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Thread: Getting Rid of Regional/Majors Distinction?

  1. #61
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    As a majors participant, I thought I'd offer my perspective.

    Some back ground. I ran NESCCA regional SM for many years going back well before SM went "national". I switched to "National" GTL in 2008 because I got tired of the contact in SM and also wanted the opportunity to engineer and stay legal.

    Why do I run Majors?

    I like the idea of a touring series. I don't want to race the same track every weekend, or really more than once a season. I enjoy the travel and I keep my travel costs minimal (open trailer, sleep in the pickup truck).

    I also like the run group I run in. The cars are all fairly similar and for the most part we have a like minded group that travels with the series that gives you the chance to know who you can trust wheel-2-wheel.

    The contingencies are a big help. And as it's been mentioned before, I think that selling vendors on a larger schedule would be impossible.

    Realistically, the two sides (regional vs majors) run different classes with some overlap (SM and SRF). The other classes, although they can race in the other series, generally don't. IMHO, this is the primary difference between the two side. Which classes are heavily subscribed.

    If you were to merge them (and doing so would certainly result in fewer overall entries), you'd have seriously mixed up run groups with little opportunity to race with folks in your own class.

    "Integrating" or "Merging" regional and national is impossible. All races become regional at that point.

    Honestly, I don't understand why folks want to eliminate one side of the racing coin. How would you feel if I wanted to eliminate your side?

    I think my side is great fun. So do hundreds of other guys racing with me.

    Why do you feel compelled to screw that up for us? Do you hope to see some gain from that?

    -Kyle

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Butch Kummer View Post
    . What I see you're saying is "Let everyone run every weekend AND only the top XX classes get to go to the Runoffs."

    While I agree that is very much letting nature takes it's course (and at least one definition of "competition"), you and I both know it will never happen.
    This is what I thought would be a good idea. I feel it would increase participation in the national eligible classes during regional weekends which would help my entry fees :-)

    I have said it before and although not all that passionate either way I don't think IT should be considered for the runoffs. Let it stay what it is. I still see it staying what it is even if it ran on the same weekends as everyone else.

    I have never heard of anyone wanting the contingency from the majors program. Never in the 25 years I have been a member did I think that or hear that as an argument to go national.

    I also want to be clear I am not insistent, and couldn't really care. I have multiple posts here trying to make you understand my idea, aka, suggestion. Take it or leave it, just an idea that hasn't been tried before, except in NASA. I am happy with the group and schedule I get with the NERRC series.

    Kyle, great post. I think your on to something if the majority of majors drivers want it the way it is. I haven't understood why most people doing majors don't just go to SCCA WC, I would think a TCA car probably has a smaller budget than most of the majors classes.

    Stephen

  3. #63
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    It strikes me, Kyle, that many of your arguments assume that nothing about what a current Majors or Regional event looks like (as you see them) would change if the distinction went away, while others presume that there will be some huge result which will be bad. To the specifics...

    ** Like to travel to other tracks? Nothing about a consolidated program would prevent that.

    ** Nice homogenous run groups? We get messy groups when we try to jam lots of cars into a few groups (e.g., to get a one-day regional in the books), so only go to the races that offer more open schedules and groupings that are attractive to you. Again, nothing about all events having the same status prevents you from doing that, or regions from offering races like that.

    ** Manufacturers get involved in contingency programs to reach customers. It might indeed be that some decide to slice their existing pie into smaller bits, making any given event award smaller. However, it's equally possible that they might be excited about reaching a LOT more SCCA racers across the nation. There's no way to know at this point and frankly, it's a minor issue compared to equitable offerings to all Club members, so I personally don't think it carries a lot of weight. (I'm also generally dubious of contingencies from a more philosophical point of view, since they tend to reward the folks who spend more money than their competitors. Some quite literally rob from the poor to give to the rich, like the distribution of spec tire revenues from the entire field to the winners.)

    ** Any complaint about entrants not running "the other series" goes away when there's no distinction between the two. I haven't seen any argument here about why that's a problem beyond the fact that "it is one." When everyone runs a consolidated program, competition overall increases.

