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WRR Survey: SCCA vs. NASA For Racing

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#1
Johnny D

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Many people we meet in the paddock seem to have strong opinions about the differences between SCCA and NASA as sanctioning bodies for road racing events. We have become interested in whether these different views are consistent among drivers and what the details are. We'll report back in a week or two on the results.

 

Survey link:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/3HSHLF2

 

Thank you for participating in this WRR survey!


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#2
Johnny D

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SCCA vs. NASA Survey Results Part 1

 

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When you've done a fair amount of wheel-wheel road racing, you hear drivers say a lot of things. We've run extensively with SCCA, NASA, SVRA, PCA, BMWCCA, PWC and SCCA Pro. And we've always been a little surprised at the vehemence with which drivers talk about the NASA and SCCA experience. It feels a little bit like Ford vs. Chevy or the Hatfields and the McCoys or some political discussions, where two rather similar things are seen as radically different. An outsider has a tendency to think "really?"

But we thought we'd go to the source an ask our readers what they think. Here are some key findings from our SCCA vs. NASA drivers survey.

 

Here's the results

https://www.windingr...results-part-1/

 

J~


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#3
Mitch Reading

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Last paragraph hit home...

 

Couldn't cut and paste easily, someone smarter may help.


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#4
Johnny D

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This ?

 

As we suspected from our conversations with drivers, the participants who mainly drive with SCCA take a fairly dim view of NASA. And the drivers who generally run with NASA take a slightly dimmer view of SCCA.

 

There could be many takeaways from this:

 

  - If you want to help grow the sport, many of us drivers could do more to be welcoming and friendly to "new" drivers
  - If you hold strong opinions about the sanctioning bodies, your experience might be limited, outdated or just wrong (because there seem to be a lot of people who have the opposite experience)
  - Organizations that are divided into regions and use volunteers may not be delivering a consistent customer experience, something that HQ might pay more attention to (e.g. if you run SCCA in a strong region, your NASA region may be weaker and vice versa).

 

Add your thoughts in comments, if you wish.


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#5
Tom Hampton

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Seems like a weird set of questions.  With the amount of overlap between the drivers in each....I don't understand the intent of the "friendly/welcoming" questions.  I don't know that I'd significantly distinguish between drivers in each organization. 

 

My guess would be that any "on track" behavior differences would stem from the slight rule differences for fault determination...and simple familiarity.  if you are always used to the 3/4 car width rule in NASA...then you might forget that SCCA requires a full width and vice-versa. 

 

I chose NASA initially because at the time SCCA didn't have any path to a competition license.  I joined SCCA first, and attended a few meetings to find out about the Super School.  I was told it hadn't been held in years...and wasn't going to be...so I should just go to Skippy.  NASA had (has) the HPDE system.  That seemed a much more customer friendly approach.  So, I let my SCCA membership lapse, and joined NASA. 

 

NASA TX leadership has changed since then, as has the local SCCA.  Now it seems be mostly a toss up, based on which races might fit my schedule better.  I'm honestly not very happy with either TX schedule, this year.  But, that has more to do with available race tracks (the loss of TWS, and the continue poor conditions at ECR without any replacements are big blows) and the NASA Champs being at COTA. 

 

It certainly has NOTHING to do with the racers...as they are mostly the same.  The few SCCA-only drivers I know are also some of the friendliest and have been personally helpful to me.  I certainly couldn't point to the SCCA-only drivers and say "they are a bunch of old stodgy pricks".  Well...not any more than I can the NASA drivers (myself included). 


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#6
LarryKing

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My biggest problem with NASA has always been the limited race groups. I raced with NASA Great Lakes for ten years and there were only two race groups, Thunder and Lightning, and all classes of cars were wedged into those groups. A lesser, but very annoying, problem was that NASA race lengths were frequently shortened to stay on schedule.

 

The SCCA races that I attend almost always give SM its own group and officials do their best to insure races go the full distance.

 

NASA is far and away better at streamlining registration and tech. Why does the SCCA still use paper? NASA seems to do a better job of attracting younger people.


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#7
OrangeCrush86

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I can't race NASA because there is no NASA in Minnesota. However when I looked at road racing I investigated both SCCA and NASA. I honestly don't see much difference and can't say much about how they operate, but I will say that getting licensed is not well laid out by either organization. If my local http://www.birperformance.com/ didn't have an awesome SCCA license program I probably wouldn't be road racing right now.


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#8
BNaumann

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I feel like I could write a book on the SCCA/NASA subject.  Bottom line for me personally is I hate multi-class racing and we in particular are spoiled in SCCA with our own run groups 99% of the time. 

 

I plan to run at least one NASA event this year to qualify for the COTA championships.  I expect it to be a weekend of simply trying to get my starts in without tangling with E30s or 944s.  Maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised.



#9
Tom Hampton

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My biggest problem with NASA has always been the limited race groups. I raced with NASA Great Lakes for ten years and there were only two race groups, Thunder and Lightning, and all classes of cars were wedged into those groups. A lesser, but very annoying, problem was that NASA race lengths were frequently shortened to stay on schedule.
 
