Long-time volunteers and community leaders voice support for Friends of Laguna Seca’s comprehensive, durable vision
Proposal calls out need for new management to address neglect and deferred maintenance issues, irresponsible fiscal practices highlighted in Grand Jury report
Monterey, CA August 31, 2016 — Friends of Laguna Seca (Friends) is a new non-profit public benefit corporation dedicated to the revitalization and modernization of the Laguna Seca Recreational Area (LSRA) for the advancement of the greater community of Monterey County and the local economy that it serves. Friends has submitted its proposal to the County of Monterey and is building an expert team to manage the entire Laguna Seca Recreation Area.
The Friends proposal includes a 25-year commitment to rebuild the LSRA complex and implement a new business model that will include:
– A $50 million dollar capital improvement plan with $25 million invested in the first five years;
– Establishing a profitable mix of events that will utilize all the assets of the LSRA;
– Maximizing sponsorship opportunities and race track rentals;
– Developing premium camping areas and an upgraded rifle/pistol range;
– Enhancing the end-user experience facility-wide; and
– Bringing new events and premium programs to increase utilization within current restrictions taking particular care to respect our neighbors on Highway 68.
“The Friends core values include transparency, accountability and reliability,” said Friends President Ross Merrill. “Friends will restore trust in the management of Laguna Seca, and will do so from the ground up. Restoring trust includes partnering with the hardworking people who volunteer their time and talent to this public asset.”
A Grand Jury report published in July, “Monterey County Parks and SCRAMP: Uncertainties and Instabilities” called out the recent history of mismanagement and unsound business practices by the current concessionaire, including late payments to the County and raceway vendors and civic groups, which late payments damaged the concessionaire’s relationships with the County, and the business and nonprofit community.
Lee Shepherd, a Laguna Seca Raceway volunteer and former board member, said: “The irresponsible practices detailed in the Grand Jury report does not reflect the quality and care shown by the hard-working volunteer force. Like many local citizens we have serious reservations about the SCRAMP leadership and its new partnership with a for-profit company, International Speedway Corporation (ISC). Friends of Laguna Seca has made clear that the volunteer legacy and culture of responsibility and accountability will be restored, and that’s why I support its proposal.”
Also voicing support for the Friends proposal are longtime Laguna Seca Raceway volunteers Don Ask, Jim Coldwell, Dennis Farber, Marge Ann Jameson, Neil Jameson, Pat Kelly, Carlos Noreiga, Diane Noreiga, John Pfeiffer, Bill Reichmuth, and Carl Schumaker. Board Member Bruce Canepa commended the longstanding volunteers and their commitment. “We deeply value the volunteer corps! Their tireless work and dedication over years of service has not gone unnoticed, which is why we welcome their participation in Friends.”
Team Brings Operations and Program Management Expertise
The Friends team is led by General Manager Lauri Eberhart, a 20-year veteran in speedway management and motorsports. Eberhart has held positions at Speedway Motorsports, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Richmond International Raceway, Michigan International Speedway and Nazareth Speedway. She has a wealth of experience in speedway operations, management and strategic planning.
Eberhart noted, “The Grand Jury report acknowledged the inherent challenges of the raceway including noise, traffic and environmental constraints, and deferred maintenance and capital improvement needs. We fully understand a responsible long-term raceway manager should be a good neighbor, demonstrate organizational adaptability, and find new revenue opportunities beyond racing.”
Also on the Friends team is Tim Frost, an economic and financial consultant with more than two decades of experience in the sports and entertainment business. Frost has performed feasibility studies, market demand studies, economic impact analysis, valuation and financial consulting of motorsports facilities and motorsports industry participants.
