Topic: Limiting Speed Creep - Formalizing Penalty Laps?
I’ve been contemplating speed creep lately as I’m planning some major upgrades over the winter in an effort to be competitive in my pointy-ended class.
Right now the only real threat to fast cars are penalty laps (especially in class A). These are sporadically utilized and don’t seem to do a whole lot. I’m wondering if formalizing the penalty lap system could help them be more effective at limiting speed creep. Maybe use them like a handicap in bowling (sorta but oppositely since penalties would be given versus slower teams receiving negative laps). A side note: I just learned that "oppositely" is a real word.
-penalty laps are assigned to the cars (not teams)
-penalty laps are fully-transferable between races, seasons, and sales between teams (just heading off the inevitable)
-penalty laps are only assigned to top one/three/five/whatever cars in class A and/or B (this way it only impacts the “pointy-end” and makes keeping track less of a burden)
-penalty laps are dynamic and change based on the results of each race (better than having to track penalties rolling over multiple races)
-penalty laps can be mitigated by accepting some kind of real performance penalty for the next race, something like 300+TW tires or limiting the team to one gas can per hot pit stop (asking a team to come up with a good theme next time is cool but doesn’t do anything to address speed creep), I consider this my weakest idea as it would be difficulter to track ("difficulter" is not a real word but feels fitting nonetheless)
-the existing system of class-bumping for winning wouldn't change much, winning class B-winning cars would be always given the option to bump to A or accept penalty laps
-whatever formula is used should be formalized and remain the same over each calendar-year
Example formula: top three drivers in class receive penalty laps in the amount of half (rounded up) of the laps ahead of the next finishing car applied to following race, winning class B gets the car bumped to A.
-Race 1: Car Z wins class B, bumped to class A for next race (they decided the 11-lap penalty not worth staying in class B)
-Race 2: Car Z finishes in top three in class A, 20 laps ahead of next car in class, earns a 10-lap penalty for next race
-Race 3: Car Z finishes in top three in class A, five laps ahead of next car in class, earns a three-lap penalty for next race (always round up!)
-Race 4: Car Z finishes out of top three in class A, penalty laps go away for next race
-Race 5: Car Z finishes in top three in class A, seven laps ahead of next car in class, earns a four-lap penalty for next race
I realize that implementing something like this is probably akin to the SCCA/NASA buying the Lemons series for some folks. I think of it as trying to address something (speed creep) that literally everyone agrees is an issue using a lever that already exists.
Any thoughts/criticisms/changes? What are the obvious issues? Why wouldn’t something like this work? Any other realistic ideas that might directly impact speed creep?