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Bernie Myers Running for 2020 ChampCar Board of Directors

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Hello. I am Bernie Myers (aka hotrod) member of the Blue Shells Racing Team and builder of our two Ford Focus SVT’s.

When voting becomes available November 1st I am looking for your vote to become a ChampCar Board Of Director.

I hope this letter isn’t too long & you take the time to read through it.  

My racing career goes back a long way.

I spent 20 years with the Dale Coyne Racing Indycar Team as a mechanic then crew chief then team manager. As manager I attended many meetings with chassis manufactures, engine suppliers, tire manufactures, sponsors, other car owners, track owners, promoters, official’s and of course driver & crew meetings. From this experience I was able to take away what was on every ones agenda. Were they thinking of themselves or what was good for the series? How would a decision affect all involved? How would it change the cost of racing? Does a team looking for a rule change or update give them a distinct advantage?

Not long ago I helped to resurrect local pavement Midget Racing through the Short Track Auto Racing Series or STARS. I wrote the rule book and was race director. We took a bold step and changed tire manufactures switching to American Racer. This made STARS more money, saved the teams money and ultimately made for better racing.

After the success of STARS for one year I became Race Director for the local Friday Night Stock cars Races. Again writing the rule book and making sure that there was no favoritism and everyone was treated the same. The rules and procedures we changed are still used today.

My point is, I believe my past involvement in Motorsports can help me make the correct decisions to move ChampCar forward.  

I very much enjoy running in the ChampCar Endurance Series and without it I would not be able to enjoy Endurance Racing at at all the track I once raced at on the IndyCar schedule.

Thank you, Bernie Myers

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To my fellow ChampCar club members,

 

I cannot support having Mr. Myers on the board.    

 

The reason I bring this up is there was an incident on the last lap of the 2019 Indy race (Saturday).  In turn 1 he missed the corner by a lot and hit us in the right rear - hard enough to buckle the strut tower and the trunk floor.  My driver never saw the car that hit him and we were not racing for position.  We hung around the garage for several hours after the race prepping the car for Sunday.  Never sought us out, we were pitted right next to them!  Only when I talked to another team who witnessed it and they checked video overnight did I figure out who it was.  I confronted Mr. Myers the next morning when the cars were in pit lane pre-race, then he told me we did not give him room to race (we did - watch the video) and apologized about the damage to our car.

 

https://youtu.be/OckeFXH607M

 

People make mistakes on track - we're racing in a beginner league I get that.  However his actions post-incident are not those of someone I would consider for the board. 

 

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I thought we put this to bed in another tread.........Yes I hit your  car..........Yes it was my fault......Yes it was the last lap.......There was a row of cars to the outside and at least three of us on the inside. I don't recall who was in front but the 32 car was behind. The 32 car is faster than ours & he had a good run coming down the front straight I would of given him room but we were already two wide because we were faster down the straight than the guys to the left. I made this pass the same way all day a row of cars on the outside and a row to the inside. The car in front gets through I get to the corner and a car comes across me. Our Focus has good corner speed and would of made the corner it's not like I was driving to fast. It was my fault the passing car must make a safe pass. As you say it happened fast and I thought the car was grey obviously looking at the replays it's not. 

In the three years we have run our silver Focus we have had 10 of our Blue Shell drivers in the car and have run over 6000 race miles without any more than bumper to bumper contact. No crash damage till Indy. In this time we have only received 1 black flag which was at Gingerman a year ago when 1/2 of the field or more got a black flag because of poor flagging in turn ten. So our team races clean and I try harder because I have to fix the crash damage. 

I looked for a grey car with right rear damage & didn't see one. I was glad when you walked over to see if it was I that hit your car. You said your driver was a bit fatigued and didn't know exactly what happened. I apologized for the damage. If I didn't see the team I hit I would of been able to see who it was the following week when all the in car video comes out, then I would of reached out to the team.  Ours timed out when we stopped earlier for repair. I honestly didn't know who I hit and ferchristsake if I new you were next to us I would of walked over.