    ** Re: "all races become regional," I'd argue that in practice, "all races become Majors," in the sense that they are part of a bigger deal. To be clear though, this kind of consolidated scheme would allow a person to accrue points for regional and divisional championships, too. Anyone who's opposed to something like this because it makes it harder to win a regional championship - against more competition - needs to tell me that to my face so I can laugh at them. This isn't supposed to be a feel-good HPDE program. It's "racing."

    ** Not trying to do something because its not politically feasible is not the same thing as not doing it because it's "impossible." It's entirely possible to merge our current regional and Majors programs. As Butch points out, it probably won't happen because too many people put their personal short-term interests ahead of having a cohesive program that might - should - outlive their involvement. We keep giving people exactly what they want and a HUGE percentage of them still only participate for a couple of years. Or we give people with longevity but narrow interests too much pull, and end up with tiny legacy classes or other issues <coughplungecutcough>.

    ** Re: "certainly result in fewer entries," I have NO idea what evidence or theory-of-action serves as rationale for that. Help?

    ** Finally, it's interesting to me how you view the idea of a consolidation as "eliminating your side." Wouldn't it be "eliminating THEIR side," too? I have no side, in that I've essentially split my time between Majors, regionals, and other stuff (a la Lemons) for the past few years. Over the past 30+ years, I've had SCCA regional, national, pro, rally, and NASA licenses and all the while wondered why we insist on Balkanizing our racing into dozens of tiny chunks. Is it in fact because everyone wants a trophy? That would be sad.

    As to why...? I would hope to gain a successful, vital roadracing program that can survive EXTERNAL competition. SCCA continues to be its own worst enemy, squabbling amongst ourselves over petty palace intrigue while the barbarians are at the gate. I don't recall now who I heard it from first (Scott Giles? Bowie G?) but it's true that "SCCA eats its young."

    K

  4. #64
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    Not everyone has the skill, commitment and ,yes, money to compete at the National/Majors level. Your "It's called competition. Get some." comment is far more condescending to regional racers than anything I've seen from the PTB in SCCA. ...
    How is it condescending to "regional racers?" It's supposed to be condescending to anyone who chooses to avoid competition.

    Atlantic coast Regional ITB races used to be WAAAAAAY more competitive than a majority current Majors class races are now. The guys who won my two-car STU races in 2003 didn't in my eyes have much to crow about. And I'd say the same to those who cherry pick poorly subscribed SARRC races to win a "championship" against racers they never see on the track, let alone beat.

    As to why consolidation? Look at SCCA's closest competition for a great example.

    K

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    What Kirk said... seriously.

    This is the defining section which makes me sick:

    ** Not trying to do something because its not politically feasible is not the same thing as not doing it because it's "impossible." It's entirely possible to merge our current regional and Majors programs. As Butch points out, it probably won't happen because too many people put their personal short-term interests ahead of having a cohesive program that might - should - outlive their involvement. We keep giving people exactly what they want and a HUGE percentage of them still only participate for a couple of years. Or we give people with longevity but narrow interests too much pull, and end up with tiny legacy classes or other issues <coughplungecutcough>.
    Demetrius Mossaidis aka 'Mickey' #12 ITA NESCCA
    '92 Honda Civic Si
    STFU and "Then write a letter. www.crbscca.com"
    2013 ITA NARRC Champion and I have not raced since.

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ralf View Post
    The IT group gets to run at the Kansas Speedway Majors in 2015.
    Let me guess: as a separate group with 5-6 classes. IE: sure, you can run your go carts during our lunch hour if you pay the bills for us when we can't support ourselves.

    edit: now that i've read more, let me rant about contingencies a bit. I don't like them because they are a benefit only to the royalty and a tax on the rest of us. That money comes from sales, why should my $200 tire pay you for winning races in another series?

