2014 rules package; the National Director's cut

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2014 rules package; the National Director's cut

Postby Al Fernandez » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:12 pm

Over the next couple of posts I will expand a bit on my thoughts. These are my thoughts on the RCRs submitted this year, not those of others, just mine. Please do discuss with your regional director to get the gory details, or give me a call.

Overall I think the process ran very smoothly and I appreciate the effort everyone put in, both in articulating their thoughts to the officials and in particular in the Director’s efforts to ensure they understood their drivers, researched the options, and enabled us to get this done in a fairly short amount of time. I know several regions were able to discuss all or most of the RCRs during an event with everyone in attendance, which is a great way to improve everyone’s understanding so kudos to those that had the opportunity and took it. I was copied on emails that regional directors sent to all of their guys, another good way your rep is trying to get everyone’s voice.

Going forward, I see it becoming harder and harder to find good, suitable cars to build on and perhaps more importantly replacement parts. Several of the RCRs aim to help that and are therefore good for everyone, even if your platform isn’t benefiting. Several RCRs appear to be good ideas but we simply did not have time to flush them out so I decided to sideline them and not delay the entire rules.

Not all Directors voted on all RCRs, but I will list how many voted in favor and against. The rest abstained. I was happy to see overwhelming majority on one side or another of most RCRs. There were a couple where I made the executive decision one way or another and I'll explain a bit why.

I want to point out that the inclusion of the RR is the only modification NASA HQ made to the rules package that we submitted.
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Postby Al Fernandez » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:20 pm

Approved changes for 2014

RCR #2, 6 in favor, 1 against: Transmission internals are now fairly open. We don’t want to go to clutch-less shifting, but swapping an aluminum shift fork for a steel one makes sense in some of these boxes. The original RCR focused purely on the T5 and on one company’s solution for reliability, but the logic applies across the board.

RCR#3, 7 in favor, 1 against: Everyone can now employ adjustable spring perches to make it easier to corner weigh the car. There are limits as to this; no modifying the front arms or the chassis. We allowed modifications to the rear Ford arms for this because rear aftermarket arms were already allowed.

RCR#6, 7 in favor, 1 against: Sway bars can now be aftermarket as long as they are direct bolt in and no larger than the largest OEM bar for the car, as listed on a table. This will make it easy for everyone to find those rather rare big bars, and it has the side benefit of making compliance enforcement very easy. I am a bit nervous about this resulting in the really fast guys getting faster by having more options, but from my perspective the benefit of enabling all guys to get the same hardware easily is more important.

RCR#7, 7 in favor, 1 against: Rule 7.5.8 was expanded with the goal of adding clarity around removal of external trim. Nobody wants to worry about some little plastic insert in a fake hood vent.

RCR#8, 7 in favor, 1 against: Probably the change that worries me the most; allowing cut and replace rear pickup points on Fords. We have now moved from a world where a visual check of the chassis is a reliable way of ensuring stock geometry to one where measurement is the only option. Yes, these kits are “designed” to be installed only one way, but that doesn’t mean the installer has the same goal! The reason this is in is simple; we have to keep the cars in race worthy condition. We’ve seen plenty of recent evidence of the Fords being torn apart, and not due to a big off. We’ll have to be diligent here when it comes to tech.

RCR#9 , 7 in favor, 1 against: We’re allowing the ’03-04 Cobra bumper cover. Originally it was not allowed since it “appears” to have a better aero effect and we didn’t want everyone to have to run out and buy that nose. The reality is that this is a much cheaper option than a couple of others (above the base GT) and without its chin spoiler should be a non-issue performance wise.

RCR#11, 5 in favor, 3 against: The 5.3L LS long block is essentially a 5.7 with a few less cubic inches…and with about $1,500 fewer dollars on the sticker price at a salvage yard. A huge amount of credit goes to Raybob for his research and to Bob Denton for further research and the fact that he installed it in a car for the purposes of testing. The power numbers are identical to the restricted 5.7s. It is absolutely true that this never came in an allowed car, but the difference in price and the ease of availability simply cannot be ignored and absolutely trumps the “it isn’t stock” argument.

