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BrandonT

Putnam impressions from 10/8

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BrandonT

What was everyone's impression from this past weekend at Putnam? I could not believe all the incidents we had. Anyone want to talk about their issues or what they saw?

 

- I had trouble getting heat into the rear tires which made the car difficult to keep straight in the corners. Later when it warmed up it was better but it was hard to get hot laps in traffic.

 

- When accident happened in turn 8 (HPDE 2/3 run 3) I was nearly rear-ended by another car while I was obeying a yellow. (Yellow flew in 7 for a 'Vette on-track spin just before the red came out)

 

- The track itself was interesting and fun. However I think the camber and cold combined to give people a hard time. I liked the elevation changes and the facility was very nice.

 

- There were too many cars in HPDE2/3. Even going through the pits only got me about 2 laps before I hit traffic again.

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BTTBSS

Putnam Park was my first NASA event. Overall I thought the week-end went well excluding the off course carnage, I've never seen that many cars get beat up at one event. I was dissappointed that NASA combined HPDE 2&3. There was constant traffic, you'd point one car by and three would pass, leaving you totally screwed for the next corner. It was like rush hour on the Interstate.

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Mafia

I think run groups were overcrowded. In HPDE4/TT there were close to 50 cars at one point (on a 1.8 mile track!). Add to the mix the speed differential between cars - 1:17 vs 1:40, drivers that aren't used to watching their mirrors and you have a not so safe situation.

 

It's a great idea to offer cheap road racing for everyone, but not at the expense of safety. I think future NASA events must be limited to the number of cars signing up or else NASA will be always thought of as the traffic jam group. Raise the entree fees if necessary.

 

I want to make sure it's clear that I don't expect to be able to run traffic free - in fact traffic is fun too. But last weekend was just too many cars on the track at once. I think limiting groups to 30 or so would be much better for all involved, more at bigger tracks like RA and fewer at shorter once.

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Jeff D

I think that was the most cars I've ever seen show up at Putnam. Wasn't in the HPDE groups but just seeing how many cars we had on grid I could tell.

 

IMHO the number of incidents was due to the temps. One of the nice things about Putnam though is that most of the time a spin or off-track incident just leaves you with dirty wheels and maybe some turf in the undercarriage.

 

Didn't get out in the first qualifying session on Saturday, and I'm sure it was even worse then, but in the AM race on Saturday it was still really slick. Probably a good thing I missed qualifying and started last since it let me take it easy for several laps and feel things out. No problems other than the car being a real handfull though.........about 40 cars in group A......what a blast!

 

Once the sun came out in the afternoon the track was much better. Good all day Sunday as well. Great way to finish off the year!

 

Everyone remember to say a prayer for Dale Clark (the fellow in the turn 1 incident on Saturday).

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Mystic Terminator
What was everyone's impression from this past weekend at Putnam? I could not believe all the incidents we had.

I thought there were too many also.

 

 

- When accident happened in turn 8 (HPDE 2/3 run 3) I was nearly rear-ended by another car while I was obeying a yellow. (Yellow flew in 7 for a 'Vette on-track spin just before the red came out)

Are you talking about the BMW that went into 10? I was directly behind the vette when he did his spin coming out of 7. He went on the grass and started to roll backwards onto the straight between 7 & 8. We were definately under red when it came out. Unlike the version I heard from the corner workers, the vette, myself and 2 ~ 3 cars behind me came to a quick controlled stop. Well the vette wasn't controlled, but bringing a race track to a full course red always has risks involved. The cars behind me did pass me and stop ahead of me, but I pulled off-line and drove slightly in the grass to make room. I think the red was handled well in our corner.

 

- There were too many cars in HPDE2/3. Even going through the pits only got me about 2 laps before I hit traffic again.

Absolutely way too many cars on the track in 2/3. Pitting out didn't help me either. I told the starter I wanted a space with a hand signal and he pointed me on behind three others. I would run into traffic in less than a 1/2 lap. It definately was not worth pitting in. You usually had the same idea as three other cars in front of you. When you are in a train of 15 ~ 20 cars, everyone in the back gets the same idea about pitting out for a space.

 

I was dissappointed that NASA combined HPDE 2&3. There was constant traffic, you'd point one car by and three would pass, leaving you totally screwed for the next corner.

Not me! I would only pass w/ a specific point. Many times I was frustrated when a driver would only point 1 or 2 cars by on the long straight between 10 & 1 and then not point any more by with more than half of the straight remaining. However, there were times when cars ahead of me managed to point 3 ~ 4 cars by on the small straights like between 4 & 5. Overall the point by's really sucked the first day. It seemed for the most part that drivers would point others by between 10 & 1 and 4 & 5. They would not point by between 7 & 8 and 8 & 9 even though these are designated passing area's.

 

I think run groups were overcrowded. In HPDE4/TT there were close to 50 cars at one point (on a 1.8 mile track!). Add to the mix the speed differential between cars - 1:17 vs 1:40, drivers that aren't used to watching their mirrors and you have a not so safe situation.

