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IndyBar: TRAC 2014: Networking, Education and … Moonshine?

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By Wesley A. Zirkle, Executive Vice President & General Counsel, JMITRAC Co-Founder & 2015 Conference Chair

The seventh annual The Racing Attorney Conference (“TRAC,” as it is better known) was held this year in Charlotte, N.C., April 8 and 9. For those of you already familiar with TRAC, please allow me a few sentences to provide others with some background.
 

iba-photo-award-15col Steve Newmark (pictured at left), President of Roush Fenway Racing, presents the 2014 TRAC STAR Award to Stoke Caldwell, Partner at Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson.

TRAC was founded to facilitate networking and learning among attorneys whose practices touch some form of motorsport, with particular emphasis on uniting the open-wheel and stock car legal communities. The conference therefore rotates between Indianapolis and Charlotte every year, co-sponsored by the Indianapolis Bar Association and the North Carolina Bar Association. Over the past few conferences, a friendly rivalry has developed between conference organizers in Indy and those in Charlotte, trying to one-up each other with better and better conferences. This year, Charlotte set the bar high for those of us organizing TRAC 2015 in Indy.

What started as an effort to get a handful of attorneys from Indy and Charlotte to share ideas has turned into something much greater. TRAC 2014 had more than 100 attendees from 15 different states! Moreover, it has turned into the “must attend” event for many of motorsports’ behind-the-scenes power brokers. Attending TRAC virtually guarantees a conversation will be had, or a friendship formed, with men and women who had a part in shaping motorsports from just a bunch of speed freaks and moonshine runners to a multibillion-dollar industry.

And speaking of moonshine runners, I said that the Charlotte organizing committee set the bar high and they did. The cocktail reception featured an appearance from legendary NASCAR driver Junior Johnson, one of the original pioneers of the sport who literally turned moonshine running into stock car racing. And he brought presents! In his retirement, Mr. Johnson founded a legitimate moonshine manufacturing business, creating traditional and flavored moonshine. Each speaker at TRAC received a complimentary jar of Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moon moonshine. Mine was cranberry… more on that below.


iba-junior-johnson_15col.jpg Junior Johnson speaking to attendees of TRAC 2014 during the cocktail reception

But my Charlotte colleagues didn’t stop there. The keynote speaker for the conference’s second day was Kelley Earnhardt Miller, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s sister and business manager. She is widely regarded as one of the most powerful women in all of motorsport, and I can add to that a very gracious and sincere person… and a terrific storyteller.

TRAC also takes time each year to honor an individual who has made a significant contribution to the field of motorsports law by giving the TRAC Star Award. This year’s honoree was Stokely (“Stoke”) G. Caldwell Jr. For those of you who don’t know him, Stoke is the guy that many of NASCAR’s elite rely upon for legal advice (including Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Danica Patrick, Ray Evernham, and Roush Fenway Racing). He is an expert practitioner, a true gentleman, and an example to those of us younger attorneys who follow him. Stoke is also a co-founder of TRAC. He is a truly deserving honoree.

We also managed talked about law this year. The quality of the panels and discussions continues to be exceptional, providing high-quality content that isn’t available anywhere else. This year’s panels discussed sponsorship, tax and finance issues, insurance, compensation, intellectual property, immigration, sponsorship activation, track and facilities issues, and SAG/AFTRA, all with a focus on the issues unique to motorsports.

TRAC 2015 will be in Indianapolis April 14-15. Planning is already underway, and we endeavor to exceed the exceptional conference that our Charlotte friends hosted this year. I hope to see you there!

Before I close this column, I must share my Old Fashioned recipe which I created after trying Junior Johnson’s cranberry moonshine:

2 oz. bourbon

1 tablespoon of Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moon Cranberry Moonshine

1 splash of orange liquor

1 dash of orange bitters

As much or as little ice as you like in your Old Fashioned

Think of a cranberry-orange muffin in bourbon form. Wow!•

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  1. A traditional parade of attorneys? Really Evansville? Y'all need to get out more. When is the traditional parade of notaries? Nurses? Sanitation workers? Pole dancers? I gotta wonder, do throngs of admiring citizens gather to laud these marching servants of the constitution? "Show us your billing records!!!" Hoping some video gets posted. Ours is not a narcissistic profession by any chance, is it? Nah .....

  2. My previous comment not an aside at court. I agree with smith. Good call. Just thought posting here a bit on the if it bleeds it leads side. Most attorneys need to think of last lines of story above.

  3. Hello everyone I'm Gina and I'm here for the exact same thing you are. I have the wonderful joy of waking up every morning to my heart being pulled out and sheer terror of what DCS is going to Throw at me and my family today.Let me start from the !bebeginning.My daughter lost all rights to her 3beautiful children due to Severe mental issues she no longer lives in our state and has cut all ties.DCS led her to belive that once she done signed over her right the babies would be with their family. We have faught screamed begged and anything else we could possibly due I hired a lawyer five grand down the drain.You know all I want is my babies home.I've done everything they have even asked me to do.Now their saying I can't see my grandchildren cause I'M on a prescription for paipain.I have a very rare blood disease it causes cellulitis a form of blood poisoning to stay dormant in my tissues and nervous system it also causes a ,blood clotting disorder.even with the two blood thinners I'm on I still Continue to develop them them also.DCS knows about my illness and still they refuse to let me see my grandchildren. I Love and miss them so much Please can anyone help Us my grandchildren and I they should be worrying about what toy there going to play with but instead there worrying about if there ever coming home again.THANK YOU DCS FOR ALL YOU'VE DONE. ( And if anyone at all has any ideals or knows who can help. Please contact (765)960~5096.only serious callers

  4. He must be a Rethuglican, for if from the other side of the aisle such acts would be merely personal and thus not something that attaches to his professional life. AND ... gotta love this ... oh, and on top of talking dirty on the phone, he also, as an aside, guess we should mention, might be important, not sure, but .... "In addition to these allegations, Keaton was accused of failing to file an appeal after he collected advance payment from a client seeking to challenge a ruling that the client repay benefits because of unreported income." rimshot

  5. I am not a fan of some of the 8.4 discipline we have seen for private conduct-- but this was so egregious and abusive and had so many points of bad conduct relates to the law and the lawyer's status as a lawyer that it is clearly a proper and just disbarment. A truly despicable account of bad acts showing unfit character to practice law. I applaud the outcome.

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