June 2018 Newsletter


June 2018

Sports Car Club of America – Yellowstone Region 108 

The Region’s fearless leader, Bill Blaquiere, got a head start on the 2018 season by attending Round #1 of the Montana Challenge Series in Helena on May 19-20. Bill finished 5th out of 54 entrants on Saturday and 6th out of 49 on Sunday.
Meeting Minutes

May 2018 Meeting 

New Business/Announcements: Schedule was confirmed for 2018 racing season. Bill Blacquiere laid out the new equipment available to the chapter, including new helmets to replace the outdated ones, new cones to replace damaged ones, a new PA system, new fire extinguishers, and walkie-talkies available to course workers. New per-race dues were determined and agreed upon by members present.

The meeting was adjourned at approximately 7:30 p.m.

From the Top

From the R.E.

Our season is almost upon us! It’s been a long winter and we have had many well-attended meetings leading up to this season. I’m pleased to say that many people have stepped up to volunteer for various things along the way. We can always use more volunteers, so don’t be shy! If you haven’t been receiving my emails or you would like to be put on the list, please let me know via the region’s email:  yrscca@gmail.com

I’m very excited that we have 11 race days scheduled for 2018! New locations include Ziggy,s Lumber, Lockwood School, and the Al Bedoo Shrine! There will be some updates to the way event days will be operated as well. Workers will be assigned to work stations, and we have a few new positions that we’ll be trying as well. The number of run groups (2 or 3) will be dependent on the number of registered drivers and the venue.

Unfortunately, it was necessary to increase the price of registration. Several factors went into this decision and it wasn’t made lightly. SCCA regular members went from $30 to $35, and weekend members went from $40 to $50. However, you’ll get a break at double header weekends. If you register for both days, regular members will be $55 total and weekend members will be $80 total for the two days. Of course, you can still register for just one day at the regular price if you choose. We will no longer accept personal checks, but will now be accepting cash or credit cards (with a $2.00 service fee added for credit cards).

Thank you all so much for your participation in SCCA Yellowstone Region Solo/Autocross! I’m looking forward to the season and to seeing all of you at the events!

See you around the corner!


The Finish Line

From the Newsletter Editor

Hey all, it’s race season 2018! I’m excited that the good weather has returned and with it, the opportunity to autocross. I don’t know about y’all, but it just wouldn’t be summer without the smell of hot tires, the sound of revving engines, and the camaraderie that comes with Sundays spent dodging cones.

Some big changes are upon us! Bill’s segment laid those out pretty well, but for more information, don’t be afraid to ask. If there’s one thing we SCCA people like to do, it’s share what we know!

One of the biggest changes for 2018 is the departure of longtime newsletter editor and SCCA stalwart J. Reuss, who resigned his duties as…well, he did pretty much everything for Yellowstone Region SCCA! We owe him a huge debt of gratitude for all he did to keep the Region going. He’s off to enjoy a well-deserved retirement, leaving us to try to fill his flip-flops. Best of luck, Pop!

I look forward to seeing all of you–old faces and new–at the events this year. The schedule is on the website and will be updated/altered as the season goes on, as appropriate. Wishing you the best and here’s to another fine season!


Next Monthly Meeting

June 5, 2018

APEX Manufacturing Services, LTD
520 Charles Street
Billings, MT 59102

6:00 p.m.

Agenda: Post-event analysis of double-header season-opening event(s).

Like us on Facebook!

Follow us on Instagram at @yellowstonescca




December 2017 Newsletter


December 2017

Sports Car Club of America – Yellowstone Region 108  

The Newsletter Editor and the Team Owner recently visited the Shelby Heritage Center in Las Vegas. We had a spirited discussion regarding the polished aluminum finish on these three examples. Yea or nay? 
Meeting Minutes

October and November 2017 Meetings 

There were no monthly membership meetings of the Yellowstone Region SCCA for October or November.Rimrock Truck Center II

By the Roving Regional Reporter

The last event of the 2017 season was held at Rimrock Truck Center on September 24th. The day started ominously with the death of the Region’s long-time timing computer. However, with the kind and capable assistance of Todd Klein, the registration computer was pressed into service  as the timing computer and the event proceeded without too much delay.