RCR#13, 6 in favor, 2 against: 4th gen front hubs are an expensive and regular replacement item on those cars. There are now several aftermarket options out there that, while expensive up front, will reduce long term maintenance cost and reduce maintenance time at the track. This is a win and provides zero performance improvement. As a matter of fact one of the options adds a substantial amount of unsprung and rotating mass so it could be a performance loss for those that choose that way.

RCR#14, no vote taken as I decided this on my own although there were pages of discussion by the directors and online: The changes to the text of the rule are intended to aid clarity and nothing more. We have allowed aftermarket wheels since day one in CMC, and have allowed any offset in those wheels. If one wanted to have custom wheels made to eliminate their need for a wheel spacer they could have (and some have in the past) for years. There was a lot of drama on the board this year due to one driver relying on a rules clarification that I made on the board (but didn’t write into the rules last year) which was unfortunate. That driver used a 3/8” spacer to make his wheel both fit the track limit perfect and weigh perfect. Without that clarification that wasn’t as clear as it should have been, that driver still would’ve showed up with a wheel that was optimum…it just would’ve cost a hell of a lot more. None of the options that were submitted or discussed would eliminate that other than specifying specific allowed wheels; a direction we do not want to go in.
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Postby Al Fernandez » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:21 pm

RCRs that were denied

RCR #1, 1 in favor, 7 against: Although the idea of allowing blowers for brakes sounds simple, it opens up complexity. The bottom line is we did not find any strong evidence that electric blowers are able to deliver more air than simple air pressure does at speed. Nascar loves them, but they are running absolutely tucked behind another car and minimize the brake size for the specific track. We do neither and so could not justify adding an allowance without hope that it’d actually make an improvement in brake temperatures.

RCR#4, 2 in favor, 6 against: While allowing LS motors in third gens has merit, there is far too much work to be done evaluating how this is done and the impact to the car’s weight balance to allow it right now. We will continue to work on this and discuss it. As a matter of fact Bob Denton is again leading the charge, working in his garage to determine how to get the engine in there, where it ends up having to be, required changes to the K-member, etc. More to come on this one to be sure…

RCR#10, 3 in favor, 5 against: Personally I think the idea of allowing aftermarket rear upper links makes sense for the Fords. We’re fighting both parts availability and ripped up pickup points, both of which can be helped with aftermarket arms of a specified length and with spherical bearing/rod ends instead of rubber or urethane. Opinions differed though, and for now I am happy to go with the majority.

RCR#12, 7 in favor, 1 against…and then shelved by me: This is a good idea but we ran out of time. We cant simply state “it has to weigh more than stock” we have to determine and list all of the stock flywheels for all of the allowed engines. Beyond that we have to determine appropriate wording since total mass and rotating inertia are not the same thing. We will continue on this and address via a tech bulletin when ready some time in 2014.

RCR#15, no vote taken as I put it on hold: Similar to #11 above, the idea of adding detail to the battery rule makes sense but we ran out of time and still had many details to go through. Battery group sizes are strange beasts in that they are specific dimensions, but a higher group size doesn’t mean a higher volume. Listing a minimum weight brought up questions about with and without water, what if it leaked, and about hassles of having to remove it as opposed to just looking at it for a sticker. Again, we will continue this discussion and address in the rules in the future.
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Postby BADVENM » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:43 pm

If I counted correctly (back of the CMC rules with all the regional director information) we have 10 NASA regions with a CMC class. Why is there a constant 2 regional directors that made no vote either way on every topic/rule change listed?
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Postby Al Fernandez » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:45 pm

Other notable items

An RCR was submitted asking to add language to section 3.6 requiring all formally accepted exceptions be published online. I rejected this on the basis that many exceptions are temporary, and all of them are very minor or apply to someone who is just fun running and that I don’t see this administrative burden actually providing a real benefit. This is not a pro series, and someone in the east coast doesn’t need to be able to know that someone in Texas got a two event allowance to run an aftermarket torque arm while he finds a stock one.

