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  #1  
Old 11-22-2004
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Expert Class or Not?

A quick update on a conversation I had recently with Todd Snyder. I was asking whether next season there would be an expert class. The short answer is that no decision has been made yet. Todd is disinclined to have an expert class. He would just have championship and sportsman. I think that the problems created with scoring the masters group as well as the problems created when some experts raced in championship class as part of a double weekend or whatever is what leads him to this conclusion. On the other hand Divina is inclined to have the expert class again. By the way, in the South and West this season, there is only sportsman and championship, no expert. Todd and Divina will be making their decision after the new year.
Are you wondering why I am asking this question? Because I am thinking of running both the championship class and the expert class next year if its available. I want to move up to championship because its fun trying to keep up with the faster guys and it pushes me along. On the other hand, running with the experts where anyone in the group could win any race is also fun. It's not like I ran away with the expert class last season. I came in fifth and won just one race (how many did Auriemma win?). So I don't think anyone would complain that I am too fast for the group.
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Old 11-22-2004
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Re: Expert Class or Not?

I think the fundamental 'racing' problem with three classes was the lack of championship group drivers. If we want a three class system, it will work if we can manage to force a lot more of the expert class drivers up to where they belong, i.e. in the champ class (you know who you are). At least 5 or 6 of the guys in the expert group had no business being in there whatsoever.

But then there still may be financial issues that Skip Barber has that contrains their ability to have three classes, and that's something that will obviously force their choice. Whatever they do, if they have to get rid of a class, none of the ones remaining should be called 'sportsman'. We should have a champ group and an expert group. IMHO, sportsman sounds a little silly.

Last edited by sydude; 11-22-2004 at 10:34 PM.
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Old 11-22-2004
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Re: Expert Class or Not?

Zero Bill.

That's how many races that Auriemma guy won. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Niente. What a loser. (By the way, who is this Auriemma guy anyway? Is he a mechanic?)

Despite not winning anything, I would be inclined to run in the Champ Group next year. I ran with them a few times, and was not embarrassed by my performance (even when I repositioned the styrofoam at WGI). My chances of winning there, though, are pretty slim.

That is why I liked the Expert group. I always had a chance to win. And, the competition was phenomenally close. Going into the finale, 3 of us could have won the Class. 6 of us could have come in 2nd. Those places were long locked up in Champ Group if I recall.

In the last weekend, we had a practice session where 8 guys were separated by .6 secs. 4/10 separated 8th place from 4th place in the qualifier! It doesn't get more thriling than that!

If I were asked to vote, I would vote for 3 classes. I think we could work out the problems with the point system.

A simple solution is 3 classes, but one championship. Hey... we broke it up so you can win a race, not a whole championship! You can race in whatever group you feel most competitive... but to really challenge for standings, you have to run in the top group. That would solve the doubling problem. Doubling is still allowed, but it penalizes someone trying to "win it all" by forcing them to run down a group.

Either way... I'll be there next year. Oh, and I plan to win the Master's Championship (which I would have done this year if I were born a few months earlier!). Take that Pork Chop.
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Old 11-23-2004
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Re: Expert Class or Not?

Ouch. Now I have to take shots from an old guy? What you don't yet know is how much you slow down after you turn 40. You may not be able to break a minute anymore.
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Old 11-23-2004
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Re: Expert Class or Not?

bill are you saying no one ever called you fast ?

we will have to check with some old girlfriends to see if that is true

some things it's god to be slow at.

thats from a fast old man
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  #6  
Old 11-23-2004
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Re: Expert Class or Not?

"Fast" or "fat" old man? "Good" or "god" to be slow at. What's a dropped letter here or there.

Sid, I never got to thank you personally for your substantial and sustained help teaching the Midwest Mechanics' Fund tyros some of your tricks for raising money. We're still learning but with your guidance more than tripled the take from the previous year. Now that Brent Milner has joined the effort and has duct tape in hand, we're planning to beat the East's total next year. The Midwest group is small and humble but we know we can outdo the East in fundraising, just as we do on the track whenever there's an East-West weekend.

Back to the theme of this forum: Three groups often leads to small groups where wins mean less. Two groups makes everything count more and "Experts" learn faster in the Championship group where they see better driving and every place really means something. Everyone appreciates the advantages of two groups but I agree with Sy about the Sportsman name - change it to Expert and have two great groups.

