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2005 Rule - NO CONTACT!


mwilson7

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Based on the actions which occurred at Putman Park and throughout the year I would like to recommend that American Iron Adopt a 13-13 contact rule exactly like the GTS series has done. It seems that the majority of people believe it's the right thing to do and I don't understand how it can be a detriment to the class. I would also assume that the penalties assessed would be determined by the AI Director and not the Regional Director as this is a class rule.

 

If we truly want to have good clean racing and want to continue to attract the Open track crowd then this is a must. Otherwise it appears we will become another A-Sedan type class where it becomes acceptable to have "incidental contact" on your way to the front.

 

Taken from the GTS website:

 

Basically this means clean, well-executed passing will be the trademark of the series. Punting one's competition off the racetrack or leaning against them to gain position is unacceptable. Everyone competing in the series must understand that a well thought out and safely executed pass is acceptable while a kamikaze pass which jeopardizes both drivers and cars is not, regardless of whether the position in contention is 10th place or 1st.

 

Metal to metal contact, including bump drafting will result in an investigation and possible sanctions. While a format for administering a 13/13 rule is described below, the focus here should not be on the literal interpretation of the rules, but rather the spirit.

 

In addition to the normal discretion of NASA stewards to deal with inappropriate and unsafe conduct during all practice and race sessions, this series will employ a "Modified 13/13 Rule." This rule means any driver involved in car-to-car contact will likely be placed on probation from anywhere between 4 races to 13 months. Should this driver be involved in another incident resulting in car-to-car contact during the probation, he or she will be suspended for 13 months and will forfeit any points accumulated for the year-end championship.

 

Accidents do happen in automobile racing, as this is a dangerous sport. The hope is that our Modified 13/13 Rule will set the tone for sportsmanship and camaraderie within the series and minimize the danger and expense involved in racing on track.

 

II. The Modified 13/13 Process

Challenge Conduct Stewards

Each race in the GTS Challenge will have a Challenge conduct steward. The role of the conduct steward is to oversee driver behavior throughout the weekend. This includes, and is not limited to monitoring and/or stopping over-aggressive driving in practice, qualifying and race sessions. If a driver is viewed as a threat to the safety of other drivers on track, it is within the rights of the conduct steward to remove said driver from the track for the day.

 

A. Car-to-Car Contact

In the event of car-to-car contact, the conduct stewards are responsible for the following:

 

a. Collection of information from all drivers involved, including videos,

 

b. Collection of information from corner workers where applicable,

 

c. Mediation of post-incident interviews,

 

d. Reporting of findings to the series director and NASA Race Director

 

B. Car Damage

Under the Modified 13/13 Rule, any incident that results in car damage will cause the following events to take place. All drivers involved will be required to meet with the conduct steward(s). Based on the data available, the steward(s) will make a decision on any probationary actions to be taken against the driver(s) involved. Any driver involved in car-to-car conduct must meet with the steward before returning to the track that day or during the weekend, otherwise the driver shall be presumed to be at fault.

 

C. Contact caused by the mechanical failure of one or more cars

Typically there will be no fault found with any driver involved, and no probation will be filed against any driver.

 

D. Racing incidents where no drivers involved feel anyone was at fault.

In wheel to wheel racing, it is inevitable that incidental contact will take place. In these cases, where no drivers involved in the incident feel anyone is at fault, no probation will be filed against any of the involved drivers.

 

E. One or more drivers find fault.

After review by the safety steward(s), a driver that is found at fault will be placed on 13 months probation. Drivers placed under probation ay appeal to the series directors. If one or more drivers think there is fault but the investigation determines otherwise, then no probation if so determined by the steward(s).

 

III. Driver Probation

In the event of car-to-car contact, all drivers involved may be subject to probation. When a driver is placed on probation following an on-track incident, he/she will be under strict monitoring by the conduct stewards, the series directors, and the NASA race director. The series directors will maintain a record of each driver that is on probation including his/her behavior at subsequent races. Probation lasts for a period not shorter than 4 races but no longer than 13 months from the date of the incident forward. During this period, any probationary driver involved in another incident, and found at fault (partially or completely) will be suspended for the duration of the next race in the series. Subsequently, any driver found at fault of a third incident (second while on probation) will be suspended from the GTS Challenge for 13 months. Any driver completing the probationary period with no further incidents will return to full non-probationary status. Series directors will notify a driver when their probation has been lifted.

