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Is it time for qualifications in Chumpcar?


Philippe
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Before "jumping on me" telling me: "This is not Nascar, not even SCCA..."Chumpcar is for fun, don't take yourself too seriously...", hear me out! There are 2 reasons I'm talking about this. There is of course a competition aspect, but the only real problem I'm trying to eliminate is the mayhem on pit road before the race even starts!

You have all experienced it, or witnessed it! Before the drivers meeting, cars start to line up at pit out, cars getting pushed during the meeting,..., or even worse like at WGI on Sunday, where pit road looked like a demolition derby was getting on the way! But I'm not blaming the teams who do it, the level of competition is too high, and my team has had to do it to keep up, even if we don't like doing it!

But I don't really have a solution, this is why I'm posting this!

When I'm trying to find the "fairest" way to line up the cars for the start of the race, it's hard not to think about qualifications! Not that long ago, it would not have been a possibility because it would have been too expensive to rent the track an extra day.(and it may still be at some tracks: Daytona, Sebring,...) But if I look at the other races in my region (sorry if it's different where you are): Road Atlanta, Barber, WGI, AMP,... have a practice day! It wouldn't be too hard to select a short time slot at the end of the afternoon for the teams who DESIRE to post a qualifying time. Those cars would line up at pit road before the meeting, in the order of their qualifying time. All other teams would line up behind in a calm fashion because these teams by skipping qualy shouldn't care.

Chumpcar could even charge $20 per team who wants to qualify to pay for the extra person needed to supervise this "extra step".

Now, for those of you thinking: "this is endurance racing, starting positions don't matter...", I beg to differ! Look at recent results, not only for the win, or a podium finish, but even a top 20 position can be fought for with just seconds separating 2 cars. {You may even loose a 4th place finish by 4/100th of a sec!} The lenght of the race makes a HUGE difference! You could argue a starting position doesn't matter for a 24 hours race, but less for a 14; and not at all for a 7! Now, add to that a racetrack where they don't do hot pulls (WGI), or few (Barber, AMP); and your starting position can mean a difference between being on the lead lap or not! (with all my love and admiration to Robin...)

Even if you like the idea of qualifications, it doesn't solve the line up issue at tracks without a practice day!

Very early qualy before the race?

Past winners in the front?

Last race's top 20?

Random draw?

 

Edited by Philippe
mispell
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I like the current system. Top dog teams know that they have to be ready to go after the drivers meeting to get out front then everything works itself out over the next 7-24 hours. If you lose by 4/100th of a second I am sure you could have found it somewhere else. In a youtube video Mike said the mess at WGI won't happen again, I am not sure what happened there . The current format worked fine at Seca. Qualifying will create a bunch of its own problems, cars blocking each other, people over driving, time restrictions, logistics, increased entry fees, cars lining up to get out of the pits for qualy to get clean air, etc. 

Edited by Jamie
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I think you are asking a little to much here if they wish to camp out for a front spot then let them, I think it should be a clean 2 lanes no one in line till 30 min before start. on to the track in one line left.right left, right. 

We put up a lot of money to make these races and we are not kids even that we do play badly some times.We need to just follow a set of rules.

Bob Mann

www.DRVOLKS.com

bobtec@comcast.net

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We are indeed looking at options for the start of our races. Thanks @Philippe for posting this and getting the conversation started. 

 

Personally, I like the idea of a qualifying option where we do have a practice day. Why not? Last session of the day? Most likely would have to grid the cars the night before to save time in the morning. Take you car to the paddock you lose your spot? Minor work permitted like refueling, cleaning windshields, checking oil (with the required safety rules enforced)?

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I like both the idea of voluntary qualifying, and pre gridding. You could mark the grid spots with some numbered mini traffic cones, close pre grid at a designated time after the qualifying session so everyone could get their car serviced and fueled for the morning.

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3 minutes ago, mhr650 said:

I like both the idea of voluntary qualifying, and pre gridding. You could mark the grid spots with some numbered mini traffic cones, close pre grid at a designated time after the qualifying session so everyone could get their car serviced and fueled for the morning.

8.1.1. Unless otherwise noted in the Supplemental Rules, all fueling must be done on pit road.

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Just now, Doc said:

8.1.1. Unless otherwise noted in the Supplemental Rules, all fueling must be done on pit road.

 

True, but isn’t that during the actual race? Nobody drives their car to pit lane to top it off the night before the race.

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3 minutes ago, cagedruss said:

Isn't the race still started with a random flag drop with all cars spread over the circuit? if so what does qualifying accomplish exactly besides the possibly of having different run groups running in the same race?

No it is not

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2 hours ago, Doc said:

We are indeed looking at options for the start of our races. Thanks @Philippe for posting this and getting the conversation started. 