The issue of doubling is real for many of us, whether because of work, family or other obligations. If we can't compete for the championship because the group structure requires 7 weekends to be competitive, some will just run a few races for fun and lament the good old days. That result would diminish the value of the championship, albeit only slightly. My vote is for two groups and, as always in the past, the opportunity to double twice, hopefully in two championship groups each time.

John
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Old 11-23-2004
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Re: Expert Class or Not?

I for one find the Sportsman class my reason for racing. Many of us do not have the resources to run every event or do extra practice to get the seat time necessary to become really fast in these cars. While many of you speak of doubling like it's an extra ten bucks to me it's out of the question.

This past season was the most rewarding I've ever had. I actually got to race with other cars. In past years after a couple of laps the fast guys were 15 seconds ahead of me and the slower guys were 10 seconds behind me. Every race turned into expensive lapping. This year was different, cars around me all the time, it was terrific!

I think the "Sportsman" class is perfect for new drivers, occasional drivers and those drivers that for whatever reason cannot turn a 58.3 second lap at LRP. I come to the track to "race", not to be the backmarker that Matt Franc blows by on lap 21. For years I've been that guy and it sucks!

As far as points and trophies at the end of the season go, I don't need either. Let me race in Sportsman for the sake of racing, it is a "racing school" after all. By the way, what are Dom and Steve G. doing in Sportsman? They did more laps this past summer than I've done in 10 years.

OLDMAN
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  #8  
Old 11-24-2004
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Re: Expert Class or Not?

Hey OLDMAN!

With respect to those budget limitations, lonely mid-pack years, and the Dom & Steve show owning some recent Sportsman podiums, have you considered adding the prefix "CRANKY" to your monicker?! :-)

(But seriously folks...)

Though I haven't raced enough to feel his pain directly, I agree with the fundamentals of what OLDMAN is saying.

From a marketing standpoint, if the numbers support it, you almost have to have a fun supportive "Sportsman" category for newbies and occasionals to live their dream in, spread the good word about and (if talented and able to run regularly) advance their skill level enough to grow out of. I don't think there is any question the Sportsman category should be kept. I ran my first two weekends at LRP this past season in Sportsman and had a ball with good competition accompanied by welcome support from instructors and advanced drivers.

The mentoring program introduced this year was a smart additional step in supporting new drivers, while many of the TJR regulars were generous with their time as well. This website is also a great resource and support system for new and old-timers alike.

In the end, we all benefit from groupings with good close competition and discussions like this to further the cause in creating them. It appears the SB folk are listening and seeking out solutions that serve the greater good.
I don't know what the best solution is for the Champ/Experts but my vote is for keeping the Sportsman category.
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  #9  
Old 11-24-2004
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Re: Expert Class or Not?

Sorry if I was misunderstood regarding the value of the sportsman class. What I wrote was: Everyone appreciates the advantages of two groups but I agree with Sy about the Sportsman name - change it to Expert and have two great groups.

If "Sportsman" doesn't offend anyone but Sy and me, stick with it. If SB continues with two classes instead of three, renaming Sportsman to Expert seemed an innocent euphemism.

John
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Old 11-24-2004
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Re: Expert Class or Not?

I think the "Sportsman" name appropriately identifies itself as being for novices and part-timers without being demeaning. Not sure I see the point or value in identifying the least practiced group as "Experts".

I've got a few rejected class names if anyone's interested. :-)
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  #11  
Old 11-24-2004
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Re: Expert Class or Not?

I agree. Sportsman sums it up. I don't think it is offensive.
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  #12  
Old 11-24-2004
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Re: Expert Class or Not?

I take your points. Expert may be rather like grade inflation. Sportsperson it is.

John
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  #13  
Old 11-24-2004
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Re: Expert Class or Not?

I guess I wasn't clear. I don't care what you call it as long as there are cars around me running similar times. Going to two classes (in place of three) will mean I get to run all alone mid pack every race.

Last year I got to run with Marco, in years past it was Ryan Hunter-Raey, Townsend Bell, Chris Willcox, Chip Bryant and others. It's really not fun (for me or them). If the "Sportsman" class goes away the series will suffer. The idea of a bell shaped group in every race makes for dull racing. Last year Sy was very upset with me when (as a car being lapped) I held him up. Had there been a class for racers with my ability he would not have had to deal with me at all. I would have been in a different group, not getting lapped.

