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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Loss of Safety Rating

iRacing has a unique system to make sure drivers are qualified (somewhat) to drive the cars that they are driving. The system is called safety rating and it measures how frequently a driver has an incident. Go off the track and it is a 1x, spin out and it is a 2x, and have moderate to heavy contact with another driver and it is a 4x. When a driver starts out they have a rookie license and if the driver drives safe enough they will progress up the system and that system goes with a D license,, then C, B  and then finally A.

The rating system works with numbers and the highest a driver can get is a A license with a SR of 4.99. However, once a driver hits A there really isn't anything else to work for. Granted, should a driver go below 1.00 the will be demoted to B. Myself, I've been at A 4.99 for a good while, that is up until the string of races I've had in the past four days.

My past six or so races have been a disaster. If there's been an incident I was either in it or a part of it. Two races I haven't even seen turn two of lap one! Because of this string of crashes my safety rating is down to the 4.50 range and that has been troubling me as much as the 500 iRating that I've lost.

Here's the thing though, safety rating, once a driver is at the A level, doesn't mean that much and yet each time on the race results screen I see my name with a -.17 safety rating and I cringe. In the back of my mind I know that number doesn't mean anything and yet I don't want to lose it. I don't know, perhaps this is simply human nature in not wanting to lose anything that is in our possession and if so the SR system is designed perfectly.

I am better than I used to be in handling losing rating points. In my first couple months of really being into iRacing a bad race would haunt me for several days as I thought about how hard I would have to work to get it back. Because of this iRacing was more like a job that had a workload that I couldn't complete and that blinded me to the reason why I enjoy iRacing so much and that is the side-by-side racing that it offers. Granted, those two races I've done that I didn't get to see turn two angered me, but thankfully it didn't shake me into a sabbatical this time.

I've used iRacing quite a few times in my blogs and each time I try to translate it into something that sheds more light on the autism spectrum and in this instance I really want to stress the point that we on the spectrum can have a hard time with imperfection or the loss of points on whatever is being scored. I can remember in 7th grade I had a streak for most of the 1st semester of 100% every paper and test in social studies. Grades were never important for me as school was a terrifying experience, but having that 100% streak became important. Then, there was a test that had a couple of trick questions and I missed two items on it and the perfection streak was over. I went from over caring to giving up instantly. I couldn't see that a couple tests each semester had huge amounts of extra credit that would off-set those missed questions because I was so blinded by the here and now.

Moving forward I always have to try and shake off the here and now. In life, if we measure everything based on each singular event then life can get rather overwhelming. I'm guilty of falling into this trap as I always have said, "you're only as good as your most recent..." and with that mentality when the going gets tough there's nothing to fall back on. In the mind of those on the spectrum there is no gray area so truly and also there can be a sense of a "everything is now" mentality so that means, when there's a bad outing, or a race lasts one turn, that is the sum of everything and nothing will be good again.

I hope this has brought a little bit more understanding to the potential reasons why some of us on the spectrum are perfectionists and why a bad outing can cause so much stress. I'm moving forward and I can't wait to get back on the track tonight and hopefully I can at least see lap two in the races I do this evening.

By the way, if you haven't voted in the Monsanto "Grow Saint Louis" contest could I ask you to do so? You can get there by clicking on the icon on the upper right of this page and then search by "TouchPoint." It only takes a few seconds, but the rewards to where I work are huge. If we win it's worth $15,000 and that money will help us continue to spread autism awareness and understanding. Thank you!!!

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