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#1
Jim Drago

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This past weekend I spoke to some people in the SCCA about the debacle of the black flag all qualifying session at the Runoffs and they have asked for some input and I agreed to start a dialogue here. 

 

 

Here is what I came up with from solutions offered at the meeting and conversations with other drivers.  We need to solve this, we don't want to turn this over to the SCCA. Personally I did not have a problem with just leaving as is. Apparently many of those not running at the front believe those of us at the front caused much of this and are afraid to protest. This is our club, if wronged speak up, protest if need be.

 

The issues as I see them...

 

Those at front want clean laps.. going out slow not to catch the back.

 

Tire scrubbing and swerving aggressively not to let drivers pass as the drivers up front feel they earned their spot on time 

 

Team mates passing to get with teams etc..

 

 

 

Here are my thoughts, only my opinion and possible solution...

 

 

1- line up in qualifying always by fastest practice time or national points, never by how we signed up.

 

2- no passing on out lap at all, double yellow

 

3- if you want to join your drafting partners, pull in pits and wait for all to leave 

 

4- All cars must maintain 1355 ( best guess) of pole on out lap in order to maintain all get adequate time on track unobstructed

 

5- Any cars on pit lane must exit within 20-25 seconds ( best guess of the last car or wait until the field passes on track the next lap. that stops stragglers coming in at the front of the pack

 

 

 

Any thoughts and procedures you can come up with will be appreciated. 

 

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#2
Steve Scheifler

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This is a tough one and I am genuinely sympathetic to all perspectives in large part because I’ve been in their position at one time or another. It’s tempting to say just leave it as-is and hope that the uproar from last fall dissuades a repeat, but a repeat by whom? I’m of the opinion that the decision taken was the worst possible “solution” but that’s not to say there weren’t legitimate concerns and complaints that lead up to it as Jim points out above.

My first question would be are we proposing rules specifically and only for the Runoffs, or also HST? Majors?

Would it be plausible to better accomplish what Jim outlines above by incorporating a pace car? It’s presence dictates no passing and it can set a brisk pace (much faster than a formation lap). That would require it to be slow until the grid empties, and that no car allow a large gap between it and the next car ahead. Violation of that gap rule would be easily noted by corner workers. Not perfect and leaves room for subjective debate, but that’s true of almost all on-track conduct. The most important thing is to avoid a repeat of last year where every driver suffered the maximum penalty (loss of an entire qualifying session) for the actions of a relative few (and most absurdly, done in the name of fairness to the many).
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#3
FTodaro

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Jim It will be difficult to come up with a rule that is easy to enforce that basically eliminates folks going slow enough to get everyone on the track and allow the front runners to get their gap. Any rule that you come up with is primarily going to only benefit the front of the pack first 4 or 5.

 

I think the best thing that the rule making can accomplish is avoiding circumstances that are unsafe. Like passing in a mad attempt to catch your team or scrubbing tires and wreck someone.

 

So for example getting some heat in the tires on the out lap is a good thing and I posted in the past that up north when its below 40 degrees we ask for and get two out laps under yellow. Avoids losing track time to clean up the mess.

 

So my approach would be.

1) First out lap under yellow no passing.

cars that want to change the order of their grid, must either pull over in the pits before the leave or go out at the end of the grid, the out lap yellow will be enforced.

 

2) No tire scrubbing period. IMO its totally it is ineffective in putting heat in the tires. Straight line braking is more effective and safer if you offset with the cars around you.

 

As far as controlling the speed of the out lap I just do not know how you come up with something that is enforceable it will be subjective and it only benefits the front runners. 

 

Bluntly if you really want a gap the best shot at that is to go out at the end of the grid and wait till you get caught, then go. As you know its a total crap shoot.

 

FT.


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#4
Steve Scheifler

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Frank, with no passing on out lap, replacing weaving left-right with straight line braking is pointless and even worse rather than better.
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#5
mdavis

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How about Indy 500 style- one at a time? :optimist:


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#6
Marc Cefalo

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1- line up in qualifying always by fastest practice time or national points, never by how we signed up.

 

2- no passing on out lap at all, double yellow

 

these two items are done already at Summit Point with the MARRS series in SM and SSM.  procedure is right in their supps.

