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SCCA Road Racing is in Trouble!

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#61
Alberto

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To make John's geographic diversity point another way, when I did stats prior to the creation of the Majors program there were only four classes, SM, SRF, EP & FV that were in the nationals participation top ten in all SCCA divisions for the previous five years.

 

It would be interesting to look at that again.

 

Do you have similar stats on Regionals?


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#62
John Nesbitt

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Which would put some in this region into negative numbers. So yep, that’s about right. :(

 

I should have fenced that number in with caveats.  The 100 was a back-of-envelope estimate, based on event count 10 years ago.  Since then, events have dropped from the calendar (in the mid-Atlantic, at least one fewer at NJMP, Summit, and VIR) and new events have joined.

 

But, as you point out, when a 100-car event drops that large a fraction, it must have consequences.



#63
Peter Olivola

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Do you have similar stats on Regionals?

 

Not for the original time period studied.  I haven't tried to get numbers since.



#64
John Nesbitt

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An update, based on a very quick trawl through divisional race schedules for 2019:

 

NPDiv  -  10 Regionals

SPDiv  -  unknown

SWDiv  -  1

RMDiv  -  4

MDDiv  -  1

CNDiv  -  7

GLDiv  -  5

NEDiv  -  18

SEDiv  -  23

 

total  -  69 + SPDiv

 

Caveats:  Weekends (may have been single/double/triple/quad Regionals).   Excludes any joint Majors/Super Tour events, just Regionals.

 

By the time you consider multi-weekends, 100 Regionals is likely not a bad guess.

 

ON EDIT:  Going from 23000 to 15290 entries, with a small drop in event count, and assuming an apples-to-apples comparison, yields a one-third drop in average entries per event.  This seems like an awfully big proportion.  I have to wonder whether the two numbers are based on different counting methods.



#65
Peter Olivola

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An update, based on a very quick trawl through divisional race schedules for 2019:

 

NPDiv  -  10 Regionals

SPDiv  -  unknown

SWDiv  -  1

RMDiv  -  4

MDDiv  -  1

CNDiv  -  7

GLDiv  -  5

NEDiv  -  18

SEDiv  -  23

 

total  -  69 + SPDiv

 

Caveats:  Weekends (may have been single/double/triple/quad Regionals).   Excludes any joint Majors/Super Tour events, just Regionals.

 

By the time you consider multi-weekends, 100 Regionals is likely not a bad guess.

 

ON EDIT:  Going from 23000 to 15290 entries, with a small drop in event count, and assuming an apples-to-apples comparison, yields a one-third drop in average entries per event.  This seems like an awfully big proportion.  I have to wonder whether the two numbers are based on different counting methods.

 

Could it have anything to do with the way sanctions are now issued, i.e., one sanction per weekend?



#66
gerglmuff2

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marketing is an interesting one. 

i think SCCA is figuring it out. if there isn't a youtube video of it, that can be posted to facebook, the event might as well not even happen. I'm not kidding. 

look at gridlife. these folks are qualifying, and they are selling out events all around the country, and the kids all want to do gridlife events, and dont even think of SCCA. now, i think SCCA is going after this market with there time trials program, but the marketing of gridlife is real. there are folks starting and running professional youtube channels, trying to launch teams and careers out of gridlife because the media coverage is so good for those in there 20s (car modding demographic).

i think this is a huge step in the right direction, and we need to do WAY more of it. https://www.scca.com...ries<br> <br> remember, the folks selling out events right now are doing what we would call qualifying. the market for htis stuff is there ... its just they don't even know it exists and they think gridlife is the destination event. 
 

id love to see divisions or regions also start there own media wings. and yes, it is totally worth a nominal 
media fee" to get someone out there to make this stuff. it will pay itself off in ticket sales alone, never mind the growth you will in the sport in 5 years. 


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#67
gerglmuff2

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examples of gridlife video: 

this is a 20 minute video, of what we would call qualifying, with nearly 100k views. 

we need to be doing this yesterday. 


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#68
LarryKing

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Side note: in 2003 the Great Lakes Division (actually CenDiv Area 4) held 11 regional club races and 7 national club races. (I chose 2003 because that's when SM really took off in the Great Lakes and was probably the peak for number of events.)

 

Events continue to disappear.


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#69
Jim Drago

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Side note: in 2003 the Great Lakes Division (actually CenDiv Area 4) held 11 regional club races and 7 national club races. (I chose 2003 because that's when SM really took off in the Great Lakes and was probably the peak for number of events.)

 

Events continue to disappear.

that's even before me .. I got my license in fall of 03, started racing in 04


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#70
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Side note: in 2003 the Great Lakes Division (actually CenDiv Area 4) held 11 regional club races and 7 national club races. (I chose 2003 because that's when SM really took off in the Great Lakes and was probably the peak for number of events.)

