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#14176 - 10/01/17 08:20 PM Evolution - what does it mean... if anything
dcb Offline

Registered: 01/24/11
Posts: 1009
I spent Friday at Indy to watch my friend Rick run his race. By racetime on Friday Rick's car looked like it had been a victim of the local dirt track's figure eight circuit. But I'll let Rick talk about his experience. This is more about what I felt after being at the 2017 SCCA runoffs.

In a word - overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by the amount of effort and money that had filled the inside of the Indy oval. In today's SCCA - and this goes for vintage racing as well - thousands are spent almost daily by the racers. The expenditure of time and money was apparent everywhere. And fairly quickly I came to the realization that I simply can't give up either in the quantity necessary to be reasonably competitive. I get it, that's my problem and not anyone else's, but it didn't use to be this way.

I know I'm going to sound like the proverbial "old man", but hey, I am. But back when I was running nationals in the 80s, everything was simpler, much less sophisticated, and a lot cheaper. Otherwise I never could've done it, because my lifestyle has always been on the modest side.

Let me summarize a bit. For background and perspective, in 1989, I had the lap record at every track I ran at - Road America, Grattan and Blackhawk. These lap records were at tracks where many of the recent class champions ran. I was among the best and was reported in Sportscar as a favorite for the runoffs. But I quit after the June Sprints for a whole host of reasons that aren't important here.

With that as background, let me tell you about my car. First, every piece on it I made except for the front fiberglass which I got from Rick and the AutoPower roll bar that I got from Dave Giorgi at The Winners Circle. I ported the head, I made the through bore carbs, I built the engine - stock bottom end. The suspension was a combination of leaf sprints at the rear with a panhard bar and center link, and tube shocks. In the front was a home made coil over setup that used the stock shock arms, Spax shocks from a lotus and some springs I had made somewhere in Chicago. The brakes were stock drums in the rear, the MGB caliper setup in the front and a single Hurst Aerhart master which was not legal but tech never noticed. The roll bar was just that and nothing more to it. The gas tank was a stock steel original unit.

I had one set of wheels - no rains, if it rained I went home. The wheels were Compomotive - a rare splurge - that were drilled so poorly that at slow speeds the car felt like an Irish Mail bicycle. My trailer was of course an open trailer and my tow vehicle was an S10 Blazer that had serious trouble with the task.

With this I was as good as the best. Now fast forward to Indy... you get the picture. What has happened is that the whole thing has evolved to the point where you can't touch it without money, available talent and serious time commitment. There are exceptions for sure, Sargis comes to mind, but he's there - like Rick - because he never left, and his "bankroll" is knowledge, basic smarts and mechanical skills.

What I'm getting at is the pointy nature of this evolution. Fewer and fewer are willing to be good and fewer can be good. There's nothing that can be done about it, nor should there be an attempt, but there is something kind of sad about it. Kinda like watching your kid grow up and leave home.

And that's pretty much how I feel.

Dave Brown

Edited by dcb (10/02/17 01:04 AM)

#14177 - 10/01/17 08:54 PM Re: Evolution - what does it mean... if anything [Re: dcb]
hoffman900 Offline

Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 543
Loc: New Jersey

I'm not going to pretend I know any better because what you saw is all I know.

That said, this seems to be the case in every motorsport and just life in general.

Want to the potential to be a D1 collegiate wrestler? You better have started at 4, wrestled year round, coached. Be a D1 soccer player? Play year round, $$ coaches and camps, etc.

Want to get in somewhere on academics? Parents pay for tutoring, SAT prep courses, summers spent in academic type camps instead of working, etc.

That said, you could do what you did because the factories had moved on from your class. You wouldn't have shown up in CP and done the same at that time.

It's always been separated by the haves and the have-nots. Some slip through the cracks, but what do they give up in the process in their singular focus?

Vintage is nice because for the most part, it lets people to pretend to be the guys who dedicated their whole lives to it, who spent all their money, who never got married and had kids to focus on their passion. These people pay engine shops, prep shops, etc. And they get to put on the suit and play the part for a few days.

Lastly, your post is a good one. Well written and it's clear you've been thinking about it a lot all weekend. Hope you at least had fun.

Edited by hoffman900 (10/01/17 10:00 PM)


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