 

Forfeiture of Points / Finishing Position

Any driver found at fault in an incident will be disqualified and forfeit his/her finishing position for that race, and that race only, provided the driver is not already on probation. If the incident occurs during practice, the driver will be required to start the qualifying race from the back of the field, and only after meeting with the Challenge steward. If the incident occurs during a qualifying race, the driver will start at the back of the field for the ensuing feature race, and only after meeting with the Challenge steward. Any driver that is removed from the series due to being found at fault for two incidents within the designated probation period will forfeit all series points accumulated for the year.

 

III. The Appeals Process

Drivers placed on probation may file an appeal to the series co-directors. Such appeals must be in writing and mailed to the co-directors. Steward findings will only be overturned in the event of extremely compelling evidence in favor of the accused driver that was not available to the steward at the time of the original decision.

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I'm for any rule that helps to lessen the likelihood of contact. My concern would be how do we enforce it anymore than we are enforcing our current rules? The current problem with some of the previous contact has been he said she said and so on. Most of us currently have video cameras and can use them. What "new" data do the stewards use to make their decision? How does the 13/13 make their decision making process any easier or simpler?

 

Again please keep in mind that I am all for this suggestion. I am also all for helping make it feasible, I just don't see how to make it work any better than the current scenario. I most certainly think it is a good topic to bring up and discuss without anyone pointing fingers throughout the discussion of specific past incidents. That might get ugly. I just hope we can keep it theoretical while making it realistic.

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A DQ is brutal in AI and that is how contact is penalized today. In addition, the driver is already going to be stigmatized whether he realizes it or not.

 

Discouraging contact is a goal that everyone would support.

 

What I don't like about this rule is putting a driver "on the spot". If both drivers say no one is at fault - that's it. I want a neutral, third-party making that call so that a genuine disagreement won't find it's way back to the track with the guy who thinks he got shafted.

 

My $0.02

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Keith - You are not DQ'ed for just hitting someone. If that's the case there wouldn't be an issue.

 

Mark - Read the rules I posted above and read the CCR and you'll see an obvious difference in the rules. Bumping a car twice in less than 10 seconds is more than just "incidental contact" but yet nothing happens. Now do you see the problem?

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If the racing is close and competitive there will be contact at some point. Out west we have had minimal contact and this year myself I have only had contact in the form of bumping an out of class vehicle in front of me unintentionally. Most of the time I have found that out of class vehicles don’t even see me coming when I am making my way around them. They often turn into a space in which I had already committed to taking. Not once was there any substantial damage. The worst was a small hole in the front bumper of the car I was driving made by the tow hook of the car I bumped. In addition, it was never a problem and I am not sure if the driver even noticed as the incident was never brought up.

“Rubbin’ is racing”. That is just the way it is sometimes. I am all for penalizing a driver who does something stupid that results in damaging another vehicle, but if minor contact is penalized I vote against this rule. Part D above pretty much clarifies this, but who is to say that at some point another driver may have a different opinion of a situation

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Mark - Read the rules I posted above and read the CCR and you'll see an obvious difference in the rules. Bumping a car twice in less than 10 seconds is more than just "incidental contact" but yet nothing happens. Now do you see the problem?

 

Mark I have read both. I also re-read the rules within my other series in Midwestern Council of which we have less contact. My concern is still that regardless of how a rule reads, there has to be some way to have evidence of who did what to whom. You still have to prove it. Though I'd rather not bring up scenarios here, can you give us a scenario where there was evidence of such an event, and yet there wasn't anything done about it because of how the rules were written?

I like the idea, I'm just concerned about how to enforce it any differently than how we have been enforcing it in the past.

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Just watch an A-Sedan race and you'll understand what I'm talking about. I'm not talking about the accidental contacts that happen every once in a great while. And if it does happen every once in a great while then there shouldn't be a problem with this rule. With the current rules one can use bumps as intimidation or to "remind" people that you are behind them. Is that what we really want?

 

Perhaps we could get someone from the GTS class to chime in here and let us know how it works for them.

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Keith - You are not DQ'ed for just hitting someone. If that's the case there wouldn't be an issue.

 

OK, I see the difference now. I think that "bumps" are going to happen and in general I like the idea of discouraging it. I think the line to the "official's trailer" could get pretty long after events if every contact results in a "meeting".

 

Heck, I almost bumped someone in another class on Sunday and I wouldn't have expected to have "a chat". I was quicker in the turns and he was quicker on the straights. I could get a fender alongside on corner exit but that was it. The CCR states that you don't have a right to the line until your front wheel is even with the drivers door so as he "closed" the door I had to back out. If I kept my foot in it and held my ground, we would have touched... No biggie and no problem.

