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Blame the Novice/Slow Car Complex


dinanm3atl
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I wanted to open a discussion sparked by the "Come to Jesus" meeting during the Road Atlanta race. I was not in the car when the race was blocked flagged but of course attended the meeting with the rest of my team. What was said was 100% valid. From the reports from our drivers and what I saw in the first stint and subsequent reports it was needed. It was good of Mike to pull the reigns in because while no one can guarantee it would happen but it seemed like we were going down the road of a massive accident at some point.

 

And then the meeting was over and someone blurted out "Novices need to watch their mirrors".

 

And this comment, which was also yelled right after the first driver's meeting needs to be addressed. In my opinion this train of thought is why at some races we are seeing the aggressive driving. The 'fast guys' and 'fast cars' for some reason think they are the owner of the track and everyone else should get out of their way. Guess what... it is the job of the person MAKING THE PASS to handle it safely and over and over again while in the driver's seat I watch the much faster car dive bomb and muscle their way past a slow car. I am not the best driver but I have a lot of laps racing and instructing at Road Atlanta so it's a track I am familiar with... and honestly a lot of the driving was awful.

 

I drove the 8:30-10pm stint and would have assumed after a meeting like that the driving would have improved. Boy was I wrong. Two situations stand out. I won't single out any cars specifically of course. Don't think that is necessary.

 

I came down the esses with some single car about 5 car lengths back. I setup and took the standard line knowing he would then slingshot past me coming up the hill. NOPE... he choose to go two off driver's left before the hill. His lights were not even up to the driver's door... so I guess it was 'his corner' in his mind. I had to adjust my line mid apex to move over so he did not hit me. Why? How is that 'passing safely'?

 

Few laps later I exit turn 7 with a few cars back in 6 that I saw coming quickly. I exit turn 7 and drift back to track right so I am on the outside going into 10A. Give everyone plenty of room. I run down the back straight about 1/2 a car width off track right. Three cars approach and two go left and the fastest decides to swerve to my right and pass two off in the grass on the back straight. That was his 'safe passing' decision. Flashing through my mind is he is going to lose it and take me out...

 

THIS is the kind of mindset that is causing these issues in my opinion. If you are the 'fast' car then use your speed and skill to safely go around. Not muscling your way through via a bullying move that is either "MOVE or we are making contact".

 

Everyone thinks they are The Stig but some should reel in their aggression.

Edited by dinanm3atl
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Thanks for sharing this. Im up here in Canada in the snow and was following Awol Photography on facebook and he posted a picture of everyone at the track standing around. I didnt know what exactly happened.


 


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Edited by Rich
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2-off passes really need to stop.  Unless you're taking evasive maneuvers there is no reason to put tires off the track while passing.  Its called "exceeding track limits" and should incur a penalty.  At least a drive through.  My .02.


Edited by Bremsen
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Thanks for sharing this. Im up here in Canada in the snow and was following Awol Photography on facebook and he posted a picture of everyone at the track standing around. I didnt know what exactly happened.

 

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I believe the 'final straw' was a yellow had just come out and multiple people all over the track BLASTED through yellows. I witnessed that myself in the first stint 8am-10am. Full course and the whole back straight is slowing and 2-3 out of 7 just go blasting down the straight...

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How many black flags were thrown for dangerous / 2-off passes? (An official count would be great)


 


If these illegal passes aren't being met with penalties, they will continue to happen, and come-to-jesus meetings will continue to happen and not have an effect on the driving.


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I can't agree more with the OP - we had a slow car out there and some of the driving and passing we witnessed was horrible.  This wasn't an 8 lap HSR race - why do some of these idiots think it's important to pass a slow car on the inside of turn 5 (the top of the Esses) when if they wait 1 second, they can blow you away on the straight?? 


Correct me if I'm wrong - the slow car is supposed to drive the racing line and it's the passing car's responsibility to pass safely - not push them out of the line.


