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View Poll Results: Add Sportsman Rules?
I agree, SB needs to add rules for moving up from Sportsman 27 67.50%
I disagree, I like things the way they are. 3 7.50%
Good idea that needs further discussion 9 22.50%
Again with the Sportsman question!! Let it go... 1 2.50%
Voters: 40. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 03-18-2007
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To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

Some may think my motivation for this thread is the fact I will be racing in the Championship group this year, and that is true to some extent. I find the two categories are way out of balance. Look at the trend over the last few years, Sportsman groups have come to dominate every race weekend, to the point of strangling Champ to a single, low car count group. This is not how it was only a few years back.

I am not an old timer at SB yet (in experience that is) but I started when there was no Sportsman, everyone raced in one category. However, since there were 4 or 5 race groups, SB did a good job of grouping together drivers of similar skill levels so you would always (hopefully) have drivers to race with, it worked pretty well. Sure there were times I ended up lapping on my own, but those were the exception (and more motivation to improve).

Racing with Champ drivers offers opportunities you don’t get in Sportsman, namely observing the racecraft of drivers with superior skill, getting lead-follows of a sort in every session, every race. In trying to keep up with a faster driver once passed, you can observe their technique, brake points, lines through corners, turn in points, entry speed, etc. Believe me, following someone as experienced as Chris Willcox or Dick Lippert can offer a ton of "free lead follow" experience, your lap times definitely improve more quickly.

When I was in my first (and only) full season in 2002 I recall lamenting to Gerardo "I don’t have a chance against these guys, I’ll never see a podium, blah blah blah". Wrong, P3 at LRP that summer (thank you rain). If you are a Master, there is the possibility of a P1 trophy in every race, and I saw a couple of those that first year, it’s not as gloomy a prospect as some believe, as long as there are enough drivers in Champ.

This brings me to the point of this thread. Should SB add written rules defining when a driver must move up from Sportsman? Could be after a win or two or to my way of thinking, based on lap times. Your average lap time = X therefore it’s time to move up. The intention is positive, to improve driver skills more quickly and increase the number of Champ groups. With more groups and larger fields of more varied drivers, Champ would be less intimidating, more fun and offer closer racing. As it seems to be going, Champ is getting smaller, definitely not a good trend.

There are many sides to this that fog the issue. If one driver dominates his/her Sports category every race but wants to compete for that Championship, should that not be allowed? I say no, not if that driver completely outclasses the other Sports drivers. This question would not exist if there wasn’t a Sportsman Championship, only offer trophies, no points. You want to run a Championship season? Well, let’s see, where might that be? Maybe in the Championship Group?? That may not be realistic, but I believe some changes are necessary to keep the Champ group strong, get it back to the level it used to be.

and that’s all...
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Last edited by cdh; 03-19-2007 at 04:19 PM.
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  #2  
Old 03-18-2007
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

I think for the most part the drivers are in the correct groups. I race in the sportsman group, and don't feel like i'm being blown away by people who should be in the championship group.

However, I do think that last year there were a couple of drivers that were in sportsmand who should have been in championship mainly because they would consistently win by quite a large margin. If it was me I would move up just because I'd want the challenge. What's the point of winning if the group you are in is not as fast as you, and you have the opportunity to race faster drivers. Of course if yuo are blowing everyone in the championship group away, well then that's great!

I could see SB implementing something like if you race the full season then you are in the championship group, everyone else is in the sportsman group. Or if you win more than 4 races in sportsman in a year then you have to move up to championship.
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Old 03-18-2007
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

New Rules...

All racers named Chris Brassard, Nick Spencer, Harsha Sen and Luca Orlandi are hereby nominated for advancement to Champ group!

All those in favor say Aye!.... AYE!!!

All those opposed Nay!... nay

The aye's have it and those four drivers are now in Champ group...

As Murray Marden recently imparted :Welcome: to hell boys.

OK I'll be almost serious for a moment. I went back and forth on moving to Champ group until this most recent visit to Sebring where virtually all of the instructors hinted or outright demanded that I either move to Champ group or have the seldom advertised but always appreciated heart to heart with Terry Earwood on the craft and merits of sandbagging. :- )

Because I never run a full season I was concerned that the lack of seat time and speed would lead to frustrating races as a back-marker or mid-packer in Champ.

It remains to be seen what the real experience will be but I'm convinced it's time to move up. Running in the memorial at Sebring clarified why. In that race I started mid-pack and was under constant pressure both to keep up with the leaders and hold back guys like Gerardo Bonilla behind me. (It took him all the way to turn 10 of lap one to motor by. ) I immediately appreciated the difference in a tougher race environment. My mistakes didn't come back to me. In Sportsman I could make huge mistakes and still run people down and easily do well. In Champ group the racers are much stronger technically and make fewer mistakes. In that tough crowd I'm now the easy pickin's.
I didn't realize how little I was being challenged until I got taken out behind the shed and given a good whoopin' by those Memorial drivers. It was suddenly clear the only way to really get better would be running with the big dogs in Champ group.

What we need now are more half-fast racers like me to properly fill out the Champ group fields and continue the fun we've all been having at the front of the Sportsman field... If Doug Harrison wants to give me a lead follow I'm happy to take him up on it.

Come on Nick, Chris, Harsha and Luca... Boggity Boggity Boggity... Lets go racin' boys.

(PS) There are many other drivers who should be nominated, I chose these suspects because they've either been in Sportsman waaaayyy too long or have shown speed and talent that needs to be further challenged.
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  #4  
Old 03-18-2007
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

This is a tough issue. All new drivers improve with seat time, but at some point, we all plateau. If you are lucky, you plateau at the limits of the car, and can compete for wins at the championship level. If you are not so lucky (like yours truly), you peak out somewhat below that level. At the Sebring weekend that Pat Daly describes, I got down into the low 2:28s, which was at least a second faster than the best anyone in any of the sportman groups could do. And yet, my best finish in either championship race was a 6th or 7th; confronted with Ricky Taylor running off consistent 2:27.5s, and 4 or 5 others going almost as fast, the podium was solidly out of reach the entire weekend. As it has been in every other championship group race in which I've run.

I agree that you will learn faster in the championship group, but it is also true that some guys will move up from sportsman, and never see another podium as long as they live. Seems such folks should be able to enjoy winning a few races in sportsman before being cosigned indefinitely to mid-field hell in championship.

So, I would definitely agree, if you win a championship in sportsman, you should be forced to move up. Or maybe the 4 race win limit that Pat is suggesting makes sense. Beyond that, I'd be inclined to let people decide on their own when to be thrown to the wolves.

I actually like CDH's proposal that sportsman racers would get trophies, but would not run for a separate championship -- and would get lower points towards the overall championship than people who run in the champ group.
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  #5  
Old 03-19-2007
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

Quote:
Originally Posted by PT Cruiser
....but it is also true that some guys will move up from sportsman, and never see another podium as long as they live.
If new rules pushed a lot more people into Championship, the resulting increase in the number of Champ races would improve your odds for a podium. Hey, I drove like crap in 2002 (which is painfully obvious in an old race video of mine ) and I got a P3. Remember, anything can happen out there, never give up!!!

Thanks for your thoughts PT, good stuff (and BTW, you are quicker than me, but I look forward to some good racing with you this year)
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Old 03-19-2007
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

Great thread -should inspire lots of (emotional) debate, since there is no "right" answer and any changes to the current world will result in someone screaming...

