June 2004 REmarks
The biggest, baddest National in the country is over for the year, and what an event!
410 entries, 80 regions, pretty much every state, Stewards and workers from outside the Division, guests, spectators, Brats and great racing! According to Road America we had a “great Fathers Day crowd”
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank some people: First off, the drivers and workers. Thanks to our specialities; registration, corner workers, rescue, T&S, race control, grid, paddock, pits, sound, and competitor services. Without every one of you, the event would not have happened. Thank you. The drivers on track are our customers, and your efforts helped them to have a wonderful weekend.
I’d also like to single out some people, and this is by no means a definitive list! Karen Abrahamson, Terry Ozment, Jerry and Helga Meyer and Barb Lundquist for a start. Duane Grahovic for a Herculean parking job, and the entire Chicago Region Comp committee.
Thanks to the drivers who continue to support our event. In addition to the great racing, I hope the hard work done by our sponsorship team entices them you return.
Thanks to our wonderful event sponsors. Their contributions clearly put the June Sprints in a league of it’s own. , Thank you Road America, and Kohler for this year’ Friday night staff party. Northstar Motorsports for supporting every class, and Lake Forest Sports Cars, Dodge Motorsports and Elite Autosport stand out in my mind as well. Remember, next year is the 50th!
Thanks to Road America, our track partner in the event. Their commitment to maintaining the finest racing venue in the country and helping us conduct the event helps to ensure the success of all of us.
On a personal note: Jim Ferro, Waylan Joe, and Tom Patton in GT2, for a great race!
Ok, enough back patting, my elbow is starting to hurt.
What follows is something I have been thinking about for a long time now, and some of the Steward/driver interactions at the Sprints just triggered the need to write:
Interactions with Stewards 101, or the things EVERY driver needs to do:
Stewards enforce our rules and run our events, and they have a huge responsibility that they strive to carry out. In General, they do a great job, but they are also human, with human feelings and emotions, and thus can both make mistakes and be influenced by conduct.
If you get called before a steward, be polite. Argue you case, state your facts. Do not yell, scream, throw things or swear at the person you are talking to. Even if you are right in your position, you are now wrong, and you will lose. Above all, do NOT destroy track property as you vent your anger.
A Chief stewards action can be protested to the SOM. If you feel you are right and the steward is wrong. Do so. Immediately. Gather witnesses, video, statements, and see the SOM’s. If they rule against you as well, you have the absolute right to appeal to the national Court of appeals. Again, if you feel you are correct, do so.
Each one of these steps risks greater penalties, but they also have rewards if you are not at fault. This is especially helpful in something that is an interpretation, as opposed to a black and white rule.
Now, some of you are saying: What BS. The stewards stick together and I’ll never win an appeal. That’s not true, at all. Recently there was a driver who has a serious dislike/dislike relationship with the SCCA stewards organization. The bet from the peanut gallery was that he would never win an appeal. Guess what? He presented facts, statements and video, and his PUY was overturned and his finish given back. The system works, but it is up to us, the drivers, to defend ourselves.
I once had a steward, back in my IT days, tell me “yep, according to your video he hit you 3 times in the same corner. But that’s racing, and if you protest, you won’t win, so don’t waste your time” Being younger, and dumber, I walked away. Today, I know to file the protest, and then appeal it if it gets the short shift.
Yelling and screaming, throwing things, and generally acting like a 5 year old isn’t the answer. Think about it. If you let your anger get in charge when you were on track, how many races would you actually finish?
So, to conclude, keep your cool, and follow the process. Decisions rendered at the track are not final if you choose to appeal them, and if you are right, you will win. Don’t take yourself out of the process.
RE, Chicago Region SCCA