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Byrneon27
Byrneon27 Reader
5/2/22 9:48 p.m.

Fine I'll be the bad guy... 

 

19wheneverthehell-2006ish... SCCA club racing the premier amateur racing in the country with a well thought-out, tough but fair system that combines equal parts "let the boys play" and "don't berkeley up" 

Mid 2000s... Everybody sets up an amateur sports car racing sanctioning body almost all with agressive "no contact" policies

Today... SCCA style racing has too many incidents... They play too rough. 

 

 

It's been a minute since I've done any road racing so maybe I'm wrong but from the time I started until the time I stopped doing it regularly the competitor changed. People who don't know how to be passed, people who just generally expect you're going to give them a mile, people who cannot run in a pack, etc etc. If people are routinely getting Saturday night short track dumped at SCCA races yes that's a problem. If people who know how to race for real are encountering people who haven't devloped those skills yet the outcome is pretty obvious. 

 

Is it not pretty well understood in vintage racing the first thing to do is not crash? I don't follow vintage stuff but is it really competitive or more rolling car show? (Not intending to sound like a jerk I see the comparison often) 

 

ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter)
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
5/2/22 10:12 p.m.
Byrneon27 said:

Is it not pretty well understood in vintage racing the first thing to do is not crash?

I think the more relevant question is- shouldn't this be understood in all amateur racing?  I don't think anyone would question that SCCA is closer and more competitive racing than vintage or endurance, and people go in knowing that.  But when over half of your sprint races can't get from green to checker without being flagged, and one out of every five or six cars gets crashed out every weekend, I think you have a problem to fix. "Don't show up unless you have buckets of money to fix your broken car every race" isn't really a sustainable philosophy. 

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy MegaDork
5/2/22 10:42 p.m.

"If you are not prepared to sweep your car up on the back straight now and then, perhaps motor racing isn't for you."

But... stuff is faster, tires have more grip, and the edge is a bit farther out there now.    People are less used to having things go wrong every day, and society has more of a "This situation I find myself in is of someone else's making."  "That guy hit me, and there was nothing I could do, other than give him the corner..."

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
5/2/22 11:32 p.m.
Byrneon27 said:

Fine I'll be the bad guy... 

 

19wheneverthehell-2006ish... SCCA club racing the premier amateur racing in the country with a well thought-out, tough but fair system that combines equal parts "let the boys play" and "don't berkeley up" 

Mid 2000s... Everybody sets up an amateur sports car racing sanctioning body almost all with agressive "no contact" policies

Today... SCCA style racing has too many incidents... They play too rough. 

 

 

It's been a minute since I've done any road racing so maybe I'm wrong but from the time I started until the time I stopped doing it regularly the competitor changed. People who don't know how to be passed, people who just generally expect you're going to give them a mile, people who cannot run in a pack, etc etc. If people are routinely getting Saturday night short track dumped at SCCA races yes that's a problem. If people who know how to race for real are encountering people who haven't devloped those skills yet the outcome is pretty obvious. 

 

Is it not pretty well understood in vintage racing the first thing to do is not crash? I don't follow vintage stuff but is it really competitive or more rolling car show? (Not intending to sound like a jerk I see the comparison often) 

 

To answer your question. There is a lot of real passing in vintage racing. We are just aware that it's the person overtaking with is responsible to make a safe, contact free pass.  The person being passed knows that he has to maintain his line. ( no blocking ) 

       It's real racing.  I'll out brake anyone I can ( safely). I'll out accelerate any one I can ( safely). And I'll out corner  anyone I can (safely). They will do it to me.  
   The real history of the car has already been made.  It's not as fast as the new stuff.  But that's OK 

    The first Vintage race I entered (1976) we agreed to  pass and be passed  for 8 of the 10 laps but the last two  were serious. 
     I was running about 18th  in a stone stock 1953 MGTD following Mark in a Highly modified MGTC ( supercharger, magneto, big valve head 1500 cc ). Lightened,  well prepped.    I could almost stay behind him if I was inches off his back end.   I had better brakes and slightly better handling.  So I let him lead the 9th lap by a significant amount. On the 10th lap I sucked up close to him and down the long main straight I stayed an inch or two behind him. On the banking he slid up higher giving me the inside  coming into 3 when he went for his fading brakes Early I pulled ahead and out brakes him into the corner taking the line away from him. Knowing he was faster he took my inside line and as a result killed his speed through the corner. 
 I kept taking the line in 4-5-6-7- 8 but I let him have the line in turn 9  which put me on the inside going into 10. He came over to block me going into 10 so I took the outside line, big radius turn holding my speed in 4 th gear.   Down the main straight I started out several car length ahead but that supercharged engine was catching me.   So I put myself down the line he'd always taken in the past and he caught me but couldn't get past me before the checker. 5 feet later but it was 5 feet too late. 
   Ask me about the Grand Bahama's with Sit Stirling Moss. 
 

my point is Vintage is real racing without contact.  

