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  1. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by patman View Post
    Disenfranchise me from the runoffs, though, and I'll likely never attend another scca event again.
    I am 100% on the same page. After 29 years of SCCA club racing, I will have to do some serious soul searching if/when the goal of the Runoffs is taken away. Where we differ is that my class (F600) has few other options.

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  3. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by patman View Post
    It is honestly unclear to me why anyone would race in scca who is not interested in the runoffs. In my experience, scca events are more expensive and involve more beaurocracy and bull**** than any other organization. If you're not in it for the high level competition, why not go somewhere else.
    Because there is no alternative?

    Quote Originally Posted by patman View Post
    I won't make it to the runoffs this year, nor did I last year, because my life is incredibly busy right now. But I will next year as long as there is still a class for me. And probably most years after that until I either win one or it becomes so expensive that I have no chance (quite a real possibility...)

    Disenfranchise me from the runoffs, though, and I'll likely never attend another scca event again.
    Quote Originally Posted by cory mcleod View Post
    I am 100% on the same page. After 29 years of SCCA club racing, I will have to do some serious soul searching if/when the goal of the Runoffs is taken away. Where we differ is that my class (F600) has few other options.
    So, just a guess, but you hated it when the runoffs came out west, right?
    99% of the members out west never go to the runoffs. It's just too expensive to travel across country.
    So, most of us race without even thinking about the runoffs.

    You might have an alternative to SCCA racing but we have very little. VARA, while a good vintage club has like 5 race weekends all year and there is no runoffs or championship event.

    So, my concern is not the runoffs but the Majors and Supertours - because most of us attend these in multiple regions.

    Under the current proposal we need to preserve the classes in the Majors/ST.

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  5. #83
    Senior Member rockbeau25's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patman View Post
    It is honestly unclear to me why anyone would race in scca who is not interested in the runoffs. In my experience, scca events are more expensive and involve more beaurocracy and bull**** than any other organization.
    Open wheel owners are far more limited in alternative options than you are with a P2. As badly as I would rather race with them, FRP is both cost and geographically prohibitive for myself and I'm sure a lot of other racers. Vintage has an even worse alphabet soup mess of run groups, offers less track time, and their entry fees are at least as expensive as SCCA.

    I am lucky that I have multiple tracks within "sleeping at home" distance, got an amazing deal on my car, and have a family and job that facilitate racing. If not for the perfect combination of all of those factors, I wouldn't be racing at all. You are absolutely right about all the bureaucracy and BS surrounding the SCCA, but for someone in my shoes, they still provide the best product for the time being.

    I am also lucky that the Runoffs are at one of my home tracks the next two years. If not for that, I am one of those racers that wants nothing more than to do my local Majors and Super Tours events with no thought of doing the Runoffs. We're the group that gets hurt the most if classes start getting eliminated just so we can have a more condensed Runoffs schedule. For example, if FC does not make the cut, and I am no longer able to do the June Sprints because FC isn't a Super Tour class, I would be livid.
    Van Diemen RF99 FC

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  7. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockbeau25 View Post
    For example, if FC does not make the cut, and I am no longer able to do the June Sprints because FC isn't a Super Tour class, I would be livid.
    I'm more interested in the Sprints than the runoffs.
    Hoping to make the trek over one of the next 4 years since my daughter just moved to Chicago.

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  9. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeerBudgetRacing View Post
    I'm more interested in the Sprints than the runoffs.
    Hoping to make the trek over one of the next 4 years since my daughter just moved to Chicago.
    Make it happen! We got 19 cars this year, and had a nice FC get together one of the evenings. Good, clean racing throughout the entire field.
    Van Diemen RF99 FC

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  11. #86
    Senior Member 924RACR's Avatar
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    Default Letter 36512 - Publish a Vision Statement

    Finally found time to submit my input... sharing here to help encourage others to submit their input.

    IMPORTANT!!! Remember the DEADLINE for input is July 15th!!!

    Letter 36512 - Publish a Vision Statement for Formula and Prototype Racing in SCCA

    I'm not gonna copy the whole text in here; it was 4 pages when I was done. But some key points:

    So why should SCCA even care about those other (under-subscribed) classes? This question is most significant for the Formula and Prototype classes. It goes back to my first point in class consolidation: you have competition, and any decision that gives drivers reason to leave and race with the competition is bad for SCCA. And with the Spec Miatae, the playing field is indeed level, full transparency, and it’s a trivial matter to bounce back and forth: a race entry now becomes a commodity and it’s a race to the bottom of the price scale.

    This is not the way to succeed and thrive, in any field; indeed, it’s hardly even a way to survive.

    How do you succeed and thrive, then, in such an environment? You provide a product that the competition CAN’T. Now is the importance and value of the Formula and Prototype classes clear? Outside of Vintage racing, there is no-where you can race cars like this as an amateur.

    Yet SCCA completely lacks any strategic plan for the Formula and Prototype classes. All you can come up with, it seems, is to say “make the numbers, or you’re out to pasture.”
    Furthermore, these Formula and Prototype classes fulfill a very special and key function within Club Racing. While not everyone can race a GT1 Corvette, a Formula Atlantic, or a P1 Ligier, seeing the incredible speed and noise these cars make on track, the thrilling races they provide, are a visceral and emotional draw of fresh faces to Club Racing, to be a part of that action.

