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COTA Qualifying Issue & Proposal

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#1
Lee Thomas

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Reading the sups it's clear why many people have issues with the time allotted for qualifying. When I asked how this could be addressed I was told to take my "complaints" to the Chief Steward. They also said that there will be no timing equipment available on Friday. The no equipment thing sounds rather strange to me so I'd like to get confirmation on that.

I'd like to propose we identify someone to act as our liaison/advocate/proxy and offer the stewards a rational solution to the issue. As many of you have pointed out, getting 86 cars to qualify in 15 minutes is most likely impossible.

My proposal: Lets get consensus on what we need. Something simple like break run groups over 'X' cars into two separate groups for qualifying, allow Friday to be a qualifying day, etc. You guys have more experience with this that I do so I look forward to reading your ideas. Let's then select our advocate and they can begin what will hopefully be a rational and productive conversation with the stewards. The sooner we do this the more likely we can work out a deal.

The sups can be found here: http://scca.cdn.race...pplementals.pdf

Thoughts?


See Danny Steyn's proposal below (post #16). If you agree with it click "Like".

Edited by Lee Thomas, 01-17-2013 10:33 AM.


#2
Johnny D

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You may want to confirm you'll have equipment on Friday before trying for qual on Friday.
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#3
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Don't take this the wrong way Lee, but what good is it being a board member if the tail is going to continue to wag the dog? You are a duly elected official of the host Region and you don't have any say in this?
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#4
MPR22

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As to the sups, I have raced 3 years in the SOWDiv and to my recolection we have never had 7 Groups, it has always been 6. Why add a group that shortens the race time of every other group?

Yes Drago, I'm still complaining, unlike you, I don't have a fudging friend, client, or sponsor that gives a damn what I say or how I say it.
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#5
Lee Thomas

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Don't take this the wrong way Lee, but what good is it being a board member if the tail is going to continue to wag the dog? You are a duly elected official of the host Region and you don't have any say in this?

I wish I had a good answer to this. i just want to race. I want to fix the problems and eventually get to the fun parts. I get the impression we have a Bernie Ecclestone in our little cabal making the rest of us rather impotent. Sorry.

#6
James York

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I wish I had a good answer to this. i just want to race. I want to fix the problems and eventually get to the fun parts. I get the impression we have a Bernie Ecclestone in our little cabal making the rest of us rather impotent. Sorry.


I think they have a blue pill for this. I am not sure.

Lee, I feel for you. You have been trying to help. I was all excited about doing this race, but now no so much seeing the cluster it might potentially be for qualy and only a 30 min race?

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#7
mdavis

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As to the sups, I have raced 3 years in the SOWDiv and to my recolection we have never had 7 Groups, it has always been 6. Why add a group that shortens the race time of every other group?

Yes Drago, I'm still complaining, unlike you, I don't have a fudging friend, client, or sponsor that gives a damn what I say or how I say it.



Michael....back in the day when people actually showed up to races we did have 7 run groups in Southwest Division.

I do think it's interesting that when Lee asks for suggestions on how to fix things that we get about 4 responses yet the thread where people get to complain is near 300. Anyway I'll bite-
1. Do away with the registration race. Everyone who signs up gets on track.
2. Absolutely need to have timing equipment Friday. If it's a manpower issue then us SMers are going to have to step up and provide some support to make this work. It's absurd that a race of this magnitude cannot have timing equipment in place on Friday.
3. Friday AM 1/2 the group gets to qualify (all comers split them up however you want) 25 minutes, followed by the other half for 25 minutes. Will need to eliminate afternoon session but if the sessions are grouped together conditions likely to be similar.
4. Fastest 80 make the race Saturday. The others get bumped to another group (likely group 2 to run with STL, etc.). Fastest 80 times from the two races combined make the main field on Sunday other get moved to the "consolation race" (again likely in group 2).
5. Get rid of the 15 minute qualifying on Saturday and Sunday for SM and add it to the race or use the extra time for the second group. That's the tradeoff for keeping everyone involved. I know, I know GCR says there has to be a minimum practice time but it gets waived all the time.

ok- flame away!!!

By the way- I know how you feel Lee. My brother and I have tried on many different occasions to make suggestions about scheduling, etc. even using other regions/divisions as examples. However we've always been met with "we can't do that because..."
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#8
Pat Ross

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Ok, here is my suggestion:

1. Each entrant pays the same $ whether they are in a group of 25 or 85 so each should have the same opportunity to qualify. They should have no more than 30 cars on the track during qualifying, so break the SM group into three groups of 28 cars. Allow each of the three groups one warm-up lap, two hot laps, and one cool down lap. That should take approximately 12 minutes for a total of 36 minutes.

