Bill Strong

Red Flag Video #13 West Coast Updates and Daytona

238 posts in this topic

[sigh] This is what happens when there's only one "iconic" track west of the Rockies....

 

Having been here since Before The Beginning: There was a time when Portland "sold out", or at least managed 50+ cars *in October* (which lays waste to the "bad weather" argument). However, one looks at the list of teams, and one asks: "Where's Squirrels Of Fury? Where's Team Odin? Where's Metro Gnome?", and so on. The West, and esp. the NW, has always been the source for "creative engineering" without the rules-lawyer-y aspect; find a way to get them back, and you'll have your big West car-counts again.

 

On the subject of Weather: In a perfect world, the schedule would track up the West Coast, and then back down, as the year progressed -- places like Willow Springs or Buttonwillow early in the year, moving into PNW in May or June (for ex., taking up the old CART date at PIR the third week in June --it's only a 50% chance of being rained on :) ), then back down into CA for September and later.

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I can answer to where the Squirrels are.

 

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22 minutes ago, csadn said:

On the subject of Weather: In a perfect world, the schedule would track up the West Coast, and then back down, as the year progressed -- places like Willow Springs or Buttonwillow early in the year, moving into PNW in May or June (for ex., taking up the old CART date at PIR the third week in June --it's only a 50% chance of being rained on :) ), then back down into CA for September and later.

 

It would also probably help to avoid scheduling tracks that are a 3/4 mile oval... Though that's about 30 min away from our HQ, we had no intention of attending based on the fact that if it drew any amount of attendance, it was just going to become a bloodbath and we wanted to have a car come out the other end of it.

 

One thing I have noticed that there are quite a few tracks that haven't been on the Chump West schedule for the past couple of years that drew some popularity (Thunderhill and ORP to name a couple). If the Chumpstaff is looking to regain popularity in the West starting next year and beyond, I would recommend looking at some of those venues as well.

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Thunderhill was on the schedule twice last season. It got 14 cars when we were there in July and I think a few more than that in February.

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Ok fair. I got nothin' then. Were there nearby scheduling conflicts with various competing series?

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52 minutes ago, csadn said:

Having been here since Before The Beginning: There was a time when Portland "sold out", or at least managed 50+ cars *in October* (which lays waste to the "bad weather" argument). However, one looks at the list of teams, and one asks: "Where's Squirrels Of Fury? Where's Team Odin? Where's Metro Gnome?", and so on. The West, and esp. the NW, has always been the source for "creative engineering" without the rules-lawyer-y aspect; find a way to get them back, and you'll have your big West car-counts again.

 

The rules changes years ago pulled those teams out of interest.  The latest rules favor teams like Eyesore (junkyard turbo'd 1.6 miata) and I have spoken to them and they plan on running more races with us.  But I have heard other teams who have zero interest in running CC with 500+ laps of penalty.  Some teams have multiple cars, one for each series but they are rare. 

 

Honestly, I fully believe that the biggest issue is marketing and PR.  The people who know about CC are in 1 of 3 categories:

1. They race Chump already

2. They race Lemons or some other series and are not aware of the rules and believe they are terrible and that chump us a crash fest

3. Want to do it but dont know nearly enough about it, and eventually forget it exists and move on with their life.

 

To address 3. there needs to be more detailed marketing "The average race cost is $2500-$3000/weekend for a 4+ person team"  "Get more track time value than a HPDE event"  I am working on a group of young guys at work who all did Formula SAE, how do we get those guys?  go to FSAE events and market?  sponsor FSAE?

 

To address people who have no clue I think Chump needs to attend track day car festivals like NissFest, MazFest, Festival of Boost, etc.  Events where people spend money and drive on the track.  

 

I have thought about this at length and this is just the tip of the iceberg...

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@Miata PI I think you're right on to something here. We're all ex-FSAE members as well on my team and initially chose to start racing in Chump back in 2011 because HPDE was boring, SCCA/PCA/NASA/etc was too expensive for our individual just-out-of-college budgets to run competitively in, and we wanted something that was competitive racing instead of the BBQ-at-the-track approach we saw with Lemons.

 

I think we heard about Chump through a friend, but had there been more public outreach and marketing I know that wouldn't have hurt. We've rented seats to many folks with years of HPDE experience who had never run wtw and either hadn't heard of, or hadn't heard good things about Chump. All of them have been converts from my understanding. So how to we market to get more on board?

 

 

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So to follow up on @Miata PI's idea, a survey of the market might be in order and an understanding of where Chump has failed its customers. If we don't 'check our blind spots', we may drive new people away for the same reasons we've lost people in the past. 

 

Some ideas why people aren't racing with us: 

1. The economy - can't spend money on cars or races any more. 

2. Family obligations; life stuff, team fell apart... 

3. Being 'poorly treated' by ChumpCar management in the past (or currently) (this covers rules changes, lack of customer service, disappointment on rules enforcement or lack thereof, and so on....)