My $0.02....(as a perpetual non-podium sportsman guy...), with some West Series bias
  1. If I recall right, every weekend this year (and last) has been one champ group and 2-3 sportsman groups.
  2. Our West champ group has a core group of fast guys - Tom Roberts, Tim Traver, Jeff Kaiser, the occasional Dom Bastien...however, we seem to always have some new superstar (Alex Rossi, Goring, etc) who runs away with it....and if Roberts can'd podium, what chance is there for us backmarkers?
  3. In the Sportman groups, I'm not sure how Randy Buck picks the groups, but they are pretty well balanced -some fast guys, some middle, some new/slow. I would say that on most weekends, you could compare one sportsman group against the other and they are pretty fair mixes....(I'm assuming that's the intent...)
  4. However, I often wonder if TO GET BETTER RACING - instead of a parade - we should group people by average times in qualifying - eg faster with faster, slower with slower.
  5. I recognize everyone does this for different reasons - some for a career, some for ego, some for trophies, some just for fun (i.e me). I know last year when Randy tried to juggle the groups, there was an outcry from the ego/trophy seeking crowd ("there are too many fast people in this group!"). I would go for the closer racing, myself.
  6. I agree that running with the fast guys is GREAT in terms of decreasing lap times and learning - IF I can keep up for long enough! (I'll run a champ group extra practice every now and then for additional education and humility).
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Old 03-19-2007
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

This isn't about abandoning Sportsman (although quite a few would welcome that) but about getting more drivers in Champ. to produce closer racing, larger fields and more of them.
You know that but I'm saying it again.

Big Al, all good points, #1, 2, 3 all solved with more drivers in Champ.
I like your #4 idea, could do it in each category, IF there are enough drivers in each category, see above....
for #5 - I race for;
  1. the fun
  2. Mr Chicken
  3. Mr Adrenaline
  4. the fun
#6 - yes, but with more varied drivers in Champ they wouldn't all run away from you

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlDelattre
  1. If I recall right, every weekend this year (and last) has been one champ group and 2-3 sportsman groups.
  2. Our West champ group has a core group of fast guys - Tom Roberts, Tim Traver, Jeff Kaiser, the occasional Dom Bastien...however, we seem to always have some new superstar (Alex Rossi, Goring, etc) who runs away with it....and if Roberts can'd podium, what chance is there for us backmarkers?
  3. In the Sportman groups, I'm not sure how Randy Buck picks the groups, but they are pretty well balanced -some fast guys, some middle, some new/slow. I would say that on most weekends, you could compare one sportsman group against the other and they are pretty fair mixes....(I'm assuming that's the intent...)
  4. However, I often wonder if TO GET BETTER RACING - instead of a parade - we should group people by average times in qualifying - eg faster with faster, slower with slower.
  5. I recognize everyone does this for different reasons - some for a career, some for ego, some for trophies, some just for fun (i.e me). I know last year when Randy tried to juggle the groups, there was an outcry from the ego/trophy seeking crowd ("there are too many fast people in this group!"). I would go for the closer racing, myself.
  6. I agree that running with the fast guys is GREAT in terms of decreasing lap times and learning - IF I can keep up for long enough! (I'll run a champ group extra practice every now and then for additional education and humility).
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Old 03-19-2007
TomBobN20 TomBobN20 is offline
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

I have to say I like Al's idea of grouping people by qualie times. Our Champ group is decreasing in size so it would be better, I think, to have a single, larger champ group and a couple of sportsman groups. I moved up from sprtmn after a single win as I wanted to learn from the "Big Guys" and also felt like there were fewer bizarre wrecks in the Champ series (though we have had a lot of bizarre wrecks in the Champ group this year). This is an interesting thread and opens up a great debate on how to run the series. It will be interesting to see the ideas that come up.
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  #9  
Old 03-20-2007
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

My intention is to move up to Champ after a full season last year in Sportsman.
  • I want to learn every weekend and get faster. Racing with the Champ guys seems like the best way to do this.
  • If you're not beating the fastest guys at the track, are you really "winning" in a Sportsman race?
  • I agree with Tom regarding the wrecks.
  • Champ guys don't seem to miss as many departure flights on Sunday afternoon.
There should be some mechanism to assure a full field for the Champ race. Someone smarter than me can decide how many cars makes up the optimum sized field. Here is an idea:
  • Build a full field of cars for the Champ race based on qualifying times. Goal for every driver each weekend would be to make the Champ race. No more declaring Champ v Sportsman at the beginning of the year.
  • Be sure that last place in the Champ race earns more points than first place in the 1st Sportsman race.
  • Scale the rest of the drivers on qualifying times as well and build the other races in the same fashion. Winner of the 2nd Sportsman race should not earn as many points as last place in the 1st Sportsman race.
Just my two cents.

If you don't want real competition, you can save alot of money and just run lapping days.

Kasey
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  #10  
Old 03-20-2007
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

Wow, some interesting and radical ideas there Kasey.

The notion that Champ Group would be earned each race weekend with practice and qualifying times is a pretty novel idea.

Based on the number of entrants per weekend Skippy could decide how many Champ groups there would be and lock off the fields at a specific number. (You could make Champ Group big enough to hold whatever percentage of the entire race weekend field was deemed to be deserivng of Champ status) Drivers would first earn their way into the faster group based on practice and qualifying time and then, as Kasey suggests, be rewarded with premium champ points. You wouldn't base the bump up or down on one fast flyer but on the aggregate of practice and qualifying laps.

It would create an interesting situation for drivers who were on the cusp because many would not know what group they were in until the end of qualifying.

Sporstman groups could also be determined in descending order of lap times, which kind of happens now anyway, with more discretion to mix and match where needed.

If you make the points system reward the better driver at every turn there isn't much room for argument and the competition is fair.

Love to hear some more thoughts on this one.
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Last edited by dalyduo; 03-22-2007 at 08:44 AM.
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Old 03-20-2007
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kasey
... Here is an idea:
  • Build a full field of cars for the Champ race based on qualifying times. Goal for every driver each weekend would be to make the Champ race. No more declaring Champ v Sportsman at the beginning of the year.
  • Be sure that last place in the Champ race earns more points than first place in the 1st Sportsman race.
  • Scale the rest of the drivers on qualifying times as well and build the other races in the same fashion. Winner of the 2nd Sportsman race should not earn as many points as last place in the 1st Sportsman race.
Just my two cents.

If you don't want real competition, you can save alot of money and just run lapping days. Kasey
Quote:
Originally Posted by dalyduo
...Wow, some interesting and radical ideas there Kasey....
Excellent idea Kasey, but not new. Sounds just like the qualifiy/heat race/consi/main-event system that takes place at hundreds of short track ovals around the country every Saturday night. Seems to have worked well for the oval track crowd.

I like your proposal, it would make qualifying a more exciting prospect. You would need some device or scheme to minimize the prospect of someone intentionally sandbagging to stay down in class. Of course in the oval track world that mechanism is money, the feature race pays more than the heats or consi, so there is an incentive. We live in the upside-down road course world where we PAY to race.
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Last edited by Rosso; 03-20-2007 at 03:45 PM.
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  #12  
Old 03-20-2007
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

There have been two major changes since the Champ/Sportsman concept was started in April 2004: First, there are proportionately many more sportsmen on any given race week-end today, about 75% or so versus 50% or so 3 years ago, largely because of SBRS’s ability to convert racing school graduates and simultaneous inability to retain more experienced drivers; [2] Sportsmen Drivers in 2004 were pretty close in skill level but none were of championship caliber; today you have many sportsmen drivers who are really championship drivers and then many very inexperienced drivers at the back.

