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Author Topic: My NASA championship experience
dp35 Verified Driver
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We had a great time racing at the NASA nationals this past week, and were highly impressed with the facility and the people.

Since this was my first time at this track, my times were well off the leaders at first, and gradually improved. Things finally began to click for me on Friday morning when I followed Sammy V. around for the entire practice session. Thanks to Sammy for being very cool about that, & allowing someone he didn’t know chase him around learning.

An incident occurred at the start of Friday’s qual race, where I was ultimately deemed at fault for “not taking evasive action to avoid contact”. This ruling was based on strict interpretation of the NASA rule book, which allows the car being passed to dictate the line taken, even if they’re in the passing car’s blind spot. I disagree with this rule, because IMO it makes it ok to pull a “pit maneuver” on an overtaking car in some situations, like this one. But the rules are what they are and I had to live with it. HUGE thanks to Dean Thomas for chatting with the officials about this, and convincing them to reduce the penalty from a DQ to “only” a 9 position demotion. Dean did this just after I had passed him in the last corner for 2nd place in the race. I doubt there’s another racer among us with that much class (myself included).

You can make your own judgments about this incident, and also learn something about NASA’s passing rules, by watching the video below. This video shows the start and last half lap of this race.
http://www.vimeo.com/15105134

After my penalty, I was gridded 6th for the main event. Things got worse on the start, when the 1.8 liter freight train on the inside lane left us 1.6’s in the dust, and put me back to 8th. I worked my way into second before the halfway point, and immediately had Mr. McKeever all over me. We had a good, clean battle for 2nd, that went right down to the wire.

As you know, my race with Dan for 2nd turned out to be the race for the championship when Sammy was DQ’d. As good as it feels to overachieve by finishing on the podium at my first national race, it’s a little bit disappointing to come that close to a championship and not win it. But oh well, it was still a blast. Here’s my video of the race:
http://www.vimeo.com/15105874

Tech inspection was thorough. My car had already been dyno’d after the qual race, and after the main the following were inspected: cams, compression, displacement, RF control arms & shock, rear diff internals, fuel, weight, and anything else that Mr. Meathead could put his eyes on (which is a lot). It was nice to have such a complete check, but a hell of a lot of work. We missed Sunday’s PTE race because we couldn’t get the car back together in time.

Sammy’s DQ was sad from my perspective. When you’re right there to see the elation turn to devastation, its no fun. Especially when you’ve somewhat gotten to know the guy and he’s as polite & humble as Sammy is. I’m not saying that I disagree with the DQ, because I’d like to see cheaters get caught every time. I’d personally like to see Sammy vindicate himself by winning the runoffs in a truly legal car and then pass a very meticulous tech inspection.

The NASA Spec Miata officials (JJ, Matt, & Mike Collins) were awesome. Although I’m still bitter about the penalty that effectively removed my opportunity to race Sammy for the win, I have to say that they were professional, open minded, calm, strict, yet still funny and very cool to talk to. Thanks to those guys for volunteering & making this championship legit.

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2010 SCCA Regional Driver of the Year
2010 25 Hours of Thunderhill E1 Class winner, MX-5 Cup

Dan Cooper Verified Driver
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Very cool Darin! Great driving.

Thanks for posting and I look forward to hearing all about it in person next weekend.

--------------------
Dan
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Juan Pineda Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Awesome drive, Darin! Had me on the edge of my seat, even though I new the outcome. Good job saving it SO many times. [Smile] Thanks for posting!

Yeah, I don't get the rule interpretation that they penalized you for. The common understanding is that the car in the lead has the choice of line (even more so if they are half a car ahead) as long as they leave racing room. We are not racing 13/13.

Congrats on the second place finish!

-Juan

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www.ArtOfRoadRacing.com Race Craft Clinic - Thunderhill - 30 Jan 2011

Kim Ouye Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Great job Darin! What happened on the last lap through Tooele Corner?

Edit: Nevermind just saw the video....pretty tough on the outside of that corner.

--------------------
Kim

91 BRG SMT RIP
06 MX-5 Cup

"Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting 'Holy sh*t...what a ride!'" - Unknown

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Darin,

After watching your's and Deans video I just don't get how you can be penelized. You haven't even turned in yet and your hit...not you hitting someone...at least that is what it looks like. Maybe if Tyler posts his video it will become clearer what we can't see in yours or Dean's and what the officials were looking at.