Tom1200
Tom1200 UltraDork
5/2/22 11:51 p.m.

In reply to Byrneon27 :

Having raced both vintage and SCCA both organizations state that not crashing is the main thing. Unfortunately SCCA isn't as good at enforcing this.

I'm glad Eric Prill brought it up as it's about time. Again the solution is simple, you need to enforce the rules and make it clear contact is not OK.

dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
5/3/22 8:01 a.m.

Sounds like spec Miata just in different cars.  

russelljones48
russelljones48 New Reader
5/3/22 8:52 a.m.

I'll take a slightly different perspective than most above..  My perspective is based mostly on what it takes to get on track; it takes $$$$ and time.  And all of our team members are somewhat or woefully short of both.  I missed the boat as a younger man and had no time or money for racing.  I'm now retired and have some of both - but our team members (my children and friends) can't afford to come home from either a track day or a race with major (or maybe even minor) repair bills requiring an unplanned expenditure of time and money to get back on the track.  As I suspect most of us do, we would like to be able get faster and race in a "better" series.  However, I'm appalled at the carnage I see in most televised series and it seems to be rolling downhill.  

In my opinion, if any sanctioning organization pretends to want to attract new racers, the cost and frustration of on track damage must be minimized.  When we have a spare million maybe we can try some door banging - until then we're only barely able to recover from self-inflicted wounds.  

Toyman!
Toyman! MegaDork
5/3/22 9:10 a.m.

Lemons is the death on metal to metal contact. Zero tolerance. Both cars are black flagged and parked. It doesn't matter who is at fault. Repeat offenders get parked longer or even get their wristband cut. It still happens, but everyone knows the consequences of being an idiot behind the wheel.

The last event I competed in at CMP had zero metal-to-metal incidents over 14 hours of track time. That's pretty amazing for a bunch of cheap cars that are beat up to start with and piloted by drivers who frequently get their racing license by paying the $50. 

Much like dealing with children, the SCCA needs to draw a line in the sand and when a driver crosses it, they need to be consistent in how it is handled. The drivers need to know where the line is and know the consequences of crossing it. Zero tolerance is a good place to start. Park a few cars for a few races or boot some drivers for the weekend and the bad drivers will either straighten up or leave. 

 

 

 

 

johndej
johndej Dork
5/3/22 9:38 a.m.

Lol, I pulled up some of the video from that VIR race and looks like quite the cluster. Also everyone gets to mouthing off later on the Facebook groups about it as well so can definitely see there's some open hostilities between drivers who state clearly they won't back down to certain others. Here's an especially bad example of driving from an earlier Sebring race.

 

Toyman!
Toyman! MegaDork
5/3/22 10:21 a.m.

In reply to johndej :

The guy in the orange car would have gotten his wristband cut by Lemons after the 2nd incident.

Edit to add: The SCCA's failure to discipline these drivers is what causes them to get the attitude of screw'em, I'm getting even.  

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy MegaDork
5/3/22 11:29 a.m.

That video is a great example of why people should be allowed to punch people post race.

APEowner
APEowner SuperDork
5/3/22 11:45 a.m.
dean1484 said:

Sounds like spec Miata just in different cars.  

SCCA has a Spec Miata class so the stats in the letter include Spec Miatas.  It might be interesting to see how their stats compare with the those in the other classes.

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 PowerDork
5/3/22 12:02 p.m.

I grew up in the circle track world and remember as a kid watching incidents on track being resolved in the pits. I know road racers are a different breed and it would be more like a Saturday Night Sissy Fight or a shouting match but as Mike Tyson said "Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face." Which might make the aggressive tactics on track simmer down a bit. 

This is a completely different take on things; but, one of the Air Force units I was stationed with used to let us knuckle draggers resolve our differences with boxing gloves and head gear. They were occasionally used but just the thought of that or being "smoked" by leadership was enough for most people to stay in line. 

ANYWAYS.....

This kind of stuff all comes down to the sanctioning body. They need to be better at enforcing rules, laying out punishments, and having zero tolerance. I love that WRL requires cameras and will review footage to deal out punishments for incidents. Champcar could be better but they still won't hesitate to throw someone out for crappy driving. Lemons seems to just have happy go lucky, "just going for a Sunday cruise" drivers that don't make questionable moves that put life and equipment in risk in my experience racing with them. 

Racers are the customers of the SCCA but it is still the SCCAs sandbox. They need to lay down the law and really put it to offenders . 

Berck
Berck Reader
5/3/22 12:31 p.m.

