Is TAD becoming A/Fuel dragster?

Discussion in 'System One Pit Buzz' started by rb0804, May 25, 2018.

  1. rb0804

    rb0804 Member

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    Alcohol funny car and blown dragster are drivers cars. A/Fuel not so much... I don’t really care what you guys get or don’t get in Funny Car. My concern is car count in Dragster and the amount parody or lack there of in the Dragster ranks.

    NHRA if your listening, give the Alky dragsters

    (1) two steps
    (2) auto shift
    (3) sequential type transmission (ie non planetary)
    (3) EFI
    (4) allow Turbos

    Severance is the exception to the rule, he runs really hard with minimal parts carnage. He’s really in a league of his own. The blown cars that run really well have at least one spare bullet, more than one blower and several complete transmissions in the trailer. There are guys that can run low .30’s with minimal spares and not hurt parts if they run the car smart.

    I think most of the top dragster guys coming up through the ranks are scared (financially) of having to shift the car and the carnage that will ensue if they fail to make a shift. I just walked a guy through putting together a blown TAD with a converter. His big hang up on putting this deal together was having to shift the car. So now that he is worried about shifting the car he is going to short shift it every time because it’s on his mind. This can be a very hard habit to break and can be problematic if you don’t have enough pump speed it can hurt stuff just as bad or worse than the over revving problem. So to “cure” this problem we can either (a) run EFI or (b) auto shift. Just my two cents.

    With all this being said, we broke the chassis on our blown car earlier this year and are hesitating to get it fixed as we cannot keep up with the A/Fuel cars. We ran a personal best and didn’t come close to qualifying at the Virginia Regional. We are seriously tossing around the idea of purchasing a pro mod and running some local events as most places here on the east coast have changed their rule structure to allow the screw blowers.

    It’s coming to the point where there are gonna be (4) screw blown cars in the country (Severence, Cowie, Demke, Stevens) and when they decide to hang it up it’s gonna be A/Fuel dragster and it’s not gonna be a drivers class then either, as you can see my first post about the driving skill or lack there of for an A/Fuel driver(s). Any person that drives a blown car currently can hop in an A/Fuel car and run a good number, not the case the other way around.
     
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  2. Blake

    Blake Member

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    ^^^
    Very well written, I completely agree.
    Blake
     
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  3. nikkammerer

    nikkammerer New Member

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    As someone who recently purchased a TAD, I too would like to see, at a minimum, auto-shift be allowed. With the high RPM's required by a blown car, missing a shift is not just an inconvenient mistake that causes you to lose a round, rather it's a very financially costly goof.

    I think continued improvement in torque converter drive combinations will also make the top alcohol category more attractive since it would allow a team to operate a car sans clutch.

    In the near term, I am going to run the car I bought in TD for seat time but certainly did not buy the car to permanently convert it down a category. How fast I convert it back to TAD may be based-on rule adjustments by NHRA as I would love to see car counts at nationals (and regionals) always be high. Qualifying for an event should represent a basic level of accomplishment, not a token #15 because 16 cars didn't even make the tow. None of us are out racing because the money pays for the car, we do it for the love and sense of pride when we achieve something. Simply qualifying for an NHRA ProMod event is not an easy feat so teams that succeed at it each weekend should be proud even if they don't leave on Sunday with a Wally. I want TAD to return to that type of glory.

    Be aware all of my comments are in regards to TAD category as it is the one I am targeting and quite frankly has already been bent to accommodate different power combinations. TAFC is still "pure" in my opinion and since I do not race in that category (nor have any intentions to do so), I am not going to pretend I know what their rules should be. I will allow the TAFC racers to control their own destiny.
     