The SCCA races that I attend almost always give SM its own group and officials do their best to insure races go the full distance.

That's region specific. NASA TX almost always gives SM its own run group---we have been paired with one other class on rare occasions that we don't have enough entrants for a particularly large track.  Sometimes we get threatened with being combined, because of out lackadaisical registration practices.  Eg, if we don't register until the Tuesday of race-week....we may get combined even though 25 SMs registered on Wednesday night.  Trevor lets us know on those occasions.  :-) 

The race length problem is tricky, with a hard shutdown time that most tracks have. Someone has to suffer if something gets off schedule. NASA TX tries to take the time away from lunch, and other breaks first, but eventually, if they have to they will take the time the group that caused the delay.

Again, I'm sure this is region specific as different RDs will have different approaches to the problem. But, I don't think that its an inherent NASA vs. SCCA thing..as much as it is one RD vs. another thing.
 

I can't race NASA because there is no NASA in Minnesota. However when I looked at road racing I investigated both SCCA and NASA. I honestly don't see much difference and can't say much about how they operate, but I will say that getting licensed is not well laid out by either organization. If my local http://www.birperformance.com/ didn't have an awesome SCCA license program I probably wouldn't be road racing right now.


NASA DOES have a formalized competition licensing program. You climb up through HPDE1-4, then you do comp school on a normal race weekend. If you have prior track day experience, then you can jump into DE3/4 after a check-ride.  I think SCCA has something similar now. They just didn't when I was getting mine. You're issue is that you don't have a NASA at all. So, a well laid out program that you don't have access to, doesn't really help.
 


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#10
BNaumann

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That's region specific. NASA TX almost always gives SM its own run group---we have been paired with one other class on rare occasions that we don't have enough entrants for a particularly large track.


Yeah that's a completely different situation. Do you guys have separate HPDE 1, 2, 3, 4 and TT sessions? NASA Great Lakes seems to cater to that end (I've run it with a street car) and IMO the racing program suffers because of it. Everything usually gets lumped into Thunder and Lightning (basically big bore and small bore), sometimes there is a third group called Storm but it is still significantly multi-class. I was campaigning for an SM-only group called Drizzle but that will never happen. I don't think the car counts will ever be there for that. It's a viscous cycle - you can race Midohio in your own run group 4 times a year with SCCA - why would you take your SM there to race Lightning group with NASA?

#11
FTodaro

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My NASA story

 

I started out with NASA (Kyle Webb and I years ago) back then, NASA Great lakes had 40+ SM car counts on the weekends and We new nothing about SCCA for a few years.

 

The guy running our region, and some of his workers were intent on making racing a painful experience. I was sent home on Sunday one weekend for contact on Saturday where at the start of the race where we were three wide, i am on the outside, a car ahead of me went to the apex and i was expected to put two in the grass rather than hold my line on the pavement. (Thus Difference no1 SCCA you have to give Racing room on the track, NASA if your being over taken or passing you only have to leave 3/4 of the track) even at the start on the first corner.

 

That got me thinking what about SCCA. So the other thing i was not excited about was the multi class racing and every race was a track capacity race since they filled it up with classes .(Difference no 2 SCCA we get our own run group. Much safer, less drama, Kind of like running STL every weekend in SCCA)

 

Lastly, i am not a big fan of the 7:30am race meeting, another big difference, no 3. SCCA show up sign up and go to grid.

 

After a year or two, Kyle and i migrated to SCCA and loved it. When we started in our region the run groups were not that large. Now the tables have turned our SCCA regional races are 40+ car fields. NASA struggles to get 10 SM cars on the weekend. 

 

Guys like to race with their buddy's. If they are not going I am not going.


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#12
Tom Sager

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My NASA story

 

I started out with NASA (Kyle Webb and I years ago) back then, NASA Great lakes had 40+ SM car counts on the weekends and We new nothing about SCCA for a few years.

 

The guy running our region, and some of his workers were intent on making racing a painful experience. I was sent home on Sunday one weekend for contact on Saturday where at the start of the race where we were three wide, i am on the outside, a car ahead of me went to the apex and i was expected to put two in the grass rather than hold my line on the pavement. (Thus Difference no1 SCCA you have to give Racing room on the track, NASA if your being over taken or passing you only have to leave 3/4 of the track) even at the start on the first corner.

 

That got me thinking what about SCCA. So the other thing i was not excited about was the multi class racing and every race was a track capacity race since they filled it up with classes .(Difference no 2 SCCA we get our own run group. Much safer, less drama, Kind of like running STL every weekend in SCCA)

 

Lastly, i am not a big fan of the 7:30am race meeting, another big difference, no 3. SCCA show up sign up and go to grid.

 

After a year or two, Kyle and i migrated to SCCA and loved it. When we started in our region the run groups were not that large. Now the tables have turned our SCCA regional races are 40+ car fields. NASA struggles to get 10 SM cars on the weekend. 

 

Guys like to race with their buddy's. If they are not going I am not going.