If you think it was bad in 4/TT you should have seen 2/3. We don't get unlimited passing no point required. And I am sure we had a bigger mix of experience levels between 2 and 3. Definately many drivers from 2 did not look into thier mirrors until they tracked out of 10. Then they would look and point a few by and then stop the pointing once they were alongside the starter/small tower. They wouldn't look into thier mirrors again until the next FULL LAP when they tracked out of 10 again. More drivers in group 1 would have helped. I'm guessing they (NASA) did not have enough instructors so they put a lot of low experienced drivers in run group 2. Problem is the instructors would not tell the students to point. Saturday was just $150.00 in parade laps for me.

 

It's a great idea to offer cheap road racing for everyone, but not at the expense of safety. I think future NASA events must be limited to the number of cars signing up or else NASA will be always thought of as the traffic jam group. Raise the entree fees if necessary.

 

I want to make sure it's clear that I don't expect to be able to run traffic free - in fact traffic is fun too. But last weekend was just too many cars on the track at once. I think limiting groups to 30 or so would be much better for all involved, more at bigger tracks like RA and fewer at shorter once.

This was the most oversold event I ever went to. Raising the entree fee is not much of an option IMO since the price is in line with other groups I run with. Most other groups shoot for 10 cars for every mile of track or 1 car for every .1 mile. We clearly had about 20 cars per mile of track. Fine if you are running a race and everyone can pass on straights and corners, but sucks in HPDE.

 

I know NASA is a racing group and that the HPDE will always be treated like red-headed stepchildren. They are smart about running HPDE w/ racing rather than trying to tag along w/ other events. Just look what happened w/ the AV8SS group with the corner workers fiasco. By running the racing w/ the HPDE NASA ensures much more control over an event than by not doing it. The following I offer for suggestions, although I don't expect any response since my emails have been ignored like when I wanted to know the host hotel, etc.

 

#1 - Limit track to 1 car for every .1 mile for HPDE group.

 

#2 - If instructors are to be given free or reduced price track time they should be spending it with thier students and they should be on grid. Once on Sunday I heard Doug? announce on the intercom that they needed 1 more instructor to grid for a group 1 student. Sorry thing is Doug had to make the announcement 4 or 5 times over a period of like 6 ~ 8 minutes. That is a paying student that is getting shorted track time. I fnd this unacceptable and I wasn't even involved.

 

#3 - We got shorted big time in 2/3 due to all the tow-off's from the group ahead of us. For example, assuming the checkard comes out @ 2:00 PM for the race group ahead of us. It would take about 1:30 +/- for everyone to get the checkard and then the last car that got it would need an additional 1:30+ for cool down. Now added to this NASA is giving the checkard flag to someone to do a parade lap and it is another minute or so. From the time the checkard is thrown to the last car is off is about 3 ~ 4 minutes. During the time the car is parading with the checkard a tow vehicle goes onto the track and retrieves a car. This takes anywhere from 5 ~ 6 minutes for 1 or 2 cars. I even seen one time where three cars had to be towed in. Now we are directed onto the track @ 2:09 PM and are doing our warm up lap. Only problem is that it is run @ about a 1:40 minute rate and thier are still cars merging on when you go by the starter since there are so many people in 2/3. So now we have to do 2 laps under yellow and the actual time we get to start with a full course green is not until about 2:12 PM. We now have 8 minutes until the checkard comes out to end our session. Generally the first lap or two is trying to get around someone. I think the tow vehicle was out every session before HPDE 2/3 got to run Saturday/Sunday. This ate into 2/3's track time each and every session.

 

What to do about #3 above?

 

By limiting the track to more reasonable 10/mile, cars could use the hot pit lane on the right. Now you don't have to do the dance between the tires/guard rail. Also once the last car exits the track @ 10 you can direct cars unto the track immediately since there is not a conflict w/ cars exiting and going on track. Also when cars are towed off the field the schedule should either be moved back to not penalize the run group following the tow or the schedules could be adjusted by several minutes for each run group to equally share the burden. Last you could penalize the run group that caused the delay in thier next session by reducing thier time, although I don't expect to see this happen since HPDE is the red-headed stepchild and NASA is all about full track time for the race group.

 

Another thing that works well for SVTOA and SCMC is having 3 - 30 minute sessions rather than 4 - 20 minute sessions. The amount of time lost during the yellow for a one or two lap warm-up and the cool down is significant. By running 30 minute sessions, quality track time almost doubles as compared to 20 minute sessions. Added to this, by running 3 sessions instead of 4 the HPDE group gets screwed one less session by the tow vehicle. And don't think I have anything against the tow vehicle, they responded quickly and got the cars off fast; however, they do not drive 9/10's to get to the vehicle and do not drive quickly once they get the car connected. They work as fast as they safely can and it just takes time for a tow. As far as what works with NASA I have to give props to the tow vehicles for doing a good job quickly. That might have used more fuel in the weekend than I had a chance to.

 

I ran 1:27 laps in every session Saturday and Sunday until the last session. In the last session on Sunday I ran several 1:25's. Anyone care to speculate why my lap time improved 2 seconds running w/ 3/4/TT rather than with 2/3? NASA was my favorite group to run with when I ran Autobahn No. and So. with them. But I will be closely looking @ registration information before I sign up for another event. Too many cars on the track @ once does not work in HPDE.

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Mafia

1 car per .1 mile of track is great, i can even live with a few more but last weekend was ridiculous. actually i think nasa broke their own rule about how many cars should be allowed on the track. i seem to recall that nasa's limit is 20 cars per 1 mile of track or 1 car per .05 mile of track. this translates into 36 cars max at Putnam (still way too many) but w/ 47 we were overbooked by 30% even by nasa's overly optimistic standards!!!