Five drivers from the Southwest Montana Region made the trip from Bozeman and joined us for the fun! 

Bozemanite Dave Kirk‘s DM 2014 Westfield S2000 (pictured above) absolutely obliterated the field of 31 drivers. A fellow Bozemanite, Jonathan Mudge, in his STX Scion FR-S, finished 1.856 second behind Kirk, with John Bonner in his  XP LS-powered Mazda RX-7 (pictured below) 2.606 seconds behind Kirk. 

Complete results are available here. 

 From the Top

From the R.E.

I am Bill Blaquiere,  “the old guy in the yellow Corvette,” and I am your new Regional Executive for the Yellowstone Region. 

First and foremost, on behalf of the Region, I want to thank J. Reuss for his tireless dedication to the Region. I believe that he has been the driving force which has held the Region together for many years. I’m sure I speak for all in wishing him and his lovely wife, Patricia, all the best in their retirement.

I also want to thank the following members for stepping up to the plate and taking on other vital positions: Secretary/Treasurer–Woody Jensen; Competition Chair–Jerod Staebler; Webmaster & Chief of Timing–Kaitlin StaeblerFast Times Editor–James Reuss. Without these volunteers, the Region would cease to exist. And last but not least, thanks to all the Region members for your participation in the SCCA, Coming out to the events and doing your best to improve your cars and driving skills and contributing to the awesome cameraderie that is the SCCA!

As our Region moves into its new era, I hope to continue the successes of the past and help lead the Region to a good place into the future. But I can’t–and have no intention of–doing this alone. That’s why I’m so excited about the depth of our new board! 

But there are still several key positions left unfilled: Membership Chair, Chief of Registration, Chief of Tech and most importantly, Chief of Safety. We also would ;like someone with a good camera and the know-how to photograph our events so we can continue to post all those great photos. Please consider stepping up and helping out with these open positions.

I know that in our hectic lives, it is difficult to accept additional responsibilities. It’s easy to think, “Oh, I’d like to help, but I’m just too busy,” hoping somebody else will do it. To quote JFK–sort of–“If not you, who? If not now, when?”

I plan to use email as the primary form of communication with members, so please keep an eye on your email for updates. As always the newsletter, Fast Times, and the Region’s Facebook page will contain general information and some interesting articles. I want you all to know that your input is important to me. As we move forward, I would like to hear from each of you with your ideas how we can improve the Region. We will continue to hold membership meetings–which I encourage you to attend, You can always contact me via the Region’s email address: yrscca@gmail.com.

A little background: I was born & raised in Harlowton and moved to Billings in 1978. Because of my mustache, many people think i work as the spokesperson for The General Insurance. Actually, I am a machinist by trade, and I have owned a machine shop, APEX Manufacturing Services, for 21 years. My wonderful wife, Cheryl, has been putting up with me for over 39 years! Among other things, I am an avid alpine skier, and I like camping and riding 4-wheelers and dirt bikes in the mountains. I became addicted to autocross in 2016–driving in 12 events that season. In 2017, I made it to 26 events in all 4 Montana Regions.  

I look forward to seeing y’all in 2018!



The Course is Hot!

From the Competition Chair

I’m Jerod Staeber and I am the Region’s new Competition Chair. I have been attending Region events for longer than I have been a member. I have been heavily involved in drag racing the past few years with my son, Tate Staebler.  He thoroughly enjoys karting with the Region, and I have been drawn back into the sport,

I look forward to your input and feedback on events and course designs in 2018!


