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Author Topic: Body damage, food for thought
Jeff Lyon Verified Driver
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So I rented a car to a gentleman from the Dallas region this last weekend and he was very surprised as to the number of Miatas that were on grid with body damage in our region. This guy has been racing for more than 30 years and visits various regions all over the country and said that that the many of the cars that were on grid at the Laguna event would not be allowed to compete at most of the regions in the country due to the following GCR:

9.3.6. APPEARANCE NEAT/CLEAN & SUITABLE FOR COMPETITION
Appearance neat and clean, and suitable for competition. Specifically,
cars that are dirty either externally or in the engine or passenger compartments,
or that show bodywork damage, structural or surface rust, or that
are partially or totally in primer, or that do not bear the prescribed identification
marks shall not be approved for competition.

He also said that he thinks that enforcement of this rule leads to fewer on track incidents since people would have to repair their cars more often.

I had never given this much thought since this is the only region I have ever competed in but I did find it interesting.

I know there are a few stewards that frequent the this board, I would be interested in hearing their thoughts and anyone elses on the topic.

--------------------
Jeff
NorCal/SFR
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d mathias Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Interesting. Most of the (SCCA) regions that I visit seem to be very lax on body damage. My perception is that this has occurred in the last several years. For instance, when I started racing in 2002, if you had on-track contact you had to stop and talk to the stewart, then report to tech with your logbook which was notated "to be repaired before next event'. For the last 4-5 years I haven't seen this occur.

I agree that enforcement may help decrease contact, but I also think that the number of volunteer workers has gone down, stretching resources, and frankly repairing my car every time it gets hit would force me to sit-out more events due to added expense.

I would rather have a 'repeat offender' system that would sit-down overly aggressive drivers.

FYI, I put on a new (used) passenger door and repainted the RR quarter panel over the winter. The quarter panel got hit my first race this season, the door caved in the 3rd race.

Please stop hitting me. -Denny

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Denny,

I'll stop hitting you when you let me by. ;-)

Keith in WA Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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I had it noted in my log book when I pretzled my front suspension but I've never seen them give anyone a hard time for miscelaneous dents.

After going agricultural I have had the steward ask me nicely to clean the inch of dust off the car before I get on track for my next session though.

We're called "The Friendly Region" so it's probably not the same everywhere. We're certainly not the dent free region.

--------------------
Keith Novak
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Kent Carter Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Our stewards in the SowDiv have used that rule to put their thumb on drivers who have a lot of contact.

We had a couple of cars last year that were pretty shabby and it was clear that the drivers of those cars were willing to lean on other competitors just a bit too much. One of the worst of them was told to put new fenders on the car and paint it before competing again and then, the very next race, got put into the wall hard. It was unfortunate!

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Do I turn my 99 Hard S into a killerfast SM or seek a donor?

Jeff Lyon Verified Driver
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The person who was telling me about this said that they scratched his son's car while backing it out of the trailer and it was marked in the logged book and had to be repaired prior to the next event.

--------------------
Jeff
NorCal/SFR
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quote:
Originally posted by Jeff Lyon:
The person who was telling me about this said that they scratched his son's car while backing it out of the trailer and it was marked in the logged book and had to be repaired prior to the next event.

That's downright crazy. Maybe the official owns a body shop or something and is looking for more business. I'm constantly getting dings from flying rocks or when someone's alphabet soup car self destructs.

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Keith Novak
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That's what stickers are for.

Was this guy talking about the SCCA?

In Texas?

Kent Carter Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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quote:
Originally posted by Jeff Lyon:
The person who was telling me about this said that they scratched his son's car while backing it out of the trailer and it was marked in the logged book and had to be repaired prior to the next event.

Gotta be more to this story (or less).... Our officials aren't that picky.

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Do I turn my 99 Hard S into a killerfast SM or seek a donor?