Regardless, both you and Dan found your way through traffic with some incredable driving and put on a great show! Thanks for posting as always...class act! [thumbsup]

This weekend should be nuts for you top guys [Big Grin]

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-RA


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Colin MacLean Verified Driver
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"An incident occurred at the start of Friday’s qual race, where I was ultimately deemed at fault for “not taking evasive action to avoid contact”."

Surely you're not talking about where you got punted at the start there? Surely not. No sane person could possibly ever give you a penalty for that.

You may want to consider appealing that decision because it was clearly utterly wrong. I'm just glad they didn't DQ you. That would have been an even bigger travesty.

That's shameful decision-making by NASA, absolutely shameful.

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Colin MacLean
Flyin' MacLean Motorsports

d mathias Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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+1

Tvance13
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This Tyler's Dad. Look at the video from the 72 car and you will see that my son is on the curbing when the 51 moves over to take the line. When overtaking the 51 is required to give 3/4 car width as racing room. Instead he decides to move over into his "Blind Spot". Tyler didn't protest, he filled out a contact form. Another driver that witnessed the incident filed the complaint. It just happened to be a driver the 51 hit on Thursday. Here is the NASA rule as stated in the CCR:

The rules described in CCR section #25.4 are intended to help drivers determine when they should attempt a pass, and who may be at fault should there be an incident. The main purpose of the “3⁄4 car width” rule is not to allow one driver to “squeeze” the other driver. The main purpose and intent is to alert the mind of the driver that is contemplating a pass that he/she may be “forced” to go two (2) wheels off-course to avoid a collision. Basically, this means that the overtaking driver must be certain that he/she can attempt the pass with room to spare, and must be prepared to take evasive action if necessary.

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http://TylerVanceRacing.com

B Wilson Verified Driver Series Champ
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Wow I can think of a couple places where this rule could cause a serious problem giving the passing car the option to force a pick into a wall or tire bundle.

I'm still not clear about what you guys are saying about blind spot, can you elaborate on that part?

-bw

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Bruce Wilson
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d mathias Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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The contact appears to happen well after the pass and there appears to be 1+ car widths driver right. A rule that minimalizes potential contact is a good rule IMO - but I'm not sure it applies in this instance.

Juan Pineda Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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I watched the video from the #72 (around the 40 second mark in the mirror):


http://vimeo.com/15071482


And I can't say I see anything more than a racing incident here. First, the #85 (Tyler) never puts a wheel off. So this is not a racing room issue, and I don't think the text of the rule (section 25.4) was violated. Second, the #51 (Darin) is half a car ahead when he gets hit. Third the #51 is going straight when the contact occurs. Without further info, it looks to me like the #85 initiated contact to move the #51 over, so he has some responsibility here too. Fourth, neither driver felt the incident warranted a protest. Fifth, both drivers continued.

Is Tyler going to publish his videos? I'd love to see some more great racing from the sharp end of the field!

-Juan

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www.ArtOfRoadRacing.com Race Craft Clinic - Thunderhill - 30 Jan 2011

Brian Ghidinelli Verified Driver
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I'm not sure what the rule quoted above has to do with the incident, which occurred mid-track and 100+ feet after the curbing of the corner? The track turns right and it looks to me like Tyler kept driving straight with, what, 1+ car width to his right?

With Dean and Darin's video, it sure looks like a bad penalty. Sorry to see that Darin.

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There was a penalty for THAT?

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All this has happened before, and will happen again

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quote:
Originally posted by Lance Snyder:
There was a penalty for THAT?

Yes penalty for not taking evasive action ??
They used video from the car following the two cars involved to make the judgement. We will probably never see those.

Duane Polsley

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quote:
Originally posted by Tvance13:
This Tyler's Dad. Look at the video from the 72 car and you will see that my son is on the curbing when the 51 moves over to take the line. When overtaking the 51 is required to give 3/4 car width as racing room. Instead he decides to move over into his "Blind Spot". Tyler didn't protest, he filled out a contact form. Another driver that witnessed the incident filed the complaint. It just happened to be a driver the 51 hit on Thursday. Here is the NASA rule as stated in the CCR:

The rules described in CCR section #25.4 are intended to help drivers determine when they should attempt a pass, and who may be at fault should there be an incident. The main purpose of the “3⁄4 car width” rule is not to allow one driver to “squeeze” the other driver. The main purpose and intent is to alert the mind of the driver that is contemplating a pass that he/she may be “forced” to go two (2) wheels off-course to avoid a collision. Basically, this means that the overtaking driver must be certain that he/she can attempt the pass with room to spare, and must be prepared to take evasive action if necessary.

