May 2017 Newsletter

 May 2017

Sports Car Club of America – Yellowstone Region 108  


Barn finds? Whale(tail) sighting? No, but your Roving Regional Reporter recently noted this “passel” of Porsches in Billings. The eight vintage 911s (a Carrera RS in race trim is out of frame) represented a broad spectrum of models, modifications, and accessories.  

Meeting Minutes

May 2017 Meeting 

The monthly membership meeting of the Yellowstone Region SCCA was called to order by Regional Executive Dean W. Johnson on Tuesday, May 2, 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 March 2016 meeting as published in the March 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: There was no old business. 

New Business/Announcements: J. reported that the owner of Rimrock Truck Center had agreed to let the Region use the site for two events in 2017, The events have been scheduled for March and September. J. also reported that MetraPark would not give us a break in the lot rental for an evening event on June 25th, so it was decided to drop the proposal.

Dean reported that his father has graciously constructed several additional wooden Stutz Bearcat models similar to the award that was presented to J. last summer. Dean believes that presenting these models as awards to club members would be a good idea. If you have any ideas as to what the awards might honor, touch base with Dean.

J. reported that there have been delays obtaining 2017 trophy glasses, but that winners would ultimately receive their trophies after they arrive.

As discussion was held about open exhausts, and it was decided that they would not be allowed at events other than at Yellowstone Drag Strip. 

The meeting was adjourned at approximately 6:45 p.m. 

Rimrock Truck Center I

By the Roving Regional Reporter

The Region returned to the “friendly confines” of Rimrock Truck Center for their first event of the 2017 season. (A review of Region records revealed that we previously ran events at the site for 4 years, from 2011-2013, and we ran an event at the site for the Corvette meet in 2015.)

Putting his recent training at the Evolution Challenge Driving School to good use, Competition Chair Bill Blaquiere took fast time of day in raw time and Street Prepared class. Barely a half second back was David Greenfield in his 2015 Mitsubishi Evo. In third place was newcomer Dane Smith in his B Street 2016 Cadillac ATS-V.

Finishing 4th, 5th and 6th were Jim Coons in his Subaru WRX STI, James Papallo in his Honda Civic Si, and Steve Gruver in his C4 Corvette.

Filling out the top 10 were Ayrton Kuzela (Nissan GT-R), James Reuss (Honda Civic), Brian Hendrickson (Honda Civic), and Joel Gruver (Mazda Miata).

Dane Smith topped the Pax time results followed by Bill Blaquiere, David Greenfield, Jim Coons, and James Papallo.

Gremlins–or operator error–beset the timing software in the morning, so morning run times were not immediately available. Although the times were later recovered, only the afternoon times are listed in the results posted online. However, seven drivers had their fastest runs in the morning, so those times have been manually inserted in the afternoon results. 

Tate Staebler applying some opposite lock as he exits the west turn at Rimrock Truck Center. 
MyT13B’s Corner

From the Regional Executive

Although our entry fees are typically the lowest among the neighboring Regions, entrants will occasionally ask why our entry fees are so high. In addition to costs such as track rentals and porta-potties, the SCCA charges Regions “Sanction Fees,” Insurance Fees,” and “Weekend Membership” fees for each event. Since 2010, Sanction Fees have crept up from $4.50 per entrant to (a current) $6.50. Insurance fees have done the same ($4.50 to $6.50). To put it in perspective, the total, $13.00, represents 43% of the entry fee for SCCA members and 33% for non-members. Accordingly, for a typical 30-entrant event, $390 goes to National.

The “Weekend Membership” program was initiated by the SCCA some years back. Heretofore, the cost remained at $5.00 per non-member entrant since the inception of the program. The fee was arguably justified by promotional materials sent by National to the prospective members and by discounting membership fees for weekend members who joined SCCA. On average, at least half of the entrants at an event are non-members. That translates to another $75.00 to National per event.

This last week, we learned that SCCA was doubling the Weekend Membership cost to $10.00. All told, that puts the average payment to National at $540.00 per event.

Unfortunately, it looks like entry fees will likely increase in the near future.


Race Notes

From the Competition Chair

I recently had the opportunity (and pleasure) of attending an Evolution Driving School in Helena. This was their “Challenge” school which is geared toward drivers who have already attended Phase One and Phase Two schools–which I had not. After some back-and-forth with Mike “Junior” Johnson, the owner of Evolution, he gave me the thumbs-up to enroll. The only catch was that the class was full, but I would be first on the waiting list. I decided to go to Helena Friday afternoon just in case. Sure enough, at about 9:30 Friday night, Mike contacted me. Someone had dropped out, so I was in! I could barely contain myself!

The school consisted of twelve students and two instructors. The curriculum was simple–we started the morning with a short orientation and then it was to the cars. The students first drove 3 or 4 runs each with the instructors coaching. Then, the instructors drove and the students rode along for a couple of runs. We then switched drivers again. The afternoon sessions went pretty much the same, except at the end, the instructors took 2 runs to set a benchmark time. Then students were instructed to take 3 runs and try and beat that time. My time to beat was 39.998, I posted a 40.328. Close!

The following day was the follow-up autocross which was open to everyone. The Evo instructors stayed over and co-drove with some of the students. Tom (I forgot his last name) asked if he could co-drive with me all day, naturally I said “yes!” I wasn’t about to turn down another day of one-on-one instruction and experience in the car with this pro!

My “takeaways” from the school and follow-up autocross were many, but most striking were two things: First, the look-ahead distance they teach is considerable, as much as 3 or 4 features–sometimes even more. Wrapping your head around the fact that you can look that far ahead while engaging the features directly in front of you at the same time is incredible. Second, having the pros driving my car and showing me what it is actually capable of was absolutely awesome and probably just as important to me as the actual instruction.


 The Finish Line

From the Webmaster

I recently stopped by Maui Raceway Park to check out our (unofficial) sister Region’s March event, but unfortunately, they had finished for the day. However, as the autocross course was being torn down, a local group of drifters was getting ready to shred some tires at the site. Given that the World War II-vintage site is notorious for its abrasive paving, “shredding” tires is apparently taken to a new level. The Team arrived on an early afternoon flight, so we were not able to participate in a Maui SCCA event this year. However, we hope the “stars align” next spring!  

For those who have been following the progress of the “$300 Civic,” the Team appears to have resolved the overheating problem that seems to have resulted from a blown fuse. Unfortunately, the car later when into some sort of “limp mode” and had to be parked. The software later showed a fault from the oil pressure sensor. A search of the code revealed a recommendation that the oil level be checked before changing the sensor. The dipstick confirmed that the sensor might be just fine. Further testing will (hopefully) take place prior to the next event. 

I spotted this sweet 1957 Porsche Speedster in the parking lot at Haleakala National Park. (However, upon further examination, I surmised it might be newer because I don’t think the earlier Speedsters had fiberglass bodies.) 


 Next Monthly Meeting

June 4, 2017 (At workers’ breakfast prior to June 4th event at Yellowstone Drag Strip)

Location to be announced.

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