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MCA - please get your HPDE act together - the story of my first and last MCA event

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Duane Black

Curbs go brrrppp
583
422
Exp. Type
Time Attack
Exp. Level
5-10 Years
Durham, NC
I hope everyone had fun and got home safely.

I get that we are all volunteers. I get that its a big event.

And I know this will ruffle feathers. I never tried to tell anyone off during the event, although I wanted to.

i hope these grievanves are addressed and fixed in the future.

The ONLY good thing is that for Very/Super Advanced, once we got our windshield mark and wristband, I felt it was another track day and things went great

Now, for some venting...


This group owes us an apology.

I wasnt rude to anyone, I got abrupt but not necessarily rude.... this was the worst organized event I've ever run.

You know its spicy when the drivers meeting starts with (paraphrased quote) "Who is here to have fun, and who is here to biznitch and moan?"

2 emails were sent pre event....

Apparently, some followed the schedule posted on MSR and a different schedule was posted on the email. I didnt get impacted, I checked at registration which was right.

I was in the group following email instructions to get to the trailer lot Friday to register. We were then sent to a spectator lot to await going to paddock. The event email said to do this to avoid having too much traffic in paddock. Screenshot attached.

After doing EXACTLY as instructed and entering paddock when instructed to do so, we were told that registration and tech was closed and we were late... so some others raised hell, a few left... MCA relented and started teching cars and helmets.

At this point, the simplest of things was screwed up. They just handed you a number corresponding with when you signed the waiver. I have literally never, in 55 events, seen a group that wasnt competent enough to use the numbers in MSR and let you run the number you want. So permanent number cars had to put an X over them.

Its a simple thing, but for some of us... numbers are a good luck charm, or have meaning... people have stickers honoring passed friends by car number. Taking away a number because its too complicated for you is unexcusable.

I did notice a few cars not running the green numbers given, though

If multiple ppl want the same number, MSR has options for 2nd and 3rd choice number.

After this, I was told 2 different places to park based on RV hookup, if my tire trailer made me a single car or a trailered car...

The instructors meeting never happened. I feel terrible for the novices who signed up and they ended up just getting 4 sessions behind a paced car at charity lap speeds. I'd have been pissed.

The drivers meeting begins with the aforementioned bit of us being told to apologize to the woman at registration because it wasn't her fault and apparently she is a volunteer and someone importants wife... I guess its okay to mistreat her if she is no one importants wife?

Then there was the roll call for wristbands and windshield tape... and I had to run somekne down for my tape.

Several Advanced drivers lost track time because they were standing in a line waiting for tape and a wrist band.

The guy handing out wristbands said "well you shouldn't be in a hurry to get on track, its cold anyway, your tires will not make any grip and its dangerous"

Excuse me. But we paid $375 for the track today. Your inability to be organized isnt our fault.

And for what its worth, no one asked to see my wristband all day.

After this, I tried to be nice. I never told anyone any of this since they didnt appear in any mood to hear it.

Hopefully, this helps others decide if they wish to run with MCA again.

Screenshot_20240407_222440_Acrobat for Samsung.jpg
 
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1,212
1,213
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
5-10 Years
Lenoir City TN
It was chaotic and I feel your frustration. I was one of the advanced group drivers that lost time waiting for a wrist band and for them to check my name off a list. Once I was handed a wrist band I headed for my car without waiting for them to check me off. I assumed they would figured out I was there. I don’t think we connected the event. Maybe we’ll meet in the future at an event with another organization.
 

TMSBOSS

Spending my pension on car parts and track fees.
7,574
5,311
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
10-20 Years
Illinois
Part of me wanted to make the drive. Glad I didn‘t.
Barber is a fantastic facility with several organizations that do an amazing job putting on events. MCA should have contacted one of the and “Borrowed” a consultant at least or contracted them to run the event the event. I have heard MCA is not an HPDE friendly group which likely lead to their issues. They either need to get in all the way, or get out.
 
1,212
1,213
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
5-10 Years
Lenoir City TN
Part of me wanted to make the drive. Glad I didn‘t.
Barber is a fantastic facility with several organizations that do an amazing job putting on events. MCA should have contacted one of the and “Borrowed” a consultant at least or contracted them to run the event the event. I have heard MCA is not an HPDE friendly group which likely lead to their issues. They either need to get in all the way, or get out.
I was there all 3 days. We arrived Thursday afternoon and left Sunday afternoon. The sad thing is they did utilize an outside group for the Track and Autocross events, although they were under the direction of a high level MCA person ( I am not going to call anyone out by name). Most of the issues I saw were related to lack of communication and the volunteers not knowing what was going on. Registration problems were squarely on MCA. Goody bags, T-shirts etc. were not handed out at registration when you signed the waiver and were given your gate access band. I only found out they were in the garage area registration table at the Track on Saturday. I heard that they had them in the vendor area at the MCA tent and sent them over to the track later. If a friend would not have over heard the information I would not have known to stop by and pick mine up.

