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Thread: Slot Car Racer Today

  1. #2566
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    Apr 2012
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    Citrus Heights, California
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    I feel bad for Greg Ruzich... He loaned Justin a body for that LMP race in Fresno! (Bet he won't do *THAT* again! :-) )

    Everytime I think of what "changes' could/should be made in the NorCal series, it always comes back to the same thing... It's pretty darn good as it is. Would splitting the races by class help? Probably not. It might keep some "sandbaggers" from wanting to race in the lower classes, but that would result in some who think they should be "Expert", but in reality aren't, still running with the "fast" guys.

    My biggest "complaint", and I use that word loosely because I'm not sure it's all that much of a complaint, more like just "the way it is", but to me, the corner marshaling seems to very from track to track. There are always those that race at all of the tracks that you know are....Marshaling challenged, but maybe it's the "local", inexperienced racers that don't marshall well that make the "carnage" worse... But then, some of the locals are better marshall's than some of the "pro's"! :-)

    Modesto certainly has a great local program, and a large "local" turnout for NorCal, and from what I recall, the marshaling was pretty good. I'm not familiar with Fresno's local program, but I believe it's pretty good. The marshaling was not bad, but not great either. The ones that *I* noticed (Which means they were marshaling Justin's car!) were not always the best, but when it's your car (or your kids car) they can never be fast enough! So, perhaps it's simply perception..

    Perhaps there should be more time spent on "teaching" local racers how to turn marshal a little better? Simple skills like picking the cars up and putting them back down without knocking others off, watching the corner your marshaling, not the race, putting the car that causes the crash down LAST, not first, not working on cars while leaving other cars sitting on the track, etc... Would better marshaling solve peoples complaints? Probably not, but it might help a little...

    The other thing I noticed was at times, some race directors don't seem to hear track calls. I personally witnessed one instance where everyone in the room was yelling track, but the race director was busy talking to someone, so they didn't hear/respond in anything even close to an "Acceptable" amount of time. There also seems to be a fairly common issue with finding someone to race direct, leading to anyone willing to perform the task doing, whether they are qualified or not. This seems to lead to inconsistant policy/procedures regarding track calls, whether the director can actually hear the track calls, how much attention the director is paying to the race, and simple familiarity with the facilities setup... Perhaps this is an area that could be improved. By either having a set group of people to do the race directing, and having them "left alone" so they can pay attention... Or, perhaps it should be the facilities job to provide a competent person to run the races.

    I'm not sure I'd consider myself "competent", but I often run the races when the series comes through Rocklin, at least on the Purple Angel. I've often had so many people gathered around behind me that I can't hear track calls. Sometimes it's because of the noise, sometimes it's because people don't yell loud enough... If it was my car off, or "rider", I'd sure as hell yell loud enough where any non-deaf director should hear it!

    Anyway... I think those two areas alone would help... Trying to improve the marshaling and consistant race directors. In my opinion, it's still up to the racers to drive ahead and stay clear of the crashoids. Sometimes it can be hard, or nearly impossible, and it certainly sucks when your race is seriously affected because another driver (rookie or pro) comes off, and a marshal doesn't marshal clear the track because they're busy bench racing with their buddy standing next to them, instead of paying attention.

    Just my .02... I'm just a dad, so that's about all my opinion is worth!

