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Thread: Getting Rid of Regional/Majors Distinction?

  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by seckerich View Post
    And some knowledge, which I severely lack.

    If I were going to evaluate say the SE/Eastern division, I need to know what tracks are counted in that area. My guess would be six: VIR, PBIR, Sebring, RA, Barber, and Summit?

    Quote Originally Posted by Butch Kummer View Post
    . 2013 - 3384 total entries over 19 events, or 178.08 entries/weekend
    . 2014 - 4544 total entries over 25 events, or 181.76 entries/weekend


    So in a simplified sense for say 2013 we'd have 178 entries per weekend, and 27 classes (!!!), or 6.6 cars per class if they were evenly distributed. Of course we know the classes are not populated evenly since SRF and SM are 30% of the entries for 2014, thus likely about the same percentage for 2013.
    Last edited by Ron Earp; 12-15-2014 at 03:59 PM.

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    I'll admit I lived on the Majors website for two years, but it has pretty much everything you want to know about the program. Specific to this question:

    http://www.scca.com/events/news.cfm?eid=6551&cid=51604

    Barber was a Festival and not and Eastern Conference event. Those seven were Sebring, PBIR, Road Atlanta, VIR, NJMP, Watkins Glen, and Summit Point.
    Butch Kummer
    Former SCCA Director of Club Racing (July 2012 - Sept 2014)
    2006, 2007, 2010 SARRC GTA Champion

  3. #43
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    Where is the Majors website? Went to the SCCA site and can't figure it out. Or is that section of the SCCA website considered the Majors website?

    THIS is one of SCCA's big issues (not saying the majors website specifically).
    Dave Gran
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    Specific to your edit, Ron, there were 28 classes in 2013 (CSR, DSR, and S2 were combined into P1 & P2 for 2014). So if you figure SM & SRF account for 30% of the entries the number per "other" class was actually about 4.45 per event.
    Butch Kummer
    Former SCCA Director of Club Racing (July 2012 - Sept 2014)
    2006, 2007, 2010 SARRC GTA Champion

  5. #45
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    Yes, the "Majors website" can be reached by clicking the "Majors" tab on SCCA.com.
    Butch Kummer
    Former SCCA Director of Club Racing (July 2012 - Sept 2014)
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  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by gran racing View Post
    Where is the Majors website?
    Quote Originally Posted by Butch Kummer View Post
    ...the "Majors website" can be reached by clicking the "Majors" tab on SCCA.com.


    In case you're still cornfuzed...

    http://www.scca.com/majors
    Not my circus...not my monkeys...

  7. #47
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    And given your lack of familiarity with the program, I should also probably ask the guys that are ready to drop the distinction between the Majors and Regionals:

    "Have you ever been to a Majors event?"
    Butch Kummer
    Former SCCA Director of Club Racing (July 2012 - Sept 2014)
    2006, 2007, 2010 SARRC GTA Champion

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    That's where I went, but based on Butch's comments I was somewhat expecting a separate site linked from SCCA's.
    Dave Gran
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  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Butch Kummer View Post
    And given your lack of familiarity with the program, I should also probably ask the guys that are ready to drop the distinction between the Majors and Regionals:

    "Have you ever been to a Majors event?"
    <raises hand>

    In my opinion the quality of events varies more region-to-region than it does majors-vs-regionals (or national-vs-regional before that).

    Majors trophies were nicer than most regionals, but I was frankly a little annoyed by the number of national office staff that seemed to be just sitting around or socializing while the region ran the race. (Nothing personal, Butch.) The longer races were offset (for me anyway) but less competition. I didn't race for a position in four Majors (two doubles in the STU Jetta TDI) in 2013, but had a good race or two last year in STL. Fields were still thin, although less than the least-subscribed ITB regionals in recent years and much more than the best of those B brawls (e.g., pretty much anything at Summit). The paddocks at the Majors events I did were typically more packed but with fewer racers if that makes sense; more big rigs with less hanging out at the track. It was nice to have some consistency in the day's schedule major-to-major but some variability won't kill anyone and can be managed by standards to apply to ALL club events.

