Thursday, February 28, 2013

2013 SCCA Convention kicks off from Las Vegas

Sports Car Club of America Chairman Lisa Noble and the Club’s leadership addressed those in attendance Thursday on the SCCA Convention’s opening day at the South Point Hotel and Casino. The annual meeting and town hall reviewed 2012 and gave a preview of the expected future growth.

In her opening address, Noble spoke on behalf of the 12-person elected Board of Directors, issuing a reminder to those in attendance.

“This is a new day in SCCA. It starts with us, it starts with you,” Noble said. “We are the best amateur motorsports organization in the country – it’s time we act like it.”

Noble handed off to SCCA President and CEO Jeff Dahnert, for the overall state of the SCCA address. Dahnert spoke on the Club’s current financial stability, citing an increase in membership in 2012 and an influx of new programs in the Club Racing and Solo departments.

Dahnert announced the renewal of Tire Rack, an 18-year official partner of the SCCA, to a deal that will continue through 2017.

Heads of SCCA’s three active subsidiaries - SCCA Pro Racing, SCCA Enterprises, and the SCCA Foundation – also addressed the gathering.

Tom Campbell, SCCA Pro Racing President and CEO, spoke of the current state of the company.

“Professional road racing is a challenging business, but an important one to SCCA’s heritage and to many of our members,” Campbell said.

Campbell reported that SCCA Pro Racing-sanctioned events took place on 38 weekends, featuring 350 pro licensed drivers totaling more than 1900 race entries for the year.

Enterprises President Erik Skirmants acknowledged a down year for the Spec Racer Ford and Formula Enterprises presenters, but excitedly announced the plans for the Gen3 Spec Racer Ford to come in 2015.

The updated Spec Racer Ford is expected to produce 25% more horsepower, and, with additional improvements, may cut three to five seconds per lap off the existing class. The new car will be unveiled at next weekend’s BFGoodrich Tires Super Tour at Circuit of the Americas, with a total of 13 cars running throughout the country this summer for research and development.

The meeting ended with a report from Bev Heilicher, of the SCCA Foundation Board. In the report, the Foundation revealed their latest fundraiser – a raffle to support the foundation.

For a $20 ticket, someone will win their choice of a Mazda MX-5, a MAZDASPEED3 or $18,000 in cash. The winner will be drawn during the 58th WeatherTech Chicago Region June Sprints on June 15, 2013. All tickets may be purchased online at

Chairman Noble celebrated the announcement by purchasing the raffle’s first ticket.

The SCCA Convention continues at the South Point Hotel and Casino through Saturday Night’s SCCA Hall of Fame induction of the 2013 class, presented by Mazda, that features Skip Barber, Bobby Rahal, Carroll Shelby, Bill Noble and Andy Porterfield.

For news and updates from the Convention, follow SCCA on Twitter @SCCAOfficial, like SCCA on Facebook, and on the Club’s website at

Photo credit:  SCCA Images

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

2013 Solo schedule officially released today

Tom Weaver, 2013 Solo chair for the Finger Lakes Region, officially released this year's  schedule today.

Weaver noted that at this time, some events are still tentative, as noted below, and to watch the FLR website and the region's social media for updates.
April 28Event #1RIT
May 5Event #2RIT
June 15Street SurvivalPerry Warsaw Airport (tentative)
June 16Event #3Perry Warsaw Airport (tentative)
June 30Event #4RIT
July 13Novice SchoolRIT
July 21Event #5RIT
August 11Event #6RIT
August 18Event #7RIT
September 22Event #8Delphi Technical Center (tentative)

Any changes will be posted on the 2013 Solo schedule (see link above) or on the region's social media:

Happy 69th birthday SCCA!

On Feb. 26, 1944, 69 years ago, a group of sports car enthusiasts met at the Boston, Mass. home of Chapin Wallour to form a club dedicated to the preservation of sports cars. Today, the Sports Car Club of America annually boasts 60,000 members and hosts motorsports events around the country.

While the vintage market was covered by existing car clubs focused on the “preservation of veteran motor cars, a worthy objective,” the seven founding members gathered that night with an eye on the then-current generation of sports cars. It was specifically identified in the minutes from that first meeting – the SCCA was to concentrate on cars made after 1914.

First, though, the question arose – what was the definition of sports car? It was decided that evening to include “any quality car which was built primarily for sports motoring as opposed to mere transportation. In other words, any car which rates higher than average in construction and engineering, and which, preferably, has open body work.”