I am familiar with the group that was running the HPDE and believe that most of the issues were the result of MCA people and not their group. They were under MCA's direction. For example, the delay Saturday morning getting wristbands to get on track was due to the MCA person deciding to take attendance by checking you off his list after the first call to grid. I heard this was due to having more cars on track Friday than were registered. Attendance was not taken Friday and if you were at the drivers meeting you were handed a wrist band and run group sticker for whatever group you said you were in, nobody checked to see if you were registered. Friends in Novice and intermediate said they were given their wristbands without having to wait and be checked off by the MCA official. Not sure why some groups were held up and others were not.

Despite the frustrations it was still Barber and the weather was good. You can't expect a group that includes a track event in a couple of their car shows a year to be good at it.
 
899
548
I do not attend MCA track events because of how poorly they are run and the general attitude that they are doing you some huge favor. I also disagree that they should be cut some slack because they only run a couple of events per year. The SVT Cobra Club only ran a couple of events per year in the first decade I participated and they were always well run and organized events.
 
31
15
Exp. Level
3-5 Years
Spanish Fort, AL
Yeah it was a great weekend, but I was disappointed by the lack of organization and some staff commentary in the Friday and Saturday drivers' meetings. Perhaps one of the more significant comments was that open passing in advanced and super advanced was considered "racing" by their insurance group?

Also, all of us in the advanced group were chastised on Saturday afternoon (session was black flagged and we were brought to pit lane) for multiple cars passing on random point-bys on the back straight, but there were 2-3 cars cruising like they were on parade laps. If a driver keeps their arm out the window running 60mph on the back straight, why shouldn't you pass? Most track groups would have adjusted such cars back to novice solo or intermediate with "xx" on the rear windshield if the vehicle needed sorted out.

I hope things can be improved, as I want to be involved with such a group again. Even with all the frustrations mentioned above, I have rarely enjoyed my track time more in the last decade than running with that group of Mustangs. I have been watching my raw video, and the pit lane lineups with all that rumble is a great memory that I'm going to cherish. See you on the track soon!
 

steveespo

Lord knows I'm a Voodoo Child
Moderator
4,047
2,024
Exp. Type
W2W Racing
Exp. Level
10-20 Years
Cookeville TN
I think I posted earlier in the event thread that these are "Events" not track days. This one was a little less organized than the other 4 MCA events I have done but not more than expected. Losing track time there should be no excuse for, driver wrist bands should have been issued with the event packet in Lot G color coded by group. Then only tech should have been done in the paddock. Too much was made of tech by the organizers. They were looking at full on race cars asking about date codes on slicks and questioning whether polycarbonate windshields could be run. Just take the filled out and signed tech forms and do a quick look at the car to verify it has seat belts and decent treaded tires for street cars. No racer is going to risk a $40,000-$140,000 race Mustang with old brake fluid and corded tires. Much confusion and time wasted on this. Novice group behind a pace car for ALL sessions?? Ludicrous. Fine if you want to do that first session of each day, but with instructors in the seat no reason not to allow owners to try and get better as track drivers. For the amount of cars on track there was only the usual amount of accidents over the three days.
Passing restrictions were loosened up for Super duper group but could have been the same for Advanced. We in Super are more than capable of passing anywhere with point by required, but couldn't win that argument.

Now for the positive.
Have you ever seen so many great Mustangs in one place, on track and off?
Did you not see fellow Mustang enthusiasts you haven't seen in a long time, all at the same event? Dinners were fantastic as was the paddock atmosphere.
Is Barber not one of the best, toughest laps you have ever run? Love this track, only my second time there and at 3.5 hours from home will spend more days there.
Did you not meet new friends that happen to be friends with other friends of yours. I expanded my network of track rats by about 7 people.
Manufacturers display paddock was full of great cars, Ford should have brought a swag trailer not just the car display. They would have sold a ton of shirts and hats etc.