2. Reduce the minutes other groups have to qualify so that the total qualifying time is as originally scheduled.

3. If there are other groups with 60-70 entrants break their qualifying up into two similar sessions.

Forget about letting some groups run 6-7 laps during qualification. Most of the time your 1st or 2nd hot lap will be your quickest. While each driver might not get their absolute best qualifying lap, at least they would have the opportunity for a representative qualifying time. Sure would beat the
cluster f...k that we are going to have the way they have it scheduled right now.

#9
Cnj

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Matt,

Thanks for your thoughts. I see two priorities:

1. Avoid the registration limits which will result in a panicked entry lottery, create considerable angst and waste time. This means we would have far more than 85 SM's and must come up with a plan to deal with this. Your plan is a viable one. If SCCA race leadership does not want to do this then I would be satisfied with a qualifying runnoff with only the top 85 racing. I would be willing to take the chance that I can be in the top 85 and I bet that many others would to. The club could refund some money if I did not make it to the race. Lets get as many people to COTA as possible and make this an amazing event. I do not want to see some of the best drivers in the country cut out from running simply because they are slow typers.

2. Ensure we can qualify and race safely. The current plan of 15 minute quali is extremely questionable. Absolutely split the group or do quali on another day (and adopt a variance for this) and gain back the time.

Incidently I can't imagine that the timing gear will not be available on Friday. If SCCA does not have it for some unaccountable reason, the track has a system.

If we are to approach the race steward we need to have strong support for a viable plan. Make no mistake, I am intensively irked by how this has been handled by Lone Star race leadership (and this will be the first and hopefully only time you will see me being critical of volunteers after 6 years on this forum), but its time to stop bitching about it and make some suggestions and present a plan - or keep quiet. What do readers of this forum want to do?

Cnj
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#10
KentCarter

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Craig... I'm not sure LoneStar is really driving this ship. This is a Majors event... and it's COTA
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#11
Ron Alan

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In our region we have always had odd/even qualifying for SM...and even then its still 2-3 hr pre grid line up to get up front! And this is done with 7 run groups(we are always group 7). And if I'm not mistaken we still have a 5min pad between groups. What or who is driving the schedule at this event?

Another option that may be considered is to drop the 2nd race qual and go with fast lap time of first race for grid order of 2nd race(yes to be fair you would need a few potential situations spelled out ahead of time). Put the time back into longer races! We did this on a 2 day weekend...and this was decided by the group if I remember correctly. :twocents:

One of the grips I hear from guys who cross or have run NASA is the shorter quals and races...lets not ruin one of the few upsides to running SCCA...longer races! That's not a dig on NASA btw...just pointing out a fact! Both Orgs have their strong and weak points.

Totally agree with CNJ and others...dont shut out anyone if possible. Once the numbers are known..a game plan on how to include all can be devised. My guess is there are many SM drivers who just want to participate...regardless of class. And if 30 cars are forced to run in another group with a split start...my guess is a race will break out and a SM group 2 winner will be crowned!

I think i may just fly out with my backpack and a sleeping bag and hope I can find a cot! I don't want to wait for Danny to post video...this is going to work out and be the race of the year! Anyone need a paddock biatch(no offense to the ladies!)? I cook! :D

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#12
FTodaro

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I would focus on getting qualifying for race one right, as was stated above you can use race one to set the grid for race 2, either fastest lap or finish.

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#13
Cnj

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Craig... I'm not sure LoneStar is really driving this ship. This is a Majors event... and it's COTA


Point taken. With that said it certainly has been hard to see Topekas fingerprints on recent communication. If so their PR department needs an overhaul.

So to your point. This race must run under Majors parameters, therefore any discussion should presumably be with, or include, Topeka. Good. Then if we collectively want to make a suggested change to entry and qualifying methodologies, then we need to decide what we want and approach them. Club leadership can take on board collective input or ignore it, their choice, but for me, I then get to make my choices about the receptivity of a club to its membership needs. It's all moot if we just biatch.

Regarding COTA, I do not think they are influencing this at all other than a car count limitation - which is based on safety concerns based on my dialogue with ownership. I concur as while the GCR allows a variance for an increase over 85 cars, I personally think that's a risky proposition on a new track with drivers who mostly will not have driven together.

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#14
wheel

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Letter here http://scca.cdn.race...ionComments.pdf

#15
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From a well intended with no dog in the hunt.

