Race Control chisek Posted October 11, 2011 Race Control Report Share Posted October 11, 2011 Nelson Ledges.Iâ€™ve never commented on a race before because theyâ€™re your races, your stories and your opinions. But this race was different. This race represents a turning point in the rise of ChumpCar and it is important that you, the racers, understand what you did to invoke this change and what this change will be.I am embarrassed. I am embarrassed that I spoke so highly to the track about our drivers only to have you make a liar out of me. I am embarrassed that emergency workers with 20+ years experience making hot pulls on track came to me in fear of their lives. I am embarrassed that 1st time ChumpCar teams got treated so poorly on track after months of preparing their car and spending a lot of money to be a part of our event.We did ten events this year in the East. The first nine had good close racing. Clean racing. We had an incident here or there, but by and large these were isolated and generally explainable (fatigue, friends, mechanical). In these races the incident log fit on one 8.5x11 sheet of paper MAX. When a driver got out of hand and we brought him in, we had a few words and they were fine the rest of the race. Where did these drivers go?Iâ€™ll be fair and state that the conditions at this race were a perfect storm that agitated, and perhaps started, all of this chaos. The track was narrow. The track was bumpy. The track was fast. The grass was soft and slick. The tire walls were close in some areas. Iâ€™ll give all of you the benefit of the doubt regarding these factors. Youâ€™re going to find the limit of your racecar during the first hour or two of the race and in doing so you will slide off track. Thatâ€™s why we have wreckers ready at these races. Weâ€™ll pull you out, but you had better have learned something from that experience. You didnâ€™t.The driving maturity exhibited during the Nelson event started off sub-par and degraded into downright unacceptable. Despite any and all attempts to curtail the masses, the mockery of the term â€œdriverâ€ continued. Someone said that it was like a Saturday night dirt track race. Donâ€™t insult dirt trackers. When they hit someone else, they meant to do it. For many of you Nelson teams, you didnâ€™t have a clue how to control your car and you never could quite predict whether you would hit a car or a tire wall on any given lap. I hope you enjoyed yourself, because if you try and pull that next year you will be sorely disappointed. But more on that later.Now am I blameless in this chastising? Not at all. My job is long and large. My job begins a year before the event. Planning, scheduling, marketing, organizing. Once raceday comes my job is to oversee a fun, safe event. This role is constant whether Iâ€™m on duty as steward or not. Donâ€™t any of you dare insult me, or ChumpCar, by sitting behind your computer and making false statements about how we donâ€™t care what happens, or we just sat around and drank coffee and let everything slide. My left ear is still ringing with all of the radio calls. My voice is still gone from all of the drivers I had to yell at over the sound of the race. My legs and feet still ache from all of the miles I walked up and down pit road. I speak for myself when I say I did a lot. It wasnâ€™t effective and it wasnâ€™t enough, but then hindsight is 20/20 isnâ€™t it?Can you honestly say that between your driving stints, repairs, naps, etc. that you saw what happened with every one of the other 73 cars that were there, all 25 hours? You canâ€™t, and neither can we. There are nine corner stations covering 2 miles of racing surface. They see 74 cars every 90 seconds. They will not see everything! Now try and see the action at night with 6 pairs of headlights coming right at you. Every car that was called in as passing under yellow was black flagged. Period. From the green flag to the checker. I have a zero tolerance policy on passing under yellow. Does that mean we caught every pass under yellow? Certainly not. With as poorly as you guys were driving that would not be possible. When you start obeying every flag we put up (especially the black), then we'll see if we can catch more of the incidents.Which leads me to this very important statement: YOU ARE NOT A CORNER WORKER! Just because you come running up to us and tell us about a car driving poorly does not mean I am going to pull them off the track. Hereâ€™s what does (and did) happen. I call up to the tower and ask the steward if car #XX has any recent calls. If so I black flag them for a warning. If there have been no recent calls I inform the corners to watch car #XX for aggressive driving, and the next time they call them in we sit them out for a few minutes. If I brought every car in that drivers complained about, weâ€™d have a 4 car race. The irony to the complaints is that the biggest complainers had just as many complaints levied against them!We filled up over a dozen sheets of paper with incidents. We recorded hundreds of black flags. We handed out nearly as many penalties. Were you aware of the 30 minutes penalties? Probably not. Were you aware of the driver changes we mandated? No again. What you and I are aware of is that these penalties were not enough. Should someone have been sent home? Probably about 10 teams. That was my mistake to not recognize that time based penalties were not working. My apologies to those team that feel as though I let you down.So...What now? For starters I am happy to report that despite the laundry list of incidents this past weekend, there were no injuries. But now the Eastern region is on break for the next 4-6 months. What I plan on doing during this break should be of great interest to you the racers. You see, John gives his regional directors great latitude in how we run and govern his series. It is within this latitude that I have begun to develop, with Johnâ€™s blessing, a new simple and straight forward template for penalties. Due to the fact that for most of the year you drove cleanly and maturely, I could extend to you the kind of leniency afforded by mature adults. Seeing as how I have now seen that you all still have your inner child accessible inside of your racesuit, I will be publishing penalties more aligned with the behavior of children. Look for these new guidelines in the coming weeks.I was caught off guard last weekend. It will not happen again. When the penalty guidelines come out, study them. Memorize them. Apply them to the events of this past weekend. And then make sure youâ€™re not the first car I send home next year.Looking forward to 2012,Michael Chisek 6 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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