The Future of AS
Well.... the numbers so far this year are challenging. With 9 Majors events in the books, we have 28 entries. And, so far, at VIR (often around a 10 car count), we have 3 entries (VIR is next week).
The ASAC is interested in your feedback on why you feel the numbers are down, and, what we can do about it, assuming, we want to keep our class healthy enough to be able to attend Runoffs.
The ASAC and the Adhoc are looking at new ideas and thinking out of the box. Some of the ideas will be posted in the Prelims due out in a day or so. More ideas are in the works. New ideas will ask for your feedback officially via a CRB letter. PLEASE RESPOND to the WDYTs you will see. The ASAC needs to know as we make recommendations to the CRB.
In addition, here, please send your UNOFFICIAL thoughts and ideas about why we are where we are and what we could do about it. The future or you class is on the table!
I personally don't mind negative feedback as long as it is given in a positive way. So if there is a strong concern, please express it and offer thoughts on how to help with that concern.
It is time for all of us to work on improving our numbers!
I have lost interest in participating due to the 100 pound fox weight penalty. The last Runoffs we attended, the pole time was 2 seconds faster than our car. Now we will be even slower, I don't see any good reason to go racing with that car now. I have other race cars that are competitive.
Competition adjustments to work toward equalizing performance could cause competitors to stop racing in the class.
OK, so what happens if we don't attempt to make adjustments when we see outliers?
Please recall that we gave the older cars taller ball joints over the winter and reduced everyone's weight by 50 lbs. This 50 lb reduction was good for those that can achieve it, and not so good for those that can't.
Thanks for your feedback, please feel free to provide additional info.
AS has been a slow starter in the participation numbers for some time now. The NE and Northern Conferences are the center of gravity for the class so I would not hit the panic button just yet.
That said, I sure would not call the class healthy. Basically AS has morphed into a Production class IMO and we all know how many Production classes are gone now.
My two cents is we should try to move somewhat back to our roots which was more like a Spec class that a Production class.
I agree with Tom 100%. As I said in the past we have a chance to improve things via limited prep.... however the rules unfortunately need to obsolete the full prep cars. No reason a T2 Mustang should be faster than a FP A Sedan. Let the new cars be the over dog keeping limited drive train modifications, lighten them, allow all the suspension modifications, antilock brakes, traction control without restricting the cars.
Build a faster more reliable A Sedan that can run a bone yard drive train.
31 year old Camaro
Tom Wallace Here Comes a Talladega Story,lol
This might take a day or two to write cuz I got a busy day tomorrow, and as always ,maybe no one will understand it,lol.
I built my A/S in 1993 , after doing 8+ years of SCCA Solo II, Solo I and EMRA.
In 1994 I raced 2 weekends, in 1995 I had a Cast Crank,SS Valves, 305 GM
Motor Built at cost of 6-8k,
Entry fees were 180.00 to 220.00 back than!!!!!!!!!
In 1995 I raced Regionals, 12 weekends, and 4 Track /test days.
I used used tires, and lots of expensive PBR brakes.
Kept RPMs under 6800,Wrenched on car myself, and used a lot of used parts
from junk yard. And tried not to wheel hop the rear.
In 1996 I did another 9 Race weekends and 5 test/track day, on same 305
stock block/cast crank motor.
And won my first National I Raced in at Summit Point.
4-97, I had motor rebuilt and it had 21 race weekends on it and 9 test/track
days on it.
in 1997 I did 9 race weekends 3 test days,
And if im reading right, at MO Runoffs in 1997 there was 32 cars in A/S,
Pole time was 140.2 and 10th place was 143.0, and a lot of us had a chance to do good, and most of us only had one set of tires, the fast guys had 2 sets.
In 1998 I had 4 race weekends on the tired 305, with a total of more than
16 race weekends before the 305 got freshened up 8-98.
And was TOLD to change out the Cast Crank, and I didn't .
SCCA Runoffs in 1998 had 40, YES 40 A/S cars entered, Pole time was 139.2 and10th was a time of 142.0 .
I had 4 weekends on fresh 305 by 4-99 , and at summit point 4 races later it broke the cast crank in 3 pieces, was it the wheel hop of GM TQ arm or just
a old crank or both?
6-99 I had a new block, same heads and a cyro crank and rods in a 305 gm.