 

you line up based on points.  first race of the year goes by last year points.

 

out lap is double yellow till leader comes out of last turn at which time its green flag.

 

I'm sure more can chime in that attend their events but with usually 30-45 cars on a 2 mile track, this system works.  it helps that all the driver's know what's going on through the field.  out slow, lots of scrubbing, 50% through turn 3-4, 75% through turns 5-8'ish and by the time the leader enters turn 10 of the out lap they're full tilt.

 

single most important part is that middle to back of field is at 100% at the last turn and not wait get up to speed 2,3,4 laps in.


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#7
Steve Scheifler

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Marc, that sounds fine but it’s a relatively small and constant group, and perhaps most importantly it’s not the Runoffs where the field is deepest, the stakes the highest, and people press every perceived advantage. If every region started now to set and enforce a consistent process every race throughout the season, then it would be more likely to work at the biggest events and easier to focus on tagging the few offenders.

But in a scenario like last year with a loooong track and short sessions it doesn’t address the concerns of those not starting in the front who don’t want to waste half their time waiting for others to scrub tires or ensure an optimal gap. Any real solution must fix that or all control stays at the front.
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#8
TylerQuance

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Some few believed there was a problem in Tuesday qualifying which was not addressed with the class. When communication lines are open, people are capable of coming up with reasonable solutions proactively. A meeting should have been called Tuesday evening. It doesn't have to be hard.
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#9
Ron Alan

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Size of the field and size of the track will always be a factor...procedures need to be somewhat fluid in this respect...not one size fits all(no pun intended).

 

Not sure if this was the case any where else in the country but when we started back in 2010...SFR SCCA split SM in 2 groups...odd and even. At the time we had and average 50-60 cars. This was stopped maybe 5 years ago when counts went down our AND some 3 day weekends were replaced by 2 day...condensing the schedule.

 

This may happen already region to region...but at the big events, the schedule should be built in a way to combine small entry groups and maybe split large? All in an effort to get a similar amount of cars on track per session...or at least not punish the largest classes for their success with an overcrowded track session that is not a race! OK, OK...weather could spin this on its head :(

 

Locally we have used a pace car and/or double yellow with success! We have also started double yellow and then dropped when leaders were at 1/2 way on 1st lap. This got good feed back! I have had cars held if they dont get out on track in time.

 

As far as a qual grid position...we have always posted a list of the previous race results. If you didnt attend you line up behind last grid position posted. You have the option to wait in the hot pit...but have to be out 20 seconds ahead of 1st car. As much as I'd like to do grid based on practice...we cant have practice/warm up become a qual.

 

Runoffs specific...

 

1.  Random is silly!

2.  HST or Majors points is better than nothing...but hurts those who did the minimum.

3.  Maybe practice times...but in a somewhat Lottery format? Take all times and put in groups of 5...fastest to slowest. Each group of 5 drivers draws from a hat to determine their position among the 5. Obviously only for 1st session...straight up after that.

4.  Waiting in hot pit is fine...but out in time not to  disrupt field...otherwise held.

5. Teaming up under green is totally fine...BUT done in a way not to impede other competitors...penalties for violation! You want to be a dick head? Lose your session!


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#10
MPR22

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1. Don't grid by entry date/time.  That creates mixed group and honestly most people have someone they want to qualify with or around.  Last weekend the B specs were mixed with the SMs and basically it created rolling chicanes.  

 

2. First race race of the year grid qual one based on last years points, the rest of the year based on current points.  This would put more people with same level of speed nearer each other.  Second qual based on fastest lap of the weekend.  Sebring they put us out in qual 2 based on entry date/time, basically a cluster fudge.   

 

3. Don't allow scrubbing of tires on warm up lap.  

 

4. Make sure everyone leaves grid timely, they can sit on grid if they don't like where they are released.  

 

 

Anything that creates random dispersion of drivers in a qual session just leads to chaos, which leads to frustration that leads to bad decisions which leads to damaged cars.  Nobody wants a damaged car. 


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#11
Danny Steyn

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I was pretty PO'd by the decision to pull us all in during Q2 at the 2020 runoffs.

 

However I do see it from the other drivers perspective. If you were one of the drivers that had a really shitty Q1 you were pretty desperate to get all the laps out of Q2 to get a time in, but the wide swerving at the front of the class at slow speeds making it very difficult for anyone to get around, caused massive bunching at that back and was eating up so much of their time.