That video... I know it was bad, but I didn't know it was THAT bad.  I agree with others: if the SCCA wants to stop this sort of behavior, they should stop it.  We race hard in Vintage, and this doesn't happen.  Some vintage clubs (like CVAR) have a run group where they agree not to race hard so that they can take their expensive race cars out with minimal risk--but this is the exception in Vintage rather than the rule. 

None of that is to say that we don't have our share of incidents.  I've certainly made my share of mistakes; I'm learning from them and striving to be a better, safer driver.  My club had this happen back in 2020:

 

A red-flagged race with 4 damaged cars in 2 incidents in a single lap.  The drivers were all okay, but this resulted in a major reckoning with significant penalties.   As a result, the FF group had no issues last year.  And I'll note that while there were poor decisions made in this video, none of it was as egregious as the above Miata race.

It's not just the metal-to-metal incidents we take seriously.  In our club, you get a single spin/off-track incident per weekend, for free.  The second one in a weekend ends that race, and the third one in that weekend ends the weekend with you on probation for the next weekend.  If the SCCA wants to reduce their incident count then institute rules to prevent them, and enforce them.  I decided to race Formula Vee specifically because I didn't want to be part of Spec Pinata even though I'm a Miata guy.  If the SCCA has a reckoning, I suspect there'd also be a shift in who races with them.

racerfink
racerfink UltraDork
5/3/22 1:45 p.m.

The thing that hurts SCCA the most in this is, they entrust the volunteers of a region to handle all the discipline.  Many times, the Steward of the Meet is a racer himself, and friends with quite a few of the people he must oversee.  Without someone from National, like you have with Champ, Lemons, or a vintage org., what responsibility does a volunteer have to SCCA National to discipline his friend.  It's not like National will remove him.  In fact, if he wants to be continually voted in to positions, he gives preferential treatment to people for votes.  As a 31 year member of SCCA, I've seen this snowball to the point it's at now.

docwyte
docwyte PowerDork
5/3/22 3:22 p.m.

Was that orange miata the same car/driven by the same person every time?  Wow, I'd feel incredibly unsafe being out on track with someone like that.  There also seems to be no feeling of self preservation or worry about injuring a fellow racer. 

I've had zero interest in being involved in racing due to my perception of the amount of time/money and potential for car damage and seeing that really seals that for me. 

SCCA needs to get a handle on this and do it by banning people like that orange miata from being able to participate for multiple seasons and maybe for life.

APEowner
APEowner SuperDork
5/3/22 4:20 p.m.
Berck said:

That video... I know it was bad, but I didn't know it was THAT bad.  I agree with others: if the SCCA wants to stop this sort of behavior, they should stop it.  We race hard in Vintage, and this doesn't happen.  Some vintage clubs (like CVAR) have a run group where they agree not to race hard so that they can take their expensive race cars out with minimal risk--but this is the exception in Vintage rather than the rule. 

None of that is to say that we don't have our share of incidents.  I've certainly made my share of mistakes; I'm learning from them and striving to be a better, safer driver.  My club had this happen back in 2020:

 

A red-flagged race with 4 damaged cars in 2 incidents in a single lap.  The drivers were all okay, but this resulted in a major reckoning with significant penalties.   As a result, the FF group had no issues last year.  And I'll note that while there were poor decisions made in this video, none of it was as egregious as the above Miata race.

It's not just the metal-to-metal incidents we take seriously.  In our club, you get a single spin/off-track incident per weekend, for free.  The second one in a weekend ends that race, and the third one in that weekend ends the weekend with you on probation for the next weekend.  If the SCCA wants to reduce their incident count then institute rules to prevent them, and enforce them.  I decided to race Formula Vee specifically because I didn't want to be part of Spec Pinata even though I'm a Miata guy.  If the SCCA has a reckoning, I suspect there'd also be a shift in who races with them.

One of the reasons I run with RMVR (the club Berck is referring to) and not the SCCA is the emphasis that RMVR has on keeping your car under control and not running into each other. 

 

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
5/3/22 4:26 p.m.

In reply to johndej :

Holy berking E36 M3, oramge #46 needs to be pistol whipped. I saw at least 3 intentional wrecks by that car. What the actual berk?!?

Tom1200
Tom1200 UltraDork
5/3/22 4:37 p.m.
docwyte said:

I've had zero interest in being involved in racing due to my perception of the amount of time/money and potential for car damage and seeing that really seals that for me. 

I've been racing for 37 years, including bikes, and knock wood I haven't ever had to repair any crash damage.  I tend to use a mantra you may be familiar with "do no harm".  I'm an extremely aggressive driver but I still drive heads up.

If you choose where you race carefully the likelihood of your car being damaged is pretty low. Also the most likely person to cause the damage is you. 

Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter)
Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/3/22 4:46 p.m.