I did 6 weekends in 1999,
MO Runoffs in A/S in 1999 had ,36 Cars,
Pole was a 140.3 and 21st , YES 21st was a time of 141.8 ,
Very tight field , but the rain came and screwed things up,lol
I think in 2000 3rd links became legal, since we tried to get steel cranks
Legal but no go, because comp board felt if wheel hop would stop than the cast cranks would live there life racing,LOL.
The RPM limiter in A/S.
Till the Ford guys started to get the RPMs up past the GMs Long stroke,
And they would Split the ford Blocks in Half about every 3 races,
Maybe because they were allowed to use 2 different OEM cranks a OEM light crank or the heavy one that would last, but would not whine as quick?
But you paid the price for the light one flexing in block breaking them.
That 305 with Cyro rods and crank went 13 race weekends 5 test days
From 6-99 to 7- 02 Because of 3rd link setup.
It seems the faster you go the less racing you do ,
I only raced 4weekends in 2000,
in 2001 I raced 5 weekends ,and Runoffs.
The 2001 Runoffs had 39 cars in A/S, pole was 140.4 and 17th was 142.4.
With Junk Yard parts motors.
In 2002 I freshened 305 cyro cast motor and only raced 2 times in 2002.
2003 I had bad custody battle and didn't race.
And I think Steel cranks became Legal in 2003?
2004, 3 races I raced.
in 2004/05 I found a 305 4 bolt main block, and we were allowed to use a
48 LBS steel crank and manley rods, and other upgrades to motors,
That motor cost me 12k for the 305 4 bolt with steel crank and rods.
So now I have a spare Cast Crank motor with 5 weekends on it outdated !!
I raced the 305 4bolt 2 times in 2005, and got hurt in a truck /Motorcycle battle.
Than in 2006 the engine rule came out for 302 for Ford or GM and Alum heads , 1.94 /1.60 valves , 42 LBS steel crank and really good rods,block, and Jessels
So now I have another Outdated 305 GM motor.
2007 I raced 1 weekend.
2010 I raced 1 weekend.
2010 I got a settlement from Truck/Motorcycle battle,
I raced 3 weekends with 305 4 bolt engine,
And gave a Blank check to my Engine Builder for a state of art 311 SBC.
3k crank,4k bowtie block with steel caps after prep,2400.00 6in rods that weigh 605 grams
rated for 800 hp
with H 11 tool steel rod bolts, 1200. oil pan,2200. jessels, aligned and bushed
ford lifters 800.,Nitrated custom cam,springs,tool steel retainers, Eddy heads
Ferra super valves,1200. ported intake, 10.3 comp in each cyl, composite head gaskets were 150 each,1400. ice ign,low drag oil system, coated rod,main,cam bearings, Piston and ring package was 2400. and I think they weighted 380 grams, and a lot more that the rules allowed.
It cost me 22k and that was with parts 10 % over cost.
It took Gail almost a year to build.
Sad part is that Gail Clark Died shortly after building it , it was one of his last ones, Gail fell getting the mail, and hit his head, bleed to death,
God Bless Him, it does work well , and Gail said id wear the car out before the motor.
And I guess the whole point is I raced it 1 weekend at 2011 ROs with rain,
2012 at Pocono, won Saturday, and leading Sunday and broke clutch.
Raced MO in 2015 and got 2, 7th place finishes
and WGI in 2015 with 2 , 5th place finishes with broken sway bar and RF strut, and no seat time since 2012, and on BFGs.
And this brings me to the point of why A/S is flopping,
I have a great motor,
Entry fees use to be 180.00 -- 210.00,
Now 800.00 + entries
The top 3-5 cars show up with minimum 3 sets of Hoosiers A and Rs
And since the Central and NE has the largest car counts ?
WHY got to INDY or CAL, Sorry but I wont waste my time there.
Now VIR or WGI maybe Road Atlanta, id be racing if theres a Spec Tire.
A/S should of Down graded motors for the Fords,
Not Up the motors so GMs have a chance to run with the Fords.
If that's the case everyone of the GMs need a motor like mine.
If you can afford it , but the new motors done right last a very long time in the long run.
And with all that added HP , we had to find Trans that last,
Brakes were a Great Move !!
I guess SCCA Club Racings Money Supports the Few Cars running the Trans Am series !!!!!!!!!!!!
Not the Bread and Butter of Club racing !!!
