Penske’s Unfair Advantage - CLC Judging 2017
By: William C. “Bill” Anderson, P.E.
My brief foray in SCCA sports car racing in 1969 to 1972 coincided with the hey-day of the Trans-Am Series that saw all the major car manufacturers competing hammer and tong to be top dog and the unlimited cars of the Can-Am series. It was during this time period that the label unfair advantage was affixed to Roger Penske and the cars he fielded; developed and driven for the most part by Mark Donohue. In 1968, the Penske/Donohue combo won most every Trans-Am race with a Camaro. The team won the series championship again in 1972, this time with an AMC Javelin. In 1972, with unlimited Porsche money, their Porsche 917 devastated the Can-Am competition. If that was not enough, Penske/Donohue also won the 1972 Indy 500.
All that success had many in each series complaining about Penske’s unfair advantage. I had a chance to see the unfair advantage in person and up close. While Penske had access to resources, back then he was not the billionaire he is today, and many of his competitors spent more money. Penske’s unfair advantage was really simple and available to all. It combined comprehensive research, thorough preparation, across the board professional appearance – cars, personnel, and equipment, and attention-to-detail; all of which required hard work.
What does Penske’s Unfair Advantage have to do with CLC judging in 2017? Penske was a careful reader of the rules in every type of race in which he competed and kept up-to-date with the many changes as they occurred. There are many changes in CLC Judging Rules that will first apply at the 2017 Grand National in Washington. Highlights of these changes follow.
There will be no Senior Division or Senior Classes in 2017. Cars that have received a Senior or higher award in prior events will be judged with the cars in the Primary Division using the Primary Division Classes. But, there will be Senior, Senior Wreath, and Senior Crown awards. The Primary Division remains for cars 20 years old or manufactured in 1999 and before.
The Classes used in the Touring Division will be the same as the Primary Division Classes; the current Touring Divisions Classes have been abolished for 2017. Cars 10 years old and older (2007 in 2017) can be entered in competition for Touring Prizes.
The Judging Form has been increased in the number of items scored. This will permit more accurate judging. One Judging Form will be used cars 1903 to 1966 and another for cars manufactured and assembled after 1966. The new forms have about 560 points compared with the 200-point form now in use. Although there are many more points, the scores used to award prizes will remain based on the current hundred point scale. Currently, the final score is determined by dividing the points deducted by 2 and subtracting that number from 100. With the new form, the final score will be divided by about 5.6 and subtracting that number from 100.
The current score requirements for first, second and third place trophies in the Touring Division remain the same as existing. However, any car meeting the score requirements will be awarded the prize earned, even if multiple cars earn the same award.
The prizes and associated scores in the Primary Division are: Senior Crown – 99 to 100 points; Senior Wreath – 97 to 98.99 points; Senior – 95 to 96.99 points; First Place – 90 to 94.99 points; Second Place – 80 to 89.99 points; Third Place – 70 to 79.99 points. A car achieving any of the Senior prizes can do so on its first showing. And, like the Touring Division, any car meeting the score requirements will be awarded the prize earned, even if multiple cars earn the same award.
A new Division, Special & Unique Cars, has been created for cars like the 1953 Cadillac Elegante and other specialty cars. I will provide a complete list of the Classes and cars included in this Division later. The important point for this Division is that the car owner/entrant must supply a complete list and description of all the unique features of the car as part of the car’s entry. The owner-supplied information will supplement that contained in CLC records. These features will be used when assessing authenticity of the car’s components during judging.
Modified cars will be judged. There are four classes: Hot Rod, Restomod, Mild Custom and Radical Custom. I will supply more details on the procedures used to enter, judge, and award prizes to such cars in a later column.
There is no change to Preservation Division Rules. Cars may be entered in one of the other Divisions and the Preservation Division.
All cars entered in a Grand National or other CLC judged event, either judged or display only must meet the four following rules
The Judging Committee is working to complete preparation of a new CLC Judging Manual. It is planned to have this document completed and published by the late fall of 2016 so that all potential entrants can have time to prepare for the 2017 GN and Fall Festival. If you have any questions about any of the new judging rules before the new Judging Manual is published, you are welcome to contact me.
6/20/2016 02:13:29 pm
I’d love to hear the membership's thoughts about the changes to the judging… For example, the new rules ensure that everyone who scores a certain percentage in a class earns the award, not just the top three. By making the scoring the top determinant for trophy awards (along with more professional judges’ training and a more refined points system), the CLC has moved decidedly TOWARD its own standard. That standard has always been “you’re not competing with other cars, you’re competing with factory perfection…” There are other implications: e.g., a car can be awarded a Senior award on its first attempt if it’s nice enough, and there will be standards for judging four classes of modified Cadillacs. All of these changes matter a lot to Peach State members, because we expect the club to show up in force for the 2017 Grand National. Its proximity in suburban DC ensures there will certainly be a dozen Peach State cars on the field, which is expected to top 400 Cadillacs and LaSalles… Doug
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