Maybe someone should contact the SCCA Milwaukee region that had 70ish Spec Miatas at the Cat National two years in a row. Yes, the track is a 1/2 mile longer and 70ish is not 85, except there is experience to draw from. Maybe a West coast track has had similar large numbers.
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#16
Danny Steyn

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Hi to all

this is the letter that I plan to send to the Race Chair and copy National - it deals with the SCHEDULE ONLY - I will send a seperate letter regarding registration and numbers.

Let me know if you are on board with this or not. Would hate to send this if their is no support. All comments and suggestions appreciated



To the COTA Race Chair and Committee


As a club racer and member, the entire race community is looking forward to this event. We all want it to be a safe, exciting and fun event, and of course we want to be invited back to COTA for many years to come.


With that in mind, there is a serious safety concern regarding the schedule. It is anticipated that Spec Miata and possibly other run groups will be at or over the 85 car limit for the event. With large fields like this it is imperative that the qualifying sorts out the order from fast to slow. The single 15 minute qualifying session per race will not be sufficient to shake out the order for these classes.


The end result is that if faster cars are held up in a very short congested qualifying session, they will start behind slower cars, and in a class with essentially zero horsepower differential, in the race this will lead to faster cars trying to make passes on slower cars trying to defend their position. We have seen the disastrous results when this happens. Every club will have its own horror stories – 2 in recent memory are

  • June Sprints 2011 due to a gridding error
  • VIR 2010 National when a safe distance was not maintained between two classes in the race group and the faster cars in came up on the slower cars while they were still bunched up.

We the racers believe that the timing system should be operational and implemented on Friday. We would prefer that Fridays schedule is changed to have 2 x 25 minute Qualifying sessions (1 for Saturdays Race, and 1 for Sundays Race. The Schedule for Saturday and Sunday need not be changed. The 15 minute qualifiers on Saturday and Sunday will still stand and the grid will be determined from the combined timing sheets. This is done in the SEDiv at all double nationals (there are no practice sessions on Fridays but drivers can sign up for the test day before the 3-day weekend)



I hope that you will consider our proposal and look forward to your response


Sincerely



If you approve of this the way it is here - please hit the LIKE button to show support for the letter, If you have any changes you would like to see then add them to the thread

Edited by Danny Steyn, 01-17-2013 11:56 AM.

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#17
Lee Thomas

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Hi to all

this is the letter that I plan to send to the Race Chair and copy National - it deals with the SCHEDULE ONLY - I will send a seperate letter regarding registration and numbers.

Let me know if you are on board with this or not. Would hate to send this if their is no support. All comments and suggestions appreciated


<...>



Sounds great. Wondering if we can leverage this by saying you are speak for the SM community? Maybe you don't need that leverage...?

#18
Caveman-kwebb99

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you got my vote danny

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#19
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Matt,

Thanks for your thoughts. I see two priorities:

1. Avoid the registration limits which will result in a panicked entry lottery, create considerable angst and waste time. This means we would have far more than 85 SM's and must come up with a plan to deal with this. Your plan is a viable one. If SCCA race leadership does not want to do this then I would be satisfied with a qualifying runnoff with only the top 85 racing. I would be willing to take the chance that I can be in the top 85 and I bet that many others would to. The club could refund some money if I did not make it to the race. Lets get as many people to COTA as possible and make this an amazing event. I do not want to see some of the best drivers in the country cut out from running simply because they are slow typers.

2. Ensure we can qualify and race safely. The current plan of 15 minute quali is extremely questionable. Absolutely split the group or do quali on another day (and adopt a variance for this) and gain back the time.

Incidently I can't imagine that the timing gear will not be available on Friday. If SCCA does not have it for some unaccountable reason, the track has a system.

If we are to approach the race steward we need to have strong support for a viable plan. Make no mistake, I am intensively irked by how this has been handled by Lone Star race leadership (and this will be the first and hopefully only time you will see me being critical of volunteers after 6 years on this forum), but its time to stop bitching about it and make some suggestions and present a plan - or keep quiet. What do readers of this forum want to do?

Cnj


Craig,

Without a seat at the table no dialogue can occur. Without dialogue no solutions presented can be properly vetted.

I am not complaining, I work with cities, counties and state officials everyday. NO, is always the easy answer to changes to the written regulations. Until you have a stakeholder sitting in front of the officicial providing solutions on the fly to each objection the answer is almost always no.

We need representation. Danny seems to have the time. I find him to be a reasonable person who can articulate our concerns, solutions and desires to the powers that be.

I use, the powers that be, because it appears there is no clear answer to who we should be negotiating. Tough to solve a problem talking to the wrong people.

Michael P. Ross (Irrational Racing Enthusiast)
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#20
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Sounds A ok to me Danny.




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