As we have now reached the mid-point in our 2015 season, we wanted to reach out directly to all of our racers in regards to things that have happened so far this year, both good and bad. In general we feel the first two events have been successful, but by no means perfect. As the second half of the series is only a few weeks away, we have identified some things that we want to adjust, clarify or restate to continue to improve on the racing as a whole.
Rough Driving / Contact on the race track:
First and foremost, I would like to discuss contact during races. For the most part, racing has been very good and drivers have respected each other on the race track. Have there been some incidents, yes. Have there been any malicious attempts to crash out another kart or intentionally cause an accident? No, I don’t think so.
Inherently, there will always be some contact in sprint kart racing. Ultimately it is the drivers’ responsibility to make sure that they are giving their competitors “room to race”, and allowing them to race without fear of being ran off the track or pushed aside. However, the equality the 206 engine package provides creates an unusually high amount of close quarters racing. But that is why we all love the 206! Anybody can have a engine capable of winning. What we all need to remember is that there will always be “racing incidents” that are simply part of the sport. In some ways, it comes down to trying to police overzealous driving.
For those of you that have never been on the other side of the fence, let me tell you that officiating a kart race is one the most difficult jobs in racing. Things happen fast and usually in crowded groups where vision is not it’s best. It is also a hard job to find people whom are truly qualified. It takes a special person with the proper experience to determine what is a “racing incident” vs “avoidable contact”. Most of these qualified individuals are already working race events or racing in them themselves. So far, I feel we have had good groups of corner workers for each event, and will strive to continue to find the best people we can afford and are also available.
We are determined not let our series become known for rough driving. This series provides a unique challenge with the variance in driver experience and chassis types, especially racing in such large fields as our Senior 206 class has had. We have already made adjustments to our racing format to allow us to limit the number of karts on the track at one time, which we feel will be a big help moving forward. We also will be implementing some procedural changes among our staff to more quickly and accurately determine when penalties are necessary.
Although we will never get every call right, we will continue to strive to be as accurate and fair as possible. We are currently searching for two experienced karting corner workers to hire for the remaining weekends, to supplement the corner workers each host track is providing. We hope this additional staff will help us provide the continuity on officiating that you all deserve.
Below is a list of changes or clarifications that we ask each driver to review.
– Karts are to remain in formation until the green flag has been waved. Once the green flag has been waved, drivers may move out of line or advance position whether they have passed the start finish line or not.
– If drivers are seen lagging back in an effort to “get a run” towards the green flag; the start will be aborted. Drivers offending twice will be moved to the rear of the field. Drivers are required to stay in line with both the competitor in front of them, as well as the competitor next to them until the green flag is displayed.
– If after the green flag, a race official determines there was a false start; the start may be aborted prior to the leader completing the first lap. This will be indicated to the drivers by corner workers or the main flag stand waving red and yellow flags together. We ask that drivers hand check to notify the surrounding drivers they are slowing to reform the pace lap. When this occurs, drivers are to reform themselves back into the original starting positions from the previous attempt. All competitors will have the right to their starting position regardless of what happened prior to the previously aborted start. If a kart is not able to rejoin the field for the restart, that competitors spot must remain open on the restart.
– Any competitor that causes 2 aborted or false starts will be moved to the rear of the field.
– Red flags on the first lap will use the restart procedure described for red flagged restarts.
– A yellow flag will be displayed when there is hazard further down track. Drivers are to maintain position and control of their kart until they are past the incident on track. To be clear, there is no overtaking after you pass the yellow flag until you are past the incident on track.
– If a driver are seen making in a yellow section of the track, and do not immediately surrender the position on their own accord, they will be black flagged from the race.
– Drivers are not required to slow down for a yellow, but are expected to maintain 100% control of their kart. This means not sliding through a corner, locking up the tires under braking, etc. If race officials determine a driver was exceeding the limits of control under yellow, they will be disqualified from the race, and potentially for the day.
– There are no Full course yellows
Red Flags / Restarts
– If an incident can not immediately be cleared, the track becomes blocked or a driver is injured and requires medical care; red flags will be displayed. Drivers should hand check to acknowledge the red flag and make other drivers aware of the situation. All drivers should complete the lap they are on at an EXTREMELY reduced speed, and report back to the start finish line in a single file line according to the order they were in on track. Please do not cross the start finish line. The leader should stop themselves at least 20ft back from the line.
– Once the track is ready to race again, a single file rolling restart will take place. Competitors will be restarted in the order of the last completed lap.
– Any competitors involved in the incident directly causing the red flag will be started in the rear if they are able to continue, and race officials determine they are able to continue.
– Race officials, at their discretion, may choose not to restart a race that has had two red flag periods or has already received the white flag.
Class weight clarifications:
The weight for 206 Sportsman was listed differently in our rules package than it was on our website. The official weight for the class is 265 pounds. The website has been corrected.
We want to further explain our expectations of competitors, their families and crew to make sure we do not have any issues. We expect everybody to treat the race officials, track staff, fellow competitors and their crew’s with respect at all times. Disagreements will naturally occur in racing. They have this year already, and will most likely again. It is unavoidable. How people conduct themselves during these times is our concern. We will not tolerate any yelling, screaming or anything other than respectful conversation at the race track. What people don’t realize in the heat of the moment, things escalate and people are all of a sudden yelling at each other at the scales or in the pits. When this occurs, race officials are no longer talking about what may have just happened on the track. They are now dealing with what is happening off the track, taking their attention away from what we are all supposed to be doing. Racing.
We welcome criticisms, suggestions and even complaints. However, we ask that you make sure the place and time you choose to bring them to a race official’s attention when the time is appropriate and in a cordial manor.
I’d also like to extend this expectation of courteous behavior to outside the track as well. This series has depended a lot on the internet and social media in spreading the word to racers. As this is the era that people mostly lean on social media and the internet for information regarding kart racing, I feel it is important to stress that competitors keep their comments cordial there as well.
The series cannot tolerate competitors bashing racers, teams, officials, tracks, sponsors or vendors on social media and other internet forums. If you have a disagreement or complaint, please take it to the correct person in a private manor. Not only is this to help protect the series; but the competitors and sponsors as well. Things have a way of coming across on the internet far worse than they are meant to be. For us to survive and grow, we need more people to come and race in the 206 Cup. You are all ambassadors of our series and karting as a whole.
By far, the biggest feedback we have gotten from racers after the first two events was in regards to our race day schedule. The consensus is we need to better stay true to our advertised schedule, and get Sunday’s racing activities done sooner. For the upcoming event at CHMS, we will be revising our schedule to try and accomplish those very things.
Saturday’s schedule will now include 4 rounds of practice sessions that are slightly shorter than we have had at the past 2 events. The goal is to offer a similar amount of track time, but broken up into slightly shorter sessions. We will also be working with track staff to try and get registration open 2 hours prior to the start of practice. Registration has been the biggest bottle neck in getting our Saturday schedule started on time at Eau Claire and Dousman.
Sunday’s schedule will only offer 1 round of practice before racing begins at CHMS.
Our hope is that these adjustments will offer competitors the same amount of track time as at previous events, while giving the opportunity to get on the road and headed back home 1-2 hours earlier.
We truly believe we are on the right path. We have had some incredible races between racers that before this series had never met before. More and more people are contacting us for information on future races to join the series for this year or next. We will continue to fine tune things until our series runs as smooth as the engine that inspired it.