Car #: 39
Year : 1999 Posts: 835
I would like to come to the SCCA stewards defense on this one, and it does tie up a few loose ends that relate to the SIC
As you know, at the start of the SIC, Alex Gaines came through from many rows back and got into Cliffie Blanchard whose car knocked me off into the sand trap at T1. When I could not get the car out of the trap, I got out of the car, crossed the track to the inside of the turn and walked up to the T1 marshalls stand where Lance Snyder was on duty with several other flaggers.
During the race Lance kept me appraised of the proceedings, reporting back to me the contact reports from various flag stands, and especially the reports coming in of several contacts around the track that related to Gaines.
Even before the end of the race, Lance informed me that Gaines would be called to the Stewards at the race end. I did not file a protest, and I was concerned that Gaines would get DQ'd as this would move my competition up in the points and might threaten my championship (double points race).
So at the SIC, it was the marshalls that reported on unacceptable driving, contact, and initiated the proceedings.
I selfishly erred on the conservative and actually asked the SOM to NOT DQ Gaines, as I thought that it could have impacted my championship.
I am not sure if my wishes were considered, but Gaines was not DQ's, but was warned, and might even have been fined.
IMHO the SCCA marshalls did all the right things, they observed the conduct, they called it in, they initiated the process, they called in most of the drivers affected, requested our video, and took action.
Toni Creighton handled the proceedings and I was impressed with her approach, and the genuine concern that she showed wanting to make the right decision.
Region: Central FL
Car #: 17
Year : 1991 Posts: 275
I have raced in the back, in the middle, and up front. It seems to me that up front you get more awareness, closer racing, less contact and far less bonehead moves.
I have watched JT race from mid pack at the SIC to finish right behind me, and seen him go from DFL to nearly the top ten in a 50+ field, now while we all know he is barely tall enough to see over the steering wheel, he did both of these without a scratch on his or another competitors car. Yes he's a teammate, but that doesn't change the fact that I have respect for him as a driver, if he and I race side by side, like we have so many times, if he tries to pass, I give him the corner, but make it very difficult for him to have a good exit speed which usually lets me pass him back, or set him up at the next turn. I've done this against Steyn, Von C, Chip, JT, Jeffy Boy, Alex B and numerous others, and yet to have done damage to any of them that was at my fault.
I have learned alot the past year, and one thing I learned is that patients pays, sometimes if a guy is faster I stay on him to see why, is it a different line, a better motor?? either way I find where he is fast, but also where he is slow, so that I can pass him, or hopefully sucessfully pass him.
Ask any of the Q1 to Q5 guys in a race, they will usually say, they just want to make it past T1 without getting punted by a Q10 guy.
I know that being part for the AT crew, if I do something in the wrong, not only would they all say something to me about it, they would probably kick my A$$. The SM groups we have in Florida are large, but the races had in the midpack are just as fun as in the front. This last weekend the guys that beat me, deserved to, in the 1st race, Long out raced me, even though I was able to run faster times. He deserved to finish ahead of me, but I learned from that, and finished on Alex B's tail the next race. That the best I think I could of done in that race, yet at 1 time I could of put a bumper to Steyn, Chip or Von C, the only thing I would of done was ruin their race, and piss some guys off. Thats not me, I enjoy learning the racecraft. Watching Chippy make his car 12' wide is artwork, watching Von C and Steyn battle it out, unforgettable, it make me realize just why they run up front consistently.
-------------------- BDR Motorsports, Autotechnik Cliff Blanchard Down on power 1.6 Sluggish overweight 99'
Region: Central Florida
Car #: 3
Year : 1992 Posts: 1304
The idea of this thread wasn't to call out certain drivers or even drivers here in Florida. The bottom line is that we as a class have way too much contact! There shouldn't be a "kill zone." We all want close racing and competition....but we want it to be fun without having to worry about getting taken out by someone who is either driving aggressively or over their head. It starts with my own driving.
