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DE Passing Etiquette & New "Advanced" Drivers

 
Old 06-28-2004, 09:30 PM
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RedlineMan
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Default DE Passing Etiquette & New "Advanced" Drivers



Howdy All;

There is a new phenomenon taking hold of PCA DE events in the last couple years that threatens to upset the fine balance we enjoyed for years, at least in the instructor run groups.

The toughest job in PCA - besides being editor - is track registrar. Lots of new students to accommodate. They are the life blood of DE. Lots of low-to-mid-intermediates needing to move up as a result. This forces registrars to push the upper intermediates out of White/Blue and into Black/Red.

Used to be that Red/Black were designated for instructors only. Red and Black used to be relatively interchangeable, and your designation was largely a matter of scheduling. Now, these upper intermediates are coming in, and unfortunately often times are not prepared for the change. To some degree, Black (and even Red) has now been fouled by a bunch of guys coming in and not getting with the advanced program.

For those finding themselves in this position for the first time, I'd like to ask that you enter these groups with some of the unspoiled eagerness of a novice student. Drive with a sense of extreme deference to your fellow drivers. Act like you are the new guy, ready to make new friends. Try your best to stay out of the way, be polite, and not make waves. Watch your seniors and pick up on the skills that make them fast. Try your best to pay your dues and gain your "props" by blending in with your new community, not sticking out like a road block!

Whether you realize it or not, you have moved into a different world. The density of driving talent - particularly at an event like the 48 Hours at WGI, which prompted this post - is quite a bit higher than you are used to, even if you run Black in regional events. No longer can you take the "slower" cars for granted and simply ignore them. It is in truth YOU that is likely to be the slower car in the big pond.

In the upper groups, the type of car is much less a factor in how fast it gets around the track. You cannot assume that a "slow car" will not be a factor in your driving. Further, when you see said "slow car" in your mirrors, you should pause to think about what got it there before you simply floor the gas and take off. Remember when they told you this as a newbie? Well, it applies once again!

When one driver chooses to ignore or at best not properly acknowledge that car pasted to his bumper in a corner, he causes multiple problems. First, the guy directly behind stands to get pissed if the problem persists for too many corners. This forces this driver into a dilemma. Should he/she A) stubbornly push the issue and ignore all the cars stacking up behind, or B) be a true patriot and start letting the other cars through, giving up their own best interests for a productive session to see that the community at large is better served?

There is absolutely no excuse for trains to develop in the instructor run groups. Even the slowest cars do not create them given an experienced high-traffic driver at the wheel. Trains develop when people drive without thinking kindly about the other driver. If that ôslow carö could punt you off in every corner, it should dawn on you that perhaps it is not that slow. You most often will find that if you do let it pass, it will disappear into the distance. You might also be surprised to find that if you catch up again on a long straight, they will let you re-pass without hesitation. At such a point, if you had previously held them up, you should feel embarrassed! Don't dare stick them behind you again for 3-4-5 more turns!!

You may have been top dog in your old group. Well, no more. You are now back to being the novice in a group that is on a higher plain. Things happen faster, closer, deeper, denser. Drive like the new guy, and make friends by giving way and being courteous. At the end of the day, it is far better to not have been noticed or be found to be a worthy new addition than a drag-assed point and squirt pain in the butt!
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Old 06-28-2004, 10:42 PM
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Matt Romanowski
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Well said John.

As a fellow low horse power driver, being stuck behind a car for even 1 turn can really slow you down. If someone has made it to the higher run groups, they need to be comfortable enough to let people pass and learn something.

Matt
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Old 06-28-2004, 11:50 PM
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Mike in Chi

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John

You could have emphasized one point even more emphatically:

If you let the faster driver in the slower car through, you may learn something following him or her (as long as you can).

It is still, after all, driver education.
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Old 06-28-2004, 11:50 PM
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Geoffrey
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I was running in the advanced groups this weekend at the 48 hours and somewhat agree with what has been said. I did find that the groups were in general slower than I've experienced in the past with other driving events. However, I did find that, for the most part, people did give you the passing signal within 1 corner of showing up in in their mirrors. The trains I experienced were generally when I came across the two 356s that were out there, and I was lapping most of the field during a session.

One thing that did concern me was people not know which side to point me by on. For instance, in the NASCAR turn an early pass is taken on the right and a late pass is taken on the left due to the right/left corners. I had an instance where I expected an early pass on the right and was getting ready to pass when I realized he wanted me to pass on the left and I had already begun to close the gap.

I do certainly agree that there should be no "track awareness" or "track management" issues in Black or Red run groups. I expect that in white which is why I believe white is the most apt group to have incidences due to the wide variety of skill level.

From the CVR driver's log book - "Drivers in the black run group are expected to be expert in all the driving skills taught by NCR and CVR. The experienced Black driver should be indistinguishable from the average driver in Red. Some Black drivers are in fact Instructors..."
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Old 06-29-2004, 12:21 AM
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Rich Sandor
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wouldn't it be nice if course workers actually used the blue flags once in a while??

