New License Tiers (ARR vs. IRR)

brucebe

Philosopher
I just read through the very extended "From The President" article in the latest memo, and had previously read an email about the subject of these new license tiers. While I'm sure we all have opinions about the new license tiers, the differentiation between ARR and IRR has practical safety implications worthy of a larger discussion.

Of course, what I'm referring to, is the lack of a required physical examination and approval from a doctor for ARR license holders. This is the "Silver" card. Is it for the silver-haired folks, who can't get signed-off by their doctor anymore? Are they going to drive with a skull-and-crossbones sticker on their car, so I'll know not to race too hard around them?

All kidding aside - we're all on the same race track at the same time. Lifting the requirement of a periodic medical examination is an *erosion* of safety standards for EVERYONE, plain and simple. A fundamental baseline for competition must be the simple fact that drivers are physically fit to drive a racecar at speed, with sufficient visual/aural acuity, sufficient cardiovascular performance, and at minimal risk for an unexpected health event that would seriously impair their ability to safely drive a racecar. That's *exactly* why all of the grown-up sanctioning bodies on the planet require a physical, by a doctor.

As it is, we have documented examples of drivers who were driving with known health issues/impairments, and creating dangerous situations for themselves and others on the racetrack. That was *with* the requirement of a doctor examination.

I don't know what factors are truly driving this change, but it is not in the best interest of the drivers, as it relates to their health and safety. Quite the opposite.

Let's get that medical exam back into the ARR credential requirements!!

-Bruce Beachman
 

Steve Adams

Just this guy, ya know?
I might've phrased it a little differently than Bruce, but the reality is that this licensing change means there's no incentive to bother with the time and expense of getting a physical if you have no intention of racing with anyone but Conference. What's really surprising to me with the change is that the physician's sign-off requirement for an IRR is set on a sliding scale, meaning you have to get one more often the older you get, but the new ARR rules say "nah, you don't EVER have to have a physician's sign-off to race with Conference."

For all the time Conference has had a medical requirement to race, was that only paying lip service to other sanctioning bodies' requirements, and "we" never felt it was all that important? Or is this simply a change to lower the bar for some folks to get them (back) out racing?
 

rick_bostrom

Onda Kattan Racing
Without sounding like a broken record, I find it somewhat amusing that things like this are worded as if people are suddenly surprised that they have exposed a conspiracy where "Mr. Conference" is doing nefarious things like stealing candy from babies and pushing the elderly into traffic behind some cloak of secrecy intended to maximize his ability to ruin your enjoyment of racing. Lol, ok - that is a bit of exaggeration but if you can't have little fun .....

Conference is YOU if you hold an ICSCC competition license. The person who did this to you, is you, either through conscious action or lack of action on your part. If you don't like the rules, you have the power to change them. If you feel as strongly as it appears you do that they are unfair, immoral, or dangerous, I would argue that you have an OBLIGATION to try to change them. Unfortunately, the Conference forum is visited pretty infrequently by most of those who do use it and the majority of Conference licensed drivers never look at it. I would like to see more posts here debating the things that affect our members but even if this forum starts having more of an effect on the overall discussion, the actual work of making things different requires getting busy writing rules changes, convincing people that your points should be implemented, and getting them voted into the rulebook. I know not everyone has the time or the skills to invest in such an effort but it is always possible to strike up a conversation with your E-Board or Contest Board rep so they have more data points from the people they represent to help guide them. At the very least you can inspire friends and competitors to carry ideas forward become advocates of your position.

Conference rules are proposed either directly through the drivers using the rules making process in their club that is well documented in the Competition Regulations and P&P manual or indirectly through their elected, or appointed by someone elected, representatives who are the Executive Board members and the Contest Board representatives. The licenses that are being offered are a result of TWO YEARS of direct consideration and discussion by the Clubs and the E-Board mostly centered on the Physical Examination requirement that has been a standard for longer than the two decades I have been racing. In the end, they decided to try something different in an effort to see if helped with retention and recruitment of drivers.