So, to restore balance in the field, you need to create rules for the strong sportsmen drivers to move to championship pronto. My vote: [1] Eliminate Sportsman points table and Sportsman winner trophy so no one hangs around a whole season just to be the “Sportsman Champion”; [2] Automatically move to championship if your lap times are within, say, 2% of the top championship lap times [Example, Sebring. Top times of 2:27; if you are 2:30 or below, you go to championship] or if you have won [pick it] one, two or three races.

Using qualifying times would be a problem because track conditions could have a huge impact. A nightmare scenario would be neophyte sportsman group qualifying under sunny skies with everybody else qualifying in a rain storm.

Overall, I would say that Skip Barber is suffering from massive trophy inflation. I have won about 30 trophies; the only one I can look at with any sense of accomplishment and worth is the “Most Improved” [Unfortunately, it’s also the ugliest piece of pewter you’ve ever laid your eyes on]. The others are sportsmen and thanks-for-showing-up trophies.
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Old 03-20-2007
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

thank you dom for seeing it how it is.the trophy is worthless if you didnt suffer for it. you need to earn your way to the podium.

if you just want the bling save your money and buy a real nice one.
i think a really good one cost less than 4000$

as usual you are my favorite frenchman
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  #14  
Old 03-20-2007
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

Interesting ideas Kasey. If implemented, we'll all be thankful for computer sorting - else Nick, Kelly, Red Neck et al. would have their shoes off counting and calculating the fields.

The old formula worked well and we had people to race who were right for us. I expect the overweighting of Sportsman may be generating more revenue than the old formula. If that's management's conclusion, the only way to shift toward more Championship runners is for people to ask to race there. Filling the seats is important, whatever the series' name.

Moving up is scary, but worth while. There's more to learn from faster folk and the obverse is also true - there's less wrong learning to undo from running with folks who are doing very innovative lines, braking points, etc. Scariest race I've had in years was running from the back in Sportsman at Atlanta when I had to catch a plane. God love the fearless Sportsmen - and women.
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Old 03-20-2007
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

This is a great thread with many worthwhile points to consider. Before I offer my "Three Cents" let me offer this food for thought "DALY" ...

Daly Duo, who by the way only does a handful of races per year, was full 2-3 seconds faster than anyone in our group at Sebring. He obviously has been spending his budget on lapping days and coaching in private, only to sneak his warfare on us unsuspecting soon to be former sportsmen! If it weren't for his MDNF's he would have raced past the podium grabbing all of the damn trophies sportsman and champ group included! In fact someone saw him wearing spandex, tights and a cap and a mask....I hate to think about how fast he would be if he did the whole season...Nice job Pat. Really.
It is no wonder Pat was getting the push to the next level.

My season last year was filled with inconsistencies that got me to either 5th or 6th in the group. The level of competition was also extremely high in the top 10 spots or so. The two top finishers trounced the pack pretty much the entire season. Julia was so very consistent and permitted to stay in the group for lots of reasons I wont go into. Some made sense, some did not. TGJ aka King G was not so consistent at the beginning of the season but learned quickly and was well within champ group range in the second half. If she stayed in, he certainly deserved to stay down. Unfortunately that took most of the next tier, including yours truly out of contention.

Speaking for guys like me and other sportsman this last year that were named in DD's post I offer the following...none of us dominated any race, weekend or certainly the season at any given point in time. Yet a handful of others did. The facts are that there are 2 championships presently and some of us have had great fun competing against good friends of equal abilities and with others of greater and lesser abilities. I don't think any of us have been in it to sandbag, for trophies or to pump our chests up at any level. I am in if for the fun and camaraderie and we have had an amazing amount of it this last year. Winning or podiums at any level is fun when you don’t get there all the time.

If there is one thing I have learned in this series is that the instructional staff by and large are a good judge of what our individual capabilities are. I have questioned many of them over the last season as to where I should be relative to my skill level and by and large have been advised from all that I have been where I belong. Even at Sebring I was only qualifying 6-7th. Race conditions, MDNF's and other strokes of luck put me on the podium twice against some very competent competition. My time is coming sooner than later and I must admit I am not relishing the eventuality of being lapped consistently at LRP again. For this I offer the following ideas...

When we first classed groups out a couple of years ago we had 3 categories: Sportsman, Expert and Championship. Similar problems arose. By the end of season 1, the Expert group was largely Champ guys who didn’t want to compete against the Peter Ludwig and Dick Lippert level of racing craft. That became the largest group. At the end of last season there were many of us clamoring for an expert group again. Logistically we have been told it is hard to make it work in a weekend. We had a good 10-11 people in Sportsman that could have been in that group and take a couple of Champs down with us and voila, abilities are in the right groups.

I agree that if bunch people of equal qualifying times together each weekend we might produce closer racing of equal abilities. There must be some fair way to do this so that everyone knows what the rules are.

Lastly, and I know this post is reaching the level of way too long, (sorry), I think we should be careful to not take away any person's effort to enjoy themselves or in reaching for a championship at any level, as long as the person is truly not sandbagging. There are times when someone needs to move up from Sportsman mid-season regardless of the politics. When a person wins every race in the season at the Sportsman level we should question whether that is really fair to the general fare-paying racer trying to get better. At the same time what will we do with the Champ group racer who consistently dominates? Should we move them out of the series altogether? I submit that these issues are not as simple as they seem.

Ok that’s my $1.50 cents....
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Old 03-20-2007
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

Many many years ago I used to race catamarans. The deal was you decided where to race, You could put yourself in "A" Fleet, or "B" Fleet or "C" fleet. "A" was the best. There was a catch however. Once you won a race in "C" fleet you had to move up to "B" for the rest of that season and all of the next season. If you came in second two times you also had to move up. The same was true for "B" Fleet. Win once or second twice, it's up to "A" Fleet. The system worked very well! This gave everyone a chance to get on a podium as well as letting everyone race where they belonged.

The system Skippy uses isn't too bad except it's becoming what it used to be. Pretty soon each weekend will be 4 Sportsman groups. There were Sportsman racers last year turning 57 second laps at LRP. Why would I want to spend $4,000 to be 70 seconds behind these guys at the end of the race? Maybe it's time to institute a policy of moving drivers up based on their performance. Maybe it's time for Sportsman racers to stop earning Championship points. Let the Championship guys race for the season title and let the Sportsman guys race for the fun of it.


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Old 03-20-2007
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

It is interesting that this thread started at this point in time.
We are currently going through the rule book for this summer and we had a "meeting of the minds" last week at Sebring during the National opener (which was fantastic, I might add!) to discuss changes.
One of the topics, as it has been since the end of the 2004 summer season, was how to get more Sportsman drivers to move up to Championship.
To clarify, this new format was originally developed to make the weekends FUNNER for everyone as they would be racing people of equal/similar speed. We tried three divisions and as Chris pointed out it wasn't working.... It would have with enough people of the right speed. So we dropped the middle group and ended up with two. The two main problems that I see are 1) A driver starts in Sportsman and by mid season has developed the speed to be in the Champion group, but now they are in the hunt for the "Sportsman title" and they don't want to move up and miss getting the trophy (btw Dom, I will work on getting you something better looking!). 2) Some Sportsman drivers master certain tracks quicker than others, so at a "home" track they are Championship material, but at a less familar track they are more Sportsman orientated.
Doug's idea of removing the Sportsman title at the end of the season helps eliminate these and other problems.
So, here is how I am seeing it shape up:

1. One Championship, One winner at the end of the year.

2. Two Classes (Champ. and Sports.) with the same staggered point system that we currently have (Thanks Dom!).

3. Points from both groups are tallied together (overall points).

4. Based on certain criteria a driver could end up running in Champ or Sportsman on any given weekend. This could be based on fastest lap(s), average lap times, number of Sportsman wins, 110% of the fastest lap of the weekend, or a combination of all of them.

