Time To Start Racing Again!

Yea, it’s been too long!

Again, congrats to George Peters on dominating the 2022 NASCAR MADness Series that ended August 6. George has likely completed his media tour and press appearances by now so it’s time to kickoff another series and start racing again. What we do next will depend a lot on interest and driver availability.

One series that I’d like to do before the end of the 2022 season is an ALL IROC Championship series. The first round of the IROC series is currently slated for October 1, 2022 and will consist of four events, four individual races each event, and will include oval and road courses, sometimes on the same race day. The total points winners of the series will take home mondo trophies for being the best Sportsman and Expert “drivers” competing in the series. This series may be run contiguously or  not.

Another series I’m interested in is a weeknight oval course program that could include any type of car we currently run. The racing format will be a bit different than what we’ve been doing. Only one platform (car) will be run at each event. The nightly schedule will include:

    1. Qualifying (best average time of three laps)
    2. Scratch Race 1
    3. Scratch Race 2
    4. Scratch Race 3
    5. “B” Main
    6. “Last Chance”
    7. “A” Main

The twist in this series is that all races after qualifying are reverse staggered starts. This means, if you are the fastest qualifier, you start in the last staggered position in the first Scratch race. If you win the first Scratch race, you again, start in the last staggered position in the second Scratch race, and so on. If you qualify for the “A” Main after the three Scratch races, you start the “A” Main in a reverse staggered position relative to those drivers who who qualified behind you.

Yes, you can sandbag if you’d like. But doing so will cost you valuable points. This series accumulates points from each heat, meaning sandbagging may garner you a better start position in the next race, but you’ll also lose points doing so. You decide how and where you’ll get your points but points are the name of the game in this series.

The primary intent of this racing format is to make things as competitive as possible between all skill levels on race days. Heat/segment points are combined on race days but overall event points are scored separately between Expert and Sportsman drivers–two trophies awarded at the end of the series.

We’ll dial-down the laps for all races to make race nights short and sweet and only one car contested at each event.

Please let us know your thoughts and opinions on these two ideas for our next racing adventures. We’re open to any and all ideas, suggestions, and any comments you may have, of course.

Okay, shut up and drive!

Introducing the “Super Stock” Class

While I’m not sure of the interest level in this class, several drivers have expressed interest in a slightly more advanced set of rules to enable more tuning and flexibility in building cars.

Our Super Stock class is based on the 2022 HOPRA SUPER STOCK rules but has two key differences:

    1. HOPRA restricts motor and traction magnets to stock Ceramic-only material and does not allow Compression-molded Polymer (Level 4) magnets in this class. We allow standard V-SPEC Level-4 magnets.
    2. HOPRA does not, however, have any restrictions on armature bushings, gearing, axles, or wheels and tires. This means HOPRA rules allow dual-compound tires, we don’t. Only silicon slip-on tires are permitted.

Kevin Webster has a bunch of HOPRA-legal Super Stock cars, which he and I tested extensively. The general consensus was that the HOPRA car was not significantly different than our current Viper V-SPEC (SPEC-RACER) class and forcing interested drivers to purchase expensive ceramic-grade magnets for these platforms would be a burden to many of our drivers.

Due to the cost of dual-compound tires and the lack of interest in purchasing them, we decided against allowing dual-compound tires—for now. In our testing, dual-compound tires produced about a half-second faster lap times.

So, why setup and race a Super Stock car? Well, one reason is that there are a few more tuning options available in this class:

      • Open gearing choices, unrestricted.
      • Adjustable brush tension (on brush-barrel type chassis’)
      • Any material for armature bushings, except ball-bearings.
      • Many competitive chassis options: BSRT G3/G3R/G3RS/G3RSB, Mattel/Tyco 440-X2, Micro Speedworks T+, Slottech T1/T2/T3
        and T1X, Wizzard-Patriot P2/P3/Scorpion/Storm/Storm CH22/Fusion, Viper V1 (V-SPEC).

Bottom line, this class provides a bit more speed and tuning flexibility to those drivers interested in moving up a notch or two in tuning ability and options.

We’ll see where this class goes. Right now, only a couple of active drivers have these cars ready to race. That said, you can actually just run a good stock Viper V-SPEC and do fine on most tracks. The gearing options are pretty simple, all you need are a couple of spare rear axle assemblies with lower or higher gearing and swap them out to see what works best on the particular course you’re running on.

The other tuning options are a bit more nuanced but also very useful.

Feel free to comment on this new class here or on my Slot Car MeWe page here.

Okay, shut up and drive!

