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Old 01-18-2008
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Sebring Feb

I decided to at least sign up for the South meets West at Sebring - glad I did, South sold out, 2 left in Western. Not sure at this point if I can make it but signed up, hopefully I will be there.
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Old 01-18-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

I just looked at the results for the Dec. Sebring and don't understand the R/T's racing 7 lap races and the MX-5's running 9 lap races (the dry races). I thought I saw a thread about this not long ago but can't locate it. I gotta say that a trip to Sebring to run 7 lap races does not make a lot of sense, was this an aberration or should we expect much shorter races this year? From 2001 - 2006 all my dry races at sebring were typically 10 laps, 9 minimum, what happened? If it's the diminished fuel capacity then that was a particularly bad move. Can't be time constraints since in the previous years the driver counts were higher than the +/- 50 drivers there in December.

From results page - what am I missing

S1 R1 - 8 laps wet
S1 R2 - 7 laps dry
C1 R1 - 6 laps wet
C1 R2 - 7 laps dry
S2 R1 - 7 laps wet
S2 R2 - 7 laps dry
MX R1 - 9 laps wet
MX R2 - 9 laps dry

S = Sportsman / C = Champ
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Old 01-18-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

Here's the thread, Doug:

http://www.teamjuicyracing.com/forum...5085#post25085

From Revere's and John's posts in that thread it looks like at Laguna last week Randy, Todd and co. did their best to address this issue satisfactorily. Revere seemed pretty happy with how things went.

I'm signed up for Sebring and we'll see how it is handled. It is my favorite track and I love driving there. I know the guys want us to get the seat time we are paying for. I hope I don't end up feeling shortchanged, 'cause it may force me to start looking for alternatives to Skip for my racing fix.
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Old 01-18-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

The lap count definitely needs to be verified. That is a long way to go at higher airfare than ever before to only run so few laps...
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Old 01-24-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

I was at Laguna Seca earlier this month. On Friday a car didn't get out on track till 1:30 because of heavy fog. We only got one session (extended) friday. SB was excellent in how they handled the lost time by making it up to us with additional testing on Sunday. They did everything the could've considering the circumstances and I felt very good about the results.
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Old 01-25-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

Did a little checking on this issue with some persons in the know and here is the situation regarding laps counts at Sebring:

There is a fuel cell issue that they are hoping to solve by Mid Feb at Sebring. This causes them to have to cut the total lap count to 8 from 9.

Some of the groups elected to do an extra lap of practice due to changing conditions that weekend and there were also some race issues. A Champ group had a waive off of the green, some crash damage etc.

I have been assured there is no dark side to the count other than being cut one lap due to the fuel cell. They are hoping to solve this by Feb. Sebring but it is not a definite.
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Old 01-29-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

I had to cancel my Sebring weekend, not because of the above unknowns, I have schedule conflicts. I hope those going get full races and sunny days! Will be fun regardless. See ya all at Eastern weekends.
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Old 01-29-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

Who plans on being there ?
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Old 01-30-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

I'll be there. Trying to remember how to drive before the Masters Nationals start up.
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Old 02-02-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

I'm going to be there. I'll show up Thursday morning, and try to pull a double lapping day. Hopefully this time it will be dry.
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Old 02-14-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

What's going on at Sebring....anything to report? Sorry, just jonesing
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Old 02-16-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

Yeah... I had to pass for the first time after 3 consecutive years and would love to hear how it's going too.
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Old 02-16-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

They had $50,000 worth of crash damage yesterday. I stopped by to say hello and I swear I had nothing to do with it ! Not too many "old timers" there. Duerson and his son, Hayden, whose gotten really tall, Doc Mike with John-John in tow, Dom Bastian, Chris Brassard, Kasey Kuhlman and Harsha Sen. Febrice and Luca made up the international contingent (altho I'm sure there were some new south american and european kids who're warming up for kiddy nationals) Lee Carpentier was down from GPNY, Gary Manheimer was in from the west coast and of course, David Libby holding the flag for the mechanics fund. I'm also happy to say that Jim and "mini" Booth are back, although Ryan is WAY too big to be called mini anything anymore.

The usual suspects were there on the instructor end, with Pete Argetsinger tooling out to corners in his MG, and Redneck coming out of Timing and Scoring with welcome cups of Cuban coffee. The bicycle riders were warming up for their enduro but Linda Snyder and Laurie Tyler were not cooking up their usual good eats and we had to make do with the old burger wagon, which was back in business. Oh, and remember the duck, that used to stand watch on the corners with her mom the flagger ? Sad to say, the duck's dead.