    And that's kind of my issue with all of the distinction. My impression is that regional racing pays the bills and national racing doesn't. Regional sanction fees pay more bills than national sanction fees, regional purchases pay for national contingencies, etc. Regional racers pay the bill and national racers get the benefits.
    Last edited by jumbojimbo; 12-22-2014 at 10:10 AM.
    Jim Hardesty
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  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by jumbojimbo View Post
    Let me guess: as a separate group with 5-6 classes. IE:"rational". IE: sure, you can run your go carts during our lunch hour if you pay the bills for us when we can't support ourselves.
    It's a step in the right direction. We had 3 cancelled events due to low entries in MiDiv this year. We want to race. So what if we'll be the last run group of the day.
    Ralf
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    Have you looked at entry fees for a majors weekend? I don't think us"regional" guys are getting screwed at all. In fact I have decided that I don't want to get rid of majors for that same reason!

    Yup I flip flopped :-)

  9. #69
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    On what theoretical basis do you presume that entry fees would necessarily increase if we just had "club races," Stephen? I just don't think it follows logically that it would be the case.

    K

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    Because... SCCA

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    I've seen mention of track time, the implication is that national...er...majors give more track time. True, they give longer races, but not necessarily more track time.

    One advantage of the current split is that for regional races we have flexibility in the weekend schedule. We're not stuck with the majors format. We can run a 15min qualify, 10 lap race, 12 lap race both days if we think that will draw more cars than the traditional Qual-Race, Qual-Race. We can run a 1 hour race. We can run a handicap race. We aren't required to run one painfully long race a day.

    One issue is that the only reason many people run majors is to qualify for the runoffs. If you allowed people to run the runoffs by simply finishing one major race, a lot of people would run just that one race. So in order to force people to run enough races to make the majors viable, you have to create an artificial barrier to the runoffs.

    Which means that you can't just do away with the distinction or you've lost your ability to force people to run races they don't want to run in the first place. Because if every race weekend had the same value in qualification for the runoffs, people would run the bare minimum. That's the cancer of national racing and the runoffs. The marginalization of the actual race weekends into something you're required to do in order to qualify.

    For me, that's the part where the tail wags the dog. My group of friends and I run MORE races than most "national" drivers because we enjoy the racing. Each race weekend is what matters, it's not just something we check off so we can run the runoffs. I don't want to skip a weekend because I'll miss that weekend's experience.

    But, it seems from my perspective that every decision made is made with the runoffs in mind. Does this hurt regional racing? Who cares, it helps the runoffs. To me, the idea that we can build our club racing system from the top down is wrong. The idea that if we have a prestigious national championship that takes effort and commitment to win will trickle down and draw people into regional racing is wrong. The idea that having SportsCar focus on drivers who can spend $100k a year on their "program" and who see club racing as a stepping stone in their "career" will draw people to regional racing is wrong. What will draw people to regional racing is affordable classes with stable rulesets and good schedules that don't have 12 week gaps in them.

    The reason NASA, Lemons and Chump grew so fast was that they concentrated at the base of the pyramid, not the top. They drew away the people we've been ignoring, the people who want to get started at a reasonable cost. Meanwhile SCCA has concentrated on the 18 year old kid whose daddy can afford a $75k car and a $250k annual budget. Of course, then those other groups reached a saturation point, lost focus and started to concentrate on the top 5%, just like SCCA does, and look were it got them...
    Last edited by jumbojimbo; 12-22-2014 at 10:46 AM.
    Jim Hardesty
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  12. #72
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    Jim, I was right with you until the last couple of paragraphs, national racing is a small part of what we do as a club and yes it gets more press. but the change from Nationals to Majors over the last few years came with a corresponding increased freedom for regions to design event that suit the local competitors. we also have a new focus on the more entry level ways to have fun with cars in SCCA. the Time Trial rules book was redone to make it easier to put on events. The Club Racing Experience make it possible to get people on track with a very low hassle factor. in 2015 you will see a some new stuff from the Experiential Department that you should approve of.

