As is often customary for folks to do at the end of the year, I have been doing some reflecting on what 2012 meant for NASA and all of our stakeholders. To see where we are now, I had to spend a little time gazing into the rearview mirror.
I started with NASA in 2000 after spending three years running a small hot-lapping club with my old friend Ryan Flaherty and future open-wheel star Townsend Bell. When I joined NASA, we had a little over 2,000 members spread over some pretty diverse regions, and we were at a point where we were trying hard to set our course for the next 10 years. I had been organizing small events for a while and racing in another sanctioning body for a couple of years, but I was still pretty wet behind the ears, so what I knew about running a sanctioning body paled in comparison to what I did not know. However, I knew a good thing when I saw it, and the raw passion along with the nearly unlimited kindness of the members that I saw out in the regions told me that this was an endeavor worth pursuing.
In this 12-year-long odyssey, many changes have taken place and we now have over seven times more happy members than we had when I began, who are enjoying more than 200 diverse NASA events each year all over every corner of this great nation of ours. We have programs now that set the industry standard and we are lucky enough to have been at the forefront of the tremendous growth that has taken place in amateur motorsports over the past decade.
During my time on the road, I have had the chance to drive in HPDE, compete in Time Trial, campaign a racecar, man a flag stand as a corner marshal, ride along in tow trucks, work nearly every specialty in the control tower, be both a race director and a rally steward, serve as a scrutineer in tech, call race broadcasts over the air, and also write articles focusing on this great passion we all share. What working all these jobs has taught me is that we are truly blessed to have some of the nicest, most decent, and fun people in the country coming to and working at NASA events. It also has made me humble and open to new ideas as I have showed up to work a job many times with expectations that were quickly reset by the true professionals who were kind enough to show me the ropes.
With that perspective in mind, I can say that 2012 was easily the most critical and successful year that NASA has ever had. We launched our own magazine, Speed News, along with an online talk show that has proven to be the one of the most popular offerings on GoRacingTV.com. We held our seventh annual National Championships that featured simply awesome racing with more than $1.2 million in prizes available to the competitors who came from all over the United States and Canada to attend. We expect more than 80 teams to compete in the 10th annual USAF 25 Hours of Thunderhill this year, and more than 14,000 fans came through the gates for Hyperfest at Summit Point Raceway in 2012. All of these things point to a bright future for NASA and I am excited to see what 2013 will bring in terms of further success in presenting our members new programs and benefits, fun after hours in the paddock, and awesome competition in all of the venues where NASA and its members play.
To close, I must offer many thanks to all those who have helped me and NASA along the way. Without your help, mentoring and friendship, I would have long ago found an easier path to travel. I look forward to meeting up with you somewhere in the paddock, on the track, or on the rally stage during this next season as we shift up yet another gear.