The first meeting of the SCCA was a bit more exclusive than today’s members would recognize. The list of cars owned by founding members Everett Dickinson, John Duby, Arnold Engborg, Theodore Robertson, George Schulz, Robert Townsend, and Chapin Wallour sound like museum pieces today: a Duesenberg “J” double cowl Phaeton, a Lancia Lambda 5th Series Roadster, a Kissel Speedster, Stutz DV 32 Sports Tourer, Mercer series 4 Raceabout, Isotte Fraschini type 8A Castagna Convertible Coupe, a Rolls Royce Phantom I Ascot Phaeton, and on. Not a single BMW, Ford or Mazda in the bunch!

This wasn’t by coincidence. The constitution drawn up by Ted Robertson stated that membership in the Club shall be restricted to owners of sports cars, sponsored by one current member, seconded by another, and elected by unanimous vote of the officers. Then, that new member must pay the yearly dues within 30 days – three dollars.

These gentlemen took the “sports car” in Sports Car Club of America very seriously. Of the 592 words in the first constitution, more than one-third dealt with dismissal from the club! Some of the apparently treasonous actions included selling a sports car without first advertising the car for sale with the Club, or buying a sports car that another member, essentially, called “dibs” on first. Being “obviously at fault” in an accident involving another member was grounds for dismissal, as was voluntarily disposing of your last remaining sports car. Of course it was bad if you broke up your own sports car – but equally as punishable was permitting someone else to destroy a sports car, or even having knowledge of someone just possibly breaking up a sports car without telling an officer.

The founding members were true fanatics when it came to their cars.

Clearly, a lot has changed in the 69 years of the SCCA. The founders wouldn’t have recognized our thousands of female members – and the notion of Lisa Noble as the Chairman of the Board of Directors would have most certainly blown the mind of original President Robertson. Today, SCCA accepts all members, regardless of whether or not they own a sports car.

Not everything has changed, of course. The passion shines through in each member today, as it did 69 years ago. The care that SCCA members take for each other remains. The pride that today’s members have in the Club lives on.

From the humble origins of seven enthusiasts gathered on a cold Boston evening to today’s international contingent who feel the same, the original spirit of the club continues.

Happy Birthday, Sports Car Club of America – here’s to the next 69 years!

And, happy birthday to SCCA’s current President Jeff Dahnert. Coincidence?

March Top End is available

The March 2013 issue of Top End is now available online.

Readers may opt to view in an interactive reader (via or download a PDF to store on one's own computer.

Select your choice:
The classified ads are also available here.

Archives of older issues are available in the Top End section of the main FLR website.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Classified ads from the March 2013 issue of Top End

For Sale: 1) 1989 Mazda 323 GTX. Former open class ClubRally car, no longer log booked. Great RallyCross or ice race car. Asking $1500. 2) 1984 Ford EXP Turbo Coupe. Rare car, a few modifications, needs some finishing. $1500. 3) 1988 Mazda 323 SE. Fairly basic, no rust, needs clutch. $500. 4) Two (2) racing karts, both ethanol Raptor powered. $650 each, or $1000 for both. Call 585-967-3762 for more info. (3/13)

For Sale: 1969 MGB Roadster. Color: 1964 Blue with white top in good shape. Body good, spare hood (aluminum), motor sound, exhaust O.K., original carbs. Interior in good to excellent condition, wire wheels with approximately 1K on tires and tubes. Extra parts (electric, brakes, etc.). Honest car – health forces sale. $4000 o/b/o Call Bob Rodd (518) 842-6479 (Amsterdam) (2/13)

For Sale: Wheels and Tires: Circle Racing wheels, 14 x 6 front, 14 x 7 rear.  Less than 12 lbs fr, 13 lbs rr.  Bolt pattern 5 x 114.3 fits MKII Toyota MR2 (1990 - '99).  All four for $400.  Hoosier tires, 225/50 ZR15, two R3S03, one R3S04.  Stored in garage until 2011, used five days at WGI driving schools.  Lots of good "tread" left.  $75 each, three for $200.  Dunlop Sport 9000 tires, 225/50 ZR15.  Lots of tread left, $160 for all four.  Call Andy, 585-737-2250 (9/12)

For Sale: 1988 Toyota Celica All-Trac ProRally car. This car has less than 18,000 miles on it and has never been titled. It was prepared as a rally car when new and has competed in a number of SCCA Pro Rallies through the years, winning its class on a few occasions.
It has a bolt in cage that is removable, a TRD rally suspension an HKS adjustable turbo boost system, original ABS system, etc. Although the drive train is “young” in terms of mileage, the body has become corroded under neat and will need some attention. The car can be seen and driven by appointment at Wheeler Auto in Geneva, NY. Asking $4900. A rare model with the potential to be a “winner” again! Call Bob Henderson at (561) 222-6686. (7/12)