    At the end of the day, if, say, we went to a model where all of the current GCR classes were available at all events, and points were accumulated for regional and divisional championships, and some combination of points from those results served as a qualifying process to the RubOffs, competition would allow the cream to rise to the top - in terms of driver/car entrants. Let only the best-subscribed classes from 2014 go to the 2015 big dance, and the same would happen for classes. The market would decide.

    The distinctions are all manufactured and artificial. If they went away, some of the people at any given "Club Championship Race" would be all SRS BSNS and some would simply be glad to participate. It would take a little while for folks to shed their biases and preconceived notions - most of which are flawed - but with the kind of turnover we have, it wouldn't take long for the culture to change. To be clear, this whole issue has bamfoozled me since i went to my first SCCA race in 1979. Nothing has changed my opinion on that.

    K

    EDIT - if we think there's value in having a small number of "showcase" events, just do the above but with one double-points "festival" or "super" event in each region.
    Last edited by Knestis; 12-15-2014 at 09:26 PM.

  10. #50
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    OMG kirk gets it!!

    Butch, with all due respect why did you strrt this thread? Let's flip sides...

    To me it's obvious your emotionally attached to the majors program. Why? What is so great about it that all you insiders see? Sell it to those 25yr members like me that still don't get it. You were on the inside, spill the secrets!

    Maybe it's a north east thing but the bigger fields and deeper competition have been in IT, FV, SRF and then recently in the last 10yrs you can add SM. Nothing but expense, travel, and a chance at the Runoffs were the only advantages to nationals aka majors.

    Thanks, Stephen
    Last edited by StephenB; 12-16-2014 at 01:13 AM.

  11. #51
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    "Nothing but expense, travel, and a chance at the Runoffs were the only advantages to nationals aka majors."

    Stephen, there's a solution to your problem -- don't run majors. You in the NEDiv have a goodly selection of regional races to run, just like us here in the SE. We (and you) have more races than we can reasonably hope to attend already. I'm truly perplexed at what would be gained by making everything just "races". If your local track has a Majors, that might be one more race you can run cheap (no travel). But there's nothing stopping you from running them now. Even if you are in IT or some other regional-only class, there is almost always an ST or Prod class you can run in. I've done it before. I was hopelessly uncompetitive using an IT car in STU, but I got to race. But unless you have a really strong regional-level car, you're always going to be uncompetitive at a National/Majors anyway.

    My impression is that a lot of the serious Majors racers like the new program. It concentrates the really serious racers at a few events with a very high level of competition (or at least the highest level that you can get if you run in a lightly subscribed class or in a weaker division). I think the people shooting for the Runoffs generally liked the change from running a dozen or so Nationals with usually weaker fields to running four weekends with bigger fields. If we make everything "races" and they all count for towards the Runoffs, I don't see that being well received by the Majors racers. Remember, in SEDiv, you're talking 71 regional races, plus this year 12 Majors races. At that point, qualifying for the Runoffs is essentially meaningless, unless SCCA just decides to forget about "qualifying" and just lets everyone who has run, say, four races go.

    I think the serious Majors racers like things as they are. And before anyone takes offense that lots of regional racers are pretty serious, too, I agree. However, there is a difference between serious majors racers and serious regional racers. And it mostly relates to money. Regardless of how serious a regional racer you are, it's very unlikely that you're spending the amount of money that it takes to run an comparably competitive Majors effort. That is the main virtue I see to the Majors/Regional distinction. It allows the serious racers who aren't willing (or in many cases even able) to spend the money it takes to be competitive in the big pond of Majors. A lot of us realize we're always going to be small fish in that big pond. But we can still be big fish in the small pond of regionals. And you're proposing that we all get pushed into the big pond.

    I still get the impression that the underlying reason that people keep proposing making everything "races", is that they want IT to be just like the National classes. Kirk's discussion above is effectively arguing for that - the top X number of classes would likely include most IT classes. But as tGA has said many times, it ain't gonna happen. And I seem to remember that the idea that the less attended classes didn't get to go to the Runoffs was proposed just a few years ago - and withdrawn due to the firestorm from the membership.