The crashing threw everything off, I guess, 'cause I had a call from Chris Brassard late this afternoon and he'd only just gotten in off the track - and he's in group 2 ! He said he thought that they probable weren't going to get group 4 in at all today. Big Fun.

So that's about all I know...obviously, I missed it, too, 'cause I went about 2 hours out of my way coming back from Tampa, where I was seeing my neices and nephews, in order to have some Mexican food with R.B., Harple, Racin' Jason and "the girls" (Keith Watts was smart enough to take Mel somewhere by themselves - after all, it was Valentines) and crash at the Chateau so I could see everyone on Friday.

miss EVERYONE !!
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Old 02-16-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

From the Saturday results ... three races and five MDNFs??!! What's going on? There was one recent season when there were two MDNFs in the entire season.
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Old 02-17-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

Had two MDNF's at Sebring last year! Sebring's long bumpy track really beats the crap out of the cars. Mechanics have to do extra duty just checking all the nuts and bolts as the cars shake themselves apart. Last year it was half shaft failure and transmission woes. Two years before that a rash of clutch failures... Always something at Sebring.

5 MDNF's must be some kind of record. Can't wait to hear the backstory on this one.

Must be a mechanic's nightmare...

Maybe Aaron "Hippy" Nash can give us an update?

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Originally Posted by WatertownNewbie View Post
From the Saturday results ... three races and five MDNFs??!! What's going on? There was one recent season when there were two MDNFs in the entire season.
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Old 02-17-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

Sorry to hear about the crashes and MDNF's..Even sorrier I'm not there..I'm down south at Moroso doing the Florida Winter Tour kart race this weekend and having a less than steller weekend here.. I've had 2 MDNF's so far.. Finished DFL in yesterday's final. I hope Sunday goes better for you guys at Sebring..My best to you all up there.
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Old 02-17-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

Of course, the real question is...how's the lovely MRS. Pew doing this weekend at Moroso ?
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Old 02-17-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

John, as always, keeping sharp for the DP car... Sorry to hear of your mdnfs.

In looking over the race results the mdnf's were spread around. They only got in 3 of the 4 race groups scheduled and the mdnf breakout was 2-2-1

I see Chris Brassard is back in Sportsman group. Whaddup dawg?

Looks like Dom, Dr. Mike and Harsha had a great battle in their first race.

Also looks like a huge crop of newby's in the second sportsman group... Good to see that as well. (Hope they weren't the ones collecting all those CDR's... it should be those fast Champ guys hangin' it on the edge! )

Sorry to see Lee Carpentier got one of the mdnf's

Any other eye witnesses out there to give us a Sunday report?

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Originally Posted by jp56 View Post
I'm down south at Moroso doing the Florida Winter Tour kart race this weekend and having a less than steller weekend here.. I've had 2 MDNF's so far.. Finished DFL in yesterday's final. I hope Sunday goes better for you guys at Sebring..My best to you all up there.
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Old 02-17-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

Hi guys.

The incidents were greatly reduced during the races. I guess the lessons of Lapping and Practice took!

Gabby Chaves is still undefeated, and did it with smarts. He sat in P2 for most of his Sunday races pushing the leader along (Hayden Duerson in G1, Connor De Phillippi in G2) executing textbook passes in Turn 17 on the final lap in each race. The G3 pass for the win was especially cool, done on the outside.

Michael Self showed speed, although had a hard time understanding what "black flag" meant in one of his races. In his second race he went from 14th to 4th on lap 1. Not bad.

Mark Bumgarner, a new guy, won twice, and looks to be heading for the National series along with many other young drivers who used this weekend as a warmup for the Sebring opener coming March 11-14.

David Libby suffered some of the worst bad luck of the year. In our efforts to make the races longer, his race was one lap too long, and he ran out of gas with one lap to go. We shortened the rest of the races by one lap. In a makeup-race for David, he lost a gear with a couple of laps to go. You can't make this stuff up. We were all really bummed. He'll be back. It happened to the nicest guy. Even with his problems, he managed to turn the fastest race lap in Group 3, faster than Gabby Chaves and company, while finishing dead last with his broken gear. Go figure.

Harsha Sen accomplished his goals of driving an entire race weekend as a relaxed man. He put himself in the toughest group and drove clean the whole way. Kasey Kuhlman had the most fun in Champ Group. Michael Edwards provided some of the biggest entertainment, also not understanding what a black flag meant, but definitely understanding what "entertaining dive bomb" meant.