    Few people every saw (not heard) a Spec Miata roll by and say “Wow, that’s amazing, I wanna do that!” We all know and accept that they make great racecars because they lack all the high cost and effort that would make them thrilling. But the Big Bore classes like FA, GT1, P1, by virtue of being so advanced, so fast, and so eye-catching, can be and are the aspirational classes of SCCA Club Racing.
    Therefore I challenge SCCA National to create and publish a Vision Statement on the Future of Open Wheel and Prototype Racing in SCCA, to secure a stable future for a key, unique component of both our history and our current Club Racing Portfolio. A Vision Statement is needed to show SCCA’s commitment to developing and expanding the Formula and Protoype classes, to keep them healthy, to show them as a viable alternative and growth path to the many drivers we currently have who are struggling to not drown in a massive ocean of like-minded competitors, and to keep them visible and vibrant as a beacon of exciting, emotive motorsports for the fresh new faces we need to attract and keep our sport alive.
    Right now so much of SCCA’s Club Racing looks to be a matter of trying to cram hundreds of pegs in the same square hole; why can’t we point out there’s many more options on the board with plenty of room for them?

    Do not fall into the easy trap of offering less for less and thinking that will earn you more market share; offer something the competition can’t, and you can charge any price you want.

    Keep Formula and Prototype racing a core value of SCCA Club Racing.
    Vaughan Scott
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  13. #87
    Senior Member John LaRue's Avatar
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    Vaughn, I could not agree with you more in that I think the formula, prototype, and GT1 classes are cool beans. I am "all in" personally on the formula cars and have been for many years. How do you suggest that SCCA provide the "product" that others can't? What can be done to improve the entries for these classes? What would your vision statement be for these classes?

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  15. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeerBudgetRacing View Post
    So, just a guess, but you hated it when the runoffs came out west, right?

    Under the current proposal we need to preserve the classes in the Majors/ST.
    Definitely agree that my class should be included in Majors/ST going forward!

    I had no problem with the two CA Runoffs. The club should do everything it can to serve all members, even if it means I miss the Runoffs a few times. I committed to the cost of getting over to Laguna Seca and back, and was very disappointed when I had to cancel due to the late schedule change for FF/F600.

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  17. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by cory mcleod View Post
    Definitely agree that my class should be included in Majors/ST going forward!

    I had no problem with the two CA Runoffs. The club should do everything it can to serve all members, even if it means I miss the Runoffs a few times. I committed to the cost of getting over to Laguna Seca and back, and was very disappointed when I had to cancel due to the late schedule change for FF/F600.
    That would have been a trek !

    These are the decisions we are faced with every year. I was planning on going to Sonoma and life got in the way.

    it's still an expensive proposition even when local !

  18. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by John LaRue View Post
    Vaughn, I could not agree with you more in that I think the formula, prototype, and GT1 classes are cool beans. I am "all in" personally on the formula cars and have been for many years. How do you suggest that SCCA provide the "product" that others can't? What can be done to improve the entries for these classes? What would your vision statement be for these classes?
    SCCA does some things very well. The Regs is one of them. They are well tested and cover racing nationwide.

    But - there in lies part of the problem. This is a geographically large country.
    We know that class participation is not uniform though out the country, but the club expects - and threatens elimination - when participation in the majors and runoffs isn't.

    The "planned changes" to improve the runoffs (a single annual event) - negatively affect and threaten with elimination drivers in 35+ events (Majors) throughout the country.

    This is a poor vision for all classes really - but especially low grid count classes.

    So, the goal of the "planned changes" is to reduce the length of the runoffs and the idea is to eliminate low participation classes thus keeping the high entry numbers filling the reduced number of time slots.
    Hopefully someone has done some analysis of when a class loses it's runoff slot how that's going to affect next years Majors and then the year after that.

    As I suggested in my letter (see post 56 in this thread), you can compress the time for the runoffs if reduce the number of participants and you do this by having 3 or 4 semifinals strategically throughout the country. Take the podiums from each of these to create your grid for the runoffs. Maybe 12 in each class. This also increases the number of venue options.

    This gives more opportunity for participation on the 'national stage' and the best of the best a bigger stage at the end.
    Example: I think SM is a great class, but when you have 100 entries and have to have a special race to see who gets the last spots in the 'real race' - that is sort of silly. Is there any race on TV in which participants 20-60 are events notes - except when being lapped? Using my suggestion there would be likely more cars in 3 events.

    As stated in my letter - threatening elimination keeps cars in garages.

    The club is going to have to accept that some classes have low participation but find a way to work with that.
    My suggestion - between the semi-finals and the finals - will increase participation at both the "semi-finals" and the Majors events.

    Side note: Sounds arrogant but most of the premier racing classes in the world are open wheel or prototype or GT1 level. The general public doesn't know anything about what's available in amateur racing. Maybe SCCA needs to run a few ads during an Indy race? IMSA race? My neighbor does roundy-rounds and they get TV coverage and event advertising.

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  20. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeerBudgetRacing View Post
    As I suggested in my letter (see post 56 in this thread), you can compress the time for the runoffs if reduce the number of participants and you do this by having 3 or 4 semifinals strategically throughout the country. Take the podiums from each of these to create your grid for the runoffs. Maybe 12 in each class. This also increases the number of venue options.

    This gives more opportunity for participation on the 'national stage' and the best of the best a bigger stage at the end.
    This makes too much sense for it ever to happen.
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  22. #92
    Senior Member John LaRue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeerBudgetRacing View Post
    SCCA does some things very well. The Regs is one of them. They are well tested and cover racing nationwide.

    But - there in lies part of the problem. This is a geographically large country.
    We know that class participation is not uniform though out the country, but the club expects - and threatens elimination - when participation in the majors and runoffs isn't.