 

Events continue to disappear.

That was a most interesting pi$$ing match when CenDiv was divided. Back in that day there was way more traveling between the two areas of CenDiv. I'd hit IRP, Gingerman, Grattan and Mud Ohio at least once a year. 


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#71
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I don't see a need for regional's, majors or Super tours. Just do races. long weekends hurt as well. Also make it that you have to really qualify for the runoffs again. 


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#72
38bfast

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I think the super tours have lost their luster. It started out enticing and fun but it's falling to been there done that. The extra money and time don't seem to outweigh the luster. There is only 16 SMs signed up for mid-o right now. It was where all the top teams went and now not so much for SM. 


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#73
Tom Sager

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FE is a head scratcher to me.  Formula car racing has been fairly popular over the years and FE seems like a relatively low cost option.  Spec car so each entrant can be competitive, good tire life I've heard, the cars are pretty reliable and parts are provided at or near most tracks if I'm not mistaken.  There's a good resale market for the cars it would seem.  The class got fragmented temporarily with an engine upgrade but I expected this class to generate larger fields but it's averaging fewer than 10 cars per major this year so far.  

 

This should be a class that with some recruitment and promotion could be another staple like SRF and SM.  That and maybe some of the other declining formula classes can be folded in? 


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#74
William Keeling

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More walker and wheelchair access for drives and workers for our target demographic – also having entry level class of B-Spec (I love my B-Spec friends) is not as sexy as gay chick race cars.

 

You can’t get rid of classes as that is where people go for their participation podium.

 

Proposed 4 groups – SRF, SM, open wheel (and prototypes) and all other closed wheel.


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#75
OrangeCrush86

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I like the FE class as well and I didn't realize some of the used ones sell for $20k. I suppose the lack of interest in this kind of car stems simply from the fact that this generation of drivers are not that interested in purpose built race cars, and if they are they are probably wealthy enough to run F3, F4, or Indy Lights, etc. with a team.


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#76
OrangeCrush86

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Maybe it's time to split off the only successful class of SCCA. If you want huge car counts the best thing might be to create a Miata Racing League. Single make series always seem to have the most success. :)


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#77
Camaro67racer

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Jeff, here is my  :twocents: ...

First, I want to say thank you for all your efforts to boost participation in Great Lakes Region and soliciting input for improvements. It has not gone unnoticed. 

 

Directly related to Northern Conference and Great Lakes Division, the schedule is way off balance. As you know, we've seen a shift in the last few years in terms of weather. Seems to stay a little warmer deeper into the fall and our tolerable weather doesn't arrive until June now. Well, for this year the Northern Conference schedule has 4 of 6 events that are all within 6 weeks of each other (problem #1) AND they are mostly in May, which has been cold and very rainy for several years now (problem #2). We are lucky to have a great group that we like to socialize with at the track, but it's not enticing and much fun when it's 50 deg and rainy out. I know you can't control the weather, but you can move the schedule around to better the chances of enjoyable weather. Our group has all but abandoned making the long drive to Blackhawk and a lot has to do with the beginning of May weather in a very north part of the country. If that event moves later in the summer, I'm more willing to go. But also, our schedule needs to get spread out. It's asking way too much for us to travel, take time off work, and turn the cars around in that little time.

 

I'm agree with others that having Regionals, Majors, and Super Tours is silly. Trying to explain the structure even to people that used to be involved with SCCA and they don't get it. "So how is the Super Tour more special than a Majors?" I just tell them that it costs more money, requires more time off work, and doesn't give you anymore racing time, so that makes it more special.

The structure and format need to change. One of my biggest issues with both Majors and ST events is all of the Qualifying time. We are wasting to much valuable track time on qualifying. I think every weekend should have 1 qualifying session MAX. Set the grid and lets race! I didn't travel and pay all this money for lapping sessions. If I wanted to do that, I'd do Time Trials or track days. We came to race. That's what we want to do and what the volunteers and spectators want to see. Qualifying sessions are not exciting and a waste of track time.

 

A two-fold, but the creation of Majors/ST and not having to earn your invite to the Runoffs has cut the legs out from the Regional racing. I don't have fully-baked solution, but maybe something like what has been said where we get rid of all the designated Regional/Majors/ST categories, make them all "races" and determine a points system from there. Points are tallied using X out of XX races so that it's not expected everyone goes to every race. The top X from each division get an invite to the Runoffs.