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  4. planbmotorsports

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    This is part of the problem with people wanting to change the class. The first post is so much false information on running a alcohol car. Valve train issues? Find your problem. We run both dragster and funny car and I can’t even remember the last time we had a valve train issue. Blowers 6 to 8k to fix because they are run dry? Not sure we’re your getting your blowers coated for that price but I would recommend you call Cantrell to get them coated and fix your fuel or blower lube program. Burning pistons by leaving low or short shifting I can’t even figure out how that’s even possible as I suck at driving often and never seen this before. If you run these cars right they aren’t that hard on parts and are fast. Burning pistons leaving low or short shifting and tearing up blowers I would recommend you send your fuel system to Randy Anderson to have fixed. A fuel cars may be cheaper on valve springs but cranks aren’t cheap!!! Leave the class alone and let the drivers drive. I think the class has better parity then it eve has. Work harder to keep up. It’s a class of keep working or stay at the back of the pack
     
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    Last edited: Jul 1, 2018
  5. rb0804

    rb0804 Member

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    You obviously are not running your stuff hard to try to keep up with A/Fuelers. There is a reason that the top teams have several blowers. I’m not taking about sending it back after several runs to get it re-coated. I’m talking about sending it back to be re-certified and you need a new rotor because the rotors are delaminating. What would cause this? Lack of lubrication. What lubricates the blower? Why fuel of course. And when during the run would lack of lubrication (fuel) be present? How about when when the safety box trips and cuts the fuel? Ever look at when the fuel cuts off to when the driver gets the pedal in? If you also see wear on your lower rod bearing it’s the same cause, the rod is trying to exit out the top side of the block. If you have a transmission that clean neutrals, you miss out on both of these issues.

    As far as valvetrain issues go, if you can go all day long at 10,500 on a 1.88 lifter spread you can go very much higher than that with a 2” lifter. This equates to more power and a better chance of catching an A/Fuel car that runs very much more MPH to half track than a blown car. Hemi valvetrain is very well documented as being weak. If you are able to keep the pushrod in contact with the rocker arm during a full rotation of the engine your doing good. Have your ever taken your valve train apart and roll it over with no springs on the valve? Sometimes it’s down right scary on what hits and touches and what doesn’t. Is it the valve train the best it’s ever been? Yes, but that don’t mean it can’t be better. If you gave the A/Fuelers a larger camshaft core they would go even quicker. There is also a reason the blown cars picked up a bunch when switching from the 54mm cam core to the 60mm. There is also a reason that the 9/16 pushrods is worth so much power, and it’s not because the valve springs we run have lots of pressure. EVERY Hemi engine at 1.88 lifter spread has issues, whether you know about it or not is your perogitive. The size of the intake port and the style of head you chose to run plays a huge role in this. I will tell you that ignorance is bliss, especially when valvetrain is concerned.

    You have obviously never run anything other than a Hemi, because if you did you would know that if you leave lean on a non-Hemi engine, (BBC, 481x, etc) you would know that it will pinch the rings and or burn around the valve relief. Now a Hemi has really good surface to volume ratio and can recover from detonation better than other engines. Which brings me back to the point if there was some type of electronic injection allowed you can run good and stay away from the detonation and still run good instead of running up into it when you blow that “big jet” open. Most people are detonating their engines and are non the wiser. So if your not wise enough to know better, of course your going to tell me “my tune ups great, I never detonate my stuff, my fuel system guys great,” etc. Unless you have taken the time to monitor your air fuel ratios, and make test hits in increments starting at 60’, 330’, 660’, 800’ and 1000’, you have no idea where the burning of the cadmium on your plugs is happening or what and when you burned your piston. If your engine makes good power at a fuel boost ratio of .31 and it’s at .33 for the entire run, but you notice that it happens to be .27-.28 at the foot swap because the driver was a little lazy with the right foot, guess where the engine hurt itself? I got a hint, it’s not at the .33 Fuel/Boost at the finish line, that may be where you notice the EGT drop because the pistons burning, but that’s not the original cause of the damage. Once you pinch a ring, the fire from the combustion process has a tendency to burn down the face of the piston. Like I said, this can happen at any point during the run and is why it’s important to monitor what’s going on. EGTs aren’t really quick enough to catch much.

