Everything you need to know about the Charity Challenge

Welcome to the CSRG Charity Challenge and the 5th and final round of the 2018 Crossflow Cup series for Historic and Club Fords.   This brings season 2 of the Crossflow Cup series to an end, with an unprecedented 50 car grid, Championship Trophies, Awards for Best formula ford (shine your car up!), the series MVP award, and the Crossflow Cup for the person who best represented the sport in 2018.  We will also be giving every entrant a commemorative gift and raffling off all sorts of cool stuff (parts, tires).   For those of you new to the series, you can read all about it here (www.norwestff.com) but the main thing you need to know; this is all about friends having a great time, equal, original cars, the vintage spirit to preserve and enjoy our cars, and to keep each other safe with  high standards of driving, judgment, and sportsmanship.   We also want to put on a great show and have a blast.  With 50 cars, everyone whether you can run in the 47's or in the 2 minutes, will get a race, just keep it a fair fight and have fun.

Given this is a huge field, and the new normal in west coast Formula Ford, we are going to take special steps to avoid a lap one disaster.   Those are outlined below. If you are new to historic racing, note we talk a lot more about driving standards and are tougher on errant competitors than you might be used to.  We run close, hard, and with open wheels, and no roll cages, so our focus on driving has to be far greater to keep things fun and safe.  

To help, our driver development and support sponsor  www.racers360.com  will be there all day Friday and Saturday... for coaching support email dion@racers360.com  The first 5 competitors to respond, will get a one lap analysis scholarship... email dion@racers360.com

Below are key details for the weekend, please review them carefully and as often as required to really know them.    This email is in 3 parts.  Procedures, Guidelines, and Schedule.  Recognition and thanks to the companies and individuals that have made this an epic year,  and most important, a review of the mindset to bring to this event and common FAQ's (hoping to cut down on the emails we get :-)

1 - Procedures and Guidelines.

Welcome to large grids.  50 cars is the FIA maximum allowable at Sonoma and the largest grid of open wheel cars at Sonoma Raceway is a very long time.  This could be an epic weekend, or a disastrous one depending on your commitment to responsible driving. 

  • Rules - We are under the sanctioning authority of CSRG, and running Monoposto rules.  There are no Crossflow rules that conflict, only compliment.  If you have any questions, review the CSRG rules and Monoposto rules before you call, or email.  Also keep foremost in mind that we race primarily as members of, and at the pleasure of CSRG. 

  • Competitor Support - Michael Wirrick, and an assistant will be there all weekend if you need anything.  Also, Dion Von Moltke of Racers360 driver development will be set up by the scales.  He is not there to make you faster, he is there to make you more comfortable... so lean on the support.  Also Michael Edick and his mobile repair shop will be available in the paddock if you need something welded or repaired.  Ivey engines (Jay and Colin) will be there all weekend keeping everyone running.

  • Schedule - The Paddock will open up at 3 on Thursday for load-in.  We will have 3, 30-minute practice sessions on a very crowded track on Friday afternoon, use them to limber up, not to prove something.  Qualifying will take place Saturday morning, the Crossflow Finale Saturday afternoon.  Sunday morning is a warm-up session, and Sunday afternoon is the regular club feature race.  We are group 6 on the schedule you have already received.  

  • Scales - The scales will be in one of the Garage Bays... The top 4 cars in each class will be weighed after the Crossflow event on Saturday afternoon, the scales will be available Friday afternoon and all day Saturday.  Know your class weights (www.norwestff.com) and check your car.  There is a 5 lb tolerance in place, but don't cut it close.  

  • The Party - The Crossflow Podium party will take place Saturday afternoon at 5:15 sharp, in Dave Zurlinden's paddock patio, we will show you where that is at the driver's meeting.  Please bring your crew, friends, and family...  you must be present to win any raffles prizes.

  • FF grid driver's meeting - There will be a group 6 drivers meeting for 15 minutes, immediately after the general drivers meeting on Saturday morning at 8:00, this is mandatory. 

  • Pack racing means if you spin, it's not 4 cars bearing down on you, but 20.  If we have an accordion brake-check incident, its not one car but 30 that get spooked into locking up.  It will be a bit cool, so take at least two laps in every session to warm up your tires and drive smoothly, predictably.  You have 90 minutes of track time on Friday to get a sense of your car's balance. If you have doubts about the stability of your car, soften the rear sway bar, roll the brake bias forward, lower the rear, or some combination of the three until you feel confident.  

  • Qualifying grid procedure. We want the cleanest possible grid for Saturday afternoon.   So if you run consistent laps faster than a 1:49, grid in the first third, laps between a 1:50-1:53, middle third, if you run 1:53 and up, last third of the grid.  The first lap of Qualifying will be run under yellow, so no passing until you see the green at the start of lap two, and then ease into the session, progressively increasing your effort.

  • IMPORTANT Starting procedure.   

    • Form up tight - It is critical the grid be tight and well organized before the exit of turn 9.  The pace car will back us up starting at turn 8.  We want to avoid cars taking the green with half the field still back in turn 9.   That means fast guys lapping the back of the grid within one lap of the start.  This is not safe or fun.  So the minute you exit seven on the formation lap, catch up and form up.  Slower guys have a tendency to let a cushion build up, don't do it.   Front row, maintain a steady 2nd gear pace at 3500 rpm until the green flag.