So yes, we need to help the organizers for the next big event, which will be the MCA 60th in 2026. I will be sending suggestions to the club and the guys who ran the event to make it more like a Chin event. Controlled but fluid. So make some constructive suggestions and we can forward an email from our group collectively. We are after all track Mustangs Online, the name says it all.
Steve
 
1,212
1,213
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
5-10 Years
Lenoir City TN
I think I posted earlier in the event thread that these are "Events" not track days. This one was a little less organized than the other 4 MCA events I have done but not more than expected. Novice group behind a pace car for ALL sessions?? Ludicrous. Fine if you want to do that first session of each day, but with instructors in the seat no reason not to allow owners to try and get better as track drivers. For the amount of cars on track there was only the usual amount of accidents over the three days.
Passing restrictions were loosened up for Super duper group but could have been the same for Advanced. We in Super are more than capable of passing anywhere with point by required, but couldn't win that argument.
You did warn everyone on the event thread. I just didn't think it would be as disorganized as it was. Tech admitted they only cared about tire date codes, glass, and helmet certifications. I guess MCA was calling the shots on this one. They didn't care about anything else, which was strange for me. I have never had anyone look at date codes before.

The Novice group drivers should be upset for what they received for their entry fees. There was no in car instruction or class room instruction. There were multiple instructor/pace cars. A group of 3-5 cars were assigned to follow them around the track for all days. They learned absolutely nothing. Drivers that had a little track experience were bored and brand new drivers were following blindly without any consideration to lines or technique.

Passing rules were much tighter than usual and should have been communicated before the first drivers meeting. At least we would have known what we signed up for. Flagging was not what I am used to seeing at Barber. I wonder if MCA provided some of their own corner workers?

I agree on your positives. Barber is a great track and seeing an all Mustang field doesn't happen every day. I met a lot of good people and overall had a good time. I will think twice before signing up for another MCA event thought after this.
 
1,212
1,213
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
5-10 Years
Lenoir City TN
Well at least it looks like they are learning a little from their previous events. This is an excerpt from the email for their Ozarks event later this month.

Numbers are driver responsiblity and must be displayed on both sides of car, numbers can be purchased as part of the registration.

That at least solves the problem with them sticking numbers are cars that have permanent numbers.
 
106
25
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
5-10 Years
New England
Its a simple thing, but for some of us... numbers are a good luck charm, or have meaning... people have stickers honoring passed friends by car number. Taking away a number because its too complicated for you is unexcusable.

So maybe this is just an old school mentality, but I have never expected our would expect to be able to use a fixed number for a HPDE event. It is a nice accommodation if provided, but I would never fault an organization for not providing it. To me, race cars (competition) get fixed numbers. The one exception would be using your race car at an HPDE event. But even then how hard is it to use the provided number?
 
1,212
1,213
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
5-10 Years
Lenoir City TN
A lot of the HPDE organizations in the Southeast do not supply car numbers. They confirm your number prior to the event so you can number it yourself. They use Motorsportsreg.com to keep track of registrations for their events. Motorsportsreg lets you list 3 numbers in order of preference and the organization's use them when assigning numbers. If you first choice is not available they tell you ahead of time. NASA has their own registration system, but uses a similar system of assigning numbers based on preference and order of registration.

The problem with MCA assigning numbers to cars with permanent numbers is it is confusing to the corner workers and drivers. Corner stations see the big numbers on the doors and note them. MCA has a list of cars with the small numbers they stuck on someones quarter windows so they do not know which is the offending car. Also, when number boards are used by corner workers drivers do not always recognize the last minute number change to their car.

Tech at Barber did some of each. In my case they noted on their list my permanent numbers and did not affix the small numbers they had ready. In other cases they stuck numbers on cars that had permanent numbers. There was no consistency in how it was done.
 

JDee

Ancient Racer
1,819
2,020
Exp. Type
W2W Racing
Exp. Level
20+ Years
5 miles from Mosport
Up in the great white north my experience is that nobody, except race cars, runs numbers at track days. Probably has to do with what went on a few years ago when the cops were hanging out near the track looking for "unsafe vehicles". They got a lot of bad press for that, and it stopped. You can slap a number on if you want, but not many street cars bother.
 

steveespo

Lord knows I'm a Voodoo Child
Moderator
4,047
2,024
Exp. Type
W2W Racing
Exp. Level
10-20 Years
Cookeville TN
Up in the great white north my experience is that nobody, except race cars, runs numbers at track days. Probably has to do with what went on a few years ago when the cops were hanging out near the track looking for "unsafe vehicles". They got a lot of bad press for that, and it stopped. You can slap a number on if you want, but not many street cars bother.
Most clubs and tracks east of the Mississippi require all cars to have numbers on them to identify. Some tracks won't allow duplicates in the same run group, some not at all even in different run groups.
 

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