    All’s I’m sayin is there is lots of rule changes to “save” racers money so not to out price the class, but there are things that can be done that will save wear and tear on parts. Don’t wanna use the two step cause your a tough guy, be my guest. Don’t wanna use the auto shift cause you like being in control. Be my guest. You should have the choice whether you want to use these items, and I feel that it will bring more young blood to the class. As far as letting the drivers drive, l said it once and I’ll say it again, take an A/Fuel driver and stick them in a top blown car, see if they can even get the car off the starting line. My guess is no. Several have made the switch from blown to A/Fuel. Any guesses to why? It’s not because it costs any less.

    As far a parity goes, the bump at VMP Regional was quicker than #1 qualifier at Vegas National same weekend. I get it’s different tracks and weather conditions, but you have top cars at both and the performance advantage leans A/Fuel. Pro mod is also a work hard or get left behind and they have plenty of young blood coming up through the ranks.
     
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  6. jeffj

    jeffj Member

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    I'm not interested in any kind of on line conflict but thought I'd just observe that a blown alcohol car can go quick without killing itself and without much in the way of trick parts. So anyone feeling daunted by the challenge of racing against the fuel cars should not give that undue weight when thinking of running a car.
    In my experience, you can get some really strong performance when you have a well balanced, smooth setup in your car; you will only find very small performance gains in adding tons of tricks of the week type things to the package.
    We ran lots of 5.34's at about 267 9-10 years ago with the very most basic setup: a 464" short block, BAE 5 heads, PSI D that had not been serviced for 2 years, R296 500/4778 cam, Stg 5 rockers/black stands, PSI deep throat hat. Red pump with a single leanout closing @ high gear shift. Lots of fuel....max of 1050 egts. Max of 10K rpm. No timers, no ignition stuff,no shoe, just 28* lead the whole way...nothing....one jet closing for high gear. But I had a very nice clutch/tire/gear/wheelie bar/wheel speed combo and it ran about as well as it could all the time with nothing trick and it did not hurt very much at all. It did not MPH as well as it could have with a leaner high gear set up but we were not on a slaughter program either.
    With a bit more experience and a couple more refinements and newer parts we ran as quick as 5.263 in 2013...jeez, 5 years ago and still only a best of 270.05 but still not on kill with the engine. In fact we ran the first 60+ passes of 2013 and never lifted the short block out of the car. Fresh rods in but the same pistons/rings and valves and so on. In fact the first set of valve springs went 50 runs before we broke a couple in the shutdown area and then changed them all out because I thought they must be work hardening; they still had good pressure. And by then we were turning the engine 10600 to 10800 on the gear changes.
    So if the car is set up well and is smooth it can go consistently quick with not too much carnage and you can go rounds with all of the good cars out there; in 2013 we qualified #1 at 2 national events; won over the world champ once; finished #4 in the world and had a lot of fun doing it although it is crazy expensive any way you figure it and even worse from the north west corner up here in Canada.
    Jeff Johnsen
     
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  7. Randy G.

    Randy G. Top Alcohol

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    We ran multiple 5.50's in my TA/FC over 14 years ago running just about the same way, BAE 5 sixteen spark plug heads with steel plugs screwed in every other plug hole, old screw blower, etc. Marc White was driving for me at the time.

    Here's first round at the 2004 Winternationals....

    https://www.dragracecentral.com/DRCStory.asp?ID=13629&Filter=Year2004#indextop



    .
     
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  8. Will Hanna

    Will Hanna We put the 'inside' in Top Alcohol
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    This is a good discussion worth having. We are getting multiple points of view from inside the category, new blood coming in (great to hear) and some people outside looking in.

    I'll reiterate some things I mentioned earlier and expand on them.

    TAD-

    While the AFD's don't have to swap feet correctly, generally speaking, they don't react as quick as a BAD. When you factor in detent pedals and clips for staging, it gives some drivers an aid in staging. The big DMPE hat is very sensitive to throttle position due to the big opening. Some like the clips, some don't.

    At the end of the day, I think if someone is getting into the class does not want to swap feet, they have converters and A/Fuel as their options. Bringing the motor up and swapping feet is woven into the fabric of these classes.

