Dreaming of the perfect Raceday

A post over the summer? This is MADNESS! No, like some of you others out there, I miss Buggy. I’ve been getting that itch again but there’s not much happening right now, SO instead of talking about real things, lets fantasize. Hopefully this’ll become a series of posts over the summer, but don’t expect them to be weekly or nearly as in-depth as the rolls reports.

Over the years, I’ve had some thoughts about raceday, and what maybe could be changed, improved, added, or removed to the event itself. I’m not thinking about major rules changes, there’s another group that has been trying to work on that, and that has it’s own challenges. Instead, we are Alumni (well most of us) and we like to dream about the way things could be, so lets do that.

So the question I pose to you is this:

If there were something you could change about Raceday and how it’s being run right now, what would you do?

To get the ball rolling, I really enjoy exhibitions and I want to see more of them. So I’d add exhibitions between finals races which could give teams a little break between each heat, and the chance to get either rookie teams, or non- top 10 teams to roll on Day 2. To make this a bit easier scheduling wise, I’d extend possible race times to 3pm.

This is your dream, no one can say no to your dream, so if someone tries to tell you it can’t happen, dream them as an annoying tiny dog and punt them over the fence.

22 thoughts on “Summer 2013 #1 – Raceday Fantasies”

  • Alumni drivers to drive in exhibition heats. I’d sign a waiver and do a mini cape test beforehand if it meant I could drive.

      • Along those lines, back around the time CIA was founded, Pitt (I think) used to hold a gravity race of their own and allowed anyone to enter. Buggy is a little more complex and involved, but this sort of thing is at least not without precedent.

    • Alumni pushers/mechanics to drive in exhibition heats. I’d sign a waiver, do capes, and construct Limo 2:The Embiggening if it meant I could drive.

  • I have always thought that an experimental or unlimited class would be a fun exhibition. The thought here is that some of the design rules would be relaxed. Energy storage devices, two wheelers (potentially with required outriggers), large wheels, suspensions, etc. would be encouraged-basically use some of the “forbidden” technology to see how much (or if) the times could be improved.

  • Elmo Zoneball says:

    Create a “Professional Category” for Exhibition Races — in which corporate built vehicles can race and show off their technology. Charge a very large entry fee, so effectively the corporate sponsors are basically funding the race, jumbotrons, etc. Sub-categories could include battery, solar, or fuel cell powered vehicles, in addition to the usual gravity powered category. Get Ford, GM, Chrysler, Toyota, Honda, Tesla, etc. interested, and Schenley Park will become the Daytona 500 for alternative fueled vehicle technology.

    • Invite the Toyota Le Mans Team! Because racecar!

      Its a hybrid, with a super capacitor, its an emerging technology… right?

      We could bend the rules a little, couldn’t we? Get an absolute speed record for the course? Sub 1 minute?

    • There already is (almost) a pro buggy category, it is just not held at CMU. . It is called ultimate speed challenge. This race is held in Akron at derby downs, during the running of the all american soap box derby race. . This year it will be held on July 27th. Some noted buggy alum are involved, moi, the cook, tom wood… Suppliers of recent fast buggy wheels are also involved (Zero Error). The race is mostly about wheels but some cool buggys (they call them cars) are involved. No pushers or turns though. The race is typically very close ( in 2010 the m.o.v. was 0.005 seconds or about 3 inches). This year, they are having a 2nd race on Thursday the 25th in the AM where everyone runs the same wheels (xootr project wheels). Need a summer buggy fix. Come check it out.

      • But to be buggy, I feel like there has to be some form of pushbar action. Still, that all Xootr race sounds interesting!
        Would a buggy qualify for the USC? Probably wouldn’t be close to the same speed as those cars are though, just wondering if one has ever appeared there, or even in a soapbox race at all?

        • The starting blocks are a bit different and you need a specified distance from wheel to wheel. I don’t have the measurements, but I think most buggies are too narrow to fit in the starting blocks

        • If they were willing to bend the rules on number of wheels and seating position, there’s still the problem of the starting gate. It is basically a paddle that sticks out of the ground and blocks the nose of the car. To start of the race, it retracts into the ground, but not perfectly flat, so the center wheel of a buggy would have to roll over it, costing time. The old 4-wheelers like Streak or Banzai would straddle the gate just like derby cars. Sadly, I’m going to have to miss the race this year.