In regards to Big Al's comment of having the "fastest" Champ guys running in one group and the "slightly less fastest" guys running in a different Champ group, I would be hesitant to try. Doing this would be like fixing the horse race and would not keep the integrity of the series.

I seriously think Doug (and everyone else) is on to something with this. But time is the factor. If we (all of us) want to try this for the summer, we need to put it in to action almost immediately to be ready for VIR. I will keep my eye on this post for the next week or so.

Todd
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Old 03-21-2007
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

As one of the gang (along with Kelly, Kim, Nick Nick, Todd, Keith, etc..) that would be called upon to create the groups from scratch every weekend with the "use practice and qualifying times method," I am running away and hiding now.. (Just kidding! It's not a bad idea for the end result that would really make the groups competitive each weekend, it's just a lot of work with our current system and equipment..)

I, like Todd, really enjoyed reading all the ideas here! I'd like to add one thing to Todd's ideas and that is that while I agree that the Championship groups (or groups if some of some of these ideas help) should always be as equally competitive as possible for the quality of the ending results, if the Sportsman's races were to no longer have their own overall championship to effect THEY could have different grouping at times to make for even MORE fun racing!

At any given weekend, if there were enough new drivers to make up their own group we could do that. Since the differences in Dom's points structure is usually pretty fair between the two groups, running "experience/lap time" based Sportsman groups some weekends wouldn't have a huge effect on the top 20-30 drivers in the overall (and now possibly only) points.. (For those of you that weren't around in 2004, Dom spent what we believe to be HUNDREDS of hours helping to create the current points from our previous structure. Thanks again Dom!)

I'm also thinking that we need to collect all the pennies being thrown out here for the mechanic's fund! Make sure you write all these amounts down Sid (mine included)..

Randy
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Old 03-21-2007
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

Wonderful to have Todd and Randy communicating so thoughtfully - Todd after midnight and Randy at 3 AM, truly on the job at all hours! It's also obvious their responses reflect careful thinking across years of experience and the highest level of customer service.

Thanks very much.
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Old 03-21-2007
AlDelattre AlDelattre is offline
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

Quote:
Originally Posted by eleven
It is interesting that this thread started at this point in time.
We are currently going through the rule book for this summer and we had a "meeting of the minds" last week at Sebring during the National opener (which was fantastic, I might add!) to discuss changes.
One of the topics, as it has been since the end of the 2004 summer season, was how to get more Sportsman drivers to move up to Championship.
To clarify, this new format was originally developed to make the weekends FUNNER for everyone as they would be racing people of equal/similar speed. We tried three divisions and as Chris pointed out it wasn't working.... It would have with enough people of the right speed. So we dropped the middle group and ended up with two. The two main problems that I see are 1) A driver starts in Sportsman and by mid season has developed the speed to be in the Champion group, but now they are in the hunt for the "Sportsman title" and they don't want to move up and miss getting the trophy (btw Dom, I will work on getting you something better looking!). 2) Some Sportsman drivers master certain tracks quicker than others, so at a "home" track they are Championship material, but at a less familar track they are more Sportsman orientated.
Doug's idea of removing the Sportsman title at the end of the season helps eliminate these and other problems.
So, here is how I am seeing it shape up:

1. One Championship, One winner at the end of the year.

2. Two Classes (Champ. and Sports.) with the same staggered point system that we currently have (Thanks Dom!).

3. Points from both groups are tallied together (overall points).

4. Based on certain criteria a driver could end up running in Champ or Sportsman on any given weekend. This could be based on fastest lap(s), average lap times, number of Sportsman wins, 110% of the fastest lap of the weekend, or a combination of all of them.

In regards to Big Al's comment of having the "fastest" Champ guys running in one group and the "slightly less fastest" guys running in a different Champ group, I would be hesitant to try. Doing this would be like fixing the horse race and would not keep the integrity of the series.

I seriously think Doug (and everyone else) is on to something with this. But time is the factor. If we (all of us) want to try this for the summer, we need to put it in to action almost immediately to be ready for VIR. I will keep my eye on this post for the next week or so.

Todd
Greetings from Tokyo

Todd, either I mis-wrote or you mis-read - I was referring to looking at ALL the sportsman runners at a weekend and then breaking them into a faster/slower/tighter race grous -just based on "best' or "average" speeds. Let the champ group run as is....I would agree some of the ideas about when to move up, move down, stay up need to be assesed.

thanks
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Old 03-21-2007
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

When I used to ski race we had three groups, A,B, and C. You got moved up a group when you did really well in your group(it was too long ago to remember the exact details), but you never moved back to a slower group.
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Old 03-21-2007
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

Very interesting points made by Todd and Randy. Nice to see you guys chiming in here!

Here are some thoughts and concerns based on your posts:

1) My initial thought is that it would be unfortunate to give up the Sportsman run for their own championship as it gives a middle level to shoot for. For those that have no real prospects of being competitive in the Championship Group it is a long process to be competitive. We have had some great races and Finales in Sportsman the last few years between racers that worked hard to get there and were down to the last race of the season to determine final standings.

The issue of when it is time for someone to move up should not ruin the fun for everyone else that may not have to speed or skill level yet to be on a championship grouping.

2) While I love the close racing aspects of being grouped with people of equal abilities, if we go to one overall championship and we then group "Sportsman" by qualifying times all together, we will actually create situations where slower grouped drivers can accumulate more points than the drivers having to compete against the best of their grouping. We need to solve this.


3) I really think it would be great to bring an expert group back. Logistics aside...

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Old 03-21-2007
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

GREAT THREAD!! Some really good ideas here, and awesome to have Todd and Randy weighing in. I'm with those that see the need for changes in the system, and agree heartily with Todd's points 1, 2 and 3. As for 4, that needs some thought to avoid total confusion. What's important is that there be very clear criteria for whether one races in Sportsman or Champ (we're enough of a headache for the guys in the pits as it is, can you imagine us disagreeing about where we're supposed to race?).
Despite agreeing with Dom's perspective on trophy inflation, I think continuing to award trophies for Sportsman races is essential-- this is such a difficult sport for many of us that we need the encouragement of attainable triumphs to keep us in the game. However, we could probably do without the separate Sportsman "championship", since it can produce the unintended consequence of reluctance to move up just to get something that says "champion" on it. One overall championship-- and maybe awards recognizing the Sportsman driver(s) who has/have improved the most or been the most competitive.