Focused on Local Control of County Asset
Board member and Friends’ Treasurer Thomas Minnich added, “The track and facility belongs to the County, and therefore taxpayers. We want to lend all of our expertise, passion, and resources to the entire facility. The key is being able to oversee all the finances, so that money raised at the facility can be put back into its operations and infrastructure. To run an enterprise you must be able to control 100 percent of the expenses and 100 percent of the revenues. Our business plan is focused on stabilizing the enterprise and addressing the neglect and deferred maintenance issues that exist on the property while simultaneously implementing modern management practices to create a world-class venue that will benefit the surrounding community.” Board members Ned Spieker and Jonathan Feiber, who bring decades of financial and startup experience, concurred.
Board member Gordon McCall added, “We want to bring the best of both worlds: volunteer spirit and professional business management. Beyond the raceway, Laguna Seca’s shooting range and campgrounds can also be better run in order to provide more revenue to reinvest in the facility. This is our backyard, we live here, our friends and family are here, we’ve grown up at this place — that’s really important and speaks a lot to our intentions. That local tie really does keep things from going astray. There is nothing local about ISC, a for-profit company based in Daytona Beach, Florida.”
Friends’ initial board and the team they have assembled bring longtime business experience and key expertise in fiscal management, fundraising, planning, construction, design and motorsports. The founders of Friends also have a history of Laguna Seca racing. Equally important, Friends has garnered a broad set of endorsements from business, community and motorsports industry leaders. All recognize the need for a fiscally capable, community first focus. They include:
– Zak Brown, Just Marketing International (JMI)
– David MacNeil, WeatherTech, 2016 IMSA road race series title sponsor
– Petersen Automotive Museum
– Bruce Meyer, Meyer Pacific
– Rob Dyson, Dyson Foundation
– National Auto Sport Association (NASA)
– Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum
– Rancho Cielo
– Mirabel Hotel & Restaurant Group
– Jameson Classic Motorcycle Museum
– The California Parks Company
The Friends’ donor relations community advisors include local leaders such as Don Chapin, David Gill, Kurt Gollnick, Bruce Taylor and Warren Wayland.
The County of Monterey is evaluating proposals and is expected to select a concessionaire to operate the Laguna Seca Recreation Area in the near future.
B.R.A.K.E.S. TEEN PRO-ACTIVE DRIVING SCHOOL ANNOUNCES RETURN TO ENGLISHTOWN, NEW JERSEY
Charity Founder Doug Herbert Confirms October 29-30 for Free Teen Safe Driving School While Serving as Grand Marshal of NHRA Summernationals
- Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission and National Hot Rod Association support B.R.A.K.E.S.’ return to the Garden State
- October date to be followed by multiple B.R.A.K.E.S. schools at Raceway Park in 2017
CHARLOTTE, N.C., June 14, 2016 – After an overwhelmingly positive reception at the track in April, the B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe) Teen Pro-Active Driving School announced it is returning to Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, New Jersey, October 29-30. With enthusiastic support from Raceway Park ownership, the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (NJMVC) and the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), the dates were confirmed by B.R.A.K.E.S. founder and multi-time Top Fuel drag racing champion Doug Herbert while he served as Grand Marshal for the NHRA Summernationals in Englishtown over the weekend.
“Serving as Grand Marshal of the NHRA Summernationals in Englishtown gave us a great opportunity to announce the return of the B.R.A.K.E.S. Teen Pro-Active Driving School to New Jersey,” said Herbert, who founded B.R.A.K.E.S. in memory of his sons, Jon and James, who were tragically killed in a car crash in 2008. “Car crashes are the number-one cause of death among teens in this country, and we started B.R.A.K.E.S. eight years ago to try to do something about that. We trained about 50 kids in that first year. This year, with the help of partners like Raceway Park, the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, the NHRA and many others, we’ve surpassed the 20,000 mark, and we’re still accelerating.”
As with all B.R.A.K.E.S. schools, the October event at Raceway Park will consist of four half-day classes, each including a classroom session followed by multiple hands-on, behind-the-wheel driving exercises – all free of charge and all taught by professional instructors.
“As an official NHRA track, our original slogan was ‘Dedicated to Safety,’” said Raceway Park co-owner Alex Napoliello. “We have a long history of community outreach and engaging with kids in the tri-state area. We couldn’t be more thrilled to have B.R.A.K.E.S. come back to our facility and continue their important mission, which is very much in line with our heritage here at Raceway Park.”
