August 17,1997 Here it is August and I’m just writing the first newsletter of the year... shame on me. On the other hand, it could be a positive thing, signaling that things have been running so smoothly that no correspondence was necessary - fat chance! This year, as with previous years, has had its share of minor emergencies and turmoil (some of which is still going on, but more on that later), schedule changes and miscues. But, in general, things are still pretty much on an even keel.

I was very impressed with the driving in our first several events. We had ample opportunity to get ourselves in trouble with cars catching fire and dumping oil on the track but everyone kept their composure, exercised good judgment and made it through the difficulties in good shape. My congratulations (and thanks) to you all!! We need to drive that well all the time. Our last event, however, had several of the “regulars” off the track to one degree or another. Fortunately, all were single-car excursions and could be attributed to either brake problems or brain-fade; July at Moroso can get to you if you don’t watch out... the heat is intense and sometimes weakens the perceptions. A tip from Joe Hill (so what was his excuse?) is to start drinking lots of fluids early because once you get dehydrated you can’t catch back up. I’ll certainly try to pay more attention to that in the future (and what was MY excuse?).

We are beginning to see more new participants join our program - welcome to you all! With new entrants come the questions of vehicle eligibility, etc. Let’s take just a moment here to discuss what Vintage is and is not. Vintage is NOT a dumping ground for obsolete, uncompetitive race cars!!! (Sorry, but this is a sore subject right now.) Vintage is a group for pre-1973 cars prepared as they would have been raced during their year of manufacture. Production-based cars without race history during the period prior to 1973 should be prepared to the SCCA Production Car Specifications for the year and model of the car; these specification are available from the SCCA National offices. The General Competition Rules (GCRs) for the period are also available. In preparing your car to these specifications remember: if the GCRs do not state that you can make the modification/addition in question, then you CAN’T!!! All allowable modifications are listed in the GCRs for the appropriate period; please pay attention to them when preparing your car - you will save yourself time, money and a lot of aggravation later on...

The question of tires has also come up again as we saw our first Super Vee in SCCA Vintage. That made me do some checking as to the correct tires for the period, etc. Turns out they always ran on race slicks so they get added to the “purpose-built” group permitted to run slicks. This group (as it has thus far been represented in SCCA Vintage events) is currently limited to Formula 5000, Championship of Makes prototypes (Chevron B16, etc.) and Super Vee. Formula Ford and Formula Vee are required to run treaded tires, preferably those approved for use by the Monoposto Registry (just to keep things even). All production-based cars are required to run 60-series or greater, DOT-approved, treaded tires of any manufacture; wheel sizes may be up to 1.5” wider than the production sized rims.

You will note the absence of any listing for the original Sports Renaults in the above listing of Vintage eligibility. Though National has, by some stroke of delusional behavior, decided that the original Sports Renaults are to be classed in Vintage and, therefore, may compete in Vintage events, they are ineligible for participation in the Florida Regions’ Vintage Program. This is due to their production date more than any other factor - since they were not manufactured prior to 1973, they do not qualify for our program. Further, they don’t seem to fit into the Vintage Competition Rules, published by SCCA National, either since only cars manufactured prior to 1973 are listed in there as well. Clearly, National’s recent decision is simply an attempt to resolve one bad decision (disallowing the original Sports Renaults from competing in ANY SCCA racing class) with another poor decision (Hey! Let’s call them Vintage cars!!!) and thereby cover their collective butts!!! I revert to my original statement that “SCCA Vintage is not a dumping ground for obsolete, uncompetitive race cars”!! Enough said... for now...

As everyone should be aware, the Florida Regions are taking severe measures against drivers reported for passing under a yellow flag. I totally support them in this endeavor. Whenever a yellow flag is displayed it not only means that there is debris or a track condition needing your attention but also means there is a track condition warranting the workers’ attention. This means they may be dealing with a situation requiring their full attention and, possibly, their physical presence on or near the track. We don’t need to put them in further jeopardy by ignoring the warning flag and racing into their midst. Happily, I have had no reports of Vintage drivers passing under the yellow this year. GOOD SHOW!!! Keep up the good work for the rest of the year as well!