Jeff Lyon Verified Driver
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Yes, SCCA in Texas. Maybe it was a big scratch. [fight]

--------------------
Jeff
NorCal/SFR
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Interesting topic for those like me looking to enter spec miata. I freely admit to having held off committing to racing spec miata so far (although my car is close to ready) because it really bothers me that some spec miata racers seem to so easily accept body damage as part of the normal course of business and don't seem to hesitate to come together on the track. Granted these cars are relatively cheap, but for some of us, we pour a lot of our limited financial resources into building and maintaining them (including cosmetically). It probably won't keep me out of Spec Miata (and I'm sure I'll be back of the pack for a while anyway), but it does cause me some concern. And I would think others too. I see some very nice miatas in the paddock. I can't believe their owners are ok with accepting bent sheet metal as the norm. But as I said, I'm new to this. Is NASA and SCCA the same or is one less prone to body damage than the other? Or does it depend on the region?

--------------------
Greg H.
2002 red Miata #500
Denton, Texas

Dr.Dan Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Same. More cars in scca, so more of a chance... Don't stay in the back for too long. that's where all the carnage is.

--------------------
Daniel Mairani DDS...still here, just faster.
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Kent Carter Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Greg, NASA is Pro Racing and body contact is part of the game. It is allowed and even encouraged under certain circumstances. NASA has the better system for policing contact, requiring both drivers to file a report of it, but they are inconsistent in enforcement, even at their National Championships.

SCCA is Amateur racing and body contact is forbidden in the rules although enforcement is also quite spotty. SCCA usually requires YOU, the victim of contact, to initiate a 'protest' and treats rules enforcement as a judicial process rather than one of stewardship. It's a mechanism that creates more animosity and bad blood than it solves and the SCCA should mature a bit on this issue. It would require revising the Steward's Manual... it's interesting reading and explains a LOT of the problems within the SCCA. [soapbox] [soapbox]

Both series could do a better job, but it's not a terrible situation.

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Do I turn my 99 Hard S into a killerfast SM or seek a donor?

Qik Nip Verified Driver Made Donation to Website Series Champ
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It seems that these days with SCCA, body damage is really only addressed with the annual technical inspection, or in the event of major damage. I have only had my log book noted once in six years and that wreck was a total write off. In the last two races, I was punted in the same RR quarter with no resulting log book notation. Perhaps SCCA has morphed over to the NASA 50/50 rule (if you can't see the damage at 50 feet at 50 MPH, it isn't damaged.
Rick

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Greg H., I'm not OK with body damage - I hate spending the time and money required to repair damage. But I can either accept that it happens or find a new hobby. Unfortunately Kent is right, in the SCCA if you don't protest nothing happens (even if you do protest generally nothing happens). I like NASA's contact report, but again Kent is correct, enforcement is inconsistent.

FWIW, Most of the drivers I run with race clean and under control, but there are usually 1-2 wingnuts f'ing it up for everyone.

My advise - don't spend too much time making your car pretty, and don't fall in love with it. It will get bent.

-Denny

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quote:
Originally posted by Kent Carter:
Greg, NASA is Pro Racing and body contact is part of the game. It is allowed and even encouraged....

That has not been my experience - mostly in the Southeast. I am surprised to hear that NASA "encourages" body contact. On the contrary, I think the mandatory contact form filing requirement keeps tabs on it pretty well. But other regions may operate differently.

Rob Burgoon Verified Driver
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Only two things I hate about the SCCA and that rule is the biggest one (the other is starting sessions ahead of schedule). There is really no way to keep clueless drivers from hitting you.

--------------------
It really makes my week when nobody crashes into me.

Sean Allen Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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NASA is pro racing? So I can call myself a professional racer since I've raced with them? Sweet!


In our region (scca), they got pissed at us one event and wrote (if needed) in ever single one of the 50+ entered logbooks. Making people fix damage before the next race. Not sure if they did anything with it the next race, but they tried.

EBudman Verified Driver
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quote:
Originally posted by Kent Carter:
Greg, NASA is Pro Racing....

Holy Crap is that funny.... [rolling on floor laughin] [rolling on floor laughin] [rolling on floor laughin]

Seriously, If you want to see bad driving, a local NASA weekend would have my vote. [flamed] Second choice would be an SCCA regional & the cleanest racing is usually at the SCCA National level.

That being said, I'm running LeMons now while the Miata is parked...

Eric

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quote:
Originally posted by Steve D.:
quote:
Originally posted by Kent Carter:
Greg, NASA is Pro Racing and body contact is part of the game. It is allowed and even encouraged....

