Changes to Autocross PAX

Date

March 23, 2012 by Brian Ghidinelli

Autocrossing Mustang by Randy_fThe recent introduction of three new indexed classes from SCCA National (RTA, RTR and RTF) have led us to a lot of discussion about PAX support in MotorsportReg.com. This is not an SCCA-specific issue as many BMW CCA and PCA groups also have indexed classes for their autocrosses. I won't say we have been wrong for the last ~five years since adding class modifiers, but we certainly could have been more right.

Our current implementation is largely based around working backwards from the need to export a class like "NSS" (which might be short for Novice - Super Stock) to timing and scoring software such as AxWare. We capture the class and then allow the participant to optionally indicate which indexed class they would like to compete in. It looks like:

How we support PAX today

ASL: Autocross as a Second Language

What's been lost in the translation is that the indexed class, Novice in this example, is not actually in addition to whatever class they're picking but rather it is the class they are entering. It took an hour-long phone call with Darrin Disimo who writes software for SCCA Pro Solo and National Tour events to disambiguate the use of the word "class". There's class, PAX class, indexed class, base class, multiplier class and about ten more variations that came up during our call.

What's funny is that this isn't because we don't know anything about autocross. We have a reasonable amount of autocross experience under our belts but not from the timing and scoring perspective which caused us to miss the subtlety.

In effect, we don't want one dropdown with all of the regular classes and one with the indexed classes, what we want is one drop down with all of the regular classes and the indexed classes and a second drop down with just the regular classes (those that have a multiplier). Something that looks like this:

How PAX support ought to look tomorrow

The Solution

Well, we can't be having that, now can we? So, here's what we're doing about it! First, we're going to talk about these things consistently:

  • Class - this is the class of the participant whether it is Indexed or non-Indexed. Examples from the SCCA world would include SS (non-indexed Super Stock) and RTA (indexed Road Tire AWD)
  • Class Modifier AKA PAX - this is the multiplier that will be used by your T&S; software to calculate the indexed time. Generally speaking this will be all of your non-indexed classes (everything you currently have listed as "Classes" today).

In the next few days, we are going to be making significant enhancements to class modifiers (AKA PAX) and we plan to automagically migrate your existing classes and registrations to use the new approach unless you opt out. Here's a table of today vs. tomorrow and what it means to you:

CurrentNext Week
Enter indexed classes as Class Modifiers under Club Profile Enter indexed classes as regular ole' Classes under Club Profile. It's the actual class in which the person is competing.
Duplicate numbers in Indexed class Because indexed classes will be just regular classes, numbers can be reserved and kept unique in class. If you allow #51 in both SS and BS, this change will also allow #51 in Pro, Novice and Ladies.
Modifier abbreviation is limited to 1 character Modifier abbreviation is limited to 25 characters just like Classes. Pick whatever you want, but remember, it will be appended to your Indexed class abbreviation.
Modifiers are all-or-nothing; there is no way to turn them on/off per event like Classes Modifiers can be checked and unchecked on a per-event basis just like Classes and Groups. Only allow modifiers for certain events (like schools, Novice or Ladies only events)
Modifier is optional and some people don't select one New validation rule allows specifying the modifier dropdown is required if they pick an Indexed class. If someone picks Novice, Pro or Ladies (as an example) in the class dropdown, require a class modifier/PAX
Not all Class and PAX combinations are valid New validation rule allows specifying that only certain modifiers are a valid selection for a given Indexed class. If someone picks "Novice" in the class dropdown, force them to only pick one of the stock classes in the modifier/PAX dropdown.
T&S; software looks for data like PAX + Class (e.g., Novice + SS = 'NSS') The AxWare report will change to use Class + PAX so you still download 'NSS'. You must use the AxWare reports listed under "Assignments" in the report center. If you save a custom version you will lose the update and header translation.1

These changes will provide first-class support for indexed classes and PAX in MotorsportReg.com and hopefully make it easier to get your events started on time in the mornings.

On a side note since so many solo groups do season passes, we will be adding the ability to clone entries from one event to another so you can take a pre-season registration for all of your events and simply copy the driver(s) into the appropriate events for the season.

What You Need To Do

Nothing, maybe.

The auto-migration will take a snapshot of your current classes, then migrate your Indexed classes to regular Classes, and then make a copy of the snapshot as Modifiers. What you have listed in Classes will be almost the same as what is listed in Class Modifiers plus the Indexed classes that we migrate. Here's a sample of what you might have today and what you will have next week:

 TodayNext Week
Modifiers/PAX P/Pro, N/Novice, L/Ladies... SCCA regions will have ~75 official classes ranging from SS to F125. BMW, Porsche and independent groups will have a copy of whatever classes are currently under "Classes".
Classes SCCA regions have ~75 official classes ranging from SS to F125. Other groups will have whatever class structure they run. Whatever classes you have today plus the Modifiers/PAX you have today.

If you do not want this to happen, please let us know. We will perform the update early next week on all Solo customers who do not opt out. We have also sent an email directly to all organizations who are using PAX today with this same information.


1 - Saving a copy of the AxWare report loses the header translation? Yes, and we know that's lame. We're almost done with phase one of a reporting update. The second phase will let you customize the headers so this isn't lost as you modify a report

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