Just my $0.02 worth.

OLDMAN
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Old 11-24-2004
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Re: Expert Class or Not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OLDMAN
Last year Sy was very upset with me when (as a car being lapped) I held him up. Had there been a class for racers with my ability he would not have had to deal with me at all. I would have been in a different group, not getting lapped.
Actually, I was upset with you because you were too fast! I was in the lead in the pouring rain with second place right on my ass, and when I came up to lap you, you were just fast enough that I couldn't pass you without going off of the rain line, which was treacherous. It may not have been your responsibility to go off line or slow down on the straight to let me through, but I had to wait a couple of laps for you to make a mistake before I could pass. I was just frustrated. If I just had some of the race craft then that I still don't have now , I would have been able to pass you easier...
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Old 11-24-2004
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Re: Expert Class or Not?

That's my point, why put racers with lesser skills in the way. Let them go off and race with each other. It was frustrating for me too.

Racing is racing, whether you're turning 59s or 61s. Apples with apples, oranges with oranges. It makes for better racing and lots more enjoyment for everyone.

OLDMAN
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  #16  
Old 11-24-2004
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Re: Expert Class or Not?

I think we are all getting tied up in our underwear.

Either way, no one is suggesting the old approach of mixing the groups up. The fastest guys will be in a group called Champion (although I would propose calling it Expert if there are only 2 groups). Slower and newer guys will be in a group likely called Sportsman. So far so good, right?

The question is, should there be a third group, which last year was called Expert.

On the positive side, it was a very competetive group... we all enjoyed running there. Most of us had little desire to run with guys like Matt/ Peter/Marco etc who clearly outpace us.

On the negative side, there often was too small a showing to make the top group interesting enough for those drivers. 5 or 6 cars hardly makes a fascinating race. Also, the points issue was screwed up by the concept of doubling, which some of us find necessary in order to compete in the whole series.

I like the idea of 3 groups. The competition this year was thrilling. Any one of us could have won a race on any given day (yeah, I know, so what happened to me?! Chronic brain fade!)

Skippy should pick 3 or 4 of us, invite us to LRP, buy us dinner, and lock us in a room for 4 hours. I suspect we will come out with a workable plan.
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Old 11-24-2004
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Re: Expert Class or Not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OLDMAN
That's my point, why put racers with lesser skills in the way. Let them go off and race with each other. It was frustrating for me too.

Racing is racing, whether you're turning 59s or 61s. Apples with apples, oranges with oranges. It makes for better racing and lots more enjoyment for everyone.

OLDMAN
I'll give you one good reason why you should be in a group that has a bunch of drivers with skills significantly higher than yours. The fact is that you will always elevate (or lower for that matter) your performance to the level of those around you. As an example, one of our good buddies (on this board - you know who you are!) ran in both expert and champ groups at the last weekend of the year, and he ran anywhere from 1 to 2 seconds a lap faster (in the same car on the same day) in his champ group race than he did in his expert group race. And I've seen that happen several times this year.

So if you want to get faster, put yourself in a group of faster drivers. I picked the Champ group this year thinking I'd be running in the last 20% of the group, just so I could learn more. I could have picked running in the expert group instead, knowing that I'd be challenging for race wins every weekend. I didn't get anywhere higher than third this year in the champ group, but I'm thrilled with my decision and would do it all over again.
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  #18  
Old 11-24-2004
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Re: Expert Class or Not?

Sy:
When you race only one or two weekends a year the last thing you want to do is be with the regulars. My next race weekend will probably be next May at LRP. At that time I will not have been in a race car for 7 months, my brain will be in 85 "K" car mode (92 big horsepower!) and I will be almost 60. Do you really think I want to mix it up with you or Ludwig or Matt? I'm just hoping I don't embarrass myself.

I do agree with the logic of having only two groups when the turnout is light. But again, the fastest half in one group, the slowest half in the other.

Another thought I have about all of this is that the classifications should have some flexability. There should be no reason that guys that get faster shouldn't move up and guys that get slower shouldn't move down. I'm not sure that keeping Steve G. in Sportsman all last season really helped him get better. He would have made better progress moving up a class and mixing it up with better racers (as you stated).

I'm not even sure we really disagree on all of this.