Here is the primary rationale behind their decision:
  • Everyone is still REQUIRED to fill out the Medical History Application every time they apply for a license. This is a pretty detailed medical report that would probably indicate more reasons for disqualification than the Physical Examination. The point could be made that someone could lie on that form and/or omit something that would disqualify them but you would have to consider if that is the case, they probably would have lied or falsified their Physical Examination form. I can assure you, I have never called every doctor that examines one of our drivers and gone over each entry on the form along with verifying their signature and stamp. I prefer to believe that our drivers are invested enough in their own safety and that of their competitors that they give a reasonably accurate report of their medical fitness to drive.
  • A proper physical examination would actually discover a fraction of the things that could medically disable or disqualify a driver. At best we are trying to catch the most obvious things that we have the capacity to imagine.
  • Bad decisions place all of our drivers at worse risk every time we race than bad health and a physical tells us nothing about that. What DOES protect us from that are our Stewards and our License Director. They are constantly monitoring the behavior of the drivers and would take action to protect everyone's safety regardless of whether the problem presenting itself is mental, physical, or behavioral.
  • Some other racing organizations are not requiring physicals. Others won't honor even our gold licenses unless you submit a physical examination performed within SIX MONTHS with your entry. Each organization has the right to make rules that work for them. In my experience our rule is not to allow medically unfit people to return to racing - there are really very few of those in the last ten years that I know of. I have been employed by strong and successful companies for many years and good health care has traditionally been a benefit they needed to offer to get the top performing employees, but I think that has also blinded me to some degree about younger peoples accessibility to health care. Yes, we are competing to get young people to come race with us and many people in the organization think that requiring a physical may be an impediment or at least takes long enough to delay participation for any given year. The E-Board will continue to monitor license applications and see if there has been a positive benefit from the rule change.
To end my traditionally long posting - you will note that while physical examinations are not required, I still STRONGLY RECOMMENDED them when I redesigned the forms. I think many drivers still see the value of a physical and/or place value on our traditional license because of the approximately 100 drivers so far with a 2021 ICSCC Competition License I think all but one has a current Physical Examination. We will see what the numbers look like at the end of the season.
 

kbsmith1

Well-known member
I applaud the change. Lucky Dog doesn't require physical for their drivers, and they are eating conference's lunch as far as driver participation and getting new drivers in. The physical costs about as much as one or two race entries, and so if you aren't racing very frequently, it does add to the cost. I just got mine, and had to go to two different doctors to get the forms signed off. MD wouldn't do eye test, so had to go get eye exam to get that done. Yeah for conference, thank you for listening.
 

Steve Adams

Just this guy, ya know?
That's all well and good, Rick, but your response doesn't address the specific rationale for A) modifying the ARR license so it doesn't require a doctor's exam, or B) why the IRR has a sliding scale for exam frequency vis a vis participant age, much less what logic justifies the dichotomy.

Also, I know you like to blow the "it's YOUR Conference, so YOU make the rules" horn, but how many times has the E-Board voted to implement or deny rules IN SPITE OF how the membership voted? Whatever the reasoning behind the E-Board vote, the fact remains that it's somewhat specious to consistently "blame" Conference racers for rules implementations (or not) that Conferences racers disagree with. (Clearly, it's not that simple.)
 

Steve Adams

Just this guy, ya know?
I applaud the change. Lucky Dog doesn't require physical for their drivers, and they are eating conference's lunch as far as driver participation and getting new drivers in. The physical costs about as much as one or two race entries, and so if you aren't racing very frequently, it does add to the cost. I just got mine, and had to go to two different doctors to get the forms signed off. MD wouldn't do eye test, so had to go get eye exam to get that done. Yeah for conference, thank you for listening.
I don't think the cost of a physical is the make-or-break issue (when I didn't have insurance, a physical only ran $110) or even a financial consideration, as Lucky Dog has other costs we don't. For one example, you MUST have a head-and-neck restraint and you MUST get it recertified per SFI's schedule. You have to buy a helmet slightly more often with them, too. I suspect they're more popular because A) all their races are "team" races and B) they have better publicity in a wider geographic area.

