What’s new? A new season is here!
As we get ready to begin the new 2016 Summer Season, there is a lot of excitement and anticipation for the season to finally get under way. With a full three weeks of the off season, it’s left some drivers wondering what to do on their off nights… But the season is finally here, and we’re excited to kick off another great season. Here’s a list of what’s new for the Summer Season:
During the off season, we were approached by a couple of companies that were curious about helping out the league, and after some discussions, we’re proud that we were able to bring on board two brand new sponsors.
GM Parts XPerts has come on board to be the new presenting sponsor of both the Pro Late Models, and Super Late Model divisions. GM Parts Xperts is a one-stop shop for all your GM parts needs, offering original equipment replacement parts at rock bottom prices, same day shipping, and back it all with a price match guarantee. Visit www.gmpartsxperts.com for more info.
With Patrick Hahe (NEO Racing News) moving on to a new endeavor, it left the door open for the SK Modified division to take on a new look. We originally rolled out a new unsponsored look, until we were approached by Grassroots Vintage to become the new presenting sponsor of the SK Shootout Series. Aiming to revive the short track racing community, Grassroots Vintage creates new apparel designs with a retro feel, and also offers consulting, design, and printing for racers and teams. Visit www.grassrootsvtg.bigcartel.com for more info.
Both of these great new sponsors join Callaway Investments as our presenting sponsors for the 2016 Summer Season, and with new sponsors, it means new division logos. We’ve updated these logos across the board, and we’ve also updated our custom contingency decals on the Downloads page, so all of our drivers can support those who support us.
Looking ahead past the Summer Season, we wanted to ensure that our Fall Season ended during the 2016 calendar. Last Fall, we took off weeks through Christmas, and the season ended up going halfway into January before it wrapped up. So in effort to make sure our seasons line up the way we wanted them to, both the 2016 Summer and Fall Seasons will be reduced from 12 race weeks down to 10 weeks. There will still be plenty of racing though, as all four divisions will have one week with double features, to make up an 11-race season.
Shorter Practice, Longer Warmup
Last season, our sessions included a 25 minute opening practice, and then after that we had a 10 minute warmup session prior to our races, for a total of 35 minutes of practice. Then we were introduced to the new Time of Day settings, where we had more flexibility when choosing race sessions, and we took full advantage of that. We switched to using one TOD setting for practice/qual, and a separate TOD for race sessions.
This added a new aspect of realism to our sessions, simulating a real race day at your local race tracks. But there were some downsides to the switch. With different TOD settings, it brought different track conditions. Some drivers found out very quickly that trying to dial in a race setup during practice, was kind of pointless because the conditions in that session would be different than those in the race session.
So for the new season, we have shortened opening practice down to just 15 minutes. Then after Time Trials and when the race session opens, the warmup session will be extended to 15 minutes, to allow drivers to have more time to work on their setup in actual race conditions. We feel like this change will give drivers more time that they need to focus on their race setups in the correct conditions, rather than chasing a setup in the first session. This change also brings the total practice time down to 30 minutes (instead of 35) which will make the nights a tiny bit shorter. We also made a change so that the weather will always feature overcast skies to minimize the difference between the sessions as well.
Street Stock Eligibility
For the past few seasons, we’ve put some restrictions in place in our Street Stock division so that our very best drivers aren’t dominating the division. We wanted the division to be a place where new drivers, old veterans, and others, could battle it out and contend for wins/titles without our best drivers stinking up the show. Some of the guys we’ve restricted in the past have been guys who’ve had a lot of success in winning SS races, as well as races in all of our upper divisions, so we’ve set some guidelines in place to restrict them from running in the SS division.
This season, we’ve changed up the criteria once again. For the Summer Season, any driver who has met ALL of the following criteria, will not be eligible to compete in the Street Stock division: At least 10% win percentage in the SS division, plus at least 15% win percentage in all SARA races, plus at least 40 career SARA starts.
There are 7 drivers that meet this criteria: Ty Majeski, Justin Brooks, Bill Martin, Cody Kelley, Casey Kelley, Joe Schaffer, Jarrid Boiros.
However, new for this season, instead of telling those guys they can’t race the Street Stock division at all, we’re going to restrict them to only being able to race a few times, while not being able to score any points. The restricted drivers will be allowed to race up to 5 times during the season, and if at any point one of these drivers score 2 SS wins, they will no longer be able to finish out racing those 5 races. These drivers will not score any points in these races, leaving the points battles up to the drivers that will be regularly competing for the championship.
SARA Loyalty Program Returns
Last season we introduced the Loyalty Program, and we had a number of drivers take advantage of this program which rewards drivers based on participation, rather than on-track performance. 31 different drivers reached Stage 1 of the program, 18 drivers reached Stage 2, and 21 drivers reached Stage 3 during the course of the season.
The program will return once again this upcoming season. The first two Stages will remain the same. In Stage 1, any driver that competes in any division for the first four weeks of the season, will be rewarded with a featured driver profile on the Driver Roster page. Drivers that compete in a division for the first seven weeks of the season in a division will receive some discounts/free entries into our Big 3 event, the Summer Heat. We will also have a Stage 3, with more benefits, but we’ll have more information on this stage coming soon.
Friday Fun Series
If you’ve run a full season in the league and have chased points and battled for championships, you know the grind of a full season can be stressful and tough. So we’ve decided to add some “fun” divisions on Friday nights. Introducing Fun Fridays! Sure, we’ll score points in these division, but they are meant to be for fun and a little bit of bumping and contact is encouraged!
At 9 pm each Friday, we’ll run the “Mini Stocks” (Global Mazda MX-5) on a number of shorter tracks. Bump and runs during the 35 minute timed race will be encouraged as we’ll look to see if these little Mazdas can handle a little bit of contact. (That’s bump and run …NOT bump and dump )
Then at 10 pm each Friday, we’ll send the Super Stocks (Street Stocks) out on some of the larger NASCAR tracks for a little bit of drafting and three-wide action. Some of these tracks will almost act like a Daytona for these cars, where bump drafting and side by side racing will be seen throughout the pack.
Both divisions will be fixed setups, run in default weather with more track rubber percentage, and will have overall less rules compared to our normal divisions. Come on out on Fridays to have some fun!