As one of the people nominated by Pat for advancement to Champ: thanks, Pat, for the vote of confidence, but I'm with Chris here. Pat, at Sebring, you were running a full 2 seconds faster than my best lap ever. I have only in the last month or so had my skills and mental preparation advance to the point where I can run somewhere in the top 5 in Sportsman, at least for the majority of the race (not counting last lap goof-ups ). I am finally learning some racecraft after months of lapping by myself at the back (well occasionally Big Al would slip halfway through the race and I'd find him back with me pushing me around ). At Sebring, the gods smiled (or at least chuckled a little) and I finally managed to put it all together for a whole weekend. Believe me, I would love to move up soon (that would be the ego trip for me, to call myself a Championship group driver) but I think a lttle more experience at the pointy end of Sportsman is needed before I walk the gangplank into the shark tank. If I can win another Sportsman race, I think I'll be ready to move up, unless of course the powers-that-be say different.
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Old 03-21-2007
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

Todd:
If you decide that:
1. There will be no Sportsman trophy [nor Sportsman points table, just one overall points table], e.g., no incentive to stay in Sportsman;
2. The current points scale system is fair;
3. As per Randy, a variable champ/sportsman ranking system per race week-end is not really workable; you’d need something automated like the chess computer rating system to make it work. And even then, from the customer perspective, I think lots of people would have a problem being relegated or promoted back and forth one week-end to the next. You’d need to hire a bruised ego massage person and a whiplash therapist—not in the budget, Todd.
4. The methodology to promote someone to Championship must be easy to understand and must be perceived as fair and consistent

Then it just a matter of coming up with concepts.

I throw up for consideration the simplest one I can think of:

Take your last 6 [six] races going back 2 years and throw away your two worst results. If your average number points in your best four races is 27 or above, you have to move to championship.

You can fiddle a bit with the criteria [# of races, # of throw-aways, # of average points, etc]. But, check it out, it works.

This rule is only to force people to move to Championship from Sportsman.
Naturally, as before, at SBRS’s discretion any driver [say an Alex Rossi] could go to championship immediately.
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Old 03-21-2007
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

HERE is how i see it.i think everybody that shows up should be able to race with a group of his choosing. Wether that be 12 or 3 people. no group should be less than three for the simple reason that there would be i trophy left over in a group of two.

in the event that you are not able to show up for that weekend we will send the girls and the trophy to your house or place of business to make the presentation.

this would save money in the long run because we would need less cars at each race weekend. Less wear and tear on the equipment means money saved money saved means cheaper racing cheaper racing means more people can afford to race.more people racing means larger groups larger groups means OH HELL HERE WE GO AGAIN

THIS IN CASE YOU DONT SEE IT BUY NOW IS MY WAY OF SAYING

YOU RACE WHO EVER SHOWS UP. THERE ARE NO GROUPS WE ARE ALL THE SAME. YOU WORK YOUR WAY FROM THE BACK TO THE FRONT AND WHEN YOU FINALLY GET THERE IT MEANS SOMTHING.

OH! THAT IS HOW WE STARTED OVER 29 YEARS AGO AND IT WORKED FOR A LONG TIME

QUIT WHINEING AND GET ON RACING.ITS JUST PURE FUN

AND IF I OFFENDED ANYONE TO BAD
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Old 03-21-2007
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

DOM YOU ARE STILL MY FAVORITE
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Old 03-21-2007
TomBobN20 TomBobN20 is offline
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

Some great ideas coming in on this thread. First I would like to say it is great to see the Skippy guys back on Team Juicy. Considering the fact that this has been Verbotten in the past thanks to the corporate guys for opening TJ up to your staff.

I like the changes being considered between Champ and Sportsman groups. I do agree with Todd that there should only be 1 Champ group. I think it would be very strange to have 2 people in one weekend receiving first place points. It is inevitable that one will feel like his or her race was the tougher group and the other group did not deserve as many points. I also feel like there has to be a bit of discretion on the part of the instructors when a Sportsman is ready to move up. I think the ability to race in the Champ group should be considered before they are given the green light to insure that, not only are they fast, but that they are ready for the move without causing problems for the Champ group.

I excited to see these potential changes. I think they are good for everyone and will make the qualie and races much more exciting.
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Old 03-21-2007
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

Sid:
Now there's an idea. We can have everybody on the track at the same time. And have Randy set up an Australian pursuit race [he's the master at it.] If he plays his cards right, on the basic race week-end, we'll have 45 or so cars get to the finish line at the same time. You're happy, the Sportsman are happy, everybody's happy--except perhaps Aaron.
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Old 03-21-2007
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

YOU RACE WHO EVER SHOWS UP. THERE ARE NO GROUPS WE ARE ALL THE SAME. YOU WORK YOUR WAY FROM THE BACK TO THE FRONT AND WHEN YOU FINALLY GET THERE IT MEANS SOMTHING.

OH! THAT IS HOW WE STARTED OVER 29 YEARS AGO AND IT WORKED FOR A LONG TIME

Sid's right. The old formula worked well. And at the last weekend, the top 15 in points raced each other in one group and everyone else raced in the other groups - with trophies and points. They were defacto Sportsman groups and people who hadn't podiumed before ascended and stood tall and proud. I remember it well.
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Old 03-21-2007
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

[quote=TomBobN20]Some great ideas coming in on this thread. First I would like to say it is great to see the Skippy guys back on Team Juicy. Considering the fact that this has been Verbotten in the past thanks to the corporate guys for opening TJ up to your staff.

THERE HASN'T BEEN A PROSCRIPTION ON PARTICIPATION - AT LEAST SEVERAL STAFFERS HAVE JOINED IN WHEN THEY HAD THINGS TO SAY, PERHAPS GUARDEDLY.

I like the changes being considered between Champ and Sportsman groups. I do agree with Todd that there should only be 1 Champ group. I think it would be very strange to have 2 people in one weekend receiving first place points. It is inevitable that one will feel like his or her race was the tougher group and the other group did not deserve as many points.

DON'T REMEMBER THIS AS A PROBLEM WHEN ALL GROUPS HAD EQUAL SCORING AS IT EVENED OUT OVER THE SEASON.

I also feel like there has to be a bit of discretion on the part of the instructors when a Sportsman is ready to move up. I think the ability to race in the Champ group should be considered before they are given the green light to insure that, not only are they fast, but that they are ready for the move without causing problems for the Champ group.

NOW WE QUALIFY AND THAT ESTABLISHES A REASONABLE STARTING GRID. WITH THE PREVIOUS METHOD, SEASON POINTS DETERMINED THE STARTING GRID, WHICH ACTED LIKE QUALIFYING.
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Old 03-21-2007
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

Quote:
Originally Posted by badgersid
...in the event that you are not able to show up for that weekend we will send the girls and the trophy to your house or place of business to make the presentation.
This is the only thing that makes sense to me now. Forget the rules and the racing and the whining for more $ from our beloved Sidney. Send me the girls whether or not they are bearing trophies!
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Old 03-21-2007
rf360m rf360m is offline
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

A very important aspect for me, probably the most important, is having other drivers to race against. As I do this for fun, I don't really mind if I don't get a trophy or podium at the end of the day as long as I have a good fun race. Of course the trophy or podium is an extra bonus, but it's not the main focus.

Last year I did two race weekends, one at Watkins Glen and one at Mont Tremblant, both in Sportsman. I've race a lot at Watkins Glen and so was able to be up at the front. The first race was very exciting as I was running with several cars the entire time, eventually finishing fourth. The second race was fairly boring, because I lost touch of the two cars ahead and pulled away from the ones behind. So even though I finihsed third it wasn't that much fun.

As I had never been to MT before, I was running mid pack, but had a fantastically fun race. I was getting quicker every lap, and had other cars to race against almost every lap. I think I finished around 7th or 8th, but it was fun!

So whatever ends up happening I think the most important part of the groups is to have drivers who are approximately of the same speed in the same group.
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Old 03-21-2007
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

Great thread.