    I agree with Butch that somebody needs to explain again what benefit we would get from eliminating the Majors/regional distinction. We've had one for a long time. This doesn't mean it's good, but it does't mean it's automatically bad, either. If we're going to make such a change, I'd like to see a good reason to do so. I haven't seen a good one yet, and I've mentioned some reasons why I think it wouldn't be such a good idea. Again, why do we want t do this?
    Tom Lyttle
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  12. #52
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    I was not a fan of the National / regional distinction, but think the Majors program works. I have not been to a majors event and honestly have little motivation to attend one. Butch and others who have been to them, are my perceptions here accurate? Stephen, this is why I think Majors work:

    - It's a series much like ones you participate in, except spread much more around the country. This appeals to drivers who have the means to attend events further away. You'll see many of the same drivers at COTA, Mid Ohio, the Glen, Sebring, and all over the place. The Majors gives them a more national series.
    - Employees are there from Topeka which should allow for more consistency due to events being held across the country and by different regions.
    - More invasive tech (again, it should be).
    - Prestige, or at least perceived. The talk of the big rigs and corresponding big $$$$, let the Majors attract those people.

    At least that's my take.
    Dave Gran
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    Quote Originally Posted by StephenB View Post
    Butch, with all due respect why did you strrt this thread?
    Why did I start this thread? Because a bunch (or at least some) of you guys say you want change!

    In various discussions on the Concorde Agreement (or whatever it's called today), current members have asked the BoD to explain why getting down to 14-16 classes will make racing better. That explanation has yet to be advanced as far as I've seen, and to me that's the biggest reason to NOT force class consolidation (let nature take it's course)

    In a similar vein, some of you guys insist that inviting every class to every event will make your racing better. Why?
    Butch Kummer
    Former SCCA Director of Club Racing (July 2012 - Sept 2014)
    2006, 2007, 2010 SARRC GTA Champion

  14. #54
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    Said another way:

    Back when I first attended the Runoffs at Road Atlanta in 1971, there were 22 classes that ran in 21 races (7 races Friday thru Sunday, A & B Prod ran together). There were 8 Prod classes (A-H), 4 Sedan classes (A-D), 4 Sports Racer classes (A-D), and 6 formula classes (A-C, F, V, SV). Even then a number of people complained that "SCCA has too many classes - the racing is too diluted and it's difficult for the public to understand!" yet all efforts to reduce the number of classes over the years has failed. The latest proposal is to have the CRB come up with a ten-year plan to reduce the Runoffs to 14-16 classes, and it's being met with the expected protest by those invested in the current class structure. I'm certainly not resistant to change, but I've yet to hear (from the BoD) a compelling argument WHY we need to reduce the number of classes.

    Over that same period of time, there has been Regional and National (now Majors) racing. The idea is people get started and learn their craft at less intense weekends, then if they want they can move/transition/migrate (note I'm not using the word "advance") to a more intense level of competition. BTW, the Solo program works the same way - lots of local regional programs, then those that want to can travel to a limited number of National Tours and a winner-take-all National Championship event.

    Even though it's worked well for over fifty years, more than one of you wants to eliminate that distinction in the Club Racing program. Why?
    Butch Kummer
    Former SCCA Director of Club Racing (July 2012 - Sept 2014)
    2006, 2007, 2010 SARRC GTA Champion

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    I think a lot of the IT guys want the contingency monies they are not eligible for. What I believe they do not realize is that would mostly go away as the companies making those payouts would not be able to afford the huge number of regional events that take place. And it would further dilute the lesser suscribed classes. Effectively killing off most Prod, GT and Formula car classes. Can you guys now see what would be the start of the clubs death spiral. Haven't you IT guys done this club enough damage by eliminating the cheap entry point known as IT with massive rules creep. Flame away.