  2. #2567
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaybird View Post
    Flyin Brian.... I had many of the same thoughts as you when the series hit my home track. There was carnage! However, last month in Modesto for the LMP race.... I thought it was very clean. I was even able to use the same body at the Fresno race. Sometimes they're clean and sometimes they're not. One thing is for sure.... it'll teach you how to drive out in front of your car no matter which track you're visiting or who's out there with you. If you're wondering if I'll be able to re use the same LMP body next month in Vallejo, the answer is emphatically, NO See you all there!!
    Jay I raced in Modesto and I was the worse guy there I just tried to stay on the track and not wreck to many people. I had never seen the track before the race and that is a very challenging track harder then the Fresno track to learn how to drive it fast. Race in Motown was very good race the guy's drive the track in Modesto real well.
    It is true I haven't raced in but 3 Norcal races. I started racing in November in Fresno I know the fresno track real well I have more laps on the track here then anyone. Yes I need to learn to drive a 1/2 lap ahead of my car I will be a better driver when I do.
    I wished many of the local guys had been racing but they didnot want to get in the way. With more local guys on the track the carnage would have been less they know the track and the number of drivers that didn't know the track would have decreased by 1or2 per heat and that would have made a big difference. Many of our guy's are new like me and thought the guy's that were coming to race were going to be better then them and didnot want to screw up the race, they would have improved the race!
    I want to temper what I say here but I think some guy's are team players and drove like it and turn marshalled like it in the LMP race.
    The GT 12 race was just u-g-l-y ugly.
    The good guy's like Fred, George and Don I let them go by so do many of the other racer do but if you are the new kids nobody is letting me and some of the other up and comers go by we are building or rep as being fast so it is going to be harder to turn the laps the pro's do. The Pro's do get in random wrecks too but everyone feels bad ahen they wreck them!The same thing use to happen when I first started racing here now at the local races the guy's say pass me in the straight or is that you coming up. With Reputation comes respect!
    Last edited by Flyin Brian; 05-07-2012 at 07:23 PM.
    Go fast or go Home.

  3. #2568
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeC View Post
    I feel bad for Greg Ruzich... He loaned Justin a body for that LMP race in Fresno! (Bet he won't do *THAT* again! :-) )


    My biggest "complaint", and I use that word loosely because I'm not sure it's all that much of a complaint, more like just "the way it is", but to me, the corner marshaling seems to very from track to track. There are always those that race at all of the tracks that you know are....Marshaling challenged, but maybe it's the "local", inexperienced racers that don't marshall well that make the "carnage" worse... But then, some of the locals are better marshall's than some of the "pro's"! :-)
    I agree with you

    Modesto certainly has a great local program, and a large "local" turnout for NorCal, and from what I recall, the marshaling was pretty good. I'm not familiar with Fresno's local program, but I believe it's pretty good.
    Yes it is but only a few of us raced in the flat track race
    Perhaps there should be more time spent on "teaching" local racers how to turn marshal a little better?
    It was not the local guy's there weren't enough of us out there and many guy's were very slow at getting the cars up off the track you could see the wreck and the cars should have been gone but they were still there!
    Simple skills like picking the cars up and putting them back down without knocking others off, watching the corner your marshaling, not the race, putting the car that causes the crash down LAST, not first, not working on cars while leaving other cars sitting on the track, etc... Would better marshaling solve peoples complaints? Probably not, but it might help a little.
    It would have helped..

    The other thing I noticed was at times, some race directors don't seem to hear track calls.
    That is a understatement!

    In my opinion, it's still up to the racers to drive ahead and stay clear of the crashoids. Sometimes it can be hard, or nearly impossible, and it certainly sucks when your race is seriously affected because another driver (rookie or pro) comes off, and a marshal doesn't marshal clear the track because they're busy bench racing with their buddy standing next to them, instead of paying attention.

    Just my .02... I'm just a dad, so that's about all my opinion is worth!
    Good $.02 and I agree with much of what you said and I hope to be better then 8th overall in LMP next time. Most of my wrecks wasn't me coming off it was me hitting cars that got me from 2 or 3 lanes away or I hit cars that I thought would have been cleared by the time I got there or marshall putting their guy's car on knock other cars off in front of other cars it was just careless marshalling
    Go fast or go Home.