IROC Championship Series

Next up for the 2022 Stewart Raceway season, is an IROC Championship. Yes, take a break from preparing competitive race cars and enjoy the art and leisure of just showing up with your controller and having some fun driving cars you don’t need to worry about.

Unless other track operators chime in and decide to host a road course event, all race days will take place on either SR2 or SR3. Two oval events, and two road course events. We’ll run all sorts of different cars and five races during each race day event.

The first round is tentatively slated for October 1, 2022. There will be two mondo trophies awarded in this series. Both the Expert class winner and the Sportsman class winner will receive hardware for their efforts. Both series winners will be awarded a Mondo trophy and, of course, will be enshrined on the Stewart Raceway Wall of Fame.

The 2022 IROC Series rules, points, and racing format are documented here.

Register here.

Okay, shut up and drive!

Introducing Driver Classifications

We’ve discussed this issue a number of times over the last couple of seasons. Starting with our next series, Stewart Raceway is implementing a two-tiered driver classification as follows:

    • Expert
    • Sportsman

Of course, until we have participant numbers to justify it, the two different classifications of drivers will race together but scored and stats tracked separately. This means that there will be an Expert class winner and a Sportsman class winner in every race and at the end of every series at Stewart Raceway. This means more work for Race Directors, but it is much needed to increase interest and participation in our hobby/sport.

Today, we have entry-level and skilled drivers entering the scene after over 30 years or more of not driving a slot car. We also have several new drivers who have never raced slot cars until very recently. It is clearly not a level playing field to score or measure these drivers against established and much more experienced, active drivers.

The method I’ve decided on to determine a driver’s classification is to evaluate their average placings at Stewart Raceway. If a driver’s average placing at Stewart Raceway is over four (4) or lower, he or she will be considered an Expert. Any driver with average placings higher than four (4) will be considered a Sportsman level driver. This metric is taken from event statistics at Stewart Raceway since 2018.

Of course, any driver may upgrade or downgrade their classification, at any time. Upgrading (reclassification) from Sportsman to Expert has no restrictions. Downgrading (reclassification) from Expert to Sportsman can only be done if the driver currently has a higher than four (4) average placing score. Reclassifications will not be granted during a race day event or ongoing racing series.

Obviously, there are Experts out there that have not raced at Stewart Raceway for a long time. If and when such drivers return to racing at Stewart Raceway, the Race Director will determine what classification they will resume competition in. Generally, if a racer was previously classified as an Expert and has not requested a reclassification, they will resume racing as an Expert.

Why no Pro class? Well, we don’t run any “Pro-level” cars. On the national level, pretty much all of the cars and rules we’ve been running are Amateur level. Yes, the SPEC-JET, SPEC-STOCK, and SPEC-RACER are more advanced than the BOX-STOCK classes, but they are not intended as exclusive Pro-level classes.

I’m all in on higher-level platforms but we just don’t have the interest in our current group right now. Hopefully, as we grow, interest and participation increases, and we’ll introduce a SUPER STOCK or MODIFIED class at some point. We actually have the TFX “Modified” class now but only a few have built cars for that class.

Anyway, I’ll follow this post with a listing of Stewart Raceway drivers and their current classification levels based on SR2 and SR3 results since January 2020.

Okay, shut up and drive!

 

 

 

 

 

2022 Racing Rules Finally Published

I’ve finally completed the 2022 general and platform racing rules for Stewart Raceway and any participating venues that choose to participate.

In order to simplify, streamline, and otherwise make the whole process easier and more manageable, I’ve decided to adopt 2022 HOPRA rules and have applied them to the various classes we run.

HOPRA’s rules are actually very similar to what we have now and also provide for additional popular classes down the road, should we desire to further expand our racing platforms portfolio.

Previously, class rules were listed on each Active Club Cars page. You can still get to the rules from those pages (under the Additional Information tab). However, all platform racing rules are now also accessible from a single page called “Racing Platform Rules” accessible from the site’s main menu.

I’ve also updated our General and House racing rules to include applicable HOPRA rules and guidelines.

I hope this helps clear up some of the confusion with rules we’ve recently seen with the TFX classes.  I don’t think anybody is going to be in violation of the new rules but I strongly urge you to review them and make sure all your cars fully comply with current .

Our vintage platforms (Mega-G, Lambo, Tomahawk, and Tyco-Jet) do not exactly fit into the current HOPRA rules. The “U-Build” rules currently posted will continue to apply to those classes.

Of course, these rules can be “tweaked” but I’d like to stay as close as we can to the national HOPRA rules.

Please feel free to comment on this post below or, preferably, in our Rules forum.

Okay, shut up and drive!