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Red Flag Rule


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#1 Roho21

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 07:19 AM

We would like to get everyone's opinion on the Red Flag Rule that is used in some series. I know SERRA™ uses it, not sure about GRRR or Retro East.

The rule allows a competitor to call "red flag" once during a race. This will give them a strict two minute stoppage to repair damage once during a race. During this period no other cars will be allowed to be touched. Also, only the car of the driver that calls for the red flag can be worked on.

Does the series you race in have something similar to this, and do you like this idea? Let us know!

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#2 Cheater

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 07:40 AM

Roger,

The Red Flag Rule is something only SERRA™ uses AFAIK.

It was pretty controversial in the beginning but is much less so now, though we sometimes still have a little confusion regarding when it can be used.

The basic premise behind the Red Flag Rule is that we want racers to have fun at SERRA™ events.

It is somewhat analogous to the practice of "buying back in" that is fairly common in drag racing.

Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#3 slotcarone

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 01:22 PM

:D We don't use it in Retro East and personally I don't feel the need for it even though I race for fun.

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#4 MrWeiler

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 04:05 PM

Local track uses "mechanical" call.

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#5 NY Nick

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 04:14 PM

I know Yankee USRA has something like this but it will cost the person that calls it ten laps
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#6 Roho21

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 05:18 PM

Well with the responses here, and the PMs I got, it seems the general consensus is to not have the rule. I got a few PMs from people who I think are really in touch with Retro racing, and I value their opinion very much. I didn't know there was a big controversy in the past about this. We want the racers to have the series they want.

So the decision is NO to the red flag rule.

Thanks to all who responded and PM'd.

Roger Holtsclaw


#7 Cheater

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Posted 11 April 2010 - 09:57 AM

Roger,

What I find interesting is that everyone seems to have PM'd you, rather than post their opinions in public. Wonder why?

Is anyone willing to explain why they believe the Red Flag Rule does not generate a positive effect for the less-than-top-tier racers? Or why it is perfectly fine for slot drag racing to allow racers who lose to buy back in, but it's heresy to allow a road racer an extra lane change amount of time to repair his car (which more often than not is damaged due to someone else's mistake)?

For me, one troubling aspect about the direction Retro racing is taking is that seemingly less and less consideration is being given to encouraging the lower tier racers and history (if it isn't ignored) testifies to the results that accrue from that sort of approach.

As a final thought, would the same guys who deride the Red Flag Rule also insist that the baseball player who breaks his bat should be called out at the plate?

Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#8 macman

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 11:54 AM

Well I guess I saw this too late... I like the red flag rule, cause when you have driven 3.5 hours to get to a race, and something goes badly wrong, at least you have a chance to fix it with out being totally out of it, like you would if you had to fix it while power was on... not that it makes much difference for me...

Sorry, but I won't make the 5/1 Bristol race. :angry: :angry:
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#9 JerseyJohn

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 12:06 PM

A marshal damages my body when marshaling (it happened). Race continues and I am screwed. A pro runs into a mess and his braid is mangled. A long track call later he is good to go... Sound familiar? It's a good thing I'm not a sensitive. guy.Posted Image
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#10 team burrito

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 12:13 PM

That would never happen if I ran the race, no favorites to anyone, especially the pro racers. Stuff happens all the time and you have to deal with, if everything was run fairly. :angry:
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#11 Noose

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 12:29 PM

Sorry, I don't buy into it even with a long drive. Been there done that myself and it's just called racing. For a local weekly kind of race that's fine.

Consider this before doing it. Assess who breaks down or has trouble at most of the races. What were the causes? Do they seem like the same thing happening?

Instead of stopping the races all the time, make the effort to work with the person to help them set their car up better. Work with them to show them how to drive the track and where the problem areas are.

Oh yeah... I've done that. And guess what? Mucho happy campers. I guarantee you that you can find gears set wrong, tire problems, guide problems, body mounting problems, lead wire problems, etc.

As far as what happens during a track call, then the race director has to take charge and get it going right away.

Joe "Noose" Neumeister
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#12 Jay Guard

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 12:47 PM

John:
The cases you are talking about generally would not be grounds to call a "Red Flag". However, if your body was so badly damaged that you couldn't continue without being a hinderance to other drivers or your car was essentially undriveable then it would be granted. There's still a small element of judgement involved by the race director (who grants the Red Flag) but we really haven't had any significant issues using it.


Joe:
Judging from 20+ races of experience the SERRA Red Flag Rule is not usually called due to problems associated with poor car preparation. It's mostly from damage cause by riders, being involved in serious wrecks, or in a few cases motor failure. These situations are not generally under the control of the individual racers and therefore we feel it is reasonable to have this rule.

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#13 Mike K

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 12:49 PM

So if I understand this rule, every racer gets a two minute time out during the race that they can call when they choose to do so?

Does the race director have any say in this? Can it be used to "ice the kicker" as in football, but in this case be used to "ice the leader" on his best lanes?

What slot car racing does NOT need is more politics or controversy.