    The "planned changes" to improve the runoffs (a single annual event) - negatively affect and threaten with elimination drivers in 35+ events (Majors) throughout the country.

    This is a poor vision for all classes really - but especially low grid count classes.

    So, the goal of the "planned changes" is to reduce the length of the runoffs and the idea is to eliminate low participation classes thus keeping the high entry numbers filling the reduced number of time slots.
    Hopefully someone has done some analysis of when a class loses it's runoff slot how that's going to affect next years Majors and then the year after that.

    As I suggested in my letter (see post 56 in this thread), you can compress the time for the runoffs if reduce the number of participants and you do this by having 3 or 4 semifinals strategically throughout the country. Take the podiums from each of these to create your grid for the runoffs. Maybe 12 in each class. This also increases the number of venue options.

    This gives more opportunity for participation on the 'national stage' and the best of the best a bigger stage at the end.
    Example: I think SM is a great class, but when you have 100 entries and have to have a special race to see who gets the last spots in the 'real race' - that is sort of silly. Is there any race on TV in which participants 20-60 are events notes - except when being lapped? Using my suggestion there would be likely more cars in 3 events.

    As stated in my letter - threatening elimination keeps cars in garages.

    The club is going to have to accept that some classes have low participation but find a way to work with that.
    My suggestion - between the semi-finals and the finals - will increase participation at both the "semi-finals" and the Majors events.

    Side note: Sounds arrogant but most of the premier racing classes in the world are open wheel or prototype or GT1 level. The general public doesn't know anything about what's available in amateur racing. Maybe SCCA needs to run a few ads during an Indy race? IMSA race? My neighbor does roundy-rounds and they get TV coverage and event advertising.
    I too like this idea. It is certainly recognized that class participation is not uniform throughout the country; nothing is easy! Keep the ideas coming - please submit them through the letter system for best visibility!

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  24. #93
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    John is doing more than any of us to support the small-bore formula classes in Topeka. Keep submitting.

    There was a time in the past that one had to finish in the top 5 of their division to get to go to the Runoffs. It too was somewhat unfair because in a division like SEDIV there were not that many FCs so a wanker like me could qualify; while meanwhile in CENDIV guys like LaRue, DaveW, Defer, Tomasi, were battling all season to earn a spot out of bigger fields.

    Then tracks got really expensive to rent and Denver/Topeka needed to increase car counts in an attempt to keep cost/entrant down. So, we moved to the era when if you could fog a mirror you were invited.

    Then society changed and a lot of working folks didn't want to spend 10 days to do one race. And, we added a few new formula classes. Mixed run groups became problematic.

    Meanwhile everything kept getting sort of more expensive. ( I know; open to debate when statistics get involved calculating incomes vs. costs.) So Topeka still needs large numbers of entrants to run the event. (100 SM entrants certainly help in that regard.)

    Quite a conundrum me thinks. But we know if garage queen FCs came out more John would have an easier task.

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  26. #94
    Senior Member 924RACR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John LaRue View Post
    Vaughan, I could not agree with you more in that I think the formula, prototype, and GT1 classes are cool beans. I am "all in" personally on the formula cars and have been for many years. How do you suggest that SCCA provide the "product" that others can't? What can be done to improve the entries for these classes? What would your vision statement be for these classes?
    I'll refrain from posting my ideas for a Vision Statement - because the SCCA National Office needs to generate this. Simply spoon-feeding them a convenient answer they have no stake in, and thus no commitment to, has no value IMO. You want to own the answer, you gotta write it - and the lack of ownership is at the root of the problem. SCCA doesn't know what to do with us, doesn't know why they make room for us on the schedule, doesn't even understand the reason we exist, and so has no reason to give us any different treatment than any other tin-top class when it comes to making the numbers.

    Without question, everyone on this forum understands why we should be treated differently, why we are not the same as all those tin-tops.

    National is happy to trot out the formula car classes when touting its history, names like Rahal, Lyn St. James, etc... and then thanks is to quietly get back to the back of the bus and mind our own business once the limelight shifts.

    How do we support the classes? As already touched on in the replies after yours - it's gotta happen at the start, at the Regionals, at the driver's schools etc. Entirely grassroots approach - with more support from National, MORE EXPOSURE!!!

    How do we expect to have more people coming in to our classes if they've never even seen an Atlantic or a P1 run? My local track is Waterford... but all we have these days is FC, CFC, F6 and the occasional rare FV. All running in the same group, since there's such poor turnout. We used to have two open-wheel groups and a co-driver group as well. Now everyone drives Miatae and thinks it's exciting. Or AS, which is for sure a bit more impressive, much louder, if not much faster...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Purple Frog View Post

    Then society changed and a lot of working folks didn't want to spend 10 days to do one race. And, we added a few new formula classes. Mixed run groups became problematic.
    ....
    Meanwhile everything kept getting sort of more expensive. ( I know; open to debate when statistics get involved calculating incomes vs. costs.) So Topeka still needs large numbers of entrants to run the event. (100 SM entrants certainly help in that regard.)
    What seems to be the theme is the idea SCCA just has to be better than other racing opportunities. Nope.

    SCCA is competing for a slice of the disposable income and time. It's not only competing with other racing its competing with vacation travel, kids sporting events and a million other things that consume our lives. As racers we want to race but it's not always so simple.

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  29. #96
    Senior Member John LaRue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 924RACR View Post
    I'll refrain from posting my ideas for a Vision Statement - because the SCCA National Office needs to generate this. Simply spoon-feeding them a convenient answer they have no stake in, and thus no commitment to, has no value IMO. You want to own the answer, you gotta write it - and the lack of ownership is at the root of the problem. SCCA doesn't know what to do with us, doesn't know why they make room for us on the schedule, doesn't even understand the reason we exist, and so has no reason to give us any different treatment than any other tin-top class when it comes to making the numbers.

