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Richard Pryor1548534703

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The good news is that CMC continues to grow and thrive, including the American Iron class. However, there is a very serious problem presented by this growth. In my opinion, there is no system of driver review and licensing to insure adequate training, licensing and ongoing review of competition drivers in CMC and AI (or in other NASA classes but I'll just concentrate on CMC.)


Having both driven and spectated at CMC races in 2001 I'm very concerned with the driving by several CMC and AI drivers. There are drivers that consistently drive in an unsafe manner that has potential for serious accidents and injury to CMC participants. Intentional actions such as swerving to prevent passes, weaving back and forth across straights to prevent passes, bumping cars from the rear in braking consistently, dirt tracking through unpaved portions of corners and unintentional actions such as not paying attention to mirrors, not holding lines in passing situations, blocking faster (in inverted starts and lapping situations) cars, being unaware of flags, lines, passing and braking techniques and so on.


The good news is that there are only five or six "bad" drivers. And that's the bad news, too, because those drivers should not be on the track in a competiton situation as they represent a hazard to themselves and other racers.


CMC needs to set up internal licensing guidelines and reviews similar to SCCA policies before a serious accident happens. I think that part of the problem is the lack of adequate driver's school instruction. It's my impression that with NASA you can spend a few hundred dollars in Group 4 and get a NASA license. SCCA has a specific school that is heavily structured with ground and track schools. If you pass, you receive a Novice Permit which requires you to compete in two races under close supervision and scrutiny sucessfully before you receive a regional license. From that point on SCCA has a very serious driver review for any complaints or incidents that occur regarding a drivers ability and safety on the track. Drivers will be put on review and probation if necessary and can have their licenses rescinded.


We need similar measures in CMC. This is a safety measure for everyone just as much as our roll cages and safety harnesses. There needs to be an internal CMC committe for ongoing review of driver performance. This committe needs the power to give warnings, enforce probations and finally to rescind licenses, if necessary.


This may sound to some like a Big Brother idea, but racing needs all the safety it can garner and proper driving is at the pinnacle of importance.


The idea of driver licensing and review shoud not be punitive but proactive. The CMC Driver Review Committee should work with problem drivers including some type of mentor program to help new drivers gain competition skills with one-on-one help on the track and in the pits, from lead and follow to debriefing and instruction. There are many new drivers that can benefit from the range of experience in CMC. And CMC drivers are very helpful with each other so this should just be a formal extension of the fellowship that already exists at a race weekend.


Since most HPDEs are now run in conjunction with CMC race weekends an outreach training by CMC drivers could help those taking the HPDE to gain a license to race CMC.


And finally there are currently, and will be in the future, drivers that are unsafe on the track. We need a mechanism to remove them from competition if they fail to heed warnings. Both NASA and SCCA did this several years ago in Pro 7 as the class mushroomed due to popularity and the driving attitudes of some drivers resembled videogame crash and bash.


CMC racing is a fun sport, not a life or death one, but the way it is going unfortunately there is a great potential for injury to people and property from unsafe drivers. At 100 mph it doesn't take much to turn a driving mistake or intentional action into a serious incident.


Anyone else scared by the potential of some of the bad CMC drivers? Do you think there needs to be a formal system such as SCCA's? I know that in all the years I've been racing I've never seen as many bad drivers as at a CMC race. It's flat out scary and I take extra care everytime I'm on the track. Let's try to do something about this problem as soon as possible.

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I think you have legitimate reason for concern. I am in AI and have never experienced any dangerous problems with others in my class, but I'm sure it is possible in the future. For example, I have this friend who had run with me in group 4 in the past. The story is long, but he knows jack shit about cars and racing (he even started out in group 4 because he was too ashamed to admit that he was a beginner. How NASA let him do this is beyond me), yet he thinks he's some pro driver. His driving is very poor and he does such things as blocking etc., and refuses to believe that he is slow. He seems to blame others for his mistakes. Anyway, he plans on competeing in ASC sometime in the future and happens to know someone who may just hand him a license somehow. I think that is extremely wrong and dangerous. The mindset alone of a person like that is absolutely wrong for a driver on the track.


Now for bumping and driving off line etc. If there is a car in front of me that constantly blocks me regardless of the fact that I am faster I will eventually give him/her a tap to let them know. This is racing not HPDE. I have yet to do this, but I've come extremely close in a past race simply because the racing was So close and I constantly locked up my brakes and even went off track (losing a spot in the process) to avoid any sort of contact.


When I got my license through so-cal NASA I first had to go through the driving concepts licensing school. I think that should be mandatory for all those who want a license. The school had nothing to do with driving fast, etc. It was all about getting familiar with your surroudings in a race environment and being completely comfortable. I think it made everyone in the class a safer and as a result a better driver. It is a great program.



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Thanks for your post ,as safety is the most important subject on my agenda.

We did send out some letters and put a few drivers on probation this year, for last years driving incidents/recklessness.

I also have implemented a CMC drivers mentor program. Each weekend I will be assigning a few experienced drivers to participate in this program.He/she will be asked to watch/follow/lead the driver that I assign to him/her.

You will then report back to me with comments and conclusions.

Anyone who drives out of control, will be asked to sit out the next race and so forth.

I saw some pretty bad moves on the track last year ,and hope to clean this up.

If it continues,then you will be back in group four,or better yet driving concepts.

I hope anyone reading this does not take this as an insult,but rather a safe and clean way to have fun and race to your best ability.


Tony Guaglione

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Rest assured that we are looking hard at the licensing program on the National level and we will be very strict on bonehead moves this year in CMC/AI and all the other NASA classes. Tony will be working with your guys to make sure we're all on the same page and I plan to work with the AI folks to ensure that we all have the same idea in our heads about how we should be behaving on track. NASA is not the home of "bang 'em up" racing and we will work to improve our safety and licensing programs whenever and wherever we can. I got through 2001 without a scratch in AI and I plan to have the same fenders and doors on the car when the season ends in 2002.


Please let me know if I can help any further.


-JWL a/k/a John Lindsey, NASA Chief Divisional Director & AI Series Director

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This is a very inportant topic..

Richard has been around for a long time in many forms of racing and his point about licensing is presented very good in my opinion..(having myself gone through the SCCA school/Novice ritual which was even harder to get through back in 89 when I got my SCCA license)..So we need to at least as the series grows in 2002 keep an eye on dangerous and inexperienced drivers.

HOWEVER...I did not received a single scratch on my car in any CMC/AI events in 2001..

not a Bump or "love tap"

BUT..in my final race of 2001.. SCCA at BW..

Got "tapped" and broke rearend from a HONDA driver ( well ,many time PRO racing champion)

So...I think as long as we keep an eye on dangerous drivers...And encourage licensing..

I strongly support a " future racer mentor program" and would be happy to volunteer for it..

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