DE Chair 2019 Message
- Last Updated: Friday, 22 February 2019 15:49
THE DE PROGRAM
PCA Potomac Driver's Education (DE) would like to welcome all new and current participants to our 2019 program. Potomac's DE Program will again be sponsored by OG Racing and we thank OG for all they do to help us produce our full list of events. (See the complete schedule on the main DE page of this website).
The 2018 DE season was very successful with high participation at all of our events, and we thank all the volunteers that work tirelessly before, during and after the events to make it a positive experience for all. These volunteers include overworked Registrars, Tech Inspectors, Chief Instructors, Track Instructors, Classroom Instructors, Track registrar and support team, grid marshal team, stewards, social, track coordination, cashier, and the list goes on... Hope we did not miss anyone.
During 2018, Potomac PCA continued our commitment to provide the highest quality DE experience possible while continuing to stress safety in all aspects of the program including mandatory safety briefings and safety reminders at all meetings, which is a policy we will continue into this year. We also will do our best to continue our policy of assigning only one student to each instructor whenever possible. This allows each instructor to spend more time with each student to maximize the individual input and track experience for that student while giving the instructor adequate track time as well. DE committee members take the input of all participants very seriously, have implemented changes based on this input, and will track improvements in safety and efficiency after assessing the outcome of these changes.
This year we want to emphasize our away events. Pitt Race is again on the books for the first weekend of May this year, and is our 3rd year at this newly upgraded facility. This is the old but much upgraded and extended Beaver Run, just 5 minutes off the PA turnpike and about 5 hrs from the DC beltway. We encourage all to come to this world class track complex. Other away events continue to include Watkins Glen and VIR which are well known favorites of Potomac PCA.
The first event on Saturday March 9, 2019 is our Instructor Refresher, when we renew our skills of instructing advanced driving within our Instructor Corp. Our Instructors are required to attend this event at least every 4 years to keep everyone current with instructor techniques, safety equipment, rules, as well as new vehicle features and options that can affect driving a vehicle at higher than street speeds. The same weekend on Sunday March 10 we open the season for beginner drivers with our High Performance Driving Clinic (HPDC). This is an event particularly focused on and designed for drivers without experience in high performance driving at speed and is a pre-requisite to qualify for Potomac's regular DEs. We allow only passenger cars at this event. (No SUV's or trucks). All passenger car Marques are welcomed. Please note that those with prior high performance driving experience including autocross school may can qualify a driver for DE without doing an HPDC.
We then move into the regular DE Season which usually includes DE events at all three circuits at Summit Point Raceway in West VA, (considered our Home track), away events at Pitt Race, Watkins Glen, NY, and VIR near Danville VA. As shown on the DE page of this website, we have eight DE's and a second HPDC scheduled this year. Our last DE for the year at Summit Point main circuit will start with a Friday Volunteer Day open to invited Instructors and qualified DE volunteers. This is followed by a two-day DE on Saturday and Sunday open to all driving run groups, and is a great event to end the driving season.
THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE PROGRAM
The DE Committee wants to thank all the drivers and instructors who came to our events in 2018. We realize that without you, there would be no program. We know you have a choice of driving venues and we appreciate that you chose Potomac PCA. Our commitment to you is to work to make the 2019 season even better than 2018.
The DE Committee also wants to thank our volunteers. We know volunteering requires a personal commitment to the club. Our program would not function as well as it does without you. These volunteers include those who support Track Registration, Tech and Pit Out, Social, as well as our Track and Classroom Instructors.
DE Committee will consist of familiar faces as well as some new faces.
Susan Kimmitt will join Bob Mulligan as a DE Co Chair this year. Susan has been a long time Volunteer, Instructor, past Instructor of the Year, and a successful PCA Club Racer, now running in our Vintage group in addition to DE events. Bob came to DE Chair by way of years (and years) as a Chief Instructor for Potomac PCA. Bob continues to participate in our Racing program in his 1990 Cup Car.
Chief Instructors Dan Dazzo, Don Mattran and Steve Wilson have done an outstanding job and will continue. All three Chief Instructors are Club Racers. Jay Smith take over the role of Track Coordinator from Brian Walsh. Jay and Dirk Dekker will provide advanced support to the white run group. Dirk has also stepped up to working with our Black highest run groups. Dirk and Jay have also taken on the role of instructor development. This is a critical aspect of our technical training. Ellen Beck and Dan Dazzo will again provide PCA National Program instruction for our Instructor Candidate training with help from Jay, Dirk and the Instructor Corp.
Dan and Steve will provide instruction for our High Performance Driving Clinics. Classroom Instructors will continue to be Tony Pagonis, Carson Soule, Steve Wilson, John Vrankovich, Ed Hahn and Melonie Sullivan. These folks will all continue to raise the bar and provide interest and insight in the mandatory classroom sessions throughout the year.
John Vrankovich, Dave DiQuollo and Mark Salvador provide leadership for pre-event tech and at the track technical inspections. Chris Mantzuranis and Diane Sullenberg will continue as our hard worked and underappreciated DE Registrars. Roger McLeod continues as Cashier. Steve Vetter and Tim Kearns joined by Michael Handelman and Stephan Kiraly continue as Stewards and Lara Peirce leads the Track Registration team.
We have increased our commitment to running as many Skid Pad sessions as possible whenever they are available. Our Skid Pad operations continue to be ably assisted by our friends and instructors from the BMW club (many of whom have now purchased Porsches.)
One of the most important positions we have is that of Potomac Safety Chair which covers all events that involve moving cars, even Drive and Dine, but DE is a primary focus. Tim Kearns is our Chief Steward as well as Safety Chair, and works closely with Dan Dazzo who is also in charge of PCA Zone 2 and PCA National Safety.
A unique addition to our driver education program is the new Driver Ambassador program. The Driver Ambassador team is here to help you and they are available to answer questions about any aspect of our DE program before you register as well as during the events themselves. Drivers who are new to PCA Potomac DE (even experienced ones) will have a Driver Ambassador assigned to them - a great resource to understand how we do things within the program - and even for technical assistance at the event. If you have any questions about what the DE program is like, preparing for an event, or what to expect please feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com.
During our events simply look for the Driver Ambassador logo for assistance.
Last, but definitely not least, we have Grid operations with Pat Kaunitz continuing as Grid Marshall. She and her helpers cajole drivers onto the grid and make sure that all helmets and other safety equipment is properly fastened. They also do their best to take a last minute look over the cars to make sure hoods, trunks etc. are closed, windows are open, etc. Volunteering on Grid is one of the first and best ways to become more involved with the club and actually is very interesting as you get first hand exposure with all aspects of track operations. May seem we have a lot of grid volunteers, but with up to 200 cars at some events the process can be a lot like herding cats!! So come on out and jump in.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
The 2019 season is shaping up to be one of the best ever ALL DRIVNG EVENTS ARE NOW OPEN FOR REGISTRATION. All event registrations take place via www.motorsportreg.com. All Potomac DE events can also be reached for registration here via the PCA Potomac website
PCA Potomac DE Registrars (Chris and Diane) can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
THE CONSTINUING COMMITTMENT OF THE DE PROGRAM
We believe our Potomac DE s are amongst the best in the country, including best dollar per minute of quality track time, and continue to strive to implement improvements.
Potomac DE realizes that both drivers and instructors have choices for their driving venues. We appreciate that you choose Potomac and commit to working with you to make 2019 a great season.
Remember: Be Safe, Have Fun, and Learn something... (in that order).
Thanks for reading!
Bob Mulligan and Susan Kimmitt
PCA Potomac Region (The Founder's Region)