    Without question, everyone on this forum understands why we should be treated differently, why we are not the same as all those tin-tops.

    National is happy to trot out the formula car classes when touting its history, names like Rahal, Lyn St. James, etc... and then thanks is to quietly get back to the back of the bus and mind our own business once the limelight shifts.

    How do we support the classes? As already touched on in the replies after yours - it's gotta happen at the start, at the Regionals, at the driver's schools etc. Entirely grassroots approach - with more support from National, MORE EXPOSURE!!!

    How do we expect to have more people coming in to our classes if they've never even seen an Atlantic or a P1 run? My local track is Waterford... but all we have these days is FC, CFC, F6 and the occasional rare FV. All running in the same group, since there's such poor turnout. We used to have two open-wheel groups and a co-driver group as well. Now everyone drives Miatae and thinks it's exciting. Or AS, which is for sure a bit more impressive, much louder, if not much faster...

    Vaughn,

    As Chairman of the CRB I am doing everything within my power to keep these exciting classes alive in SCCA in spite of the increasing pressure of others that are growing their participation numbers and creating pressure for valuable track time. And while I understand your concept of owning the idea(s), all of us have to participate, not only as racers, but also class advocates and promoters. If you have a good idea then put it out there, don't just bring a problem, bring a solution.

    If you have the opportunity take a look at B-Spec and the job that was done by Frank Schwartz and David Daughtery to resurrect that class when it was literally on the chopping block for elimination a few short years ago. They recruited the BS drivers to promote and sell the class; they didn't wait on the SCCA staff who are overworked to carry the water. Social media, phone calls, and clustering class participants in the paddock all were part of their program. It takes time (which I have little of) and effort. A few of us have been trying to emulate the BS success in FC and it has helped. I don't like it, but it is a reality; we have to self promote. Frank's presentation on how to grow a class was on the SCCA website as part of one of the conventions; I haven't looked for it lately but it is well worth the time to watch if you can find it. In that you are from the same area you may well know Frank and perhaps have already heard his teachings.

    Anyway, I am always open to any good ideas and thank you for taking the time and having the passion to support your class.

    John

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  31. #97
    Senior Member 924RACR's Avatar
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    Yes, indeed, we know Frank well and have raced together in the past - he's a great guy, and has contributed much.

    I don't disagree with what you're saying, and I appreciate that you are actively trying to keep us around. But I repeat, we need buy-in from a majority of the National Office, not just one or two devoted individuals, to move the needle.

    Why? Why does what they do matter more than what we do?

    Because that's where all these initiatives that will shut us down come from.

    Every time mandates come down from on high to dump CSR, DSR, and S2000 into one class, or FA and FB, etc etc. - just how can we fight against that? They do what they want, what they see fit for the future of Club Racing, and they have repeatedly shown they do not care about us.

    Vote in different people? Tried that too, it's not working either. I thought I had a good rep, he turned out to be the type to rubber-stamp FIA lights - which worked so well at the Sprints, LOL.

    So now we try a different tack.
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    IMHO, the relevance of the open wheel and sports racer classes in the SCCA dropped when they became irrelevant to "the ladder".

    Used to be a pro series had some trickle down, and events run with the pros had amateurs filling the fields.

    Now the pros like to control their series. Nobody who is paying a ****load of $$$ for their kid to be on the road to Indy wants to see him get tangled up with a local backmarker. Single chassis/single motor, all play into this.

    Until the "ladder" has some kind of pro to amateur trickle down and confluence, what is going on now will continue.

    Accepting the timed-out pro chassis into the amateur ranks where they don't actually meet the rules when the pros upgrade may add a few cars here and there, but it really isn't going to help appreciatively, and may convince some older cars to stay home.

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  34. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeerBudgetRacing View Post
    What seems to be the theme is the idea SCCA just has to be better than other racing opportunities. Nope.

    SCCA is competing for a slice of the disposable income and time. It's not only competing with other racing its competing with vacation travel, kids sporting events and a million other things that consume our lives. As racers we want to race but it's not always so simple.
    The competition for disposable income is one thing. Automotive competition has virtually exploded in the 21st Century. Back in the 20th Century - SCCA was one of the few places 'real people' could afford to go racing - SCCA and its various Regions had their pick of race dates that track owner were only too happy to give just to have income coming to the track. Those days are gone. SCCA is in competition with many other 'competitive' automotive organizations for race dates, a competition that runs up track rental exponentially.

    Many track are booked for over 300 of the 365 days in the year - and 'clubs' like Ferrari, Porsche and BMW have the financial where with all to get any date they want.

    When I started racing in SCCA in 1988 the entry fees for Regionals were less than $100. Now entry fees for some Majors are way too close to $1000 and the Runoff's is $1000 and more - for less track time than ever. Runoff's used to have FOUR days or qualifying Monday-Thursday and the Races Friday - Sunday. Now Monday is a 'Extra Cost' Testing day. Paddock Parking is now a fee affair.

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  36. #100
    Senior Member John LaRue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 924RACR View Post
    Yes, indeed, we know Frank well and have raced together in the past - he's a great guy, and has contributed much.

    I don't disagree with what you're saying, and I appreciate that you are actively trying to keep us around. But I repeat, we need buy-in from a majority of the National Office, not just one or two devoted individuals, to move the needle.