Along with panic braking, accident avoidance, car control and many other important topics, the B.R.A.K.E.S. curriculum places strong emphasis on the dangers of distracted driving, which is also the core focus of the NJMVC’s JustDrive campaign.
“Studies show that 10 percent of drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were driving while distracted – and those are just the crashes where the distractions were known,” said NJMVC deputy chief administrator Jeanne Ashmore. “Given these statistics, continuing to talk or text while driving is just plain irresponsible behavior, and we hope to spread that message to newer drivers through our partnership with the B.R.A.K.E.S. program and our ongoing JustDrive campaign.”
NHRA senior vice president of racing operations, Graham Light explained the sporting organization’s longstanding support of B.R.A.K.E.S. saying, “NHRA was formed in 1951 as a way to get kids off the street, and that mission of safety still exists today. We applaud Doug for taking his personal tragedy and creating B.R.A.K.E.S. to help so many kids around the country. He’s made a difference and saved lives, and we’re very honored to help him in that cause.”
In 2008, top fuel drag racing champion Doug Herbert suffered every parent’s worst nightmare – the loss of his two sons, Jon age 17 and James age 12, in a car crash. Doug took his personal tragedy and created the 501 (c)(3) non-profit B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible And Keep Everyone Safe) Teen Pro-Active Driving School. In the past eight years, more than 20,000 teens from 35 states and three countries have graduated from B.R.A.K.E.S.’ intensive half-day training course, which is free of charge and features hands-on skills exercises taught by professional instructors in a fleet of new vehicles donated by Kia Motors America. The course maintains a low three-to-one student-to-instructor ratio and requires at least one parent to attend with each teen. According to a recent study, B.R.A.K.E.S. graduates are 64 percent less likely to be in a crash in their first three years of driving. For more information or to register for a school, visit www.putonthebrakes.org.
Former K&N East driver and now race team owner Dave Davis has contracted with Phillip Walker Auctions to liquidate his Dave Davis Motorsports race team and fabrication shop located on Denver Drive in Denver, NC. Several race cars, engines, race parts, toter home, stacker trailer, and a shop full of fabrication equipment and tools will be auctioned starting at 1 p.m. on Friday, June 3. The auction will continue at 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 4.
Davis, whose involvement in racing dates back to the NASCAR Busch North Series was one of the few teams that built their own chassis, as well as bodies, thus the tremendous collection of top quality fab equipment in his shop. DDM cars were always top quality and super competitive.
In addition to building and maintaining a top contingent of race cars, he also signed quality drivers that kept the team high in Owner Points competition. Davis has a knack for putting talent behind the wheel of his cars. Some of the drivers who have driven for Davis include Trevor Bayne, Patrick Long, Rogelio Lopez (who visited Victory lane in 2007), Kevin Swindell, Matt Hirschman, and Kasey Kahne who finished second at Iowa Speedway in a DDM car. Other drivers include Cody Hodgson, Joey Polewarczyk, Jeffrey Earnhardt, and Johnny VanDoorn.
The auction will be held at Davis’ shop at 3484 Denver Drive, Denver, NC 28037. Lots 1-300 of race parts will be sold on Friday afternoon, and the remaining 700+ lots of equipment, race cars, vehicles, and remaining parts will go on the auction block on Saturday. For more info, see www.phillipwalkerauctions.com or call 919-215-3351.
Draf10 Motorsports Inc. ™, an NCMA member since 2014, announced today that they will be an associate sponsor on the FDNY Racing #28 Chevy Silverado for the upcoming NASCAR Camping World Truck Series NC Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 20th.
Teaming with veteran owner Jim Rosenblum and the FDNY Racing organization, this will be Draf10 Motorsports’ first entry into NASCAR.