 

I agree with others that costs are keeping many people away. I've heard so many stories for older folks that tell me they used to race SCCA and talk very fondly about the 70s, 80s, and early 90s when Showroom Stock was strong. Most often it's mentioned that their race car was also their daily driver. That's no longer the case for anyone at our events. But, if that was the case, you could attract many younger people that can't afford to buy a truck and trailer. For the most part, that's what GridLife is and also why younger people are staying in AutoX, RallyX, and track days. Their daily driver is their "race car." I understand the automotive landscape and legally the world is different now. We don't have much in the way of cheap transportation like the cars that filled the Showroom Stock grids. Generationally, things are different. Racing is a lot of work. As a country we've shifted from nearly everyone being a DIY'er to a "pay for services" society. I didn't grow up in a racing family and let me tell you, it's very daunting to figure out how to get into this sport without feeling like you need tens of thousands+ in disposable income and the necessary mechanical know-how. A lot of kids now are scared to pick up a wrench because it's either the first time they've done it in their life or they've been told so many times that the wrench (or racing) is dangerous.

 

Lastly, I will say specific to Great Lakes that I have little desire to drive GingerMan due to it being a flat and somewhat boring track, but really because it EATS tires. Funny, before I knew this thread was happening, Novak and I were talking at Pitt last weekend about track surfaces. Tracks that "cheap out" and put down a compound that eats tires are ultimately shooting themselves in the foot. Racers figure it out and will eventually avoid that track in favor of those that either like old tires or don't cost them 1-2 sets of tires per weekend like GingerMan does. By not going to GingerMan, I can now race one additional event in the tire savings alone and do it at a track that's way more fun. Win-win.


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#78
granracing

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"I didn't grow up in a racing family and let me tell you, it's very daunting to figure out how to get into this sport without feeling like you need tens of thousands+ in disposable income and the necessary mechanical know-how."

 

Absolutely agree, and I really never found much out there to guide people through the process. I made a lot of mistakes along my journey into Club Racing, and thought it would have been great if someone else would put together a guide.  Eventually I decided to put up or shut up and wrote exactly that guide to help people get into the sport on a modest budget.  I even worked with SCCA to have their own version created (they just couldn't have that NASA word mentioned in it), and tried working with regions to help promote it.  That entire experience sucked and was pretty stressful as I paid for all of the printing expenses and they never marketed it as agreed upon.  Even when I turned it into a free online resource, getting many regions to support it was beyond challenging.  A few regions have been extremely supportive and I'm grateful for that, but getting others to support it has been a failure.

 

At one point I started a mentor program where I paired experienced racers with novices who signed up.  It was a small amount of time for the experienced racer to commit, and was normally just providing some guidance over the phone.  That was quite popular for how little it was advertised - in two months I had over 100 students and about as many mentors.  It actually became too popular and I was no longer able to keep up and manage it by myself.  I'm sure there's some type of "dating software" that could help automate matching people up and handle the initial contacting of one another.  SCCA doing something like this might be worth looking into.  I had many people say they later met their mentor in-person and were very thankful, as well as had a friendly face at the track. 

 

We have other similar tools that for whatever reason SCCA chooses not to use. 


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#79
Jim Creighton

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Here is what I had posted on the old SEDiv website. It needs updating which I will do and get posted to the new website, www.sedivracing.com. This was geared for new drivers in SEDiv. Any Division could easily modify it to fit.

 

Thanks for the reminder

 