 

the rumor was flying around last w/e that nasa in/oh $$$ is tight due to cancellations earlier in the season so i think this was the event were a lot of rain checks were cashed in and probably nobody was turned down - hopefully future events will be different.

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860TTC

We were told in group 4/TT NOT to pull into the pits to get clean track.

 

Sunday was not that bad, but there were too many cars on Saturday. It seems that the smaller tracks - Putnum and Beaver Run fill up with cars quickly. At Beaver Run we had a full run group, but everyones times were close, 2-3 seconds, and the long straights kept the group from getting packed up. Putnum park lap times varry more by car and driver.

 

Group 4/TT is still having the problem with drivers moving up that are not ready for unlimited passing. A few drivers are having problems taking turns and passing using different lines.

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BrandonT
Are you talking about the BMW that went into 10? I was directly behind the vette when he did his spin coming out of 7. He went on the grass and started to roll backwards onto the straight between 7 & 8. We were definately under red when it came out. Unlike the version I heard from the corner workers, the vette, myself and 2 ~ 3 cars behind me came to a quick controlled stop. Well the vette wasn't controlled, but bringing a race track to a full course red always has risks involved. The cars behind me did pass me and stop ahead of me, but I pulled off-line and drove slightly in the grass to make room. I think the red was handled well in our corner.

 

Yes, my fault. The BMW went off in 10, I was between 6 and 7 when the Vette went off at nearly the same time. I saw the Vette spin, looked at the car in front of me and then I looked at the corner worker (in 7) and saw yellow. There might have been 1 or 2 cars between me and the Vette - I don't recall. The flag could have been red and backlit by the sun, but I definitely saw it and it looked yellow to me. If it was red, I couldn't have stopped safely until after the Vette anyway. If you were right behind him, then did you see the red in 7 or 8?

 

Then I saw the BMW coming up behind me and nearly rear-end me as I turned in to 7. I think he started inside of me as well to avoid hitting me. I passed the Vette fairly slowly, but still expecting to come back to speed. Then I saw the cars in front were stopping, I braked, and looked ahead to see the red in 8. At this point, I was almost next to an almost-stopped car (you?) and I think I crawled by him so I could pull off. I ended up parked about halfway down the straight between 7 and 8. Other than nearly being rear-ended, I thought everyone came to a stop very quickly.

 

BTW - I did not go to the HPDE 2/3 drivers' meeting after that incident. I was pissed about the near miss, the short session, and I planned on skipping the last session anyway. So I packed up and went home.

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bmw22

#1 - Limit track to 1 car for every .1 mile for HPDE group.

 

18 cars at Putnam, 15 at BeaveRun, 20 at Summit Point, 24 at Mid Ohio? With those numbers NASA couldn't afford the track rental fees. Entry fees would need doubled ar track time cut in half so the number of run groups can be doubled. 20 -25 cars per mile is the standard for most sanctioning bodies.

 

 

#2 - If instructors are to be given free or reduced price track time they should be spending it with thier students and they should be on grid. Once on Sunday I heard Doug? announce on the intercom that they needed 1 more instructor to grid for a group 1 student. Sorry thing is Doug had to make the announcement 4 or 5 times over a period of like 6 ~ 8 minutes. That is a paying student that is getting shorted track time. I fnd this unacceptable and I wasn't even involved.

 

I couldn't agree more. I have instructed for Lawrence several times and I have always been upset when I hear that announcement over the PA system. Many of you have seen me running to the grid in my drivers suit to fill in for an instructor that has gone AWOL. If this happens to you, don't wait until after the weekend to bring it up in this forum. Deal with it at the track. I know Lawrence doesn't like to see anyone get shorted, and I've seen him make it up to folks when it happens.

 

#3 - We got shorted big time in 2/3 due to all the tow-off's from the group ahead of us......

 

What to do about #3 above?

 

Don't over react. Every event can't be perfect. Express your concerns to Lawrence or one of the NASA officials.

 

Last you could penalize the run group that caused the delay in thier next session by reducing thier time, although I don't expect to see this happen since HPDE is the red-headed stepchild and NASA is all about full track time for the race group.

Wrong! I've seen race sessions shortened many times. And I've also seen HPDE sessions run long because of incidents and track clearing.

 

I wasn't there, and can only comment based on the 30-40 NASA events I've attended. If there really was 50+ cars then I would agree that there were a few too many, but 18 cars per session is ridiculous. NASA has always delivered a great weekend and I'm quite confident they will continue to do so for many years. If anyone has a problem with any event, you should take it to the NASA region, not bitch and moan about it in a public forum. As a race series director, I have had several issues and concerns that I thought needed addressed. I went directly to NASA with the concern and work with them towards a solution. Bringing a concern to a forum like this before taking it to NASA will never solve anything, in fact it will make a solution harder to reach. That's one of the best things about NASA....unlike the SCCA, NASA officials are just an email away or a short walk thru the paddock.... no red tape or committees, just regular people that want to hear what you have to say.

 

OK, I'll get off of my soap box now.

Mark

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Mafia
20 -25 cars per mile is the standard for most sanctioning bodies.