The two organizations have come together because of their strong passion for NASCAR and their desire to give back. FDNY Racing works with the FDNY Widow’s and Children’s Fund. Draf10 Motorsports, along with its sister company, The Draf10 Foundation, a not for profit organization, supports advancements in pediatric medicine and education; this includes but is not limited to STEM.
“It is an honor to be working with FDNY Racing and all that they stand for,” states Mark Knight, President of Draf10 Motorsports and The Draf10 Foundation. “It’s not just about the cars on the track. It is about the passion and the fans.”
BARRETT-JACKSON AUCTION FACILITY TO HOST B.R.A.K.E.S. TEEN DRIVER TRAINING WEEKEND JANUARY 16-17 IN SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA
Barrett-Jackson, “The Worlds Greatest Collector Car Auctions” Company and the West World of Scottsdale facility will hold a weekend of B.R.A.K.E.S. Teen driver training programs in the Phoenix area. Barrett-Jackson is a new supporter of B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible And Keep Everyone Safe), the organization founded by drag racing champion, Doug Herbert. Thanks to the commitment from Barrett-Jackson, KIA Motors USA and longtime charity supporters The H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation in helping B.R.A.K.E.S. save the lives of teenage motorists through the Teen Pro-Active Driving Schools offered free by the non-profit 3(c) organization. On the weekend of January 16-17th, 2016 these nationally-acclaimed driving courses will be coming to legendary West World facility in Scottsdale for the first time.
“This is just a fantastic boost to our program,” says Herbert, who created B.R.A.K.E.S. in 2008 following the tragic highway accident that claimed the lives of his young sons, Jon and James.
“B.R.A.K.E.S. has taught students in the Phoenix area in the past, but this time, we’ll be offering our courses at this incredible Barrett-Jackson facility in Scottsdale. Having such great people and companies supporting our debut in Scottsdale has our entire B.R.A.K.E.S. team smiling from ear to ear. Now with our Teen Pro-Active Driving Schools coming to the West World Facility, that facility will take on even greater meaning and significance for me and everyone at B.R.A.K.E.S.”
“The B.R.A.K.E.S. organization is just incredible,” says a spokesperson from the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation “Teaching our teenagers how to be safer, more mature drivers is so important these days with so many distractions like cell phones and loud stereos stealing their attention. The B.R.A.K.E.S Teen Pro-Active Driving Schools help kids to remain focused while driving and teach them car control skills to help them avoid having an accident when the unexpected happens.”
“I have always been a huge fan of the Barrett-Jackson Auctions and I love coming to the Phoenix area to visit our friends from the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation,” adds Herbert. “Now with our Teen Pro-Active Driving Schools coming to the West World Facility, that facility will take on even greater meaning and significance for me and everyone at B.R.A.K.E.S.”
The Barrett-Jackson Auctions support of B.R.A.K.E.S. will include the auction of Doug Herbert’s B.R.A.K.E.S. themed NHRA Top Fuel Dragster on the evening of January 26th, 2016 with all proceeds to benefit the charity. More details to follow.
For more information on the Teen Pro-Active Driving Schools, eligibility guidelines, and to register (teenagers and their parents are required to sign up), please log on to:www.putonthebrakes.org.
B.R.A.K.E.S. is a non-profit 3(c) organization.
The Piedmont Racing Expo will celebrate its 30th year of the annual short track motorsports trade show and auction on Jan. 15-16 at the Exhibition Building at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds. With assistance this year from Race22.com, Sanitary Café, Funwood Auction Sales, Richard Petty Museum & the past several years assistance from Holley Carburetors, Butlerbuilt Racing Seats, and RacersReunion.com Radio, we’ll have our Sixth Annual Racers Reunion as part of the Expo at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. We invite you to join us in our third decade of servicing short-track racers across the Southeast US including racers from NC, SC, Virginia, Maryland, Georgia, Indiana, West Virginia, Florida, and Tennessee. Our shows are well respected in racing circles and our event is the longest running annual trade show and auction in the Southeast United States.
