Rule Making Process
Prepared by the Club Racing Board
The Club Racing Board, appointed annually by the BoD, is responsible for establishing rules and standards for the scheduling, organization, and conduct of SCCA-sanctioned Club Racing events. To assist in the rules making process, the Club Racing Board has appointed specialized Advisory Committees to make recommendations to the CRB based on their research and knowledge of the items. Integral to this rules making process is the membership. Rules development and changes in vehicle specifications are often a result of requests made by you, the member. Let’s take at look at how this process works.
STEP 1 - Member Input
A member, be they a competitor or an official, has a concern (e.g. "My car is not fast enough" or "his/her car is too fast" or "I can't possibly wave five flags at once" or "all I do is look at other people's underwear," etc.). Thus a letter is written, preferably to Club Racing at the National Office in Topeka, where the staff records its receipt and distributes it to each member of the appropriate advisory committee and each member of the Club Racing Board.
STEP 2 - Advisory Committees
The advisory committee members individually review each member's input and recommend a course of action to the chairman of that committee. The chairman then consolidates the responses and in turn makes a recommendation to the Club Racing Board liaison(s).
Where there is not an advisory committee appropriate to the subject, the Club Racing Board will consider the matter exclusively themselves.
STEP 3 - Conference Calls
The Club Racing Board convenes each month mostly via a conference call and considers the recommendations forwarded by the various advisory committees. Since the members of the advisory committees are hand picked from those that often closest to the action, their views carry a lot of weight.
Each month the Club Racing Board publishes in FasTrack the results of their deliberations. Typically these fall into five categories:
Rule Changes—A rule change typically affects an entire class, a method of car construction, or the manner in which a competitive event is conducted. The Club Racing Board is not authorized to unilaterally implement rule changes; they can only recommend that the Board of Directors approves them. They are published in FasTrack as recommended items and 30 days should elapse to allow all affected parties to submit their comments, either directly to the National Office or to their Area director (or both).
Competition Adjustments— Unlike a rule change, competition adjustments typically affect only one make or model of car and often are a reward for overachieving. When one-make dominance occurs the Club Racing Board acts to slow down the front runners and/or speed up the back markers. This is usually accomplished through changes in weight and/or the diameter of the carburetor venturi or a restrictor in the throttle body on fuel injected models.
The Runoffs® is only one of the many criteria used to determine the need for a competition adjustment. Race results from around the country are analyzed and of course the advisory committees are a major source of input in these deliberations.
Competition adjustments are published in FasTrack Technical Bulletins and unless stated otherwise, become effective the first of the cover month.
Tabled Items—These are subjects which require further research by the advisory committee or have been returned to committee for further consideration. In some cases the letter writer may not have provided enough details for a decision to be reached. In this case, a representative from the committee may contact the originator or another source for additional information.
Errors and Omissions—An E&O is just that, a correction of a typo, misplaced decimal points (95" brake rotors on a Bugeye!), or recently received information from a manufacturer providing missing or incorrect information in current publications.
Clarifications— While the Club Racing Board, when they write a rule, understand it totally and there is no doubt in the Board of Directors minds when they approved it, sometimes a few competitors will interpret it in a completely different manner. Thus a clarification is born. A clarification cannot result in a substantive alteration of a rule, merely an expression of its original intent. If it appears that a clarification will result in a totally new meaning, then it becomes in effect a rule change.
STEP 4 - Board of Directors
The Board of Directors (BoD) meets monthly. Items recommended by the CRB are considered twice a year, typically during the August and December meetings. When considering the items, the BoD takes into account the comments of their constituents. The BoD may also establish when a particular recommendation is to become effective. Normally, this would be October 1 of the current year, or January 1 of the following year, but special circumstances may demand more immediate implementation.
The actions arising from the BoD meetings are posted to the SCCA.com website and also published in the FasTrack section of SportsCar
A typical advisory committee comprises six to ten members, one of whom is selected chairman. They are invariably avid competitors with a strong technical knowledge and, in addition, a sense of where the class should be headed in the future. Selection is targeted to be geographical in nature to the greatest extent practical in order to ensure the widest possible points of view are presented.
Members serve for approximately three years so as to ensure a continuing influx of new ideas, but there is no set term for being on a committee. If you feel you have something to contribute in this arena, send a brief resume to the Club Racing Board at www.clubracingboard.com for future consideration.
Unlike an advisory committee, the Club Racing Board does not necessarily strive for geographic representation, although this is certainly a consideration. Of primary importance is the specialized knowledge each member must possess with respect to a specific class of vehicles. And, of course, a vision of the future.
In addition to the monthly telephone calls, the Club Racing Board meets face-to-face three times a year—February, May and November/December. The membership have an opportunity to express their views in person twice a year—at the Club Racing Town Hall meeting at the National Convention and again at the Runoffs®.
Though not an absolute requirement, the members of an advisory committee are a natural gene pool for future Club Racing Board members, so if this is an area which interests you, send in your resume and get involved with an advisory committee.
For issues relating to these technical forms, please contact John Bauer.