I also drove the 8:30-10:00 stint - the driving I witnessed during the last 15 minutes of the race was amazing - I swear it was like the final lap of the Daytona 500 - the driver of our sister car said the same thing.


At the beginning of this race, I wish Mike made the same speech that he did at the beginning of the second AMP race.  For those not there, the first day was complete carnage - the typical I'm going to win this race in the first hour attitude.  He made a come to Jesus speech on the second day at it was a very enjoyable day.   


Edited by tomphot
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I believe everyone had equal parts in the ctj meeting. Experienced, fast, expert drivers, making passes they shouldn't while novice drivers change lines faster than Katy Perry changed outfits at the super bowl.

We had one car go off track in front of us and when returning to course cut all the way across showering our car with gravel resulting in a broken windshield. Back straight, car in the middle. I'm headed right another car heads to the left. Driver of car in the middle sees car on left and moves right effectively cutting me off. Whatever happened to hold your line? I believe everyone needed to hear mike.

Overall though we felt the race was very clean. People using point by and for the most part staying on course. We managed to make it through with no contact. The above examples are by far the exceptions from our day.

Edited by sgtskid
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And then the meeting was over and someone blurted out "Novices need to watch their mirrors".

 

 

I heard that comment as well and really wanted to shout back..  "Some people need to use their windshield..."

Edited by Justin9
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I agree completely with this post.  My experience on Saturday was that MOST drivers were clean, careful, and racy.  But a few made quite a spectacle of themselves, dive bombing corners and stealing the line from slower cars.  I could name some cars, but in the spirit of this post, won't.

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I agree completely with this post.  My experience on Saturday was that MOST drivers were clean, careful, and racy.  But a few made quite a spectacle of themselves, dive bombing corners and stealing the line from slower cars.  I could name some cars, but in the spirit of this post, won't.

 

Please do. If CCWS won't call them out, then we drivers need to do it.

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I was more than a little irritated that apparently people were complaining about the flagging.  I thought the flagging was fantastic!  I only saw one issue, and that was a yellow flag "hung' in the fence in 6 after the whole track went green.  it was there for two full laps before the corner worker woke up.  But all in all, they did a GREAT job of warning us of issues, being consistent and paying attention. 


 


I also would like to add that if people are disobeying the yellow flags, the best way to get the drivers to pay more attention is to follow through with penalties.  Make a list of those PUY and BRING THEM IN.  Mike was yelling that we weren't honoring yellow flags, will there's a solution and it will work.  Enforce the rules and those drivers trying to make up positions will figure it out.  


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Well, this seems to come up after most races in the Southeast. "fast cars taking a slow cars line away", "dive bombing", other things of that nature trying to pass blame onto other cars rather than tidy their own driving up. Have you ever considered that the "fast cars" are fast because they make those tough passes that other cars do not? As the owner of the 223 (the overall winner on Saturday), I know that there are plenty of people that have issue with how the car is driven, mostly because we "dive bomb" the braking zone (where the car is at its best) to make passes. Hello, we are racing out there! I will fully admit that if I can get square with another car in the braking zone before the turn in is initiated, I am going to do so. This may mean that I am 6 cars back when you start braking and then near the end of the braking zone I am even with you or passing by the time you reach the turn in point. Riding around waiting to only make passes on the straights is silly, this is not an HPDE day. Turn 10 is my favorite place to pass at Road Atlanta because most cars start braking at the 4 marker and I go to the 1. 


 


I was also the one who said something at the end of the drivers meeting about lets have a better race than last year. That comment was NOT just speaking to the "slow cars". EVERYBODY who is on track should be fully aware of what is happening in front, beside and behind their cars while they are on track. We have one of the quicker cars in the field, but I check my own mirrors at least 50 times a lap simply because I insist on knowing what is happening around me on the track. I have driven the car in races where there are $300000 Radical Prototype style cars in the field that pass me with more closure speed than most deem safe, but being fully aware of what is going on in our mirrors lets us see them coming several corners before they actually get there and there has never been a problem.


