Family Software Newsletter #9 - June 29, 2000

 

Topics

1. Sportsman Racers Association (SRA) Update
2. FREE Software Download
3. REAL World Technical Support


-- Sportsman Racers Association Update --
For this issue I'm reprinting, with permission, the latest update from Jeff Teuton of the Sportsman Racers Association as follows:

To: All Members, Division Directors, Sanction Officials

From: Jeff Teuton


This organization was formed in late 1997 to promote better relations between the Sportsman Racer and NHRA. It started over lack of seating at the Memphis Nationals in the fall of that year. I am sad to report that the relations between the Sportsman and NHRA have not improved to anywhere near what I had hoped and worked for over the last few years.

I am a Chrysler dealer and have been for over 30 years. I have also been on the Dealer Council for most of that time. I tried to model the SRA after that council arrangement because it was similar in nature and had produced many excellent results and kept the lines of communication open at all times between the dealers (Sportsman) and Chrysler (NHRA). We as dealers present issues to Chrysler which they then answer in writing and act on accordingly. We don't always get what we want, but we always get an answer--in writing--so we at least know what direction the company is going. Communication and action from NHRA is almost non-existent except in cases where some official gets angry with racers such as the horsepower issue and the noise or muffler issue.

Many people feel the Sportsman are going to be eliminated in favor of a professional only venue, in spite of printed and verbal offerings from Graham Light and Tom Compton. Initially I did not feel this was the case, if for no other reason than money. The price we pay to race, paid in advance, covers many of the expenses of a National Event before the spectator shows up. I must say recent actions by NHRA lead most members including myself to believe we are quite expendable.

Issue Updates

Seating: We now have a seat at National events. It usually isn't monitored for racers and manufacturers only as was its original intent, but doesn't seem to be a problem.

Parking: Just sucks. We pay, the pros park. They park motor homes, beer gardens, cafeterias & God only knows what else. No improvement and actually worse for us than when we started. Let it rain and it is the Sportsman who get shuffled, often without regard for our equipment. There is much room for improvement here, but without some sanctions against the pro racers, nothing will be accomplished.

Electronic Violations: Not much attempt to regulate the cheaters. No real commitment to catch anyone in spite of one device even being patented. I really believe in one month I could have the cheaters out or so scared the advantage would disappear.

Ladder for Competition: We have a pro-ladder in competition for Stock, Super Stock and Comp. This is the only example of where a survey of the racers showed our preference for this ladder and NHRA reacted. Their survey reflected the figures the SRA had compiled. Super Comp and Super Gas would still like first round paring. Seems many Super Racers feel the first round random paring is not so random in favor of the traveling sportsman "pro".

Consistent Rules: Still a problem after many request for all kinds of rule standardization. Nothing in site. No communication.

Pro Stock Truck/Comp: NHRA is just recognizing that some PST racers are altering the setup in Comp. I think there will be a special class for PST in Comp. I don't know if this is acceptable to the regular comp racers. Comp is trying its best to disappear because of the cost and the regulation. The much loved CIC system (by NHRA) will destroy Comp unless something is done.

Seat Belts: We have asked to extend the two year rule on seat belts. Other racing bodies are not nearly so stringent. If you remember I had a test lab pull on two year old belts. I have the certificate showing they pulled out of the hardware at 12,500 lbs. After being reassembled, they still look like new. I know this is a safety factor, but this is overkill.

Fuel Cell in Stock: Speaking of safety issues, there is absolutely no advantage to a fuel cell except safety and NHRA will not even consider this. The story I get is to keep the cost of Stock Eliminator down. Ludicrous at best. When an A/SA rotated the rear axle assembly last year in Orlando and opened the fuel tank (with 15 gallons in it) like a can opener, cost wasn't a factor. No answer of any kind on this issue.

Rack & Pinion Steering in pure Super Stock: Again speaking of safety, there are cars going 150 MPH after a really big wheelstand with the steering going through the middle of the headers. These 30 year old cars could use some safety help. No answer of any kind on this issue also.

Deep Staging: Super class aren't allowed to deep stage and the majority of Super Racers are happy with this arrangement. Stock and Super Stock can legally deep stage, but a majority voted against deep staging altogether. From reading their reasons, it seems most of the concern is not necessarily with deep staging itself, but how staging is done. There is one method in National Events and a different one in FM Events. I attempted to reconcile this problem by speaking to Rick Stewart because it seems the National system is what racers object to. Instead of working with the Sportsman, Rick told me to "Read page 182 of the (1998) rule book". The last person to give me an answer like that (and walk away) was one of my illiterate instructors in college many years ago. It is commonly known that Rick is not a fan of Sportsman Racers and it really showed in that instance. Another one of the many items that could be standardized at absolutely no cost.

Track Preparation: Generally has improved and appreciated by the Sportsman Racer. Class scheduling is important to actual track surface and there seems to be more effort on this and surface both. Under this title I include lights and timing equipment. I know Jeff Foster does keep the stuff working at Nationals and the Divisionals races have their own people for this. I do have a track question. There are several known instances where the front of the car takes the finish beam instead of the front wheel. My understanding of the lights is that the start beam is 1 1/2" from the center crown of the track and the finish beam is 5 1/2 inches from the center crown of the track. However in General Regulations 4:5 it states that a car only has to have 3 inches ground clearance in front of the front tire. Maybe I'm getting a little old, but this doesn't quite seem right.