The idea of self policing is BS. The driver who shows up to race, is not part of a team, may or may not really know anyone, or is just getting started will not protest another driver. The stewards and officials are jaded when it comes to our class. They believe that we don't care about the contact so why should they. I have had to plead with drivers to protest and then had to apologize when they did protest and the stewards did nothing.
The majority of SM drivers are by definition in the back 2/3 of the field. Most of them do not post, but do read this site. Maybe we can all start the process by giving some racing room. Here in the SEDIV we have new stewards with a new desire to enforce the GCR. I would not want to be one of the first examples of their desire to correct the contact problem.
Car #: 97
Year : 1990/99 Posts: 788
Did anybody get called out? Even in the video I posted I do not believe there was any contact to speak of. Dings and dents are going to happen in Spec Miata and there is nothing that can be done about it. 3 and 4 wide racing is going to result in someone banging into another. Frankly I have no problem with that. It is the intentional or brain dead unpredictable moves (dive bombing, zig zagging, blocking) that concern many of the drivers. Lets face it. Spec Miata is an entry level group where the cars are very equal and the experience in the back is very limited. That combination will result in damage. Sorry! All I expect from the stewards is to make sure the contact between drivers was not on purpose and wasn't avoidable. The rest is just racing.
-------------------- 2010 ARRC Champion 2010 CFR Champion 2010 instigator of the year 2010/2011 Andrew Von C Wingman
Car #: 39
Year : 1999 Posts: 835
Paul if your post is directed at me....... I am not calling anyone out - just replying that in this particular case, the SEDiv Stweards DID call in the contacts from various corners, they DID initiate action on racing contact WITHOUT any drivers having to file paperwork or protest, and that they DID consider video, and that they DID take what seemed to be the appropriate action - all without the fellow drivers having to start the process.
Just standing up for the stewards since they were being castigated earlier in the thread. In my two years of racing I have found them to be professional, fair and acting in the interests of the class.
Of course I reserve the right to change my mind in the future!
Region: SW Division
Car #: 32
Year : 1999 Posts: 194
There seems to be a considerable amount of frustration aimed at race officials. Most of the posters are referring to regions I have not raced in and so I cannot comment. However I will say that my general experience in the SW Div SCCA is that the stewards have been on the ball with respect to persuing safety and watching for aggressive driving in our class.
I have never protested anyone or been protested, but I have been on the receiving end of a well earned lecture from the Steward in a race where I was too aggressive prior to the checkered flag (bumping the car in front of me). It calmed me down. I have also sat through several lectures to the whole SM class from the Stewards regarding zero tolerance for track contact - and have seen improved behavior from all of the drivers.
We drive in a highly competitive class with relatively slow cars that are very evenly matched and rather safe (comparatively). Left to our own devices, we will all push the margins of safety in order to move up in position. First place is not the position for faint of heart. Sadly this does not speak well of our wisdom and I am convinced we are not collectively mature enough to self police. I am not suggesting that peer pressure has no value, simply that we need the officials to help us.
I personally applaud the stewards every time they crack down on aggressive driving, even if its me they are cracking down on.
I have been on the receiving end of a well earned lecture from the Steward in a race where I was too aggressive prior to the checkered flag (bumping the car in front of me). It calmed me down. I have also sat through several lectures to the whole SM class from the Stewards regarding zero tolerance for track contact - and have seen improved behavior from all of the drivers.
That right there seems to be what I read as most peoples issue with some of the stewards.
There's been the zero tolerance for contact talks yet the worst some people are getting is just a "well earned lecture"
Region: SW Division
Car #: 32
Year : 1999 Posts: 194
Hard to please the forum - I should know to choose my words carefully.
It was my first infraction, I was contrite, I was cautioned and I changed my behavior. Another driver was DQ'd the same race for contact as it was not his first infraction. I believe he also got probation and subsequently changed his track behavior. I have no problem with stewards using wisdom to apply both grace and judgement depending on the situation - which I think the SW Div steward (Jack Marr) did successfully in this instance.