The picture below is what happened to us a half hour into Sunday at Indy. Need the rocker & floor pan pulled, new quarter panel, new door, new rocker & fender. The team that hit us know who we are & never came by.

Our black Focus won B Class Saturday & we should of won Sunday with the silver Focus but it finished 4th.

IMG_0894.jpg

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Lets continue on about the above post. The incident happened on the last lap. I didn't get a black flag. Did the corner worker see it a different way or did they just not care because it was the last lap. What happens when there is a passing under yellow or another infraction that calls for a black flag? 

It's the end of the race so how can a penalty be assessed?  I think it should be carried over to the next day or next event.

The car to be penalized should be able to start the next event so they can get some heat in the engine, tires & brakes then report to the pits to serve the penalty. 

What has happened in the past?

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8 hours ago, mostmint said:

he told me we did not give him room to race

So, was this a shouting match or something?  It sounds like he apologized for the damage and your driver didn't know what happened exactly.  He looked for the car afterwards, but had the car color wrong and didn't find it.  He has since taken responsibility for contact.  Mistakes happen.  He owned up to it.  That seems pretty reasonable to me unless I am missing something.

 

Disclaimer: I have no knowledge of the history of the contact being discussed and do not personally know either mostmint or hotrod.  Just throwing in my 0.02 doll-hairs.

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My 2 cents worth...

Knowing both of the guys in this conversation, Bernie Myers @hotrod, and Andy Cossick @mostmint, this conversation really surprises me - for a few reasons.

 

First Bernie - We met a few years back because we both race Focus's (Foci?), and have since developed a friendly relationship, sharing info about the cars, and many discussions about the series. I've always known Bernie to be a friendly, honest, laid back guy - especially considering the history he's had in the racing world. Doing a little research, I found that Bernie not only worked for Dale Coyne's IndyCar team, but was the crew chief of this team during the times when they were considered underfunded compared to most IndyCar teams.

Bernie operates his own business building and customizing hot rods and race cars, and as the short bio here https://www.berniesrods-customs.com/about states, he has some significant achievements in the world of IndyCar at the greatest race of them all. His achievements include winning the George Bignotti Preparation Award, as well as the Clint Brawner Award, given to the 'mechanic of the year' at that years' 500. Bernie is proud of his history, but he would never tell you these things. He's a quiet, humble kind of guy. The part that surprised me was listed in his bio in this thread (above) where he describes all of the other responsibilities he had while working for DCY - all good background experience for the type of work that is done by the ChampCar Board of Directors. His bio above also highlights his experiences managing race series, tracks, and writing rules intent on creating and maintaining a level playing field for all. Bernie and I share a mutual respect for each other. He has commented several times thanking me for my involvement in ChampCar as a TAC member, and as a volunteer at races when I'm not racing myself. I admire his racing history, knowledge, and capability as a fellow fabricator and builder. Now I applaud him for the willingness to run for the Board of Directors, a job that will require a time and effort commitment, while balancing being a small business owner. I wish him the best in this endeavor, and support his efforts.

 

Now Andy - We met a few years back at an MIS ChumpCar race when I was working as a volunteer pit marshal. I've always known Andy to be a fun loving guy, very intelligent racer who does things different than most, as evidenced by his great success running a Saturn - a platform that very few have tried. Andy also has the privilege of working with his family and some close friends in this effort. His son Kurt has become quite the mechanic and welder, and his daughter Rachel has become a very accomplished crew chief and logistical planner for the Mostmint teams' efforts. A couple years back, when we raced my Focus at Mid Ohio, I leaned on Andy for support. Andy not only hooked me up with 1 of his drivers, but he and Rachel came out to the track to support our efforts. They did a great job of organizing my teams' race day, and made things easy for me to concentrate on being the chief mechanic for the car on a day when we had some issues. I didn't have to worry about any of the logistics of race management (who was doing what on pit stops), running for parts, fuel, etc - Andy's team handled it for me. I look forward to collaborating with his group again in the future. I typically follow Andy's teams' efforts in any race they're entered in, and I root for them always, because of the quality type of person he is.  