 

20-25 cars / mile is too many especially for HPDEs where the point by is required - no matter how you'll justify it there'll be trains of unhappy people going 'round. I think a reasonable limit for run groups on shorter tracks like Gingerman/Grattan/Putnam is 30 cars total per session. This is roughly 15 cars per mile. Other groups manage to do so I don't see why NASA can't (CGI, MFBA, AROC, etc).

 

Maybe throw out a survey on the website and see what people would want to do. It might even make sense to offer two packages: one at lower cost with more cars on the track at once and another at higher cost but with fewer cars.

 

Extending session times much beyond 20 minutes could be bad because a lot of people bring their street cars that will have overheating / brake issues after running for more than 20 minutes. Maybe make it 25 to get close to 20 minutes of actual green flag running after accounting for out/in laps.

 

Also why not run throuout the day instead of stopping for lunch? Different groups can have lunch at different times.

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Jeff D

Just wanted to make a few comments. I had to fool around with the quotes for awhile to make this post so I'm sorry if I matched the wrong person/quote up anywhere below.

 

What was everyone's impression from this past weekend at Putnam? I could not believe all the incidents we had.

I thought there were too many also.

 

Yes it did appear that we had too many and this led to many of the issues that were brought up (short on instructors, no clear track, lots of incidents/loss of track time) below. I'm afraid that with all the running around I do between working the event and trying to have fun myself I don't have a very good idea of how everyone's weekend is going. Just make sure you email Lawrence and let him know.

 

I was dissappointed that NASA combined HPDE 2&3. There was constant traffic, you'd point one car by and three would pass, leaving you totally screwed for the next corner.

 

If you think it was bad in 4/TT you should have seen 2/3. We don't get unlimited passing no point required. And I am sure we had a bigger mix of experience levels between 2 and 3. Definately many drivers from 2 did not look into thier mirrors until they tracked out of 10. Then they would look and point a few by and then stop the pointing once they were alongside the starter/small tower. They wouldn't look into thier mirrors again until the next FULL LAP when they tracked out of 10 again. More drivers in group 1 would have helped. I'm guessing they (NASA) did not have enough instructors so they put a lot of low experienced drivers in run group 2. Problem is the instructors would not tell the students to point. Saturday was just $150.00 in parade laps for me.

 

Did you bring any of this up in your group meetings with your group leader between sessions? I'm assuming you had these meetings since I missed the morning driver's meeting and the morning qualifying session for group A because I was down by the scales teching cars for HPDE.

 

Also you always have the option to swing by on grid and let us know. We've had cars black flagged on grid for not letting people pass before. Of course I can't do anything about it now.........

 

I know NASA is a racing group and that the HPDE will always be treated like red-headed stepchildren.

 

Without the race groups we'd lose a lot of talented instructors and the HPDE groups are helping to create that same talent. I know everyone who comes to the events doesn't plan to race one day but not everyone who instructs is a racer either.

 

#2 - If instructors are to be given free or reduced price track time they should be spending it with thier students and they should be on grid. Once on Sunday I heard Doug? announce on the intercom that they needed 1 more instructor to grid for a group 1 student. Sorry thing is Doug had to make the announcement 4 or 5 times over a period of like 6 ~ 8 minutes. That is a paying student that is getting shorted track time. I fnd this unacceptable and I wasn't even involved.

 

Totally agree, and I was getting ready to race in the group after that session. When I heard Doug make repeated calls I grabbed my helmet and ran to the fence, but they had found someone already. I've heard Lawrence stress this before and our guys are great at getting there on time, but I think our instructor's pool was just stretched to the limit last weekend. What I mean by that is maybe your instructor was one of those cars getting towed in, so obviously he's going to be late.......usually someone else can cover for him/her but we were stretched pretty thin.

 

#3 - We got shorted big time in 2/3 due to all the tow-off's from the group ahead of us.

 

I sympathize but that's just the way it is or how it was last weekend. Last month at BeaveRun it was debris on the track that held us up a few times. People were going off and continuing but they carried a lot of trash back on track. The events are setup to give everyone the maximum amount of track time possible. Works great if nothing happens but how often does nothing happen?

 

Also when cars are towed off the field the schedule should either be moved back to not penalize the run group following the tow or the schedules could be adjusted by several minutes for each run group to equally share the burden. Last you could penalize the run group that caused the delay in thier next session by reducing thier time, although I don't expect to see this happen since HPDE is the red-headed stepchild and NASA is all about full track time for the race group.

 

That is how it's done. A few minutes are taken from each group to make up the time. Obviously we had a very bad accident to start the day on Saturday which was a mechanical failure, no one's fault, and got us way behind schedule. How would you suggest we penalize the big bore group for that? Draw straws for their qualifying order since I think they only got a lap or two before the accident? I'll will admit that this is the first event I can recall where we did this 'double race', w/no practice session, straight to qualifying. Usually the race groups first session would've been practice and after the accident they would've lost out on that practice session.

 

Actually I think the race groups did get shortened Saturday so you're wrong there. Also the track allowed us to run right up to the cutoff time. Initially we were supposed to be off the grounds by 6pm and they let us run right up until 6 on Saturday (thanks Putnam!), and they even let us hang around for a bit and have our usual post Saturday festivities (although it was cut short also).