Again, though, an org like Lucky Dog and "do they/don't they" require a physical isn't really relevant here: I just want to understand the reasoning behind why we REQUIRE physicals for some drivers but fundamentally don't for everyone who's out on the track. The cost and inconvenience of getting a physical exist, sure, but they're both pretty minor in the grand scheme of cost and effort to go racing in the first place.
 

chrisheinrich

Active member
Steve just to be clear, Conference does not require anyone to have a physical to be out on the track. They do however offer a license that has a physical requirement. This is so Conference drivers that occasionally race with organizations that require them won't need to get multiple licenses.

Rick mentioned that practically all drivers so far are applying for the license that requires the physical and that's great. Hopefully drivers and their families are regularly seeing a doctor so they keep on top of their health.
 

Steve Adams

Just this guy, ya know?
Don't you mean that Conference NO LONGER requires anyone to have a physical in conjunction with whatever rule change enabled the new version of the ARR license? I mean, tbh, I never would've gotten physicals as often as I have if not for the Conference requirement.

I'll mention that Rick also said
Some other racing organizations are not requiring physicals. Others won't honor even our gold licenses unless you submit a physical examination performed within SIX MONTHS with your entry.
So it's not really clear why we (now) "strongly suggest" that people get physicals, since we don't apparently require it and having had one "for" Conference doesn't necessarily means any other sanctioning body gives a crap.

(I swear I'm not being obtuse about this, but just trying to understand the logic behind A) the decision and B) what it means for me as a competitor, as the former is very unclear and the latter is slightly off-putting.)
 

rick_bostrom

Onda Kattan Racing
Steve, I respect your right to your opinion but arguing against someone who doesn't have a vote on the E-Board (me!) who took the time to REPORT the decision seems a bit futile. Everyone involved places different levels of importance on different aspects of this complicated issue. It's great that you "don't think the cost of a physical is the make-or-break issue (when I didn't have insurance, a physical only ran $110) or even a financial consideration". Others, specifically several who volunteer to participate in the process of making these decisions and represent the opinions of their clubs strongly disagree as they felt cost and access to a doctor had some degree of affect on recruitment and participation.

I don't want to alienate anyone from participating in Conference events unless they are committed to such bad behavior that they force us to exclude them. You and I were in the Novice program together a long time ago so I know you have decades of experience with Conference. I look forward to seeing you at the track and I hope that you choose to continue to race with us because those experiences have been at least mostly good. There is one aspect to this that I think is important to clear up - all decisions are made in accordance with Conference rules and regulations that pretty tightly define what we can and cannot do. There are clearly defined ways that those rules and regulations can be changed to remain relevant and serve the needs of what we hope will be the gross majority of our Club members. The E-Board is assigned the duty of ruling on certain aspects of our rulebook that would cause us to be in conflict with requirements under the law, things that would put us in conflict with our insurance carriers, or things that would specifically be contrary to the way that Conference is supposed to operate under the Policy and Procedures manual. The Executive Board are the representatives of the drivers who make up each of the Member Clubs. The Contest Board represents the drivers of the Associate Clubs and the Member Clubs. The licensed drivers of Conference have the power to propose and enact rules in certain categories through direct rules change proposals and votes. For things that could affect the operation of Conference seriously enough to need some oversight, the E-Board either has the right to make that decision themselves or in rare cases to override popular votes or advisory votes. I can assure that it is never done lightly - it usually happens when it is clear the rule proposal was misunderstood or if it is perceived to harm our continued operation. If you go look at the Competition Regulations located elsewhere on this site you will note there is often an E or C or E/C in the margins. That means those are rules that can be changed by the Contest Board (the drivers directly), the Executive Board (the driver's representatives), or both. We are lucky to have a small group of dedicated volunteers who get together to do the best they can to serve the needs of fellow club members who cannot or will not contribute. Not everyone has the time, and/or the skills, and/or the inclination to help share the load but as long as we still have enough passionate and altruistic people who are willing to pick up the slack we continue on as best we can. We are getting perilously close to the breaking point in filling enough Conference and Club positions to continue holding some events. I completely understand that you are tired of me telling drivers that they are not CUSTOMERS of the ICSCC, they are CLUB MEMBERS who have joined a group of like minded enthusiasts for the purpose of organizing amateur motorsport events that could not otherwise be achieved because of organizational, logistic, and financial barriers. They are expected to find a way to contribute to their chosen club in whatever way, big or small, they are capable. Heck, I am tired of sounding like a broken record myself but as it continues to be true, I guess I will have to keep irritating you by saying it. Sorry.