Now having said all that about a person I consider a very level headed friend, it surprised me to see what was written in the posting above. In the past, I've seen threads written up with items for sale that somebody made negative comments about the person or goods being sold, and other forum members chimed in and asked that the O.P.'s for sale thread not be littered with derogatory statements or opinions. That's the feeling I got when I saw the post above - that a ChampCar member was offering to serve them membership by running for the BoD, but his efforts were squashed immediately due to a racing incident and misunderstanding that I'm sure neither party or team consciously caused on purpose - you know the old saying "stuff happens."

 

For Bernie and Andy - you're both quality people, I hope you guys can settle this issue and put it behind you, and in the meantime, I hope the rest of the membership will not be jaded, and judge the character of either one of these guys because of an unfortunate incident and misunderstanding between them.

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13 hours ago, Racer28173 said:

@mostmint  @hotrod There is a delete button available on a post.  Use it before it gets quoted and this all goes away. 

Thanks @Racer28173.........Thought about that but someone took the time to voice an opinion & good or bad I'll leave it there to stay transparent. If the day comes I get on the Board of Directors I would want to make sure that everyone's voice is noticed. If it ends up biting me in the ass so be it I'll know I didn't hide anything. 

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1. What, if anything, would you change about the flagtronics rules and roll out?
2. What are your thoughts on including *all* rules changes (including those written by tech, the board, Mike) being included in the yearly petition/review process in the attempt to gain some transparency in rules changes?

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4 hours ago, Slugworks Paul said:

1. What, if anything, would you change about the flagtronics rules and roll out?
2. What are your thoughts on including *all* rules changes (including those written by tech, the board, Mike) being included in the yearly petition/review process in the attempt to gain some transparency in rules changes?

ChampCar is many things. The first two are: It is driven by hundreds of passionate members that love to go Endurance Racing on a budget.

It is also a "Club" and must remain true to it's meaning.

1. The people that have put the flagtronics in place know much more about the device than we do. That is part of the problem. Had everyone been more informed about this then maybe the implementation of it would of went smoother & unchallenged. Back in CART an official had Toyota develop a better way to isolate the engines "Pop off Valve". It was brought to the Detroit race for all the teams to use. Cosworth and Chevrolet knew nothing up this & didn't want to use it untested. I can see their point. Trust was lost with CART over this & to me was the beginning of the end.  

2. Some safety decisions need to move swiftly to be implemented into the rules so it might possibly save someone from getting hurt. The dash bar is one that's needs to be done & ChampCar has given everyone time to add this to the cars or build it into a new chassis. For safety items who's to say we have to wait till the end of the year petition/review process a vote should be able to come up any time of the year.

But 99% of rule changes don't need to be rushed through and should have the input of the Board of Directors , ChampCar Tech and ChampCar members. Getting back to the "Club" part, ChampCar needs to have it's  members involved. Conversion and a different point of view generally adds to a topic.

There will be a few things coming up that will need to be looked before ChampCar starts to move away from it's roots. And I think all the members should have interaction with what the future brings.

Thanks for the questions there will be more topics that I will add as time goes on. 

 

Edited by hotrod
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I have received PM's but have taken them for what they are Personal Messages. So If you would like to ask questions & share them please post them on this tread. Thanks 

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I did get permission to post the questions I received via PM.

 

I am reaching out to each of the people running for the board.

 

I am very concerned about the direction of our organization.  I honestly want the Chump put back in.  Speed is $... and speed creep is very real.  The club claims rules stability however when many new cars point values are adjusted down that claim rings false.  Z33, Honda S2000, Boxster, several BMW’s have all had massive point drops since 2016. 