Not in favor of this type of rule, but that just one person's opinion.
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#14 Cheater

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 01:29 PM

It's OK you don't like the Red Flag Rule, Noose. But may I gently point out that, since AFAIK you've never raced where it was utilized, you're really in the less-than-informed position of reviewing a book you've never read?

And please explain how your pre-race assistance program (a completely admirable approach BTW) will do to prevent rider-caused wall shots or damaged cars when slamming cars parked under the bridge.

Your interpretation seems to be that the Red Flag Rule only helps the inexperienced racers deal with the results of poor preparation and/or a low level of building skills. And that's simply not the whole story.

Sure, the Red Flag Rule benefits the lower-tier guys when their cars break due to poor construction or preparation, but it also benefits the top tier racers when they rider and break a guide or knock out a motor, or when they plow into a parked car hidden by a corner marshal.

Not every slot car race is the R4, the Sano, or the Nats. And Retro, as a guiding principle, does not feature pay-outs. From my perspective and from two plus years of experience with the RFR, it is an overwhelmingly positive addition to a racing program because it benefits everyone, from top to bottom tier. And it also formalizes a gray area that has existed in every raceway I've ever attended (see Jersey John's post above).

If we simply excuse or ignore discouraging aspects of slot racing with the flip, "Well, that's racing," we shouldn't be surprised that many will find other hobbies for leisure-time entertainment. And entertainment is what slot racing is all about. Believing that the racing portion is superior to the entertainment part will not bring the results we all desire for this hobby.

Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#15 Noose

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 01:38 PM

It's OK you don't like the Red Flag Rule, Noose. But may I gently point out that, since AFAIK you've never raced where it was utilized, you're really in the less-than-informed position of reviewing a book you've never read?

Uh... I have. In local events and it drags things out way too long and took the fun out racing for me since it destroys your timing. It is also a method for fast guys to tweak stuff.

And please explain how your pre-race assistance program (a completely admirable approach BTW) will do to prevent rider-caused wall shots or damaged cars when slamming cars parked under the bridge.

When you look at what causes riders it tends to be the ones that had their cars set up wrong causing it to jump lanes, etc. All comes down to root cause analysis, Greg.

Your interpretation seems to be that the Red Flag Rule only helps the inexperienced racers deal with the results of poor preparation and/or a low level of building skills. And that's simply not the whole story.

No, but the cause of the fast guys getting damage can be the result of the poorly set-up other car or the taking advantage of the opportunity to go tweak something.

Sure, the Red Flag Rule benefits the lower-tier guys when their cars break due to poor construction or preparation, but it also benefits the top tier racers when they rider and break a guide or knock out a motor, or when they plow into a parked car hidden by a corner marshal.

Not every slot car race is the R4, the Sano, or the Nats. And Retro, as a guiding principle, does not feature pay-outs. From my perspective and from two plus years of experience with the RFR, it is an overwhelmingly positive addition to a racing program because it benefits everyone, from top to bottom tier. And it also formalizes a gray area that has existed in every raceway I've ever attended (see Jersey John's post above).

If we simply excuse or ignore discouraging aspects of slot racing with the flip, "Well, that's racing," we shouldn't be surprised that many will find other hobbies for leisure-time entertainment. And entertainment is what slot racing is all about. Believing that the racing portion is superior to the entertainment part will not bring the results we all desire for this hobby.

And how many have dropped out because there is no red flag rule?

How many times has the Black Flag Rule been used, which is in the IRRA™ rules, at the same event when the car is a problem?

Joe "Noose" Neumeister
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#16 Cheater

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 01:38 PM

So if I understand this rule, every racer gets a two minute time out during the race that they can call when they choose to do so?

Mike,

When a car cannot continue, or is slowed to a level that is is a hazard to the other cars, a racer can request a two-minute Red Flag from the race director and it is at his sole discretion that a Red Flag break is granted. One per race, no exceptions. It is not a "two minute time out" but rather is two minutes to attempt to repair a substantially-damaged car.

A Red Flag is not granted for a racer to change gear ratio or install new braids. It is only granted when the car is obviously damaged and cannot continue or cannot continue at minimum speed.

The funny thing is that at the SERRA™ races now, it is often the other drivers in the racer who encourage or remind the driver of the broken car to request a Red Flag. Suggests they don't feel too terribly threatened by it.

And as Jay posted, most Red Flags result from unavoidable crash damage, not from cars breaking due to poor building or preparation.

Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#17 John Streisguth

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 01:54 PM

I don't think there's a right or wrong about this, it's what works for the group that is contemplating using it. For me personally, I have raced HO cars with friends that stop any time a repair is needed, and it dragged the evening out until after midnight. And unfortunately it's always the guys that are not very good at preparing a car. But it seems to work in the case of SERRA, so it works for them. Different strokes, as they say. Now that being said, there could be cases where that could be taken advantage of, so theoretically you could add 16 minutes to running a main. So in that case, it would not work. It just depends on the people involved.

For the O.P., you could try it on a "probationary" basis, and if things got out of hand, eliminate it.
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#18 Cheater

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 02:14 PM

Uh... I have. In local events and it drags things out way too long and took the fun out racing for me since it destroys your timing. It is also a method for fast guys to tweak stuff.