As for the voting - we revised the way that rules change voting was done last year in an effort to try to get more people involved. We had about 249 licensed drivers who were members of Clubs last year. The gross majority of those are members of the five Member Clubs. It is rare that more than 20 members would ever show up at a rules change meeting in recent years and for most of the Member Clubs it is significantly less than that. Lets say one of those clubs has 100 members. The way we used to do it is if eleven people show up at their rules meeting and they voted six to five in favor of a rule it would be sent to the Steward as 100 votes in favor from that club. The Steward would collect and tabulate the totals from each of the Member Clubs and each of the Affiliate Clubs and them present them at the annual Contest Board meeting for verification before reporting the final total to the Executive Board at the Fall Meetings. With the change we made last year that same club with 100 members now reports six yes and five no votes to the Steward who compiles them in proportion and reports them to the Contest Board for verification and subsequently presents the totals to the E-Board. Four or the ten Member and Affiliate Clubs participated at all in the rules change process with only 17.3% of the eligible drivers casting a vote and significantly less than that voting legally according to our requirements. I would urge all who read this to re-engage with your club and help propose and/or promote ideas that you think will make Conference better for everyone. At least give them the benefit of hearing your opinion at a meeting every now and then so they can better serve your needs. Maybe contribute an hour of your time once a year to accomplish something the club needs done. While you are at it maybe show a bit of appreciation and encouragement for those doing the things that HAVE TO BE DONE in order for the membership to be able to have any Conference events to enter.
 

Steve Adams

Just this guy, ya know?
Firstly, Rick, I wasn't arguing against YOU but the reasoning/logic you were putting forth to explain/justify the decision. One of the pitfalls of reporting is that you also become the "face" of what you're reporting... ;)

Secondly, yes, absolutely, my time with Conference has been almost universally good, and nearly all of those "bad times" (Hey, a bad day at the track is better than a good day at work, right?) have been down to me one way or another, so I have no issues with Conference in that regard. I mean, if I did have issues with Conference, I could just go elsewhere, obviously.

Thirdly, as a (ahem... former) volunteer myself, I do understand how the E-Board works and why they will make the decisions they do, when required by the P&Ps. Hell, I've quoted that scenario to people on this forum myself in the past, more than once.

Finally, and more to the larger point of my original query ("Or is this simply a change to lower the bar for some folks to get them (back) out racing?"), I get twitchy when I hear that people are making decisions because they "feel" one way or another. Now, sure, that could just be your choice of words and, sure, maybe the volunteers that make Conference work don't have the time/resources/capability to do any hard research on the matter, but access to (relatively) affordable, non-insurance physicals is FAR easier now than even in the last 5 years. Have you SEEN all those commercial clinics all over cities these days? Be that as it may, and briefly reiterating my concern about decisions made without data, my larger argument is now somewhat a case of bolting the barn door after the horse has gone, so I'll move on.

Now I've gotten the answer I was looking for; thank you. I don't agree with it, nor do I think it's going to do much if anything to mitigate the problem it seems to be trying to solve, but I also don't think it fundamentally increases my personal risk by being on track with someone who hasn't had a physical in 10 years. I will also say that I'm much more likely to be running on an ARR license in 2022, because going to the doctor just for my Conference license is now an item I can remove from my "things I have to do" list.

As ever, thank you Rick and Chris for regularly responding on this forum to questions/concerns people have, and thank you to the larger group of Conference and Club volunteers for taking the time to make all this possible.

[On a completely different note, but speaking to a couple comments you've made about traffic on this forum and getting involved with our member Clubs in a more meaningful way, I'll just throw out here how disappointed and frustrated I am that so much Conference, Club, and race class discussion has moved to Facebook, and in most cases by moving away from the "official" communications stream. I'm not on Facebook, I'm not going to be on Facebook (hell, I even said "no" the two different times they tried to recruit me as an employee), and it bothers me that those various organizations have moved, officially or otherwise, so much of their communications to a platform that has such a long track record of privacy and security issues.]
 

dick_boggs

Well-known member
Whether you agree or not with the ICSCC licensing decision please attend your local club meetings (Most now on Zoom or Skype for about an hour twice a month), if you don't attend you have lost your voice in the the rule making decisions as outlined above by Rick. Yes, you can say the horse is gone and the barn door is bolted shut. It can be opened up if you chose to participate in your local club rule making meetings.