That has not been my experience - mostly in the Southeast. I am surprised to hear that NASA "encourages" body contact. On the contrary, I think the mandatory contact form filing requirement keeps tabs on it pretty well. But other regions may operate differently.
Perhaps the rules have changed. But I think it says:
25.4.2: You only need to leave your competitor 3/4 of a car width of racing room. Any side to side contact is just considered 'just a racing incident'. Yeah, the quote is real.
25.4.4: You can drive any line you want as long as you don't make TWO moves, even if that one move pushes your competitor off the course or into a tree... as long as they aren't up to your door.

Then consider Scenario 12 of the Appendix. The overtaking car gets alongside late in the braking zone and then can't get the car to turn. Because the overtaking car had achieved 'nose to driver's door' before the apex, they 'have the right to any line they want' and can slide out wide, clobbering the passenger door/fender with their nose and it's the overtaken car's fault. This is the 'dive bomb 'em, but do it deep' rule. Yep, that's how it's written in the rules. [Eek!]

This is how the NASA rules encourage contact. The SCCA rules say, leave room... don't touch. But half the stewards still preach the 'up to the door' rule. Go figure.

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Do I turn my 99 Hard S into a killerfast SM or seek a donor?

Kent Carter Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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quote:
Originally posted by Rob Burgoon:
Only two things I hate about the SCCA and that rule is the biggest one (the other is starting sessions ahead of schedule). There is really no way to keep clueless drivers from hitting you.

Says it right on their webpage and on the patch they gave me when I signed up!!
http://www.nasaproracing.com/
See?

Yeah... tongue was deeply in cheek when I wrote it.

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Do I turn my 99 Hard S into a killerfast SM or seek a donor?

Rob Burgoon Verified Driver
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quote:
Originally posted by Kent Carter:
quote:
Originally posted by Rob Burgoon:
Only two things I hate about the SCCA and that rule is the biggest one (the other is starting sessions ahead of schedule). There is really no way to keep clueless drivers from hitting you.

Says it right on their webpage and on the patch they gave me when I signed up!!
http://www.nasaproracing.com/
See?

Yeah... tongue was deeply in cheek when I wrote it.

I think you might have quoted me by mistake.

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It really makes my week when nobody crashes into me.

Kent Carter Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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quote:
Originally posted by Sean Allen:
NASA is pro racing? So I can call myself a professional racer since I've raced with them? Sweet!

Yep... meant to quote this. I need more beer.

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Do I turn my 99 Hard S into a killerfast SM or seek a donor?

Keith in WA Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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quote:
Originally posted by d mathias:
Unfortunately Kent is right, in the SCCA if you don't protest nothing happens (even if you do protest generally nothing happens). I like NASA's contact report, but again Kent is correct, enforcement is inconsistent.

They don't seem to like bump drafting though even if it's consentual and often discussed, agreed to in the paddock before hand and the drivers have to collude to keep their story straight, "Um yeah...I lifted in the middle of the straight. Sorry! [blush] " That's one contact scenario where many drivers would prefer the officials looked the other way.

--------------------
Keith Novak
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quote:
Originally posted by Keith in WA:
quote:
Originally posted by d mathias:
Unfortunately Kent is right, in the SCCA if you don't protest nothing happens (even if you do protest generally nothing happens). I like NASA's contact report, but again Kent is correct, enforcement is inconsistent.

They don't seem to like bump drafting though even if it's consentual and often discussed, agreed to in the paddock before hand and the drivers have to collude to keep their story straight, "Um yeah...I lifted in the middle of the straight. Sorry! [blush] " That's one contact scenario where many drivers would prefer the officials looked the other way.
NASA's rule on bump drafting is sane and enforceable. SCCA's, on the other hand, is idiotic.

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Do I turn my 99 Hard S into a killerfast SM or seek a donor?

tahoe z Verified Driver
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tell him to go back to dallas!