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Jeff D
Also why not run throuout the day instead of stopping for lunch? Different groups can have lunch at different times.

 

And when do the corner workers get a break? And don't say hire more corner workers because many of them are volunteers and we're lucky to have the ones we have.

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BrandonT
Also why not run throuout the day instead of stopping for lunch? Different groups can have lunch at different times.

 

And when do the corner workers get a break? And don't say hire more corner workers because many of them are volunteers and we're lucky to have the ones we have.

 

I definitely want rested corner workers. I have to think that a cap on entries is the only way. If that means prices need to come up, then raise them. I would rather pay $250 and have fun than pay $200 and be stuck in traffic. At the very LEAST, post the entry list so you can see how full the event is in advance. I paid for hotel, gas, and my entry fee for only 3 or 4 good laps. If that were the norm, I'll would go back to autocross. It's cheaper and I get 6 runs. I know it was the last event, and that made for more cars, but the issue needs to be addressed. I also sent Lawrence some ideas on the classroom meetings.

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Mystic Terminator

Another thing before I forget. I would like to thank Mid Coast Performance again for sponsoring this event by providing lunch Saturday. I also got a chance to see the car they did for Erickson and it was beautiful! They do first class work @ Mid Coast Performance. I am sure we are going to see great things from Erickson and this car next year.

 

Yes, my fault. The BMW went off in 10, I was between 6 and 7 when the Vette went off at nearly the same time. I saw the Vette spin, looked at the car in front of me and then I looked at the corner worker (in 7) and saw yellow. There might have been 1 or 2 cars between me and the Vette - I don't recall. The flag could have been red and backlit by the sun, but I definitely saw it and it looked yellow to me. If it was red, I couldn't have stopped safely until after the Vette anyway. If you were right behind him, then did you see the red in 7 or 8?

 

I am 99% sure it was red in 7, but I could have been distracted by the spinning vette. There was no way I could stop behind him, I was right behind him in turn #7. There was enough space between us, and he went right across the track, that I determined (in a split-second) I could do a normal track out of #7, pass him and then go off line to the right and stop. I had it in my mind to go around the vette and then stop before ever doing so, so I am sure it was red in #7 because it was already in my mind to stop once I passed him. Once past him I was looking directly @ #8 corner worker with a red flag. Since the vette was so close to the exit of corner #7 I did not expect anyone behind us to stop behind us. There was no room between the corner and the Vette. So when you guys went past me that was expected. Like I said, it is always a dicey situation to bring a race track to a full course red, especially with 40+ cars on such a small track. I think everyone handled it very well in our corner. Had there been less than 40 vehicles perhaps the corner workers could have displayed a full course black, double yellow or emergency vehicle flag. These would have been less risky to the drivers on the track than a full course red imo. But I can’t blame Putnam for going red, they have to consider the safety of their crew going to respond to the turn #10 incident with 20+ cars per mile of track.

 

#1 - Limit track to 1 car for every .1 mile for HPDE group.

 

18 cars at Putnam, 15 at BeaveRun, 20 at Summit Point, 24 at Mid Ohio? With those numbers NASA couldn't afford the track rental fees. Entry fees would need doubled ar track time cut in half so the number of run groups can be doubled. 20 -25 cars per mile is the standard for most sanctioning bodies.

 

It might work on the West coast, but not here in the midwest. I think we had a guest (named Ben?) from the west coast tell me the same thing. That they would have 50 ~ 60 on the track at the same time. I asked him the length of the track and he told me it was 3.8 miles. He said they could get 40 ~ 50 on a 2.5 ~ 3.0 mile track. And on the west coast they can pass w/o a point. It was very frustrating seeing 20 ~ 25 cars in a train between straight 8/9 and turn 10 when you began to track out of corner #8. Because you know you are not going anywhere for most likely the remainder of the session. Also I would think 18 cars x 5 sessions would generate enough money.

 

I wonder how these other groups (SVTOA, BMW, SCMC, etc.) do it and still run a profitable event? Sometimes with only 4 run groups rather than 5. I have spoken w/ Mark Wilson w/ SVTOA and that is his formula (1 car for every .1 mile). Will SVTOA put 20/22 cars on a 1.8 mile track? I am sure they would, but they would not put 40+ cars on a 1.8 mile track, I don’t think so. I have done about 8 event weekends this year and the fee ran between $275 ~ $325 for two days. Generally on the lower side when the event required you to be a member and closer to the higher side when no membership was required. Saying that the cost of the event would be double is hard to belive. We had 5 different run groups with NASA:

 

Race A

Race B

4/TT

2/3

1

 

HDPE drivers also contribute almost $75.00 more per person than racers do if my memory serves me correctly. 2 days of HPDE is $285.00, I think the race drivers pay like $225.00 or less. And part of that $225.00 must go toward plaques, etc. I know HPDE has to pay more to cover the instructors free track time; however, an adequate amount of instructors serving both run groups would have worked out better.

 

Also when cars are towed off the field the schedule should either be moved back to not penalize the run group following the tow or the schedules could be adjusted by several minutes for each run group to equally share the burden. Last you could penalize the run group that caused the delay in thier next session by reducing thier time, although I don't expect to see this happen since HPDE is the red-headed stepchild and NASA is all about full track time for the race group.

