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American Iron - State of the Union


tacovini

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We had our Texas AI/CMC Awards Banquet last nite, and it wouldn’t be fair if I discussed an update on the 2010 rules with Texas and not with y’all. To summarize, and ad lib a bit….the message was this:

 

The rules are not done just yet for various reasons. As you all know, a few weeks back the AI Leadership Team got together and hashed thru a number of Rule Change Requests (RCR’s). I sent out a spreadsheet which had all the RCR’s on it and asked for each regional series director’s input on each item (For or Against), on behalf of their folks. The results came back fairly evenly split 50/50 on some of the big ticket items. Some of them were fairly easy.

 

From my perspective, we’ve got to look at the big picture and see around the apex to determine where we need to go. We need to address the 5 C’s…Car Count, Costs, compliance, competition & camaraderie. AI needs to be a reasonable stepping stone from CMC-2…and AIX needs to be another stepping stone from AI.

 

Work with me here, but, in the oil industry, the strength of a company (racing series) is determined by proven reserves (car count), unproven reserves (cars we know are out there but not part of our car count) and reserves replacement (# of rookies per year). Some AI regions are strong by these standards, however, many are not. We’ve all seen racing series come and racing series go, and they typically go away due to low car count. (No reserves replacement.).

 

KEY MESSAGE – AI Rookies are our common denominator in the ruleset and need to be considered at all times to ensure our growth and strength as a racing series.

 

It’s far too easy to cater to the big guys, to the fastest guys, to today’s racers who want more…but do it too much, and we’ll look back at the end of the straight and there won’t be anyone joining the series. See the 5 C’s as to why rookies wouldn’t want to join ANY series.

 

a) “Car Count is low…that series isn’t growing…I want folks to race with.”

b) “Costs are too high…Sky’s the limit there…I can’t afford that series.”

c) “Compliance…is anyone doing tech or even checking anything? I’m not going to race with them if they are not going to do anything about stuff like that.”

d) “Where’s the competition? 1 guy is running away from the pack and the other guys are all stragglers for 30 minutes. Heck, I can do that in HPDE…I want close competition!”

e) “That other series has a ton of fun & camaraderie. I’d rather hang with them instead of listening to all the internet BS and drama they have at the track. Noooo thank-you.”

 

These things can’t be changed overnight or even in a year but with long term goals, we can get there. Another key consideration is rules stability. Obviously, we don’t want to make large sweeping changes which could influence one of our existing racers (proven reserves) to go away. So any changes which would impact current drivers would likely have to be postponed into the outyears and definitely not for the 2010 season.

 

We are faced with an interested dilemma. The formula which made AI so successful years ago, isn’t necessarily working the same way anymore. We’re seeing this in CMC as well. In the early 90’s, CMC cars came from the factory with (maybe) 230 HP. American Iron was a step-change more radical in the day with a whopping 300 HP after bolting on some go-fast aftermarket parts!

 

Today’s factory ponycars (by CMC standards) are making AI #’s right out of the box. CMC is challenged with RESTRICTING horsepower to get newer cars (unproven reserves) to compete with older cars (proven reserves) so that they can ensure new people join the series (reserves replacement).

 

Today’s rookies with modern ponycars have a very real choice as to which series to join and the difference in HP between AI cnc CMC is not that great anymore. Lucklily, on average we’ve seen that new production model cars take 1-3 years before entering AI…and 7-9 years before they enter CMC.

 

Mr. Groth’s new Camaro will utilize a fairly stock motor. What will set AI apart from CMC in the future is the ability to embrace the aftermarket…but not too much so as to drive costs up. (Squeeze the balloon on one side and it gets bigger on the other side. The margins between AI & CMC are now much thinner than where they once were. Moving AI power levels up would be a cost escalation for the older cars to remain competitive. Ask the new cars to remove a lot of things that their car comes with could prevent newcomers. Not an easy problem to solve, is it? But we’ll get there…

 

So at the risk of touching off more paronoia and brew-ha-ha…here’s the consolidated list of summarized topics/items/areas WHICH WERE SUBMITTED. Not necessarily being changed, JUST BEING REVIEWED during this year’s Silly Season.

 

1) ABS - Allow and disallow.

 

2) TRACTION CONTROL - allow and disallow.

 

3) E-THROTTLE – drive by wire technology - allow and disallow.

 

4) MONGROL ENGINES – Chevy’s in Fords…Fords in Chevys.