OLDMAN
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  #19  
Old 11-25-2004
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Re: Expert Class or Not?

Both sides of this argument have very legitimate points.

Overall, OLDMAN has it right...
Being a moving chicane for Marco, Matt or Peter etc., doesn't benefit those highly skilled drivers or teach OLDMAN and myself much because our current differential in skill level, speed and seat time is so great that we're just trying not to spin in the fast driver's prop wash. (Mixed metaphor there, sorry) We're peddaling as hard as we can and can't keep them in sight long enough to learn anything.

On the other hand Sy's point is absolutely correct that we certainly benefit greatly from being exposed to a higher skill level than our current one. I learned much more from the on-track running sessions with Skippy instructors, both in my 2-day advanced course and with Michael & Sy's clinic than pretty much any other on-track experience I've had.

What if you created the abstract Skippy version of a Nascar "luckydog" or two. By that I mean include (space permitting) one or two "Champion/Experts" in each Sportsman field who's sole purpose would be to start DFL and mix it up with the "Sportsmen". The only point being to offer the "Sportspersons" (As John G quietly corrected. :-) exposure to a higher skill level and challenge. The "luckydogs" would get free seat time but no points or finishing position acknowledgement and would be crash damage liable. The point being to encourage good (Champ/Expert) drivers (and perhaps future instructors) while also rewarding those who can turn around and support those farther back in the learning curve. Both luckydogs and Sportspersons get value out of the deal, goodwill is generated for the race series overall and potential future instructors are being trained... What's not to like?

I'm not sure how you manage a points series though if you bump guys up in class during the season?

Maybe create a "Super Sportsman" award where, when Skippy instructors collectively feel someone has outgrown the current Sportsman field at any point in the season, they can acknowledge that person or those people (Perhaps when a driver has a certain number of podium finishes) with immediate graduation to "Expert" level. The SS award acknowledges their progress and mastery of the first level and throws them into the deeper end of the talent pool with the faster guys. An SS award should have more weight or benefit than winning the Sportsman series outright so that guys aren't sandbagging to say they won a series. (Perhaps a free Memorial race, a trophy and a shaving cream pie in the face!) It gives the Skippy folks an appropriate way to fast track and support those who are progressing nicely without penalizing the driver for being successful.

Again, OLDMAN's suggestion of weighting most race groupings by lap times is generally smart and will probably be most satisfying for participants. (But throw some Champ/Experts into the Sportsman races as an incentive to both groups) Again, just food for thought.
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Old 11-25-2004
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Re: Expert Class or Not?

As I said earlier, 3 groups, one championship.

I only stayed in Expert cause I had a shot to win it, or at least podium. I told people that all year long. If there was not an Expert champ, I'd have gone for more points in the Championship group.

Ask Steve G if he would have stayed in Sportsman if there was no prize at the end. Of course not. He'd have challenged himself to move up.

Only people who belong in a class will keep themselves there. Others will move up or down accordingly. Skippy should also move people down if they are a hazard, or up if they could benefit from the challenge.

Doesn't seem like rocket science.
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  #21  
Old 11-25-2004
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Re: Expert Class or Not?

Hey they can call it OLD SLOW FAT GUYS for all I care as long as I get to race and don't hold anybody up who's in contention, or get divebombed by sydude again.
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  #22  
Old 11-25-2004
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Re: Expert Class or Not?

Hey Nest:
Who you calling FAT?

OLDMAN
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  #23  
Old 12-01-2004
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Re: Expert Class or Not?

I agree with MJAmok's last comment. They should have 3 groups to keep it competitive and give everyone a chance to be a front runner.

We are all looking to get faster and we do so by racing guys with: 1) more strategy and racecraft experience, and 2) Drivers that are REASONABLY faster than one.

In other words, I feel I could benefit from talking to Matt Varsha (Championship Group), but watching him two corners ahead of me during a race is not going to make me much faster. On the other hand, Hammer and Locke (Expert Group) may not enhance your knowledge by speaking to them (kidding), but going wheel to wheel into a chicane with them is guaranteed to condition your 'cojones'.

Cheers.
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Old 12-01-2004
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Smile Re: Expert Class or Not?

Well, I still remember the pre-04 format, where you would basically have the three clusters of drivers within every racegroup. It was not all that bad and you would always, or mostly, find someone to race with.