I will ask anyone who reads this thread an another question? Do you fall in the category of customer or volunteer at your local club. If you view yourself as a customer and don't attend the local clubs meetings composed of volunteers who put on races you automatically have given up your right to legitimately complain about the rules the volunteer club participants put in effect or the way a race weekend is run. You have a right to your opinion as always on this site. We need more participation at the club membership meeting and race level to have an active viable club and are willing to hear your input and suggestions. We would love to have your participation in our Zoom General Membership meetings.

Interesting comment about Facebook, we have had to adopt in the pandemic to find new ways to communicate and keep IRDC an active sponsoring club for racing. I have received that same Facebook complaint from one of our Board members. ICSCC has had to do the same thing with their meetings, we have all seen incredible changes due to the pandemic and their impact on racing. Interestingly we have also had to change and update our By-laws to accomodate the pandemic and our lack of volunteers. In the future I doubt we will ever have face to face IRDC Board meetings and once we get through the pandemic we may go back to face to face General Membership meetings. At our last Zoom General Membership meeting we had 22 participants which is very close to being equal to our pre-pandemic face to face meetings. We are trying at IRDC and I am sure other ICSCC clubs to remain a viable racing entity during the pandemic. If we do not have enough volunteers, the end result will be race cancellations.
 

Steve Adams

Just this guy, ya know?
FWIW, my comment about Facebook was NOT in relation to Zoom or other video conferencing technology (aside from things forced upon us by the pandemic, I find video conferencing a way to potentially get more people involved in the meetings as the "cost of access" is so much lower, but that's another conversation), but simply that I've found a LOT of communication from ICSCC, IRDC (for example), and one of my race classes has moved from their former "electronic communications platform" and onto Facebook.

Duplicating content is one thing, IMO, but when an official or even semi-official communication ONLY exists on a platform like Facebook, I find that really unfortunate. Because I'm not on Facebook, for example, I missed two announcements about IRDC general meeting Zoom calls I might've otherwise attended. I didn't get an email about them, and I didn't see them mentioned on IRDC's website or here on the forum.
 

rick_bostrom

Onda Kattan Racing
I definitely agree with you on a couple of your points Steve - I would like to find a way to drive a lot more conversational traffic back to this forum as it used to be a better, if still imperfect, way to get much needed input from the membership to leadership. I also have severe misgivings about the terrifying monolith of privacy invasion, disinformation, and censorship called Facebook. I actually have a Facebook account but it is used to access some GT racing accounts which are now the predominant source of finding parts for old GT1 cars but I definitely hold my nose while I use it.

I share a similar mistrust of "feelings" as they are generally cited as justification for people with no factual basis to make decisions. I will try to clarify - I think we have a lot of indisputable, factual evidence that tells us what is going right and what is going wrong. Unfortunately, we can't always so easily define the direct causes of why things work or don't. In the case of not requiring doctor performed physicals it has been suggested that having ANY formal rule that requires time, money, and planning to accomplish has the potential to prevent or delay someone from acquiring a racing license. That is a well established principle. What we don't know is whether eliminating that rule would gain us a fractional driver, one driver, a dozen , or 100. Giving that rule a try for a year or two gives an opportunity to test that theory and measure its effect. What would we consider a success? An increase in driver licensing? Yes! No increase in driver incidents due to lack of medical screening? Yes! Both? YES! We hope so. I would argue that even if it doesn't lead to more licensed drivers, decreasing the cost and effort to participate is always a positive as long as it isn't accompanied by an increase in risk. There is really no way to test those concepts without trying it - sometimes the results surprise me and sometimes they surprise nobody! We've considered a number of things that haven't really worked so we are trying some different ones to see if they do.
 

