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 VRG Shows Up on ApexSpeed Website 
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Joined: Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:27 am
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Thanks to my recent move to racing a Formula Ford, I happened to be browsing someone's recent write up about an event he went to on the formula car forum at ApexSpeed and found a very favorable mention of VRG. The thread is interesting reading because it's all about safety, a topic important to us all and of a particular concern to the VRG. Clearly, this is an issue that all vintage race organizations have to deal with and it seems that a number of the racers, on that thread, were unhappy about how some groups are handling this challenge.

The comment that caught my eye was - "Some organizations, like VRG on the East Coast, are extremely strict and rarely does a contact incident occur without consequences to that driver.

A central database for incidents that are reported by the organizers is maintained by the Vintage Motorsport Council (VMC), ostensibly so that organizations are furnished a list of those drivers on probation/suspension, but rarely is there reciprocity between clubs, so it's more informational than a threat to some competitor's ability to compete."

Read through the thread and you'll see some interesting comments. It starts with a massive complaint about a west coast event.

The topic is such that I thought it might be something many of our members would like to see.

On a personal level, it did make me feel very good to see the VRG held up as an example by one very knowledgable person as a group that has absolutely no tolerance when it comes to aggressive driving that can lead to contact.

You can find the thread here

Mon Nov 07, 2016 6:06 pm
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Joined: Wed Dec 25, 2013 10:42 am
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Location: Mebane, NC
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Interesting read, thanks for the link.

Eric Russell
Mebane, NC

1961 MGA, 1981 Alfa Romeo GTV6, 1984 Alfa Romeo Spider,
1991 Honda ST1100, 1999 Ford F250, 2006 Toyota Solara

Mon Nov 07, 2016 9:35 pm

Joined: Mon Dec 30, 2013 10:26 pm
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Thanks for posting this Storm -- interesting thread, for various reasons. I am somewhat shocked by many posters' lack of understanding of the driver discipline process. Thankfully I believe most VRG members have a better understanding of the Rules of the Road, and a better understanding of the review process, than what is displayed by some folks on the Apex thread. That's not a criticism of Apex or the open-wheel crowd, more an observation on the need for all clubs to do a better job educating their new drivers.

VRG is very fortunate to have had Bob Girvin as our first Driver Committee Chairman. Bob developed our process, lead the Committee for quite a few years, and basically taught the rest of us how it should be done. As current Chairman of DC, I've just tried to follow his lead.

A few things I'd like to point out, if anyone is reading ...
-- the value or prestige of the car, and the financial net worth of the driver, are completely irrelevant in our disciplinary process. We have placed "high rollers" on probation and sent them home, as well as "grassroots guys". This is NEVER a consideration in the process.
-- like all clubs, we desire more entries. But we DO NOT accept a entries from drivers who are currently suspended from any vintage club, or SCCA (VMC and SCCA are sharing our Infractions Lists these days). We check the current VMC Infractions List (and SCCA list) before every VRG event, to ensure that no entrants are currently on suspension.
-- VRG reports all our Probations and Suspension to VMC, normally within 2 - 3 days of the conclusion of each VRG event. Frankly I wish all vintage clubs did this on a consistent basis. Believe me, it is a CONSTANT focus at VMC meetings.
-- someone on Apex asked about protests. There is no protest procedure in VRG, and there is no appeal process. Decisions of the Drivers Committee are final, the DC is completely independent of the VRG Board of Directors, and cannot be overruled by the BoD. Basically, think of the Board as the Congress and the DC as the Supreme Court. That may sound harsh to some, but this is the only way it can work.
-- BUT -- that is why we ALWAYS have at least three members of the DC that make a decision and take any action. Some organizations have a one-person "committee" , which can cause accusations of personal bias in decision-making. Even as the Chairman of the DC, I cannot put a driver on probation or suspension by myself. It always requires the vote of at least three members of the DC to take an action. You may be surprised to hear this, but in nearly all cases, the decision has been unanimous -- even when we have 4 or 5 DC members involved. And if a DC committee member has a conflict of interest (significant relationship with one of the drivers involved in an incident), he recuses himself from the process.
-- in my 10+ years of experience serving on the DC, I can say that the process works. We have rarely had to suspend a driver. Probation (and sending them home for the remainder of the weekend) gets their attention, and almost always creates the desired change in behavior. Dewey Dellinger was right, over 25 years ago when he pioneered the 13/13 Rule. Yes, we have modified it slightly. But when the rules are made clear, and enforced consistently, the system works. I think we do that pretty well in VRG.
-- as a result of our driver policy and enforcement, a few drivers have "left" VRG (i.e., they don't race with us any more). We certainly don't intentionally try to alienate any driver/entrant, but when there is a fundamental disagreement about our rules and process, it is better if that person seeks their enjoyment elsewhere. There have been very few of these situations, but there have been some. We cannot, and will not, bend our rules to accommodate 2 or 3 people who seek a more aggressive racing experience. We will survive without their entry fees.
-- I know of no one (including myself) who enjoys disciplining a driver. I have had many jobs in VRG, and frankly -- this one is the worst job in the club. No, I was not a junior high hall monitor. Everyone on the DC is a volunteer, who has given up a significant amount of time during their race weekend to investigate incidents thoroughly, and make some very carefully considered decisions. It is not unusual for a DC member to spend 2 or 3 or 4 hours on a race day, working on DC business.

OK I have rambled enough ... as always, if any VRG member or entrant wants to discuss our Rules of the Road or driver disciplinary process, ABSOLUTELY seek out a member of the DC at the next VRG event and ask any question you may have. Or send me a private message, or call me if you must (I'm in the Roster).

Mark Palmer

Tue Nov 08, 2016 6:12 pm
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Joined: Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:32 pm
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Mark has given us all an excellent reminder of the basic tenets of VRG, particularly as applied to the function of our Driver's Committee.

Well done!

"Enjoy every sandwich." ~ W.Z.

Thu Nov 10, 2016 8:21 am
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