1 2 3
Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Associate Editor
11/15/16 10:02 a.m.

It's that time of the year! We just finished picking a date and confirming rules for the Grassroots Motorsports $2017 Challenge Driven by General Tire. A few of you–our most experienced competitors–have already read these and given us your input.

Date: October 20-21, 2017
Place: Gainesville Raceway

Not sure what we're talking about? Check out the full recap from the $2016 event here.

Before I get into the rule changes for $2017, let me address the elephant in the room: Safety. Despite an overwhelmingly positive safety record, a few cars at the $2016 event weren't up to the standard we want to set. For this reason, tech inspection will be completely revamped at the $2017 Challenge.

For legal and logistical reasons, GRM has always outsourced its technical inspections to NHRA tech inspectors. Clearly, they weren't performing to the standard that the Challenge requires. Expect tech to be hard at the $2017 event, with fresh faces and more time allotted for it.

Read the SCCA Solo and NHRA safety handbooks, and if your car is radical in any way, shape, or form, we highly recommend you talk to us about it, then go to a local test & tune night and let a NHRA inspector look at it before coming to Gainesville.

Next year, tech will be vigilant, and we will send unsafe cars back to the paddock for repairs before we issue tech stickers. On the bright side, this should make for some interesting paddock fixes.

Now, onto our next elephant: The Porsche 917 at this year's event. Team T-Bone built a cool car, but they didn't build a safe car. No, it wasn't as bad as the internet made it sound, but it wasn't built correctly. Our outsourced tech inspectors let it (and other questionable decisions) out on course, and no protests were filed against the team. Additionally, we audited the team's budget, and did not find any discrepancies under the $2016 rules. For these reasons, Team T-Bone will keep their second place trophy, but we will not allow that car back into the Challenge without substantial modifications. T-Bone, we love you, but call us before you start next year's entry–we want you to build cool, safe cars, and we're willing to help.

Now, about protests. The new rules clarify their role and the process. Protests are important for the success of the event. As the field of entries grows and the cars get crazier, we have a need and an obligation to police each other. It's not that GRM wants to make $50–in fact, there's a pretty darn good chance we'll give you the deposit back no matter what the outcome of the protest is–it's that we need your help, and quick asides to staff members are not the correct process. We debated making the protest deposit $1, but decided $50 was the correct amount after reviewing our peers' policies. We've also clarified when protests may be filed: Until two hours before the awards banquet.

About the concours: This year, a few scores were messed up due to a human error. This has been fixed, and scoring will not be an issue in the future. To avoid judges' bias against a particular make or model of car, we will have more judges at the $2017 event. We'll also have a more diverse group of judges. They'll also be taking breaks more often to refresh and reenergize themselves. Additionally, we've set a time limit on judging, and will have a timekeeper present for each car. Each team will be allowed three minutes to present their build, with bonus time awarded for spectacularly spectacular builds. I should also mention this: Concours judges will not judge safety. We purposely separate church and state in that department, letting tech inspection handle safety issues and concours judges handle everything else. If a car has a tech sticker on it, then it will be considered safe unless there is a protest, something breaks or something is changed–no exceptions.

We've also clarified the budget recoup rules, as well as added a few safety exemptions. Please take note also of the "Reese Rule," and the "Stampie Rule"

Last but not least, build books. New for $2017 is a recipe of what's expected. We'll have a budget spreadsheet template that all teams must use available on the $2017 Challenge website by Monday.

With all this said, I'm hopeful for the future of the Challenge. It's always been my favorite event. And it's always full of my favorite people. We're headed in a great direction, and $2017 should be the best year yet.

Without further rambling, here are the $2017 Challenge Rules.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
11/15/16 10:07 a.m.

Awesome.

Thank you Tom, and all the staff, for the efforts you have put into this. I recognize how much work you have put in it. I appreciate you, and look forward to seeing you in October!

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
11/15/16 10:22 a.m.

OK, so now I've read it...

That's an impressive piece of work. You sure did make it harder on us, but I think it will be very positive overall.

I look forward to stepping up to The Challenge.

Rick Goolsby
Rick Goolsby Events Manager
11/15/16 10:27 a.m.

In reply to SVreX:

Thanks! It was a total team effort on this one and glad you like the rules package.

Ashyukun
Ashyukun SuperDork
11/15/16 10:36 a.m.

I'm really hoping to have something for this next year- ideally of my own, but at the least I'm planning on helping with eastsidemav's entry. I've missed the fun and distraction of going the last few years.

hobiercr
hobiercr Dork
11/15/16 10:42 a.m.

Rick, are you going to make these into a downloadable pdf again?

Rick Goolsby
Rick Goolsby Events Manager
11/15/16 10:45 a.m.

In reply to hobiercr:

You got it.

John Brown
John Brown MegaDork
11/15/16 10:52 a.m.