  4. #2569
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    Apr 2011
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    Cleveland, TN
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    709
    Quote Originally Posted by Flyin Brian View Post
    Good $.02 and I agree with much of what you said and I hope to be better then 8th overall in LMP next time.......
    Brian, 8th overall in LMP your 3rd time out is VERY impressive considering the company you are in !
    Alan Ingram

  5. #2570
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Chesapeake, Va.
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    I use to run 4 classes (Scale, GP10, NASCAR Flexi, and GP12) on saturday and then 3 classes (Box 15, INT 15 and GP27) on sunday. Then a 4-6 hour ride home. Your either devoted to it or your not. I've spent many 16 hour days at the track, in some places it's normal.QUOTE=larrymatt;293486]Fred

    When you run multiple-classes in one day with 35-40 racers... who has time for consis and semis? Makes it tough to even have qualifying.

    I know I no longer want to spend 16-hours at the track...

    And not giving all entrants an opportunity to 'race' a main is a sure fire way to decrease participation at the next event.

    LM[/QUOTE]
    I've done so much with so little for so long it seems like I can do anything with nothing at all.

  6. #2571
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    Feb 2005
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    I was that guy you are talking about in the late 80s. In 1992 I won the GP12 and INT15 classes in the Mid-Atlantic series. Not because we ran all mains but because we didn't. I sucked it up and became a better racer and car/motor builder. If they are as dedicated as you think then failures and set backs will only make them better. "You learn more from failure then success." I believe Henry Ford said that. Just because you give someone something to make them better doesn't mean they will become better, it just makes them more likely to ask for more.
    Quote Originally Posted by KVAN View Post
    Freddie, what about the guys that are just as dedicated, spent as much time, money, and drove just as far, but just aren't good enough to "sniff" a semi let alone a main? Do you really think they will do all that just to watch you race?
    I've done so much with so little for so long it seems like I can do anything with nothing at all.

  7. #2572
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    Feb 2005
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    I understand where your coming from George. We use to weed out most of the inexperenced racers using consi and semi races. However, if your going racing and the raceway uses the "Round Robin" format you should realize that you'll be racing with all types of racers and either choose to go racing because it doesn't matter or stay at home because it does. If they qualify why not run 2 round robins an A and B? That way the better racers would most likely end up in the A and the inexperienced racers in the B. Just so the better racers wouldn't have to play bumper cars.
    Quote Originally Posted by Slotcar Racer View Post
    Fred, this same race format discussion happened way back on around page 80 or so and we are discussing it again. It is a good discussion, but I just want to point out that Brian's concern was the race format for the NORCAL series. In the area of "things we cannot control", the NORCAL format is large round robins and you are mixed together. If anyone feels that this means a futile use of time and effort, then just don't race. I can sympathize with Brian because he has never raced this format before and it is very difficult. The only two options are 1) accept the format and do the best you can, or 2) don't accept the format, don't go to the race. It doesn't do much good to complain about stuff we have no power over, the NORCAL format won't change. The series has had too much success over the past 15 years to make changes. I am guilty of wanting changes myself, but I stuck with the series and had a lot of personal growth from it. I don't always look at winning races as an opportunity to grow....those growth opportunities usually only come from the adversity. This past season I've had my motor knocked out a few times now and apparently I did not learn from the first time! Two times double shame on me.

    I would say if you are somebody who has been in the series for a long time and you have won some races, then you're in a better position to suggest making changes to the format. But until then, better to pay dues and learn as much as you can to deal with the traffic on the track.
    I've done so much with so little for so long it seems like I can do anything with nothing at all.

  8. #2573
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    Jun 2005
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    The last time I was at a NorCal race was right before Frank's 1st nats. However they used to run the novice and beginner together and the expert and pros together. For example the beginner and novice gp 10 race was happening on the king while at the same time the expert and pro lmp was happening on the flat track. Is this not how they are still racing?
    James Grinstead

    TEAM KOFORD

    Why so serious?