Region member Patricia Reuss had her eye on this 1966 Fiat Abarth offered at the recent Barrett-Jackson Classic Car Auction. The slide-top convertible Fiat 500/695 was fully restored by Fiat Abarth restorers in Italy, including the full body kit and shaved bumpers. The little cutie sold for $38,500, far more than her 2013 model cost. 
 The Finish Line

From the Webmaster

This is the my 111th (and last) newsletter since I took over Fast Times from Char Schulz in August of 2007.  (Truth be told, Kaitlin Staebler was originally designated Newsletter Editor and I was the designated Webmaster.) My first issue may be located here  in the Newsletter Archives. it is with pride (and relief) that I hand over the controls of the website to Kaitlin and the controls of the newsletter to James Reuss.

While modernizing the Region’s website, I felt it was important to assemble and archive as many old Region newsletters as I could to preserve the history of the Region. I don’t think we have every newsletter ever issued, but we clearly have most of them. If you would like to see where the Region has been, browse the Newsletter Archive on the website. The oldest edition I could find was from February of 1973, That edition was created using the “mimeograph” process and predated our affiliation with SCCA.

The only tenet or principle I followed over the past ten years was to avoid “bashing” or complaining when reporting Region events or writing stories. I have attempted to keep the my writing on a positive note. There are plenty of other newsletters full of bellyaching.

 Anyway, it is time for some “new blood.” The Team Owner and I will be retiring to Nevada next year after we sell our house. We wish you all the best and thanks for reading!


Having been the (proud?) owner of a 1972 Ford Maverick “Grabber,” I couldn’t help but be “grabbed” by this 1972 Ford Maverick that was auctioned off at Barrett-Jackson. The car was built at the SEMA Garage by actor Sung Kang from “Fast and Furious 5” together with the help of three high school students. The build featured a 2.3-liter I4 Ecoboost engine from a 2016 Ford Mustang and sold for $95,000 (including buyer’s commission). 

Make sure to visit the place where Shelbys are born the next time you are in Las Vegas. Guided tours are offered at 10:30 a.m and 1:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, but only 10:30 a.m. on Sunday. 

The Ford display at the Las Vegas Barrett-Jackson featured a new Ford GT. Virtually every part of the supercar is stunning–right down to the headlight details pictured above. 

The Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas auction block is no longer located in the Mandalay Bay Events Center.  Instead it is now located in the South Convention Center with the auction block located at the farthest end of the facility. (Wear sensible shoes!) Pictured above is the Team Owner sizing up vehicles as they roll onto the auction block. 
Next Monthly Meeting

January 9, 2018

APEX Manufacturing Services, LTD
520 Charles Street
Billings, MT 59102

6:00 p.m.

Click here for agenda. 

Like us on Facebook!

September 2017 Newsletter


September 2017

Sports Car Club of America – Yellowstone Region 108  

This clean 1963 Corvette was staged right behind the Newsletter Editor at the Black Hills Corvette Classic autocross. Unfortunately, it overheated prior to its first run and had to be parked. Except for the wheels, the car was completely stock and unchanged from when it was bought from its original owner in 1965!  
Meeting Minutes

September 2017 Meeting 

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

Yellowstone Drag Strip III

By the Roving Regional Reporter

David Greenfield in his Mitsubishi and Bill Blaquiere in his Z06 Corvette battled all day for top spot, only to be “sniped” by Nels Jensen in his Toyota Celica during the last run group of the day! The “great equalizer” was a round corral feature at the end of the course. Bigger, faster cars that had quickly navigated the long, fast portions of the course proved bulky and cumbersome when it came to circling the corral. However, smaller cars spent far less time getting turned around, so Nels and his little Toyota entered and exited the feature faster than all the other cars to take home top honors. 

 Joel Dietrich in his G Street 1986 Ford Mustang is shown approaching the Not-So-OK Corral at the end of the YDS III course.

