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ChumpCar track etiquette manual - Let's write one for the new guys.


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It's been suggested that we write up a track etiquette manual, page, or flyer... just something to help newbies know what to expect on track, or in the pits.

Let's not include "passing" as that can take its own encyclopedia-sized manual.

 

Just pick a section, and give us a few lines of wisdom. We will build the track etiquette page on your responses.

1. Pit and Paddock setup
2. Race Start
3. On track

4. Yellow flags
5. Black flags
6. RED flags

7. Being Towed

8. Fueling

9. EV's - Emergency Vehicles

10. Other stuff that does not include passing

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  • Technical Advisory Committee
9 minutes ago, Bill Strong said:

It's been suggested that we write up a track etiquette manual, page, or flyer... just something to help newbies know what to expect on track, or in the pits.

Let's not include "passing" as that can take its own encyclopedia-sized manual.

 

4. Yellow flags

 

 

On a FCY, you need to close the gap. There should be 3-4 car lengths between you and the car in front of you, if there is more gap than that YOU ARE THE PACE CAR. 

 

* Note by Bill Strong - and the best way to piss off the race controller is to be the 2nd pace car. I have seen it. It is not pretty. 

 

 

 

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15 minutes ago, Bill Strong said:

8. Fueling

Be calm and get it done safe.   Having worked several races I've seen all sorts of interesting things.   

The fire bottle person needs to be far enough away to not be a part of what they are supposed to be controlling.  Many times we see them less than 5 ft away from the crew with the gas jug.  Don't trap yourself between your car and the wall or the car behind.  You need to be mobile in case things go south.    keep your eyes at the fueler's feet a fire from a spill will start below the car.  

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21 minutes ago, Bill Strong said:

It's been suggested that we write up a track etiquette manual, page, or flyer... just something to help newbies know what to expect on track, or in the pits.

Let's not include "passing" as that can take its own encyclopedia-sized manual.

3. On track

Maintain your line (Direction of travel for the newest of new drivers) The rest of us can work around you. 
You're more likely to get hit if you do things erratically, so just drive your own pace and we will work around you. 

 

 

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18 minutes ago, Bill Strong said:

It's been suggested that we write up a track etiquette manual, page, or flyer... just something to help newbies know what to expect on track, or in the pits.

Let's not include "passing" as that can take its own encyclopedia-sized manual.

 

Just pick a section, and give us a few lines of wisdom. We will build the track etiquette page on your responses.

1. Pit and Paddock setup

  • Make friends with your pit neighbors, you will never know if you need something from them, being friendly goes a long way

2. Race Start

  • Get close to the guy in front of you, don't lag behind making a giant train. No one wants to take the Green Flag at Road Atlanta from T7.

3. On track

  • Just don't be a jerk :D
  • Use hand signals, if you know someone is faster, communicate, help them get around you

4. Yellow flags

  • Same as race start, check up to the next guy, run a decent pace, this isn't a construction zone with a 35mph speed limit

5. Black flags
6. RED flags

  • Don't slam on the brakes, you are not required to come to an immediate panic stop
  • Look behind you first, then come to a controlled stop

7. Being Towed

  • Drag the brakes when being flat towed, don't be that guy that runs over the strap

8. Fueling

9. EV's - Emergency Vehicles

10. Other stuff that does not include passing

 

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6. RED flags

 

This means something bad has happened on track, or the race director wants every car to stop now. 
This does NOT mean that you lock the brakes up and come to a standstill. Look around you, scan the mirrors. You should already know who is around you. Just pull off the track line, safely and under control, and stop the car. There is no need to panic stop. 

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22 minutes ago, Bill Strong said:

3. On track

If your new to wheel to wheel its real easy to be overwhelmed on track.  (it was for me)  Awareness of everything around you is hard, and critical to success.  Watch your mirrors, if notice the lilttle specs way back there, if they are getting bigger understand that they are faster.  Try to manage when they pass, if possible point them by on the straight even if you need to breathe the throttle a little.  This affects your lap time and theirs the least.  Then follow and learn for a couple corners.  Your car is faster on track than off, work up to better lap times.

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4. Yellow Flags. Once you know where the incident is during a FCY, use the rest of the track to go around 75-80% of racing speed. This should keep the field bunched up nicely. The corner and safety workers appreciate knowing where the gap is so they can work more efficiently when there are NO cars whizzing by them. 

DON'T be a second pace car; it really frustrates the drivers behind you that are trying to catch the field!!!

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10. Other stuff that does not include passing

 

If you suddenly find yourself or your team being interviewed on ChumpCast Live, remember to talk about your/team sponsors. If you don't have any, then thank the wife/girlfriend/boyfriend/mom/dad/anyone else involved in your racing. If you don't know who the sponsors are, then read the car. They are normally all over it with decals or spray paint.

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41 minutes ago, red0 said:

 

On a FCY, you need to close the gap. There should be 3-4 car lengths between you and the car in front of you, if there is more gap than that YOU ARE THE PACE CAR. 

 

* Note by Bill Strong - and the best way to piss off the race controller is to be the 2nd pace car. I have seen it. It is not pretty. 

 

 

 

YES!!! ...This should be top of the list - No more quasi pace cars, please.

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11.  Driving the pace car - 

 

If you drive the pace car at 25MPH around the entire track for no good reason, you are changing the outcome of the race. Chumpcar, please supply reasonable pace cars and drivers. If there is an oil down or safety reason to slow the pace, that is OK. If a track does not do hot pulls, there is no reason to go 40% race speed the entire length of the track. You know the area where the EV is, go 75% race speed the rest of the track.  