    just because we have a Majors program and a Runoffs do not think that is all SCCA cares about no more that have a Solo Nationals make local Solo any less important.
    dick patullo
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  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by dickita15 View Post
    Jim, I was right with you until the last couple of paragraphs, national racing is a small part of what we do as a club and yes it gets more press. but the change from Nationals to Majors over the last few years came with a corresponding increased freedom for regions to design event that suit the local competitors. we also have a new focus on the more entry level ways to have fun with cars in SCCA. the Time Trial rules book was redone to make it easier to put on events. The Club Racing Experience make it possible to get people on track with a very low hassle factor. in 2015 you will see a some new stuff from the Experiential Department that you should approve of.

    just because we have a Majors program and a Runoffs do not think that is all SCCA cares about no more that have a Solo Nationals make local Solo any less important.
    What you say may be true, but when I open SportsCar, my club magazine, and see nothing but articles about Majors, SCCA Pro Racing, and absolutely nothing about regional racing, it really does appear that my club cares nothing about Improved Touring or regional events. I used to keep my SportsCar mags, but now, after a brief check for anything I might use (articles comparing new helmets, advertisements for new products), it goes in the trash.
    David Plott
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    They drew away the people we've been ignoring, the people who want to get started at a reasonable cost.
    As someone whose worked with the national office on this very subject, I wouldn't say ignoring. For several years, the National office and some regions have been quite supportive of the resource I wrote on this very subject - helping people get started at reasonable costs.

    Could they do a better job with the challenge? Yes, and the HPDE / Club Racing Experience is key for Club Racing.

    It's also a matter of regions doing more as they operate more like a franchise (at least from what I've seen) and bear responsibility for their own marketing and educating efforts.
    Dave Gran
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    Quote Originally Posted by 240zdave View Post
    What you say may be true, but when I open SportsCar, my club magazine, and see nothing but articles about Majors, SCCA Pro Racing, and absolutely nothing about regional racing, it really does appear that my club cares nothing about Improved Touring or regional events. I used to keep my SportsCar mags, but now, after a brief check for anything I might use (articles comparing new helmets, advertisements for new products), it goes in the trash.
    I agree. I want to pull my hair out every year when the June Sprints is on the cover. please if you want more coverage of interesting innovative local events write a polite email to Sports Car and cc the club president. I am not suggesting just saying more regional coverage so I can see my name in print, there is no way to do that, too many events. but I would like to read about things happening in other part of the country so I could learn to put on better events.
    dick patullo
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    But the issue is not that I want to see more local coverage. The issue is making people understand that the current focus on national/pro level racing/solo/etc is undermining the ability to get new people involved because it gives the wrong impression about what is required to be involved. It gives the impression that you must be rich or want to make racing a career.

    What has happened with the Majors is that we have doubled down on the mistaken idea that gravy flows downhill. That if we show the pinnacle of the sport and show that we are dominate in that aspect, it will flow downward and attract newbies. That newbies will want to associate with the best. But that isn't what happens. The focus on expensive classes and big time programs gives newbies the impression that they can't buy a $3k car, spend $7k a year and have a great time. Read sportscar and it's clear that in order to get involved in racing you need a $35k car and another $20k a year to run your minimum 4 events. And that gets you the "cheapest" car a B-Spec. If you want to run in a "real" class, the price goes up both in money and time.

    That's the fight, changing the mistaken impression that in order to thrive we have to be the pinnacle of the sport. A couple of random articles about regional racers who overspend to go to ARRC isn't going to do it. What we need is to consistently show that the vast majority of racers compete on a shoestring budget and have fun doing it.

    It's the same problem with solo. It's always national national national. When a new person picks up SportsCar they don't see any of our activities as something they can do. They see it as something that someone with more talent, more money, more connections, etc does.

    I know, national will say that's the job of the regions, to push the local budget friendly venues. But that's a problem. You can't focus on the pinnacle on a national level at the expense of entry level programs. You certainly can't continue to cater to the top 5% on virtually all decisions. And you can't continue to only focus on "winners" and "excellence".

    That's problem #3, the focus on "winners". It's always about the guy who comes in with talent and money and dedication and wins wins wins. If I see on more article about some young kid who burns the midnight oil and thrashes the competition with his "alien" talent... The reality is that the majority of competitors aren't winners, they can't be. They don't have the talent, resources, dedication or need to be winners. They don't need to be winners to enjoy the sport. But you wouldn't know that from reading SportsCar. Everybody has to be a winner to be successful and enjoy themselves. That's why we have so many fricking classes, nobody is happy finishing 23rd, everybody has to be a winner. You can blame today's "me" culture, but we've refined the idea and we document it very well in SportsCar.