    Why? Why does what they do matter more than what we do?

    Because that's where all these initiatives that will shut us down come from. I can tell you that at no time have I personally seen any desire from the BoD, Staff, CRB, or others to shut any class down. The constant question is what can be done to help the turn out and improve the experience. I suppose that doesn't mean that hard decisions won't be made which some of us may not like, but there is no hidden agenda that I am aware of.

    Every time mandates come down from on high to dump CSR, DSR, and S2000 into one class, or FA and FB, etc etc. - just how can we fight against that? They do what they want, what they see fit for the future of Club Racing, and they have repeatedly shown they do not care about us

    Do we care enough about the club to come out and race on a regular basis or do we simply expect there to be a place to race when we get the itch to go? There are plenty of FA, FC, FF, P1 and P2 cars in existence ( I think) but where are they? We all get the same amount of track time for the same entry fee yet some classes show up and others do not. I don't have a good answer. I can point to the fact that for FF, FC, and FA some of the entries are split with FRP on the east coast, but what about the other classes and other areas? I took a quick glance at the entry totals of Majors and HST races through June Sprints and note that the new SMX class is third with 277 entries, SM has 570, and SRF3 has 638. P1, P2, FA, FC, FF, F6 and FV combined total 622 entries. Certainly these classes do not have the same population to begin with, but even as a percentage of existing cars, the turn out is low. If we are not showing up to participate then why should a place be maintained for us? Don't shoot me, I am playing the devils advocate here, but at some point they may not be able to afford to maintain our slot. As noted in another post, the track time has become too scarce and too expensive. I look at this no different than the local Walmart who no longer stocks my favorite beer because no one else was buying it. They have a limited amount of shelf space and if I am the only buyer it doesn't make sense for them to stock my brand. I can still get it, but now I have to go to a liquor store and pay a premium.

    Consider this, FA and GT1 both had their races cancelled at Runoffs last year because they didn't have enough entries, yet at June Sprints FA had 25 entries and GT1 had 14, both excellent turn outs by any standard. Obviously the Sprints is a product that these two classes will purchase; other races at other venues are much less popular. How should SCCA deal with that? Should they continue to include FA and GT1 in the Sprints and Runoffs when they are at Road America only? Perhaps. Is that fair to the other classes? The appetite/demand is different for each class and is also venue/geographically sensitive. Dealing with this for regional events is straightforward; trying to do this for a national program is far from it.

    It isn't an easy problem to solve and if you have ideas then put them on the table before decisions are made.


    Vote in different people? Tried that too, it's not working either. I thought I had a good rep, he turned out to be the type to rubber-stamp FIA lights - which worked so well at the Sprints, LOL.

    So now we try a different tack.
    Again Vaughn, I truly appreciate the time you are putting into thinking about these issues. Regards, John

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  38. #101
    Classifieds Super License BeerBudgetRacing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmi16 View Post
    The competition for disposable income is one thing. Automotive competition has virtually exploded in the 21st Century. Back in the 20th Century - SCCA was one of the few places 'real people' could afford to go racing - SCCA and its various Regions had their pick of race dates that track owner were only too happy to give just to have income coming to the track. Those days are gone. SCCA is in competition with many other 'competitive' automotive organizations for race dates, a competition that runs up track rental exponentially.

    Many track are booked for over 300 of the 365 days in the year - and 'clubs' like Ferrari, Porsche and BMW have the financial where with all to get any date they want.
    SCCA clubs can get good days/weekends.

    This is about getting more of cars back on track at those events.

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    Senior Member 924RACR's Avatar
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    It's not that I think there's a hidden agenda to shut down our classes - I'm not so naive or self-centered. I think it's just a matter of uncaring neglect, with no awareness of or interest why these classes do need some special consideration, above and beyond mere numbers.

    As to where the cars are... it's been seen and stated for many years and is being demonstrated again: there's a huge (and to me, inexplicable) pocket of extremely strong FA presence centered around the western Great Lakes, the Chi-Mil corridor. So of course they're always plentiful at the Sprints, and will be so if they're given a chance at the Runoffs.

    I don't pay close attention to all of the classes in question, but I can say that I see a LOT of new noise about old DSRs being brought back into action for P2, as evidenced by posts looking for help, resources, information etc in our discussion threads on Facebook. Yes, the cars have been around, and interest grows and numbers will return.

    But it's a slow process, fed by most importantly the publicity - showing good, clean, exciting racing - and a stable rules set that promotes exactly that.

    I do everything possible to push out my message with posts of pics and video on the socials, and I campaign aggressively to maintain a stable rules set. It works, DON'T F WITH IT!!

    We have been the lucky recipients of exactly that stable rules set for a few years now, and the results are starting to show. Slowly.

    But if National insists on the typically American immediate results this quarter outlook - as in business, it'll be more harmful than good, promoting only the basest, cheapest, lowest value result.

    In Prototype racing, we all have a very clear understanding that our cars are very special, complex, expensive and difficult to replace pieces of machinery - and we race with full knowledge and understanding of that fact. This means that, while we race hard and contact can happen, we tend to take very serious care to avoid it and race respectfully - because though the financial costs has different impacts on the lot of us, we all will suffer from the same loss of track time and competitiveness if we break our cars through careless or cavalier driving.

    Not so with Spec Pinata and the rental classes... and it shows on track. Is that what SCCA prefers to promote? The Verstappen/indoor-karting approach to taking and maintaining position?

    Again, Club Racing needs to have a higher-level understanding and commitment to its ideals and principles to secure a long-lasting future, instead of lurching from one manufacturer to another for the next free hand-out.