Interesting...so what your saying is Tyler didn't feel the contact warrented any review either...since he was just filling out a contact report. Glad to hear this.

"The passing car needs to be prepared to go 2 wheels off to avoid contact". Fine, I understand this...but at what point does the passing car become the car to be passed? If in fact he has to clear the car being passed completely to take control then it needs to be written this way. But if that is the case it gives complete control to the car being passed to pit him anytime without penalty...and the front car is blamed for not avoiding contact...how much sense does that make?

I think NASA owes it to all drivers to clarify this with evidence...because it just doesn't seem right. At the track out of turn 1, the 85 never had to leave the pavement...1 car width at least. At the point of contact there is 2 car widths to the right of the 51...ample room for the 85. But if the 51 had suddenely turned in for turn 2 and then contact was made...I would understand this being his fault. But this just doesn't show on the video...plus if that was the case I think the 51 would have come around as this is what generally happens while turning.

If I had to speculate I think the 85 checked his mirror for a brief second(got caught when he looked back) or made a quick move to tuck in behind the 51 and just misjudged it...but I will say I'd like to be proved wrong for the officials sake.

BTW...I'm not taking anything away from Tyler and his considerable talent...you don't get to the pointy end of a National championship without this at 16yrs old!! Congratulations on your PTE win and a great showing in SM.

My effort here is to understand decisions that do have consequences. [twocents]

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-RA


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dp35 Verified Driver
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My beef is more with the rule than the other driver. If he was aware that the rule book would reward him for steering into the side/rear of me while I was going straight, then he's a lot more on the ball than me. I don't like the precedent this sets. I also don't like the fact that the penalty took away my opportunity to race Sammy for the win.

Since its been brought up in a negative manner - my contact with another car (neither car damaged) in qual race 1 was deemed a racing incident by the officials, after reviewing multiple videos. This other driver later apologized for throwing a fit, and we left as friends.

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2010 SCCA Regional Driver of the Year
2010 25 Hours of Thunderhill E1 Class winner, MX-5 Cup

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I don't know if the problem with the rules so much as the interpretation in this once instance. See below the relevant sections of the GCR. As I heard it explained, the primary justification for the penalty was the interpretation of Figure 8. None of the other sections of the GCR were violated by the 51 in this incident.

My understanding of what Figure 8 is trying to say is that after the passing car's driver is ahead of the victim's wheel, that even though they would not normally be required to leave racing room, they are required in this case. The reason for this exception is that the passing car is fully aware of the position of the victim, and so they should be able to make room for them when passing.

I believe the problem came when Figure 8 was misunderstood and interpreted to mean that the passer must not take the racing line until they are fully clear of the victim. However Figure 8 does not say that. Figure 8 is addressing the issue of racing room, and thus the passing car can not force the victim "back out of it" by going to the edge of the track, even if the passing driver is ahead of the victim's wheel. To extend the concept of Figure 8 to say that the passer needs to follow the victim's line is simply wrong. The passing driver has no way of knowing what line the victim wants, and further there should be no contact as long as he leaves the victim racing room. Too bad if the victim's line is less favorable -- that's racing, and part of what good passing is about.

I think the language in Figure 8 could be improved to make it clear that the issue it is trying to address is racing room, not racing line.

IMHO, the ruling was flawed.

-Juan


25.4.1 Passing General
The responsibility for the decision to pass another car, and to do it safely, rests with the overtaking driver. The overtaken driver should be aware that he/she is being passed and must not impede the pass by blocking. A driver who does not watch his/her mirrors or who appears to be blocking another car seeking a pass may be black-flagged and/or penalized. The act of passing is initiated when the trailing car’s (Car A) front bumper overlaps with the lead car’s (Car B) rear bumper. The act of passing is complete when Car A’s rear bumper is ahead of Car B’s front bumper. “NO PASSING” means a pass cannot even be initiated. Any overlap in a NO PASSING area is considered illegal.