We have been trying something new at most of the events this year. For the Sunday morning races we have been running what they call an “Australian Pursuit” format. In this format, cars begin from the hot pits in reverse qualifying order and each is delayed before being waived onto a “hot” track. (That’s right, Joe, there is no parade lap... but you can take one if you’d like...) The delay assigned is the difference between the slowest qualifiers time and the other car’s qualifying time multiplied by the number of laps in the race. In this manner, should all competitors run their qualifying times for every lap, everyone would finish at the exact, same time. Trust me, this isn’t going to happen but it does give everyone a shot at the victory and makes for some really fun racing - it isn’t bad for the spectators and crew members either!! It does require some organization on our part though. As a competitor, it becomes your responsibility to know where in the grid you belong (hint: when you grid for the race on Saturday afternoon, look to your left; you should line up behind them in the hot pits the next morning! Better yet, look at the next few cars as the one to your left may not be on the grid in the morning (some people would rather sleep - go figure...)!!) It is important that you be staged on time in the hot pits so there is a minimum of confusion. There will be people there to help stage and to start you when our group goes out. Normally, we will be the first group out on Sunday morning but delays on Saturday have caused this to change, on some occasions, so give yourself plenty of time. I will try to have a notice in each Vintage registration folder outlining the procedure again as a reminder to each of you. This has been popular with the participants in the past, we simply need to become a little more organized in our administration of the format. Thanks, in advance, for your cooperation and assistance.

If your address has changed you probably won’t receive this but, if your address is about to change and you DO receive this letter, please send me a note with your new address so I can update my records. Also, if you become web-enabled and can be reached via E-mail, send your E-mail address to me as well (you’d be amazed at the number of E-mail mailings that have already occurred this year) as it will let you get the “latest” news before it becomes available in this form.

I was recently informed that Randy Cook has assumed expanded territory and responsibility with his work and will be unable to continue as Vintage Coordinator for CFR; Beau Gabel has agreed to assume Randy’s duties while a suitable replacement is trained. Good luck to you, Randy, and thanks for all your hard work and effort in keeping the Vintage Program alive in CFR!

As the end of the year approaches, we should begin thinking about who we feel deserves the “Spirit of Vintage Competition” award this year. As you know, it is awarded to the individual we feel most displays the true spirit of Vintage Competition (hence, the name ... well, duh ...). It can be awarded to an individual only once and, therefore, the past recipients of Sandra Jackson, myself, Meredydd Francke and Mike Jackson are not eligible to receive it. There are many others who are more than worthy of this award so start deciding on your choice as the ballots will be sent out in the near future. The presentation of the award is traditionally done at the Homestead event in November; this can be augmented should the need arise, and is sometimes presented at the annual awards banquet in December.

Also on the schedule is this year’s “Longest Night” 24-hour endurance race at Moroso for which Vintage has again been asked to be one of the support groups. The organizers were pleased with our turnout last year and I hope we can increase those numbers for this year’s event. The schedule is a little odd though, with the practice and qualifying taking place on New Year’s Day and the warm-up and race taking place on the 2nd of January. This year, we thought it might be fun to do a “social” after the race somewhere at or close to the track. Maybe BBQ some birds or other animal parts... To make it even MORE fun, how about attendees dressing in garb appropriate to the year of their vehicle??? (Let’s see, where did I put my bell-bottoms...) While this is still in the planning stages, let me know your thoughts/ideas on how we can make this truly “special”. I’d also like to know who is planning on attending to get a rough idea of the number of cars/participants. This could be a real good time!!!

I’ve been writing for some time now; let’s wrap it up. Next event is Sebring on the 20th of September, then Moroso on October 25-26. Hope to see a lot of you at one event or the other. Give the above items some thought and let me know your feelings. Keep the shiny side up, black things down...


John A. Rollins, Vintage Race Coordinator

Florida Region, SCCA

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