 

Todays rules work OK and this would work as well. It's just how many conversations the officials need to have after an event.

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I'm for defining the various types of contact in the rules and then clearly stating what (if any) the penalties may or may not be assessed based upon the existence of contact. (Example: contact occurred, no position change, etc.) Right now I think too much pressure is placed on series officials to make a determination about the penalty portion of the scenario.

I'm not slamming anyone here, it seems to me to be a tough and sometimes ugly job. I'll also confess my lack of experience here so keep THAT in mind if I've missed something obvious or subtle. I think the CCR does a good job at addressing many contact situations, but I also like the idea of any contact being addressed. Addressed, not necessarily penalized (depends on the outcome IMO).

 

As I read the proposal above, ANY metal to metal contact will be scrutinized. That's fine with me as long as the decision/penalty process is clearly defined in the rules. Takes away the pressure or issues surrounding the final decisions and the penalties handed down. Right now it seems to me that there is too much grey area in the way things CAN be handled in the process. I think that hard feelings can develop if Driver A thinks Driver B got an "different" penalty for a similar contact incident.

 

I suggest something like this for the officials:

 

Step 1: Was a protest filed correctly? (followed procedures, etc)

Step 2: Was there contact? (review tape, statements, etc)

Step 3: Was a position advanced? (review tape, statements, etc)

 

Those should be YES/NO type answers. Then base the penalties on those answers and the rules should clearly state what those penalties will be if a YES is answered. The officials don't have a choice, they follow what is spelled out in the rules once the YES/NO portion of the investigation is completed. It may take away some of the controversy possibly surrounding the "how'd you decide on that penalty?" question.

 

So, to play out my suggestion, let's say I (Driver A) bump a competitor (Driver B) from behind in the braking zone, that pushes him wide and I duck under for the pass, go on to finish the race ahead of him. While I'm celebrating my finish in the paddock Driver B properly files a protest. Yes, they have to file a protest. My suggestion is that this is not automatically reviewed by officials. The officials would then start the process, investigate, review tape, take statements from drivers and corner-workers, etc; make a determination that indeed there was contact and as a result Driver A did advance position. The officials then look it up in the rules to see what penalty I should be assessed. Period.

 

Granted, the obvious problem could be that Driver A bumps Driver B and then Driver B simply goes wide and allows Driver A to advance knowing that a protest can be filed later and the officials will take action against Driver A. I can't tell you what should/would happen in that situation, only that if Driver B wants to beat Driver A that way, well, it's not very sporting IMO. Technically, Driver A shouldn't have bumped Driver B, so I feel that's where the real issue lies.

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As I've said before I think that an occassional bump may happen and under the 13-13 rule that's fine. Your on probation for 4-13 races and if your bumping cars within that time frame then other actions will be taken. The 13-13 rule is an attempt to make bumping an exception rather than a way to either intimidate people or get around them.

 

It doesn't appear that anyone so far is for car to car contact but the question is how is it policed, is that correct?

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I don't want contact, but realize it can happen without fault being found (example: the side-to-side contact clearly addressed in the CCR). My rambling above meant to say that any type of contact outside of those already addressed in the CCR's should be handled via protest - with clear rules and penalties stated for those situations.

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Mark, your read on this is correct. Very few people find bodywork a rewarding activity.

 

I need to point out two details in the CCR that I think will lead to incidental contact with both competitors are within the rules.

 

You have the right to the line (say you're on the inside heading into a turn) if you have a wheel even with the driver's door, at least. The car on the outside only has to give you 3/4 of a car width (I am amazed that this in there but it is). If I am the guy on the inside and the driver on the outside is only going to give me 3/4 of a car width at the apex, we are going to bump. I'm not running in the dirt when I have position and he doesn't have to give me my car width. Thems the rules and this will invite contact within them. If I were the car on the outside, I would accept that he got position and give him a car width +1" and that's it... ...and I don't have to.

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As I've said before I think that an occassional bump may happen and under the 13-13 rule that's fine. Your on probation for 4-13 races and if your bumping cars within that time frame then other actions will be taken. The 13-13 rule is an attempt to make bumping an exception rather than a way to either intimidate people or get around them.

 

It doesn't appear that anyone so far is for car to car contact but the question is how is it policed, is that correct?