    So in reference to two steps, I don't see them bringing in new cars and I don't see them reducing the cost to run. In fact, blower belt expense may increase.

    In regards to auto shift, let me say this, almost every time I watch the TV coverage or All Access, I see any one of the top blown cars hit the chip. It's not the same guy/gal all the time, but one time it's this car, another round, it's this car. I have tuned blown cars enough to know that any variance in reaction time to the shift light can lead to an over rev. Let's not forget the driver probably gets some sort of ass chewing if they shift early too. So the driver can't have too much of a hair trigger on the shift button, but if you're just a tick late, you're 200+ rpm high. Valve train and head improvements have allowed teams to push the 11000 rpm envelope. As I've said before, you're faced with a decision to put the rev limiter closer to the shift and maybe save parts if theirs a failure, or you're forced to put it high enough away from the shift point you won't hit it, or throw it out altogether. So when the inevitable driveline failure happens, shit gets hurt because it goes past the proverbial breaking point. Then let's not forget about when the shift light doesn't work and the driver is waiting on it. If you are shooting for a 10,600-10,700 shift point, if you miss it a little, you're 10,800-11,000 real quick. If the light doesn't come on, you're either going to find the mid 11's or find the breaking point of something.

    I have worked with some drivers that have struggled with shift points. It's rare that fixing shift points alone will make them a star driver. Bottom line, even with autoshift, the better drivers will rise to the top. I don't think there's any argument that it would not save money across the board.

    I'm going to tell you right now auto shift will bring competitors in. It eliminates a concern some people have told me about stepping up from TD.

    I'm sure someone is thinking "so converter cars get to leave on a two step and get auto shift?" I personally own a converter car (TAFC) and I wouldn't even be opposed to taking the WOT 2 step launch away and making converter cars stage on a pedal/detent and 'swap thumb.' It requires a coordinated swap just like swapping feet.

    In regards to transmissions - I'm not too sure they would be the most reliable option, but if someone wants to run a OE style Glide or Turbo trans, I don't know why aren't legal. That stuff has come so far since that rule was written.

    Non planetary transmissions - The TAD rules say that OE style transmissions are "prohibited" and that planetary style transmissions are "permitted." If you read further, in regards to converter cars, they are permitted a converter with a planetary style transmission. Now the way I read the rule book, since a Liberty is not prohibited, and a planetary trans is not mandatory, or 'allowed' as the converter rules are worded, it's technically legal with a clutch. Now before someone goes and buys one, you can't forget about NHRA's policy of "if the rule book doesn't say you CAN do something, it's illegal."

    In regards to finding a true neutral in the shutdown area, if you down shift a planetary transmission after you let off, it will drop to an idle because it will make it over run the sprag. The only way it will make the motor go on the chip is if the throttle is still WOT. It's not as nice as the Liberty where it drops to neutral when you step off of the throttle in high gear, but as long as you have oil pressure, it should not cause too much wear on the bottom rod bearings until you can get a shifter button pulled out.

    EFI - I honestly think this should be allowed, but if there is any performance advantage, treated as it's own combo. I think there's more advantage to the fail-safes that can be programmed. I don't know that any of the blown EFI cars in Pro Mod have demonstrated a distinct points advantage. But the fact that you can have EGT or O2 corrections if a cylinder gets hot should help save engine damage. I know the ComSync system will put more fuel in a cylinder if it shows warmer than a user-programmed limit. If it continues to be above the limit after adding more fuel, it will quit firing the cylinder (fuel/spark - coil on plug). Not to mention being able to keep the fuel at a certain AFR will help save parts.

    If you compare the costs of a full EFI system to what it replaces - Mag system, flowed fuel system and parts, data logger, it's pretty close.

    I honestly don't think EFI would be an overnight must have, but I think the cost of ownership would be lower over time. I think it would make the class more relevant to the younger generation.

    If it were to be a performance advantage, it could be controlled with weight, etc.

