RE Report – March 2014

March 7, 2014

RE’s Report on the SEDiv Annual Meeting

On January 18-19, the Southeast Division Annual Meeting was held at the Sea Palms in St. Simons, Georgia. Mark Senior and I attended several of the sessions and our reports are detailed below:

Tech Meeting, led by Fred Clark.

Fred discussed the tech tools available to all the Regions. They included a whistler for measuring compression ratio, including a new adapter for Mini Coopers; a special tool for measuring bore and stroke “in-situ”; an electronic meter for measuring roll bar thickness without drilling a hole; and a fuel tester. Fred noted that the best way to have these items shipped is via bus (Greyhound). On the subject of fuel testing, it was noted that NCR’s Chief of Tech, Buddy Matthews, is likely the only one still testing. Others take a sample at the track and send it off to be tested. It was noted that as soon as we come up with a system to test the fuel, folks come up with a way to beat it. Fred brought up the topic of “REM” coating of parts (transmission). It was agreed there was no way to detect it, so we should just allow coatings.

The biggest topic was how to deal with Chump/Lemons cars that want to race with us. The 2 major concerns were safety (both for the driver of the car and for other cars, due to parts falling off the cars) and the performance disparity, due to being allowed to run any kind of car in those series. There was also a minor concern regarding the appearance of the Chump/Lemons cars and the apparent inconsistency with the GCR, which requires cars to look good. The consensus seemed to be to let them run, provided they are safe, with the additional suggestion that we give them their own group. Mark suggested that, if we are to allow them to run, we should be sure to inform them as to what will be expected of them, so they can prepare for Tech and not end up being disappointed when they can’t pass tech.

Planning Committee/Class rules, with John Zucarrelli chair and Mark Senior on the committee.

There were no formal issues to vote on. It was noted that GT2 and GTA are now combined and consequently no $10 fee is required. The issue of the Honda Fit motor as an optional replacement for Club Ford was discussed and considered a non-issue for the time being, as no one was aware of anyone wanting to replace their classic engine with a new one and that replacement parts should be available for some time. The issue of allowing Chump/Lemon cars was brought up again with a similar conclusion as in the Tech meeting. It was noted that we should not finish the race day with the largest race group.  A full 50% of our Majors race entries are in 3 groups – SRF, SM, STL. We should not aggravate the largest group of customers by making them last every day. Also, it was noted that National had changed sanction rules so that only one sanction number per weekend was required. With fewer sanction fees, the Region saves money.

Some folks were overheard noting that the Barber track rent was $29k per day and Lime Rock $25k per day. This needs to be verified, as this may be the rate for the weekend. We’re not sure if that includes all the other fees, such as ambulances and tow trucks. Someone did math indicating that the average track rent in the Southeast was $43 per minute.

Alternate Driver School hosted by Mike Havlick and Mike Finn.

It was noted that Florida Region could not get enough students and were therefore losing money, so they appealed to National for other ways to get drivers licensed. The Alternate School was the solution. An approved instructor (or instructors) will meet with students at any track event, SCCA or other group, and work with them one-on-one to insure that they are familiar with SCCA rules, know how our races are conducted, and are capable of driving a race car to the instructor’s satisfaction. Note that a sanction number from National must be obtained, so that both the instructor and student are covered by SCCA insurance. Instructors must be approved by Mike Havlick or the SEDiv Chief Steward (for now). This is so they can be sure the students receive proper training. Following the school, the student will need 3 more weekends (not races) to obtain a competition license and only one race weekend (one or more races) per year to maintain their license. There is no more Regional or National license.

In summary, a driver may obtain a license through the following processes:  attend a single SCCA driver school, attend a single private school, complete an Alternate Driver School, or receive approval from the SEDiv licensing Administrator based on prior racing experience. Both the Alternate Driver School and prior racing options require, or at least are aided by, documented race results and letters of recommendation from SCCA racers. It was noted that none of the instructors at the meeting charged any fees for their student’s instruction. The students only had to pay the normal fees for the weekend event. For most options, the starting point is obtaining an SCCA membership and Novice Permit. The Alternative School would then require finding an approved instructor and an event that both can attend. It is assumed that any car that would meet the requirements of the particular event would be acceptable and it would not have to be an SCCA log book car. It was noted by most of those in attendance that SCCA needs to be more friendly and accommodating, if we hope to compete with NASA and the other sanctioning bodies. It was also noted that the demographics of our racers is changing with the average NASA racer only competing for less than 3 years, after which they move on to another sport, such as motocross, surfing, hang gliding, etc.

Open SARRC meeting.

The first topic was changing SARRC championship points to start at 25, with bonus points for the number of competitors beaten. This change was suggested by drivers in one part of the Region that could not compete with drivers in another because they won every event due to a lack of completion in their class. There was consensus that this made sense.

The next topic was the move of the SIC to Daytona this year. It was claimed that the change was primarily due to a conflict with the Runoffs. There were also drivers “beating on” Jim Creighton for a change. A number of folks were very concerned about being able to stay inside the track and Daytona’s “no camping on the infield” rules. Jim noted he was pursuing a resolution to this issue, but noted that staying in the garages overnight would never be permitted.

The next topic was the idea of alternating running the SIC at Roebling and other tracks (Roebling this year, another track next year, and then Roebling again). That way there would be some variety, but Roebling would remain the most often raced. Blair Stitt noted that NCR cannot get new dates at VIR, so we would have to host on an existing date such as the Goblins Go weekend, which would necessitate a different SIC date and Jim Creighton indicated that would be acceptable.

The next topic was bumping up the number of races to 8 that count towards the SARRC Championship. This did not receive a good response. It was noted that for 2014 it would only require one sanction fee for weekend no matter how many races or series are run. Insurance may still be separate. There was also discussion about the Alternate License Program, the change to only 1 weekend school, and prior race experience approved by the SEDiv license administrator.

SARRC said that their points system would be changed to match National’s points system. Also, other SARRC rules would shift to allow SECTS races and SARRC races to be run at the same time. A driver would specify at Registration which Series he would run, with no double dipping (i.e., Driver could not run both Series at the same time). At this point, I consulted Anna Chrisman, NCR’s Timing & Scoring Chief, and we determined that conducting both races at the same time would be no more complicated than the way we currently handle our SARRC/MARRS races. I then instructed Sharon Rollow, our SEDIV scheduler, to change Saturday’s SARRC/MARRS race to a SECTS race.

In regards to ECR, it was noted that ECR would “most likely” not be a paying race for 2015. That vote was taken later in a closed meeting, so this was not official at the time of this meeting. It was noted that participation is typically less when the ECR race is the last race on Sunday.

Race administration meeting.

There are new Club Racing stickers required for this year. NCR should probably order a bunch now as we will need to provide 2 for every car. We will also need a sticker on the back of cars if we run a SECS event to differentiate between Series. Changes in the GCR now include: all classes of cars for Regional races and requires us to specifically exclude those we don’t want; allows 3 digit numbers; and the sound limit at the Runoffs will be 101 decibels.

Rex Deffenbaugh
Regional Executive