Noose, I am unaware of any other series ever utilizing a Red Flag Rule that matches ours. Are you certain that you actually ran under the same provisions are the Red Flag Rule as used by SERRA™? I can assure you that if where you experienced it, it allowed "fast guys to tweak stuff" then it wasn't the same version we use. That is not possible under our Red Flag Rule, unless a racer intentionally damages his car in order to add a tweak along with the repair.

As for destroying your timing, why aren't you screaming about track calls, too? There are only eight possible Red Flags in any one race and god only knows, most races have dozens and dozens of track calls. Heck, I'd love to see a race with just eight track calls... LOL!!!

When you look at what causes riders it tends to be the ones that had their cars set up wrong causing it to jump lanes, etc. All comes down to root cause analysis, Greg.

Sorry, Joe, I ain't buying it, not when my ears are still ringing from rider calls screamed out by racers like Ralph, Jobiwan, and the like. Or do you want to tell us those guys don't know what they're doing?

No, but the cause of the fast guys getting damage can be the result of the poorly set-up other car or the taking advantage of the opportunity to go tweak something.

Joe, I guess we aren't getting through to you... nobody has a Red Flag granted to go tweak something - period. The Race Director grants a Red Flag ONLY WHEN THE CAR IS OBVIOUSLY DAMAGED and either cannot continue (broken guide, lost wheel, motor knocked loose, stripped gear, etc.) or is moving so slowly as to be a hazard to the other cars (i.e. no Red Flag is given when a car's lap time have dropped by half a second).

And how many have dropped out because there is no red flag rule?

I can't quote a number and you know it. But I can guarantee you that slot racing has lost participants who balanced their investment in time and money against repeatedly having to drop out of races through damage caused through no action of their own.

How many times has the Black Flag Rule been used, which is in the IRRA™ rules, at the same event when the car is a problem?

My approach is to advise the driver to pull the car because it is an impediment to the other racers and I think every time I have done so (only a couple or so in 22 races), the request was honored and the official Black Flag was not waved.

But just what does this have to do with the Red Flag Rule, Joe? Are you suggesting we wave a Black Flag at the racer who just got ridered into the deadman, breaking his guide? Or the guy who just broke an axle after hitting a parked car he couldn't see?

Like I said, Joe, if you don't like the Red Flag Rule, that's your prerogative. But please stop claiming that the RFR is evil because it allows this or that to occur, when your examples are simply not true or very accurate.

Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#19 Noose

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 02:21 PM

It doesn't matter, Greg, because you guys can do what you want. If this was so great, why wasn't it adopted as an official IRRA™ rule and/or used at other regions or major races? Has it been adopted by any other form of racing such as ISRA or AMSRA where I am sure there are riders and/or cars get damaged?

My point is that locally fine, officially no.

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#20 Cheater

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 02:26 PM

Now that being said, there could be cases where that could be taken advantage of...

John,

If the granting of the Red Flag is at the sole discretion of the race director and if the requirement is that the car has to be on the track and unable to move or to continue at a minimum speed, please explain just how or where the RFR could be taken advantage of?

The main tweak we've sort of struggled with is whether to allow a two minute lane change to be extended into four minutes by a racer calling for a Red Flag at the start of the next heat. The Red Flag Rule now requires the car to be damaged while on the track during an active heat for the Red Flag request to be granted.

Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#21 Cheater

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 02:40 PM

It doesn't matter, Greg, because you guys can do what you want. If this was so great, why wasn't it adopted as an official IRRA™ rule and/or used at other regions or major races? Has it been adopted by any other form of racing such as ISRA or AMSRA where I am sure there are riders and/or cars get damaged?

Joe, using this logic what new ideas would ever be adopted?

By the same flawed logic, since racing scratcbuilt cars was not embraced by any of the major slot car organizations for, oh, 35 years, it must have been a poor and undesirable genre, right?

My point is that locally fine, officially no.

The content of your other posts in this thread doesn't IMO condense into such a conclusion, Noose. And I'm not trying to "sell" the RFR to anyone else or to suggest that it should be part of the IRRA™ rules.

I am carping at you supporting a negative opinion of the RFR with inaccurate evidence combined with the fact that you have no direct experience with the RFR as SERRA™ uses it. It's like all the PC guys who bad-mouth Macs when they've never actually used one...

Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#22 Noose

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 02:44 PM

Well, it's a pointless discussion then, isn't it? After all I invented Windows 7.:laugh2:

Joe "Noose" Neumeister
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The only thing bad about Retro is admitting that you remember doing it originally.


#23 Cheater

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 03:00 PM

That's a lie. Everyone KNOWS it was Al Gore. LOL!!!

Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#24 idare2bdul

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 03:29 PM

If I can't drive better and get faster cars I need a white flag rule so I can surrender. :help: :to_become_senile:
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#25 John Streisguth

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 03:50 PM

Greg:
From the posts, it sounded like it was a racer's call, not the race director's call. So as long as the race director maintains control (as he/she should) then I wouldn't see that as a concern.
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