It was nice to see Ryan and Jim Booth reappearing for some racing. Ryan showed great speed to get Pole in Group 1, but faded somehow in his final race on Sunday. The depth of the field was part of that, but still...

It was really nice to see Michele Marden, if even only for a day, and Ali McInnis. So sorry I didn't have more time to chat, as I was deep into evaluating a new Computer Car system from AIM all week.

Keep an eye out for Peter Tucker. He's learning a thing or two and plans to run the National series this year.
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Old 02-17-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

Love you, Bobo
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Old 02-18-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerardo View Post
It was really nice to see Michele Marden, if even only for a day, and Ali McInnis. So sorry I didn't have more time to chat, as I was deep into evaluating a new Computer Car system from AIM all week.
Nice to see you, too! Sorry I missed you on my way out (and back at the hotel -- dad and I were sure you'd come back to change), but I'll see you later on in the season.
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Old 02-18-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerardo View Post
Hi guys.

The incidents were greatly reduced during the races. I guess the lessons of Lapping and Practice took!

Gabby Chaves is still undefeated, and did it with smarts. He sat in P2 for most of his Sunday races pushing the leader along (Hayden Duerson in G1, Connor De Phillippi in G2) executing textbook passes in Turn 17 on the final lap in each race. The G3 pass for the win was especially cool, done on the outside.

Michael Self showed speed, although had a hard time understanding what "black flag" meant in one of his races. In his second race he went from 14th to 4th on lap 1. Not bad.

Mark Bumgarner, a new guy, won twice, and looks to be heading for the National series along with many other young drivers who used this weekend as a warmup for the Sebring opener coming March 11-14.

David Libby suffered some of the worst bad luck of the year. In our efforts to make the races longer, his race was one lap too long, and he ran out of gas with one lap to go. We shortened the rest of the races by one lap. In a makeup-race for David, he lost a gear with a couple of laps to go. You can't make this stuff up. We were all really bummed. He'll be back. It happened to the nicest guy. Even with his problems, he managed to turn the fastest race lap in Group 3, faster than Gabby Chaves and company, while finishing dead last with his broken gear. Go figure.

Harsha Sen accomplished his goals of driving an entire race weekend as a relaxed man. He put himself in the toughest group and drove clean the whole way. Kasey Kuhlman had the most fun in Champ Group. Michael Edwards provided some of the biggest entertainment, also not understanding what a black flag meant, but definitely understanding what "entertaining dive bomb" meant.

It was nice to see Ryan and Jim Booth reappearing for some racing. Ryan showed great speed to get Pole in Group 1, but faded somehow in his final race on Sunday. The depth of the field was part of that, but still...

It was really nice to see Michele Marden, if even only for a day, and Ali McInnis. So sorry I didn't have more time to chat, as I was deep into evaluating a new Computer Car system from AIM all week.

Keep an eye out for Peter Tucker. He's learning a thing or two and plans to run the National series this year.

I have to correct you here, Bobo. "Docter Mike" knew exactly what the black flag meant (even acknowledged it every lap), but what's the fun in pitting and therefore turning a great race into a lapping session?

Also, while you were busy watching Hayden and Senor Chaves enter T17 in fourth gear trying to make the other lead, I unfortunately witnessed Ryan lose his spot in the lead-drafting group. After getting passed by Gabby entering T15, he had bobble (oh, what problems marbles can cause) and fell back to P3, with P4 in striking distance. He had to fight a couple cars off, but by the time he got himself a nice gap to sit in P3, the P1-P2 train was 10-15 car lengths ahead. He was very fast, despite being out of a Skippy car for a while, hope to see him back up there in the next few races.
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Old 02-18-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

Many GREAT races for rookies and veterans alike! The draft at Sebring is a great equalizer. Very smart heads up racing by the "kids" largely due to Radio Coaching being so popular. Miller, Holehouse, Argetsinger, MHP, & JP all keeping guys focused with minimum bone head moves. While not a shining example for an SBRS weekend, most drivers did an outstanding job of staying focused, racing well, and being understanding of the situation.

As Tommy Fogarty said "Dom Bastien deserves the Lifetime Career Most Improved Award". Which was immediately followed by three car changes between the warmup and the race start.