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Old 06-29-2004, 07:16 AM
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Riff
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Originally posted by Rich Sandor
wouldn't it be nice if course workers actually used the blue flags once in a while??
Was not a problem with the corner workers for the 48hrs. I was out with my instructor with the black for a few sessions and the blue flag was thrown often. Whether or not the driver getting flagged paid attention, now that is something different.
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Old 06-29-2004, 09:01 AM
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mitch236
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Another point that needs stessing is that the car behind you should not have to be on your bumper to get a point by. The guy in front thinks, "this guy can't catch me so I am not slowing him down". Just being in your mirror should be enough.
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Old 06-29-2004, 09:35 AM
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Darth Coupe
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Originally posted by Riff
Was not a problem with the corner workers for the 48hrs. I was out with my instructor with the black for a few sessions and the blue flag was thrown often. Whether or not the driver getting flagged paid attention, now that is something different.
Agreed. In white there was the same problem with trains and in particular one driver that got 3 blue flags and still did not let people by... I was told by someone I passed to get to him that they let me by to let another go at him, and they saw him get 3 flags on him when they were behind him too.
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Old 06-29-2004, 09:45 AM
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mitch236
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Originally posted by Darth Coupe
Agreed. In white there was the same problem with trains and in particular one driver that got 3 blue flags and still did not let people by... I was told by someone I passed to get to him that they let me by to let another go at him, and they saw him get 3 flags on him when they were behind him too.
I thought the corner workers were suppost to black flag that kind of behavior.
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Old 06-29-2004, 10:37 AM
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I've run in the black group at WG for the last few years, and I'm not an instructor, so take my comments with a grain of salt. Last year, I was behind a slower car going into the laces, with a TT catching me - slowly - from behind. I got a passing signal at the start of the sole, and pulled out to pass, when lo and behold, there was the TT right beside me. We went three abreast until I slowed and let the TT pass. Then I stayed within a hundred yards of him for the rest of the session. I complained when I got back in, feeling that passing without a signal was inappropriate in DE, and the first question was: "ARE YOU AN INSTRUCTOR?" The assumption in the question presumably was that if the passer was an instructor and the passee was not, the instructor is always right. Question: can instructors pass a non-instructor at will in a DE without a signal? I can tell when a car is faster, and I always let that car by in order to learn from them. But there are also a few instructors with more attitude than either driving skill or speed. If one of them wishes to pass at will, there's a place for that: it's called racing.
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Old 06-29-2004, 10:59 AM
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ZBlue996Kam
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Passing without a signal in DE is NOT GOOD, instructor or not!
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Old 06-29-2004, 11:03 AM
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Originally posted by ZBlue996Kam
Passing without a signal in DE is NOT GOOD, instructor or not!
I am an instructor for PCA and in every event I've run, passing is NOT ALLOWED without a point by in DE no matter who it is. That "instructor" you encountered should be removed from duty and given an education.
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Old 06-29-2004, 11:04 AM
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Darth Coupe
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Originally posted by mitch236
I thought the corner workers were suppost to black flag that kind of behavior.
I thought so as well, but then he might not have got that flag either.

Smokey, I agree with your comments, passing in a DE without a point is not acceptable regardless of instructor or not and it should be reserved for racing, period.
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Old 06-29-2004, 11:05 AM
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Hey Fellows;

It occurred to me that my diatribe might sound like a Slow Car's Lament, and that was not my intent at all. Of course, if I am being help up variously by numerous cars in a session, it is an obvious barometer that something is amiss. However, my comments hold for EVERYONE and are meant to keep the advanced community working as it used to, and should. Because of the speeds involved, it should, and must!

Apparently some drivers are under the mistaken impression that they do not need to let a "slower car" by because they themselves will pull away in the straight. This is quite a misconception, and is a notion that the slower DRIVER needs to be disabused of. This to me is a driver that does not belong in an advanced group, or at the least needs to be called to Pit One for some tutelage. Part of being moved into this realm is driving with a VERY strong sense of community, of "giving it up" and paying your dues as you learn the Ways of the Fleischunds. Look for a "New Advanced Drivers Classroom" next year. I might even be the "Professor."

Here's a perfect example of driving with deference and community spirit. I had gotten a pass from a guy going into 6. He had held me up quite a bit in the Inner Loop, but it's not a passing zone and so I waited my turn. I started to zoom into the distance down the Laces entering 7, but got held up by another slower DRIVER. My Raging 147 HP is not conducive to getting by anyone going up that blasted hill, and I was dead. The guy that let me pass previously caught right back up.

I could have left him back there, because I knew I would catch him again in 8 and be held up yet again. Being a nice guy, I let him pass anyway. It so happened on this occasion that I got cycled back by faster traffic and never quite caught back up to him until well into the next lap. Point being, I would have fouled up HIS run to save my own. That's not fair and it's not right. It's not community minded!

Regarding the flagging - it was the worst ever at the 48 Hours. For those not aware, we traditionally have had the RCA (Race Communication Assoc.) doing our flagging. The Best of the Best. The Pros. It has always been one of the unseen joys of driving this event, working with people that knew exactly what was going on at every moment, and were in essence living what we were living, working with equal intensity, only from a different vantage. Having worked PCA Control, I know first hand the effort and ability these people brought to the game. They are a treasure!

Apparently RCA is having trouble getting and keeping personnel, and the copious number of track days at the Glen these days is stretching them thin. We got a haphazard array of fill ins, week-day'ers, tire testers, and so on. There were numerous situations resulting from flagging issues. Bummer to say the least. We're spoiled!!

In any event, this was not meant to be a personal gripe. Yes, me and my previously mentioned HP number were held up numerous times. Yes, it was mildly frustrating. Yes, I dealt with it and simply put it up to growing pains and one more ingredient in the community soup. Big boys deal with it, you know?

It was meant to help restore the smooth flow that we used to have in the advanced groups. If one guy - veteran or newbie - now gives one more passing signal in deference to another driver, it will have worked.
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Old 06-29-2004, 11:20 AM
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Hey Geoffrey;

How classic to tailor your Avatar after the discussion. I don't know of anybody else that has a picture of their car being pointed by...cool!
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