Racing today has followed what has become the American Throwaway Society. A throw-away society is a human society strongly influenced by consumerism. The term describes a critical view of over consumption and excessive productions of disposable items. Part of it is economics, part of it is laziness, part of it just a sign of the times, and part of this societal problem is the loss of hands on knowledge.
How many racers today know how to weld their own cars, build their own engines, design their own chassis, make their own How many racers today know how to weld their own cars, build their own engines, design their own chassis, make their own square tube bender? Very few, in fact most people racing today are just what the word above describes consumers. It is like going to the store picking up the product you desire. In today’s world racers are doing just that going to the chassis builders dropping their sums of cash and picking up their racecar, assuming everything is done correctly to the rules and to safety. The same applies with parts for racecars and in some ways this is also a sign of the times, go online, place your order, and within a couple of days the parts arrive at your door.? Very few, in fact most people racing today are just what the word above describes consumers. It is like going to the store picking up the product you desire. In today’s world racers are doing just that going to the chassis builders dropping their sums of cash and picking up their racecar, assuming everything is done correctly to the rules and to safety. The same applies with parts for racecars and in some ways this is also a sign of the times, go online, place your order, and within a couple of days the parts arrive at your door.
Tear something up on the racecar, just order another part, if the part fails just order another part, or the one which has been observed recently is a chassis builder sells you a car but the car has manufacturing flaw and the upper A arm destroys your shock, well guess what, we will sell you another part so that doesn’t happen. What? Would you buy a new car like this? In fact, we do but guess what they are covered under warranty and recalls are part of our life and they do not cost us money! Shouldn’t racecars from chassis builders be covered in the same way? Instead of selling me a part because of your design flaw, shouldn’t the chassis builder be required to replace the flawed part?
This same issue applies with rules. Again part of the American Throwaway Society the Modified world has run out of American made frames, so what do we do, we ship our metal overseas to China, the Chinese replicate the frame and send the parts back to chassis builders in America. That is all great EXCEPT the chassis builders then put the parts of the frame together where they want them instead of what was intended with the rules and what was originally manufactured.
In essence they don’t care about rules, they don’t care about the racer except for their money, and even more they don’t care about racing because this selfishness is doing nothing but cheating the sport. But that leads us back to the throwaway society, many racers purchase these chassis’ spending their hard earned money on a racecar which does not pass the tech man’s gauges. The chassis builder has their money so they don’t care. Rules makers are forced to create options in the name of fairness, but what should happen – there should be a recall forced on the chassis maker to correct any flaws, any safety issues, and any issues which directly conflict with sanction body rules!
This is especially becoming an issue with the advent of the B Mod and now the E Mod. Incorrect chassis’ are being passed down to other racers in which the racer has no idea the chassis is not rule correct!
Chassis are only part of the equation; you have to have a motor to make things go! How many people have spent thousands of dollars in this arena only to get a few laps out of motor? I personally experienced this years ago with crankshafts, fool me once shame on you fool me twice shame on me! Yep it happened I got four laps out of each motor I built with this same company doing the crankshafts. The difference in time was five years but the results were exactly the same, guess what, never did business with that company again. Shouldn’t we be doing the same thing with motors. Maybe if there was some kind of lap guarantee per racing engine, then maybe engine builders would be even more cautious. This kind of non-guarantee on engines has allowed in the crate motors which are allowed in almost all series. The equality is not always there on crate versus open motors but the crate motor filled the throwaways society indulgence. The newest ideas are to take these damaged crates and allow them as open motors. Let’s face it the crate motors and their lower costs are keeping some people in racing who would be long! It might not be long before we see someone introduce a totally crate class, this would allow everyone to compete on a fair engine basis.
Which brings me to the next to last point of this blog, throwaway knowledge. Maybe it is just me but with more and more people purchasing everything in racing there is a loss of knowledge on how things work! Sure we have new technology which puts things are our finger tips, youtube for example. But real hands on experience is it going by the wayside, being thrown away? I applaud some of the young people in racing today, Austin and Houston Johnson are outstanding in doing their setups and sheet metal work, Austin Charles is outstanding in learning his racecars and how to work on all parts of the car (credit goes to Tom Charles for teaching him), Chris Littrell has taken over for his father in the machine shop, so there is hope for the future. But how much knowledge is being passed down from the old guys to the new guys on how and why engines and chassis work? Too many times I see the old guys doing the work when we need to be mentoring the young guys, have them do the work and ask the questions.
The last point is the loss of ingenuity! Over the years racing has brought us new and different items for our everyday cars. If we continue this throwaway mentality, we in essence or losing our ingenuity and when we lose ingenuity we quit learning. When we quit learning we let countries outside of the United States become smarter and more logical than us. Isn’t it time we take a stand in racing and return to our roots?