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Jan 19, 2001

Formula USA Holds Big Mac Conference For Officials

Race Directors, Referees and Safety Directors from all regions of the country are meeting today in Fort Worth, Texas at the start of a three-day National Operational Summit designed to streamline and standardize at-race operations at Formula USA and CCS events nationwide. Formula USA and CCS are owned by SFX Motor Sports Group, part of SFX, which in turn is a subsidiary of Clear Channel Communications. SFX claims to be "the world's largest promoter, producer and presenter of live entertainment events."

According to a press release issued by SFX Motor Sports Group, "The focus of the first annual Formula USA summit is continuity of the Formula USA program nationwide, communication, customer service, and of course safety. The first of its kind program will fly in dozens of full-time and part-time officials well in advance of the season, resulting in a cohesive race management team creating a familiar, quality expectation for both racers and spectators at CCS and National Road Race events."

The release quoted SFX Motor Sports Group Road Race Manager Ken Abbott as saying "This is an attempt to unify all of our CCS regions and associates nationwide to insure that the programs from one region to another are consistent. We are also trying to raise the bar for safety and develop consistent safety procedures when dealing with anything from fallen riders, weather-related decisions, or pit road and paddock speeds. We also want to instill the entertainment value of what we do week-in and week-out. If we concentrate on having fun, and providing quality entertainment for spectators, with the participation of riders, teams and sponsors, then we will see the sport grow exponentially over the next few years."

Asked if the Big Mac Theory will be discussed at the summit, SFX Motor Sports Group Director of Road Racing Bill Syfan answered "Yes. That's what it's all about."

The Big Mac Theory holds that a major reason why people go to McDonald's is because they know that the Big Mac will look and taste the same no matter where they are, from New York City to Tokyo. Applied to road racing, the Big Mac Theory states that all functions at a given organization's events should be the same and predictable at all its races, regardless of region, including sign-up and tech procedures, the time between first and final calls to the grid, officiating, penalties, etc.

The Big Mac Theory was formulated by Roadracing World Editor John Ulrich in 1994, following a series of incidents in which his racebike would pass tech in one region but not in another region of the same sanctioning body, despite being identically prepared in all cases.