The March meeting of the Central New York Region of the Sports Car Club of America was called to order at 7:15pm, Wednesday, March 19, 2014, at the American Legion Hall in Liverpool by Regional Executive Scott Newton. Some 14 people were on hand for the session, postponed one week because of the major snow dump March 12. Kudos to the phone chain that helped get the word out the week before.
R.E. Newton reported on the Auto Expo held the beginning of February at the Onondaga Convention Center. The club had Gerrit VanVranken's Mazda 3 and Mark Bizzozero's Mini on display, and a bunch of videos showing often. Videos covered SOLO activity on the national level, and at Cherry Valley in Lafayette, and some Rallycross action too. Volunteers manning our booth included Ed Leubner, Gerrit VanVranken, Mike Gagliardi, Ted Barbuto, Rob Sgarlata, Josh Glassberg, Scott Newton and Jay Cartini. The temporary Secretary offers his apologies for names missed of others who added their time.
Scott talked also about the Syracuse Motorama coming up March 22 and 23 at the Fairgrounds. He will be there full time Saturday 10 to 10, and Sunday 10 to 5, with Mark's Mini, and perhaps another car too. And there was talk of equipment and other staffers. Scott is enjoying talking up the club.
Assistant R.E. Ed Leubner offered huzzahs and hoorays to Dan Hurley for getting a SNARLING EXHAUST out so soon after offering to take over editorship of the Region's newletter. The early March Exhaust was a surprise and a delight in member's inboxes. And there was a brief discussion, with no firm decision at this time, on how often the newsletter should be put together, with the goal of setting a schedule, and sticking to it, although it may not be monthly.
Secretary pro-tem Jon Coffin offered a correction to the February minutes reporting on the activities of Secretary pro-tan Bob Holcomb wintering in Florida. Bob was passing on Sebring in March, but still flagging at a Club race in the Sunshine State in March. We're planning on his April return to Syracuse! Lee Hidy moved, and Scott Newton seconded that the posting of the February minutes on the Region website be accepted.
Scott offered Treasurer Jay Cartini's report via email that he is working on a hoped-for club sponsorship deal with the Drivers' Village Fiat dealership. Details to come.
Scott offered Activities Director Rob Sgarlata's report via email that he had no report. Rob had an oblligation elsewhere for this third Wednesday of the month.
Josh Glassberg offered a Rallycross report promoting an event upcoming at Walczyk's Farm in Weedsport on March 29. The last event there January 5 was a good one with 11 enthusiastic drivers. And Josh explained the February 2 'cross in Utica was put off because the site was not ready. But, Judge Joe Field should be usable for the activity in the near future.
Our R.E. also filled in on the SOLO report as Mark Bizzozero was at home as the designated babysitter this weekday evening. The schedule has been fleshed out, and is posted on the site, and includes a Van organization work/picnic April 6 at Mark's in Weedsport 1 to 4PM. The first autocross is at Cherry Valley April 27. There's a SOLO Safety Steward Training Seminar Wednesday, May 14 at 6PM at the Liverpool Legion (before our regular monthly meeting). We return to the big lot at the New York State Fairgrounds June 22 with that date also on the calendar for the Finger Lakes Region as one of their points-counting Out Of Region events. There will be a $10 surcharge per entrant beyond our regular entry fees to help cover the extremely high cost of renting this site. We missed going there is 2013, and we are not able to commit to more than one event there in 2014, so this should be a big one. The enduro at Cherry Valley will be July 20. A points-counting Out Of Region event for us will be August 24 at Rochester Institute of Technology. It's an excellent site about 90 miles from Syracuse and the Finger Lakes Region has a tradition of well-run events. Our day/night events at Cherry Valley Motorsport Park are set for Saturday, September 20. There may be other events added. The Cortland/Groton Microd track remains a possibility. Newly-installed management at Shoppingtown, however, doesn't seem open at this time to autocross use of their back lots.
There was time spent talking about other possible SOLO sites, with a meeting planned with the person overseeing use of the hillside lot at the back of the Green Hills Plaza in Nedrow. Information is still being sought on what looks like it would be a great site in Fulton, but there are no details yet on the chance of use. A couple of possibles are being pursued in the Utica area, and Fort Drum concrete may be more than a dream. But then again, maybe not. More to come on autocross sites.
Mike Donofrio also asked about a procedure to allow a driver to enter more than one time, and drive more than one car, at SOLOs. And while we have nothing in place which allows that at this time, it may be something we want to look into.
James Quattro, our Rallycross chair emeritus, was recently named the Northeast Division Rallycross Steward, and told us stories of going to the SCCA National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina the beginning of March. I can't relate all of them, involving traveling with his five-month-old daughter Bella, and visiting the Charlotte Aquarium, and the Hendrick Motorsports garages, and buying a used Jimmy Johnson Goodyear slick, and carrying it home inside the car...oh, that's right, I can't tell all the stories.
At the Convention, he told of a new national program promoting Rallycross with some reduced fees for initial events. And the big convention dinner Saturday night was special with Club Hall of Fame inductees speaking, including Bob Bondurant, New England Region's Kathy Barnes, a spokesman for Dan Gurney, the HANS developers Hubbard and Downing, Club Historian (and author) Pete Hylton, and more.
James' conclucion was that the Convention was a good time, definately worth doing.
Mike Gagliardi updated us on the Central New York Raceway Park. That is, final environmental approvals appear imminent. Some limited site clearing is continuing. Fill is being brought in which will be used as the base for the road course, although the stock car oval will be the first track completed, perhaps by this fall. State government has provided a million dollar grant to "kick" the project along. The garages on site will be built big enough to allow indoor kart racing in the winter. This continues to be progress.
Quattro mentioned the upcoming Nediv Roundtable in Pocono Manor the first weekend in April. And the Nediv Rallycross Championship will likely be on the rounds at Watkins Glen International, in an auxiliary parking lot, during a Regional Race weekend in September.
Galiardi brought up the Concours in Clayton July 12, in conjunction with the Antique Boat Museum activities, and that they will include an Alex Bay Grand Prix course drive on Sunday, the 13th. That racing was organized in 1934 and 1935, with the next U.S. road racing being in Watkins Glen in 1948!
The meeting was adjourned at 8:40pm, on a motion by Lee Hidy, seconded by Mike Gagliardi.
Minutes respectfully submitted by Secretary pro-tem Jon Coffin.