But in general I support the idea of different championship classes. My gut-feel and some of the weekends that were less populated say, that two would do though.

You still will usually follow someone who is faster than you are and have someone behind you who is not.

And sorry, but I do not buy the "do-not-want-the-moving-chicane" argument. Don't worry about the Marcos, Matts and Peters too much! They will be able to get a lapping manouvre done. If not, then they have the opportunity to practice, after all it is part of race craft.

And I am equally not convinced that it is a benefit to bring out more champions, because there are more groups. Hey, if Michael wants to win a race then you have to split the grid in as many clusters as there are racers.

So my vote goes for two groups! Let us try it and see how it works out.
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  #25  
Old 12-01-2004
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Cool Re: Expert Class or Not?

Well, here goes my first post at TJR and it is with much trepidation. . .

It is so very encouraging to see how passionate you guys are about all things Skippyworld. I have learned a lot by watching some of your previous debates.

But, please temper my remarks as those of someone that had a meagher career in the lowest ranks of sportscar racing before "retiring" to the protected bubble of motorsports that we know and love as SBRS series racing many moons ago...

Back before the turn of the century,I spent every buck I could beg, borrow or steal to run my own SCCA and IMSA teams before lucking into a merrit-based ride. I know personally how expensive and frustrating being outspent and outsmarted can be. .

Until you run in the "real world" ,you cannot comprehend the mind-numbing expense and commitment that running your own car can be. . .

Which is why I am so thrilled to be able to associated with the most humanly attainable "equal" equipment at a somewhat cost effective basis.

(Fairly well supervised cheap seat-time)

However, one of my passions for this job was the aspect of the "Driver development Series". . .

I can live viacariously through the exploits of the Marco's and Pizzonia's as well as the Almendingers and RHR's of the world.

As a driver development series, the better part of the Education Process
comes courtesy of running with the Matt Franc's and Varsha's of our clan,
as well as the John Greist's and Louis Dibrell's .

Most lessons are learned on the track and other equally important lessons are learned in social situations.


If you want to "develop" your skills you need to hang with the better crowd!

Look at ANY other form of motorsports. SCCA, Grand-Am, ALMS, etc. you ALWAYS see disparaties in speed and skill level throughout the grid.
Often multiple classes of cars sharing the same race group but being scored in their respective categories...

What if we ran combined races with a mix of classes untill we reach the number of participants that allow for three healthy race groups of distinct abilities????

Everybody gets their trophies and points , but still get to measure themselves against the best we have.

Just a thought. . .

Yours, Not so Evil Homer, aka Sasquatch



Last edited by StevieDe; 12-01-2004 at 10:39 PM. Reason: spelling
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  #26  
Old 12-01-2004
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Re: Expert Class or Not?

"And I am equally not convinced that it is a benefit to bring out more champions, because there are more groups. Hey, if Michael wants to win a race then you have to split the grid in as many clusters as there are racers."

Ouch, that hurt.

If you read what I said though, I agree, more "champions" is not the way to go. I advocate 3 groups... one championship. I disagree, that in previous years, you always found someone to race with. I had plenty of races that felt like I was the only guy on the track. None of those happened this year. I think the perspective is different at the front of the field.

The test for Skippy should be how many of this year's Sportsman return cause they had fun vs. previous years.
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  #27  
Old 12-02-2004
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Re: Expert Class or Not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieDe
Well, here goes my first post at TJR and it is with much trepidation. . .

...However, one of my passions for this job was the aspect of the "Driver development Series". . .As a driver development series, the better part of the Education Process comes courtesy of running with the Matt Franc's and Varsha's of our clan, as well as the John Greist's and Louis Dibrell's...Most lessons are learned on the track and other equally important lessons are learned in social situations. If you want to "develop" your skills you need to hang with the better crowd!

Look at ANY other form of motorsports. SCCA, Grand-Am, ALMS, etc. you ALWAYS see disparaties in speed and skill level throughout the grid.
Often multiple classes of cars sharing the same race group but being scored in their respective categories...
Welcome to the site, Steve, and kudos on an awesome first post. You hit the nail on the head.

And Nest, about that divebomb, Sorry! I had to get by really quickly (trying to chase down Matt), and well... you know...
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  #28  
Old 12-02-2004
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Re: Expert Class or Not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJAmok
Ouch, that hurt.
I did not even know that this was possible. I had thought that you are beyond pain. So in the sense of keeping up the amicable tonality of the forum I would like to apologize and revise my thoughtless insult.