 


In my own opinion, the race went much better than last years did. Much less carnage and lots of tight, clean racing.


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I never personally encountered any bad driving while on track.  I also do not have an issue with out braking and taking apex, that is racing. Turn 10 is a great place to out brake and pass. Seems like some might be a little too sensitive about how they perceive someone is passing you. Notice I said perceive, the other driver most likely has perceived that they are in complete control during the pass, but they are so much faster, that you perceived it as a dive-bomb. Be aware of what's happening around you, and drive your race. If you get butt hurt about how someone passed you, then your focus has been compromised. I like CCWS because most teams race hard, that is why we are here. Overall I feel like the racing was clean, and ample room was given (while I was on track). I had more of an issue with a few cars that were WAY off pace, almost to the point of being dangerous. I realize that it may have been due to mechanical issues (I really hope it was mechanical, not poor driving), but there is a point where a team should analyze whether its just not safe to continue. We had an amazing time, the event was ran like clock work, and everyone was just awesome this weekend. Thanks to all of the CCWS staff, and volunteers for everything. One last thing RA is awesome!


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Kevin-


First off- congrats on the "overall" win!!


This is spot on- coming into the braking in T10 is the place that we did most of our passing.  Just give a little room and no one gets hurt, other than your feelings.  Like you said, "we are racing out there"- so true.  I know that in just about every other series out there, once you are even with a car, you have all the right to your line, but not in chump.  The chump rule is the chump rule, and we should play by this rule, BUT....


 


I would just say that drivers need to learn to drive just off the school line some and give the room to any car attempting a pass.


 


I will say that things did get a little hairy out there, but not as bad as other years- at least from my view point during my stints.  But I will say that there was some passing at night in certain turns that I didn't see during the day that seemed a little more risky.


 


As for passing under yellow- saw plenty of this and can't agree more that the offenders need to be penalized.


 


As for the flaggers- they did a better job than in years past- so big kudos there.  The one flag station that is hard to see is T-7.  You really can't see the flag until turn-in.  I wish they would use the flag station after T-7 right at the Mazda bridge on the top of the back straight as there was plenty of stuff going on in that area that neither T-7 could see and it wasn't the Black Flag stations concern.


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I was more than a little irritated that apparently people were complaining about the flagging.  I thought the flagging was fantastic!  I only saw one issue, and that was a yellow flag "hung' in the fence in 6 after the whole track went green.  it was there for two full laps before the corner worker woke up.  But all in all, they did a GREAT job of warning us of issues, being consistent and paying attention. 

 

I also would like to add that if people are disobeying the yellow flags, the best way to get the drivers to pay more attention is to follow through with penalties.  Make a list of those PUY and BRING THEM IN.  Mike was yelling that we weren't honoring yellow flags, will there's a solution and it will work.  Enforce the rules and those drivers trying to make up positions will figure it out.  

 

I worked as a volunteer and was following on the radio, Chump was trying to get a handle on the passing under yellow. At first it was a one minute penalty, but within the first hour he bumped it up to 5 minutes, and I know at least one car that came in for a second offense and sat for 10 minutes. That was the main issue of the first red flag, when they stopped the field on the front stretch and Mike made the announcement over the PA.

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Turn 10 I am braking at the 100-120 as well... I never had one issue at Turn 10. I am talking about two very specific incidents with specific cars. If I am mid apex and I have to adjust because a car went two off at 5 on the inside how is that I need to adjust? If I know 3 fast cars are coming and I move over well before they arrive track right on the back straight and the 3rd car decides to knowingly go two off at close to 100 mph to pass me? I knew the 3 cars were coming because I saw them.


 


I agree with you and Chip! Some people DO need to get comfortable off the school line. However dangerous passes that turn into "You move or we make contact" in certain locations should not be tolerated. I have passed people in ChumpCar and open track days at Road Atlanta in every possible place. I am comfortable anywhere on that track. I do take exception to someone putting right side tires on the gators and the rest in the grass at 5 and straight lining it and forcing me over while he isn't even half way up my car. If I didn't move and let him go straight he wasn't going to even make the corner. Sorry but that is bull cookies.