Computer Stock Classes: I have corresponded many times on this subject even to the point of analyzing the entire two years of racing to show what the effect of these cars and outlining the classes with no participation that might be considered. Either way, there has been no response; official or otherwise.

Horsepower and Indexes: After two years of correspondence, phone calls and one visit to California, I thought we had reached a workable agreement on HP and Indexes at the Gatornationals in March, 2000. It basically adjusted the truck indexes and front wheel drive indexes in Stock and set up a 3 time hit for HP if your combination went too fast. The mark was l.05 under in SS and l.l5 under in Stock. Each year started out with zero hits. There was a procedure for HP reductions that was an important part of that rule. The basics are now being published for comment. They also have a provision for index driven classes in S/S. It is National Events only and only using the final qualifying sheet. And it is supposed to be published. As I said, I thought his was done in Gainesville, but as of the Houston Nationals this year and the Baton Rouge Divisional, it had not gotten to the Competition Committee. I expect this to become a rule soon. It also provided for increases three times yearly and reductions once yearly. Increases and reductions would be automatic based on data.

Noise and Mufflers: The highlight of everyone's day. The recent article in National Dragster is about as user friendly as a mad alligator. First and foremost is the fact that NHRA was just not truthful in its correspondence and statements to me about this issue. In a letter dated Aug. 27, l998, Graham Light said "We should refer to this as a noise attenuation rule, not a muffler rule. The fact is, if the car is less than the maximum dB level, it will be accepted without mufflers." The May 26, 2000 article refers to "no attempts at muffling their (Stk. & S/S Racers) cars." Item 4 in the same article says that only mufflers will be considered "legitimate" devices. This article runs on about mufflers and basically says the racers have done nothing about any of this stuff. I certainly would like to know just what NHRA thinks we have been doing. We just proved on the Cajun Flyer (SS/AA 4442) that the dB level was lowered by 3 by timing and fuel changes. We tested 12 S/S cars in Hallsville and all passed. One of the cars tested by SRA with a 93 dB level, tested 96 at another location about 500' up the return road. Div. 4 officials agreed to retest the car later with their meter and mine. As a matter of fact we actually had four meters; three Radio Shack and one of much better quality. The same car tested 95 in neutral, and 94 in park; quite legal. There are several problems with the noise/muffler issue. One big problem is the inconsistency in the testing. Our car (SS/AA 4442) is a good example. We tested 97 in Dallas and 94 in Hallsville. The real truth about this issue is that NHRA has no desire to help a racer to pass without mufflers. The Super Class racers reacted too easily, especially Super Gas as most of those cars will pass without mufflers. They want Stock and SS to do the same. I understand the about 15% of the Super Class cars will still not pass. A couple of noise tidbits; DOT Part 325 -- Compliance with Interstate Motor Carrier Noise Emission Standards allows 2 dB higher when stationary testing is done on hard surface (asphalt, cement, hard dirt, gravel). DOT also allows a 1 dB higher standard at 48 ft. as opposed to 50 ft.; A paper published by SAE (1999-01-1743) discusses Site Calibration on page 704. SCCA developed a data base on noise and compares readings with data from many locations. Their statement "The readings are significantly higher than the master data base, Try another location". This subject could go on for days. NHRA has not been truthful about their intentions on this subject so why should we expect anything in the way of straightforward testing and regulation.

Overview
As I stated in the first paragraph, the relations between NHRA and the Sportsman Racer has not improved in the last few years. The muffler issue is just the last in a series of issues that has indicated the lack of need or respect for the Sportsman Racer by NHRA. We still have little or no communication because they don't communicate. The reason for the time between newsletters is nothing to tell because they don't communicate. In the beginning I asked Phil Burgess for space in National Dragster to communicate with all the racers on a regular basis, but of course this has not been granted or even answered for that matter. I had really hoped for issues to be surveyed either by NHRA or SRA and actions taken accordingly and this information disseminated through National Dragster. Sound simple? The sad truth is that NHRA is strictly an entertainment company and not a racing sanction. The new TV schedule is the king and there will be no adjustment done to accommodate the Sportsman. The schedule at present has S/G, S/C, S/ST, Stk. & S/S running early to accommodate the TV schedule. I personally told Tom Compton and Lynwood Dupuy that this was not good for us. I asked for some changes which have not come. Too many unanswered questions and too many adverse decisions lead me to believe we should look for another sanction for racing or form our own. Federal Mogul has not stepped up for anything except the FMFC and FMD classes. I wrote Tom Compton a few months ago and asked that NHRA participate in a new series for S/ST, S/G, S/C, Stk, & S/S with seven National Events to be conducted at better tracks in each division. Since spectators don't seem to understand us anyway, make it a racers race. I think we could get at least 500 participants at each event. I have never received an answer. Perhaps we should to look to IHRA or NMCA or NSCA or a promoter such as George Howard (18 B & M Races) or perhaps a manufacturer or seller of performance parts. We are a very large market for parts and equipment. If we had our own sanction or were sanctioned by someone other than NHRA, the items listed in this paper and numerous items not listed could be answered. I will mail this to a list of manufacturers I have as well as several media people I have gotten to know over the past few years.

Any ideas, suggestions, or answers would be greatly appreciated.

Jeff Teuton, email: sdodge@cajunnet.com


-- FREE Software Download --
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-- REAL World Technical Support --
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If you have questions or topics that you would like to see covered in this newsletter, please Email them to me.

Bob Kodadek
SC 1596
Family Software - Drag Racing Computers and Software
http://www.iFamilySoftware.com - 610.497.5561(Voice/Fax)


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