Thanks to all that participated!
JP
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Old 02-18-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

Great weekend made up of good racing, great weather, did I say Great Weather??!!!, and most of all, great people. All of this despite a really bad turn of the schedule on Friday and Saturday.

Apparently too much crashing and burning during practice and lapping combined with some poor weather earlier in the week was cause for a carryover practice into Saturday and for the most delayed scheduling on Saturday that I have ever witnessed in my ever growing tenure with the series. Cars needed to be repaired and tested with little time to do it in. In the end the ever capable staff of mechanics and testers got it done.

On Saturday it just seemed we were destined for delay after delay no matter what the staff did to get us on track. A lot of new drivers combined with a lot of young and some very young drivers with karting experience was cause for lets just say a great deal of speed and excitement with not always the greatest sense of judgment. Right when it would seem we were getting ourselves collected and back on schedule something else would throw a wrench into the usually fine oiled machine. Poor Dom Bastien had to jump in and out of cars all weekend for one reason or another including a gas leak that could have turned very hot had it not been for our ever vigilant instructors on course. And as usual Dom remained unflappable and put a great weekend together.

To give some perspective on the delays on Friday and then into Saturday... A Group of drivers were given a special session of make up practice on Saturday AM before qualifying. The practice was to make up for a whole litany of issues that occurred on Friday. Group 1 did not get into race cars to race until about 2:15 PM. Group 2 was in cars about 1 hour later! Here it was 3PM+ and we hadn't even started race 1 for Gp. 2! Group 4 never got to race on Saturday.

Saturday was fraught with frustration amongst some staff that usually keep their cool at least outwardly. Tempers flared at times causing some to wonder where it was all going. At the end of Sunday's racing we saw some great battles on the track from drivers both experienced and new and the professionalism that the Skippy staff showed to get it all done without too much fanfare in the end once again proved why we love SBRS so very much.

I switched into Group 2 from Group 1 after it was apparent that I would be paying close to $5K for another series of lapping days with Gabby a solid 4-5 seconds ahead of me in practice and most drivers at least 2-3 seconds ahead of my "mid winter one off race weekend". After counseling with the powers to be we decided there was a group of half a dozen drivers or more in group 2 that I had a chance of running with and dicing with. For me the most important issue was having fun and racing with drivers that I had a chance to stay with. There were some very fast young guns in both sportsman groups that were almost impossible for me to keep up with were it not for there lack of seat time in the R/T 2000 and there youthful risk taking in the seat.

In the end it was the right decision for me as Jay Fuchs and I had some great clean fun between us and had the extra challenge of dicing and staying with the young guns. Jay won over me on Saturday after I relented to let he and one of the young guns pass with 2 laps to go hoping to re-set the draft on the last lap into turn 17. I drafted well and was on his gear box only to fumble the second downshift. I was left with the decision to try and get the downshift re-done with the chance of spinning or to just finish the race, knowing I had great fun. I chose the latter.

On Sunday Jay and I were staring on the 3rd row with young guns ahead and behind us. We had a good even start with most making it clean to the hairpin. I had a good run in the draft to turn 7 with the thought of taking it inside to make some passes into the chicane. I thought better of it and decided it would be better to lift and and tuck into line on the left to avoid the possibility of some of the youthful optimism that existed behind me from the drivers that were trying to make up for their failed attempts in Race 1. As I tucked in a car came whizzing by me in an unbelievable rate of speed deep in to the braking zone only to collect the innocent driver turning in. The incident was another hard crash in a series of other crashes easily avoided by better judgment. I was very happy to have made the choice of tucking back into line.

The race was a great battle back and forth amongst various positions with a full course caution caused thrown in due to the earlier incident. My re-start was delayed only to passed by Jay and a few other cars. I worked my way past most of them with one between me and the leaders with 2 laps to go. That driver spun at turns 4-5 to leave what I thought was a chance to break away from Jay. After a few slightly less than stellar corners Jay is in my mirrors again with one to go. He drafted me well in the back straight and I had made the commitment to not blow the downshifts again. Flat at turn in only to see a waving yellow as I turn in, as I slow to the apex the flag goes away with Jay coming in like a rocket. Damn it all! Luckily I had enough momentum to carry me over the stripe to get Jay back for the old guy podium after my loss the day before.

Like the Birdie after 3 blown holes in golf, I am hooked again and terminal.

Thanks all for a great weekend. The SBRS staff once again got it together despite all the challenges. I am once again lucky to have participated.

