NEAR Completes a Successful
2015 SEASON -
Awards to be Presented at the
Annual Meeting January 10th, 2016
December 31, 2015

NEAR members enjoyed a good mix of both still and running shows during the 2015 season.  Despite the loss of some key experienced personnel, the club was able to move forward and didn’t skip a beat when it came to successfully executing the events.

Overall the club participated in eighteen “points” events, not including the Maratta Race-A-Rama in February.  The split as far as running and still shows was ten still and eight running shows.  To be expected, most of the running shows were in Northern New England simply because there are more tracks in that area.  Conversely most of the still shows were in the south.  Approximately sixty-six different members with cars participated in the various shows, with several new members joining and some former members rejoining the club at almost every event.  We are happy to have them all with us.

Before we get to the awards, I want to thank those members who regularly stepped up to help when asked, particularly those that volunteered to participate in unscheduled shows and last minute requests, in particular Tom Maciag, Joby Tucker, and Steve Zukowski.  Steve volunteered to participate in many extra events this year with the #53 car and he probably attended more shows than any other member.  Many thanks to Steve and to all of the members who went the extra mile when called upon.

Although there were over sixty members who participated in events in 2015, only five members/teams attended at least 50% of those events.  Another two members fell just shy of 50%.  These seven members/teams make up the Top Five spots, and will each receive an award at the Annual Meeting.  They are:  Angie Bullock #088 and Bill Kemp #199 earning the Cho Lee Award for first place with 17 events each.  In second place is the #7NY of Jim Williams and Paul Jacques with 15 events.  In third place is Steve Zukowski #53 with 11 events.  In fourth place is the #19 of Rich Belmonte and the Belmonte-Greco-Franco team with 9 events.  Rounding out the Top Five is a tie between Butch Burbank #02 and Tom Maciag #19 with 8 events each.  These numbers represent a significant effort by these members, considering that last year’s first place winner attended 11 events.  Congratulations to them all.

Speaking of winners, this year we made a concerted effort to provide opportunities to experience Victory Lane to those members who have never previously had that opportunity.  Additionally, some of our more senior members got to take to the track for the first time in many years as well.  It was a real pleasure to see their "Kool-Aid" grins.  We hope to continue to spread these opportunities to more members as we move forward.

Again, I want to thank everyone who helped out during my first year as event coordinator, especially Lloyd Hutchins who coordinated and ran most of the northern shows.  Thank you to Bob Donahue, Paul Jacques and others who helped out with safety inspections.  I also want to thank Mary Lima of the Senior Tour Auto Racers (STAR) for helping out when the two clubs attended events together.  I think it was a pleasure for all.  My thanks also to the several NEAR members who helped out with organizing and coordinating both running and still shows, and to Judy Poirier for helping with the post event articles and photos on our web page.  I also want to thank the car show and track personnel, who welcomed us with open arms at every event.  We look forward to being invited back.

That said, although I enjoyed my role in organizing the events, it is clear that I need more people to help out.  Although we never missed a grid time and put on some great shows, I think there is always room for improvement.  But I cannot do it alone.  We need more help from non-drivers at the running events to assist with sign-in, membership, safety inspections, coordination with track officials, keeping stats, and taking photos.  Most of the car owners/drivers bring a partner to the events to help out.  There are opportunities for these folks to play significant roles beyond helping with the individual cars.  I hope that we will have several volunteers in 2016, and I hope that some of them will take ownership of specific roles at our events.

I think we can look forward to a very busy season in 2016.  NEAR is in demand and I anticipate that several events will be added to the schedule, including some new still shows and, hopefully, a few more running shows at new tracks.  I hope to have the schedule completed by the annual meeting.  Keep in mind we are at the mercy of the venues, many of which have not completed their own schedules yet.  In any event I think we will have a 90-95% solution by January.

Lastly, I’m grateful for the support and the many pats on the back during this season.  My ambition is to provide the best experience possible for all of our members.  I welcome constructive comments and ideas from the membership so we can constantly improve our operations.

Warm Regards and Best Wishes for a Happy Holiday season!

By Jim Williams