My Least Favorite Moment from the Grand Prix of Long Beach: Drivers Ignoring Yellow Flags!

This year’s Grand Prix of Long Beach gave me the opportunity to see a lot of action at Turn 8. I got to flag some pretty massive impacts from several McLarens in the PWC race hitting the wall. Alexander Rossi in the #98 IndyCar was our first customer with a major whammy into the concrete barrier just past the tire wall exiting Turn 8. Several Stadium Super Trucks went in as well, but all drivers left the turn unhurt… except for one of our guys, a fellow marshal.

The incident during the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race was absolutely absurd and completely avoidable. Yet we had one of our marshals leave the track in an ambulance because of injuries sustained as a result of “drivers” completely ignoring Yellow flags.

Now the marshal was released quickly and returned to the track to carry on his duties for the rest of the weekend. But it was thanks to dumb luck that things ended the way they did, it could have been much worse and potentially fatal.

What happened?

Well, have a watch for yourself:

The video (courtesy of Gazette Sports) shows the replay of the incident as well as the post-race driver’s interview, which is especially chilling showing how little regard for human life (other than the driver’s own selfish well being) there is on display.

I don’t really know who this celebrity is, but he certainly isn’t a race car driver. Worse, the “real” or “pro” race car drivers that this douche was following, aren’t much better than him either. For the whole group to so blatantly disregard the waving Yellow flags (and believe me, I was waving mine frantically being the closest person to the incident working Turn 8 Apex station, and basically waving the hell out of that flag right in the face of the drivers as they turned in) is pretty disheartening and very much appalling.

The only reason racing works worldwide is because there are rules in place that most racers follow. If you disregard the rules you can injure or kill someone on the track, including yourself. Disregarding yellow flags is about as bad as it gets because you willingly put someone in danger by not following the rules.

To me, the pro’s in this situation were as guilty as the celebrity that nearly chopped the legs off of a marshal against the tow truck. Nobody in that final group lifted when going into the turn. The dumbass causing the final crash was only following the “pro’s” going flat out through the turn, just like he admitted in the interview. And things shouldn’t be that way. He’s thankful he had a sturdy car like a Toyota with it’s five point harness and all, but the marshal standing on track he sent flying over the hood of the car only had the fucking Yellow flag for protection, a yellow flag that everyone ignored.

This…. is tremendously disappointing!

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The screen grabs above show the final incident in detail. Certainly no laughing matter when the camera captures the whole incident so clearly. I know we, as volunteers, accept a certain level of risk when marshaling because being in dangerous situations is inevitable, but finding yourself faced with blatant disregard for the only thing that is designed to keep you “safer” is pretty bad.