This weekend at NHMS I was acting Steward of the Course (SoC). We (NER? NEDiv?) implemented a new program that was appropriated from other orgs, called “contact impound” (CI). CI was implemented as a way to detect, resolve, and track contact; I’m inferring it is a direct response to the lessons we learned from the SEDiv Driver Review process. From the Supplementary Regulations:On-Track Contact: all competitors involved in contact during a session must report to “Contact Impound” to submit a report.The basic premise of CI is that any time there’s contact, drivers are to report to the CI area (at NHMS it's next to Tech shed) and fill out a simple form, indicating what happened and how it could have been avoided. No penalties are assessed and the drivers are then free to go. We were flexible about it, in that if someone had another session coming up we released them with the form and asked them to return it to us ASAP.
Response to contact impound was almost universally positive. All drivers thought it was a good idea, and I had minimal resistance to the idea, whether from offender or the offendee (or mutually-agreed “racing incident”). The only non-positive response I got was a driver that was hit and subsequently retired from the race. I released him to bring his car to his paddock but he was upset enough that he wasn’t so keen on the idea of being there when the other car finished the race. His response was – paraphrased – “this could lead to fistfights in Impound”. I can see his point. However, as mad as he was, he came back and they stood side-by-side in Impound, filled out the forms, and worked out their differences. I don’t recall if there was a handshake in the end, but everyone got their grievances aired.
On the other hand, the system worked quite well with the ITB/SM group. Three cars were racing together and two of them had contact and spun off. In discussing it with the spinners they thought the third car had crowded them off the road and caused the incident. After discussing it with all three and getting them together to review video, they subsequently agreed that the third car was not a direct cause, that one of the spinners caused it. In this case, it allowed us to clarify the situation so that they can avoid it in the future.
All in all we documented around a dozen incidents, none serious. All seem to have been “resolved” amicably among the drivers. I’m not clear what we’ll be doing with these forms long-term, but it should be a useful tool for detecting and resolving issues well before they get out of hand.
So should you find yourself in a “compromised” position while racing in NER/NEDiv, look forward to a short discussion with a SoC… - GA