--------------------
kim willcox

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Probably the best defensive tact I've heard to counter an offical's post-session lecture... "Are you sure it wasn't a different red miata?" Courtesy of Greg Bush, master of running interference. After all, we do look all alike to them. [Smile]

--------------------
Keith Novak
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cnj
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I am in my third season of SM racing in Texas. The story of a car not being allowed to race before a minor ding was repaired is a surprise to me. I got a good sized dent in the door and rear quarter at the beginning of the season last year and raced all year, including the Runnoffs with this ding - and no comments from tech. I suspect that I would not have passed my annual for 2009 but this is a moot point as I repaired it before my annual tech. As Kent says, there must be more (or less) to the story.

Craig J

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One issue with the repair before you are allowed to race again rule is if the guy that causes the contact has a trailer full of fenders all painted up and ready to go it isn't really very effective. Most of us that are trying to save our money try to avoid serious contact if we can.

I also agree with the idiocy of the bump draft rules in SCCA. I have been called in front of the stewards for pushing sidewalk on a start but no one has ever been called before the stewards for hitting/punting me. Stupid...

--------------------
----------------
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Casey Z - 1.6 Kettle
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I went 3 seasons without a dent, and when I did get one it was from my wife, so I had to fix both cars.

Sometimes it is unavoidable, but there is a lot you can do to avoid it.

Some people get dents every weekend, and some don't. Go figure.

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quote:
Originally posted by cnj:
I am in my third season of SM racing in Texas. The story of a car not being allowed to race before a minor ding was repaired is a surprise to me. I got a good sized dent in the door and rear quarter at the beginning of the season last year and raced all year, including the Runnoffs with this ding - and no comments from tech. I suspect that I would not have passed my annual for 2009 but this is a moot point as I repaired it before my annual tech. As Kent says, there must be more (or less) to the story.

Craig J

Craig, were you around in the Jay Wright era?
How about you Kent? I was given a hard time when I went off in the mud and I only cleaned up the numbers and SCCA stickers (I didn't feel like washing the rest of the car, it was cold)

I do know a couple of problem drivers have been told to fully repair car (i.e. no hammer jobs and rattle cans) before they would be allowed to race, but it was as a way to discourage contact.

The one time I raced at Laguna Seca, I do remember seeing a lot of banged up cars...but I also think that's the same weekend several people (including Juan) got written up to get their cars fixed.

--------------------
"Your victory is tainted! Asterisk! Asterisk!!!"--Lisa Simpson

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quote:
Originally posted by Antonio Garza:
Craig, were you around in the Jay Wright era?
How about you Kent? I was given a hard time when I went off in the mud and I only cleaned up the numbers and SCCA stickers (I didn't feel like washing the rest of the car, it was cold)

Yep.... I was. He was harsh harsh harsh! (RIP, Mr. Wright)

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Do I turn my 99 Hard S into a killerfast SM or seek a donor?

cnj
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Antonio,

No I was not there then. I am just a pup, unlike old timers like Kent.

Craig J

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quote:
Originally posted by Greg Bush:
Some people get dents every weekend, and some don't. Go figure.

But you do spray big rocks. [Wink]

--------------------
Keith Novak
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quote:
Originally posted by Keith in WA:
quote:
Originally posted by Greg Bush:
Some people get dents every weekend, and some don't. Go figure.

But you do spray big rocks. [Wink]
It pays to be in front....
[Cool]

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The SF region tried this a few years back. It did drive away several people but few of the problems. It seems that the stewards just don't remember seeing the same guy several times until people really start to complain en mass about a particular driver.

Consequences are spotty at best in both organizations. I was called into impound last race after having been passed under yellow and then forced 2 off by the same porsche. guy walked, not so much as a slap on the hand. I did get chasdized for not lifting sooner tho.....

--------------------
Craig Evans
#27 Spec Miata
San Francisco Region
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enforcement is a joke really. Depends on the day and who is there. in both scca and nasa. I've protested drivers twice only (which I guess is a good thing) in 9yrs. the process was rediculous. IMO. Nothing was done. Even at the NAsa nats, in one of the races several cars passed on the front straight during full course yellow and they did nada. not a thing. In a championship. ???? but go fix those dents..Maybe I'll try demolition derby. ummm

--------------------
Daniel Mairani DDS...still here, just faster.
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quote:
Originally posted by Dr. Dan:
Same. More cars in scca, so more of a chance... Don't stay in the back for too long. that's where all the carnage is.

