The 2017 Summer Season is about to kick off tonight, and here is what’s new and what you need to know about the new season:
New Division Lineup
In case you missed it, there are a few changes this season within our division lineup. The first change being that the Sportsman Series (Street Stocks) will make the move over to Monday nights after running 15 season on Tuesdays. This change also means that there will no longer be a Modified division in our lineup. The Street Stocks will run an ARCA-like schedule with a couple visits to larger track such as Michigan, and tonight’s opener at Iowa, and will also visit a pair of dirt tracks later in the season.
As the Street Stocks move over to Mondays, this opened up Tuesday night for a new dirt division, as well as Wednesdays that we had left open last season. So with two new nights for dirt racing, the Sprint Series will see the 360 Non-Wing Sprint cars run on Tuesday nights, while the dirt Pro Late Models will run in the Late Model Series on Wednesday nights. The Sprint Series will be a challenge for some drivers as the cars can be tough to handle at times, but we also think the cars will provide some of the best dirt racing on iRacing. Then the popular dirt Pro Late Models will likely be a favorite for many.
The one division remaining the same will be the Super Series. Last season’s Super Late Model championship was one for the ages and came down to just 2 points at the top of the standings, and we expect another great season once again as SLM drivers will battle it out each Thursday on the broadcasts from the Digital Forge Broadcast Network.
As we mentioned above, two new dirt divisions have been added to the SARA division lineup, which also means we have some new features we’re adding with our dirt series.
First of all we’ll be running Heat Races for the first time in a number of seasons. We’ve tested a format during our Test Nights, and have ended up with a smooth and streamlined Heat Race format that we’ll use each week to set the lineup for the races. We think this format will be fun for the drivers, and with the lineups for the Heat Races being completely random, there should be plenty of action as well.
Some other new rules with dirt racing include single file restarts, a pole shuffle with will randomize the top starters in the feature as well, and each race session will start off with a random track starting state between 20-50%. More details on all of the new rules, and formats can be found in the Rulebook.
We hinted at a new major event when we released our dirt Late Model schedule, and talked about it once again on social media this weekend, but we’ll officially have an announcement on the race coming soon. But what we can tell you, is our first major dirt event will take place at the end of the Summer Season in August, as a collaboration effort with the Can-Am Racing Series. The week-long event will have all of the top SARA and Can-Am drivers battling it out for the Meltdown victory, but drivers will have a chance to lock themselves into the main event early. During the course of this season, we’ll have two qualifier races where the winner of each event will earn a guaranteed starting spot into the feature. More info will be coming #soon.
For the past two years, the Fall Brawl Spectacular has been one of the top short track races on all of iRacing each Fall. Leading up to the event later this year, we have introduced the #RoadToTheFallBrawl which will feature three special events over the course of the Summer and Fall Seasons which will give drivers a chance to lock themselves into the event. These races will be open ONLY to all non-winners from the SLM division, giving these drivers a chance at the spotlight to make their way into the field. The first event in this series will take place in July at South Boston. For more information on the #RoadToTheFallBrawl, click HERE.
As we move into the new season, we have some changes to the way we’ll be handing out some provisional starting spots in our races. In the past we would give out a couple provisionals based on points, and then some additional provisionals to drivers with 75+ league starts to reward long-time SARA drivers who might need a spot in the field. But after a number of seasons, the number of drivers that fit that criteria grew quite a bit and we ran into the situation twice last season where we had to give out 8-9 provisionals and had nearly 35 cars starting the features.
This season we want to cut that number back down and not give out as many provisionals. So for all asphalt races, we will start a MAXIMUM of 30 cars. In any event where more than 30 cars show up, we’ll take the top 25 cars based on qualifying speeds, and will use the final 5 spots for provisionals. The new criteria for provisionals will include:
– Any driver who attempted to qualify for 8 or more races in either the 2016 Fall Season or 2017 Summer Season are eligible
– Those eligible drivers will be ordered based on their total amount of starts the past two seasons
– The top five drivers on that list of eligible drivers, will be awarded a provisional for the race.
The full order of provisionals are listed on the Sportsman and Super Series pages. Once a driver uses two provisionals during the season, they will be ineligible for the remainder of the season.
The full explanation of these provisionals can also be found in the Rulebook.
For the dirt races, we will take a MAXIMUM of 24 cars. Because this is the first season we’ll be running dirt, we will use a different provisional system. A total of 22 cars will transfer to the A-Main out of the Heat Races and C/B-Mains, leaving two spots open for provisionals. For the first two weeks of the season, an additional two drivers will transfer out of the C/B-Main to fill the field. Starting in Week 3, those two provisional spots will be awarded based on current points each division.
Penalty Points Review
For the past few seasons, we’ve given out a small 5-point penalty to any driver that had 15 or more incident points during the course of any race. However, sometimes those incident points can add up even when you feel like you’ve done nothing wrong and have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. The penalty will be the same this season, BUT we will review each driver that gets more than 15 incident points, and we will make a determination whether or not the drivers will keep their penalty (due to their own actions), or we may decide to not give out those penalty points if we feel like the driver got their incidents from stuff that may have been out of their hands (such as netcode contact, getting hit while stopped for a wreck, etc.). This will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
These are just a few of the changes and new things going on within SARA this season. But one thing we know will stay the same, is that we plan on providing some of the best short track racing on all of iRacing. Let’s go racing!