What about having different rules for the different groups. We can all assume that the Champ. drivers have more experience.... What about incorporating some of the national rules to make the racing better and more competitive for that group.
ie. No penalties for light contact and/or off track excursions.

I believe that the champ group should be as close to as full a field possible. It's not fair to the Champs that they sometimes have 8 cars in a race when there are enough drivers to fill 2-3 sportsman groups. If there is no "Sportsman Championship" and each sportsman race is for trophies only, then certainly more people will step up. Let the sportsman compete for the opportunity to race with the championship group in there qualifying.

I have been racing w/ SB for close to 2 seasons (over several years) and have one (1) trophy to show for it. I'm happy to say that I earned it.

I questioned where I should go at the beginning of this season. The SB Staff said that I could go either way. One of the instructors said more specifically "you'll win trophies in sportsman, but if you want to get better as a driver go to Champ". After close to a full season (and no podiums) I am confident that I made the right choice with the Champ group b/c I learned a lot more running w/ the faster drivers. I came to SB to learn how to become a better driver.

With that said, it should be fun and competitive for everyone at every level. There should be trophies and awards for Sportsmen but no "championship" points.

Just my two cents.
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Old 03-22-2007
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

"So whatever ends up happening I think the most important part of the groups is to have drivers who are approximately of the same speed in the same group."

I sooooo agree! Todd

That is the thing with the old system. It worked very well. We can/could go back to that format. Problem with it is that in any given race you only had 2 or 3 other guys running your speed so that was the most you would have in a pack and the only time that those running at the back of the pack had a chance at a podium and a tropy was the finale at the end of the season.

Now a days we see much bigger packs and more, closer, fun racing! (I think).

Might also be a regional thing. In the East and South this last year (or so) we have had more than 10 Championship drivers (for the whole season). In the West and MidWest, it has been less than that.

Points, no points. It seems that the one decision we all can not come to is: When/what determines a Sportsman driver to move up. Wins? Seems to have the most popularity. But, what if that happens after five or six weekends and the individual is in the hunt for the Sportsman title? Do you take it away from him and move him up to Championship? No. that is why Doug's idea makes sense.

The other good news, is that you can count on two things..... Dom being anaylitical and looking at it by numbers! (which I was counting on!) and Sid looking at if from what is in it for him! (which I was counting on as well!)

Todd
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  #35  
Old 03-22-2007
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

As Doug suggested, lap times are key. Indeed, the original A [Championship], B [Expert and C [Sportsman] scale was derived from 2 years' history of lap times.
IMHO, the issue is how you translate these lap times in a transparent, consistent, easy to understand rule?
Hence, my suggestion of points, eventually lap times lead to points.
But, if one wants to go strictly by lap times, no problem. Use for a defined sample of races [last 6, last 8, whatever] the percent of lap time versus championship front runners. Personally, I track every race I do and I measure myself only by my percent versus winner in qualifying and race fast lap [speed] and percent for the whole race for consistency [disregard fc yellow]. If I finish 8th within .4% of Craig Duerson on race time, I am happy. If I finish 3rd, within 2.6%, it must have been one of those thanks-for-showing-up days.
I am a mid-pack championship driver and my times have been on average within 1.7% of the top guy.
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  #36  
Old 03-22-2007
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

My .02,

I am a new racer. As such, I might have a slightly different point of view.

It's easy for you veterans with trophies all over the wall to suggest eliminating trophies for the sportsman group. You have your trophies, Your checkered flags, your moments of glory.

Us new guys, we want our trophies also. We want to come home after a race weekend and make our friends believe we're the fastest guy out there. Little do they know what a four second diffence means between champ and sport.

Some of us may never be as fast as the kids coming from Karts or as fast as the drivers who are very experienced or spend thousands and thousands on computer cars, lead follows, coaching, extra lapping, etc. So does that mean that we don't count? That we should not have the opportunity as a hobbyist to relish in a podium position? -- If this was PRO racing, I would agree. Everyone is equal. But we are all just trying to have fun out there.

But you are going to push away new drivers if they don't feel there is any real possibility of a podium/trophy. I could spend a lot less money on a track weekend with a drivers ed if all I'm doing is fast lapping.

My point is, SBRS needs to award the new guys as well. Otherwise, we just won't come. If I have lost the race before I have even strapped in, then there is no point in showing up.

Now, what grinds my gears, are the guys racing in sportsman that should be in champ. You know, the guys that are running 2 sec. a lap behind the fastest guy in champ.

So here is what I propose.
1) Sportsman get trophies for races, but have no championship standing.
2) Any sportsman that podium's 3 times: P1, P2 or P3 has to move up.
3) Maybe there can be two diffent levels of champ, Rookie and Veteran. This way the new champ guys are also fighting for some sort of win further promoting people in Sportsman to move up.

Again, what's best for racing is not always what's best for Skip Barber's business. If we want to increase the amount of drivers, lets continue to allow people to earn some reward at various stages of their progression.

But that's just my opinion.
B
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  #37  
Old 03-23-2007
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

Thanks for all the participation.....

I agree and have said all along, def award trophies in Sportsman, rookie of race, etc. And if the Sportsman Championship is dropped, make special recognition of the best Sportsman drivers at the banquet, as LRR suggested.
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  #38  
Old 03-23-2007
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

I doubt anyone here wants to take away the Sportsman pleasures of podium finishes and wins. Unless I'm misreading things none of the proposals have seriously suggest this. The suggestions have been to remove or modify the championship points system in Sportsman. You'd have the same number of trophies awarded at each race but without gathering points for a championship. This would encourage people to move up as they gained experience and speed while still rewarding newbies and part timers with those first time wins and podium finishes that, as you rightfully acknowledge, are meaningful signs of progress when you're starting out.
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  #39  
Old 03-23-2007
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

B-Line makes some good points. Balancing Championship and Sportsman is intended to provide more real rewards for everyone - steepening the learning curve for those who are ready but relunctant to leave Sportsman, thereby letting those in Sportsman have a better shot at podiums.

I expect Dom is right about using % of Championship lap times to decide when to move people up. Wouldn't do it within a weekend, or the first weekend someone "qualifies" for Championship, but after the second weekend, up they go. Sandbaggers won't succeed - too hard to do and shaming works!
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Old 03-23-2007
rf360m rf360m is offline
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

I agree that having podiums and trophies for sportsman is still important. But they don't have to have their own championship. Most people don't do the entire season in sportsman, so the people who end up winning the sportsman championship are those who have just done every race.

It was mentioned above that you should move up if you podium three times. I think that would be a mistake as you could be someone who is quick, at some tracks and not at others, and therefore get three podiums at your quick tracks, but be mid field at the others. If you went to championship you'd be blown away. I believe the best way to make someone move up would be if they won 4 races in a season then they move up. I'd also put anyone who was doing a full season in the championship group, leaving sportsman for the races who just race every so often.
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  #41  
Old 03-25-2007
Andrew Andrew is offline
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

Having a sportsman and champion groups just confuses the issue.
The problem is grouping the drivers such that some parity is achieved throughout several groups.
I agree with Sid (Suprise!) that you race against whoever shows up.
It's difficult to have parity among the different groups, each driving under changing conditions.

I think something like the following can be developed to serve that purpose. It will require some iteration to mature.
At the beginning of each session, while the drivers are getting in their cars, the test drivers set a lap time as a bench mark for that group. Each drivers fastest lap run in the race is then compared to the bench mark and the ratio computed.
That ratio becomes that driver's 'ranking' for placement in the subsequent race week-end in which he/she registers.

