Steven Lee’s SCCA national Convention Recap

From Steven Lee:

I attended 13 classes over the two day convention, along side 250+ SCCA members from all over the country (even Hawaii and Alaska!).

Day 1

The opening session was the leadership summit. This class was addressed to all members who came to the convention, and was a reminder of why we were there. We went there to make our club better for our members. Everything we learned during those two days should be brought back in a focus to make a more efficient and enjoyable club. The big reminder was to remember that we all started to race because it was fun! We can’t lose sight in that. When the fun is gone, the club has failed.

The next session was Successful Solo’s and Shenanigans. This class was talking about alternatives to the standard auto cross format. A great idea was to do Match tour style scoring at a local event. 3 runs in the morning, then 3 more runs in the afternoon, with final scoring being your best time from each session added together. Another idea that was brought up was rallycross style scoring. In rally cross, you’re not scored on your single fastest run, but a total time of all of your tunes added together. Mini-pro’s were also successful in other regions, but tend to be limited by the size of the lot since 2 separate courses are needed. I like all of these ideas and will push to try a new style at our fun events this season.

TireRack street survival was the next class I went to. This class was not so much about what TRSS is, but how it is beneficial to your region. It’s a great program that builds relationships within the community which often leads to open doors for the club. One such instance was a region that approached a local high school about hosting a TRSS for their students at their school, which eventually lead to them being able to use their parking lot for events. That’s something that could help us out with our lot availability being so small.

The next class was about attracting new people to auto cross and retaining them. The driving point of the class was having a friendly and helpful environment at each event. Welcoming new people, offering help and advice, creating a basic event schedule and FAQs to give to them, offering rides, etc. All great ideas. Personally I will make an effort to be better at this. It’s easy to get caught up in all that goes on at an event and I need to remember that a new person may not understand that.

The meaning of stewardship class was next. Thinking of the good of the members and not yourself was the main point. What you see as possibly good for yourself as a leader, may not be good for the club. What amazed me during this class is that there are so many people in the SCCA that don’t even race. They don’t race, at all. But they love the club and it’s members so much that they volunteer their time and efforts so that others can enjoy the experience. That’s the true meaning of stewardship.

The next class was about new types of solo events. A more in depth version of the solo shenanigans class. Drivers schools were brought up and it was neat to hear some ideas from other regions. We host driver schools that are focused more on beginners, but others have had success holding schools for the more advanced drivers. Same thing for Test N Tunes. Many other regions only do test n tunes for their serious competitors that go to national events and the championship. I think we have incredibly successful TNTs and I don’t think we need to change it.

The last session of the day was the solo town hall. This is where people can ask questions and start discussions with the SEB. There were lots of discussions about the proposed open ECU tuning for street touring classes in 2018. There were also talks about upcoming changes to kart classes for safety and that current youth stewards will have to be recertified. Another request was for more clarification in Fasttrack when a letter gets denied, instead of a generic answer like “thank you for your input”.

Day 2

I started the day by attending a class about site acquisition, which is something we should always be thinking about. Our sites are precious and can be gone in moments, we need to keep our eyes out for potential lots at all times. SCCA also has some things to help approach a potential new site. There is a package you can get from the national office that has all of the info, history, insurance info, etc. Each division also has an appointed person to help with site acquisition (Raleigh Boreen is ours for instance). So there’s a lot of support out there for whenever we find a potential site.

Next up was engaging current and new members. There were many good ideas brought up from several different regions. Some regions do movie nights, cookouts, etc to get people together outside of the competitive environment and building those relationships. We brought up our GT6 league, dollar bets, and sometimes dinner after events. Another club does an off season karting league. That’s something we could do since we have BIK in Louisville.

Building you brand was the next class lead by Pirelli World Challenge driver Shea Holbrook. She talked about building a brand identity through consistent marketing and cross branding. Having a good logo is a big part of a successful brand. Several regions have seen growth just by updating an old tired logo. Them cross branding with other companies (sponsors in our case) not only helps the club, but it also helps out the sponsors.

The following class was on social media marketing. All of the big social media outlets were discussed, but it seems that Facebook is the most successful and reaches the most people. It was suggested that each region have a FB page for info, announcements, schedule, etc., then a FB group (like we have now) for discussions, video posts, etc. We also learned about some advertising tools available for FB pages. Advertising starts as little as $10. You can select and customize target groups that will see your posts, track analytics to see what posts are successful. Having that kind of control could really help reach our target audience.

Up next was Solo tools. This class covered things that are available from the home office to assist regions in putting on a successful event. Did you know there was a thing called the Solo Cookbook? Neither did I. It’s a book that’s been around for a while, just not well advertised from the SCCA. It’s a book that has all the info you need to run an event. Lot size requirements, safety requirements, sanctioning info, course design basics, the whole spiel. The home office offers regional support, all it takes is a phone call or email to get some answers and assistance.

The final class I went to was about Solo course design. I’ve never designed a course and thought it would be interesting to see what it’s all about. It turned out not to be a class about designing a course from scratch, but fine tuning it while making things safe and fun. Roger Johnson, the guy who literally wrote the book on course design, so it was great to have THE guy offering his tips and thoughts. The biggest take home from that class was to straighten out the course just before the finish. Not only is it safer than cornering or slaloming into the finish, everyone enjoys a full throttle blast through the lights. Nothing is worse than a fun course where you have a slow and tight corner right at the end. Another tip was that pointer cones should only be on the inside of corners, so the course is easier to read. Also not using too many cones so it doesn’t end up being a sea of cones and hard to define the course.

Finally we had the awards banquet. It was really special to be in the room with all the SCCA top brass and see some incredible people receive some highly honored awards. The highlight of course was seeing Cindy Duncan awarded Solo Driver of the Year. She’s been a long time racer who’s worked hard with focus and dedication to reach the top of the sport. She’s truly an inspiration for all of us.