25.4.2 Punting.
The term “punting” is defined as nose to tail (or side-of-the-nose to side-of-the-tail) contact, where the leading car is significantly knocked off of the racing line. Once the trailing car has its front wheel next to the driver of the other vehicle, it is considered that the trailing car has a right to be there. And, that the leading driver must leave the trailing driver enough “racing room.” In most cases, “racing room” is defined as “at least three quarters of one car width.” If adequate racing room is left for the trailing car, and there is incidental contact made between the cars, the contact will be considered “side- to-side.” In most cases, incidental side-to-side contact is considered to be “just a racing incident.” If, in the case of side-to-side contact, one of the two cars leaves the racing surface (involuntarily) then it may still be considered “a racing incident.”
109
Note: See specific class rules for variations in this rule.

25.4.3 Right to the Line
The driver in front has the right to choose any line, so long as not to be considered blocking. The driver attempting to make a pass shall have the right to the line when their front wheel is next to the driver of the other vehicle. Note: This rule may be superseded by class specific rules.

Notes: [Page 112, 26.0 Appendix A]
These two rules [25.3 Rough Driving and 25.4.2 Punting] are the basis by which the IRB or Race Director will determine fault when two (2) or more cars are involved in an on-track incident. The rules described in CCR section #25.4 are intended to help drivers determine when they should attempt a pass, and who may be at fault should there be an incident. The main purpose of the “3⁄4 car width” rule is not to allow one driver to “squeeze” the other driver. The main purpose and intent is to alert the mind of the driver that is contemplating a pass that he/she may be “forced” to go two (2) wheels off-course to avoid a collision. Basically, this means that the overtaking driver must be certain that he/she can attempt the pass with room to spare, and must be prepared to take evasive action if necessary.

Figure 8 [26.0, Appendix A, Page 118]
This is the opposite situation from Figure 7. Although the outcome is the same, the fault is reversed. Car B is attempting to make a pass. After point 4, Car B has the right to choose his/her line as per the rules. This means that Car A must back out of it. However, the fault still lies with Car B. This is where things get tricky. There are two different rules that govern this situation, and it is up to the Race Director to make a determination. The first rule states that Car B has a right to choose any line because Car A no longer has a wheel next to the driver of Car B. Therefore, Car A must relinquish the lead. However, there is another rule that says that the driver that is attempting to make a pass has the responsibility to complete that pass safely. In this case the overriding rule would be the latter. That is why Car B would be at fault. Car B failed to complete a safe pass. The whole intent of the “wheel next to the door” rule is to make sure that the overtaken driver sees the overtaking driver. Well in this case, the driver of Car B clearly knew that Car A was there because he/she was the one making the pass.

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www.ArtOfRoadRacing.com Race Craft Clinic - Thunderhill - 30 Jan 2011

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All the driving/racing rules from most sanctioning bodies in the USA are the cause of no American racers having any successes when racing in the higher classes around the world, too many results are manipulated off the track by officials (not picking on the NASA officials) but the great majority of sanctioning bodies in this country have officials that are either incompetent and have not been drivers of any success in their past or at best are just a mouth piece of higher officials who tell them what to do.
Just look at final results of many of the races and see how many penalties are dished out after the fact for subjective infractions.
We have not had any American drivers doing good overseas since the like of Mario A. and D. Gurney and Phil Hill. Anyone remembers how people like Michael A. Scott Speed, etc... did ?

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"Talent is often perseverance in disguise"

dp35 Verified Driver
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^ My F1 racing career is in shambles thanks to this rule.

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2010 SCCA Regional Driver of the Year
2010 25 Hours of Thunderhill E1 Class winner, MX-5 Cup

Rob Burgoon Verified Driver
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Just watched it. WTF Tyler, was that payback for for having to use the curbing on the previous exit?

The leading car has his nose well ahead and is driving straight and you try to shove him to the outside?

I usually like NASA's officiating work, but I really don't understand what they are getting at here. Tyler should have had the DQ from the video I see.

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It really makes my week when nobody crashes into me.

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quote:
too many results are manipulated off the track by officials
Yea, that never happens in the FIA.

Mikey A. tried commuting to his F1 job - bad idea.

   

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