I think the name change to “Champ” has opened up many doors that were closed before. Wasn’t there a time when cars had to be at least 10 years old? Maybe I have that wrong. There are now some newer cars on the list up to 2019. I’m led to believe that the VPI was lowered so improvements could be made to become more competitive with the newer cars. All this does is cost more money. The VPI table should stay frozen other than to correct a number that is simply completely wrong. A VPI table change should be voted on by the members.

 

I have a few cars in my garage at the moment… … if I were to build something new it would have to start out as a much newer and costly car… I have my eye on the NC Miata or the BRZ… these don’t feel like Chump cars.  These are fast cars… this is supposed to be an entry level race series with a massive volume of track time.  You have people coming straight off the street into to race with us.  I think that is a good thing… however I don’t think it is safe to have them on track in or against some of the cars in our field (I am not talking about the EC cars). 

ChampCar is an “Amateur Endurance Racing Series” and needs to stay closer to their roots. There are other series out there for the high money cars.  

 

Some cars should be moved to EC as they have been extensively reworked.

Aero should have more points associated with it.  There are teams that are claiming huge $ wind tunnel testing and again huge lap time improvement for very few points.  This MUST be corrected. 

Aero needs to have more points because of the advantage it brings. Anyone that is spending money in a wind tunnel is completely opposite of the intent of ChampCar. But how do you police it?  

 

Active Aero should be made illegal.  There are several teams playing around with wings that adjust for more or less aero as the car moves around the track.  This is a total Pandora’s box.  

The rule needs to be reworded so active Aero becomes illegal. Any Aero adjustment needs to be done manually in the pits.

 

Classifying cars on the VPI table so they can be used in the Swap calculator must stop also.  If a car isn’t raced it shouldn’t be on the VPI table.  Honda CRV, Odyssey, Silverado… these cars aren’t here for them to be raced.  They are helping unicorns.

If an unraced car is on the VPI table it should be because the engine is a direct bolt in because it shares the same chassis platform. To have an unraced car on the VPI table that offers a big performance gain is wrong to do.

 

Honestly I also feel more points need to be assessed to motor swaps.  I don’t think any car that gets a swap should be on the pointy end of the speed curve.  They should be swapping in reliability and have a slower power to weight curve, however the reverse is true.  Swapped cars are lightning fast.  I also HATE the political games associated with the swap math… e30 weight is a great example of political tom foolery.  

The engine swap program is starting to get to the point where it is out of hand. Just a couple years ago most everyone had a chance at the end of a race to be upfront. Because of the fuel windows with fast cars having to stop more often the slower cars had a chance. Now the fast cars are so fast they can make up the time.  Something needs to be done to close up the field.

 

Are you going to do anything about the speed creep? 

Speed Creep won’t stop as teams always want to improve the race cars. There are many things that don’t cost a lot of money such as chassis set ups, tires, brake pads etc. Creep needs to be contained as much as possible through the rules. To allow newer cars to come in and lower the VPI on others to make up the speed differential is the wrong path in my opinion. A long hard look needs to be done to the VPI table & Engine swap formula. Not an easy task.

Thanks for your questions.

 

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3 minutes ago, hotrod said:

Got confirmation today that I'll be on the Board of Directors ballot for 2020. Looking forward to try and earn your vote!

Thanks for running!

 

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Our Bio's should be out next week and voting starts November 1st. Looking forward to answering any questions or suggestions you may have!

images 3.jpg

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Teams have been affected by the change to the VPI & Fixed Point Value List and have dropped out. I think that we need to bite the bullet now and not years from now and correct some values. Can't let this linger. You say we will lose 10-20% of current teams if ChampCar changes back or they lose sponsors. What if the VPI & FPVL is adjusted to make the teams competitive again how many would return? 10%? 20%.

In another series I've had people say "If you don't change this rule I'm putting my car on the trailer & going home". I usually help them load their car. And after other teams see that the playing field is back to being fair they come back.  Even the ones that left in a huff. 

ChumpCar's business model was Affordable Amateur  Endurance Racing. If we don't embrace this we become just like the other series.