  16. #56
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    It's kind of a typical way of looking at questions like this, but I'd propose that Tom is asking questions about value from an individual point of view - what does Stephen have to gain from eliminating the distinction when he doesn't run Majors? I've long been in the minority on this but I do *not* think that we achieve the best collective racing program by assuming that we should simply give each individual what he/she wants at any point in time. I'd further argue that a lot of the ongoing crazy-making policies in the Club are the result of "being responsive" to (sometimes individual) members' interests rather than having the nards to make strategic decisions.

    I don't personally care if we aren't stroking the egos of current Majors entrants, if we have a program that's based on sound theory with the potential to be more healthy in the long run - across the entire Club Racing package. If the qualifying points system rewards beating people rather than just showing up (a la what we did with the IT National Tour), drivers will naturally gravitate to better-attended races chasing those points. Regions will pick races that they want to showcase and work to get more drivers there. Every driver will look at his/her "national" and "divisional" points in the tally and some will, I guarantee it, attend more races to improve their rankings or possibly decide to chase a championship or qualify for the RubOffs. Change the qualification requirements from participation numbers (bah!) to an actual COMPETITION. Only the top XX (or %) of points-earners in each class from each division get invited. Go beat someone if you want to get to the big show, lame-o. We could count only the best X finishes in the qualifying points scheme. Whatever.

    I equally don't care if we "push everyone into the big pond" and make mere regional racers run with the big dogs. It's called competition. Get some.

    We've GOT to set free any policy decision that's (a) predicated on some assumption about what racers spend, or (b) intended to limit what they spend. That's ongoing bad policy and/or class warfare silliness.

    The "let all classes run" orientation comes straight from a first principle that if a class is in the GCR, and if members have built cars to run in it, then it should be on equal ground opportunity-wise, with all of the other classes in the book. While a suitably empowered dictator could force consolidation, I don't for a minute think it's possible given our rules-making and administrative processes and culture. Letting them all start on an equal footing but encouraging competition for national championship status recognition would, as Butch describes, "let nature take its course." As things currently stand, there are no predators in the SCCA environment, so classes have no reason to evolve. Nature will just leave things as they are. I don't think that letting every class in will "make the racing better" in a year or two but if there IS some incentive to cherry-pick a well attended class to realize a personal goal of going to the Big Deal, it will make for a better program in the long term.

    Finally, I take it as given that - if the intention is to RACE - fewer classes is a good thing, as long as the classes offered give some variation and choice among them. If a new racer is presented with three options for "racing something that looks like a street car" rather than seven, they are NOT going to just walk away.

    K

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    Quote Originally Posted by zchris View Post
    I think a lot of the IT guys want the contingency monies they are not eligible for. What I believe they do not realize is that would mostly go away as the companies making those payouts would not be able to afford the huge number of regional events that take place. And it would further dilute the lesser suscribed classes. Effectively killing off most Prod, GT and Formula car classes. Can you guys now see what would be the start of the clubs death spiral. Haven't you IT guys done this club enough damage by eliminating the cheap entry point known as IT with massive rules creep. Flame away.
    No flaming. It's just a silly argument, in terms of both the cause-effect proposition (or leaps, I should say) for which there's exactly no evidence, and your projection of an intention on some folks that so far I as can recall, I've never heard voiced. To the latter point, I pretty consistently didn't get those whoopity-do contingency awards running Majors because of participation numbers low enough to prevent them from kicking in.

    You also completely don't really understand the dynamic of the "cheap entry point" and "rules creep" in IT. Budgets went up ONLY because people were willing to spend more to be competitive. Rules creep had some TINY impact on that, and new allowances NEVER forced anyone to spend more money than they would have otherwise been likely to spend. A newb can absolutely still use IT as an "entry point" for a very, VERY modest amount of money. He can't WIN, maybe, but we have no obligation to give everyone a first place trophy.

    I do like the fear mongering strategy of invoking the inevitable outcome of a change KILLING OFF entire categories, though. That's some good web argument hyperbole right there.