 

 

Exactly! How does changing the rule, make the directors more able to deduce the blame?

 

In our AGS class, we have a simple rule. This was done to prohibit AGS from becoming like AS as the rules are similar. If two cars come in contact, the car in front is not to blame. I.E. the car in front isn't going to hit the car in back for position as they already have it. The car in the back that is going for position had better have an inch of their car in front of the car in front before turn in or if there is contact, it will be the car in the rear that gets black flagged. One of the things that works with this scenario is the fact that we also run 3-4 corner workers per corner. These are also peole that have gone through our schooling. One of the few things that I find lacking at the AI events has been quality corner workers.

Short story: at Beaverun last year, I had the mass air meter come off. I pulled the car to the corner worker, but was still not in a great position. The corner worker didn't realize I was there for about half a lap as I signaled to him that I was OK and wanted to get out of the car. He didn't signal back. I got out of the car and he just stood there and I suggested he radio in. He did and threw the yellow flag. I then for fun asked if I could go back to the car to turn off my radio while the race was still running around the track and he said "go ahead". Not good. I don't want our races to be determined by this kind of character. Plus there was only one corner worker at each corner.

 

Maybe in our rule making suggestions, we should offer to pay a little more entry fees to have more corner workers and or safety crew?

 

If the rules make it easier for the directors to chose what discipline to use over what we have than it is a good idea. Anything simpler and easier always helps. Not knowing for days after an event what the outcome was isn't something that the racers want to have happen.

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Gentlemen:

 

In GTS here is what happens:

 

During most/all GTS contact investigations, the race director follows the same proceedure. The GTS director is asked to sit in, and decide what, if any, additional penalties may apply. For example, if there is contact that is ruled incidental (no position change, no course deviation, no damage, no 50/50) by the race director, the GTS director may still take action against the driver. In all cases the Race Director is fully involved in the investigation. At no time is the investigation left up to the GTS Series Director.

 

Here are the items that the Race Director of NASA OH/IN always takes into consideration:

 

Corner Worker Testimony

Individual Driver Body Contact Reports

Any Call of Action Reports

Any other Witness Reports

Interview each of the drivers

Interview drivers behind the incident

View video data

Referrence the CCR

Call National if there is a discrepancy, or clarification to be determined

View the cars in question

And anything else that could possibly help make the decision.

 

After careful deliberation, a penalty(penalties) or no penalty is given out.

 

For the record: When racing in the past, I have been DQ'ed for being underweight (I was under by 15lbs, and had not weighed myself earlier in the weekend-my mistake), and for contact (locked up the brakes in the rain and pushed myself and another car off the track. No damage, at slow speed, but made a mistake non the less). While talking with the Race Director my response was the same each time, "I am sorry for my mistake. I take responsibility for it, and will try my hardest to not do it again." The Race Director thanked me for my time, and I was on my way. I then went back to my paddock space, did my best to shrug it off, and got myself ready for the next race. With the car I pushed off the track: I went to his paddock space first and helped him fix his car. It resulted in my being late to the next session, but that was not my concern.

 

I have the utmost respect for those who are Race Directors in any sanctioning body, as they are typically some of the most diligent people at the track, that may end up being disliked by those they penalize, or those who aren't even a part of the penalty. These people don't generally show up at the track looking for ways of getting people into trouble. They are looking to be the one who can handle a dispute or investigation in the most fair and upstanding manor available. Any member of the NASA OH/IN staff will tell you that this is the same for the Race Director at our events.

 

The bottom line is: People may not always like what the Race Director has to say, but the decisions are made only after lengthy investigation. This is a position that demands respect. And one that gives the highest level of respect back.

 

Respectfully Yours,

 

LM

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If two cars come in contact, the car in front is not to blame. I.E. the car in front isn't going to hit the car in back for position as they already have it. The car in the back that is going for position had better have an inch of their car in front of the car in front before turn in or if there is contact, it will be the car in the rear that gets black flagged.

 

That sounds like a good idea, you are totally correct, the lead car should not be to blame and that would be easy to determine via Video cameras, dinged/mangled bodywork and/or corner worker reports. It would greatly simplify the complete investigation and lay out groundwork for disciplinary action.

 

 

My $.02 as a Racer AND a Director

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I like the idea Mark, with exactly the qualifications that have been mentioned.

