Updated at end
2007 marks the first year of the rolling Annual Inspection in the SCCA. From this point forward, Annuals are good for one year from the date of the inspection. This has strong points and weak points; one strong point is that over time the spring inspection crunches will disappear. More on that later in this posting, first I'll mention the weak points.
First, harnesses still expire at the end of the year. This means that every spring, between 1/3 and 1/2 of the cars still need to pass through tech so their harnesses can be checked. It'd be nice of the harness expiration rule got rewritten so that harness expiration came in conjunction with the Annual, but it's a complicated rule to write.
Second, gear checks are still tied to the calendar year, so everyone will have to bring their gear through in the spring. Now, about easing spring workloads: if we do nothing other than what we've always done, it will take years to spread out the Annual load. But a few weeks ago at Lime Rock, Kathy Barnes pointed something out to me that seemed really obvious in retrospect -- the authority exists at the race to waive annual techs and make select groups of cars come in for new annuals. In the past, in the Northeast, we did this in an organized program administered by the Divisional Administrator of Scrutineering, but we don't need a dictate from the DA to do this. Given this authority, during the second half of the year, it makes sense to selectively waive annuals for various groups of cars; yes, it'll be a short term annoyance for the drivers, but their attitudes may soften when they realize that they won't have to sit in the long, painful spring tech lines the following year.
I hope to implement this for a class or two at the NARRC Runoffs in September; we'll see how it goes. Update
I've looked over the preliminary schedule for the race, and am leaning towards waiving annuals for some group of cars from Race Group 6 (wings n' things), probably aiming to do annuals on 10-15 cars. I'm thinking maybe FA/FB/FC/FE/FM.
The original seat in the Sports Renault/Spec Racer/Spec Racer Ford is a fiberglass shell. It doesn't fit anyone particularly well, and long ago an alternative aluminum Butler was approved. The Butler seat is gradually replacing the fiberglass seat, but there are still a lot of the old ones around.
At Lime Rock a couple of weeks ago, and at Pocono this past weekend, I saw a couple of fiberglass seats with cracks in back on the driver's right, down in the well between the seat proper and its mounting to the right side of the car. I don't recall having seen these sorts of cracks before, and they concern me (I wish it had occurred to me to take some pictures; if I see any of these at Lime Rock at the end of September, I'll be sure to take some and post a followup.)
I'm not yet sure how serious this is; I'll probably drop a line to Enterprises to get their take on it. But still, I strongly recommend going with the Butler, it's a much better seat than the old one.
With everyone else in the household (except for the cats) being away for the next week, I was seriously considering heading to Nelson Ledges to work the 24 hour race. As it happens, I find that I'm no longer hard core enough to drive 8 hours one way for the privilege of staying up all night. Oh well.
When my daughter Madeleine was born 10 years ago, my time at the race track slackened off quite a bit. Having a kid changes the time & money equation. With my ITB Alfetta in a pretty sad state, I maintained my competition license for a couple of years by renting FVs, but racing twice a year to retain the right to be slow didn't seem like all that great a plan, so I let my competition license go and focused on tech inspection.
I pulled back on tech a bit too; for some years I've been working just enough to maintain my National license, and not much more. This generally involved being chief of tech for MoHud and NYR dates at Lime Rock, and working a couple of other days if I needed to in order to make my 8 days of participation.
The situation has, rather unexpectedly, changed a bit starting in late July of this year.
Been out playing at the track for a number of weekends in a row, took the new camera with me. Here are some Formula Vees, the middle one of which is having entirely too much fun, in turn 3 at Lime Rock on the 11th of August. The complete set is on flickr here where you can see the rest of what happened with this drver.
I have posted a bunch of pictures I have taken at Lime Rock in the past month on flickr, see http://www.flickr.com/photos/nfgusedautoparts/. these are from the July NNJR SCCA National race and this past weekend's NNJR Regional race.
Some may have noticed that the page for Anderson Speedway (Anderson, Indiana) has been removed. I received an email from the track owner yesterday accusing me of copyright and trademark infringement and indicating that he was inclined to pursue fraud charges against me. I have neither the time nor the resources to deal with this matter, so I'm yanking the page.
In the 10+ years this site has existed, this is the first time that anyone has objected to having a page on their track in the directory. I'm quite amazed.
Should I continue displaying latitude and longitude information for tracks
in the current decimal degrees format, or switch to GPS format? (i'll continue
keeping it internally in decimal degrees, this would just be a display tweak).
anyone have any opinion? any one care?