The 2018 Summer Season is finally here after a long but much needed offseason. A new season comes with some new changes, so here's what's new for the upcoming season which kicks off later tonight.
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Sim Marketing Solutions Super Series
SARA's premier division, the newly named Sim Marketing Solutions Super Series, will continue to serve as our top division and one of iRacing's most competitive short track divisions. However in order to raise the bar even higher, the Super Series will see a couple of changes for the upcoming season.
SUPER SERIES BECOMES INVITE-ONLY SERIES
To ensure a high level of competition continues in this series, while maintaining clean and respectful racing, SARA officials have made the move for the Super Series to become invite-only for the upcoming season.
During the off-season, we received over 120 registrations for drivers to compete in Super Late Models with us. Our driver approval committee reviewed and voted on every single registration, ending up with 57 total drivers receiving invites to compete in our Super Series. The entry list for the series features a large amount of SARA winners and past champions, plus other top competitors from both within the league and from other series, making this season's Super Series one of the most competitive in the history of the league.
COPPER WORLD SUMMER CLASSIC AT PHOENIX RACE
Last season we introduced the longest race in our history to our SLM schedule, with the running of the 300-lap Springfest 300.
Much like that event, we're adding another featured event during this season with the running of the Race1.us Copper World Summer Classic which will be the fourth event on the schedule. The race will be held at Phoenix '08 and will be 150 laps, which matches the race length of the Springfest event in miles. With the extended 150-lap race expected to last about 90 minutes for the event, a special Qualifying Night will take place the week prior (during iRacing's Week 13) which will lock in a majority of the field ahead of time, setting up the grid for the feature event.
More details on the event will be added #soon.
SUPER SERIES PURSE AND PRIZE FUND - $535
This season's Super Series is shaping up to be one of the most competitive seasons in SARA history, and with that we're excited to announce that there will be a total of $535 up for grabs for drivers to compete for.
Instead of awarding weekly payouts to the top three finishers each week, that money has been added to the end-of-season purse money, increasing the championship purse fund up to $370. That money will be distributed out to the top ten drivers in points with the season champion taking up $100.
In addition to the championship purse fund, there are a couple of other prizes up for grabs throughout the season. $100 will be up for grabs in the Hides Pride Head2Head Throwdown each week, which will see a randomly selected row on the grid chosen for two drivers to battle it out all race long and the highest finisher will earn some prize money. An addition $30 will be up for grabs in the Lokotoco Triple Crown which will payout the top three finishers in that, plus Lokotoco Designs will provide free paint schemes to the Hard Charger of each Triple Crown event. And lastly, $35 will go towards prizes for the Copper World Summer Classic.
Davis Chassis Works Contender Series
When we decided to make the switch for the Super Series becoming invite-only, we still wanted to provide other drivers a chance to race competitively in the Super Late Models. With that, we introduced the all-new Contender Series.
CONTENDER SERIES ADDED
The all-new Contender Series will serve as a secondary Super Late Model division, providing drivers a chance to gain experience, and race competitively, all while developing their skills and setups before taking on some of the league’s best in the Super Series.
With the high level of competition in the Super Series, there are a number of drivers that have expressed that they either don't want to be "in the way" so they don't show up, or when they make the races they don't feel competitive so they get discouraged. There's also a decent amount of drivers that might show up for only a couple of races but fail to qualify, and then the stop showing up completely. Having drivers struggle at the back of a stacked field, or miss races completely, isn't helping any of those drivers improve their skills or gain any experience to help make them better drivers. This is where the Contender Series becomes a great place for drivers to run to help develop their skills to compete in the Super Series.
SAME SCHEDULE, SAME FORMAT, SAME CONDITIONS
To further expand on the idea of making the Contender Series a secondary and "developmental" series, the division will run the same schedule and same conditions each week as the Super Series. This will allow driver equal opportunities to race the same number of laps and use the division to learn and test setups before potentially running in the Super Series races as well.
MULTIPLE RACES WEEKLY FOR CONTENDER SERIES
In addition to running the same schedule and conditions each week, the Contender Series will also potentially run multiple features each week.
Based on the number of cars registered to compete in the Contender Series, a large weekly car count is expected. In order to ensure that as many drivers get to race as possible, the series will see multiple features in the event of a large car count. Drivers will still qualify as normal, but in the event that there are a large number of drivers that show up each week, the field will be split evenly into two features.
When there are multiple features, the field will be split evenly, with the fastest car going to Race 1, the second fastest car going to Race 2, the third fastest car going to Race 1, and etc. Both features will award the same amount of points and two drivers will be crowned as winners.
By splitting the field into separate races, it will allow even more drivers to race and compete for wins/points weekly, rather than sending cars home.
SUPER SERIES PROVISIONALS AWARDED TO CONTENDER SERIES WINNER(S)
In addition to running for points weekly in the Contender Series, drivers will also be given opportunities to race their way into the Super Series.
Every four weeks, drivers in the Contender Series will be reviewed based on performance and the ability to race cleanly, and drivers may receive invites to move up into the Super Series.
Drivers will also be able to receive guaranteed starting provisionals into the Super Series races by finishing at the front of the field. Each week, the top two drivers from the Contender Series (or the two winners if there ends up being two races), will receive provisionals to start in the following night's Super Series event.
TEST SESSIONS SCHEDULED WEEKLY
Each week prior to Contender Series races, we will host open test sessions from the league page to allow drivers additional time on track to prepare their setups. Super Series drivers are also encouraged to join these sessions, so that Contender Series drivers can see where they stack up plus ask questions and learn from Super Series drivers.
CONTENDER SERIES PURSE AND PRIZE FUND - $100
The end-of-season purse money is $100, which will be distributed out to the top ten drivers in points.
Lokotoco Designs will also be providing free paint schemes to the winner of each Triple Crown event.
Callaway Investments Sportsman Series
The Callaway Investments Sportsman Series returns once again for it's 19th season of racing. There aren't any major changes on tap for the Sportsman Series this season, but a couple notable smaller changes includes:
- Qualifying will go back to being Time Trials, rather than using Heat Races to set the grid
- The EastWest Modfieds league is partnering with us to run a Tour Modified Triple Crown this season.
- Two special events will be featured during the Street Stock season, which includes races at the 2-mile track of Michigan and the road course of Watkins Glen. Both races will be FIXED setups, while all other races during the season will be our standard open setup races.
Our two dirt divisions from last season, the Midgets and the UMP Modifieds, will join together and run alternate weeks this season on Dirt Night. Drivers will compete for individual championships in each car, plus a combined overall title will be up for grabs for the driver that has the most points between the two cars combined.
Other than combining the series into one night, there are no other major changes to the series or format.
Penalty System Addition
With the Super Series becoming an invite-only series, and the addition of the Contender Series, we're adding an extra Penalty into our Penalty System this season.
Under the P2 section of the system, there will now be a penalty for Super Series drivers that would relegate them down into the Contender Series for a period of time. This penalty may be handed out to a driver in the Super Series that ends up getting penalized for aggressive driving, causing multiple cautions, or other offenses that would normally fit into the category. Once admins feel like a driver has proven themselves, that driver will then be allowed back into the Super Series.
We're excited for another new season here at SARA, and it all kicks off tonight at 9:30 PM Eastern for Dirt Night!