 

Last year at VIR, Dan S. and I raced VERY close for quite a while. He was in front of me, I was quicker, and we diced hard for quite some time. At one point I showed my nose somewhere I had no intention of passing - just to keep in his mirrors. He checked up and turned in early to shut the door, and we touched. It was just a light bump for both of us, but regardless, it was contact. I apologized after the race, we spoke and agreed that it was a "racing incident" and was not an issue.

 

Certainly I appreciated Dan's understanding. Clearly it was primarily my fault. I'd hate to see incidents like this result in probations in the future. But the more serious incidents should have consequences.

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Mark I'm glad you brought this up. I've been waiting for this discussion, especially after the Putnam weekend. I feel I'm still too much of a newbie to bring up such a topic, but I believe a change, or perhaps a modification of the rules regarding contact are in order. I like the outline you laid out, because it dictates that officials must respond to drivers who repeatedly find themselves involved in "racing incidents". And also, because it mandates probation and serioius consequence's for repeat offenders. As I read the existing rules, there are not enough consequences for repeat offenders.

Again, being new I am not sure what is normal or acceptable, but I am not thrilled with the amount of contact I've seen with the front runners. Let's not forget the biggest issue. Someone may end up seriously hurt. Not to mention the cost of repairs. I'm in favor of tightening up the contact rules. But like every other rule it must be enforced and across the board. So what is more important a questionable contact that results in penalties or doing everything possible to help minimize the dangers that can occur from contact? How stupid will any of us feel if gaining that one more position results in flipping a car or putting someone in the hospital or totaling someones car or worse?

It appears that the 13/13 rules still allows for small incidenal contact, but will help minimize dumb moves.

Someone slap me if I'm speaking out of turn.

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I'm 110% for this!

 

As one of the OT guys coming into the series as a "new" contender, I can say that the "lack of contact" that this series offers is what appealed to me vs A-sedan. I'm not looking to visit the paint booth on a regular basis, nor can I honestly afford it. I expect the occasional mishap, but a series where deliberate rubs/bumps/punts happen would have me, my sponsors and my entry fees going elsewhere.

 

I just hope the officials will keep up on the enforcement end of whatever ruleset we decide upon here. There shouldn't be room for multiple repeat offences in a non-contact series like AI.

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LM,

 

It would seem that all of the people that are responding to this notion are for anything that can lessen potential contact, and find a way to discipline drivers who have caused contact. My question to you is would this idea of having the same rule as GTS be a help to your efforts, or would it make a difference on how you looked at it? It would seem that it gave you more consistent disciplinary actions to take with people, but do you think it would help? I honestly don't think that everyone here is criticizing you on your work and efforts in the past and I've expressed my appreciation in the past. It reads to me that they all want to find a way to make it consistent and easier for you and the rest of the directors. Is this your read as well?

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Dave,

 

I believe you have been racing since MO which gives you 8 races. Doesn't that mean you get to remove your rookie stripes?

 

Hell he hasn't driven like a rookie since his first day!

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Dave,

 

I believe you have been racing since MO which gives you 8 races. Doesn't that mean you get to remove your rookie stripes?

 

Yes, but the decision to remove the rookie marks/plates isn't up to the competitor. It's up to the Race Director to decide when those markings get removed.

 

NASA 2004 CCR's, Section 13.2, Rookie Status:

 

13.2 Rookie Status

Any NASA Provisional License holder is defined as a “Rookie,” and will remain so until they have finished eight ( 8 ) races without significant incident. Additionally, the Race Director may place any driver on Rookie status. Rookie status is simply a designation, and implies no punitive reflections or consequences. A Provisional License holder that fulfills the requirements, and receives a competition license, may still carry the Rookie”title, as defined by this section. A driver on Rookie status must comply with all of the following (sections 13.2.1 and 13.2.2).

 

NASA 2004 CCR's, Section 13.2.1, Rookie Marks:

 

13.2.1 Rookie Marks

The driver must display the letter “R” (legibly) next to their car numbers on each side, and on the rear, of the car. The “R” on each side, and the rear shall be three inches (3”) high. The Rookie mark (“R”) must remain on the car for at least eight ( 8 ) races, and may only be removed with the permission of the Race Director (or appointee).

 

NASA 2004 CCR's, Section 13.2.2, Rookie Plate:

 

13.2.2 Rookie Plate

Drivers with less than eight ( 8 ) races must mark the rear of their vehicle with a bright orange mark. The mark must be clearly visible to other cars while on track and shall be at least forty-eight ( 48 ) square inches. The Rookie plate may be removed with the approval of the Race Director after the driver has finished eight ( 8 ) races without significant incident.

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