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  1. F'in smart driving and good spider sense @Snorman. Meanwhile, remarkably poor decision making by both the RX7 and the 350Z in T7. I agree it looks like the Z just forgets to follow the track and pays a big price pinballing down the chute.
  2. That's kinda hittin' with kid gloves, isn't it? I'd think if a driver hits a safety vehicle, they should be required at the very least to sit out a year as a hard-and-fast, strict liability rule. There's simply no excuse whatsoever. Even at Sonoma where they'll flag at the bottom of the carousel but not throw one at the top, making it difficult to have a controlled slow-down during the fast downhill left and surprise flag around the corner (note: I have no idea where this incident actually occurred). Any notion what penalty was actually meted out on the driver?
  3. Someone hit a safety vehicle on Saturday?
  4. Might be time Champcar switches to classing based off of qualification times rather than what seems to be a wholly unworkable formula/protest procedure. Admitting that there's currently no way to actually verify/test engine mods at tear-down upon protest would seem to necessitate that. As someone with experience in other endurance series but new-ish to this one, it's frankly shocking to see that after a decade, these procedures are still plainly deficient and without effect.
  5. My only issue with the Parts Badger car was its deafening exhaust. Here WHAT?! HUH?! OUCH it's going by me on the back straight coming into 10a during the first stint and it's just remarkably painful. I reflexively reach up to plug my ears it's so loud. And I'm wearing foam-earplug-style mono headphones to boot. It's not even close to being in compliance with the 96db rule. PB: please quiet that thing down. Champcar: please enforce your sound rule.
  6. Yeah but we’re also right so it adds that extra oomph to the argument.
  7. Overall I had a good experience, for sure. There was much less contact/crashy behavior than my prior Champ experience at VIR North. But since you asked, here are my concerns with the experience at Road Atlanta: Yellow is the New Green. I got passed under yellow, openly and obviously, at least three times. Each time was after the flag, not that it should matter, as one is under line-of-sight control in this series, anyway. I’m aware of numerous other circumstances where this happened over the weekend. This is a huge safety issue that needs reform. One is, as a competitor, it’s disheartening to see someone gain inappropriate advantage in that situation. But that’s the lesser issue. Two is, and of course this is the much bigger issue: it’s a massive safety concern to other competitors and the track crew. It’s something that must be enforced and taken seriously, and I didn’t leave Road Atlanta with a feeling that was the case. Weaponized Exhaust Noise. I consider this to be a very serious health and safety issue. Pursuant to Rule 9.14.1, exhaust noise is limited to 96 db at 50 feet from the track. Debate could be had as to whether that limitation is sufficient. Regardless, this noise rule as it stands was wholly unenforced at the Road Atlanta race. And there weren’t merely one or two noise offenders, to my mind, but a very significant portion of the field operating well in excess of the rule. There were numerous occasions where it was quite painful to be subjected to that noise, especially for extended periods of time as cars ran at full chat down the back straight. I was wearing foam-plug type headphones inside my helmet and still found it excruciating. The noise limitation isn’t merely to limit nuisance to businesses and homes near the track, it is a critical health and safety issue for the drivers especially, but also crew and others at the track. None of us should be expected to risk – much less experience – hearing damage, whether temporary or permanent, as a result of motorsports competition. There were at least a few cars that were loud enough to have what I consider to be weaponized noise: it’s that loud to intentionally cause pain and discomfort to competitors nearby. Which is, of course, complete bull cookies and tantamount to intentionally physically assaulting one’s competitors. Drivers’ Meeting. If you’re going to have a drivers’ meeting where critical information concerning competition safety is discussed -- information which directly impacts the health and safety of not only the competitors but the safety crew at the track -- you need to have a way to enforce attendance at the meeting. I think separate wristbands should be required for drivers’ meeting attendance and that a driver wishing to enter the track for competition should be required to display that wristband in addition to any other requirements. There were numerous on-track issues this weekend where the driver obviously hadn’t attended the meeting. As regards the meeting, it should be concise and to the point, with questions reserved for after the presenter has concluded. For whatever reason, it doesn’t appear that there’s a standard outline of information to cover at the drivers’ meetings, and this should be tightened up quite a bit. Paddock Pandemonium. Other commenters have already touched on the need for the Paddock to be more organized in terms of parking and which teams are assigned where. Please allow this to serve as my concurrence in that. I would like to take this opportunity to join in especially lampooning the dullard who parked their RV well past the line near the entrance to the pits at the bottom of the hill. C’mon, man. It wasn’t even close. How selfish can you be? Why didn’t the track or organizers require that it be corrected?