    That's the difference between Leadership and Management: set a course and define ways to progress along it, or just ride herd on a situation not of their making, punching time cards and editing spreadsheets along the way.

    Do we have Leadership in the National Office, or just a bunch of managers?
    Vaughan Scott
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  41. #103
    Senior Member mmi16's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeerBudgetRacing View Post
    SCCA clubs can get good days/weekends.

    This is about getting more of cars back on track at those events.
    They can and they pay for the privilege - what they pay ends up in the entry fee.

    Where track rental was once on the order $10K or less per day, I suspect track rental is near $50K a day. It takes a lot of high priced entries to cover the investment in track rental.

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    There is a catch 22 for the formula classes. It applies to all, but especially these days to FV. We saw our numbers in the NE soar when we got our own race group. Now if we only have 20 cars, we are disappointed. 35 entries at Lime Rock and probably over 30 at New Hampshire later this month. Put us back with other classes and watch that dive.

    Now we have to keep the numbers up. As long as we do - our own group. Actually FV, FF and F2000 used to have our own groups, but that was before Spec Racer and Spec Miata. There is only so much time in a day and race groups that can be run...

    In the NER region, the other groups are maxed out. What other regions need to do, is plan for a few races to say give FV their own group, and everyone, drivers, and the SCCA have to push that to make it a success. Then plan one for FF and send out invitations. Having a "featured" group throughout the year could prime the pump.

    ChrisZ

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    Quote Originally Posted by mmi16 View Post
    They can and they pay for the privilege - what they pay ends up in the entry fee.

    Where track rental was once on the order $10K or less per day, I suspect track rental is near $50K a day. It takes a lot of high priced entries to cover the investment in track rental.
    But the problem is not days available. It's getting drivers to show up to the races we already have.

    Are you saying it's simply the entry fees are too high?

    Are you going to the events at the cheap tracks? Are those full?

    I just looked up ButtonWillow. It's now $10k/day for the weekend. I think it was $7500 5 years ago.
    About 10 years ago Laguna Seca was $15k/day. Probably $25k now. But SCCA (SF) is holding 2 weekends there this month.

    What's key on getting entry fees lower is to get cars to the event. If the club could count on a larger attendance, the entry fees could be less.

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    A couple things to add:

    1) Yes it is easier for me to do different events, but that is a choice I made. I used to race an fc. I switched to P2 partly because I can run other events if I want. If P2 goes away and another similar class with home builder type rules that I can afford replaces it, I'll switch to that. Not that I want to; I love the AMAC and p2. But I see a lot of complaints about every little change, and a lot of attitude of 'give me a place to race my exact car the way it was 20 years ago' that I really disagree with. As much as we love our cars, we aren't married to them, and it's not about maintaining some exact spec of golden open wheel class. It's about fair competition and an honest challenge in cars we can afford to own and maintain and a certain level of speed and excitement. IMO the details are less important.

    2) That being said, I absolutely agree that we need a longer vision. I am already making plans for what needs to be done to my car for 2025 and even 26. Now I am uncertain whether I should invest the time and money to make it competitive within the current P2 rules if it is all going to maybe change soon. I think a bunch of the cars that don't race much are in this boat as well. These cars are highly prepared and take a considerable development process to be competitive. Many people are reticent to go through that if they feel they might be left behind. There must be a way to have a vision as Vaughan has said so that we can feel secure in our 5 year plan (or whatever). This one place where I think it is even more important for us than the pro series. It might take a club racer 5 years to get the car exactly the way he wants it. If the rules are slowly evolving that can still work, but the more long term we can plan the better.

    3) I feel that there are a lot of low hanging fruit that the club as a whole could be doing to help everyone collectively. I think one major one comes down to outreach. If we had better publicity and more effort to attract spectators or tv/online fans, it would bring in money at the gate, and other ways as well which might help offset costs, but more importantly it would give us another motivation to race, and it would bring more people into the sport, who might end up as racers or corner workers or just fans. Not only that but it would be a lot easier to find a little bit of sponsorship money if we could tell them that 1000 people watched the race (or 10,000) instead of basically nobody. I always ask around near the track I'm racing, and hardly anyone ever knows we are there, or anything about how many different and cool cars there are, open paddock,etc. Yes, we all invite a few people, but this is really something that needs addressed by the club as a whole. I think there is a real appetite for what we do, but people just don't know it even exists.

    4) If you haven't been to a Chin event, or a Champcar race, or a NASA race, you might want to go just to see what we are leaving on the table. For sure some of the big money, less friendly atmosphere at SCCA events is a consequence of the higher level of competition, but the lower stress, more customer friendly atmosphere is still nice, and the amount of green track time is pretty amazing, especially when they have much lower licensing requirements than we do. Perhaps there are lessons that could be learned. Heck, a real simple one I just noticed the other day: NASA has a thing on their website where you can pick a track and it shows all the events at that track. How simple is that but I still spend an hour trying to figure out which scca events are in my area about twice a year. Not a big deal but start adding up all those simple things and you make a big difference at the end.

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  48. #107
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    I have come to realize that after all of these years of racing and basically doing most things to support my habit, That enjoying the whole experience is what I should have worked for. Not just getting at this point a box full of cheap cheesy trophies.

    In my opinion, you can keep the existing classes and everything needs to fit within those parameters, or make adjustments to the newly added cars or go play somewhere else.