  9. #2574
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Richmond, CA
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    Having been a trackowner and race director, I do not critique turn marshaling. When I hear racers critiquing marshaling, my ears close. Racing is the fun part, the marshals are doing a "chore". Racers should always be thankful. Over the years I have observed some racers almost always thank the marshal for putting the car back on the track no matter how long it took. Usually turn marshals are trying too hard and tie themselves in a knot. Compassion my friends, compassion. Nothing in slotcar racing is that important to think we can criticize another human being for doing his/her best. If you are off the track, you made a mistake, end of story.

    Another thing about racing that Mike mentioned is race directing. That is another thankless task. Racing is the fun part, race directing is a public service.

    Then we have the issue of track calls? What the heck are those for anyway? Usually during the driver's meeting we review what a track call is for. If the turn marshal cannot reach a car, he calls "track". That may be for a car under the track, or in front of the driver's panel....anything out of reach. Also in some series a rider is a track call....not all series though.

    What happens during a track call? Cars are back on the track. End of story. Race director should ask, "track clear?" Marshals reply, "clear". Hit the space bar and off we go. That is ALL track calls are for.

    I think sometimes we forget that track calls are not for repairing cars. Some racers feel it is imperative for marshals to fix their braid. No, that is a courtesy....optional. I like it when somebody says, "check the braid" and the marshal looks and says, "yup, they're both there". That is the correct attitude. If you got caught up in a wreck and your braid is messed up, then you, the racer have to pull the car off during the green and fix it. Last week I even heard complaints about the poor service they got on fixing braid. Come on people, that is not what a track call is for. Fix your car yourself, you'll do the best job. Track calls are not for other more major repairs. If your car needs ANY repair and the track is clear, guess what? The track power should come back on. The racers should not be waiting around for any repairs.

    Those are a few thoughts besides race format that have come up for me during this discussion. It has been a really great discussion too, I've learned a lot from all presenters.
    Journeyman Industrial Slotcar Worker, Teamsters Local 3299 AFL-CIO
    Now with "Improved Karma"

  10. #2575
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    45
    George, I wish I could do that, but I never have been able to (other than our crash-n-burn races). When the track isn't cleared or I get put on the wrong lane or a marshal (accidentally) knocks me off, I hate it. Having said that, I try to be a decent turn marshal when it's my turn and I take it seriously, more so when I screw up. I hate that, too, because I know how the driver feels at that time. It is a chore, as is race directing, and it's not all that enjoyable, but I think if turn marshals paid attention and treated the drivers as they would like to be treated whrn their time rolls around, there might be fewer complaints. Maybe not!

    On track calls, I don't quite understand when/where all of this nonsense got its start. Nothing ruins a race faster than unwarranted track calls. Cars that are on the floor, or off at the driver's panel, or otherwise out of reach, OK. Braid up on the track, or a malfunction of that sort, OK. Other than that, fix your own car and quit crying for a call every time you come off. The reason, I think, that race directors "don't hear" track calls is because everyone in the building is calling them, drivers, pit monkeys, etc. Should be assigned marshals only, IMO.

    This is in no way a critique of NorCal, however. I really think that is a fine program and I agree with with Mike C's observations. It ain't broke, let's not fix it!!!

  11. #2576
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    Track calls should be covered by the Track or Race Series Rules.Sometimes racers will use a loop-hole and use track calls to their advantage.We had racers whose bodies would come off every time they crashed(Hard Body).This would bring a track call.Their car gets fixed,race resumes.They only lose a few sections.Nice trick.Race took forever to end.Bottom line is that all race procedures must be in the rules.This includes marshalling,race director,pit crew,etc.We all assume everyone will do the right thing but some will do anything to win.The Rules must be clear and all inclusive.Just my 'pinion.Slot-On_______Sam.

  12. #2577
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    Jun 2002
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    OK, first, let me say that IMHO no one should blame a turn marshall for ANYTHING! Sure it would be nice if the marshalls could always clear the track before you got there. But the answer is to not put yourself in that situation in the first place. The marshall isn't the one who drove your car into the wreck, nor is he the one who drove your car under his hand as he is putting the car down in the lane next to you. Nor is he the one who drove the car off in the first place!