By the way...as good as it was, it wasn't the same without all my friends from the East!
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Old 02-18-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

As you can see from the posts so far, there was a little of everything at Sebring this time, starting with rain Wednesday morning. However, the weather was perfect after that.

I showed up Thursday and in my first session, gearbox problems with a car that would not downshift. Next session I turned my best lap ever at Sebring in my first flying lap (2:29.5) but lost my brakes going full-tilt into 10, could not slow enough to get the car turned and augured straight into the tires. In retrospect the car had been a little hard to slow into the hairpin immediately preceding, and the brakes had felt a little "numb" into 17 the lap prior, but somehow worked fine into 3. But at 10 there was suddenly very little slowing down. Scared the living daylights out of me. But those cars are built like tanks and luckily I walked away with a bunch of bruises and a big strawberry on my right forearm from the frame. Turns out there was a fitting on the front master cylinder that was not holding pressure. I almost didn't get back in the car after 2 sessions like that but Gregg Borland convinced me (rightly so) that if I had just done my best lap ever, the best thing to do would be to get back on the horse. He was right, of course. I was determined not to let the incident affect me and the shock must have reset all the normal synapses in what is usually an overanalytical, "head-case" brain, because I drove the best session of my LIFE. Everything started to flow and I rolled several 29 flats and finally a 28.5 by the last lap. In the heat and by myself. I was finally seeing all those little landmarks Bobo talks about well before the car got there. I couldn't believe it, it felt so good. The next day in Practice in the morning the feeling continued and I had a couple more 28.5s but this time the air was cooler so the car had more horses and grip was perfect. But I lost the feeling after that and settled down to more predictable times the rest of the weekend, but still an improvement for me. Had a DOP car for qualifying which had so little pace that I was braking at the 3 for the hairpin and still overslowing, so started at the back for R1. Got a different car for the race and had a GREAT dice with Dr. Mike and Dom, hard but clean, all of us swapping places in the draft. In R2, on lap one I got a huge run on Kasey coming out of the Tower turn and actually went side-by-side with him through Bishop's Bend, but the thrill of that must 've gotten me too excited and I missed my brake point into 15 on the inside line and understeered off onto the concrete apron. Killed my run through 16 so much that I lost the draft. Had I been more patient, I think Kasey and I could've worked together to see what we could do through the pack ahead of us, but my inability to give up a great run for the bigger picture screwed us both. Sorry Kasey! I just like trying new stuff too much! One of these days I will put it all together. Hope it's this decade.

As Chris mentioned, it was a really tough weekend on the crew and Keith Watts. On top of crashes, a LOT of non-crash-related mechanicals. We kid about Bruce MacInnes' "logistical nightmare," but this was it. In spades. Tempers flared, unfortunate for all concerned. Keith was trying out a new system of re-drawing for cars for qualis and each race, in order that "good" and "not-so-good" cars got moved around to different people. Seems right in principle and I don't know what the problems were because it seemed people were still not happy. This was definitely the most mechanically-compromised race weekend I have experienced in 2 years. I'm worried that it may be another of those symptoms we have discussed on other threads. Too few crew for too much work, cheaper instead of reliable parts, etc etc.

They did put new fuel bladders in all the cars, which have more usable fuel capacity, so session length for practice was great and for races better.

Cannot say enough about all the people who worked in dedicated fashion to get a very challenging weekend done. The mechanics should be granted sainthood for how hard they work to give us the cars we want even under dire conditions. Keith kept a good attitude and kept things going in what I thought was a fair handed way despite being besieged by the circumstances, the instructors gave me some of the best feedback ever. And Sebring is still the greatest track of all for me.
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Old 02-18-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

thanks for the reports......a good news / bad news weekend.

hope everyone gave something extra to the hard working crew
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Old 02-18-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

Hey Harsha !

Sorry to hear about the bruises and the strawberry, but really glad to hear that's all it was.

Glad you had a good time.
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Old 02-18-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

Thanks Michele! I'm glad too it wasn't any worse.

It was great to see you as always. Miss hanging out with you and Mur at these things.
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Old 02-18-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

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Love you, Bobo

Hey.... what about me....? Watts...
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Old 02-18-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

ALWAYS
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Re: Sebring Feb

I miss you both and it was fantastic to see you Michele... I miss having Murr around for fun and watching you kick butt out there too!
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Old 02-19-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

Keith:

Great Job this weekend keeping it all together and enjoyable!