 

5) ALUMINUM MOTORS - Allow sportsman aluminum aftermarket blocks

 

6) RIDE HEIGHT – review method of determining ride height

 

7) ROOF BAR - Allow for a diagonal roof bar brace in conv./T-top cars

 

GPS MONITORING – consider wider use for compliance

 

9) LIMIT AIX HP – Review a cap

 

10) FORCED INDUCTION - review for AI cars.

 

11) TRANSMISSIONS – review allowed mods

 

13) DASHES - Require some resemblance of a dash in AI

 

14) DYNO CERTIFICATION PROCEDURES - review

 

15) TRACKWIDTH - Review applicability.

 

16) APPEARANCE – decal package standards

 

17) BRAKES – review rotor/caliper size

 

18) MISC - Other minor wording updates, changes, cleanups & clarifications.

 

19) REMOTE RESERVOIR SHOCKS - Review

20) RAM AIR - review

 

At this point, I think we've heard every pro & con of each item. We'll get the final decsions and rules verbiage out within the next week.

 

-=Todd Covini

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As someone that is in the process of building an AI car I will be watching this very close. Anything that controlls cost is huge on my list. Take SM for example. Huge car counts cause the cost to build one is not that much. just my .02 and look forward to seeing what you guys come up with.

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As someone that is in the process of building an AI car I will be watching this very close. Anything that controlls cost is huge on my list. Take SM for example. Huge car counts cause the cost to build one is not that much. just my .02 and look forward to seeing what you guys come up with.

 

Just remember, controlling costs isn't everything.

 

You can build a Spec Miata: viewtopic.php?f=31&t=24259

 

Or, you can build a SPEC MIATA: viewtopic.php?f=31&t=31544

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Todd,

Impressive. I appreciate the thought and effort that has gone into this years rules evaluation.

Like nearly everyone else, I'm sure I won't agree with everything, but I as you have said, this is about the continued success of the AI series.

 

Another movie quote:

Serious voice, "I just want you to know (pause) we are all counting on you".

anyone, anyone....?

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Todd,

Impressive. I appreciate the thought and effort that has gone into this years rules evaluation.

Like nearly everyone else, I'm sure I won't agree with everything, but I as you have said, this is about the continued success of the AI series.

 

Another movie quote:

Serious voice, "I just want you to know (pause) we are all counting on you".

anyone, anyone....?

 

Gung Ho?!

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robbodleimages

As someone who has spent his money on brakes and shocks and springs rather than HP, light weight body work and aero, I will be very curious as to what we see.

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Like nearly everyone else, I'm sure I won't agree with everything, but I as you have said, this is about the continued success of the AI series.

 

Another movie quote:

Serious voice, "I just want you to know (pause) we are all counting on you".

anyone, anyone....?

 

Airplane

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firehawkclone

Like nearly everyone else, I'm sure I won't agree with everything, but I as you have said, this is about the continued success of the AI series.

 

Another movie quote:

Serious voice, "I just want you to know (pause) we are all counting on you".

anyone, anyone....?

 

Airplane

x2

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Like nearly everyone else, I'm sure I won't agree with everything, but I as you have said, this is about the continued success of the AI series.

 

Another movie quote:

Serious voice, "I just want you to know (pause) we are all counting on you".

anyone, anyone....?

 

Airplane

x2

X3

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Firebird Man

Todd

I'll throw my "rookie" 2 cents in as I just got my rookie license.

 

I don't know a lot about the AI or CMC series, but I got into this racing thing 2 years ago by attending HSR events since my taste are more towards Vintage racing. But I quickly found that NASA was the best place to learn, plus it's a bunch of really cool people here.

But to my dismay I found there was no place for a Vintage race car in NASA. AI-V had been disolved and I had no desire to build my 1968 car into some modern car with Vintage sheetmetal.

Nor did I desire to build a more modern car. And given the amount of attention a classic car gets, a full vintage field will get some serious attention. I honestly never gave a thought to how popular my car would be at these events. I just built what I know how to.

Convincing others and filling up the field will not be easy though.

 

Given that, I built my car going totally by HSR Vintage rules and entered my first NASA event with it last December, HSR rules are extremely straight forward and farily easy to adhere to, but I have not run any HSR events yet. The safety rules run parallel with NASA. The only issue I have with HSR rules is the OEM brake rule. I'm given a 15" x 8" rim and Bias ply tire rule, pretty darn restrictive IMO, I should be able to put whatever brake I can squeeze into a 15", which ain't much, but not just for performance, but also safety.

 

Back to NASA, I'm trying my best to make my car competitive so I can continue to run here, but I'll be in AI-X if we can't revive V and get some more Vintage cars in the fields. My car will not be competitive against many, or perhaps any, current AI-X cars. It's 42 years old, using old technology but new aftermarket parts where applicable. It's a pretty good way to build a classic car without breaking the bank.