    • No more than 2 wide, restrict/catious passing - Like the FIA Masters F1 guys do, to prohibit being 3-4 cars wide in 2, we will have a cautious start.  We take the green and then ideally merge as we go up the hill to turn 1 and 2.  This means, you will fall behind the faster car ahead of you or go no more than 2 wide, and restrict/exercise extreme caution with your passing until the exit of turn 4  One we exit turn 4, go race.  Again single file, or 2 wide, into turns 1, 2, 3, and 4.  Race at will at the exit of 4

  • Passing.  No splitting backmarkers (that means passing on both sides of a backmarker) .  It's one thing to split a lone car, but there will be long rows of backmarkers, all focused on each other.  So if you are ahead of a group of faster drivers, pick a side and stick to it and if you are following go down the same side.   The passing car is responsible for making a safe pass, so if the driver in front of you has to get out of your way to make a pass, don't try it.  Remember, the driver at the back is as entitled to a fun race, as the driver at the front.

  • Disagreements - Throughout the weekend, someone will chop you off, will push next to you, or whatever.  Talk to each other, get to know each other, sort it out and move forward as friends.  If the behavior is toxic, the race stewards will get involved and that's like having your teeth drilled. So race fair and friendly.

  • Class racing - If you are in a Historic Ford, and you are being hounded by a Club Ford, let him or her by (or the other way around).  As we get bigger the classes will may end up with their own groups, but for now, respect the fact that there are two classes on track. Know the Club and Historic fords so there is no confusion.

  • Paddock layout - The area in front of the Garages is reserved for the Formula Ford Group.  Please consolidate... a 60-foot trailer and Motorhome with one car is not cool.  If you have a single car open trailer, leave it up on the hill. All cars need to be facing the lane so spectators can see them.   So group up, buddy up and make it look awesome.

  • Legality - As you know we track car weight, and visually tech cars for legality.  We will be testing and calibrating an engine pumping system, by pumping randomly, 10 cars.  If you are is selected (I will email you in advance), please cooperate, if you have doubts about the legality of your motor, contact me asap.

  • Grid Walk and Video - You will notice in the schedule there is a grid walk prior to our afternoon race.  This means spectators come down into the hot pit to hang out, ask questions, get autographs and look at your cars... it's great fun.  So at 3:45 sharp, be prepared to go into the hot pit and grid.  We will get a 10-minute warning to clear the hot-pits and allow us to get belted in.   Also, Lucy Snow Media will be back, so prepare to show off your car and do a little interview throughout the day.  We would like as many competitors as possible to provide in-car video for the end of season film so use your Go-Pros

2 - Thank yous

Jim Cody is our scorekeeper and series judge.  He runs an immaculate Crossle, so please say thank you when you see him.

Our podium party is funded and set up by www.vehiclesforcharity.com  and agency network www.19york.com 

Our driver development and support sponsor is www.racers360.com 

Ivey Engines creates the Crossflow cup and is an invaluable support to us and our engine builders.

Roger Kraus Racing,  supplies our tries, is a strong supporter and a huge help trackside

The Parr Law group www.parrlawgroup.com helps with all of our legal requirements, and provide the scales this weekend.

Motorsports Market http://www.motorsportsmarket.com provides series support and is a valuable resource for anyone looking to buy or sell a formula ford.

3 - FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is the gearing for Sonoma?  -   If you have a 9:31 ring and pinion, these are the recommended gears  

  • 1   18/32

  • 2    20/30

  • 3    22/29

  • 4    24/28

How many race Passes do I get?  -  You get 4, and you can leave them at will call for anyone you like.

What does everyone keep talking when they say, "the right mindset"? -  These are old, precious cars  For perspective,  the newest Club Ford is 37 years old... .the average age of cars on the grid is 47 years.  Every car, whether driven by an SCCA regional driver or a famous F1 Pilot has a history... a car that gets totaled is history disappearing, it's someones favorite toy gone forever.   And the quality of the racing, equal, legal grids, of competent responsible drivers, produces, is unparalleled.  So to make the most of this, we want to preserve our cars, while using them as God intended. This works incredibly well, if you come to play with your pals, it becomes toxic and wrong if you come to beat your pals.  So come fully prepared have a great time, do your best well within your limits, and behave in a way that everyone is happy to see you afterward... that's the mindset.

What if I am stressed out and uncomfortable with the group? -  Hopefully, this won't happen to anyone, but if it does, you have options.  You can be moved into a smaller open wheel group, or you can grid at the back for the start of the race.  Both are lower stress options.  You need to speak with the race director on the first, you can grid at the back on your own.  You can also call it a weekend.  Whatever you decide, honor your instincts.

How can I avoid un-prompted spins -   Spins are caused by cold tires and poor driving habits, usually combined.  So take a couple of laps to get tires warmed up and ride the brakes on the form up lap for a bit of extra heat.  Spins are also caused by braking too late and too hard with the steering wheel turned.  They are also caused by excessive early throttle in low and medium speed corners.  So brake in a straight line, and don't add throttle unless you are at or past the apex and unwinding the wheel.

Historic Racing black flags, spins, and contact? - If you get a furled black flag for putting two wheels off or a spin caused by the above,  that's a warning, you don't need to come in.  If the flag is open (usually due to going 4 off, or a lurid spin or lockup) with your car number, come in.   In historic racing, car to car contact requires an immediate stop at black flag.  If there is no damage, and everyone seems chill.. they may send you back out, the may not.  Significant damage due to car-to-car contact ends your weekend on the spot. If you damage your car on a solo expedition into a tire wall, but it can be repaired, your continuing to race will be at the race director's discretion and will require an inspection of your car.

What does a decent lap of Sonoma Raceway look like? This is not perfect, but instructive click on Dions’s advice