Steve Adams

Just this guy, ya know?
I will try to clarify
Clarification appreciated (it's what I suspected) and I'm going to assume "someone" will be keeping their collective eye on whether new folks coming to race with us without first getting a doctor's sign-off (even if they never have to again) causes any issues.

Thanks.
 

brucebe

Philosopher
Ok - so this thread has been basically hijacked with diversions surrounding volunteerism, false choices, and all sorts of stories from camp. In my view, the "how we got here" is irrelevant.

In an attempt to re-focus things a bit, it seems the reasoning behind this change is to lure young (or budget-constrained??) *customers* (entrants), by not requiring a medical check-up?! Really??!!! As Steve stated earlier, you can go get a physical for under $200 at clinics specifically designed for "signing-off" commercial drivers. It's done all day long around the country. Typical entry fees for a race weekend are well north of $350 nowadays - go to your regular doctor. Don't have a regular doctor? Well, perhaps with your first real job and a tax return, it's time to have a regular doctor as well. In either case, if you're under 49, you don't need to be re-examined for FIVE YEARS. For Conference, how about discounting a race, or simply giving a new customer to Conference a free race weekend. We've been doing something along these lines for Novice upgrades for as long as I can remember (20+ years in Conference). And - it's a soft-cost to the hosting club.

ARR drivers are on the same racetrack, at the same time as everyone else. However, now they are *not* subject to the same health/safety checks as IRR license holders. And while turn-workers can certainly observe behavior on the racetrack that causes concern and report it, they absolutely can not discern the source of that behavior. Further, they do not have the ability to check your blood-pressure, your blood-sugar, your vision, gross reflexes and neurological response, etc., as you head down into the brake zone of T2 at Pacific. They can't check *anything*. The argument that turn workers somehow fulfill, or mitigate the role of a medical exam is ABSURD.

Look - sometimes the problem-solving process can create an echo-chamber, in which a "solution" emerges, and in the absence of third-party review, will seem rational and correct. This change is neither. It *decreases* safety and incrementally endangers everyone on-track, and IMO won't be the deciding factor at all for any new driver/customer to Conference. Give them a free race weekend with a new license, and let our product speak for itself.

We need to put the medical exam back into all License requirements.

-Bruce
 

brucebe

Philosopher
I definitely agree with you on a couple of your points Steve - I would like to find a way to drive a lot more conversational traffic back to this forum as it used to be a better, if still imperfect, way to get much needed input from the membership to leadership. I also have severe misgivings about the terrifying monolith of privacy invasion, disinformation, and censorship called Facebook. I actually have a Facebook account but it is used to access some GT racing accounts which are now the predominant source of finding parts for old GT1 cars but I definitely hold my nose while I use it.

I share a similar mistrust of "feelings" as they are generally cited as justification for people with no factual basis to make decisions. I will try to clarify - I think we have a lot of indisputable, factual evidence that tells us what is going right and what is going wrong. Unfortunately, we can't always so easily define the direct causes of why things work or don't. In the case of not requiring doctor performed physicals it has been suggested that having ANY formal rule that requires time, money, and planning to accomplish has the potential to prevent or delay someone from acquiring a racing license. That is a well established principle. What we don't know is whether eliminating that rule would gain us a fractional driver, one driver, a dozen , or 100. Giving that rule a try for a year or two gives an opportunity to test that theory and measure its effect. What would we consider a success? An increase in driver licensing? Yes! No increase in driver incidents due to lack of medical screening? Yes! Both? YES! We hope so. I would argue that even if it doesn't lead to more licensed drivers, decreasing the cost and effort to participate is always a positive as long as it isn't accompanied by an increase in risk. There is really no way to test those concepts without trying it - sometimes the results surprise me and sometimes they surprise nobody! We've considered a number of things that haven't really worked so we are trying some different ones to see if they do.
The time, money, and planning to make a doctor's appointment is *insignificant* in comparison to the time, money, and planning associated with preparing a reliable and safe racecar. Some things don't need to be tested, especially as it relates to safety. Sounds like you want to treat the drivers like a bunch of lab-rats, and what sort of calculus would one even ponder for success metrics? "Well, Ronan stroked-out from hypertension, and put two other drivers into the hospital at the last race, but hey, we've got five new Conference ARR drivers this year! We're net +2 - Win!!" Further, the lack of a positive - in this case a medical-related incident on-track, is broken logic to begin with. That should be obvious. A medical exam does not mask a health problem - it can only expose one, and in that instance, someone is prevented from harming themselves and/or others.
 