4. Prefer racing with another series (why?)

5. Do not know of ChumpCar

 

Has anybody performed a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats)? And why is the West Region so different than Central and East? Is it really less 'iconic' tracks?

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49 minutes ago, Miata PI said:

To address 3. there needs to be more detailed marketing "The average race cost is $2500-$3000/weekend for a 4+ person team"  "Get more track time value than a HPDE event"  I am working on a group of young guys at work who all did Formula SAE, how do we get those guys?  go to FSAE events and market?  sponsor FSAE?

 

 

We came out of FSAE also.   FSAE Michigan is the biggest FSAE event of the year, and well attended by west coast college teams.  @Jamie and I usually go every year anyway, maybe we could get some teams together to set up a booth?  @NigelStu, @Crank Yankers Racing, @mcoppola, Ya'll good sales people and live nearby, bring your cars?  @Bill Strong, would you be the right person to sort something like that out between the two orgs?  It starts May 10 this year.  I could recruit a few other local ex-FSAE teams who don't frequent the forum...

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18 minutes ago, Hi_Im_Will said:

 

We came out of FSAE also.   FSAE Michigan is the biggest FSAE event of the year, and well attended by west coast college teams.  @Jamie and I usually go every year anyway, maybe we could get some teams together to set up a booth?  @NigelStu, @Crank Yankers Racing, @mcoppola, Ya'll good sales people and live nearby, bring your cars?  @Bill Strong, would you be the right person to sort something like that out between the two orgs?  It starts May 10 this year.  I could recruit a few other local ex-FSAE teams who don't frequent the forum...

Its a great place to pull folks from.  Spartan racing also has FSAE roots I believe and I know there was a team at St Louis last year that were Alum from one of the Missouri Schools.    It may be a tough nut to crack, as they are tied somewhat tightly with SCCA.  That being said, They may be open to a group from Chumpcar volunteering to help them out at the event and that gets you in door to show off our stuff.    I've volunteered at the Lincoln event the last 2 years and its a hoot.  If someone with chump would like some contact info I can help a little.    The only problem is you damned smart kids understand all sorts of things like chassis tuning and aero.  

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Half of my team is FSAE from Delaware...

 

I think FSAE and the local "Speed Fest" events are the low hanging fruit that cost nearly nothing as I am sure we can get some local teams to volunteer.

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5 minutes ago, JDChristianson said:

The only problem is you damned smart kids understand all sorts of things like chassis tuning and aero.  

 

That just gives you something to brag about if you beat us. And that's the real reason we all do this anyways, isn't it? Bragging rights?... Or... hmmmm. Wait a second... *sits back to contemplate life choices*

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2 minutes ago, hornerevan said:

 

That just gives you something to brag about if you beat us. And that's the real reason we all do this anyways, isn't it? Bragging rights?... Or... hmmmm. Wait a second... *sits back to contemplate life choices*

 

Trophies made of leftover and broken car parts. Don't forget that. 

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That just gives you something to brag about if you beat us. And that's the real reason we all do this anyways, isn't it? Bragging rights?... Or... hmmmm. Wait a second... *sits back to contemplate life choices*

 

I love the young teams that keeping motorsports alive!

 

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Posted (edited)

Not to minimize the theories put forth so far but part of the reason that the East is so strong is because of the number of organizations that put on track events.  This is the pool that builds race teams.

 

HPDE...  Audi, BMW, Mazda, Porsche .. just to name a few Marque specific.

NASA... SouthEast, Middle Atlantic. 

SCCA...

24 Hours of LeMons. ..

Rezoom, THSCC, Chin Motorsports. ..

 

This is where you find track rats...

Ya'll have an image problem out West.  I am at a loss as to how you shine that image....

 

That being said. .. I think the forums are a double edged sword. The X-bar post.. yeh.

Edited by dogtired
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Posted (edited)

Thanks Mike for laying it all out.

 

HUGE kudos to the Chumpcar BOD for putting up their own money to keep some West Coast events!

 

I am kind of surprised that the Autoclub events still lost money, as there were typically 35 cars for each event.

 

Let's get the car counts up for Buttonwillow and Vegas ORC!

 

If CCWS becomes "Laguna X2", then all my team will have available to us will be one LDRL race a year, plus a LeMons race on half a road course :(

 

Regarding moving funds from the May LVMS event, who do we work with?

Edited by KDJones2000

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2 hours ago, Hi_Im_Will said:

 

We came out of FSAE also.   FSAE Michigan is the biggest FSAE event of the year, and well attended by west coast college teams.  @Jamie and I usually go every year anyway, maybe we could get some teams together to set up a booth?  @NigelStu, @Crank Yankers Racing, @mcoppola, Ya'll good sales people and live nearby, bring your cars?  @Bill Strong, would you be the right person to sort something like that out between the two orgs?  It starts May 10 this year.  I could recruit a few other local ex-FSAE teams who don't frequent the forum...