There was an RCR submitted asking to explicitly state appearance items would result in a DQ. I rejected this because it is counter to my enforcement policy. The way I enforce rules, encourage other officials to enforce rules, and have had NASA provide positive feedback on, is appearance items result in “fix it” tickets. In other words, I advise the driver of the issue, and we agree on a reasonable time frame for it to be addressed. Any driver that doesn’t think something is “appearance”, and instead is actually performance related is free to mention it to an official and free to file a protest if they disagree with the official’s response.

There was an RCR asking for our seat rule to be modified to require true right and left side head containment. I rejected this on the basis that such safety items need to be governed by NASA in the CCR.
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Postby BADVENM » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:49 pm

Shouldn't the fix it ticket thing be handled at the regional level so it doesn't have to be done at a national championship event? What is a reasonable amount of time to get something fixed at a national championship event?
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Postby suck fumes » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:58 pm

I applaud the decisions made. I think this will make it a lot more appealing to new people due to allowing aftermarket parts that make our cars more reliable and easier to work on.
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Postby Glenn » Mon Nov 18, 2013 3:57 pm

BADVENM wrote:Shouldn't the fix it ticket thing be handled at the regional level so it doesn't have to be done at a national championship event? What is a reasonable amount of time to get something fixed at a national championship event?


It will if it is caught. Unless you want to spend all day Friday in tech having every item checked prior to each event, we just have to assume some stuff will get missed.
I also don't think there is a timeline set in stone. Depending on what the issue is will dictate what the timeline is. The timeline will also be affected by the number of days until the racers next planned event. No reason to demand the issue be resolved in 30 days when they don't race again for 60.

This is an area where there is no patient answer and you will just have to trust the Directors to do what is best for all involved.
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Postby DAlgozine » Wed Nov 20, 2013 9:07 am

Curious as to why the wheel weight RCR wasn't put to a director vote?
This wheel weight rule works great for the Mustang camp, but I haven't found any wheels for the GM cars to take advantage of this. Was this considered ?
At the very least, shouldn't the rule read 16.0 lbs and 18.0 lbs ? Otherwise 15.51 and 17.51 are considered legal. Is that the intent?

Edit: I had the weights wrong
Last edited by DAlgozine on Wed Nov 20, 2013 9:22 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Sidney » Wed Nov 20, 2013 9:17 am

DAlgozine wrote:Curious as to why the wheel weight RCR wasn't put to a director vote?


Because CMC/NASA isn't a democracy. It's a dictatorship and Al's the dictator. He made up this rule last year for one Texas racer and admitted he screwed up not putting his rule out to the public. He's not going to allow more egg to be put on his face by having the Regional Directors vote out the illegal wheels only for him to override it. That's all water under the bridge. If you don't like it...either quit talking about it or go find someplace else to play.

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Postby DAlgozine » Wed Nov 20, 2013 9:46 am

Al Fernandez wrote:Approved changes for 2014
RCR#14, no vote taken as I decided this on my own although there were That driver used a 3/8” spacer to make his wheel both fit the track limit perfect and weigh perfect. Without that clarification that wasn’t as clear as it should have been, that driver still would’ve showed up with a wheel that was optimum…it just would’ve cost a hell of a lot more. None of the options that were submitted or discussed would eliminate that other than specifying specific allowed wheels; a direction we do not want to go in.