    That new rule concerning rain lights, that you could say was snuck in, my opinion, since the BOD doesn't notify affected classes. No more magazine and expecting me to go looking for what they are thinking about, is kinda stupid in this day with the ability to have drivers on email list by participation and easy to notify. The attitude I received from a board member has basically driven me away. The what is getting to expensive in my opinion, sure didn't help either.

    I am kinda hanging around but don't see any reason to play in this sand box any more.

    Ed

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  50. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Womer View Post
    No more magazine and expecting me to go looking for what they are thinking about, is kinda stupid in this day with the ability to have drivers on email list by participation and easy to notify.
    I can help with this - while we don't have the magazine and fastrack included in the middle like we used to - we do have ways to make that information easier to find.

    Each week you should get an email from "Kerrie Speed" for the weekly "Up to Speed" newsletter. When you open it, it looks like this:



    It has highlighted stories from the past week, but you don't have to read them if you don't want to. If you're looking for program news you can just scroll all the way to the bottom and you'll see a set of Icons:



    Each of those icons represents a program - the trophy is road racing. If one of those icons has a number by it - that's the number of Program Announcements that have been posted this week. If you click on your icon, it takes you to this page:



    And there you can see what you want to look at. In this case you can see the July GCR has been posted and the Fastrack as well.

    That "Up to Speed" newsletter comes each Tuesday at about 5:00 eastern. There are 52 regular editions and then a couple more "Special Editions" during Solo Nationals and Runoffs. I think it might be a total of 58 emails a year. We did this to cut down on the hundreds of "For immediate release" and results emails produced from every National Solo, Supertour, etc.

    If you don't get them, it means you've (probably) unsubscribed at some point. If that's the case we can get you back on, and personally I'm a fan of what we've done to utilize the digital communication channels to our members without flooding inboxes with tons of "cry wolf" emails, all while making sure each of you has a path to learning about updates, announcements, involvement, etc.

    EDIT: For me it sometimes gets placed in my "Promotions" folder. I "click and drag" it to my regular email and that lasts about 3 months before I have to repeat. If you have other email providers it might be in something similar, or it *might* to go Spam (though that's fairly rare). You can find it there and mark it not as spam and it should come to the normal folder.
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    Note to CRB:

    Stop scaring people away from events by requiring new hardware.

    Are there people NOT going to Majors because of requirements like Flagtronics?
    Until that is used at the regional level it's become an added expense to run Majors -> Runoffs....

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  53. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by racerjon1 View Post
    I can help with this - while we don't have the magazine and fastrack included in the middle like we used to - we do have ways to make that information easier to find.

    Each week you should get an email from "Kerrie Speed" for the weekly "Up to Speed" newsletter. When you open it, it looks like this:

    It has highlighted stories from the past week, but you don't have to read them if you don't want to. If you're looking for program news you can just scroll all the way to the bottom and you'll see a set of Icons:
    Thanks for the full post Jon

    I've seen a couple of things in the Kerrie Spreed emails but never realized how extensive they were. You guys are doing a good job with them.

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    Okay, I do get those emails from a so called Kerry Speed but I thought they were just promotional BS for trying to keep the kids entertained. Like I said the club/business keeps eliminating things but not providing alternatives or lower cost. I am not a computer person but I am guessing it wouldn't be to hard to base emailing lists by participating in classes at all levels. Stop making excuses and provide a real benefit, don't make me go looking for info.


    yes I know the cost of track rentals is pretty expensive and the rich players in the car specific groups that don't care what it cost them to get some thrills, most likely isn't helping. The chin group sure sounds like a much better bang for the dollar.

    You HAVE to keep in mind, I am the customer and have been for 47 years so without me and the others there will be no need for car clubs to hold events.

    Ed

    I am seriously think of selling my race car instead of just letting it sit there in the garage taking up space and getting a fun vehicle like a dune buggy that I have wanted since the 60's.

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    There is a persistent attitude from National that because so many of the cars that are participating at the highest level are prepared by prep shops, the entire program should cater to those customers and "accept that reality."

    Which is the most idiotic damn thing I've ever heard.

    That's how you shrink your market share. That's how you eliminate the entry ladder through less expensive regional racing.

    Not that the prep shops should be locked out, but they can AFFORD to make the effort to be a part of our world.

    The EFFORT by National needs to be made to continue to look after and nurture the low-budget beginning regional racer, because that's where the larger fields will come from.

    How do we promote the classes and spread participation? Well, not catering to the most expensive end of the field would seem like an obvious first step.

    Back when we were writing the rules for P1 and P2, we were fresh off the DSR days of Scott Tucker, and we were wisely counseled not to chase rich guys like him with the rule set; they come and go as their whims are suited, and indeed he was gone the next year.

    So why should the commercial model of Club Racing be built around those sources, instead of the backbone of regional racers working out of their garage next to their winter beaters, dreaming of the day they can afford to upgrade to an enclosed trailer and have their car show up to the track clean and dry?

    Of course, SCCA has always been willing to act like an utter prostitute for sources with money, and it would come as no surprise to see the prep shops only second in line to the manufacturers themselves when it comes to swinging around a big wallet...
    Vaughan Scott
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  57. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by 924RACR View Post
    Back when we were writing the rules for P1 and P2, we were fresh off the DSR days of Scott Tucker, and we were wisely counseled not to chase rich guys like him with the rule set; they come and go as their whims are suited, and indeed he was gone the next year...

    Well, he was in jail so....

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  59. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Womer View Post
    Okay, I do get those emails from a so called Kerry Speed but I thought they were just promotional BS for trying to keep the kids entertained. Like I said the club/business keeps eliminating things but not providing alternatives or lower cost. I am not a computer person but I am guessing it wouldn't be to hard to base emailing lists by participating in classes at all levels. Stop making excuses and provide a real benefit, don't make me go looking for info.