I worked FSAE a few years back and had a great time. Definitely a good place to network and promote Chumpcar. I'm game to do something like Will suggested.

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We always seemed to be the black sheep of the student design teams, but you might look at the Baja SAE events, too.  Just beware, the number of Jeep and truck entries might go up!

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Hmmm, a lot to think about on this video.

 

2016 seemed to be the year of competing series

2017 looks to be the year of reconsidering

2018 I will be looking forward to seeing what comes of it

Couldn't have asked for better representation to replace Cathy than Bill and Sandi - kudos to all three of them for a job very well done.

 

Our car was built to ChumpCar specs so we want to see it survive in the west.  If we changed the fuel cell to larger then we could probably be competitive in Lucky Dog.  We were considering an eastern swing this year but we might have to reconsider that plan to show western support for any racing that happens here in any series.  The ChumpCar BoD gets a big THANK YOU for any support they throw behind the west.

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Well, can't say we didn't see this coming....

Our team was born and raced under Cathy at PIR 3 1/2 years ago.  We raced one season with her at Chumpcar, had a blast and we were hooked.  Then....something happened, that fired her up, and LDRL was born.  I am not privy to what happened, but it left an impression.  Cathy is a competitor, very well organized and advertised.

 

Our whole team feels for Bill and Sandi, they put their heart and soul into this.  Fantastic hosts, great people to spend precious time with.   Too bad for us that both series seem too much to support out here, because both are awesome.  You also have to remember that the West coast is the home of the "mother series":  24 hours of Lemons.  They routinely fill 180 car fields out here.  That is a chunk of racing.  They rule the West coast.  

 

We sincerely hope that Chumpcar can recover and race out here in force again.  It is our preferred series.  We enjoy the culture, the rules, the competition and camaraderie.  In a dream I had.....you were able to sit down and talk with Cathy to merge the series and everyone raced happy ever after.

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Posted (edited)

I think for most of us in the PNW, Cathy, Chris, Big Dave, Russ and the crew we're just the people we saw when we raced.. About all that's changed for most of us is the color of their shirts.  We still want to take in a "Joey race" some time. :)  Technically for us, and probably Ron and Mender, we're about the same distance from Brainered and Road America as we were from Spokane, the Ridge and Portland.  so at lease for me, I still have racing options with Chump at similar distances.

 

I'm still waiting for Big Dave to stomp a mudhole in Frylock... but that's an unrelated matter.... :lol::lol:

 

let's get this sh!t show on the road!!!! :)

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Edited by Ham Sammich
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12 hours ago, Hi_Im_Will said:

 

We came out of FSAE also.   FSAE Michigan is the biggest FSAE event of the year, and well attended by west coast college teams.  @Jamie and I usually go every year anyway, maybe we could get some teams together to set up a booth?  @NigelStu, @Crank Yankers Racing, @mcoppola, Ya'll good sales people and live nearby, bring your cars?  @Bill Strong, would you be the right person to sort something like that out between the two orgs?  It starts May 10 this year.  I could recruit a few other local ex-FSAE teams who don't frequent the forum...

 

I would love to do this and try to get more cars in Chump.  That is the week we are leaving for COTA though or else I would be in.  

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6 hours ago, Ham Sammich said:

I think for most of us in the PNW, Cathy, Chris, Big Dave, Russ and the crew we're just the people we saw when we raced.. About all that's changed for most of us is the color of their shirts.  We still want to take in a "Joey race" some time. :)  Technically for us, and probably Ron and Mender, we're about the same distance from Brainered and Road America as we were from Spokane, the Ridge and Portland.  so at lease for me, I still have racing options with Chump at similar distances.

 

I'm still waiting for Big Dave to stomp a mudhole in Frylock... but that's an unrelated matter.... :lol::lol:

 

let's get this sh!t show on the road!!!! :)

 

 

 

So why have you never raced BIR and RA?  I race RA once a year and I am going to BIR this year.   Come racing and quit building!

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Posted (edited)

13 minutes ago, Crank Yankers Racing said:

 

So why have you never raced BIR and RA?  I race RA once a year and I am going to BIR this year.   Come racing and quit building!

 

Got Family in Tacoma, so it kinda works out to go that direction. :)

 

I want to try RA and Brainerd.  Heck they're just as close as Portand and the Ridge.  When you live in the middle of nowhere, everything is solved with a quick little 750-1200 mile drive.  :P

 

Mender and Ron know the same story.  ;)

 

Quit building cars?!?!?  the cars that replace the 2 in the picture are already in the garage....

<---has a problem...

 

Edited by Ham Sammich

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