The rankings are used to assign the drivers to the groups according
to the number of groups to be run, i.e. for five groups, the first five drivers in the ranking are assigned, one each to one of the five groups, followed by the next five in the ranking and so on.

This will allow some parity in each group with a mix of fast drivers who can compete with each other, although in different groups, while at the same time allow slower drivers to have someone in their group to race with. It also affords the 'next' slowest driver to key off a slightly faster driver in order to learn from him.

The process will be repeated each race week-end and the ranking re-computed. The only time the rankings wouldn't change would be if the track conditions change dramatically between the pace setter's hot lap and the actual race, such as a sudden downpour.

If you seriously want to compete up front, you'll need to do what ever is necessary,(lose weight, buy more seat time, lead follow, computer car etc.) If you're just in it for the fun ( as most of us are)
you can still enjoy yoursef, perhaps even more, as the grouping should be better balanced with some drivers around you with speeds close to your own.

The trophys won will have more meaning and the points standing at the end of the season with better reflect how you're doing overall.
If you only run a partial season, well, you're just in it for the fun anyway, right?

The different regional series, when combined, can be grouped separately, or scored separately (a race within a race) to permit larger groups.
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  #42  
Old 03-25-2007
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PT Cruiser PT Cruiser is offline
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew
I think something like the following can be developed to serve that purpose. It will require some iteration to mature.

At the beginning of each session, while the drivers are getting in their cars, the test drivers set a lap time as a bench mark for that group. Each drivers fastest lap run in the race is then compared to the bench mark and the ratio computed.
That ratio becomes that driver's 'ranking' for placement in the subsequent race week-end in which he/she registers.

The rankings are used to assign the drivers to the groups according
to the number of groups to be run, i.e. for five groups, the first five drivers in the ranking are assigned, one each to one of the five groups, followed by the next five in the ranking and so on.

This will allow some parity in each group with a mix of fast drivers who can compete with each other, although in different groups, while at the same time allow slower drivers to have someone in their group to race with. It also affords the 'next' slowest driver to key off a slightly faster driver in order to learn from him.

The process will be repeated each race week-end and the ranking re-computed.
As John Greist pointed out earlier in this thread, this is almost exactly the system that SBRS used from the inception of the series in the mid '70s up until 2002 or 2003, when the Championship/Sportman concept was introduced. The only departure from the above proposal is that after the first race weekend of the season, average finishes in the earlier races in that season, rather than average lap times, were used to rank the drivers. This achieved exactly the same effect as Andrew's proposal, but was easier to administer. For the last race weekend of the season, drivers with a chance of winning the championship were finally placed in a single group to slug it out, making room for some mid-field drivers to have their day in the sun in the other groups (this is how I won my first two races).

The old arrangements had some pros and some cons. On the positive side, it resulted, I think, in podium trophies getting distributed among a larger group of championship group caliber drivers. Since the top ten drivers were distributed evenly across the five separate groups, all ten of them were likely to get a 1st or a 2nd place, and an additional ten third place trophies were up for grabs in any given weekend among what nowdays would be mid-field championship drivers. With the current format, the same four or five championship guys take home ALL the hardware all year long. . . . and then get the big trophies at the year end banquet as well.

On the downside, the trophey opportunities for new drivers were less available than they are today with the sportsman group. In your first year or two of racing, unless you were exceptionally talented, you could really only expect a shot at the podium on the last weekend of the year, where ALL of the fast guys were placed in a single group to decide the championship. The other downside, and I think this is what motivated Todd to move to the Championship/Sportsman format, is that by distributing all the fast, medium, and slower drivers equally among the groups, the number of drivers at a given skill level in any one group was too small, with the result that just as likely as not, you ended up being dropped by the people in front of you, dropping the folks behind you, and running by yourself for much of the race.

Which all goes to say that there is no perfect system for running the race series --each one has its benefits and its problems. I myself can't really decide which system I like better. As a Championship midfield runner, the new system has dramatically reduced the number of 2nd and 3rd place trophies I see in a season. And it does get annoying to drive what I think is a very solid race (only 10 seconds behind Ricky Taylor after 30 minutes of racing at Sebring this February, for example) only to have to go back and tell my friends at work that I finished that race 8th out of 15 --to the unitiated, it sounds like I stink. On the other hand, running in a field with 15 other top notch drivers, where any mistake instantly costs you 3 places, has definitely made me a better driver, and that's why I'm at Skip Barber in the first place. And Sid is right . . . . . IF I ever do manage to make it to the podium in a 15 car championship group, the trophy will mean a good bit more to me than the boatload of 2nd and 3rd place trophies I picked up in the '90s, before the format changed.
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  #43  
Old 03-26-2007
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eleven eleven is offline
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

It seems that there is consensus to try this.
Below is my first draft at putting it in the rulebook. Red denotes changes. My expert mathmatician and Excel wizard, Dom, is going to create a file for us to easily plug someone in to do the computations.
Thoughts?
Todd


5. RACE SERIES PROCEDURES, POINTS AND AWARDSfficeffice" />

5.1 Regional Designation

A driver must declare which Regional Championship he/she wishes to contend PRIOR to their first race weekend. A completed Regional and Class Designation form must be on file with the Race Series Administrator prior to the first race weekend.

5.2 Race Groups

5.2.1 Class Types
There are two class types, Championship and Sportsman. While both classes will race separately, they will both score points for the overall points standings and the Championship. Sportsman drivers will be moved up to the Championship class if their lap time is within 3% of the fastest practice time, if their median lap time from their last 6 races is within 3% of the median fastest lap time and/or at the discretion of the Race Series Managing Staff.
All drivers must declare which class they wish to compete in PRIOR to their first race weekend. Race Series Managing Staff reserves the right to change a driver’s class based on skill level, experience, and the judgment of Race Series’ staff. All New Drivers will be placed in the Sportsman class at their first race weekend.

5.2.2 Championship
Championship Drivers may not switch groups after the halfway mark of the season.


Points shall be awarded to drivers based upon their finishing position as follows:


Championship
Sportsman
1st
65 points
21 points
2nd
50
18
3rd
40
16
4th
36
14
5th
33
12
6th
30
10
7th
27
9
8th
24
8
9th
21
7
10th
18
6
11th
15
5
12th
12
4
13th
10
3
14th
8
2
15th
6
1




5.10 Regional Prizes

Trophies for the top 15 in the overall point standings, top 5 in the Masters Division, top finishing position in the Grand Masters Division and highest finishing Sportsman in the overall points standing will be awarded at the season-end banquet. Best finishes break ties. Awards from sponsors, “Rookie-of-the-Year” and “Most Improved Driver”, may also be presented. To qualify for the “Rookie-of-the-Year” award, a driver may not have completed more than three Race Weekends prior to the start of their rookie season. “Rookie-of-the-Year” and “Most Improved” winners will receive Skip Barber race credit to be used towards any approved activity or merchandise.
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  #44  
Old 03-26-2007
B-Line B-Line is offline
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

I think we are hearing some very common concerns about the format of Skip Barber Racing.
But I would like to add, I really don't think the Point of View of many sportsman drivers are being considered in this thread.
It would seem that TJR has a much more vocal CHAMPIONSHIP group as the Sportsman group don't spend as much time lurking the board.