 

Personally, I like the idea of a qualifying option where we do have a practice day. Why not? Last session of the day? Most likely would have to grid the cars the night before to save time in the morning. Take you car to the paddock you lose your spot? Minor work permitted like refueling, cleaning windshields, checking oil (with the required safety rules enforced)?

Agreed, there is no reason not to have a quali session for those that want to qualify at events where CCWS already has a practice day scheduled. 

Edited by Snake
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To me, the answer is simple, why complicate it... Either go back to a truly random start where the entire field is running around under yellow flag speed all spread out with no pace vehicle or do the grid order with a random number generator like Dog said. 

 

While I don't particularly care if other teams "jump the gun" and get out to pit road ahead of every one else, it isn't like it is some savvy strategy - they are either having crew members take the cars out or even worse they are having one of their drivers skip the meeting to grid the car. Could implement a "if you are in the car going to the grid then you better be suited up and ready to race" rule. Any team putting a car on the grid with a driver that is not track-ready gets moved to the rear.

 

Events where there could be qualifying, sure go ahead and qualify then. 

 

Edited by pintodave
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Any kind of 'random gridding' should be opt-in. Most teams won't want to be on front row anyway (to stay clear of the 'win it in turn one' guys), so for them it would be business as usual. The teams who are gunning for a spot near the front can take a number or whatever is decided.

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4 minutes ago, enginerd said:

Any kind of 'random gridding' should be opt-in. Most teams won't want to be on front row anyway (to stay clear of the 'win it in turn one' guys), so for them it would be business as usual. The teams who are gunning for a spot near the front can take a number or whatever is decided.

 

Agreed, any team that does not care, or is new, or whatever, should always have the option to drop to the back if they so choose. 

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2 hours ago, Snake said:

Agreed, there is no reason not to have a quali session for those that want to qualify at events where CCWS already has a practice day scheduled. 

However, by making this statement you certify that some folks might Just not be interested in a qualifying scenario.  So, basically you are supporting a system which caters to the "haves" and marginalizes the "have nots"...

So, ueh...FUGHDAT.

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19 minutes ago, dogtired said:

However, by making this statement you certify that some folks might Just not be interested in a qualifying scenario.  So, basically you are supporting a system which caters to the "haves" and marginalizes the "have nots"...

So, ueh...FUGHDAT.

No, its a simple choice.  Everyone HAS the opportunity. 

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3 hours ago, dogtired said:

However, by making this statement you certify that some folks might Just not be interested in a qualifying scenario.  So, basically you are supporting a system which caters to the "haves" and marginalizes the "have nots"...

So, ueh...FUGHDAT.

 

2 hours ago, Snake said:

No, its a simple choice.  Everyone HAS the opportunity. 

Not if qualifing is done on a friday practice that costs extra.  

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What if instead of Friday practice, Saturday RACE, Sunday RACE... we had Friday RACE, Saturday RACE, Sunday RACE.

 

Myself and my team do this to RACE, not practice.  Having four days of racing, and even three days of racing at Laguna is what made it economical for us to go there.  If it was one day of practice and two days of RACE we likely would not have made the long trek.  Practice/lapping sucks, let's RACE.

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Draw a number at registration Friday night - that's your spot, you are free to drop to the back.  Not in your spot 30 min before the start, you're in the back. 

 

How about double file starts?  Solves a good portion of the issue in a big field (90 cars @ VIR 24? - single file).  It was used at Gingerman last year, no problems.

 

Qualifying is fine if practice is included in the schedule - time all the sessions and post grid Friday night-not in your spot 30 min before the start, you're in the back - still the best/safest way to set a field to start a race.

 

While the argument can be made that starting position is not all that important in an endurance race, it is, less than in a sprint race, but still important.  You can always (in hindsight) say "if only" about any number of things and you would have/could have done to made up the difference.  When we have multiple cars finishing on the same lap, starting at the front vs. starting at the back of a 50+ car field (in single file) is often half a lap and then the lead car gains how much time as the back car works traffic?  By the time both cars are in traffic the initial gap is?  We prefer to start up front, I don't want to spot anyone almost a full lap, in any race, at any distance.

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Seems to me the problem isn't the FCFS/starting position, its the stack up on pit road/in the paddock where everyone jockeys for position.   Its especially problematic at the big races with 80-100+ cars as there just isn't enough room to fit everyone on pit road so the line backs up into the paddock at every entrance.

 

Is there an issue with gridding on track that I'm not aware of?

 

Not possible to pull the pace car/truck onto the front straight and let cars grid up behind it on track in 2 lines FCFS?  Set a time to close pit-out and anyone not on track starts from pit road.  Marshal randomly picks one line and the pace car/truck starts to circulate with that line in tow.  Teams out early might get lucky and start up front or unlucky and start mid pack.  Teams in the back might get lucky and start mid pack or unlucky and start at the very back.  I just never understood why we had to stack everyone on pit road.

Edited by Bremsen
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