 

That is how it's done. A few minutes are taken from each group to make up the time. Obviously we had a very bad accident to start the day on Saturday which was a mechanical failure, no one's fault, and got us way behind schedule. How would you suggest we penalize the big bore group for that? Draw straws for their qualifying order since I think they only got a lap or two before the accident? I'll will admit that this is the first event I can recall where we did this 'double race', w/no practice session, straight to qualifying. Usually the race groups first session would've been practice and after the accident they would've lost out on that practice session.

 

Not what I observed the few times I made it a point to look @ my clock while on grid. 20 minutes from when the previous group is given the checkard flag we would get ours. And there was usually a 6 ~ 9 minute delay from the time the previous group got the checkard until we went on. I timed it several times looking @ my clock in the car. I don’t think it was a few minutes from each group as you say.

 

If you think it was bad in 4/TT you should have seen 2/3. We don't get unlimited passing no point required. And I am sure we had a bigger mix of experience levels between 2 and 3. Definately many drivers from 2 did not look into thier mirrors until they tracked out of 10. Then they would look and point a few by and then stop the pointing once they were alongside the starter/small tower. They wouldn't look into thier mirrors again until the next FULL LAP when they tracked out of 10 again. More drivers in group 1 would have helped. I'm guessing they (NASA) did not have enough instructors so they put a lot of low experienced drivers in run group 2. Problem is the instructors would not tell the students to point. Saturday was just $150.00 in parade laps for me.

 

Did you bring any of this up in your group meetings with your group leader between sessions? I'm assuming you had these meetings since I missed the morning driver's meeting and the morning qualifying session for group A because I was down by the scales teching cars for HPDE.

 

Also you always have the option to swing by on grid and let us know. We've had cars black flagged on grid for not letting people pass before. Of course I can't do anything about it now.........

 

Yes, but it took a long time for it to get better.. We had a nice group leader, but what can he do when the track has too many cars on it with a large mix of experience and performance levels. He did talk to the Group #2 leader to tell him how our group was upset as a whole over the lack of points and it improved somewhat. But the improvement may have been attributed to the improvement one generally sees Saturday afternoon / Sunday morning. Drivers with little or no experience with a particular track generally get better as the day goes on. The points never did get perfect, not even by Sunday afternoon. Swinging by the grid was not really an option. We are not talking about any one car or person. I would have been reporting 3 ~ 5 cars every session if that was the case. Our group leader said that maybe some drivers were not comfortable pointing between 7/8 and 8/9 even though this was a designated passing zone. I’m sure some of you must have seen the long trains out there while you were watching.

 

At the very LEAST, post the entry list so you can see how full the event is in advance. I paid for hotel, gas, and my entry fee for only 3 or 4 good laps.

 

Same here, paid for the above and the only session that worked well was the last one on Sunday. It wasn't perfect, but at least I got a few clean laps.

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mansier

Thank you for the thoughts over email Brandon. I will be sending you some ideas this evening.

 

As for the rumor mill, let's at least tackle a few, and get on to the plans for the banquet in January!

 

1. We had 7 more people there than last year for this event. 2004 ran almost without an issue. Personally I think the track temps on Saturday had something to do with the spinning (which on Sunday was much reduced, and the day ran flawlessly).

 

2. Just to get rid of the $$ question about the region: When the Corvette had an unfortunate incident we immediately paid the track for an additional hour of track time (it doesn't come free!) so that everyone got the time they asked for. We could have easily cut sessions and finished at the pre-established time. The region is doing great. We had to cancel Blackhawk and MAM so that we can continue to run high caliber events (dyno, scales, tire support, transponder timing, sponsors like http://www.midcoastperformance.com who get involved and provide lunch and more, give-aways, dinners, kart racing, etc. etc. etc.). Those events had extremely low entries, that would certainly have put the region in jeopardy.

 

3. Point bye's. We not only had an instructor meeting at the track about point bye's, but also emailed before hand to the instructors. In addition, I personally went to the HPDE 1&2 meeting to talk about pointing bye. This was the first time pretty much all year I had to do that, and I am at a loss to understand what was going on. This May people were pointing bye in all the passing zones (I go out in the groups to check).

 

4. We had 33 instructors for 28 HPDE1 students. I apologize to anyone who had to wait for an instructor. Obviously the numbers show there should not have been a concern. We are having our annual instructor clinic before the banquet in January, and this will be topic #1.

 

5. The schedule will be different the next time we travel to Putnam. As the event will certainly grow again (it has grown 7-9 drivers at each event), we will be picking up the extra hour of track time on Saturday to allow us to run 6 groups instead of 5. This means less cars per mile. Putnam is great because it has a lot of passing zones.

 

6. And more. The racing was awesome, HPDE drivers were another fun bunch to be around, and I couldn't be more proud to know a group of people like we had at Putnam. And to have commentary that helps everyone have an even better time at the next event is priceless. Keep up the good work, and send me your thoughts. mansier@zoominternet.net

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nape

I, too, thought the track was a little crowded in 2/3, but I wasn't one of the faster cars out there with it being my first time at the track, being rusty from Autobahn So., and not confident in my shifting yet (was an automatic).

 

Hopefully next time I'll be fast enough to keep up with everyone and not have to give so many point-bys. I was trying to give them to everyone who seemed bunched up behind me.