With his promotion to Eastern/Masters/Regional/Expert level in 2005, Auriemma's chances to win his first race will substantially improve.

Last edited by birkmama; 12-02-2004 at 04:29 PM.
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  #29  
Old 12-02-2004
Phobos Phobos is offline
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Re: Expert Class or Not?

Maybe. But highly in doubt.



Quote:
Originally Posted by birkmama
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJAmok
Ouch, that hurt.
I did not even know that this was possible. I had thought that you are beyond pain. So in the sense of keeping up the amicable tonality of the forum I would like to apologize and revise my thoughtless insult.

With his promotion to Eastern/Masters/Regional/Expert level in 2005, Auriemma chances to win his first race will substantially improve.

Last edited by sydude; 12-02-2004 at 02:52 PM. Reason: fixed quote from birkmama's f'd up quote..
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  #30  
Old 12-02-2004
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weldonjc weldonjc is offline
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Re: Expert Class or Not?

Question for Skip mgt. What percentage of total revenue comes from the sportsman group? I'm guessing that its large enough that you need to keep the "weekend warriors" happy and returning. Even though the MJA corporate events can be added to the revenue from the champ/expert pool, I bet the sportsman and brand new guys keep biz running. I'm basing this off the numbers we saw this year in the East. How about that high margin sportman crash damage component?

Keep the news guys happy by racing guys with similar abilities. Its all relative right? Keep it exciting so they can help subsidize the series while having fun. I say 2 groups, new guys and champ group. I know this has been said before etc... I'm just stating that I would not do a full season if I were fighting for last place. I cant justify losing business by being out of the office wed-fri. However, if it were the most fun I ever had fighting for position with a few guys I would do it more often.

I realize that Matt, Peter, and others have spent tons of cash over the last 5+ yrs. I'm not taking that away. 15 new guys a year that might race an additional 2-3 weekends per season because they have guys to race against is a great way to cover fixed costs. It also keeps skip alive so the talented guys have a series to compete in.

Who knows I could be all wrong and the sportsman are not that profitable.....whatever. 2 groups please. I cant stand to watch another 6 person Championship race...
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  #31  
Old 12-02-2004
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Re: Expert Class or Not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phobos
Maybe. But highly in doubt.
Well as proven elsewhere I am a true math genius. So let me explain Michael's perspectives this way. It is similar to lottery where, if you buy two tickets instead of one, your odds to win the jackpot are up a cool 100%.
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  #32  
Old 12-02-2004
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Re: Expert Class or Not?

Some people are missing the subject for the poll. The question is wether to have 2 or 3 groups, the expert group being the potentially disposable one.

The Sportsman group is going nowhere, it will be there 100% next year.
Relax.
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  #33  
Old 12-02-2004
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Re: Expert Class or Not?

Stev-o, I know its not going anywhere. I guess I was trying to support the moving chicane argument that no one wants to be out there alone. Was trying to say how fun it was to have guys to run with. However, the expert group this year was so close that they will not lose any of the excitement in the champ group...just the trophy...

I'm just working this off-season to figure out how you and I can both fit through the chicane next year. kidding.
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  #34  
Old 12-02-2004
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Re: Expert Class or Not?

I only did two weekends this year and so didn't experience the "season", however, the problem I have is that, even when I did the season in previous years, it was with doing two doubles. With the current format, if one is doubling during a weekend with only one Championship group, you get "penalized". Eliminating the Expert group and having two or three Championship groups would help with that issue. Otherwise, there is a huge absentee penalty.

I know everyone likes running in groups where you can find someone to race but, quite frankly, the difference in qualifying times between the Championship and Expert Groups is pretty tight. No one is going to get lapped at Lime Rock in a combined group unless you have an off...in which case, your race is over anyway.

I don't have a problem with the Sportsman Group...I think that it's a great idea. I would add the proviso, however, that multiple wins or some other metric should result in "forced" graduation up. Maybe if you lap within 2 seconds of the Championship polesitter, you're in.

:tomahawk
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  #35  
Old 12-03-2004
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Re: Expert Class or Not?

I prefer the old way of mixed abilities myself. The customer is always right , though, and if you guys want 2 or 3 groups then thats what you'll get. Thats why Todd asked.

