Over the past two seasons in Super Late Models, we have averaged nearly 37 cars per race with sometimes over 40 cars attempting to qualify. This means we’ve had to send home a large handful of drivers each week, and sometimes that has meant that we’ve sent home some league regulars or even guys that have been running well in points. We’ve changed the provisional system almost every season over the past year or two, tweaking and adjusting to fit what works best to make sure we try to please as many people as possible. But we’ve still run into some situations of sending people home that probably deserve to be in races more than others. At times last season we were sending home someone top five in points, or in this past season we’ve sent someone home that has over 300 career league starts. Then a new driver ends up making the race and either only shows up once or twice during the season, or causes some issues, and we never see them again.. So the struggle is tough when it comes to finding something that works for everyone, including regulars and new drivers, and I have a proposal that may or may not help with that, but I wanted to run it by all of you first.
Here’s my idea for the new SARA Charter System:
I’m stealing an idea from NASCAR, and I think it could work for us. To put it simply, if a driver has a charter, they are guaranteed to make all of the points races during the season. Starting in the 2018 Spring Season for the Super Late Model division, there will be 20 charters given out to 20 drivers. The 20 drivers that receive these charters, will be a combination of past champions, drivers that have the most SLM starts (career), top 15 in points from the 2017 Fall Season, and drivers that have the most starts over the last couple of seasons. A driver with a charter, will be guaranteed to make the race all season long in the SLM division, regardless of qualifying time (or lack of time if you hit the wall or something). This will leave 10 open spots for everyone else, whether it’s a new driver or part time driver, to try to qualify into the field.
20 Charters + 10 Open Spots = 30 Car Grid
(If less than 20 chartered cars show up, this would open up more spots for everyone else as well)
• Chartered drivers are guaranteed to make the race every week • Chartered drivers could then spend more time on race setups since they don’t need to be worried about qualifying setups quite as much • With more regulars being guaranteed to make the race, it means less new or potentially “dangerous” drivers in the race • Each of the Pros listed above would likely lead to better and cleaner racing • No need to worry about provisionals • At the end of each season, other drivers could earn a charter by meeting certain requirements • If everyone wanted to, a $5 or $10 fee to “buy” the charter would allow us to do more payouts during the season that would be eligible for chartered drivers only (everyone else could race for free but NOT be eligible for charter payouts)
• It makes it tougher for newer or part time drivers to make the race, with only 10 spots available • Less open spots may turn away some new drivers if they get sent home (however if drivers are fast enough and want to stick around, this should work itself out) • This has been the most competitive short track division on iRacing, and by guaranteeing regulars make the race, but turning away someone new who might be faster, it could "soften" the competition level • There would be no provisionals available for open drivers, so if one of them happens to be running well in points, there's a chance they could miss races if the qualify poorly • This could be confusing to some (I’m guessing it’s already confusing to some of you.. haha)
An early list of drivers that could be eligible to receive a charter, but are NOT guaranteed to get one, includes: Joe Schaffer Jr., Christian Challiner, Matt Rolfe, Ty Spearman, Matthew Eddy, Russell Berry, Ian Layne, David Krikorian, Derek Robinson, Clay Snider, Trevor Edwards, Kyle Souza, Bill Martin, Samuel Roush, Jason Miller, Colin Allman, Adam Benefiel, Ben Nile, Drew Kreibich, Devon Rogers, Tim Bills, Derek Holzhausen, Scott Dunlap, Darrell Hamlin