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Pure Energy

Once on Sunday I heard Doug? announce on the intercom that they needed 1 more instructor to grid for a group 1 student. Sorry thing is Doug had to make the announcement 4 or 5 times over a period of like 6 ~ 8 minutes. That is a paying student that is getting shorted track time. I fnd this unacceptable and I wasn't even involved.

 

I was that student. I'm partially to blame in this instance. I was asked if I needed an instructor and said no, I was waiting for mine. When the call went out first for instructors, I wasn't figured in to the number called. The issue was resolved and I had a great session, albeit a little shorter than normal but not enough for me to get upset about.

 

I'm glad to see the renewed emphasis on point-bys. I had several sessions where I was stuck behind a 1st timer that didn't check their mirrors.

 

I really enjoy the NASA format and will continue to attend events.

 

Blair

#76 NX2000 (the ugly duckling)

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Markus

See, this is why I like NASA. Because of the open flow of information. Where else can people post concerns, questions, or just vent in general and get a good reply like we did from Lawrence?

 

Maybe NASA needs to do a better job of introducing some of the key guys so new people know who they are (Lawrence, Doug, Jeff on grid, etc) but once you know who to go and grab, trust me they are all this accessable in person at the track as well.

 

The group meetings were also mentioned - this is another great way to address any concerns you have with the group leader. They can then talk to the instructer or driver in question. I have had some issues/concerns in my time and mostly I've found it is an oversight on the other driver's part, no one is intentionally out there holding people up.

 

About shortened sessions, no one likes this but it does happen when there are incidents. Unfortunately we had some this weekend - across all groups race and HPDE. That is just a risk you take when going to the track. I hate to see it and am usually just glad it's not me (not yet at least!).

 

Last I was out there in Time Trials in my blue/white Miata. I apologize if I was holding anyone up - I tried to get one more weekend out of my tires and it bit me in the arse. The Toyo's last forever but when they're gone, they're gone. I tried to watch my mirrors and stay out of everyone's way and I apologize if I hold anyone up. (Although I wasn't the slowest guy out there, I was catching LM until he went off after 7 ha ha).

 

- Markus

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m95

We talk about trains and pitting to find that elussive free space. I user the trains for helping me pace my self while my tires heat up. Mine took for ever on Saturday. for me it's great to have an open track but I'm there to enjoy my self and go home with my car and myself in one piece.

I will push the limits of my car and test my skills but not at the expense of others. Having the large field that HPDE23 had has it's rewards. One you are forced to drive in traffic. @ You will be passed and you will pass. 3 when you come off the track your awareness level should be peaked out.

I had a great time I found that when on track driving at speed in close was challenging and fun. The only time that I found myself backing off was when that CTS wanted by and when that Camero was spraying gas out and covering my windsheild.

Great time IN/OH good job.

Greg

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FastSaleen

#1 - Limit track to 1 car for every .1 mile for HPDE group.

 

18 cars at Putnam, 15 at BeaveRun, 20 at Summit Point, 24 at Mid Ohio? With those numbers NASA couldn't afford the track rental fees. Entry fees would need doubled ar track time cut in half so the number of run groups can be doubled. 20 -25 cars per mile is the standard for most sanctioning bodies.

 

Worked at Mid-Ohio for many years. The standard there is 56 cars for the 2.258 miles. That's 25 cars per mile. That's 330' per car - longer than a football field. Considering that most track cars are 16' long or under, that should be plenty of room. This standard is followed for the most part at every track for every event. Given that number, 44 or 45 cars would be the standard for Putnam at it's true 1.788 mile length.

 

#2 - If instructors are to be given free or reduced price track time they should be spending it with thier students and they should be on grid. Once on Sunday I heard Doug? announce on the intercom that they needed 1 more instructor to grid for a group 1 student. Sorry thing is Doug had to make the announcement 4 or 5 times over a period of like 6 ~ 8 minutes. That is a paying student that is getting shorted track time. I fnd this unacceptable and I wasn't even involved.

 

I couldn't agree more. I have instructed for Lawrence several times and I have always been upset when I hear that announcement over the PA system. Many of you have seen me running to the grid in my drivers suit to fill in for an instructor that has gone AWOL. If this happens to you, don't wait until after the weekend to bring it up in this forum. Deal with it at the track. I know Lawrence doesn't like to see anyone get shorted, and I've seen him make it up to folks when it happens.

 

Ditto - even i have gone out instructing while also trying to run the grid, drive the pace car, and man the safety truck. This is an issue that is being addressed for 2006.

 

#3 - We got shorted big time in 2/3 due to all the tow-off's from the group ahead of us......

 

What to do about #3 above?

 

Don't over react. Every event can't be perfect. Express your concerns to Lawrence or one of the NASA officials.

 

Ditto again - don't over react. As one of the officials I can tell you that every session lost 2 or three minutes, not yours lost a bunch of time. We cut everyone short by a few minutes each session for the next complete round to catch back up. The only group that doesn't get cut is an actual race - usually. We even cut the 1st races on Saturday by 5 minutes to help catch back up after the Vette accident in the morning Qualifying session.

 

Last you could penalize the run group that caused the delay in thier next session by reducing thier time, although I don't expect to see this happen since HPDE is the red-headed stepchild and NASA is all about full track time for the race group.

