Racing 101: The Crash Course - Feature

>> Tuesday, March 31, 2009

We introduce a new generation of C/D hotshoes to the Nelson Ledges 24-hour race. We win our class. We don’t win much respect.

We knew going in we couldn’t win. Even if we finished first. We knew this because it said so, right there in the “supps.”

Supps is Sports Car Club of America shorthand for the supplementary regulations that are published for every SCCA club-racing event, and in the minds of the officials orchestrating those events, they have the weight of the Holy Writ, like the heavy documents Moses lugged down from Mount Sinai.

Among the provisions in the supps for the Longest Day of Nelson ’08 at Nelson Ledges Road Course in eastern Ohio, it said “a maximum of six drivers.” Right there in black and white. TeamC/D had 10.

We should point out that having 10 drivers is not remotely advantageous. Most 24-hour teams have no more than four, and the drivers do double shifts, which saves time in the pits—no fumbling around with belts and radio hookups during driver changes.

Nevertheless, we had 10 guys we wanted to put into the action, and the chief steward made it plain that we could forget about the big—and, by the way, amazingly ugly—winner’s trophy if we happened to complete more laps than anyone else.

“It’s right there in the supps,” he said. End of discussion. Race chairperson Ann McHugh worked out a deal that allowed us as many drivers as we wanted, provided we didn’t try to claim that big trophy. Also, we had a good chance of winning our class—ITE (for Improved Touring Endurance, an SCCA catchall) slash M (for Media)—as we were the sole ITE/M entry.

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