SOLO II Committee Meeting Minutes 12/11/12

Members in attendance –  Dick Willy, Jodi Fordahl, Tim Weidemann, Keith Brown, Bud Bohrer, Ron & Alyson Bauer, Tasha Mikko, Geoff Clark, Charles Aggenbach, Karen Babb, Scott Miller, Joel Fergusson, Mike Leuty, Travis Boyle, Dieter Beldi, Aaron Pailthorp, Derek Mattox & Darren Kurtz. Guest: John Taylor. 

Meeting Minutes – Minutes were approved with one spelling mistake noted.

NWR Board Report (Dick) – newly appointed regional executive – John Taylor.  Still looking for some positions – solo chair and secretary for the board.  Please let Dick Willy know if you are interested in additional information for these positions.   

Treasurer's Report (Kristi) - Summary was distributed.  Deposit has been paid for the banquet.  A discussion was held regarding the payment/reimbursement that was provided by Evolution school.  Their new accounting is much less favorable than in the past.  Right now they are in Kentucky teaching the military how to drive.  Once Jr. is back there will be more discussion. We are up to date with everything that has come through at this point.

NORPAC Report (Keith) – national solo schedule was published in sports car

WWSCC Report (Keith) – Discussed rule proposals. If an entrant takes competition runs out of group they cannot run time only in the other ½ of the day.  The purpose of being allowed to run out of group is to allow competitors flexibility when they need to attend to other obligations.  Drivers that run out of group then decide to stay for the other half of the day will be disqualified for the whole event.  
 
In general the attendees were in favor of passing this rule – some wording clarifications were suggested (remove the morning and afternoon half of the day description from the rule).    

Nominations are needed for all the special awards at the end of the year – i.e. hard luck, etc.  The nomination is not from the board it is from an individual.

DRIFT Report (Derek Mattox) – Still working on transitioning roles/responsibilities to new leadership.  Darren Kurtz is a new drift instructor. Nothing new to report.

2013 Schedule Status (Gretchen Everett, Geoff Clark) –The following is our finalized schedule: 

April 20th and 21st (BMP) Novice School/ Event #1    
May 18th - 19th (Packwood) Free/Event #2   
May 26th (BMP) Event #3  
June 9th (BMP) Event #4  
June 22nd /23rd (Packwood) Pro Solo #1/Event #5  
July 13th/14th (Packwood) NT
July 20th/21st (Packwood) Pro Solo
August 4th (BMP) Event #6   
August 17th/18th (Packwood) Core Workers Practice/Event #7   
August 31st/September 1st Pro Finale
September 3rd – 6th National Championship
September 28th/29th (Packwood) Pro Solo #3/Event #8  

OLD BUSINESS

Timing Sub Committee - The subcommittee has been working over email. Dan spoke with Brett Wilson and it is possible to revise the software to support a scanner system - they are working on the changes. Dan has looked at the costs involved with moving to a scanner system and proposed the following budget: up to $1700 total budget for timing system updates and improvements.

Proposal:
Laptop: $650 Max
Wireless Router: $100 max (will accept free routers from Eric and only purchase if needed)
USB to Serial Converter: $30 budget
Class 1 Bluetooth Barcode Scanner - $400 Budget (x2) to possibly accommodate Pro Solo
Class 1 Bluetooth USB Dongle - $40 Budget (x2) to possibly accommodate Pro Solo
USB extension cable 30+ft - $50 Budget - This is so we don't have to have the cars go right next to the timing van
PT-1400 Label Printer - $100 Max 
LCD Monitor (Announcer / Pro Solo-R/T Window Display): $100 budget
One Free Entry per day to each 2013 NWR-SCCA event for Brett Wilson (he has done a LOT of complicated work to upgrade the timing software)

A motion was made, seconded and approved to spend a total of up to $1700 on creating scanner process for our region.

Permanent Equipment Storage on Solo Bus - Scott Engler has agreed to help out with the construction of a more permanent way to store timing equipment in the bus. Based on Scott’s plan, Tasha proposed a budget of up to $350 for storage improvements. The actual cost may be only $100 because Scott may have some supplies that he can donate. The proposal for up to $350 was seconded and approved.