I think it's many things, and America is just behind the curve.  Europe, and the UK in particular, seem to have been dealing with this for 20 years now.  Club racing getting more and more aggressive with more on track incidents.  My belief is the following are the main root causes.

  1. Declining standards in professional racing, starting with Senna, and continued by Schumacher.  Those were two of the greatest natural talents the sport has ever seen, but they were both dirty, unsportsmanlike drivers on track.  For some reason their actions were tolerated by the FIA.  Young drivers watched them push people off the road left and right with no comeback, and figured that behaviors was acceptable, so did the same coming up through the ranks.
  2. Cars are so much safer, even sedans, than 20-30 years ago.  Heck, late last century there were several series that still allowed wheel to wheel racing with only a rear cage.  No HANS, weaker seats etc. etc.  The chances of serious injury or worse has declined meaning a gradual loss of self preservation.
  3. While racing on the whole has increased, I think a lot of the race for the experience people are heading for the various budget series (Lemons, Champ car), Others have found time trials, other are staying with track days.  All those are far more prevalent than 20 years ago.  This means that those who are still attracted to SCCA tend to be more 'hard core' racers where winning and being competitive is of greater importance.  This means people are trying harder.
  4. The divide between circle track and road racing has been blurred more.  30 years ago most people associated affordable racing with various circle track type events, where physical racing is more acceptable.  Second, there was more of a champagne set image for road racing.  I think with the popularization of track days, time trials, etc. more people have been exposed to road racing, so people who may have gone 1/2 mild dirt oval racing then, are more likely to go road racing today, bringing the physical aspect with it.  Remember the 'rubbin is racing' BS came from NASCAR, where small local dirt and asphalt ovals are the feeder series.  

As I say I can't prove this with facts and figures, but these are my beliefes based on decades of observation.

rob_lewis
rob_lewis UberDork
5/3/22 6:20 p.m.

I've only attended a small number of road races, so I have no insight into that side.  I've been to lots of kart races however. 

For the SCCA, how much of it has to do with money? 

In karting, you'll get the dad who sponsors an entire series.  Basically, funding all the track workers and stuff.  More often than not, that kid will seem to get a "pass" more than others.  Also, the drivers with money and an extra chassis (or several) in the trailer seem to worry less about breaking stuff.  And it all becomes a domino affect.  One does it and goes to the front with no penalty, so the others think they have to do it to win.  Very quickly, everyone thinks to compete/win you've got to be aggressive.  So, it's not just one driver doing it, but half the field.  Full disclosure, had to have a talk with my son and tell him to be more aggressive at nationals.  Only problem was unlearing that same mentality when coming back home to a local race.  It caused issues.  :(

-Rob

 

danteriyaki
danteriyaki
5/3/22 7:04 p.m.

In reply to johndej :

Holy E36 M3, I've seen Forza lobbies with less carnage than that.

Tom1200
Tom1200 UltraDork
5/3/22 7:18 p.m.

I've posted this before but I think it's appropriate for this topic.

I'm driving the red 1200 coupe directly in front of the camera car.  We are racing hard, in fact I'm aggressively squeezing other cars in spots yet we have no issue. You can race hard without banging into each other.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsApTh6m2Xw&t=306s

(note I don't know how to make the video post up directly).

 

Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter)
Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
5/3/22 7:23 p.m.

Wow. Senna, Schumacher, World Championships, money and sponsors?

I thought the guys in the Miatas were just racing for plaques and trophies. Somebody is actually going to stuff another driver into the wall to win a $10 trophy? But then again I have seen people on the freeway run other people off the road to get to work five minutes earlier, so I believe it. It's just sad.

DWNSHFT
DWNSHFT Dork
5/3/22 10:14 p.m.

The problem is a pattern of incidents, lots of them.  So it's bigger than just a few drivers.  I'll be the bad guy and say the problem is the officials.  My experience is that the officials are very reluctant to assign fault.  Far, far too often it is ruled a "racing incident."  No, most of the time, someone is AT FAULT and it is the officials' job to determine fault.  And they need to not be shy when someone is AT FAULT.  Stop trying to please everyone and stop trying to be nice to everyone.  When there is significant sheet metal damage NOBODY is going to be happy.  But the officials can at least ensure that the victims don't feel like they've been taken out with no consequences.  The officials have the job of making the hard decisions and the unpopular decisions.  The officials MUST have the guts to assign fault.

If the officials don't determine fault then three things happen.  1)  The officials harm their organization because the victim races with someone else.  2) The perpetrator gets to continue to make bad decisions and put others at risk of harm.  And 3) the other drivers see that crashing others is tolerated and will start making low-percentage passes because (it appears) that is how to win.

Want to kill a series?  Have wishy-washy officials make the ruling on contact.

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