    Edit: I know I'm kind of harping on SportsCar as the issue. But the base issue of thinking that "national" programs and that the runoffs is the goose that lays the golden eggs is the issue. Everything from classing to schedules comes down to national/runoffs first, regionals get the scraps. And that's the tail that wags the dog. In the long run the way to be successful is to rebuild the programs from the bottom up. Don't send me questionaire's about the runoffs. Ask me one single time about what needs to be done to encourage me to run regional races.
    Last edited by jumbojimbo; 12-22-2014 at 03:25 PM.
    Jim Hardesty
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  17. #77
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    You have a lot of excellent points there Jim.

    Would you be willing to write and article about your regional experiences?
    Dave Gran
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    Quote Originally Posted by jumbojimbo View Post
    But the issue is not that I want to see more local coverage. The issue is making people understand that the current focus on national/pro level racing/solo/etc is undermining the ability to get new people involved because it gives the wrong impression about what is required to be involved. It gives the impression that you must be rich or want to make racing a career.

    What has happened with the Majors is that we have doubled down on the mistaken idea that gravy flows downhill. That if we show the pinnacle of the sport and show that we are dominate in that aspect, it will flow downward and attract newbies. That newbies will want to associate with the best. But that isn't what happens. The focus on expensive classes and big time programs gives newbies the impression that they can't buy a $3k car, spend $7k a year and have a great time. Read sportscar and it's clear that in order to get involved in racing you need a $35k car and another $20k a year to run your minimum 4 events. And that gets you the "cheapest" car a B-Spec. If you want to run in a "real" class, the price goes up both in money and time.

    That's the fight, changing the mistaken impression that in order to thrive we have to be the pinnacle of the sport. A couple of random articles about regional racers who overspend to go to ARRC isn't going to do it. What we need is to consistently show that the vast majority of racers compete on a shoestring budget and have fun doing it.

    It's the same problem with solo. It's always national national national. When a new person picks up SportsCar they don't see any of our activities as something they can do. They see it as something that someone with more talent, more money, more connections, etc does.

    I know, national will say that's the job of the regions, to push the local budget friendly venues. But that's a problem. You can't focus on the pinnacle on a national level at the expense of entry level programs. You certainly can't continue to cater to the top 5% on virtually all decisions. And you can't continue to only focus on "winners" and "excellence".

    That's problem #3, the focus on "winners". It's always about the guy who comes in with talent and money and dedication and wins wins wins. If I see on more article about some young kid who burns the midnight oil and thrashes the competition with his "alien" talent... The reality is that the majority of competitors aren't winners, they can't be. They don't have the talent, resources, dedication or need to be winners. They don't need to be winners to enjoy the sport. But you wouldn't know that from reading SportsCar. Everybody has to be a winner to be successful and enjoy themselves. That's why we have so many fricking classes, nobody is happy finishing 23rd, everybody has to be a winner. You can blame today's "me" culture, but we've refined the idea and we document it very well in SportsCar.

    Edit: I know I'm kind of harping on SportsCar as the issue. But the base issue of thinking that "national" programs and that the runoffs is the goose that lays the golden eggs is the issue. Everything from classing to schedules comes down to national/runoffs first, regionals get the scraps. And that's the tail that wags the dog. In the long run the way to be successful is to rebuild the programs from the bottom up. Don't send me questionaire's about the runoffs. Ask me one single time about what needs to be done to encourage me to run regional races.
    Just moved to the top of my list for "getting it', great post!!
    Steve Eckerich
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    Quote Originally Posted by gran racing View Post
    You have a lot of excellent points there Jim.

    Would you be willing to write and article about your regional experiences?
    Ha ha. "Don't complain or you get nominated for the job!" I might be able to write something. I can draw from the general ITC group on a variety of subjects too, like "don't stick us with SM or we won't come to your race, we're not joking around, we mean it."