Welcome to the Southeast Division of the Sports Car Club of America. If you are interested in automobile competition, you have found the best there is in SCCA. The SEDiv SCCA is SCCA’ s most active competition Division. We have competition series to suit all your financial and skill levels plus we do it year round. However, before we get to competition, we need to do a quick introduction to SCCA.
SCCA is the Sports Car Club of America. Our organization is based in Topeka, Kansas and currently has 47,000 members. You can visit the SCCA website at http://www.scca.com/home.aspx. The Southeast Division is composed of individual SCCA Regions geographically located from middle Virginia to the Mississippi line west all the way down to Key West plus Puerto Rico. Here is a summary of all Regions and contacts. http://www.scca.com/...ns.aspx?div=se. When you join SCCA, you will also be joining your local Region. Each local Region conducts events in their area.
SCCA sanctions thousands of automotive competition events each year. These events range from Professional races such as World Challenge and Trans Am all the way down to autocrosses in the local school parking lot. In between these are the majority of events that draw people to SCCA, Time Trials, Rallies& auto races. Let’s start where the vast majority of SCCA members compete, the Solo programs.
Solo involves timed competition using cars all the way from you everyday transportation to full prepared race cars including go carts. The SCCA website best describes Solo as “Solo events are driving skill contests that emphasize the driver's ability and the car's handling characteristics. This is accomplished by driving a course that is designated by traffic cones on a low hazard location, such as a parking lot or inactive airstrip. While speeds are no greater than those normally encountered in legal highway driving, the combination of concentration and car feedback creates an adrenaline pumping experience.” For a complete explanation of Solo, http://www.scca.com/...aspx?content=55. In addition, visit the SEDiv Solo website at http://www.sedivsolo2.com/. Each individual Region in SEDiv has their own Solo program. And each year, over 1000 Solo competitors compete at the Solo National Championships in September in Nebraska. For information on the SEDiv Solo program, go to .http://www.sedivracing.org/SEDIVRegions.html
If you like being lost, like driving around dirt roads and having friendly exchanges with you co pilot, then another area of SCCA is for you, Rally. SCCA also sanctions a variety of Rally events each year. For information, visit the SCCA website at http://www.scca.com/hub.aspx?hub=2 . You can also visit the SEDiv website for the National program at http://tnrallycross.wordpress.com/. Rallying offers you the opportunity to compete with a friend or spouse as navigator.
Road Racing is probably what SCCA is best known for and the SEDiv will provide you with the most events each year in all of SCCA. Our website, www.sedivracing.org , will give you complete information about road racing in SEDiv. If you look at the site, you will see a schedule of all completion events. Here again, there are different levels including volunteer workers who help conduct the races, Positions include Corner Workers, Starters, Registrars, Timing & Scoring, Tech, Grid, Pits & Emergency Services. All of these are great places to start with your introduction to Road Racing. In the SEDiv, we race at tracks such as Road Atlanta, Daytona, Sebring, Homestead Miami Speedway, West Palm Beach Raceway, Barber Motorsports Park, Virginia International Raceway, Nashville Speedway, Roebling Road & Carolina Motorsports Park. You can contact your local race region to see how to get started or just go to a race and ask to help. Here’s a link from Florida Region http://floridaregion...ver School.html . However, if you have you heart set on driving, here’s some places to start.
You will note some events are listed as PDX’s. These events are on race track at speed but with controls on
passing and various levels of experience. You will also note on our schedule that we have races listed as
Regionals, SARRC, ECR and Nationals. All SCCA amateur races are either Regionals or Nationals. Nationals
require a higher grade license and primarily are used for qualifying for the SCCA Championship race, the
Runoffs. The SCCA Runoffs is held in September at Road America and does require meeting minimum
qualification requirements. However, since you are new to SCCA, let’s talk about Regional Racing which is
where you will be starting.
Before you can attend a Regional race, you must complete the minimum SCCA requirements for obtaining a
competition license. You can either attend a professional school such as Skip Barber or you must complete two
SCCA schools unless you have prior experience. If you have prior experience, you can contact the Division
Licensing Administrator and request a waiver. The Licensing Administrator plus all other SEDiv Race officials
can be found at http://www.sedivraci...ivOfficials.pdf
I’ve skipped one big requirement and that is your race car. SCCA races everything from off the showroom floor
cars to Indy type cars to NASCAR stock cars. I would suggest you go to the SCCA website and look at our rule
book, the GCR. It will give you an idea of the wide variety of cars and the rules for each class.
http://cms.scca.com/...GCR-January.pdf Again,
going to the track and speaking to drivers of the various cars will also give you a good idea of what you might
want to race. Additionally, there are a number of teams who have cars to rent. Once of the best investments
made for someone just getting started is to rent a car for drivers school and your first races. That way, you can
concentrate on driving and let someone else worry about the car. Then, you can decide on which car to race.
Now, let’s assume you have obtained a license and completed your school requirements and you are ready to
go racing. This Division has two excellent Division wide regional race series. The SARRC series is the most
successful regional race series in all of SCCA. Each year, the series has 25 races and over 4000 total entries.
SARRC stands for the South Atlantic Road Racing Championship. The final SARRC race of the race season is at
Roebling Road in October and is called the SIC or SARRC Invitational Challenge. As the name implies, this is an
invitation only race. In order to be invited, a driver must enter three regular season SARRC races. Drivers may
count their points for their best six regular season races toward the SARRC Championship. In addition, the
points earned at the SIC count double and are added to the best six regular season races. Our other Regional
race series is the ECR and is limited only to Spec Miata, Showroom stock, SRF & IT classes. ECR is the Endurance
Championship Race series and is 1.5 or longer races. The series is similar to SARRC in that you count your best
six regular season races and the double points for the Championship race which is scheduled the same
weekend this year as the SIC. The Champions from all our Division series receive their awards at our Annual
meeting and Awards banquet held in January each year at Jekyll Island, Ga. Part of each drivers award is free
banquet admission. Last year, over 75 drivers attended to pick up their Championship awards.
This is just a simple introduction to the SEDiv SCCA. I hope this gives you a quick insight into the best SCCA has
to offer and you will come join us for some fun and excitement.
Jim Creighton
SEDiv SARRC Administrator & National Pointskeeper
Jcreig53@mindspring.com



#80
OrangeCrush86

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Too wordy. You need a modern and visual approach to educating prospective drivers.

 

Personally the mentor method is the best. SCCA Members FB page has enabled the mentoring option, hopefully people use it. https://www.facebook...ip_application/


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