So I just want to add, that before anyone goes to admin. with what appears to be some sort of common consensus, you might just want to sit down and talk to the weekend, hobbyist, sportsman and get their feedback, which is not being seriously considered in this thread.

This thread appears to be heavily waited on the side of mid-field champions and what they would like to increase their trophy share and championship standing.

Again, what's good for equaling the playing field, may not be what's in the best interest of Skip Barber's business. And even though I can understand you veteran's point of view on the matter, being right, fair, equal, could potentially drive away new customers and business to the series.

So on a pure level, I do agree with all of you. But on a practical level, not so sure. I sort of like the idea, that if I run a full season next year, I could be in contention for some sort of point standing/sportsman championship. It just doesn't need to be in the same point standing as the championship group..

I do like Todd's proposal but I think it should be run by more sportsman who race regularly.

B
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  #45  
Old 03-26-2007
AlDelattre AlDelattre is offline
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

Seth - there are a few of us out here....

I like the new proposal - given we have one weekend left in the West, am SURE we can get people to "test it out" and ratify this idea - or contribute their thoughts - this weekend.

It won' t be perfect - nothing will - but its worth a try. Frankly, even if we change it to reflect customer interest, that's a good thing.

See you Friday?
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  #46  
Old 03-26-2007
rf360m rf360m is offline
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

Quote:
There are two class types, Championship and Sportsman. While both classes will race separately, they will both score points for the overall points standings and the Championship. Sportsman drivers will be moved up to the Championship class if their lap time is within 3% of the fastest practice time, if their median lap time from their last 6 races is within 3% of the median fastest lap time and/or at the discretion of the Race Series Managing Staff
If I understand this correcty this means that if the best championship time is 100 seconds, then anyone having a lap time of 103 seconds or better would have to be in the championship group. As a sportsman driver I think that is not a good idea.

Take Watkins Glen as an example. The best championship time is usually around 2:11 or so, with the average time being 2:12 or so. The best sportsman time is usually 2:14 or so, with the average being 2:15 or 2:16. 3% of 2:11 is 3.93 seconds, which means anyone with a time of 2:14.93 or better would have to be in the championship group. As a sportsman driver I might be able to do a 2:14.5 or so during qualifying, but would hate to have to move up to championship as I'd be dead last with no chance of being able to run with anyone.

I still think the best way to determine if the groups is to put full season racers into championship, and let everyone else choose their group, then if they are in sportsman and win four races they move up.
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  #47  
Old 03-26-2007
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Kasey Kasey is offline
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

I think it looks like a good idea. I like the proposed points changes to the Sportsman and recognition for top 15 in total points. Not sure if 3% is the right number, but the concept seems right. Others are in better position to comment on that detail.

Regarding the concern about running in the back of Champ group with these changes...you won't be alone. You will be with those that you were racing with before, just in a different bracket. We had some close racing in Midwest Sportsman last year. We will still have close racing, just at the tail end of the Champ group. My recollection of actual finishing positions last year pales in comparison to the overall experience and moments of close racing.

Close racing is what makes it fun. Nobody wants to run all alone at the back of the field.
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  #48  
Old 03-26-2007
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OLDMAN OLDMAN is offline
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

Todd:
Glad to see you're serious about this issue. Just a thought, how about moving drivers up as soon as they win a race in Sportsman. If nothing else we can get back to 2 Championship groups and it will allow a few more Sportsman to win a race.

Nobody enjoys racing Skippy cars more than I do. The problem for me (and many others I imagine) is that many of the newer (younger) drivers get more seat time in a month or so than I have in 10 years. They show up on Monday, lap all week, do lead/follow and then race in Sportsman. They do this while turning faster laps than some of the Championship drivers. They then hang around in Sportsman all year. There is no way for a guy like me to be competitive with these guys.

I'd like to see all the groups assigned by lap time. The fastest 25% in the "A" group (Championship), the next 25% in the "B" group, the next in "C" and the slowest 25% in "D". Win your group, you move up a group. Only those in Championship get awards at the banquet. The rest of us get to be in competitive races.

My $0.02

OLDMAN
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  #49  
Old 03-26-2007
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Redneck Redneck is offline
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Western Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

My concern is around the person being moved from Sportsman to Championship..
5.2.1 Class Types
There are two class types, Championship and Sportsman. While both classes will race separately, they will both score points for the overall points standings and the Championship. Sportsman drivers will be moved up to the Championship class if their lap time is within 3% of the fastest practice time, if their median lap time from their last 6 races is within 3% of the median fastest lap time and/or at the discretion of the Race Series Managing Staff.

Example: Joe is a relatively new driver. He hits his stride after two race weekends. The next two raceweekends are very good. So he is in line for being in top five Sportsman. But he must do not so good in the next race weekend or he will be moved up to Championship and his point total for the 4 race weekends is 71, that is not going to be good at all. Joe's best bet is to sandbag and stay in Sportsman. Aha....we will convert Joe's Sportman points to Championship points (65 for first place, etc). Joe earned his points against Sportsman class and Sam has the same point total earned against Championship class. Sam is not happy.
Hank sees this and next year starts in Sportsman, gets 6 first place in Sportsman and then converts them to Championship point. Sam is really not happy now.


How are we going to resolve the issue? I do not know, but I think it bears a lot discussion. The concept is great. I am not sure how to solve the problem with the [/IMG]
The other question that comes to mind is that we usually have twice as many Sportsman as Championship. What motivates the Sportsman group, is it racing with somebody on an equal skill level or is it winning a race. In a lot of race series where there is an opportunity to cheat, it is winning races. What is the "Sportsman" driver motivation?

Is it possible that there should be a group with no recognition at year end (GroupX), a Sportsman group with the top five finishers, a Championship group with the top five finishers. GroupX would be made of novice, "sometimers", "justfor funers", etc. Drivers elect to run in whichever group they choose. Almost a return to Sportsman, Expert, Chamionship. Maybe the Expert label is a hinderence.
You could transfer race results from no more than two races from GroupX to Sportsman (points awarded on Sportsman Guidelines) and a person going from Sportsman to Championship can transfer no more than two race results to Championship.
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  #50  
Old 03-27-2007
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John Greist John Greist is offline
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Re: To Sportsman or Not To Sportsman

[quote=eleven]It seems that there is consensus to try this.
Below is my first draft at putting it in the rulebook. Red denotes changes. My expert mathmatician and Excel wizard, Dom, is going to create a file for us to easily plug someone in to do the computations.
Thoughts?
Todd

Thanks to Todd for being so responsive. Whatever the result of this exercise, all from TJR have had an opportunity to weigh in. Clarity will help us all and the emendations in blue below are intended to help at least me.

5.2.1 Class Types

Sportsman drivers will be moved up to the Championship class if their lap time is within 3% of the fastest Championship practice time, if their median lap time from their last 6 races is within 3% of the median fastest Championship lap time and/or at the discretion of the Race Series Managing Staff. As it reads, times will be assessed at the end of each Friday practice and the race groups formed for Saturday. At any weekend, a driver could be moved up to Championship and would remain there for the rest of the year. Seems a bit abrupt compared with the more gradual 6 race method that might be more predictable for those being moved.
All New Drivers will be placed in the Sportsman class at their first race weekend. "Most" New Drivers, rather than "All," would incorporate exceptional drivers who should start in Championship and not penalize them with Sportsman points in their Chanpionship bid.

5.2.2 Championship
Championship Drivers may not switch groups after the halfway mark of the season. Seems a slippery slope mechanism for folks to return from Championship to Sportsman.

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