For Sale: 1993 Toyota Supra race c ar. This car was raced recently at Watkins Glen in the “May Madness” Glen regional race in ITR and won its class in both races.
It was originally prepared as a race car when new and has never been titled. Although it is 19 years old it is a “modern” car in appearance and in well maintained mechanical condition. It features a sophisticated “double wishbone” suspension and an excellent brake system. It is really “fun” to race and easy to drive.
It has won its class in numerous national and regional SCCA races through the years and has potential to keep on winning.  Asking $7500 including numerous spares. Call Bob Henderson at (561) 222-6686. (7/12)

For Sale: Racing Items: 1 Can Am Cycle Jacket Medium (New); 1 Set Nitrogen Gages for Racing; 1 7 Qt. Dry Sump Tank (New); 1 Set Engine Leak Down Gauges; 1 Tanner Racing Scales, 4 Pads and Module; Mini Sprint Rolling Chassis (No Motor), Most Body Pcs, Many Shocks, Springs-Wheels-Body Pcs., Wing-Seat-Fuel Tank (Not Raced); 1Spex MK1 Road Racer DSR; Suzuki GSR-1000 Modified, by Orient Express, Wing, Extra Nose, Slicks & Rains, Road Racing or Solo, Complete DSR or CSR Body by Beasley, Great Paint Job; 1 Small Plane/Race Car Windshield (New). Many shop tools, automotive items, marine items, lawn and garden items, household items, miscellaneous items. Call for updated list. Jim Nolan 1969 Eddy Rd. Walworth, NY 14568. Ph. (585) 314-1500 (6/12)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

SCCA Appoints Chris Berg to Public Relations Position

Sports Car Club of America, Inc. and SCCA Pro Racing have named Chris Berg to the newly-created Public Relations Coordinator position, serving roles in both organizations.

Berg will provide detailed event coverage and serve as the main point of contact for on-site media on behalf of SCCA Pro Racing at each Mazda MX-5 Cup and Pirelli World Challenge Championship race. Berg will also handle other assignments for SCCA’s Club Racing, Solo and Rally divisions.

“Working for a racing organization with the history of the SCCA is an absolute dream come true,” Berg said. “I look forward to working with the staff, drivers and team owners to help SCCA Pro Racing become a destination for racers and fans, alike.”

Berg comes to SCCA with two years of motorsports public relations experience with a Kansas City-based karting organization. In addition to his public relations experience, Berg has also worked as a freelance journalist since 2004, covering a variety of subjects, including higher education and college sports. The vast majority of that time was spent covering motorsports for a variety of media outlets.

Aside from just writing about racing, Berg has been an active racer for the past 14 years and was an SCCA member prior to being hired into the organization. He earned his undergraduate degree from University of Missouri-Columbia, and has an MBA from Baker University.

“The combination of Chris’ skill set and passion for sports car racing make him a perfect candidate for this position,” SCCA VP of Marketing & Communications Eric Prill said. “We are excited to have Chris join our team, and know that he will make immediate contributions to SCCA, SCCA Pro Racing and its series.”

Berg resides in Overland Park, Kan., with his wife Anne. He can be reached in the office at 785-862-7147 or at

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Smith/Hobron score zeros on five legs of Cabin Fever Rally

Cabin Fever Rally
February 16, 2013
Event #3, Winter Rally Series

Perfection. That is what many of the Winter RoadRally competitors are striving for. To score zero time penalty points on a given leg of a rally is bliss. Doing this (or coming close to doing this) consistently, over nearly 200 miles is a formidable challenge. If fact, there are so many variables to contend with and details to be considered that the challenge is often not in being perfect, but adapting to the conditions, and minimizing your mistakes.

It is with this same mentality that the rallymasters (yours truly) approached organizing the 2013 Cabin Fever Rally. In the end, thirteen teams competed and seven worker crews participated in the 187-mile challenge. While hardly flawless, the event was safe and fun with everyone finishing despite a few hiccups.

For example, right at the start, one driver had a discussion with local authorities about proper use of his turn signal, fortunately with no consequence (right, Gary?). Also, the “Sweep” crew of Rick Barnes and Jason Kostyshak helped another team get unstuck from a slight off-road excursion. The event was further supported by our team of tireless checkpoint workers. This included Carl Dresie, Barb Lissow, Larry Wells, Paul Walker, Dave Avery, Sally Bossert, Alan Blood, Craig McMaster, Scott and Monica Grinnell. Last, but not least, Bob and Ryan VanSice worked a little extra but clearly had a lot of fun running the whole route, and manning three controls.

