Here are described the 10 specialties that make up the volunteer corp at a club race. Don't forget, a lot of planning went into each event also, and those volunteers are not always seen at the track. They are no less valued than any other!
At any event, the first people that the drivers, workers, vendors, media, and guests meet are the Registrars. Before the race the Chief Registrar receives and catalogs the entry forms. Pre-race material is organized for Timing and Scoring. Waivers, drivers’ packets, and entry lists are prepared. Note: the harder the Registrar works before the event, the smoother Registration will go once the doors open. When it’s 7 a.m. and 250 drivers and crew members are already in line, you’d better be ready. Once Registration is open, the Registrars greet all participants and issue them the appropriate credentials.
People with a passion for cars can deal with the latest technology of formula cars or the basic mechanics of classic production cars if they become Scrutineers (Tech Inspectors). Every car that is raced must undergo an annual technical inspection, which gives the Scrutineer an opportunity to talk with the owner or crew and really look the car over. The driver’s safety gear is also checked at the same time. At each event, the Scrutineer must verify that the annual tech has been done and issue an event tech sticker, allowing the driver to go on the track.
After an on-track incident, the Tech crew must examine any damage. After each on-track session, the cars may be impounded and spot-checked to ensure compliance with the car specs or event rules.
Being a Grid Marshal gives a person a special opportunity to talk to the drivers while they are on the Grid waiting their turn to go out on the track. It’s another role where the right attitude can make for a better experience for both the official and the driver or crew. Before the five-minute warning, the relaxed atmosphere leads to friendly banter, but once the drivers begin to get ready, it’s all business. The Grid Workers make sure everyone is using all the required personal safety equipment, sometimes even offering a helping hand as the drivers get ready to go.
Since many SCCA races include practice and qualifying sessions before the races, many drivers spend time in the Pits making adjustments to the cars. The Pits can become a busy place with cars and people on the move. Pit Marshals direct traffic, ensure the safety of the driver and crew, and check that the car is ready to return to the track before it leaves the Pit Lane. Sometimes Pit Marshals put out small fires, make sure that no one crawls under a car without a jack stand, and check on a reported oil or coolant leak. Pit Marshals are also responsible for directing cars into the paddock and back onto the track in a safe manner.
F&C is probably the most visible specialty, partially because it is also usually the largest in size and also because the F&C staff is much more out in the open than the other specialties. Stationed strategically around the course, the white-clad Flaggers communicate with the drivers through the use of brightly colored flags and hand signals. They also communicate with the Operating Stewards via radio. F&C personnel are the first responders to any on-track incident and recommend the appropriate assistance to safely resolve the situation.
Without a doubt, Flaggers have the best overall view of the race and are located in areas where, if things do go wrong, they can respond quickly to provide a push or assist a driver to move to a safer position.
All eyes are on the Starter holding the flag at the beginning and the end of the race, but waving the green and the checker flags is just a small part of what Starters do. They maintain the lap count and elapsed time for the session, follow the race order by charting the race, and, as if that were not enough, they act as a flag station, performing many of the same tasks of that specialty.
If you are a doctor, nurse, EMT, firefighter, or just really handy with tools we have a place for you.
We teach you the witchcraft of fire suppression, if you have the interest. We show you how to have eyes in the back of your head, useful with small children. We are the frontline team that brings all the toys, we cut cars, put out fires, tow what is left of wrecked cars, and assist the hired guns in the ambulance in driver extrication and patient care.
Flat towing of cars from gravel pits, learn how to assist or work on a tow truck. Something your parents will be proud of, especially if you have a higher education degree.
This can be a solitary specialty because a single person can handle it by him/herself. In addition to logging sound readings on every car, Sound Control measures and records the changing atmospheric conditions during the event since sound readings can change along with the barometric pressure and humidity. Personnel are always stationed alongside the track in a relatively safe location. When an incident occurs, they are not expected to respond. In other words, Sound Control is an excellent place to sit and watch racing.
T&S workers are the people who are responsible for all of the statistical information about the event. They time the cars, create the grid line-ups, record every car on every lap to establish the running order, develop lap charts that visually chart the positions of the cars throughout the race, and produce the results sheets for all sessions. This specialty has a computer based component, but all computer generated results must be checked against the data compiled by humans. T&S typically has the most comfortable work area of any of the specialties. At Pocono, T&S works from a converted school bus just after Turn 1 – what a view!! This specialty is known for its “team” atmosphere.
While many of the previously mentioned specialties are comprised of people who either have no desire to race themselves, or plan to do so in the future, most Stewards are current or former drivers. Many have extensive experience in other specialties. Wherever they come from, all Stewards have accepted the responsibility for conducting road racing events.
The Chief Steward and his/her assistants take on the operational roles: managing the timeline, supporting the other specialties, ensuring the drivers’ safety and dealing with on-track infractions. The Chief Steward is also the head rules enforcer, charged with making sure the general conduct of the event is in accordance with the General Competition Rules. This official is also charged with maintaining order, which can be accomplished as simply as meeting with the people involved in a problem situation, by fines, or exclusion from the event of any person who is guilty of misbehavior.
The Stewards of the Meet and their Chairman are the judicial side of the race administration. They hear protests, deal with Requests For Action (RFAs) from the Chief Steward and decide penalties when rules have been broken.