    Turbos - Boy that's opening pandora's box. They have pretty much dominated any class they've ever been allowed in. The purist in me cringes at typing this, but it's worth looking at. The net gain would have to be NEW competitors rather than just some existing teams switching over. I don't know for sure, but I'm sure it would bring some new blood to the class. I don't think anyone is going to try turbo's without EFI. They typically prefer an OEM style trans as well.

    TAFC - Outside of possibly allowing EFI, I'd have to say leave it as is.

    As I've stated before, I'm not big on opening TAFC up to A/Fuel (and/or Turbo) but given the declining car counts, it's something to look at.
     
    #28
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  9. kosky racing

    kosky racing Comp Eliminator

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    Will I notice that you offer opinions on tad for possible changes-But none for TAFC is this because you own one????
     
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  10. Will Hanna

    Will Hanna We put the 'inside' in Top Alcohol
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    You got me Mike. I've always been one to look after my own interests.
     
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  11. Will Hanna

    Will Hanna We put the 'inside' in Top Alcohol
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    Mike - as I said in my earlier posts - if something is going to bring more cars to the class, then it needs to be considered.

    I'm not just proposing change for the sake of change or to make it easier or better for me.

    So, as said earlier, I don't think someone who wants to build a TAFC is going to be deterred by the difficulty of driving. You buy or build a TAFC because you want to drive.

    Why do I propose change to TAD? It's already an integrated class, the rpm range is higher and most of your potential Top Dragster racers are going to gravitate towards that class.

    I don't think autoshift alone will bring more cars to TAD, but it may bring some closer and obviously lower the cost of running the class.

    Some people want to leave shit alone and just go run their car the way it is or has been. I have lived my entire life idolizing these cars and I hope the class sticks around for the future.

    I have looked at the numbers and see problems. I have watched Comp and Pro Stock "leave it alone" to the point of near extinction. Top Alcohol isn't there yet, but it's on the same trajectory.

    Change isn't mandatory, but neither is survival.
     
    #31
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  12. kosky racing

    kosky racing Comp Eliminator

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    There is no doubt without people who want a real challange-shifting -leaving with the 2-pedals in unison-Drive a fuel car the challange is not there-let the flames begin!!!----And oh yes by the way i did drive a A-fuel car -a chassis I built myself that did win but not with me
     
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    Last edited: Jul 6, 2018
  13. rb0804

    rb0804 Member

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    @ Will, the OEM transmissions need to have the engine running on decel, even the ones with a “clean neutral” as they need fluid pressure on the front drum or it spins at something like 4x the speed of the driveshaft and can cause a transmission explosion. With the alcohol rules the way they are, the safety box will kill the engine, potentially causing a forward drum explosion. I’m not a transmission guy but when asked about the “clean neutral” transmissions it was explained that way.

    I would like to hear some views from the A/Fuel side, silence in my mind means they have it pretty good and don’t want change. I am also curious about why A/Fuelers can’t run a converter.
     
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  14. cknight

    cknight Member

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    Turbos! Did somebody say turbos??...........
     
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  15. kosky racing

    kosky racing Comp Eliminator

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    yes and blowers in the same breath
     
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  16. planbmotorsports

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    So you add autoshift to get more Top Dragster drivers to step up. The result is they jump in a car and they end up smoking the tires. Now the problem is that now they are in a top alcohol car that is hazing the tires but the increments are better then what their top dragster ran so they don’t lift. Then it shifts by itself and now we have at least one wrecked car maybe two.
     
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  17. Hemi101

    Hemi101 Member

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    I agree with Nick, the autoshift option to me...well how about no driver and have Tesla engineer all of us a self driving race car. We can throw whatever is left to "tune up humanly" and watch the car run from the stands. I cant believe any of you are considering this option that's what makes great drivers and wins races. EFI on the other hand I agree with Will it is the only thing mentioned in either class that would save a competitor money. This could be a potential performance advantage but would be available to both classes.

    Turbos are you guys nuts we already cant get along with A/fuel/TAD combo situation so let's add yet another combo to fight over. I'm not saying it wouldn't be cool don't get me wrong but sounds like a potential new class all together.