 


And Kevin your car passed me multiple times safely in these same areas. So did many other top cars. However I take exception once I have the corner and they are not even up to my door. It's my corner at that point. And your comment was not the 'watch your mirrors' I do not believe. I also was not referring to your comment at the first driver's meeting.


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As for the flaggers- they did a better job than in years past- so big kudos there.  The one flag station that is hard to see is T-7.  You really can't see the flag until turn-in.  I wish they would use the flag station after T-7 right at the Mazda bridge on the top of the back straight as there was plenty of stuff going on in that area that neither T-7 could see and it wasn't the Black Flag stations concern.

 

I also complained only about that one turn worker...  she was leaning on the wall and just had the flag in her hand, and was not holding the flag up or out, just leaning on the wall with her arms kind of under her on the top of the wall...  with the flag in her hand.  The way the walls work there, the wall blocked the view of the flag until you got into the turn....   I was making a pass on a car into 7, no flag shown at 6, but when I was halfway through the pass I saw the flag and had to lock up the brakes to let the other car go back in front...   

 

As for the racing, I never had a problem with how anyone passed me or raced me...  I thought everything was going great...  I guess those of us that race from around 12 to 2 and again at 6 to 8 were doing a really good job...   lol...

Edited by Justin9
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Sorry if it looked like a took offense to your comments dinanm3atl. I was attempting to comment more on the "fast cars think they own the track" line of thinking that I thought I was picking up on. I will admit to having two passes that once I was committed to, I realized they were not the best idea, but I dealt with them, had no contact and everyone continued on. I have been squeezed off to the inside before also and dont usually get upset about it since it is racing. I would rather put two off inside to avoid contact with a car that I am passing.


 


I agree about the Turn 7 yellow light. I was passing there twice when I saw the yellow and there is nothing good that can be done to not complete the pass. If you park the car to allow the cars back around, you risk piling up everyone behind you, or if you complete the pass, you risk getting the black flag. Completely agree about an earlier warning flag there. Turn 10 was tough to see at night too. I was coming up on a group of cars in that corner, went three wide to the inside and when I cleared their cars I saw the yellow was on. I came on the radio and said "crap, I just passed in 10 and the yellow was on, be prepared for me to come in for a black flag". I was at the limit braking in that situation and there was absolutely no way to give those positions back once I saw the flag. I light at the top of the hill at the 4-5 braking marker would be much better in my opinion.


 


If TBR has video of the last stint, they should have a huge mistake of mine in the Turn 10 complex. Messed up my downshift entering the corner as I was passing them and hucked it into 10a, tail stepped out and I attempted to flip it/drift through 10b and it almost worked.........almost. Those freaking aligators are rough at the exit of 10b! Power sliding coming out of 7 was awesome fun too.

Edited by CutlassRacer
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I had the same issue in 10 twice, where I was three wide inside in the middle of the pass when I saw the flag.  I made the same radio call.  I'm not sure what the rule is, line of site on a yellow flag or no passing once past the station.  hmmm


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I would guess that they would make the call that we should have seen the flag well before the corner and should not have been passing in it, but from my seat, that was simply not possible. If the lights were at the top of the hill, I would start braking much sooner to not pass anyone in 10a. With it at the bottom of the hill, as you mentioned Jer, there is nothing that can be done. The reason for the yellow was a car spun in 10b so I would like an earlier warning personally. When I get 10 right, I am at the limit of traction of the tires and any other change that late in the turn is going to be tough.


 


Also, if they put the Turn 7 yellow lights back up closer to Turn 6, we would be able to see them as we crested the hill on the straight between 5 and 6. If this were the case, I would stay in line through 6 and 7 rather than attempt passes and then see the flag in the middle of 7.


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 Power sliding coming out of 7 was awesome fun too.

You had a nice one in front of me towards the end of the race- it was a thing of beauty to watch...