My first year racing I saw more blue flags than Zolt Baumgartner. Little did I know what great preperation that was for the Daytona 24 race last year when DP cars where flying past me while driving the Corvette with no brakes. Or racing at the Glen last year in the Rolex ( again in the Corevtte with no brakes)with 3 classes of cars. It would not be nearly as fun if we ran three classes in different races. Then a year ago I raced a BMW M3 in an SCCA endurance race at Moroso and was in the reverse position. A faster car. Then I got to be the one flying by the slower cars. That's more fun. You learn to use the back markers as part or your stragetgy to get one between you and the car chasing you. It's also why I think the Skippy Memorial races are the most fun. All different abilites and complete mayhem. Cool.

Jumping into some of the Skippy National Races last year was great too. I was running at the back, but I learned a heck of a lot. Sy, you should do that next year.
Now in the Mazda Series I'm in the back again with a new challenge, and yes at Laguna on the last lap I got the dreaded Blue Flag as the top three drove past.

If you want to get faster, the best way is to run with faster people. I still have a lot to learn, but I learn best in more challenging environments. That's my $.02.

Crash damage a profit center? It might be if no crashes were ever over $4,000.

Still learning.
JP
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  #36  
Old 12-03-2004
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Re: Expert Class or Not?

John

Interesting perspective... thanks for sharing! Something to think about for sure.

I would guess though, that getting lapped by a DP car in a 24 hour race - - has a SLIGHTLY different effect on one's psyche than being lapped by an RT 2000 in a 24 minute race - - !
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  #37  
Old 12-08-2004
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Re: Expert Class or Not?

First off, I just need to say hi, this is my first post to TJR. I met a few of you at the Lime Rock race in July, did some southern series stuff before that and have since been racing in this year's southern series. For those that don't know me, my name is Jon Miller (duh...), I'm 19 and I go to the University of Central Florida in Orlando (as a backup plan, of course).

Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieDe
Look at ANY other form of motorsports. SCCA, Grand-Am, ALMS, etc. you ALWAYS see disparaties in speed and skill level throughout the grid.
Often multiple classes of cars sharing the same race group but being scored in their respective categories...

What if we ran combined races with a mix of classes untill we reach the number of participants that allow for three healthy race groups of distinct abilities????

Everybody gets their trophies and points , but still get to measure themselves against the best we have.
I think StevieDe is on to something here, that sounds like an awesome idea. It would give the less experienced guys a chance to mix it up with the Marcos, Matts and Millers of the series (wait, scratch that last one) while at the same time, making for an even more entertaining lap 1 than usual... (wait, is that good or bad?).

I agree completely that the only way to get better is to race with guys that are better than you! Varsha, Craig, Marco, Franc, all of those guys are faster than I am, but I know that racing with guys like that, watching what they do and trying to learn from them is one of the best ways to advance my own driving.

Plus that just sounds like a hell of a lot of fun. Most of my races with skippy have been great with very close racing and fun battles the whole way, but there have been a few where I felt like I was out there in a private test day. I think if the field was run the way StevieDe is proposing it would make for interesting racing for everyone, no matter your skill level.

Although, I have yet to decide if I think that "interesting" is a good thing... Maybe a trial raceweekend done in this style?

Also, what happened to the single lap qualifying idea that almost happened at Barber? I was all for that, I think that should be tired out as well. The only downside to that is less overall track time, but I think it's a cool idea and would shake things up a little. Plus it adds to the whole "I'm a real racecar driver" illusion that I hold so dear.
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  #38  
Old 12-09-2004
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Re: Expert Class or Not?

Welcome to the site! It's great to see you back at Skippy, and congratulations on your win at Moroso, too.

I never heard anything about trying out a one-lap qualifying system - maybe some of the Skippy guys can fill us in?
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  #39  
Old 12-09-2004
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Re: Expert Class or Not?

When I was racing a full season in '02 there were no groups, all racers mixed together with an additional trophy awarded to the fastest 'Old Person'.

I distinctly recall saying to Bobo back then "I'll never be on the podium racing against those guys" (Ernesto Viso, Isra, Newell, Marino, Zimroth, etc.) but by the end of the season I had two overall 3rds and 3 Master wins. My point is racing faster drivers definitely got me up to speed in a hurry, it was sink or swim. There were however, many races that turned into lapping sessions for me, which was very frustrating.