 

At the start of the race, let people warm up tires and brakes. It is difficult to warm tires at 25 mph.

 

*** Some pace car drivers in chump do well, but others do not. Maybe there can be a class. ?

Edited by red0
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Talk to your neighbors in the pits about when you may be coming in for fuel. Especially on races when pit stalls are doubled and tripled up. We knew our neighbors, the Sahlen’s team, would be making a final stop for both of their cars that were in contention at our last race. We were just turning laps and off schedule at that point. The fact that we worked around their time frame seemed to be well appreciated. 

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27 minutes ago, red0 said:

11.  Driving the pace car - 

 

If you drive the pace car at 25MPH around the entire track for no good reason, you are changing the outcome of the race. Chumpcar, please supply reasonable pace cars and drivers. If there is an oil down or safety reason to slow the pace, that is OK. If a track does not do hot pulls, there is no reason to go 40% race speed the entire length of the track. You know the area where the EV is, go 75% race speed the rest of the track.  

 

At the start of the race, let people warm up tires and brakes. It is difficult to warm tires at 25 mph.

 

*** Some pace car drivers in chump do well, but others do not. Maybe there can be a class. ?

 

I was told to slow down to 25 mph by race control. Actually, race control tells the pace car what speed to stay at. So blame the tower. Not the pace car driver.

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Just now, Bill Strong said:

 

I was told to slow down to 25 mph by race control. Actually, race control tells the pace car what speed to stay at. So blame the tower. Not the pace car driver.

 

Thanks for the insight. What is the reasoning for such a slow pace if a tow truck is just picking up a broken car at a track without hot pulls?

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1 hour ago, Bill Strong said:

6. RED flags

 

This means something bad has happened on track, or the race director wants every car to stop now. 
This does NOT mean that you lock the brakes up and come to a standstill. Look around you, scan the mirrors. You should already know who is around you. Just pull off the track line, safely and under control, and stop the car. There is no need to panic stop. 

And, come to a stop where you can see a corner station.

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From my time sitting in the tower resting between interviews and chasing down drivers and team owners, I can tell you it all depends on the situation. In the situation that you are talking about, it had to do with a car that was acting as a second pace car, and we were trying to time the EV's leaving the track and you guys restarting the race. 
Also keeping you guys away from the EVs as they are spreading oil dry is a good thing. Fewer chances of you getting it blown into your racecar, your drivers face and clogging your air filter. 
On hot summer days, a slow yellow is better than red flagging the race. 

bottom line, it depends on what is going on, the Safety crew gives race control input, the track folks may require the pace car to slow down, things like that.

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5. Black flags

 

Don't yell at... 
Don't cuss at...

Don't run over the...

 

ChumpCar person standing at Black Flag / Pit In because you just got Black Flagged either due to an infraction or a report of car issues. 
 

The person standing there talking to you never saw the incident. They are being told to hold you for a certain amount of time due to something that was seen by a corner worker. 
The process is like this....
1. You (car 55)  bump into a car (car 72), spin off the track and rejoin in a dangerous way.
2. The corner worker sees this incident. Reports to the track safety person in the tower/race control that car 72 pushed car 55 off the track. 
2A. Mike Chisec notes that the following is how it really goes....
Corner - "Car 195 blue hit the orange car"
Me - "We have no #195, or a blue car"
Corner - "Oh, maybe it was 786"
Me - "I have a car 96.  Was that it?"
Corner - "Yeah! It was car 96"

Me - "96 is purple"
(I can't blame them though, we make them watch 100 cars at 100+ MPH. MikeC) 

3. The track safety person tells ChumpCar race Controller that that car 72 pushed car 55 off the track.

4. Per our rules, both cars are black flagged. That means that both cars are shown the black flag and will need to explain to the person at put-in what happened. The pit-in person will radio CCWS race control with what the drivers told him. 

5. Race control will issue the ruling and the pit in person will tell the drivers what they need to do, either sit for XX amount of minutes or go rejoin the race.

 

 

Bottom line. Don't argue, don't swear. That will just delay the situation. It can also get your team additional penalties, or, it can even get you excused from the track.


If you feel you have been wronged, video evidence is always good to show the race controller. Time can always be added back to your race if it is found that you were in the right. <--up to race director. 

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May I suggest that in the published manual the tips be concise?  If it gets too wordy people won't read it.  No need to tell a story around each tip.

 

For example, using a few of the tips/points already raised:

  • Under FCY catch up and maintain a minimum of 4 car lengths from the car ahead.  
  • The fire bottle person must maintain 10 foot distance from fueler and be hyper-vigilante of any fire and safety threats
  • On receiving a black flag, remain calm and professional, and pit for instructions.  Keep calm
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2 hours ago, JDChristianson said:

If your new to wheel to wheel its real easy to be overwhelmed on track.  (it was for me)  Awareness of everything around you is hard, and critical to success.  Watch your mirrors, if notice the little specs way back there, if they are getting bigger understand that they are faster.  Try to manage when they pass, if possible point them by on the straight even if you need to breathe the throttle a little.  This affects your lap time and theirs the least.  Then follow and learn for a couple corners.  Your car is faster on track than off, work up to better lap times.

 When I first started racing, the flags and caution lights were hard to keep track of because I was too busy doing the above and just making sure I was keeping the car on the track. Remembering to look for them is a very important part of the early learning curve. At first I was relying on the traffic in front of me to see them and I would react to them...

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