    ..
    Well, gee whiz. Just open Kerrie's email, and click on any links that look interesting or relevant. I know it seems difficult, but, with a little practice, it gets much easier.

    And, if you let go of your prejudices for a minute, you will see that, in many ways, today's electronic publication model has some major advantages over the paper one.

    For example, in olden times, in order to keep current on rules, you had to start with the printed GCR (current January 1), and interpolate each set of Fastrack changes month-by-month, in order to arrive at the current rules.

    Today, there is a fully up-to-date GCR published the first of every month.

    Take another look at the comprehensive post from racejon1 a few posts above. It's full of crunchy goodness.
    John Nesbitt
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    Okay John, good points, but do you realize how many emails I receive when I check them, usually every morning? Way to many and most are wanting me to do this or that and shinny keys look over here. I guess it is like many things in this digital age, lots of info but mostly useless and not worth bothering with.

    I do not go to the club website much since in my opinion, it is hard to use and even harder to navigate. I guess it is like when you do something and realize it isn't working right and instead of possibly replacing that procedure, you just add on and make everyone wonder thorough the maze and if you don't ask the right question you will never get an answer or the right one. There is an old saying in racing KISS, keep it simple stupid. Maybe the club could try that.

    Ed

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    Ed, I agree that the SCCA website really needs a useability update. (Why, oh why, does one have to login twice, once by username and once by member number, to access some materials? Has the Club's IT staff never heard of user profiles? And don't get me started about the search function.)


    That is why the post from Jon Krolewicz (racejon1) above is so valuable. It provides an excellent set of shortcuts to material of interest to racers.
    John Nesbitt
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Womer View Post
    but do you realize how many emails I receive when I check them, usually every morning?
    Ed

    Don't be shy about using the unsubscribe button. I hate when I get too many marketing emails. Send too many, you get the unsubscribe.

    I am down to only about 400-500 mostly business related emails a day now.

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  66. #118
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    I'm extremely late to the party, but I'll throw in my two cents anyways.

    The SCCA should consider themselves lucky NASA hasn't decide to poach the five or six best attended open wheel classes leaving the handful of poorly attended ones to be all but guaranteed getting cut. I believe they could do that with success if they ever wanted to. My intent is not to turn this into a pissing match between two organizations, but I firmly believe the grass is in fact greener over there and would be a breath of fresh air for folks.

    I'm also going to echo the idea that it's up to a class to grow its numbers, not the national office. B-Spec here in SCCA has done a wonderful job, as already noted. Spec3 in NASA is following a similar playbook and seeing very good growth year over year with no signs of it letting up. If you want your classes numbers to grow, it takes effort. Metaphorically speaking, just showing up, clocking in, and going home isn't enough.

    Not even going to touch on the discussion related to The Runoffs beyond saying it isn't in the cards for me and may not ever be because I would need to upend my whole life (finances, time off work, time away from other hobbies/commitments, etc.) as I know it to mold it around what is required to qualify for then participate at The Runoffs. And I know I'm certainly not the only one who is this boat.

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  68. #119
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arbitrary View Post
    I'm extremely late to the party, but I'll throw in my two cents anyways.

    The SCCA should consider themselves lucky NASA hasn't decide to poach the five or six best attended open wheel classes leaving the handful of poorly attended ones to be all but guaranteed getting cut. I believe they could do that with success if they ever wanted to. My intent is not to turn this into a pissing match between two organizations, but I firmly believe the grass is in fact greener over there and would be a breath of fresh air for folks.

    I'm also going to echo the idea that it's up to a class to grow its numbers, not the national office. B-Spec here in SCCA has done a wonderful job, as already noted. Spec3 in NASA is following a similar playbook and seeing very good growth year over year with no signs of it letting up. If you want your classes numbers to grow, it takes effort. Metaphorically speaking, just showing up, clocking in, and going home isn't enough.

    Not even going to touch on the discussion related to The Runoffs beyond saying it isn't in the cards for me and may not ever be because I would need to upend my whole life (finances, time off work, time away from other hobbies/commitments, etc.) as I know it to mold it around what is required to qualify for then participate at The Runoffs. And I know I'm certainly not the only one who is this boat.
    I agree with points 2 & 3, but the reason NASA has not poached "the best five or six open wheel classes" is two-fold:

    (a) Nationwide participation indicates there are maybe two classes worth poaching (FE2 and FV), not five or six.
    (b) Since FE2 and FV don't play well together, poaching them would require adding two race groups to any NASA weekend that is already TT and HPDE oriented. I don't know about other NASA regions, but here in the SouthEast they lump everything from Spec Miatas to GT-1 (and faster) cars into two run groups, and the HPDE/TT folks already complain about that. No way they'd add two more race groups to their typical weekend.

    Your example of the B-Spec community (Frank Schwartz, specifically) taking responsibility for increasing their numbers is spot on, however. Over the years the engine wars in F600, FF, and FC have shown the open-wheel community can't even agree among themselves, much less recruit new entries.

    But then WTF do I know? I was just a taxi-cab driver...
    Butch Kummer
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    NASA already tried open wheel. I don't even think they have the series anymore.

    I think the biggest crossover is Miata. Most Miatas I see have the a piece of tape over their NASA sticker when they run SCCA - because they run BOTH. So while they MAY steal a few cars here and there for a weekend, many SM racers run both.

    Why would any club want to steal poorly attended classes?


    This discussion is about improving attendance at events we already have.

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