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26 minutes ago, hotrod said:

Teams have been affected by the change to the VPI & Fixed Point Value List and have dropped out. I think that we need to bite the bullet now and not years from now and correct some values. Can't let this linger. You say we will lose 10-20% of current teams if ChampCar changes back or they lose sponsors. What if the VPI & FPVL is adjusted to make the teams competitive again how many would return? 10%? 20%.

In another series I've had people say "If you don't change this rule I'm putting my car on the trailer & going home". I usually help them load their car. And after other teams see that the playing field is back to being fair they come back.  Even the ones that left in a huff. 

ChumpCar's business model was Affordable Amateur  Endurance Racing. If we don't embrace this we become just like the other series.

 

Bernie 2020.

 

MCCAA

 

Make ChampCar Affordable Again.

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The ballots and Bio's were emailed out today. Here is the Bio that I submitted as I am trying to get your vote to be on the 2020 ChampCar Board of directors.

 

Hello. I am Bernie Myers (aka @HotRod) member of the Blue Shells Racing Team and builder of our two Ford
Focus SVT’s.
The Reason I am running for the Board of Directors is because I want to bring ChampCar back to the grass
roots motorsports club it was founded as.
I spent 20 years with the Dale Coyne Racing’s IndyCar Team as a mechanic then crew chief then team
manager. As manager I attended many meetings with chassis manufactures, engine suppliers, tire
manufactures, sponsors, other car owners, track owners, promoters, Official’s and of course driver & crew
meetings. From this experience I was able to take away what was on every ones agenda. Were they thinking of
themselves or what was good for the series? How would a decision affect all involved? How would it change
the cost of racing? Does a team looking for a rule change or update give them a distinct advantage?
Not long ago I helped to resurrect local pavement Midget Racing through the Short Track Auto Racing Series or
STARS. I wrote the rule book and was race director.
After the success of STARS for one year I became Race Director for the local Friday Night Stock cars Races.
Again, writing the rule book and making sure that there was no favoritism and everyone was treated the
same. The rules and procedures we changed are still used today.
My point is, I believe my past involvement in motorsports can help me make the correct decisions to move
ChampCar forward.
I live in Morris Illinois with my wife Marcia of 27 years. She was also in the racing business working as Team
Coordinator for 21 years with Newman-Haas Racing. We have two Sons, a Llama, Alpaca a Donkey & a Goat.
All of whom I look to for advice. Mostly the Donkey.
Member Involvement
ChampCar is described as a ”Social Club”. As a club I believe that the members should be more involved in the
decisions that what may outright affect the way teams participate. I know the club members are able to offer
up suggestions to the BoD but should some items actually be voted on by members?
ChampCar Rule Book
While it’s convenient to have a “thin” rule book it also opens up grey areas because items are left
unmentioned. I think the BCCR needs to be more descriptive and must stay away from unwritten rules. If
there is an unwritten rule that is used at an event, then it should be in black & white. There is also some lines
in the rule book that can be shortened. “9.10.2.8. Surge tanks are limited to one-half (0.5) gallon or 2-Liter capacity.”
This should just read” 9.10.2.8. Surge tanks are limited to 2-Liter capacity.” If elected I would go take the time to go
through the rule book to add and subtract lineage, present it to the BoD and the members for approval.
Getting back to the time I spent with the local Short Track I came in at a time where the race director would favor
certain drivers. If someone was found to be illegal, he would say to just fix it for next week. We stopped all that, rewrote
the rule book and when people started to realize that everyone was on the same playing field the car count went up.