 

There has been a giant drop in NASA entries in this area.  At Autobahn where NASA has 2 races a year typically, there have been fewer than 5 SM cars at some recent events IIRC.  Fields were 20+ there not so long ago. It's 40 minutes from where I live, I'd love to run a race or two there each year but with so few cars it's just a track day.

 

Having run several NASA events in 2011-2013 I found a lot to like about it.  The contact rule is good although I got penalized once and felt that for sure my status as an SCCA regular contributed to that especially after the incident review, a steward told me very directly that I was not at fault only to learn a couple hours later that they decided otherwise.  We got over that though and ran a number of events.  The NASA Championship event is a great format IMO and requires a lot less time away than the Runoffs, a plus. 

 

In 2016 I made an attempt to register for an event.  Called the registration person to get some info 3 times as my NASA stuff had expired.  Call 1 left a message.  Call 2 reached the person but they were busy and promised a call back which never came.  Call 3 again no answer.  There may have been an email or two in there also with no reply.  Gave up after that.  Not very good and when you experience that your brain then wonders if you being an SCCA regular might be part of the reason. 


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#13
LarryKing

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SCCA is a club (full of senior citizens that "always did it that way")

NASA is a franchise, like Burger King. At some locations the Whopper is edible, at others you wouldn't feed it to your dog.

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#14
LarryKing

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"I plan to run at least one NASA event this year to qualify for the COTA championships."

That's all it takes to qualify for the champs? It use to be that you had to finish five races.
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#15
Danica Davison

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"I plan to run at least one NASA event this year to qualify for the COTA championships."

That's all it takes to qualify for the champs? It use to be that you had to finish five races.

 

It still is five races, but that can all be done in one weekend. You can substitute 2 of the 5 races with TT Days (Not sessions).  In NASA Florida, there aren't enough racers so there is only one race group.  So, you get FOUR races in one weekend, and you do one TT session, and you are qualified just like that in one weekend.

 

That's what I did this year


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BNaumann

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"I plan to run at least one NASA event this year to qualify for the COTA championships."

That's all it takes to qualify for the champs? It use to be that you had to finish five races.


Loosely based on what JD said above, I see Gingerman and Pitt Race have 3 races and 2 TT sessions per weekend, whereas Midohio only has 2 races and 2 TT sessions. Some people told me they qualified in one weekend last year. I haven't got an official straight answer. My plan right now is to go to Pitt Race. If that doesn't work and depending on how that goes I could do another event later. Of course there is a bunch of licensing paperwork and cost involved also. I'm not even sure I'm going to COTA, I just want to have the option. It's more likely than Sonoma at this point.

#17
Ron Alan

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Dejavu...this thread gets recycled every couple years and for the most part the same things get said!

 

SCCA vs NASA should not be a contest because at their core each start with just a different philosophy. 

 

I think the biggest reasons people choose one or the other more often than not has nothing to do with "SCCA" or "NASA"...but everything to do with who they know, friends, distance, time(2 day vs 3 day), track being run, and timing!

 

Another thing mentioned that is important to remember is the strength or weakness of the organization in your area...this is a huge influence on attitude and perceptions!

 

Personally I have no problem with either...because I know what to expect from both! Both feel what they provide works and those at the top are very reluctant to change! So that said...the pro's and con's being put forth today are almost identical to what was said 8 years ago! Get my point ;)


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#18
Danica Davison

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Dejavu...this thread gets recycled every couple years and for the most part the same things get said!
 
SCCA vs NASA should not be a contest because at their core each start with just a different philosophy. 
 
I think the biggest reasons people choose one or the other more often than not has nothing to do with "SCCA" or "NASA"...but everything to do with who they know, friends, distance, time(2 day vs 3 day), track being run, and timing!
 
Another thing mentioned that is important to remember is the strength or weakness of the organization in your area...this is a huge influence on attitude and perceptions!
 
Personally I have no problem with either...because I know what to expect from both! Both feel what they provide works and those at the top are very reluctant to change! So that said...the pro's and con's being put forth today are almost identical to what was said 8 years ago! Get my point ;)

 

Not to mention, we are really the only class that runs in both. Almost every other class is split by SCCA/NASA and wouldn't be as easily competitive in their class for both orgs 


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#19
Tom Hampton

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Dejavu...this thread gets recycled every couple years and for the most part the same things get said!
 
Personally I have no problem with either...because I know what to expect from both! Both feel what they provide works and those at the top are very reluctant to change! So that said...the pro's and con's being put forth today are almost identical to what was said 8 years ago! Get my point ;)

No.  I don't. 

 

If you are going to limit us to only ever talking about new things, and never rehashing the same topics that we discussed, last year,  5 years ago, or 10 years ago....then frankly, we are going to run out of things to discuss pretty damn fast.  Heck the only new thing that's happened is that Danica won a race.  How much can we rehash that? 

 

:-)


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#20
FTodaro

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No.  I don't. 

 

If you are going to limit us to only ever talking about new things, and never rehashing the same topics that we discussed, last year,  5 years ago, or 10 years ago....then frankly, we are going to run out of things to discuss pretty damn fast.  Heck the only new thing that's happened is that Danica won a race.  How much can we rehash that? 

 

:-

We could start a parity argument <_<


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