Carolinas Challenge 2011
December 1, 2011
By Bill Scarbrough, Club Race Chair
What an aptly named event! The 2011 Carolinas Challenge—Club Racing event of the Carolinas Region of the Porsche Club of America—is an annual pilgrimage for PCA racers, driver’s education students, and spectators alike. Challenging because you have the opportunity to drive your beloved Porsche on one of the most technical purpose-built race tracks in the eastern United States; Challenging because invariably there are mechanical, physical and emotional issues to overcome during the weekend; and Challenging because it literally takes a village to make one of these events happen.

A lot of work goes into making the annual Carolinas Challenge happen, and a lot of people and organizations stepped up and did a wonderful job. First and foremost I want to thank each and every one of the volunteers—grid workers, technical/inspection staff, social staff, and our National Race staff’s assistants—because things would not have gone as smoothly without you!!! I also wish to thank our sponsor’s—Foreign Cars Italia/Porsche of Greensboro, Autometrics Motorsports, Apex Performance, The Racers Group, Black Forest Garage, Martin Bros Construction, Pennington Law Firm, and Horizon Management, Inc. We appreciate your support of our passion—we could not have held the event without you!! Thanks also is due to our exceptional group of PCA, CMP, and SCCA corner workers and the staff at Carolina Motorsports Park—we appreciate their taking care of all of us at the track! Another group deserving special thanks is our National Race Staff—Bob, Simon, Jon, and Walt—awesome job fellows! Finally, I wish to give a big “thank you” to the Carolinas Region Board and all of our Area Directors—your unwavering support of and commitment to the Club Race, and me personally as the rookie race chair made this another successful event.

The weekend’s weather started out a bit iffy---cold and rainy, but by noon Saturday, the weather could not have been better—sunny and warm. The race and DE groups took their turns on the track and Saturday afternoon saw a “practice start and fun race” session and the first Sprint Races of the weekend. We had two very exciting races and some close class finishes. Following last year’s tradition, we also had a special opportunity again to host professional racing driver Spencer Pumpelly from TRG who offered his personal coaching services for the weekend to a few lucky racers. It must have paid off, because the rookie award was presented to a racer coached by Spencer!

Late Saturday, just prior to the social and awards ceremony, we added another feature to the weekend—the Pit Crew Challenge. Twelve crew members from Autometrics, Doc’s Grrrage, and Rudtners participated in two qualifying heats and a final championship race at the go-cart track. We all had a great time and there was some terrific side-by-side racing! Because the race weekend coincides with Halloween, we thought it would be fun to have a costume party in conjunction with the race awards presentation. Lots of folks (and some of our four-legged friends) joined in the festivities, wearing costumes and decorating their paddocks and cars. We had a great turn out, beautiful awards sponsored by Autometrics, great door prizes sponsored by Apex Performance, and sumptuous food, wine, and beer provided by TRG and Doc’s Grrrage.

Sunday morning brought one more Sprint race per group, and we incorporated a DE group throughout the day to break things up a bit and provide some up and coming drivers a chance to rub elbows with the racers. Sunday afternoon, we combined the two scheduled 60-minute endurance races into one, which made for some interesting speed differentials. Everyone played nice and was courteous to their fellow racers. Many of the Carolinas Region’s racers were in attendance, including Mike Stinnett, Gene Kendrick, Bill Williams, Bob Saville, Jimmy Martin, Mike McMenamin, Rob Purviance, Joel Barber, Charles Price, Billy Fulbright, Michael Branning, Stephen Roach, and Robbie Strickland.

We ended up with 46 racers and 30 DE participants registered. Thanks again to everyone that came out to the track during the weekend – racers, drivers, crew, sponsors, volunteers, workers and spectators. Everyone seems to have had fun, and we look forward to seeing everyone again in 2012.