  8. Having recently re-relocated back to the scenic, fabulous midwest from the Bay Area for ...reasons... Ben Dawson, my ol' buddy ol' pal, got in my ear about grabbing a seat with him at Road Atlanta. Out West, I raced Lucky Dog and Lemons. My prior Champ experience constitutes one 2x8 VIR North race with the aforementioned Dawson and crew in the Winsome Racing E30. I jumped at the chance to marvel at Ben’s physique while at the same time having the opportunity to race at Road Atlanta in the dry – unlike my past experiences at the track which both involved soaking rain and zero Dawson. Upon Ben’s learned recommendation, I opted to join him in piloting the Inactive Motorsports Mazda 626. Naturally, when one thinks of racing and Mazda, one thinks of the venerable 626 sedan. It's well known that the Mazda factory nomenclature for its sedans directly relates to the output of the vehicle's engine -- and goddamn was I excited to get my mitts on this 600+ HP MONSTER. As they raised the hood for me to gaze upon this perfect mechanical iteration of god's love, a blinding light erupted from the engine bay. It was like that one scene in The Wraith where Ron Howard's brother looks into undead-Sheen's engine bay and it's all like BZZT SZZT with supernatural power. What’s inside? As the lap times likely portend: two liters of blind rage. To put that into perspective for folks like you and me without slide rules in our pockets: that’s a whole big bottle of Mountain Dew, BUT IN A MACHINE. And you know damn well that it’s replete with the latest in technological innovations and power-adders. Even a dummy like me can see that the intake is on one side of the head and the exhaust is all the way on the other side, something the nerds call a “cross-flow head.” (note: gas flow’s important to an engine, just ask Chappy Colinman, he wrote a book about it for you reader types.) The Mazda maniacs conveniently placed the cams OVER THE HEAD, right where you want ‘em: up top for max pop(tm). And it’s got not one, not two, but four – yes – four cylinders. This thing is strokin’ like Clarence Carter. Let’s talk about fuel delivery, geeks: insofar as this mechanical marvel is concerned, vaporizing fuel by negative pressure drawing it through tiny holes in a bowl is totally passé. Caveman-esque, even. No, friends, this space-age wonder is equipped with electronically-controlled fuel injection they program with, like, a Speak-N-Spell. And to put the power down, they must’ve defeated Lex Luther and used his kryptonite stores to fabricate the transmission. This rage pony’s got five forward gears and it uses them ALL if you don’t count fifth and I don’t count fifth anytway ‘cause I’m missin’ a finger on my left hand. But seriously: great race. The dudes at Inactive Motorsports/Crowd Control Racing prepped the car well and set the standard for organization and implementation. I’ve raced with many different teams in many different series and these folks are, without a doubt, the most effectively organized team I’ve ever dealt with personally or seen in action. The 626 came well prepared, and while it was never going to set a lap record, it didn’t need to. It raged for 14 hours without a single issue, turning laps, staying out of trouble. Sixty entrants had a faster lap than the 626. It still came in first in class by nearly 50 laps and 15th overall. The on-track experience was your usual mixed bag of amateur endurance road racing. I’m still stunned at the number of drivers of very fast cars who just CANNOT, under any circumstances, check up and wait for a cleaner opportunity. If you’re going to warp past everyone on the back straight anyway, why put your nose in and force a three or even two-wide through turn seven? My only seriously WTF experience came at the hands of an E30 entering the track from the pits, shooting over the blend like and joining the racing line at T3 instead of staying right. They’d just talked about NOT doing that at the driver’s meeting like an hour before. Way to go, champ. That move was undoubtedly the difference in the race.
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