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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. Call it unauthorized law if you must, a regulatory wrong, but it was fraud and theft well beyond that, a seeming crime! "In three specific cases, the hearing officer found that Westerfield did little to no work for her clients but only issued a partial refund or no refund at all." That is theft by deception, folks. "In its decision to suspend Westerfield, the Supreme Court noted that she already had a long disciplinary history dating back to 1996 and had previously been suspended in 2004 and indefinitely suspended in 2005. She was reinstated in 2009 after finally giving the commission a response to the grievance for which she was suspended in 2004." WOW -- was the Indiana Supreme Court complicit in her fraud? Talk about being on notice of a real bad actor .... "Further, the justices noted that during her testimony, Westerfield was “disingenuous and evasive” about her relationship with Tope and attempted to distance herself from him. They also wrote that other aggravating factors existed in Westerfield’s case, such as her lack of remorse." WOW, and yet she only got 18 months on the bench, and if she shows up and cries for them in a year and a half, and pays money to JLAP for group therapy ... back in to ride roughshod over hapless clients (or are they "marks") once again! Aint Hoosier lawyering a great money making adventure!!! Just live for the bucks, even if filthy lucre, and come out a-ok. ME on the other hand??? Lifetime banishment for blowing the whistle on unconstitutional governance. Yes, had I ripped off clients or had ANY disciplinary history for doing that I would have fared better, most likely, as that it would have revealed me motivated by Mammon and not Faith. Check it out if you doubt my reading of this, compare and contrast the above 18 months with my lifetime banishment from court, see appendix for Bar Examiners report which the ISC adopted without substantive review: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS

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  4. I'm the poor soul who spent over 10 years in prison with many many other prisoners trying to kill me for being charged with a sex offense THAT I DID NOT COMMIT i was in jail for a battery charge for helping a friend leave a boyfriend who beat her I've been saying for over 28 years that i did not and would never hurt a child like that mine or anybody's child but NOBODY wants to believe that i might not be guilty of this horrible crime or think that when i say that ALL the paperwork concerning my conviction has strangely DISAPPEARED or even when the long beach judge re-sentenced me over 14 months on a already filed plea bargain out of another districts court then had it filed under a fake name so i could not find while trying to fight my conviction on appeal in a nut shell people are ALWAYS quick to believe the worst about some one well I DID NOT HURT ANY CHILD EVER IN MY LIFE AND HAVE SAID THIS FOR ALMOST 30 YEARS please if anybody can me get some kind of justice it would be greatly appreciated respectfully written wrongly accused Brian Valenti

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