Thank you
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Old 02-19-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

Sounds like everyone had a great weekend even with all of the turmoil amongst cars and logistics, etc... Unfortunatly I wasn't there to enjoy, as I was truckin' and wrenchin' for a double 3day school we had going at Moroso, which is a whole nother story in itself! Just like everything that comes out of my mouth, this is an OPINION only, and may not hold all of the facts. BUT, mechanics are in a very hard spot right now, (atleast from what I've seen in 2 1/2 years) we are EXTREMELY understaffed right now, with many of our mechanis either moving on too bigger race teams (congrats to those making the jump) or just getting out of the company all together because of not being treated right by the corporate side of this company that doesn't appreciate what it takes to run a respectable operation for our customers that spend well over our mechanics salary's just to come play with us. Obviously, just like our National kids, Skippy provides a stepping stone for mechanics that want to wrench at a professional level, so this is a high turn over rate position to begin with............. meaning staffing should be an ongoing process, with training going on around the clock(along with our normal tasks). Not to mention should not be getting hampered by background checks, drug tests, or other paperwork issues that somebody in CT that only works a 40hr week and makes atleast 4 times as much throws at the situation. Dont get me wrong I think a decent, SOBER person should be working on our race cars, but lets think about this for a min. you advertise a 24k year salary that doesn't have that great of a health car plan(us contractors have to fend for ourselves), and is likely to work you 80+ hour weeks , oh and three weeks in a row like our full time guys that were @ Sebring this past weekend have done, then your gonna get two types of people. Either bottom of the barrel type employees, or somebody with a true racing disease. Either of which is gonna be a short time employee that doesn't really give a fu*$ about their work ethic because they are on the way out anyways. This is in NO way directed at a specific mechanic, just the general opinion/feeling that I've been feeling since about the end of our midwestern series last year.

On top of our lack of staffing(I know the horse was dead long ago), how the hell do you fix cars without parts? From what I understand parts orders have been getting declined because of disagreements between our parts guy Sam and corporate up in CT. Disagreements on quantity being the main issue I suppose. The crash box issue came about this past weekend because a certain individual in CT thought that an order of 40 crash boxes at the beginning of the season was outragious. So now Sam has been stripped of his parts ordering responsibilities and has to jump through an extra hoop just bring us parts. Hopefully this doesn't cause too much more turmoil but I think its very important for ya'll(our investors/customers) to realize that cracked motor mounts were being re-welded just to keep cars running on track! What's up with that, everybody that actually participates in our weekends, wether it be instructor, customer, or mechanic knows that Sebring is THE ROUGHEST track we go to and with out a doubt breaks certain parts more often than others. Why are we not allowing the guys that do this every weekend to do their job and stock up certain parts for certain events? It should also be a very well known fact that Jan.-March is extremely busy for us with starting seasons, go kart shoot-out's, schools, and the 12 hour, staffing and parts logistics should have been catered too back in Dec. Instead alot of our guys were declined reasonable Vacation that month and forced to work Xmas and New years Holidays because we were already running low on mechanics at that point. I'm not sure how to end this other than, most of you have prolly heard it already and are use to the up and down cycle that seems to happen here.



If anyone wants to correct me/ question me feel free to email anashracing@hotmail.com keep in mind these ARE the opinions of a NON full time employee, that no longer deals with these issues on a daily basis.



P.S.- hope to see a good turn out for the 12 hour both racers and mechanics, I will be in the SPEED GT paddock working with Riley Racing Volvo if anyone wants to check out a prancing Moose!
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Old 02-19-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

anashracing, thank you for an honest and insightful post. What you said dovetails perfectly with what I as a driver have experienced since about the end of summer. An experience like this past weekend should be a predicted result of the environment you describe. I am not surprised. Management seem to be specifying processes, ie this many mechanics, this many of these specific parts at these specified times in order to meet specific financial constraints, and imagining that they are going to get a certain product. Perhaps the business equivalents of George Patton or Alexander the Great, with virtuosic higher consciousness and charismatic leadership by example that employees follow to the ends of the earth, can get that to work. Most normal people have to start with the end product they want, ie quality targets of maximum X percent transmission failures, X percent brake failures, X number of minutes group turnaround, and then plan their processes in order to best approach their targets, ie asking the questions "How many mechanic-hours will it take to achieve X and Y?" "How many and what quality of part Z do we need to have on hand to achieve performance Z?" "How do I incentivize my core group of experienced and tested mechanics to keep them around to maintain stability as the others turn over?" "Do we need to tear down the cars and look at every part once a year to avoid these failures?" Then you know what it takes to produce a product with your specified performance parameters. And if you can't afford the processes that putting out that kind of product requires, well then THAT is IMPORTANT INFORMATION. (If you can't afford to pay mechanics enough to keep them around, then you had better pay extra for superior quality parts that don't break or need as much maintenance.) Maybe you can't do as many 3day schools or race events as you had hoped. But this type of approach requires management letting the people in the field shape and conduct the nuts-and-bolts aspects of processes, ie tell them how much of a part they are going to need and when.