    I have been silently watching this for about a week before commenting, the biggest concern is car count for sure. I dont know of alot of TD guys looking to step up new rules or not. The travel is much more and then you have to go and find 6 crew people instead on one or two the list goes on and on. TAF versus FC like they do over seas I dont know the answer but reagardless of what is implemented its gonna cost money!
     
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  18. kosky racing

    kosky racing Comp Eliminator

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    Nothing says there are going to be changes-just some idea that class needs a change -not every ones sees that the class needs these changes-I being one of the no change
     
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  19. jeffj

    jeffj Member

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    Well, lets see;
    What does the driver want? (Winning)Runs in the car.
    What does the tuner want? (Winning) runs to sharpen the tuneup. The owner might want ($..) minimum runs and maximum results.
    All are hoping for bragging rights.
    NHRA always finds a way to cut qualifying runs (but not for the sponsored fuel classes; always four to our 2 or sometimes one; rarely the three that we paid for as per the schedule; baseball fans, what's the percentage on that fantasy?.....) It's like the third dinner date with a good looking girl......stupidly you have hope but in your heart you know you are being played...over and over.
    Now,
    Top Dragster.....they get easily double our runs in qualifying at most events and then they have a 5 to 6 round elimination program. Really about double the runs on the car in the same weekend. If you want to run a fast car and get some seat time it is a no brainer, make no mistake, this would be one of the big issues facing the class pulling T/D racers up to the alcohol ranks, the second being the travel to race due to the Bizarre rules/points/schedule that NHRA allows and promotes. It is a touring pro SET UP for all but the Indy centered teams (no offence to them, they are just lucky, red headed step children.)
    The travel time and budget for all others would be the entire budget for such an Indy based team. It takes deep pockets my friends. Count only 7 of 10 National events and 3 of 5 Regional events...look at the mileage for 15 events from main population centers.....to compete for the National points chase!
    At the same time the top dragster racer can have a very nice time running low 6 second passes at division tracks within a day's commute of home. It is a no brainer as to why they are not motivated to move up.
    Randy Goodwin; our deal was also the old 16 plug BAE 5's with one mag; I remember talking to you down south @ Pomona or Vegas way late at night when you got the wb right and it jumped from 5.70 to 5.50 and I paid a lot of attention to what we discussed for about an hour at 1 am....very cool if you like cars and performance.
    Jeff J
     
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  20. nikkammerer

    nikkammerer New Member

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    I believe Will has articulated the advantages and rationale for auto-shift quite well, and I would strongly support such rule adjustment. It is a mistake to believe that auto-shift unto itself is some type of magic box that results in a blind clown hopping into a TAD. The car still requires the driver to drive. If the tires spin or shake, you still have to respond quickly and correctly to that..."discretion is the better part of valor". I am sure some unfortunate soul will lack the decisiveness and discipline when paired with the rate of acceleration these cars introduce but that is nothing new and applies to AFD and BAD regardless of that scary auto-shift feature.

    I am not necessarily of the belief that TAD should become a long wheel base Pro Mod category so Turbos and Tranny changes may be reaching too far. EFI though is an intriguing attraction.

    Generically speaking, I also think that any rule adjustments, if ever made, should be incremental. This would allow you to better identify the positive or negative impact that a particular change is having. Making wide-sweeping modifications to a particular category all at one time may not produce the intended result of increasing car counts and/or reducing expenses.

    At the end of the day, we need to infuse the pipeline with some new blood while still keeping the great blood that has been flowing thru the category for years and years. Being static is not going to accomplish that goal so there has to be some alternative to the status quo that is amenable to existing racers and encouraging to new ones.

    I understand the reservations current TA teams have with making changes, which is why I think you take baby steps in an effort to grow the category. It is my hope that small adjustments now could result in improved category health so we avoid the risk of needing drastic changes in future. In my heart, I want TAD to remain recognizable to all of us who have grown up around it for decades.
     
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    Last edited: Jul 8, 2018

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