Wireless Timing Unit - This unit has not been sent back in to Race America yet – Dan P. will find out which components need to be sent in and get it done.

Meeting location – We will continue meeting at Bogart's for now. 

NEW BUSINESS

Solo Chairman - Dick Willy declared candidacy, no other candidates.  Dick noted that the people deserve the government they get. Dick said a big thanks to Tasha, Geoff & Gretchen as they have helped lighten the load for the Solo Chairman for 2013. The committee voted to approve Dick as the 2013 solo chairman.  Tasha Mikko has volunteered/been appointed to be the vice chair for 2013 and will be handling much of the operations functions.

2013 Specialty Chiefs - Please contact Tasha if you want to reprise your role as a specialty chief, volunteer for an open chief position or an event chair.  The following chiefs are confirmed: Geoff C. (Trophies), Jodi F. (Scoring), Tasha M. and Laurie H. (Registration), Keith and Kristi B. (Workers) and Mike and Carol L. (NS Grid), Eric H. will likely continue his role as chief of course.  Open positions at this time: Chief of Equipment, Chief of Timing-Stock

2013 New to SCCA driver discount program - Cards are currently available - see Tasha if you want flyers/discount punch cards to distribute.

Revenue and recruitment - We are currently at a breakeven point financially. Club has a couple of options - charge higher fees (this is not a popular idea and makes club less appealing than other clubs), or get more participants.  Our event participation has been stagnant while other clubs have been successful with novice participation. Things to overcome/improve on – half our events are in Packwood, we are very rules intensive (this has positives and downsides), indexing and classing rules can be confusing for new participants, regular participants could make a stronger effort to support new participants – chat them up at events and get them excited to run with us. 

John Taylor reported that the Region board has put together a questionnaire that will go to all members to assess what we can do to entice the inactive members back into racing.  He hopes the new board will be very proactive in getting old members back in the hunt. The board is also looking at outreach to bring in new members. If anyone has ideas – shoot to them board.

Bremerton club attracts a lot of the novices and in part because they let them run all year in Novice class.  The SCCA grouping and indexing of classes is confusing to many people. The proposed Tuner class (current/revised name is Intermediate Street Tire) and new to SCCA discount card will hopefully encourage new participants to attend a full season of events.

Region website could be a good resource for new participants but currently, with a few content related exceptions, it is out dated and needs revisions/additions. This is a barrier for the more tech savvy crowd – especially those that use smartphones. Tasha M. reported that she has contacted Joe and started to make a plan for how to update the site. Tasha is going through the solo portion of the site and is developing content updates but Joe could use some help with the artistic layout. Dan P. may have something he can send to Tasha/Joe to work with. Karen B. mentioned that something is going at the regional level with website development and suggested that Tasha contact Sherri Masterson to coordinate efforts. Need to set timelines on website improvements and ongoing/mid-season content updates need to happen quickly when they are requested.

Packwood is a great site but hard to get to. Karen B. asked if anyone had recently checked into the frequently empty lot along 167 near Kent – no one present has looked into it. A general comment - we have developed a preference for national style sites – we have to be more open minded and adaptable. All agreed that a closer site would help with participation, no one volunteered to run a site location committee.

Awards - Discussion about worker of year and Novice of the year.

Event Teardown - Dick W. opened discussion about the need for teardown workers – after brief group discussion Dan P. said that he would recruit workers for set up and teardown as part of the regular timing crew.

Sponsorships - Dirt Fish Rally School has agreed to continue as the novice program sponsor. Tasha mailed an agreement to Dirt Fish and is waiting for it to come back.

Tight N Tidy Racing was contacted by Tasha regarding continuing as the Pro Solo series sponsor. She is waiting to hear back.

Autosports Labs is declining to renew as the title sponsor for the solo series at the current rate. They did a cost analysis for marketing and with the declining participation in our events it did not make sense for them to renew. They may consider being a secondary sponsor for a significantly reduced rate. Dick W., Tasha M. and Scott Miller (of Autosports Labs) will discuss further at a later time and report back. 