rick_bostrom

Onda Kattan Racing
Bruce - Thanks for your approximately 1/249th of Conference driver's opinions. Convince another approximately 124 ICSCC licensed drivers (hope we get an increase over last year regardless) or their representatives to agree with your opinion and you will have the opportunity to pass a rule that you clearly think is essential to Conference operation. Personally, I think your overly dramatic level of outrage is a bit over the top but to each their own - you have every right to discuss things that you think affect all aspects of Conference operation here and I encourage you to do so. I would counter with a few actual facts of my own rather than your opinions about the perception of increased risk and the affect of even relatively small changes in the affordability of racing.

1) Just off the top of my head, local amateur roadracing in cars and on motorcycles has produced maybe four fatalities in recent years. I think two of those were the result of incapacitation due to health issues. All of those racers held up to date physical examinations at the time of their incidents and in none of those cases did the doctor think they should be prohibited from participating so it would have made zero difference whether they held a physical or not. In addition - I believe in all cases it was the driver with the health problem who died and no other personnel were harmed.
2) I personally review every single license application and the included physical examinations and/or medical history application. Since I am not a medical professional it there is anything that would be a concern I refer it directly to the Conference medical advisor who reviews the info and calls the prospective licensee if he needs more info. It is exceedingly rare that this ever disqualifies someone from participation.
3) As stated above, the required aspects of our physical have changed over time. An EKG used to be required but Physicians advised us that that test wasn't even the best one to determine cardiac effectiveness and tests that ware would require more equipment, testing, and cost. The elimination of that test as a requirement has caused no on track incidents that I am aware of over many years now.
4) There is currently zero evidence that utilizing a Medical History report is any more or less effective than a Physical Examination. Each driver is expected to take full responsibility for the level of safety they require to participate. What we absolutely DO know is that raising the entry fee even ten bucks can cause unhappiness and affect entries. You may be lucky enough to not be too concerned about the cost of racing but Group 2 where the most inexpensive cars were raced has been destroyed, partially because of the cost of participation. Budget enduro series where they share cars and don't have to pay for driver training, novice programs, physicals, etc have decimated the once popular Conference Production classes which were the point of entry to our organization. Cost is very much a concern and as far as I know Economics is still considered a science and not an opinion.

If you feel strongly about this, start doing the work to convince people that it is significant and create and support a rule changing it - that is how Conference works. I believe that a physical is a good thing and the cost barrier is not a deterrent to me so I always get one. I make that decision for myself based on my safety and the safety of those around me but I still think it is unlikely to have any big effect. Last but not least - I could care lest about "hijacking" and "drift" as this is a free exchange of ideas that we would like to see more of.
 

colin_koehler

Great SCOTT!
The time, money, and planning to make a doctor's appointment is *insignificant* in comparison to the time, money, and planning associated with preparing a reliable and safe racecar. Some things don't need to be tested, especially as it relates to safety. Sounds like you want to treat the drivers like a bunch of lab-rats, and what sort of calculus would one even ponder for success metrics? "Well, Ronan stroked-out from hypertension, and put two other drivers into the hospital at the last race, but hey, we've got five new Conference ARR drivers this year! We're net +2 - Win!!" Further, the lack of a positive - in this case a medical-related incident on-track, is broken logic to begin with. That should be obvious. A medical exam does not mask a health problem - it can only expose one, and in that instance, someone is prevented from harming themselves and/or others.

It's nice to have a primary physician, but when I didn't - this process sucked. When I didn't have a primary physician - it was a nightmare to find a place that do this type of physical - I went to 5 and none of them I wanted to be in. I had waited too long to renew and getting an appt with a doctor for a physical was a 3 month waiting list. So I went the local clinic route like you mentioned. Maybe the clinics are nicer in Redmond... The clinics down here all turned me down. They claim their sports physicals are for things like teenage athletes. In order to finally get it done, I had to take a day off work, schedule an exam omitting the purpose and then spring the paperwork on the doctor who begrudgingly filled it out.