 

 

It did seem that at times some of the flaggers were just holding the flag while resting on the railing making it hard to see the flag.  The T-10 flag was hard to see during the day- sometimes it seems to just blend in with the surroundings.

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We have one of the slower cars out there, #466, white Integra. Our team all have about a year driving W2W. All four of us drivers were running consistant 2 minute laps. That's the best we could get out of our car. We could carry decent speed through the turns but straights were very slow. Watching mirrors was critical because of high speed differentials. I have no issues giving room to the faster cars but if I am in the turn committed to my line, I shouldn't need to run off track or brake mid-turn to avoid the faster car tracking out across my front end.  Passing under yellow was a problem that needs to be clamped down on. There a couple spots it is hard to notice the flags when you are driving close to others cars in turns or passing. I drove 8:00am-9:45am and 3:00pm- 4:15pm. Most of the driving seemed pretty clean that I saw. If I made any really bad screw ups, sorry(let me know privately and I'll try to learn).


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There is a lot going on at Road Atlanta, like super fast cars, lost of corners, lots of traffic and a lot of flaggers in different spots. I know in my car sometimes it is hard to see some of the flagging stations due to being stuck behind tall cars. I am pretty certain we did not blast through some yellows at RAtl, But I some do it simply because they may have been quite busy dealing with traffic. 


One thing that was brought up to me by my drivers were the red flags and how some drivers reacted. Some slammed on the brakes and stopped on a dime in a cloud of smoke, and some others took 1/2 lap to come to a stop.


 


One other issue I have is when a Chump official gets in the flagging tower wearing the chumpcar colors, yellow and black. So many times I looked at the tower and in panic started to say "YELLOW FRONT STRAIGHT" on the radio until I realized it was just Phil.


 


I did see a couple of cars come out of the pit lane and disregard the blend line and swerve over to the right of the track to make the climb to 2. Fun when I am moving along at around 90mph.


 


I did bump a guys bumper coming into 12 around the 4th stint Saturday.  I think it was an E36. dark color. I waved sorry. and I am sorry. I cam on the power a little faster than I should have sitting on your bumper like that. My bad. 


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  • Race Control

I also would like to add that if people are disobeying the yellow flags, the best way to get the drivers to pay more attention is to follow through with penalties.  Make a list of those PUY and BRING THEM IN.  Mike was yelling that we weren't honoring yellow flags, will there's a solution and it will work.  Enforce the rules and those drivers trying to make up positions will figure it out.  

 

Interesting question for everyone - if I can't get you to see a YELLOW, how am I supposed to get you to see a BLACK?

 

What most racers don't know (and that is understandable until you've been in a control tower) is how long it takes from moment of infraction to sitting in BF.  Ready for this?  On average - 7 minutes.  At RdAtl, that's almost four laps of racing.  So a car spins off track at T7 and the yellows go up at 5&6.  Three cars are not paying attention and pass into T6.  Call is made by corner worker, control logs it and I tell control to bring all of them in.  FYI - every PUY earns a BF with me.  They begin working on the first car.  7 minutes later they begin working on the second car and 7 minutes after that they start working on the third car.  21 minutes to bring in three PUY infractions at one turn for a single spun car.  This is why many of you argue that it wasn't you - it happened so long ago that YOU FORGOT!

 

Since you asked (as if I'm not paying attention up there in the tower), here are the cars I pulled in for PUY on Saturday:

48

400

251

44

317

133

205

190

187

82

727

230

120

708

20

69

167

45

691

323

223

95

138

 

These are the car numbers that made at least one visit to BF for PUY.  Some of these guys made more than one visit.  And remember that after the first red flag I upped the time for a 1st PUY infraction to 5min and the 2nd to 10min.  This list does not include all of the cars that visited us in BF for other calls (S&C, 4o, PiG, contact).

 

I will add that rarely does the same driver get a BF for PUY twice.  You guys learn your lesson, but the other drivers on your team seem to need their own lesson as well.  :)

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