After the rally dust settled and scoring was complete, a few teams stood apart. Alan Smith and Eric Hobron showed only a hint of error, posted five perfect zero legs and secured first place in Equipped class and first overall. Jeff and Steve Coppola backed up their win in Ithaca by placing first in Limited Class. Andrew Johnson and Matt West topped the Novice class. No one chose to compete in Stock class.

Honorable mentions go out to young navigator Anna Thiel who helped her driver (and father) Dan post a solid score of 103. Finally, the Endurance Award goes to Eric Salminen and Dennis Blevins who started the day very early by driving up from Maryland to compete. These guys were also thoughtful enough to bring a bottle of Maryland wine as thanks to the rallymasters (which we greatly enjoyed Sunday night) as well as invite us down to run one of their Washington DC Region events (

Leg scores/results are posted on the Finger Lakes Region SCCA's website.

--Jamie Hayslip and Gretchen Kriesen, Rallymasters

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Ten Degrees and Melting!?!

Ten Degrees and Melting!?!
RallyCross No. 8
January 26, 2013

By Victor Prinzim*

It was a beautiful sight, the snow-covered field, blue sky and the sun glistened off the bright orange cones that marked the course. This set the stage for Round 8 of the Finger Lakes SCCA RallyCross series. The temperature was a balmy 10 degrees at 7 a.m. when I showed up to set the course. Throughout the day it didn’t get any warmer than 19 degrees, about the only thing that that meant was we had to keep the water in the cooler to keep it from freezing.

My good buddies Jake Vallee, Michelle Richau, Jim Perrin and Sarah Peterson were there early to help get things set up. Bruce Perry never disappoints, a nice warm garage was waiting for our competitors to register and keep warm in during the break. The field, beautiful as it was, had some surprises in store for Tony Zanni’s wCRX during the course set up. At the last event there were more than a few clumps of mud left lying around, and they froze into suspension-eating boulders. This made for a really new course design. And luckily no one busted a single piece of suspension work, not even Zanni in the wCRX.

About 10 a.m. the first car was off. We had some heavy hitters in the field and some really fast newbies, which is always a good time. The snow and ice made for a super slide-y good time. Kurt Thiel showed up with “the Celica” from that story in Top End, you know the one Rich Smith killed at STPR®. Rumors are that Kurt replaced the entire front end with that of a snowmobile to help him get around the course. Another car from the garage of Marnie Soom ended up at the event piloted by Mike McGinnis from Innovative Tuning in Buffalo, NY. I say piloted because he was flying. First place overall at his first event, beginners luck? I think not.

Photos by Sarah Peterson

There were a bunch of new guys: Garrick Tisher, James Parascandola, Ray Zheng, Colin Kingsley, and Chris Surrusco. Four of them drove some variation of a Subaru and one brought a rear wheel drive BMW 318is. One of them lost a GoPro camera at the top of the hill, another lost an exhaust hanger, and one may have lost his virginity.

Charli Tameris showed up and told people when to go, all day. Sarah Peterson, Zanni’s girlfriend, showed up in the purple-est jacket and shot some great photos.  Brandon West brought chili again, and again, Zanni didn’t get any. After lunch the field turned into a sloppy mess of mud somehow, thank you sun. Although the temperature never got over 22 degrees, the sun flexed its sunny self and melted just the top layer of soil to make a greasy mess of the field and the cars running on it.

Mark Froelich actually got his car to start and it continued running for the entire day. He even let Brandon West drive it, and it still made it to the end of the event. Same could be said for the “Wagon of Destitute.” It had a flat tire, a dead battery, and a muddy window. It stalled twice and caused Jim Perrin to lose it. After the third time it died, Darren Ohara, Kingsley and Richau performed a not so quick battery swap and kept the W.O.D. running the rest of the day. While we’re on the subject of surprises, Zanni’s wCRX actually made it through an entire event without having to be fixed. The first time since it was brought back to life. Don’t call it a seagull; it’s been a penguin for years. Yup tried to make an LL Cool J reference there.

Jake Vallee and Richau are cute. They carpooled down and shared a car during the event. I was really hoping Richau beat Jake, but a mere 0.6 seconds kept her from it. Jake did crack a fender and then after being beat by a Celica again sold the car after he hot glued the fender back together. Jeremy Keck got his “Slo-baru” back together for the event, nothing like 7000 RPMs to break in an engine.

That’s it. We didn’t roll any cars, we had chili and brownies, a new guy won, the wCRX didn’t have to get towed home, the indestructible WOD made it, no one lost any fingers to frost bite, and the horses next door enjoyed the Mike McGinnis show. The next event is the final event in the 2012-2013 season. Close races for overall and 2wd class should make for a great finale. See you there February 23.

*Pseudonym for Tony Zanni, RallyCross Chair

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