Since Autosports has declined to renew title sponsorship, Tasha M. and Dick W. will pursue other options and report back.

New Miscellaneous Equipment Purchases - The 20x10 canopy purchased in 2010 is gone – we need new canopies. Tasha M. explored some options and after a brief group discussion about the various sizes, prices and build quality of canopies she made a motion to buy two 10x10 canopies with a budget of up to $400.  Motion was seconded and approved. Tasha will order the canopies.

We need to have a white board at registration for announcements and key information, e.g., time of novice walk, location/time of trophy presentation, etc. Tasha proposed a budget of up to $220 for the purchase of a free standing, flat folding white board + easel and dry erase pens/supplies. Tim W. seconded the motion and it was approved.

National convention - Keith and Dick will decide who will attend the convention in Las Vegas. A motion was made, seconded and approved to allocate $800 for travel and convention fee.

Awards Banquet - Keith will work to get the registration set up for the banquet and send an announcement to the list. The price will be $38/person.

2013 RULES PROPOSALS

Rule#1 – Intermediate Street Tire (formerly proposed as Tuner Class) (Tasha Mikko)

Proposal: Create a season championship eligible class exclusively for newer drivers – Intermediate Street Tire (IST). 

Intermediate Street Tire: Two Tuner Car classes will be provided, one Open and one Ladies. Drivers eligible for this class will have less than 2 years of Solo competition experience. Participation will be at the discretion of the Solo Director or Manager. All cars meeting the following requirements will be eligible to compete: vehicles must be licensed and street legal, compete on DOT Street-legal tires with a tread wear rating of 140 or greater, and pass the safety and tech inspection. Times will not be indexed. The year-end champion will not be eligible for this class in subsequent years.

Rationale: Getting started and hooked on autocross often takes more than one event. For some newer drivers it can be discouraging to have to jump into the heavy competition in the regular classes after only three events, which is the limit of the Novice class. There’s also plenty to learn about autocross without having to worry about figuring out which class(es) their car is eligible for right away. The intent of the Tuner Car class is to help new drivers “over the hump” - to encourage them to participate in multiple events by making it simple and easy to participate in a season championship eligible class. The hope is that this will improve retention of new drivers.

Discussion – Why create another class?  Why not modify the current Novice class we have and make it a season long class that doesn't feel like a second rate place where new entrants just end up. Some liked the idea of creating a place that intermediate entrants can go before having to jump into the regular classes, and that would still leave the Novice class open for people who are truly “Novice”.  Some were concerned that this class could become about who has the most horsepower because it is not indexed, others expressed that low hp cars can be very competitive and driving ability is also important. Indexing defeats one of the purposes of the class – which is to make it easy to participate in.  Some were concerned about the phrase “2 years of solo competition experience” – and what that meant. The author intended that drivers eligible for the class will have approximately less than 2 seasons worth of events, but wanted to leave the definition somewhat flexible. Trying to codify the 2-year definition in stone could interfere with the intent of the class to build skill and participation – as stated in the rule participation will be at the discretion of the Solo Chair or manager so someone will have to keep a general eye on it.

Rule #2 – Awards (Keith Brown)
Existing
22.  AWARDS
Trophies will be awarded at all events according to participation levels as follows: one trophy for every three competitors in a class, rounded to the next whole number.  For example, for seven competitors, three trophies will be awarded. To be eligible for a year-end award in a class, a competitor must have competed in the required number of events in the class.  The required number of events is determined by the following formula: (no. of events)/2 + 2, rounded to the next whole number. Thus, the best 6 events are counted for an 8-event series, 7 for a 9-event series, and 7 for a 10-event series. There are no year-end awards for Novice classes. In addition to year-end class awards, a Worker of the Year and Novice Driver of the Year will be selected.
Proposed
22.  AWARDS 
Year-End Trophies will be awarded according to participation levels as follows: one trophy for every three competitors in a class, rounded to the next whole number.  For example, for seven competitors, three trophies will be awarded. To be eligible for a year-end award in a class, a competitor must have competed in the required number of events in the class.  The required number of events is determined by the following formula: (no. of events)/2 + 2, rounded to the next whole number. Thus, the best 6 events are counted for an 8-event series, 7 for a 9-event series, and 7 for a 10-event series. There are no year-end awards for Novice classes. In addition to year-end class awards, a Worker of the Year and Novice Driver of the Year will be selected.
Rationale:   Removes the requirement to hand out “Per-Event” trophies.  