 

I have been one of those people that had to get a time in to move forward, and I can tell you those tactics up front are very frustrating and create bad outcomes. Back in the day, I remember Harry Manning always getting to grid early, then driving out of Mid Ohio pit lane at 5MPH and the amount of frustration it was causing. I have always tried to make sure I wasn't that guy

 

And we have also had the scenario of a large team of drivers waiting on pit lane and going out very late to get a clean lap, but getting in the way of those at front already on their qually lap. That creates an incredibly dangerous situation where they are all scrubbing tires, checking to see they don't run into the guy ahead of them, but in a large group some of them don't see that car behind them at full send, closing in. I have had a few near misses that way. Neither of these scenarios create happy drivers.

 

Drivers will still try and line up out on the track around those that they can work with, so there will always be passing and slowing down to get in line. That wont change unless its a FCY for the entire lap, but I dont see the need to change to a FCY Outlap just for SM Qually. That makes us look like the "special ed class" where we need special attention to keep us from hurting ourselves   :hugegrin:

 

I think it will also be very difficult to mandate an outlap speed or time to hit, and really difficult to enforce it as there are so many factors that will come into play, so while I think reaching out to the organizers to resolve this seems like a sensible approach, it really isn't.

 

I think what we need is ALL of us to realize that we ALL have to pay attention to what is happening around us, in front of us, behind us, and not only think about ourselves and what we need out of the session, but also what the others need, and not allow our selfish self-interests to get in the way of others.

 

If we all use this as a starting point I think we can improve on what we are doing. But I am an idealist! :angel:


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#12
Ron Alan

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 Personally I did not have a problem with just leaving as is. 

 

 

Good ideas here but this statement is a no brainer! In the end if the current rules are ENFORCED...there is no need for a change. Black flag individuals! I think the mass pull hurt the innocent. SCCA can scold themselves  for obviously allowing the inmates to run things for too long before finally throwing their hands up.


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#13
Jim Drago

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I'm not against a of full course caution for all classes for on lap one of qualifying.. Not like it will count anyway and it will stop any passing or blocking of said passes. it will also reward or punish your previous  session time as it likely should. 

Much more than that I agree would be hard to do successfully, let alone enforce. 

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#14
Dave McAnaney

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One rule that SFR implemented years ago due to this same issue was prohibiting tire scrubbing except when you're behind the pace car.



#15
Ron Alan

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One rule that SFR implemented years ago due to this same issue was prohibiting tire scrubbing except when you're behind the pace car.

Silly me if that is only a SFR rule...because that is all I've known I thought it was a National rule? Disregard anything I said previous if its not! If it is National carry on!


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#16
Danny Steyn

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Silly me if that is only a SFR rule...because that is all I've known I thought it was a National rule? Disregard anything I said previous if its not! If it is National carry on!

 

That is a NASA rule as far as I know, but does not apply to SCCA. IIRC, NASA says that if the track is green (not under yellow, or behind pace car) then no tire scrubbing is allowed. Took me a few scolding's to learn this


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#17
chris haldeman

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I was the pole car for the second qual session. I rolled out at 60% pace and stayed to the right of track. Not sure how or where it went wrong behind me but I can assure you I personally am extremely tired of people flying up past just to slow down and try to snuggle up to suck draft without being invited. If we are talking about day 2 qual you are where your pace is. Sorry if that hurts!! I went at a low pace because I didn’t want to catch stragglers off grid. Road America poses a problem that doesn’t exist at most tracks. Problem is pit road length and the false grid. It takes for ever for the back of the pack to get off grid and going. However sad it might be I drove at a reduced pace for the out lap amd still was in traffic by the beginning of the 2nd lap. How is that possible on a 4 miles track???? Next issue was the scca decided it needed to cone off the vast majority of pit road making it nearly impossible to do what we always have in the past there and just pull over amd line up with qual partners.
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#18
Dave McAnaney

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Silly me if that is only a SFR rule...because that is all I've known I thought it was a National rule? Disregard anything I said previous if its not! If it is National carry on!

I don't believe it's a SCCA National rule.  It is in the SFR/SCCA supps, though






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