I think having the Sportsman group is an excellent change (I really wish I had the option back then), but drivers should be forced to move up once their lap times get to within a second or 2 (or 3) of the faster group. It will help them in the long run.

Being a part time racer should not be among the criteria for racing Sportsman. Using the Glen in Sept. as an example, I ended up racing with the Sportsman group because of a car problem in my Expert race. Although it was the most fun I have ever had in an R/T going from 19th to 4th, I was clearly too fast for that group, and I hadn't raced in 15 months. Sportsman eligibility should be based on lap times, period.

I will leave the question of Expert or not to the powers that be. When I race in '05 I hope there will be an Expert group because that is where my skill level is at the moment, I don't think I would have a chance at a podium, but I have said that before.....

You get faster faster racing faster racers (say that 5 times fast)

Last edited by cdh; 12-09-2004 at 12:14 PM.
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  #40  
Old 12-09-2004
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Re: Expert Class or Not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sydude
Welcome to the site! It's great to see you back at Skippy, and congratulations on your win at Moroso, too.

I never heard anything about trying out a one-lap qualifying system - maybe some of the Skippy guys can fill us in?
Hi Guys,

As most of you are aware, the subscribership in the Southern and Western series allowed for some extra time and flexiblity with the schedule.

Hence Todd went with the added value of a third practice on Friday ( an easy deal on a two group weekend , possible on a three group weekend, ain't gonna happen on a regular four group weekend).

Additionaly the time flexiblity allowed for a Sunday morning qualifier as well.

I am a big fan of seperate qualifying for Sunday and would like to see it stay. It gives everyone a fresh chance if they had issues on Saturday.

The added bonus is additional track time. The only downside is reprogramming our driver's travel departure plans to allow for a slightly longer Sunday.

The 'Single Car Qualifying' proposition was hatched at Barber Park over a knock out Saturday night dinner ( and several bottles of wine I assume).

On Sunday morning, the John's (Pew,Griest,Miller) all lobbied with conviction and I almost took the bait.

But thankfully Todd had gone home to do 'Trick or Treat' with Madison and wasn't reachable to make the call.

On the surface, it seemed a workable option.

My concerns were that it was going to eat up a LOT more time.

Even if we staggered the cars by 20 secs. or so and juggled say three cars on track at a time.
One on a warm up , one on his flyer and one on his cool down.

Then there was the whole aspect of someone throwing it in the beach and fouling the other cars on track. As well as the obvious lack of individual track time.

My initial discussion with Todd wass that there were more potential downsides than any perceived benifits. So, it has been filed under the good idea, but not great idea folder and tucked away for the moment.

But, as you all know this a "customer driven organization".
So never say never.

That should get you up to speed on the "Single Car Qual" debate.

Happy Holidays,
Evil Homer aka sasquatch
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  #41  
Old 12-09-2004
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Re: Expert Class or Not?

How about single lap Sunday qualifier for Champ Group only? Gives another incentive to move up!
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  #42  
Old 12-09-2004
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Re: Expert Class or Not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sydude
I never heard anything about trying out a one-lap qualifying system - maybe some of the Skippy guys can fill us in?
At BMS, there was lively discussion about a one lap F-1 qualifying format: warm up lap, qualifier, cool down lap during which the next car would be sent. A variation would send cars at closer intervals but with a gap of several seconds. Beyond the tension/excitement it would create, there was a possibility of saving some time from the usual 18 minute qualification session, feedback/refueling routine, though time-saving wasn't certain.

I think Stevie D. and others on the ground made the correct decision to defer for more deliberate weighing of factors with a possible trial at a later weekend. We were sent out to qualify with gaps to see what would have happened and we'd have been all over each other because there are widely divergent approaches to warming up.

It sure would be fun to see how we handle this wrinkle if the details can be worked out. Since memorials can be run from a standing start - yup we did some that way back in Formula Dodge days - one lap qualifing may also happen one day.

John

Last edited by sydude; 12-09-2004 at 01:56 PM. Reason: Fixed quote
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  #43  
Old 12-09-2004
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Re: Expert Class or Not?

Second that. Stevie D made the right decsion. What if the first car happen to drop oil all over the track on his warmup?

Good idea, though. Amazing what inspiration comes from a little wine.

JP
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