What you are describing and what I am seeing on pit lane as a customer can be characteristics of a top-down, machine bureaucracy. Machine bureaucracies are very effective in certain stable, production oriented niches of society. Running a motorsports company in 2008 is not one of those.
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Old 02-19-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

Quote:
Originally Posted by LimeRockRacer View Post
Keith:

Great Job this weekend keeping it all together and enjoyable!

Thank you

Thanks Chris!
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Old 02-19-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

Great report from the trenches Aaron. Important feedback from someone who cares enough to share thoughtfully about it.

Hard to understand under ordering parts to save money when the cost in company moral and customer good will is so high.

From a customer standpoint the mechanics, instructors and testers are the most important, if least paid, people in the company because they are the last line of defense for our safety.

The guys bolting on suspension pieces and brakes have to be well trained and in sufficient numbers to get their jobs done without being worked to exhaustion and/or failure in the process. If they aren't there, none of us turn a wheel.

Instructors create the experience for the customers with the way they impart their knowledge. They build a connection from weekend to weekend as the witnesses that guide our growth and progress. They are the past, present and future of the company. They should be valued as such.

The testers have to have time to equalize the fleet (They were rained out one day which put them behind the 8-ball) and the mechanics have to have the parts to keep the fleet running.

Perhaps this past weekend was the perfect storm of consecutive race weekends/schools/special events that depleted the fleet, parts bins and mechanic ranks simultaneously but none of it was unanticipated. Every event and car that ran was scheduled to do so.

The only difference between a mechanics environment that is considered first rate by people starting out (even with low pay and high turnover) and one viewed as degrading and abusive from inside and out is how the company trains them and shows their support in giving them the proper parts, tools and time to do their jobs. The same holds true for instructors.

Speaking generally, when money is spent fairly and wisely to hold down costs while improving the product being produced, employees will rally around it because they have a stake in it and every business has lean and lush cycles. When cost cutting appears arbitrary and disconnected from the product to increase the bottom line of the company without acknowledgment of its impact on the makers of the product, company moral and customer good will suffers.

This seems to be one of those weekends when the collective will to make it a good experience overcame the obstacles that could have made it a nightmare. The mechanics, instructors and on site management should get special acknowledgment for pulling a rabbit out of the hat with the hope that top brass then use what happened to learn from and do a better job of giving the product makers the support they need going forward.
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Last edited by dalyduo; 02-20-2008 at 01:30 PM.
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Old 02-19-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

Quote:
Originally Posted by dalyduo View Post
Perhaps this past weekend was the perfect storm of consecutive race weekends/schools/special events that depleted the fleet, parts bins and mechanic ranks simultaneously but none of it was unanticipated. Every event and car that ran was scheduled to do so.
...

when money is spent fairly and wisely to hold down costs while improving the product being produced, employees will rally around it because they have a stake in it and every business has lean and lush cycles. When cost cutting appears arbitrary and disconnected from the product to increase the bottom line of the company without acknowledgment of its impact on the makers of the product, company moral and customer good will suffers.
...

This seems to be one of those weekends when the collective will to make it a good experience overcame the obstacles that could have made it a nightmare. The mechanics, instructors and on site management should get special acknowledgment for pulling a rabbit out of the hat with the hope that top brass then use what happened to learn from and do a better job of giving the product makers the support they need going forward.
Very well said and right on target.
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Old 02-19-2008
TurningLT4Sponsor TurningLT4Sponsor is offline
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Re: Sebring Feb

With all the issues I was amazed at what was pulled off. Keith, the instructors and all the mechanics need a big ataboy. I know the mechanics worked to 11 a couple of nights and were back on the job before 8 the next morning.

I can only hope management pays overtime. The mechanics cannot be otherwise classified. If not, big trouble is brewing when one goes to the local labor lawyer.