This racing expo is the perfect place for vendors to showcase products and services to the racing community. Our racing clientele includes short-track stock car racers, dirt track racers, vintage/old-timer racers, drag racers, plus muscle car and street rod enthusiasts. We provide a targeted audience of potential customers for you. Come on out and join us to jump start 2016!
PLUS- See one of Richard Petty’s race cars from the Petty Museum. Richard won the last NASCAR Grand National Race on Dirt here at Raleigh on the 1/2 mile Fairgrounds Speedway track!
30th Annual Piedmont Racing Expo
MOTORSPORTS TRADE SHOW, AUCTION, & RACER”S REUNION
Friday-Saturday, January 15-16, 2016
Exhibition Building at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds
Admission Adults = $10/Day
Age 12-15 = $5/Day
Women and children under 12 are Free!
10am -9pm …..Trade Show-Car Corral
9am-5pm+/- ……Racers Auction
8am-4pm ……….Trade Show-Car Corral
11am-2pm………6th Annual Racers Reunion and
Autograph Session for Raleigh Fairgrounds Speedway’s Legendary Drivers
Recently, the North Carolina Motorsports Association (NCMA) and the North Carolina Motorsports Foundation (NCMF) honored motorsports legend Sam Belnavis with the announcement of the Sam Belnavis Scholarship Award. At the same time NASCAR legend Richard Petty presented him with a NCMF Lifetime Achievement Award. The Sam Belnavis Scholarship will be given annually in the amount of $5,000.
Sam Belnavis has been a pioneer in motorsports for more than thirty years. He joined Miller Brewing Company in the late 1970s, and in 1978 was chosen to manage the new sports marketing department. He broke into NASCAR when he signed driver Bobby Allison to a Miller sponsorship contract. Two years later Bobby Allison won the series championship in the #22 Miller High Life Ford.
Belnavis blazed paths, as a general manager and race team owner. He introduced the National Guard to the NASCAR Sprint Cup series as a sponsor of his team, BelCar Racing, with legendary crew chief Travis Carter and Todd Bodine as the driver.
“The most gratifying part of my motorsports career was spent working to ensure that diversity and inclusion from a career perspective was not overlooked. NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program has helped to bridge that gap. Most people, namely students, do not realize that career opportunities NASCAR offers outside of the driver. I hope to change that perspective” said Belnavis.
Although Belnavis has retired as Chief Diversity Officer and Owner-Designate at Roush Fenway Racing, he is still active, keeping up the sport and the team. He is Chairman Emeritus of the board for the North Carolina Motorsports Foundation.
Belnavis resides in Concord, North Carolina. He is past president of the 100 Black Men of Greater Charlotte. He and his wife, Chris, of 55 years, are the parents of four children and seven grandchildren. Belnavis is a life member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., and a member of Jonesville AME Zion Church in Matthews, North Carolina.
Founded in 1989 in Atlanta by Millard Choate, the construction company now boasts eight offices in the Southeast, including the one in Charlotte. Reputation is Everything. That’s Choate’s tagline.
With motorsports clients that read like a who’s who – Hendrick, Penske, Roush, Michael Waltrip, Stewart-Haas, Kasey Kahne Racing, Curb Motorsports, TRD, JR Motorsports, Speedway Motorsports – the Charlotte office keeps approximately 100 employees busy with projects in the racing industry and others.
Just to give you an idea of what kind of personnel it takes to undertake a large construction project, here’s a sample: project managers, superintendents, pre-construction managers (who have engineering backgrounds), administrative staff, field staff, marketing professionals, and management.
The client usually brings his or her architect together with the contractor to work together on a given build. The team approach favored by Choate coordinates all aspects of work. Choate uses Building Information Modeling software and the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Rating system. You can see some of the LEED implementation in the Charlotte office.
Choate is licensed in 40 states and a visit to the website is pretty impressive. Choate has Fortune 500 and Global 500 clients, many of which represent the 70 percent of new projects it starts each year from repeat clients. Many thanks to John Dudas for the tour. Start yours here.