So, as some people know and most do not… I took over the reins of a racing series here in Indiana called the Southern Indiana Racing Association.
Now, this may be a bunch of self-promotion, but I wanted to kind of chronicle this journey as a lot of people really don’t know the sheer amount of work that goes on with the promotion side of things.
I hope this is ok @KartingIsLife but if it isn’t, let me know.
Over the next day or so I’m going to give a brief history of the club and the challenges they’ve faced over the last few years, along with what I’ve done since I took charge in mid-November to now.
Congrats on this! This series has a pretty unique history of putting on some cool races. I remember it attracting a lot of entires and some substantial talent in the 2000’s. Reflecting back on that, it’s crazy how much more localized karting was at the time (at least around here), as certain SIRA events were a “must race” for national competitors in the area. Looking forward to more background and history, as well as hearing about your goals and aspirations for the series!
I love the idea of sharing the story of this journey. it will be interesting to see the perspective of the organizer\director. I feel protective of Tkc, for example, as the directors of that series are friends that I have raced for years. This is like asking the reader to be a pal and consider the experience through their eyes.
I don’t have all of the historical documents. I’m supposed to take possession of a lot of stuff at some point in time.
I started with SIRA as a participant in 1996. We raced with them a number of years, I went and did the young adult stuff for a while and came back to racing and the club in 2017.
Some of this is research conjecture.
Southern Indiana Racing Inc was legally formed in Indiana in 1969 as a busniess.
Southern Indiana Racing Association was formed in 1975 as a non-profit from the previous named entity.
They’ve continually operated for over 50 years at tracks, parking lots, street races and so on.
There was a rift shortly after my original departure in the mid-late 2000’s between groups of racers. Indy Karting Series was formed due to “we should do it this way” or some such thing. The series ran against each other for a number of years. I’m not sure how long this went on, but it was over before I came back. SIRA won the battle of longevity and lives on while IKS is just a fond memory for folks.
In 2020, we almost died. Covid, pandemic, lock downs, oh my. Towns freaking out about the thing caused races to be cancelled. They managed to have three events. They survived and had a good 2021 and 2022.
2023… Ah, the year of insurance massacring street races and putting places out of business. They pulled one street race exception and two track races off and survived again… barely…
Hey, Burpo, no one wants to do this… We’re all pretty much done because we’ve been doing it for decades… If you don’t do it, we’re going to end up shutting down.
Burpo is elected new SIRA President at the rules meeting attended by eight whole people.
Revamp, modernize and improve on everything.
We have a board. Every decision goes through a “How about this? I’d rather it be this. I don’t like that. Whatever, this is what we’re doing.” type of a process.
At the end of the day, I basically got to hand pick my people and we all have the overall same vision and decisions ultimately come down to will more people appreciate it than will hate it.
Changes Here as I list them.
The class structure was in major need of an overhaul in terms of classes and names. We’re moving to a more national/regional structure.
Traditionally, you got an ok amount of track time, but not what I consider meaningful track time. We would start late, have a bunch of practice and do qual and a heat. Repeat on Sunday with a bunch of practice and a feature.
Moving forward I’ve opted to follow a more national style program:
Saturday: Practice x3, Qual, Heat
Sunday: Warmup, Pre-final, Final
We’re going away from.randon practice lengths and trying to figure out how many laps to run based on lap times and whatever else they used to decide to the time format. Practice, Qual, and Warmup is straight time… Races are time +2 laps.
I feel this is the best meaningful track time to entry fee format.
One thing as an objective, uninformed outsider is what does SIRA want to be. Do you want to be a regional karting series, or aspire to a national style format?
I ask it because a two day format for a regional series can cut two ways.
We’re based in Indiana and have sometimes ventured a bit into the surrounding states. This year, it’s 100% in Indiana.
I don’t think you can compare this series to series you would normally sort into state, regional, or national. If I HAD to pick, I’d place it as a step between club and regional… maybe…
We’re a temporary course series. Street races, parking lots, etc.
It’s really it’s own category.
It’s ran the two day format for a decade or more. We’re focusing that two day format into a more structured and competition driven format versus what it was. Spending two days at an event for a ten lap heat and a 15-20 lap feature isn’t my idea of good value.
We tossed about the idea of running double headers with each day being it’s own event with practice x2, qual, heat, feature, but that would put us tearing down an entire track, loading barriers, etc. after finishing the day way later. With this format we’re using, we’re wrapping up racing at about 3:30 on Sunday so everyone can go home. At least, that’s the idea!
I like the idea of getting everyone on the road earlier, one thing I wish more series did.
The 2 day format sounds good in principal, but may need some refinement to hit your value for money target.
A series entirely built around temporary circuits is really cool and unique, but man is that a lot of work and overhead.
This sounds like fun.
Where in southern Indiana will this take place?
It is quite a bit of work!
Look for the races to be in Indy, the Anderson area, and the Columbus area this year.
So far, Burpo has announced 2 races. Both at CERAland park in Columbus, Indiana. Two of the coolest races in existence:
First one on the “track” the park has:
Second one on the world famous street track:
100% OK, that’s why we’re here … Behind the scenes stories of what it takes to put on an event. Self promotion is OK… if it provides value to the community and this certainly does that. I havent had time to read this topic yet, but I certainly noticed a new image and more SIRA stuff in my FB newsfeed.
Just announced an Indianapolis Speedrome race? Could be a cool layout
It will be. We have a few options, but it’s gonna be big and fast.
Hot dog! The Speedrome is right around the corner from me. Let’s just run the figure eight config with a ramp or two and any insurance problems can just work themselves out on track
Speedrome? Wow, that’s super cool! I raced legends cars there as a teenager. What tire is SIRA going to use for 206 classes?
I am not the official answer, but historically SIRA has been open tire. I am optimistic these new sticky MG reds will be good enough so I can run them with the series. Otherwise, you will see most folks on Hoosier R60As or R60Bs.
We’re open brand/open compound until someone writes a check that says otherwise.
Hell yeah! Rare to see the bubble top / back legends in the winners circle. Notorious for being diabolical to set up. Love the Kasey Kahne motif!
Thanks! Yeah, we went with the Dodge body and that paint scheme because we were sponsored by our local Dodge dealer. Their body shop did the paint for us. That photo is from 2001. Good times… fun car… I got really good at repairing fiberglass