Very happy about the Standardized Budget Spread sheet and specific detail on the Budget and Build book.

Thank you all for allowing the rules an the event to morph and improve as it has aged.

When will the websight be up to accept payments for next year? I'm ready to sign up.

Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham Associate Editor
11/15/16 10:56 a.m.
hobiercr wrote: Rick, are you going to make these into a downloadable pdf again?

Here you go.

Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham Associate Editor
11/15/16 10:57 a.m.
John Brown wrote: When will the websight be up to accept payments for next year? I'm ready to sign up.

We just have to set up registration for MotorsportReg. Give us a week or so.

Ranger50
Ranger50 UltimaDork
11/15/16 11:10 a.m.

Pretty impressive. I await the rest of the standardized documentation. My one spreadsheet is a complete mish mash of who knows what and color coded for every idea potential....

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
11/15/16 11:16 a.m.

In reply to Rick Goolsby:

Just to clarify...

The discussion at the Town Hall Meeting favored a single total recoup amount. Looks like you have abandoned that and returned to recoup not to exceed each individual purchase.

Correct?

RevRico
RevRico Dork
11/15/16 11:27 a.m.
Q: May I grill at the track? A: Yes. And remember that the staff is often hungry.

This actually was a concourse concern of mine.

Thanks for getting the rules up, and the budget spreadsheet/book standarzation should help out a lot too. I'll stay posted for a registration link.

Rick Goolsby
Rick Goolsby Events Manager
11/15/16 11:27 a.m.

In reply to SVreX:

Correct.

Stampie
Stampie Dork
11/15/16 11:36 a.m.

Kick ass. I have a rule. Now scanning it for loopholes.

HippieWagon
HippieWagon New Reader
11/15/16 11:44 a.m.
Tom Suddard wrote: Please take note also of the "Reese Rule," and the "Stampie Rule"

Woot! Look who got internet famous!

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
11/15/16 11:47 a.m.

I see there's a new rule about competitors having a state-issued driver's license, I assume this means foreign driver's licenses are acceptable?

Stampie
Stampie Dork
11/15/16 11:48 a.m.

Warning loophole content ahead ... can one team register two cars?

patgizz
patgizz UltimaDork
11/15/16 12:09 p.m.

Thanks for the alcohol at the track rule.

The factory framerails or equivalent unibody stuff looks new(but simiar had been there in the past with the "to acheive some sort of crazy drivetrain swap caveat"). I'll give an example- would roadkill's nascarlo, if under 2k, not be eligible because the frame rails are rectangular tubes? That is as specific as i will get with our plans, but i can stop building now if thats this sends things into exhibition. It would be to facilitate a complete drivetrain reconfiguration that could not use the original suspension or framerails to accomplish because transmission and engine and axle would be trying to occupy those spaces currently occupied by the factory frame.

stan_d
stan_d Dork
11/15/16 12:23 p.m.

Thanks for clear plan on build sheets. That is my worst ability. Now we have a proper plan. Now where is my camera.

Robbie
Robbie UltraDork
11/15/16 12:32 p.m.

Running more than 4 tires just got a lot harder.

spin_out
spin_out HalfDork
11/15/16 12:38 p.m.
Robbie wrote: Running more than 4 tires just got a lot harder.

I've been trying to find used drag slicks for the last 8 years.. I guess that's out the window now if I want good autocross tires. But like I said, I've been unsuccessful for 8 years. (Of Course I'm going to Moultrie on Friday and I'm sure to see stacks of drag slicks for the first time.) :)

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
11/15/16 12:58 p.m.
Robbie wrote: Running more than 4 tires just got a lot harder.

Yeah, I know that particular item caused a lot of contortions. Didn't seem to be a good way to accomplish what they were trying to accomplish.

Changing the rule from "first 4 free" to "cheapest 4 free" is a rather elegant solution. It's exactly backwards to what most of us competitors would calculate, but accomplishes the goal quite well.

RevRico
RevRico Dork
11/15/16 1:00 p.m.
spin_out wrote:
Robbie wrote: Running more than 4 tires just got a lot harder.
I've been trying to find used drag slicks for the last 8 years.. I guess that's out the window now if I want good autocross tires. But like I said, I've been unsuccessful for 8 years. (Of Course I'm going to Moultrie on Friday and I'm sure to see stacks of drag slicks for the first time.) :)

There is a "performance tire shop" opening 5 minutes away from me in like 2 weeks. I have every intention of being the FIRST person in the store, buying my autox tires from him, and planting a bug in his ear for used drags.

hobiercr
hobiercr Dork
11/15/16 1:10 p.m.

In reply to Ed Higginbotham:

And I thank you, Sir!

1 2 3
Our Preferred Partners
MZCp3MRGa4tQHikh2haXmnVflgAXMlRGNUJCpLsjrOocScwWVkZbGz4l3xj8YKxD