Discussion – The group discussed the reasons why people didn't get their trophies.  Is it because they didn't want them or because they didn't know about them? It seemed that this group isn't necessarily the group that should decide this because we may be immune to the idea.  A strong opinion was that we should not give up the idea of giving out trophies this year, before we do a better effort of advertising them and creating a better system of getting the word out.  Some felt that now is not the time to remove the requirement for event trophies as it might make it difficult for the chief of trophies to create nice awards. 

Several people expressed that they like the trophies from the last couple of seasons that were specific to each event – with the event number/class/finishing position, while some people expressed that they don’t feel strongly about the need for event details on trophies.  Some are concerned about the cost of trophies. The group also discussed the possibility of allowing event chairs to come up with the trophies – some were concerned that this would make it hard to recruit event chairs and expressed concern about the lead time necessary for trophies. The group also discussed that event chairs could come up with special/fun awards e.g., most enthusiastic sideways traveling, most cones hit, most consistent, most improved etc. The group seemed generally supportive of the idea of letting event chairs opt to create these types of event awards. The new timing software will make it easier to get results ready which may allow the trophy presentation to take place sooner (before people leave).

Rule #3 – All runs count for everyone.  (Kevin Dietz)

Proposal: Remove the current three run rule that is currently used in PAX/OPAX class competition.

Rationale:  1. Brings parity to all classes and cars such as M and P vs. S and ST Classes.
2. Simplifies Grid procedures. 3. Stated goal of making our region better hasn't manifested. 
Circa Nationals 2012.  4. If drivers want a three run only option they can do that in TO.

Existing

23. SCORING 
The fastest of the timed trophy runs, plus any penalty seconds applied, will be used to determine a competitor's place in class. Unofficial results will reflect the raw time plus all cones and gates.
ALL timed runs at any given event would be considered "competition runs" for all classes except OPAX/(L) and NSPAX/(L). OPAX(L) and NSPAX(L) classes will score no more than three runs for each event. For all other classes all competition runs would be scored for the event and year-end season awards.

A Competitor's score should be posted as soon as practicable after the run and should be posted prior to the start of the competitor's next timed run. The posting of Class Standings should be regularly
updated during the Run Group. Final Class Standings must remain posted for a minimum of 3 0 minutes to satisfy time limits for filing any timing and/or competitor Protests. The "performance index" system will be used in awarding season points to competitors, as follows:
Points= (Fastest time in class I Competitor's best time) x 100.

Proposed

23. SCORING 
The fastest of the timed trophy runs, plus any penalty seconds applied, will be used to determine a competitor's place in class. Unofficial results will reflect the raw time plus all cones and gates.
ALL timed runs at any given event would be considered "competition runs" for all classes.

A Competitor's score should be posted as soon as practicable after the run and should be posted prior to the start of the competitor's next timed run. The posting of Class Standings should be regularly
updated during the Run Group. Final Class Standings must remain posted for a minimum of 3 0 minutes to satisfy time limits for filing any timing and/or competitor Protests. The "performance index" system will be used in awarding season points to competitors, as follows:
Points= (Fastest time in class I Competitor's best time) x 100.

Discussion: The rule proposal’s author was not present at the meeting – the proposal was read aloud by the Solo Chair.

The group discussed the supplemental rules and noted that changing this rule would not affect grid.  Some felt that the rationale for the rule change was not completely clear or well written out in the proposal. 

The group noted that the club has gone around and around on this rule for several years in a row while some present like the 3-run rule and would like to see it in place for all classes, others in the group expressed support for the current rule which accommodates those that like the 3-run rule and those that do not. If a driver wants to compete on 3-runs they can run in OPAX or NSPAX, if they want all runs to count then they can run in the regular Stock or Non-Stock classes. 

Meeting adjourned at 9:45 pm