    K

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    Quote Originally Posted by Knestis View Post
    The "let all classes run" orientation comes straight from a first principle that if a class is in the GCR, and if members have built cars to run in it, then it should be on equal ground opportunity-wise, with all of the other classes in the book. While a suitably empowered dictator could force consolidation, I don't for a minute think it's possible given our rules-making and administrative processes and culture. Letting them all start on an equal footing but encouraging competition for national championship status recognition would, as Butch describes, "let nature take its course." As things currently stand, there are no predators in the SCCA environment, so classes have no reason to evolve. Nature will just leave things as they are. I don't think that letting every class in will "make the racing better" in a year or two but if there IS some incentive to cherry-pick a well attended class to realize a personal goal of going to the Big Deal, it will make for a better program in the long term.

    K
    K,

    Your proposal is more than just to let everyone run every weekend, which is what I understood most of the previous posts were wanting. 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.
    Butch Kummer
    Former SCCA Director of Club Racing (July 2012 - Sept 2014)
    2006, 2007, 2010 SARRC GTA Champion

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    Quote Originally Posted by Butch Kummer View Post
    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.
    ...(crickets)...
    Demetrius Mossaidis aka 'Mickey' #12 ITA NESCCA
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    Kirk, I'll plead guilty to looking at this from a personal perspective. I agree that SCCA needs to think strategically, but part of thinking strategically is providing racing programs that are attractive to members - which is the agglomeration of a bunch of personal perspectives. If you don't "stroke the egos" of the Majors racers who like the program, and tell them just run "races", maybe they will. Or maybe they'll just leave. Market forces might generate an informal replacement of high demand races, but I have my doubts. If the Majors racers like the program, why take it away from them? Again, who actually benefits by doing so? I see it as a negative for the Majors racers, and don't see what good it would do the current regional racers. What is that "sound theory with the potential to be more healthy in the long run"?

    I don't see why we need to push everyone into the big pond. Almost all amateur sporting organizations have multiple levels of competition. The NCAA doesn't tell North Dakota State or Wisconsin-Whitewater to play the Alabamas of the world. They have their own championships for the lower level teams to fight for. Why should SCCA be any different?
    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.

    And if you think that lots of racers will be running for a long time with SCCA if they are put in a position where they have essentially no chance of being competitive, I think you are wrong. The closest example I can think of is what occurred in drag racing several decades ago. As I remember it, stock class drag racing was seriously ill because many classes had one or two racers who had developed their killer cars that no one else could match without the expenditure of a lot of time, effort and money. Many racers just gave up trying. That was the genesis of bracket racing. A few road racing organizations have tried it, but I doubt that's really the way we want to go.

    I agree that you can't limit what racers are willing to spend, but I think it's silly to say that the club shouldn't factor racer's spending into designing their programs. As I've said many times before on this subject, you can't limit what racers can spend, but you can certainly limit how much benefit they get from that spending. The two most popular classes in SCCA are SM and SRF, and they are also probably the classes where the speed differential from fastest to slowest car in class is the least. The two are related. Anything that can be done to lessen the benefit of spending money will make racing more appealing. And so is reducing the amount of money you need to spend to run and run competitively. The biggest obstacle that SCCA has to expanding the pool of racers is that: a) it costs so much to run at all, and b) it costs a whole lot more to run competitively. Providing a "small pond" helps address b).

    I'm with you that class consolidation would be beneficial, although I also agree that inertia and history will make it difficult. But I really don't see why there couldn't be a goodly number of classes combined that have the same type or cars (or even the same cars, i.e., Miatas) and run similar lap times. For example, FC, FE and FM all run similar lap times and with some judicious weight adjustments could easily run competitively with each other. Same for EP, STU and maybe GT3, or for STL, GTL and FP. I know everyone wants to run their current car unchanged, but if the only change that is required is to add 50-100 pounds to the faster class, I don't think that should be an insurmountable obstacle. As long as the class rules are otherwise unchanged, what's the problem? However, if the PTB want to start changing the class rules to make them the same for the combined classes, I don't see that ever flying.
    Tom Lyttle
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    IT7 Mazda - 2006, 2008 SARRC Champion
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