Convincing others to build and run a vintage racer will take a set of rules to keep the field level, competitive and fun, as is with any class.

 

For AI-V I'd say:

1975 and older US makes. (This could be made to include foreign cars but would need a different classification and rules)

15" x 8.5" rims max

Bias Ply tires (Vintage correct, like Goodyear Blue streaks or Hoosiers)

OEM or aftermarket brakes allowed. + 100 lbs for 4 wheel disc.

MSD Ignition box with 6800 rev chip (keeps high dollar-high winding engines out)

366 cu in limit

Aluminum heads ok.

Carburetor unless injection is OEM correct. (Find some way to allow LS engines since the swap is popular)

OEM style Iron blocks

3100# min weight without driver.

OEM period correct Transmission (+100 lb wt for modern trans)

All steel or OEM body panels, but aftermarket Fiberglass hoods and bumpers allowed.

OEM type spoilers allowed.

OEM style suspensions, tubular A-arms allowed. (But no coil over conversions)

 

I'm sure I left out plenty of small details but that's pretty much a catalog built Vintage 60's-70's car.

Beyond that it's all safety related.

 

That's my take on it. Let's go racing.

 

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horsewidower

10) forced induction for AI cars.

 

Sort of cuts to the heart of my program. The last 2 years, 10s of thousands of dollars spent and enough blown engines to match Mr. Lindsey. But at least he got on track.

 

Does it really matter if you have a HP,TQ/weight rule?

 

It would be one cruel f...ing joke as I'm sitting on the dyno with a turbo 4-cylinder to find out I've been outlawed. 2010 was going to be my last year for fiddling with this science experiment anyhow. If it worked, I'd continue, if not, time to do something else.

 

Nevertheless, I haven't made it to the track, I'm not part of your car counts. And I'm even tired of hearing myself bitch. So do what you're going to do, but damn-it, do it soon. I don't need to spend anymore on this money pit if you're going to make it obsolete before its first race.

 

Set some damn rules and leave them in place for years. That's right years. I'm sick of this annual pins and needle seat I sit on to determine what I might have to change to remain legal. I realize that very few things have changed over the 5 year build on this car, and for that I'm thankful, but enough.

 

I realize that politic-ing rules is an important part of a successful race program, hell its done in every series there is. And, that the rule revision requests that you've received are probably replete with requests that try to memorialize an advantage or attempt to eliminate a perceived advantage. But for those of us just trying to make the grid, this process is aggravating at best, and simply absurd at worst.

 

I'm at the point that I don't give a shit what the rules are, set 'em and leave 'em for a minimum of three years. That way I can focus on getting the car ready instead of sitting here, not wanting to spend money or finish the car because I don't know what the rule set is. Our first event in Norcal is in late February, I need to get to work.

 

Bob (yep I'm bitching again) Holmes

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Bob, I can certainly understand your point. Have a drink on me in confidence that your hair dryer wont be illegal any time soon. No changes of that magnitude would be made without given drivers notice measured in years.

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robbodleimages

I am glad this is just hobby racing. This concentration of power in Texas would otherwise both me.

 

BTW....You guys still ceceding from the union?

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I am glad this is just hobby racing. This concentration of power in Texas would otherwise both me.

 

BTW....You guys still ceceding from the union?

only if that healthcare crap passes

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I am glad this is just hobby racing. This concentration of power in Texas would otherwise both me.

 

BTW....You guys still ceceding from the union?

 

 

First chance we get to bolt, we're gonna throw out all the dems at gun point and if they don't leave, we're throwin' em on the grill!

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Uh, both Road Atlanta, Road America (my average lap speed 102 MPH with the non-turbo car), Watkins Glen, are all better because there are not nearly as many liberal hippies like in California. Pelosi? Really? Is that the best you can do you bunch of left-coast-left-wing-gay-pride-tree-huggers? I can do this all day but my fingers would hurt from all the typing.

 

What are you guys going to do next out there? Outlaw Plasma TV's? Oh yeah, I guess you are.....

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robbodleimages

sorry...Laguna Seca is the most famous? More famous than Watkins Glen? More famous than Sebring International Raceway? More famous than Daytona International Speedway?

 

I don't think so.

 

I am not sure that I buy that Cali argument for track choice either. Within 12 hours haul of my home in Eastern NC, I have VIR("car and driver calls it North America's Nurbergring"), Sebring, Road Atlanta, Daytona, Barber Motorsports Park. These tracks all have professional road course events. The Rolex 24, 12 Hours of Sebring, & Petit Lemans at Road Atlanta are all international professional events.

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