  • My two current dreams are

    1. a haybale replacement for the chute so that nobody has to cringe when a buggy goes flying off course. I see a dense high-tech foam covered in durable heavy vinyl with classy understated BAA logos here and there. When a buggy hit one of these modular barriers it would be like this http://youtu.be/cguy5Wnv3Kk . Hay bales keep the sport safe enough that we’re allowed to keep doing it. I think there might something better that would actually keep the drivers from getting hurt.

    2. live split times on raceday automatically fed into the broadcast. The “stop sign time” is cute, but the half (or full) second precision and the arbitrariness of that split are starting to grate on me. If we had a split at the end of hill 2 and one at window 1, we could have meaningful conversations during raceday and afterwards about downhill vs uphill, how X won/lost the race, etc. wouldn’t that be awesome?

    • Elmo Zoneball says:

      To hell with the BAA logo on the barriers; rent the space to ADVERTISERS! “Gino’s & Pete’s Pizza!” “Victoria Beverages” “IHOP of Oakland” etc….

    • Big agreement on the split times. This would be awesome data, and probably pretty straightforward to do for just split times. I wish there was a higher precision way to do live, continuous data, but a lot of very smart people have been wrestling with that for a long time just for their own purposes, and I don’t have any good suggestions.

      Hay bales are a little trickier. At the end of every year, it’s very good that haybales are tossed out because sitting out in the rain gets them very moldy and gross. It’s also okay if they’re ever lost or stolen (not like anyone ever steals a hay bale) because they’re cheap, easily replaceable, and interchangeable. Any replacement should probably share some of the same characteristics.

  • To think how recently I would have said ‘Good announcers and better camera coverage.’ Damn, that stuff got good, fast, good job to anyone involved in that.

    A longer raceday that allows more exhibitions would be fantastic. I have also yet to hear a good reason against alumni drivers that wasn’t along the lines of ‘But liability!’ complete with hands thrown in the air, and I’m not convinced.

    I would like to see the times between Day 2 races reduced. It would allow more time for other interesting buggy things (seriously, exhibitions matter), as well as make the day more interesting for the spectators. If the mechanics can manage good turnaround on Friday, they can do it on Saturday. Though mixing exhibitions between finals heats is a really interesting compromise.

    To say it bluntly, I want to see more ads. Not because I like ads, but Sweepstakes always needs money, the BAA could make use of money, and the more money available for everybody the better for everyone. Raceday will go better, more teams could be brought in, maybe one day the super-cheap haybales COULD be replaced, and all sorts of good things. So I want to see all available resources go to good use, and interested eyeballs at Raceday are a currently underutilized resource.

    I feel like something interesting could be done with Thursday, with all these ideas of other classes and corporate races posted above. If the roads could be closed Thursday morning, it would bring some life into the mildly dead design comp day, give everyone a chance to start setting up in a low pressure, not 4AM way, and give CMUTV a chance to test run any or all of their equipment.

    I also want a tent selling beer and pancakes in the park while I watch, while we are dreaming.

  • How about an exhibition of old buggies? Getting them safetied, caped and the like would likely not be feasible as many wouldn’t be up to the current safety rules, but we should see if we can get more old buggies back to the course for raceday. Have them either in a tent alongside the course or parade them up the back hills maybe even with alum drivers. Without any cars on Frew and cautious alumni not wanting to over push or damage the buggies it would be less of a liability concern. One thing that was discussed last year and never implemented was barricading off the road to the right side of the monument and allowing people to stand and watch from there. It would open up a new and I think awesome view to watch from (Credit goes to Josh Hixson for this idea).

  • The timing system can be extended do splits and it can output live. It is a matter of renting the extra equipment and getting the output to cmuTV. The cost goes up with how accurate & reliable you want the splits to be – duplicating the finish line equipment is going to double the cost. Photocells are around half the cost and probably just as accurate on the freeroll, and a guy standing there with a pushbutton on a long cord is pretty cheap. It is certainly feasible to get king of the hill times off the official clock for the same effort put into getting them now.

    The safety rules have been basically the same for the last 25 years, so if any buggy newer than that is in a functional state, it shouldn’t be any less safe than the current ones.

    It’d be nice if we could find a place for the chute Jumbotron where people could see it from both sides of the chute. That way people wouldn’t have to choose between the best live view or the best TV view. Perhaps on the corner of Flagstaff in front the Scaife driveway? There has to be a solution for getting wires across the road.

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