I don't think this advice works in the DC region; I've seen plenty of carnage up front.
[fight]

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quote:
Originally posted by Kent Carter:
quote:
Originally posted by Steve D.:
quote:
Originally posted by Kent Carter:
Greg, NASA is Pro Racing and body contact is part of the game. It is allowed and even encouraged....

That has not been my experience - mostly in the Southeast. I am surprised to hear that NASA "encourages" body contact. On the contrary, I think the mandatory contact form filing requirement keeps tabs on it pretty well. But other regions may operate differently.
Perhaps the rules have changed. But I think it says:
25.4.2: You only need to leave your competitor 3/4 of a car width of racing room. Any side to side contact is just considered 'just a racing incident'. Yeah, the quote is real.
25.4.4: You can drive any line you want as long as you don't make TWO moves, even if that one move pushes your competitor off the course or into a tree... as long as they aren't up to your door.

Then consider Scenario 12 of the Appendix. The overtaking car gets alongside late in the braking zone and then can't get the car to turn. Because the overtaking car had achieved 'nose to driver's door' before the apex, they 'have the right to any line they want' and can slide out wide, clobbering the passenger door/fender with their nose and it's the overtaken car's fault. This is the 'dive bomb 'em, but do it deep' rule. Yep, that's how it's written in the rules. [Eek!]

This is how the NASA rules encourage contact. The SCCA rules say, leave room... don't touch. But half the stewards still preach the 'up to the door' rule. Go figure.

Oh dear.... checked out the turn 5 deal with me and Tim S. at the Sprints. I got bent out of shape (both emotionally and physically!) and protested then got dinged-later repealed- for the same. I'm not sure I want the corner workers calling in who is at blame after going through that whole deal. Annual tech here in Texas is tough as they generally make a notation of ANY body damage that needs to be fixed.

--------------------
Matthew F. Davis
Texas Region SCCA

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quote:
Originally posted by Jack Raymond:
quote:
Originally posted by Dr. Dan:
Same. More cars in scca, so more of a chance... Don't stay in the back for too long. that's where all the carnage is.

I don't think this advice works in the DC region; I've seen plenty of carnage up front.
[fight]

Back is fine, front is fine. "Kill zone" not fine. Was at the ARRC last year and qualified in the "teens" alongside Drago who borrowed a car after he blew up two motors. He declined to race stating- "no way am I racing in the Kill Zone." I did indeed get wiped out. Afterward he re-stated his position after looking at my car (and selling me parts to fix it [Smile] ). "That's exactly why I didn't race."

--------------------
Matthew F. Davis
Texas Region SCCA

TR6
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Where is this kill zone you speak of?

--------------------
Greg H.
2002 red Miata #500
Denton, Texas

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You'll know it when you get there. [Frown]

--------------------
Matthew F. Davis
Texas Region SCCA

Jeff Lyon Verified Driver
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quote:
Annual tech here in Texas is tough as they generally make a notation of ANY body damage that needs to be fixed.
So it does sound like tech is pretty tough in Texas. So the question is it too tough there or not tough enough elsewhere? Does the extra attention deter contact or just cause competitors to incure more expense?

--------------------
Jeff
NorCal/SFR
OneStopRaceShop

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faster than the average bear...

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Well, now we're perched at the top of a socio-political argument about "flat rate" financial penalties. The problem is that they affect folks in extremely different ways that aren't necessarily in line with the "crime". A $276 speeding ticket means something completely different to the single mom of four in the 84 Toyota tercel working two jobs than it does to the banker in his brand new Porsche Turbo... that's [one reason] why most states have a points system to accompany the financial penalties.

The problem with RELYING on the financial incentives to FIX contact problems is that you occasionally run across the driver who is both a) a contact problem on track and b) unpersuaded by financial consequences (i.e. has money and doesn't mind spending it on body work every weekend). That's why I believe it is important for the stewards to investigate on-track contact and deal with grossly neglegent and/or repeat offenders using probation/suspension/expulsion as the remedies instead of just "fix it before the next race". The second - the repeat offender - is the bigger of the two issues in my mind.

Just my two cents.

