The nightmare of crafting a race schedule

Many of us race fans, and especially us IndyCar fans, always seem to find something to complain about. This is especially true when it comes to areas where we have little, if any, genuine knowledge or experience! God bless the Interwebs. Every off-season, the armchair series directors will wax poetically about the type of schedule we’d build for our [insert fav series here] and how the series would be so much better for it, bringing hoards of new fans and sponsors. If only they’d listen to our advice, right?

I have to be up front. I was one of those who would constantly complain about schedules and how IndyCar wasn’t penetrating the Pacific NW market and why they should be racing at both Milwaukee and Road America. It seems like a slam dunk! You have Portland International Raceway that used to have excellent CART and Champ Car races, and what’s not to love about Road America? Quite frankly, I’d still like to see both of those things happen, but I got a rude slap in the face regarding the realities of scheduling a racing series, if just on a small scale.

This year, I’m the RallyCross Chair for the Kansas City Region SCCA, and therefore it’s on me to develop a schedule. Holy crap, this scheduling thing is tough, and I’m only working with two venues![quote_right]O-Ren Ishii: You didn’t think it was gonna be that easy, did you?
The Bride: You know, for a second there, yeah, I kinda did.
O-Ren Ishii: Silly rabbit.
The Bride: Trix are…
O-Ren Ishii: …for kids.
[/quote_right] The first hurtle is to make sure that the dates you want are open at the venue you want to race. Of course, they are not.

So, alright. Find the best possible dates among the available weekends at the venue and use those right? No. There’s also all the other activity in the KC Region and Midwest Division to consider. Who will show up to your event when you’re opposite of a national-level Pro Solo just a couple hours away? Fine, scratch all the weekends where major national events are happening, all the weekends your venue isn’t available, and there are still conflicts. For our RallyCross program, we share timing and scoring equipment with the Solo group. Since their events bring 100+ competitors compared to our 20+, they get priority, so scratch those weekends as well.

Finally, we’re left with some dates with which we can work, but then you still need to consider when neighboring regions are holding their events since many of us in RallyCross will travel to get at as much seat time as possible. In the end, we did get a workable schedule, although a couple of weekends are still a bit tentative.

2015 Kansas City Region and Midwest Divisional SCCA RallyCross Schedule

Kansas City Regional #1March 21stHolsworth Acres, Garnett, KS
Kansas City Regional #2June 6thThunder Valley Sand Drags
MiDiv National ChallengeJuly 18-19Thunder Valley Sand Drags
Kansas City Regional #3August 29thThunder Valley Sand Drags
Kansas City Regional #4September 12thThunder Valley Sand Drags
Kansas City Regional #5October 18thHolsworth Acres, Garnett, KS

2014-RXNat_10-05-14_096So this whole scheduling thing is a right pain in the arse. I get that now. Will I still wish the schedules of my various favorite racing series were different and more accommodating to my tastes? Sure I do, I’m human and therefore selfish. However, I will say that this off-season experience has given me a much greater appreciation for the difficulty of crafting a race schedule. I can imagine that it’s quite the nightmare for IndyCar, Trans Am, IMSA, Pirelli World Challenge and the like. Not every series has Bernie’s clout and ability to demand, rather than request, a schedule.

With all that settled, can we go rallycrossing now? I’m seriously itching to be sideways and damn the cone penalties!

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