    I hope my rant doesn't sound too angry. It's just a fundamental difference in focus. Just don't get me started on the subject of including pictures of underage girls in tank tops...
    Jim Hardesty
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    Quote Originally Posted by jumbojimbo View Post
    I've seen mention of track time, the implication is that national...er...majors give more track time. True, they give longer races, but not necessarily more track time.

    One advantage of the current split is that for regional races we have flexibility in the weekend schedule. We're not stuck with the majors format. We can run a 15min qualify, 10 lap race, 12 lap race both days if we think that will draw more cars than the traditional Qual-Race, Qual-Race. We can run a 1 hour race. We can run a handicap race. We aren't required to run one painfully long race a day.

    One issue is that the only reason many people run majors is to qualify for the runoffs. If you allowed people to run the runoffs by simply finishing one major race, a lot of people would run just that one race. So in order to force people to run enough races to make the majors viable, you have to create an artificial barrier to the runoffs.

    Which means that you can't just do away with the distinction or you've lost your ability to force people to run races they don't want to run in the first place. Because if every race weekend had the same value in qualification for the runoffs, people would run the bare minimum. That's the cancer of national racing and the runoffs. The marginalization of the actual race weekends into something you're required to do in order to qualify.

    For me, that's the part where the tail wags the dog. My group of friends and I run MORE races than most "national" drivers because we enjoy the racing. Each race weekend is what matters, it's not just something we check off so we can run the runoffs. I don't want to skip a weekend because I'll miss that weekend's experience.

    But, it seems from my perspective that every decision made is made with the runoffs in mind. Does this hurt regional racing? Who cares, it helps the runoffs. To me, the idea that we can build our club racing system from the top down is wrong. The idea that if we have a prestigious national championship that takes effort and commitment to win will trickle down and draw people into regional racing is wrong. The idea that having SportsCar focus on drivers who can spend $100k a year on their "program" and who see club racing as a stepping stone in their "career" will draw people to regional racing is wrong. What will draw people to regional racing is affordable classes with stable rulesets and good schedules that don't have 12 week gaps in them.

    The reason NASA, Lemons and Chump grew so fast was that they concentrated at the base of the pyramid, not the top. They drew away the people we've been ignoring, the people who want to get started at a reasonable cost. Meanwhile SCCA has concentrated on the 18 year old kid whose daddy can afford a $75k car and a $250k annual budget. Of course, then those other groups reached a saturation point, lost focus and started to concentrate on the top 5%, just like SCCA does, and look were it got them...
    Sorry - I'm going to continue to press. Why address the possibility of doing away with the distinction between Majors and regionals by assuming that the resulting club racing program has to look like just one or the other currently does?

    ** In a consolidated plan, there's no reason to assume that flexibility in scheduling couldn't continue. I've proposed a points system (for championships and qualifying for the Ruboffs) that awards more for beating more entries. Entrants would go where the competition is rather than running away from it, if they really want points. Regions would vie for entries by making their events as attractive as possible and flexibility would be a crucial part of that. Hell, cost could become a competitive advantage for entries, exerting downward pressure on entry fee prices across the board.

    ** Allowing people into the big game by attendance - let alone by attending one race - is just silly, as is using that as an argument for not considering a change, frankly. Do away with it. Offer seats at the big kid table starting at the top of the points tally from all races, working down through the rankings until the Ruboffs grids are full.

    ** NOTHING in this proposal would keep you or anyone else from running as many races as you want, from staying in-region, or from traveling.

    ** The fact that the current answer "forces" (or is perceived as forcing) people to run races they don't want to is evidence that something is broken. We should instead create incentives by rewarding actual competition.

    ** Again, set free the assumption that we need separate programs, as is required for any worries about trade-offs between a healthy Majors program and a healthy regional program. We need one, cohesive, HEALTHY program. Having class rules consistency plus local flexibility across events would go a long way that direction. NOTHING in this idea, at least as I've suggested it, would prevent regions and regional-only racers from getting what they want. Unless it's the opportunity to not race against more people.

    K

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