Cheers,

Dean

--------------------
NASA Nor Cal SM series Director
www.molaps.com

Winner - Ford Racing Mustang Challenge Driver Shootout

Evil Genius Racing / Race Engineering / Stewart Development

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Excellent points Dean.

BTW, I watched your video from the NASA Championships and have to say it was a spectacular drive. One question though. How is it that you start complaining late in the race that you blew out your right front shock but your lap times continued to keep getting faster? I thought dampers were a critical part of the vehicle's suspension and paramount to quick lap times! [rolling on floor laughin] But I digress.

--------------------
Jeff
NorCal/SFR
OneStopRaceShop

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I was learning to "drive around the problem" towards the end of the race. [Smile]

If you watch my right hand on the steering wheel in T3 (the fast left hander) you'll see it vibrate at a pretty high frequency the whole way through the turn. I'm assuming this means I no longer have a damper!

Cheers,

Dean

--------------------
NASA Nor Cal SM series Director
www.molaps.com

Winner - Ford Racing Mustang Challenge Driver Shootout

Evil Genius Racing / Race Engineering / Stewart Development

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quote:
Originally posted by Sacslider:
Consequences are spotty at best in both organizations. I was called into impound last race after having been passed under yellow and then forced 2 off by the same porsche. guy walked, not so much as a slap on the hand. I did get chasdized for not lifting sooner tho.....

Ooh! Was it the red one?

Scott

tahoe z Verified Driver
2007 NASA 25hr Champion E2 / 2008 NASA 25 HR E2 2ND place

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i have a hard time reading this!

--------------------
kim willcox

Capt. John
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As an SCCA Steward in the SEDIV, I would like to throw in a few comments. I see quite a few cars from the SM group with a significant amount of body damage. I saw a Miata this past weekend with very visible damage on every panel of the car. This didn't all happen this weekend. It says to me that the driver or drivers of this car, apparently have metal to metal contact with other competitors, on a fairly regular basis. As a Steward and driver I frown on this type of on track behavior. SM is a class that is very competitive and the cars tend to run in close quarters. The Miata is a fine example of a car that requires you to maintain your momentum as best you can. Beating and banging on others to make this happen is not cool.

Stewards cannot be every where on the track to observe driver conduct. We rely on reports from the workers on the turns transmitted to Control and the Operating Stewards. We also rely on you the drivers to protest someone who is not playing well with others. Information will be gathered, witnesses interviewed, and video if it exists reviewed. Sometimes it is judged to be a racing incident, not intentional or deliberate on anyone's part, and the result of the 'red mist' making an appearence. If the incident shows wanton disregard for fellow drivers and the rules of the GCR or Supps, then probation, or points against ones license may result. I do not particularly like to fine a driver. To some it is not much of a deterrent......"Ok,$100 fine, here's $1000, let me know when I need to give you some more".....message delivered, I'll just keep on doing this if it is just going to cost a few bucks. Some drivers learn by their mistakes, others may need to be sat down or closely observed for a period of time.

Situational awareness is a major item when you are in a 40-50 car group. You will always be racing with someone whether you are at the pointy end,in the middle,or at the tail end of the group. A driver needs to know traffic around him, and how he will manage it. The HANS device is becoming more a part of a drivers safety gear and is being used by many more drivers. If the tethers are not installed, peripheral vision may be compromised to a certain degree. This may be one possible explanation for the increased amount of metal to metal contact that seems to occur in some of the groups that have a lot of cars running close together.

If you are concerned with some things that seem wrong and possibly dangerous, talk to the Chief Steward about it. He may direct you to file a protest. Doing this will get the issue on the radar and set in motion a possible solution to the problem. To paraphrase Jerry McGuire...."Help us help you"....

Capt. John

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quote:
Originally posted by Capt. John:
As an SCCA Steward in the SEDIV, I would like to throw in a few comments. I see quite a few cars from the SM group with a significant amount of body damage. I saw a Miata this past weekend with very visible damage on every panel of the car. This didn't all happen this weekend. It says to me that the driver or drivers of this car, apparently have metal to metal contact with other competitors, on a fairly regular basis. As a Steward and driver I frown on this type of on track behavior. ....

Capt. John

John, what did you do with this driver?

--------------------
Do I turn my 99 Hard S into a killerfast SM or seek a donor?

 
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