Back in 2000, we needed steel cranks, Button clutches, light Flywheels,
and reduced lift on the Fords!!!
With T-5 trans.
And we will never beat the 05 up Mustangs ?
Go out and get a stock 05 up Mustang , put our set of 17 in A/S tires on it
and see were the ride height is,,,, Dam near the Min 5 in ride height Stock,
No need to lower it 2-3 in like the other A/S cars have to do and screw all the geometry up,
OH BUT WE GOT BALL JOINTS THIS YEAR,,,
Good luck with that, I tried them , and takes a lot of testing of spring and shocks.
UNLESS YOUR ED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Let the flame begin, cuz im not done yet, TOM,lol
SO MAYBE I HAVE 3 BOAT ANCORS NOW, EXPENCIVE ONES,,LOL
Well said Joe!
So we are here now. The entry fees are getting stupid expensive, the runoffs entry fee is stupid expensive, and the cars are stupid expensive. So how do you solve the problem of saving racers money both short and long term? If you put crappy parts back in these cars you end up braking things and spending more money with shitty weekends. If you get good parts it ends up costing more initially. We need to develop a solution that has both longevity and saves money initially.
road racing isn't cheap
I build all my own stuff, engines, tranny's, rearends, built my car, did the roll cage, etc. I am an Engineer, now working as a project manager in a construction company. I make pretty good money, and can generally go racing just about whenever I want to. With that said, I sleep in my trailer at most tracks (it is not outfitted, just an air mattress over the gooseneck). My truck is a 2002 F350, and getting quite few miles on it. I work on other local guys race cars to help support my habit. This is not a cheap sport, and other than the machine shop work, I do everything myself.
I have been racing in Central Florida for going on 8 years now, there have been quite a few local AS guys and cars that have come and gone. In that 8 years, I don't think I know of one local guy who has moved up to run nationals regularly. I did Daytona and will most likely do Indy, just to say I ran there, but I don't have any reasonable expectations of a finish much better than mid pack. But I have no plans to make the runoffs a yearly thing, its just to expensive. The cost of a majors weekend is approx. 2.5 times the cost of a regular race weekend, and you really don't get any more track time.
I always tell people, racing isn't cheap, road racing is really not cheap. We do it because we love it. I know that's why I race. Made some great friends, not many folks out there that can say they have raced all of the racetracks I have been on, overall its really cool, and I love AS. The only thing else I have considered is putting together a Chump team, with a 94 Mustang of course.
What's missing is the local guys moving up to run the nationals. I don't know the answer to getting them to participate. I am sure a bunch of it is money, some of it is time, some of it is knowing you are just not going to be competitive at that level. You can't make the good drivers get worse (unless you add weight to them, some pro series do that), I don't know how to make it much cheaper. Somehow we need to entice some new blood into the class.
Well, that was sort of a rant, didn't really put anything new out there, but what we lack is excitement for the next group of upcoming racers. I know the RP path was supposed to help that along, not sure how much is has really helped.
I never raced in the PBR caliper/cast crank days, I know all of the good parts make the racing cheaper in the long run, but they do up the price of entry. Not sure what to do with that.
Well back to work, need to make some money to pay for the lighter weight pressure plate and clutch disc (legal) and the parts I just ordered to freshen up the engine.
To add a little perspective. The ST classes, the Touring classes and SM, not to even mention the GT classes, are more expensive to run where I run (generally around top 10 at the Runoffs with an occasional podium) in ASedan. You can easily spend $40 K on a good SM. ST, with their engine swaps and aero, can double that. The new BMW 235iRacing is close to $100K in Touring 1 - possibly to end up in T2. My car is like Joe's, in that it started with all the old shit that broke every race or two, and has been gradually upgraded with the good stuff as the rules allowed. A reasonable entry into ASedan could start with buying any one of the older cars available and adding the brakes, etc. as funds allow.
I agree with Jim, compared to a lot of SCCA Classes AS is not all that expensive to get into. In the South there are a number of older AS cars sitting in garages gathering dust. It would not take much to buy any of these cars and updates could be done at the new owners pace.
The question I have is why so few new folks are joining AS?
My guess is NASA has hurt AS more than most SCCA classes. The foundation of NASA is and was production based V8 pony cars.
How do we compete?
Whatever we come up with we need to be careful not to run off any of our core group of AS racers.