A new year and a new season are upon us, and with that, there has been a lot going on behind the scenes to prepare for another great season. Here’s what’s new for the 2016 Spring Season:
Let’s start out with a couple of the “big” things…
The BIG 3
Introducing the BIG 3 – Our next three major events. After the success of the Fall Brawl, we are bringing the event back this year with the addition of two more big races throughout the 2016 calendar. All three races will feature the Super Late Model division as well as one other support division. First up during the Spring Season will be the Spring Shootout which will see the SLM and the SK Modifieds take on USA International Speedway. The Summer Heat will take place during the summer season with the SLM and Street Stocks, and then the 2nd Annual Fall Brawl will return later in the year with the SLM and Pro Late Models.
There will be an entry fee for each event, but for the Spring Shootout, drivers can earn discounts and possible free entries by participating in the SARA Loyalty Program (more on that below). In addition, drivers who are running in the top ten in points as of the event, in either Super Late Model division or the SK Modified division, will earn a guaranteed starting spot in the event as long as they choose to enter.
More information will be released soon.
SARA Loyalty Program
Introducing: The SARA Loyalty Program – Rewarding those of you, who are loyal to us.
The Sim Auto Racing Association is proud to announce the SARA Loyalty Program which will begin in the 2016 Spring Season. The program will be based on participation, rather than performance, and will reward drivers who compete full time within the league. By showing loyalty to the league and starting a certain amount of races throughout the season, drivers will qualify to receive some extra perks, and some SARA swag.
Check out the SARA Loyalty Program page for more info on the new program.
What is there to race for?
While drivers will be competing in a season-long championship, attempting to etch their name as a SARA winner or SARA Champion, there will be a couple of other things to race for this season in each division:
- Super Late Models and SK Modifieds – With the addition of the Big 3, these two divisions will both be competing in the first event, the Spring Shootout. As mentioned above, drivers who are running in the top ten in points as of the event, in either Super Late Model division or the SK Modified division, will earn a guaranteed starting spot in the event as long as they choose to enter.
- Pro Late Models – Pro Late Model drivers this season will be competing for a couple of awards, the Mr. Speed Award, and the Mr. Clean Award. The Mr. Speed Award goes to the driver that picks up the most championship points, aka the PLM Champion. The Mr. Clean Award goes to the driver with the lowest incidents per races. Both of these awards will require that drivers run a full points season (11 out of 13 races). The winner of each award will receive a 1/24 diecast replica of your Pro Late Model paint scheme.
- Sportsman Street Stocks – The Street Stocks this season will be running a series of “Swings” throughout their schedule. Each swing consists of a couple races that are all grouped in the same location, such as the New England Swing for example (Oxford, NHMS, Stafford, Thompson). In each of these fours Swings, drivers will be able to compete for some extra bonus points towards the championship standings. The best finishing driver in each swing will earn 5 championship bonus points, the 2nd place driver in each swing will earn 3 championship bonus points, and the 3rd place driver in each swing will earn 1 championship bonus point.
New this season, we will be officially keeping track of Rookie points standings. To be eligible for Rookie points in a division, a driver must not have more than 5 starts in the current division, or a division ranked higher. These qualifications are better outlined below:
- To be eligible for the Super Late Model Rookie Points, a driver may not have more than 5 prior starts in the Super Late Model division.
- To be eligible for the Pro Late Model Rookie Points, a driver may not have more than 5 prior starts in either the Pro Late Model or Super Late Model divisions.
- To be eligible for the SK Modified Rookie Points, a driver may not have more than 5 prior starts in either the SK Modifieds or Super Late Model divisions.
- To be eligible for the Street Stocks Rookie Points, a driver may not have more than 5 prior starts in any division.
Rookies will be scored only against other Rookies in each race. Rookie points will be scored by giving 10 points to the highest finishing Rookie in each race, 9 points to the second highest Rookie, etc. A Rookie’s best 8 races will be counted towards their Rookie Points, with a maximum of 80 points possible.
New Points System
The points system for the 2016 Spring Season has been tweaked a little bit from the previous points system. The winner of each race will receive 100 points, and every position down from there will receive 2 less points per position down through the 21st position. (100 points for 1st, 98 points for 2nd, 96 points for 3rd…etc…60 points for 21st). From 22nd down to 30th, the points will drop by 1 point per position, and if there are any races with more than 30 cars, anyone that finishes 31st or worse will receive 50 points.
The Bonus points structure has been slightly changed as well, and new this season the Street Stocks will also earn the same bonus points as the upper divisions. Bonus points for leading a lap, for having a clean race, and for gaining the most positions, have been dropped from 3 points to 2 points each. New this season, the driver that earns the pole in Time Trials will receive 5 bonus points. The Qualifying Dash points remain the same for finishing 1st-5th, but there will be no points given out in the Dash for finishing 6th-10th, and the most positions gained bonus in the Dash drops from 2 points down to 1.
The Penalty points system will now penalize you 5 points for having 15 INC or more in a race, which is down from 20 INC previously.
A full points breakdown can be found in the Rulebook.
Street Stocks Eligibility
Throughout the last few seasons, we have limited some of SARA’s best drivers from racing in the Street Stock division, to make the division “beginner-friendly” and to have a division where it gives more drivers a chance to compete up front and contend for titles without the division being dominated the best. The eligibility rule this season has changed to:
- For the 2016 Spring Season, any driver who has won 15% of their races with at least 20 starts, will not be eligible to compete in the Street Stock division.
- 11 drivers are ineligible for the Street Stock division in the 2015 Fall Season: Justin Brooks, Ty Majeski, Cody Kelley, Bill Martin, David Krikorian, Casey Kelley, Chris Roberts, Jarrid Boiros, Jeff Bye, Joe Schaffer, Trey Jarrell
Much like we did last season, we will again be giving out weather forecasts at the start of each week to give everyone a chance to dial in their setups with conditions that are close to what they will be in the race. Once we start the practice session each night, the weather will remain static throughout the rest of the night and will not change. We will be posting the weather on each division page, as well as in our email blasts. The forecasted weather will be similar to real life forecasted conditions for each track, so if it’s cold in New Hampshire when we visit NHMS, our forecast will predict cold temperatures as well.
New Surface Model / Rubber Percentages
We were introduced to the NSM about a season and a half ago, and we saw it effect some races last season at a few tracks. In effort to try and enhance those changing track conditions, we are going to increase the track rubber percentages for each of our sessions. Practice Sessions will increase from starting at 20% rubber up to 30% rubber. Race Sessions will increase from starting at 30% rubber up to 50% rubber. We will be monitoring these conditions throughout the season.
In case you haven’t seen (or heard) yet, we reintroduced the SARA Podcast during the offseason. We have recorded and published two episodes leading into the new season, and throughout the 2016 Spring Season, the Podcast will serve as a weekly recap, as the hosts talk about the races that happened during the week, and we will be inviting guest hosts from time to time as well to do driver interviews/spotlights.
For Apple/iOS users, the SARA Podcast can be now found on iTunes and/or the Podcasts app, by searching for “SARA Podcast” or “Sim Auto Racing Association”. Android users can click this link here which should ask you to open the podcast in your favorite podcast app. We encourage everyone to subscribe to the podcast to stay up to date each week when the Podcasts get published.
There’s a lot of new things going on here at SARA, and a lot of new faces that are coming into the league. We’re excited to get things started, and are looking forward to another great season!