I feel MUCH less safe from the drivers that aren't held accountable for committing avoidable contact than I do from drivers w/o physicals.
 

Lotus2Eleven

New member
Motor racing is an inherently risky sport. This rule change – no medical exam required to drive your race car at high speeds in close proximity to other race cars travelling at high speeds and fixed objects – just made it more risky, and needlessly so.

Apparently, this enhanced risk to personal safety is justified on two grounds: (1) the medical exam is a waste of time and money because self-reporting a medical history is just as good as an exam by a licensed medical physician (or nearly so); and (2) the cost of a medical exam is a barrier to entry that will cause ICSCC to wither and die.

The first is ground is ludicrous on its face. By definition, a medical HISTORY is in the past. Sure, the past may influence or determine the future, but this is not necessarily true. Granted, an exam is only a snapshot in time, but that time is much closer to the present, a point in time that will shortly be followed by a highly risky activity. And, the assessment of the applicant’s CURRENT health is being made by a medical professional, not by a self-interested wannabe racer motivated by cost savings.

As for the second contention -- cost as a barrier to entry -- there are several reasons this is not true or can be effectively mitigated or eliminated. The only “competitor” for our racing dollar that is cited is Lucky Dog. Comparing ICSCC to Lucky Dog is like comparing apples to oranges. Lucky Dog is team endurance racing. Conference is, for the most part, solo sprint racing. Most Lucky Dog teams have four drivers which makes participation inherently less expensive. There is simply no getting around the fact that solo driver sprint racing is going to be more expensive than team racing, other things being equal.

As noted, not only is the cost structure between Lucky Dog and Conference different, the racing itself is VERY different, and, as such, is a significant factor in who participates and who does not. Lucky Dog involves multiple drivers sharing a car, handicap seeding, and widely divergent metal and skillsets simultaneously sharing a racetrack. Personally, I have been invited to drive for several Lucky Dog teams, but have declined to join in. I simply prefer to drive solo, in a sprint, with other drivers who have at least had a modicum of training and experience.

Okay, assuming, for the sake of argument, that Lucky Dog is a business competitor because, like Conference, they both race cars on race tracks, is the roughly $200 for a medical exam going to be the determining factor for a prospective driver in deciding which format to pursue? It is ridiculous to think so. In the scheme of things – race car, consumables, entry fees, personal protective gear -- $200 barely registers on the cost scale. And, even if it did, there is a better way – and a safer way!! – to mitigate or eliminate the cost. I like Bruce Beachman’s idea: waive the entry fees for a new driver’s first race. But, I have another idea, which tackles the expense head on: deduct the new driver’s out of pocket medical expense (up to an agreed upon not-to-exceed amount) from his/her first race. Boom – now the exam has cost the newbie nothing. And, it is simple to administer, understand and promote: “just bring (or email) a copy of your medical expense receipt to your first race and we (Conference) will give you a credit, dollar for dollar, against your other race day expenses!”

This incentive is a soft cost and non-recurring, so it would have minimal impact on the clubs. It would be non-recurring because, hopefully, our product would, after a first bite, sell itself. (This is how most promotions work, of course.) If the product does not sell itself, then we have other problems.

As for the process prong of Rick’s defense, I can’t argue the facts of how this amendment occurred, and I’m sure the decision was made in good faith, with the best of intentions to, as Rick says “re[tain] and re[cruit] drivers.” Nevertheless, that is no reason not to put this issue back on the front burner and reconsider it in the interest of safety. (Imagine a fatal on-track incident caused by a medical emergency involving a non-examined driver – how would that affect retention and recruitment of new drivers?)

Andy Chenoweth
 

Lotus2Eleven

New member
I feel MUCH less safe from the drivers that aren't held accountable for committing avoidable contact than I do from drivers w/o physicals.
While I don't share your view on physical exams, I STRONGLY AGREE that holding drivers seriously accountable for committing avoidable contact infractions is essential to safety and enforcement needs to be stepped up.

Andy
 
Top