    As Georgevsaid, we need to treat the guys marshalling as we want to be treated.

    As for the huge round robin format... Personally I hate round robins, but I do understand why NORCAL uses them. And if I lived closer I would race with them! One thing about that format. It should make you a better driver as you get a chance to learn how to get by slower traffic and how to stay out of the wrecks that happen in front of you. Of course it is always nice when race luck decides to sit on your shoulder to help you avoid them too!
    Gary Johnson

  13. #2578
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
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    TEXAS
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    In our Texas -TSRA Series we have a 2 day event because we combine some Scale classes with Wing Classes.
    Saturday is a Spray Glue only Nascar, Group F, LMP and 27 Lite all of these events are Mains only and then you blend the results to determine the over all winner.
    45 entries would consist of 6 Mains, you are slotted into a main based on your qualifying time using the USRA method of alternating.
    A main would be 1,7,14,21,28,35,42 and so on.

    Everyone gets 8 heats of racing and has the ooprtunity to win a race and depending on the Main do well over all. You still have an assortment of drivers at different skill levels but maybe more equal for everyone.

    We also run a Scale Series and they use all Mains but separate the Mains different also based on Qualifying.
    A Main would be 1 to 8 qualifiers. B Main 9 to 16, and so on. On 2 occasions I have placed in top 2 overall from the B Main, both times I had an A main car but I qualified poorly.

    In each case you have plenty of marshalls, which you can say A main marshalls the F main, B marshalls the A and so on.
    If you need more marshalls you can always add a main. Since you have to marshal the race before yours you should always have plenty.

    In either example you provide an opportunity for more than 1 winner and you do not add much time to the overall race program, if you do not allow practice time after qualifying, cars go straight to the starting line for each main and the race starts.

    If you have a rule in place that a marshall is only allowed to flatten the braid all other repairs are the responsibilty of the driver or his pit crew.
    If you have a penalty for Marshall abuse it will go away.

    In my 48 years I have never had a Marshall drive my car out of the slot, I have hit the car he was marshalling because I was not watching the commotion in the turn and charged on in thinking surely it will be gone when I get there. I have been accidently knocked out by a marshall putting a car in just as I got there, which is part of racing and it happens to everyone, and the marshall frequently will say sorry but it is not his fault.

    Just food for thought, but don't change anything that will hurt attendance.

  14. #2579
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    Jan 2010
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    Tacoma, WA.
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    Thank you George and Gary, Turn marshalls our doing the best they can. Drivers need to drive and shut up. Where's that duct tape at? There is already enough tension going around. Turn marshalls are human. Being human some have disabilities Arthritis, vision. then contend with an oily slick body on a car. I've dropped more than one. When you have driver come fish tailing around a corner into the lane you setting the car in, and then complain. I hope the body does lose its body pin and they lose track time for repairs. Guys and gals Quit cryin and start drivin. I'm sorry but it really irks me when a turn marshall is there to correct a drivers error.

  15. #2580
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    Jan 2011
    Location
    Richmond, CA
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    1,279
    Sorry Raymond, but I think Chuck gets the prize for nailing it really clean and simple.....let's make it a plaque!

    Turn marshalls our doing the best they can. Drivers need to drive and shut up. Where's that duct tape at? There is already enough tension going around. Turn marshalls are human. Being human some have disabilities Arthritis, vision. then contend with an oily slick body on a car. I've dropped more than one. When you have driver come fish tailing around a corner into the lane you setting the car in, and then complain. I hope the body does lose its body pin and they lose track time for repairs. Guys and gals Quit cryin and start drivin.
    Journeyman Industrial Slotcar Worker, Teamsters Local 3299 AFL-CIO
    Now with "Improved Karma"

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