The Future of ChampCar
While ChampCar has made some great advancements since changing the name from ChumpCar I believe it has
lost some of its “Roots’ from what got me interested in running in the series. Most notably the VPI Table and

the Fixed-Point Value List. The numbers have changed and have led to two things, costing teams more when
the VPI is lowered and the FPV has allowed some performance gains that have led to decreased laps times and
again making others spend more to keep up. I think a few things need to be looked at. Aero has the most
performance gain of anything else listed in the VPI Table yet it has minimal points. Stronger replacement OEM
hubs are only 2.5 each you can look at this as a safety or reliability issue but if a team has stronger hubs they
will now go to wider tires & rims. So now it’s a performance gain. Why is a CV Axle 25 [points and a drive shaft
is 10? They both spare the same purpose. A reasonable correction of the VPI Table needs to be done then left
alone for as long as possible.
Tech Equipment
There seems to have been some protests in the past that have been decided upon based on information from
the team being protested. Does tech have any equipment to investigate items such as bore & stroke? A
borescope to look inside fuel cells & areas that can’t be seen by the eye. I would see that tech gets what they
need to evaluate a protest properly.
I look forward to the start of the voting process and your vote. I’m willing to answer any questions or
suggestions you might have on the forums or through my email berniesrodsandcustoms@aol.com.
Thank you, Bernie Myers

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Bernie, thank you for running and for your support of the series!!!

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Thanks Jer...

Up against a tough field but I'm hoping my experience puts me into the BoD.

In my Bio I mentioned that I have written rule books. One was for The Short Track Auto Racing Series. This link takes you to the one I put together for our local Stock Car Track. It is the "General Rules" and was put together from a combination of rule books.http://www.grundycountyspeedwayonline.com/rules2.html
Edit or delete this
 

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I have not cast my vote yet, and I assume several other people are in the same boat. I am posting this in each of the 4 candidate’s treads to get their response on topics I think will be important. Hopefully we don’t derail this and let the candidate that started the thread speak. Most of my questions are technical in nature, because I think that is the challenge we will face in the near future. The BOD and Mike have done a good job of getting the business side running well, we just need to make sure we continue to have something worth selling.

So what it your opinion on the following topics? Are you for, against, or have another alternate idea:

 

  •  Some method of fuel equity\balance. Allow low fuel tank cars to have equal fuel (most likely on a weight basis) to the winning cars at some sort of VPI adjustment (not free)
  • More than one class of performance, or using the classes to give cars prepped to a lower power\performance level their own group. “Champcar Classic” vs “Champcar” or something like that. As the swap calc target PWR, 500 point car performance, and “weight (cough cough)” were all crept faster to keep popular cars in, the required podium build has crept up. Are you ok with a class built to allow, “real racing real cheap”, for guys wanting to race each other for position at that slower\cheaper\more stock pace.
  • Are you willing to give some winning common platforms a penalty lap or a few? Or will you choose to simply give more stuff to existing cars to keep popular\desired cars under 500 (anything over 500 points seen as having a death by some). This could allow a cheaper\slower\easier\safer method of rebalancing the performance of cars without having to creep the speed up each time we rebalance. 
  • Are you willing to look at an alternative system for evaluating swap cars? An example would be a TAC\Tech assigned VPI for any non OE Engine\Trans\Diff\Fuel\Major suspension structure (whole subframe\clip\welded up cars) rather the swap calculator (of dubious input data).
  •  Should we concentrate\price accordingly for races in the popular east and central regions, or use funds from popular regions (aka overcharge) to grow the unpopular regions? Keep watering the tracks with low turnouts hoping to make it finally grow, or make it really strong in the regions we run and try to more gradually head west?
  •  What can we do to make the series more inviting to new\casual race teams? Lemons in some regions crushes us in turnout (NJMP has 120+ cars), is part of this because the make the weekend more of a destination event? What can we do to make the social part of this hobby stronger, would this make the turnout and roots for people stronger?
  •  Do you support open sharing of podium car’s specs with the rest of the series, as a check on their legality and to limit long-term technical advantage? Examples being online posting of their log book, tech sheet, swap sheet, pictures of car and any measurements we take as a series (power, weight, etc). Or do you think that knowledge is sacred and people should rely on tech and “spying in person” to figure out legality of competitors and how to improve their car.

Good luck to each of you. I think you are all capable of doing the job well.

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