 

Wrong! I've seen race sessions shortened many times. And I've also seen HPDE sessions run long because of incidents and track clearing.

 

I wasn't there, and can only comment based on the 30-40 NASA events I've attended. If there really was 50+ cars then I would agree that there were a few too many, but 18 cars per session is ridiculous. NASA has always delivered a great weekend and I'm quite confident they will continue to do so for many years. If anyone has a problem with any event, you should take it to the NASA region, not bitch and moan about it in a public forum. As a race series director, I have had several issues and concerns that I thought needed addressed. I went directly to NASA with the concern and work with them towards a solution. Bringing a concern to a forum like this before taking it to NASA will never solve anything, in fact it will make a solution harder to reach. That's one of the best things about NASA....unlike the SCCA, NASA officials are just an email away or a short walk thru the paddock.... no red tape or committees, just regular people that want to hear what you have to say.

 

OK, I'll get off of my soap box now.

Mark

 

Ditto again (damn, you're good Mark) First, see my reply above. Second, I am one of those officials and you can always email me with concerns or talk to me at the track. Just remember to think through your concerns and don't come running to us in 'bitch' mode. We all want to discuss the issues, not be bitched at because you don't think things are going right. In many cases, there are circumstances that no one but officials know all the details about that could be causing delays. We don't like to short anyone of their track time. If time needs to be shortened, everyone loses - not just one group.

--------------------------------------------------

edit: I forgot one thing regarding #1 above. The "Standard" number of cars is 25 per mile. The standards around this number also allow for a 10% overage when needed and approved. That puts Mid-Ohio at a maximum of 62 cars on track per the standard and would put Putnam at 50 cars allowed on track. I'm sorry if you feel that these numbers are overcrowding, but these are the normal operating procedures for "club racing" on a road course.

 

One more thing so that you know I'm not just throwing numbers out there - I do have a National Race Control License.

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BrandonT
edit: I forgot one thing regarding #1 above. The "Standard" number of cars is 25 per mile. The standards around this number also allow for a 10% overage when needed and approved. That puts Mid-Ohio at a maximum of 62 cars on track per the standard and would put Putnam at 50 cars allowed on track. I'm sorry if you feel that these numbers are overcrowding, but these are the normal operating procedures for "club racing" on a road course.

 

One more thing so that you know I'm not just throwing numbers out there - I do have a National Race Control License.

 

Are there different standards for racing versus HPDE? If not, there should be. Especially in classes where passing is very limited. I think I am safe in stating that if NASA books 25+ cars per mile in HPDE, they will soon be struggling to attract repeat customers. Driving at Putnam was less intense (and mostly slower) than going through Chicago at rush hour.

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bmw22

Are there different standards for racing versus HPDE? If not, there should be. Especially in classes where passing is very limited. I think I am safe in stating that if NASA books 25+ cars per mile in HPDE, they will soon be struggling to attract repeat customers. Driving at Putnam was less intense (and mostly slower) than going through Chicago at rush hour.

 

This brings up a point that can be handled by the students and instructors. Now were talking congestion vs. safety. Is 25 cars/mile safe in HPDE? Yes, if the student and instructors are making good decisions in the car. Is 25 cars/mile too congested? No, not if the student and instructors are making good decisions in the car. As a frustrated student, you have every right to open your mouth during classroom instruction. But before you do that, discuss it with your instructor. If it's one or two cars that aren't pointing faster cars by, your instructor can say something to thier instructor. If there are several cars not giving point bys, bring it up in the classroom...I'm sure there will be others that will speak up in agreement (ask your instructor to come to class). (Riding around in a parade frustrates the instructors too)

 

Things to remember:

 

1 Remember the sensory overload that you felt the first time you were on track. That slow driver in front of you may be experiencing that.

 

2 You can always tlak to NASA officials with your concerns....they make them selsve readily available.

 

3 If you're out on track getting pissed off or frustrated, park the car. It's not worth injuring you or someone else and you probably aren't getting much from the session anyway.

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BrandonT
Is 25 cars/mile too congested? No, not if the student and instructors are making good decisions in the car. ...

 

Things to remember:

 

1 Remember the sensory overload that you felt the first time you were on track. That slow driver in front of you may be experiencing that.

 

2 You can always tlak to NASA officials with your concerns....they make them selsve readily available.

 

3 If you're out on track getting pissed off or frustrated, park the car. It's not worth injuring you or someone else and you probably aren't getting much from the session anyway.

 

I won't say any more about Putnam, except you really had to see it. A solid train of 15+ cars from turn 2 through 8.

 

I agree with your statements. I know drivers may be slowing me/us up, but when there are 15-20 cars in a train, the session isn't going to be fun. We did speak to our group leader (group 3 doesn't have instructors), and I did park the car early. In fact I packed up and went home.

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mwilson7

The general rule of thumb used by many OT groups is 1 car per 1/10 mile which would equal 10 cars per mile. Once you get much beyond that number your risk of trains and frustrated drivers goes up significantly. That being said I've seen many group 4's exceed that ratio and never have a problem because the drivers are experienced enough to realize how to work traffic with each other.

 

Personally I think that 25 cars per mile is going to create a traffic jam in any group where students requiring instructors are involved. Additionally your student is spending more time passing or being passed vs learning how to drive.

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