Sidney, I'm likely not going anywhere anytime soon, and I haven't learned to keep my head down and mouth shut.............yet :wink:

Decided to delete.
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Postby Glenn » Wed Nov 20, 2013 10:41 am

RCR#10, 3 in favor, 5 against: Personally I think the idea of allowing aftermarket rear upper links makes sense for the Fords. We’re fighting both parts availability and ripped up pickup points, both of which can be helped with aftermarket arms of a specified length and with spherical bearing/rod ends instead of rubber or urethane. Opinions differed though, and for now I am happy to go with the majority.


I would like to see a responce from those who voted no to this and explain why. I'm getting emails from my guys and I voted yes. So I can't answer as to why it wasn't passed other than "it didn't get enough votes.."

Alot of the failure in the upper mounts (the ones we passed the repair kit for) is related to the twist placed on the mount due to the bind of the rubber bushing. The more you deviate from straight, the more resistance the bushing provides. I rodend here would allow movement w/ no twist type bind on the mount.
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Postby Glenn » Wed Nov 20, 2013 10:43 am

At the very least, shouldn't the rule read 16.0 lbs and 18.0 lbs ? Otherwise 15.51 and 17.51 are considered legal. Is that the intent?


I thought this was going to change.
Looking into it.
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Postby DAlgozine » Wed Nov 20, 2013 12:16 pm

Glenn wrote:
RCR#10, 3 in favor, 5 against: Personally I think the idea of allowing aftermarket rear upper links makes sense for the Fords. We’re fighting both parts availability and ripped up pickup points, both of which can be helped with aftermarket arms of a specified length and with spherical bearing/rod ends instead of rubber or urethane. Opinions differed though, and for now I am happy to go with the majority.


I would like to see a responce from those who voted no to this and explain why. I'm getting emails from my guys and I voted yes. So I can't answer as to why it wasn't passed other than "it didn't get enough votes.."

Alot of the failure in the upper mounts (the ones we passed the repair kit for) is related to the twist placed on the mount due to the bind of the rubber bushing. The more you deviate from straight, the more resistance the bushing provides. I rodend here would allow movement w/ no twist type bind on the mount.


I thought that it was odd that the upper mount reinforcement was approved but not the actual improved upper arms. Now the arms are the weakest link left. I wouldn't be surprised if the rod end arms are approved, that another problems crops up. That design does not accommodate the travel and with the loads generated from spirited driving and sticky tires.
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Postby cozog » Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:32 pm

Sidney wrote:
DAlgozine wrote:Curious as to why the wheel weight RCR wasn't put to a director vote?


Because CMC/NASA isn't a democracy. It's a dictatorship and Al's the dictator. He made up this rule last year for one Texas racer and admitted he screwed up not putting his rule out to the public. He's not going to allow more egg to be put on his face by having the Regional Directors vote out the illegal wheels only for him to override it. That's all water under the bridge. If you don't like it...either quit talking about it or go find someplace else to play.

Sidney

Technically, you're right. NASA is a business, not a club. There is no democracy in business. The people in charge make decisions based on the info they are given, hence the statement:

Al Fernandez wrote:RCR#14, no vote taken as I decided this on my own although there were pages of discussion by the directors and online


Even though a formal vote wasn't taken, every director's view on the subject was well known in our discussions. As a business, management (Al) has the right to veto/change ANY ruling over the directors, even if we voted 10-0 on something. A good business has smart in people in decision making positions. After a long conversation with Al recently, I'm firmly convinced that growing the series while keeping it cost effective and fun is his primary focus and concern.

All of the directors, including the national director, want the same thing and work very hard to achieve that goal. If your opinion on an RCR is in the minority, you probably won't be happy. But that's because it's impossible to make everyone happy on every RCR. Not everyone agrees on them.

The tone in your post is juvenile, insulting and simply uncalled for. If you want to discuss the RCR, discuss it. Contact your regional dir and talk to them. Contact Al directly and talk to him. They will all gladly talk to you about it. Getting on here and venting about the giant CMC cover up and conspiracy does no one any good. All the directors are more tha willing to hear your argument, as long as you're not being insulting and juvenile.
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