop was for authorized personnel only – the timing booth.  We visited with the timers and they showed us how they can zoom-in on any spot on the track – close enough they can differentiate between a quarter and a dime. They even let us walk out onto the bridge where they wave the checkered flag and onto the roof, which is normally reserved for press only!  From there, we headed to each turn of the track – even stopping by the Corvette Corral, which is located just south of turn 11 – the famous “Kink.”  

 As we toured the track, we got pieces of advice about where the apex was located, where braking should start/end, and Duck also pointed out when drivers were doing it wrong and how they could improve. Throughout our 2-hour tour, we got to watch professional drivers with true race cars crank around the track – the ever-present whine and full-throated growls filled our ears. We learned that Road America doesn’t have just a 14-turn, 4.048 mile-long road course, but also has a go-kart track, driving school course, motocross track, off-road ATV track, and a zip line.  We finished our tour at the top of the hill looking down on Turn 5 – the tightest turn of the track with an internal radius of 100 ft. After we got suited-up in all of our RA gear, collected all our souvenirs & photos, and cleaned up all of Jerod’s drool – we sadly left Road America, arguably the happiest place on Earth.  Maybe a road trip for a Yellowstone Region event could be arranged?


 Living Life 1/8 Mile At A Time

From the Team Owner

Everyone has heard of the annual Sturgis biker rally, but not everyone knows that Black Hills Corvette Classic day at the Sturgis drag strip is far more fun.  At the July event, I registered to race our Z06 on the 1/8 mile track and made 8 runs that convinced me to change my career plan and turn pro racer. Check out 

Hot and perfect weather and pre-race instructions from the track officials prepared us drivers to compete:  wear a helmet, turn off the AC, roll up the windows, choose a lane, rev the engine, and drive it like you stole it.  Things happen fast in 1/8 mile, and my own coach reminded me to start clean, watch RPMs, shift for optimum speed, slow down in the shutdown area, and breathe! 

 Drivers from many states queued up in pairs at the staging beams to set yellow pre-stage and staging lights and to think (if not talk) smack about competitors.  Some warmed up their tires (to intimidate others?) with burn-outs before the “Christmas tree” counted down from amber to green at .500 second intervals.  Reaction time is crucial, and it’s more difficult than you might think to time your launch so it’s faster than the other driver but not so fast that you leave too soon and trigger a red light.  That foul start means you automatically lose.

With a clean start, a series of infrared beams across each lane measure incremental times during the race as well as top speed.  The reaction time shows how long a vehicle waited to leave while the elapsed time, E.T., shows total time of the race.  Afternoon bracket racing pairs drivers who “dial in” anticipated E.T. so cars compete on an equal basis.  Who cares about that when it’s just fun to drive fast?

Returning to the pit area, drivers collect time slips where white wins and yellow loses.  But win or lose, it’s so exhilarating that you do it again and again until your coach says it’s time to get a beer at The Knuckle!  



The Finish Line

From the Webmaster

After retrieving the $300 Civic from Mel’s Auto Clinic where the speed sensor problem was resolved, I headed to the East Laurel truck stop for a “weigh-in.” The certified scales announced that the little hatchback weighed in at 2,160 pounds with no driver and 1/3 tank of gas.  

The Team Owner and I traveled to the Black Hills last month to attend the Black Hills Corvette Classic. I look forward to that event each year because of the autocross at which I don’t have to do anything except drive. I have been fortunate to win the C5 class for the last 5 years–even though the Sioux Falls Corvette Club neglected or refused to send me my trophy least year. Anyway, I was hoping for a 6th win. Unfortunately, that was not to be the case. Timing problems prevented any winners–or anyone else for that matter–from being crowned. Curiously, the timing system worked fine, but the timer herself had never timed before, All the timer possessed were good intentions and 5 pages of handwritten notes from the “real” timer. From personal experience, I can tell you that AXWare timing software is often challenging when you have 10 years experience using same. However, handling over 100 cars in 7 classes for the first time would unquestionably be daunting. When I approached the start line for the first time, it was announced that the timer had packed up her laptop and left. There were a couple of guys running around with stopwatches, but I declined being timed and headed off to the Prairie Berry Winery for lunch.

Last, I need a little help on this one. The mini- (and I mean mini) van pictured below is always parked in front of the “Chubby Chipmunk” in Deadwood, SD. I dragged-and-dropped the photo into Google, but it didn’t come back with anything useful. Does anyone recognize this beast? It is right-hand-drive.  


 Next Monthly Meeting

September 5, 2017

 GH&R Law Firm
175 N. 27th Street, Suite 903
6:00 p.m.  

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