Each mechanic who worked this weekend needs a special bonus. Whenever my employees do an exceptional job under adverse conditions, I always bonus. It comes back in spades with loyality, retention and better work product. The customers can only do so much. Lack of parts and low pay is the quickess way to run off good mechanics.
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Old 02-19-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

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With all the issues I was amazed at what was pulled off. Keith, the instructors and all the mechanics need a big ataboy. I know the mechanics worked to 11 a couple of nights and were back on the job before 8 the next morning.

I can only hope management pays overtime. The mechanics cannot be otherwise classified. If not, big trouble is brewing when one goes to the local labor lawyer.

Each mechanic who worked this weekend needs a special bonus. Whenever my employees do an exceptional job under adverse conditions, I always bonus. It comes back in spades with loyality, retention and better work product. The customers can only do so much. Lack of parts and low pay is the quickess way to run off good mechanics.
You hit the nail on the head in a lot of ways...
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Old 02-21-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

Before we leave this thread, I want to say a big THANK YOU to Todd, Keith, the mechanics, and whoever else helped engineer the switch to fuel bladders in the interest of restoring session and race length. Thank you for taking our feedback and moving on it. It helps to know that SOMEONE is listening. Thank you.
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Old 02-21-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

Thanks Harsha, we're working on some issues... definately not going untold or untalked about...
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Old 02-21-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

Decided I overstated my case. See below. pf

Last edited by GriffDogRacer; 02-21-2008 at 04:56 PM. Reason: because
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Re: Sebring Feb

After some time to think more about the end of this thread and my somewhat sanctimonious post, I do need to say that I am really grateful to be able to afford even a race or three a year... and I recognize that this is a business. It has to be a very fine line to tread in providing as much to as many as possible. And, afterall, I have a whopping database of one race weekend to draw from. Thanks to those at SB that provided what was an awsome experience for me... and I apologize for any offense from the above. pf
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Old 02-21-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

You have to understand this... posting here WILL NOT reflect the way SBRS views you or your actions. Heck, I am not even supposed to be here..... Explain yourself in a PG way here and let it go.... no worries....
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Old 02-21-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

I seem to be missing something here..
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Old 02-21-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

Paul,

Let me join the others in saying that you were a welcome addition to our ranks this weekend.

I wish all our constituents were as technically aware and thoughtfully prepared as you have been.

The fact that you bought and read Carl's book shows a lot.

I have argued for years that it should be required reading and included in your sign up package...

I never had to worry about you for the entire week as you were fully focused on the task at hand. Great to see the progress and the positive results.

Thanks in no small part to your TJR mentor panel. You tapped into as diverse and experienced group as you could ever find.

Trust that your unfiltered feedback is always welcome.

Adios Amigo
SD

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Old 02-21-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

A first Skippy race weekend is a big deal for most of us and TJR was created for racers to share their experiences. We grouse, kid, rant and rave about all things Skippy and all things racing. If you can't say it here... where can you say it?

Amen to everything Stevie De said Griffdog... Stevie's words are high praise from someone who's seen a lot of first time racers flow, roll, slide, bounce and crash under the Sebring bridge.

Don't recall anything sanctimonious in your post so just say what you want to say and if someone has a problem with it... They'll let you know.

Welcome btw.
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Old 02-22-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

Quote:
Originally Posted by dalyduo View Post
A first Skippy race weekend is a big deal for most of us and TJR was created for racers to share their experiences. We grouse, kid, rant and rave about all things Skippy and all things racing. If you can't say it here... where can you say it?

Amen to everything Stevie De said Griffdog... Stevie's words are high praise from someone who's seen a lot of first time racers flow, roll, slide, bounce and crash under the Sebring bridge.

Don't recall anything sanctimonious in your post so just say what you want to say and if someone has a problem with it... They'll let you know.

Welcome btw.
could not agree more, well said DD
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Old 02-22-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

Thanks guys... points regarding candid feedback understood... just felt like you guys opened the door and I barreled in. I'll find ways in the future of being honest and not going away from it feeling all big-headed.

Thanks for the positive (and "constructive") feedback both here and at the track... it really means a lot. Like many of you (I'm sure), this is a delayed approach to a life-long passion. Once you've taught me to master Turn 17 at Sebring, maybe you can start working on my taking myself too seriously!

pf
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Old 02-22-2008
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Re: Sebring Feb

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...and whoever else helped engineer the switch to fuel bladders in the interest of restoring session and race length.
and the vapor lock problem - amazing what you can do with some snips and tie wraps eh?
Thanks Keith Muhammed Duke Chesterfield Watts
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