Second and third place went to Blaquiere and Greenfield and third went to visiting “Bozemanite” James Papallo in his STS Honda Civic Si. James Reussand Kaitlin Staebler placed 5th and 6th in the $300 Civic. Joel Gruver was 7th in his STS Mazda Miata. Finishing 8th was Jerod Staebler who was co-driving Carl Jones‘ 1996 Ford Mustang. Richard Olson and Steve Gruver rounded out the top ten.

Visitor from the Black Hills Region, Brandon Moore of Glendive, finished 11th in his beautiful 2015 Camaro LSX.

PapalloBlaquiere, and Greenfield were 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in PAX scoring.

Complete results and more photos are available here.

25 drivers took a total of 279 runs on the long, fast course–12 runs each! 

 Steve Gruver in his B Street C4 Corvette was “making hay while the sun shines” at the last YDS event for the year 

 Region Member Tate Staebler about to give fellow member Carl Jones some pointers at YDS. 
 MyT13B’s Corner

From the Regional Executive

As some of you may already know from an email sent to Region members earlier this week, I have resigned as Regional Executive of the Region. I decided to make the resignation effective immediately to provide as much time as possible to secure my replacement. I am proud to leave the Region in good working order with membership and participation at historic highs. I trust the trends will continue with new leadership and wish everyone the best. I hope to see y’all at a future event.


Race Notes

From the Competition Chair

Dean Johnson‘s resignation and J. Reuss‘ retirement has resulted in there being no Solo Safety Stewards in the Region. Fortunately, Steve Gruver has agreed to submit his application for SSS and I plan on taking (and hopefully passing) the test before J.‘s retirement, However, we are in urgent need of a place to store the timing trailer. If you have the space, let us know. 

 An autocross (apparently) runs on its stomachs! Lunchtime at YDS III.

In other competition news, John Bonner has finished work on the ex-McTaggart, ex-Riley, Mazda RX-7 LS. John is planning to attend the Region’s last event for the year at Rimrock Truck Center.



The Finish Line

From the Webmaster

As work draws to an end (finally) on the $300 Civic, I thought it might be fun to republish some photos of the car from 2002 and 2004. The 1989 hatchback saw its first autocross on May 29, 2006, at Skyview High School, where it finished 22nd out of 25th, right behind Jackie Bell in her 1972 Torino and just ahead of Joanne Gruver in her 1969 Corvette!   

The photo above shows the CRX front end which replaced the original nose. This is what led to tossing our two perfectly good “hatchback” bumpers that we couldn’t get to fit. The third time was a charm after ordering a CRX bumper!


Next Monthly Meeting

October 3, 2017 (no meeting in November)

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

Agenda: Election of officers for 2018 

Like us on Facebook!

Yellowstone Drag Strip III – September 10, 2017

Event Chair – Dean W. Johnson

Solo Safety Steward – J. Reuss

[ngg_images source=”galleries” container_ids=”17″ display_type=”photocrati-nextgen_basic_slideshow” gallery_width=”600″ gallery_height=”400″ cycle_effect=”fade” cycle_interval=”5″ show_thumbnail_link=”1″ thumbnail_link_text=”[Show thumbnails]” order_by=”sortorder” order_direction=”ASC” returns=”included” maximum_entity_count=”500″]

Trophies winners are listed below. As usual, winners of Raw time and Pax do not also get trophies for winning their class, so second place in those classes get trophies. Pick them up at the next event.

Raw time: Nels Jensen 
Pax: James Papallo
Street: Jerod Staebler
Heritage Street: Arthur Thompson
Touring: Joel Gruver
Street Prepared: Bill Blaquiere
Prepared: James Reuss
Street Modified: Cody Potts
Modified: Dean Johnson
Junior Kart: Tate Staebler
Street Ladies: Jackie Bell
Street Prepared Ladies: Coley Bandey
Prepared Ladies: Kaitlin Staebler

Final Results

Raw Time Results

PAX Time Results

Summary by Class

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 www.sturgisdrags.com/ 

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.  

Like us on Facebook!