Tag Archives: jeanie.caulfield

COTA is Recruiting Marshals for Formula 1 USGP this October, Sign-up by Oct 19, 2016

Though I doubt I’ll be signing up myself, I’m excited to receive the invite so I could share it with others. For anyone interested in volunteering for the 2016 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas… now’s the time! (although you have until two days before the GP starts to sign up really…)

Here’s the e-mail I got from Sydney Davis Yagel:


Good evening,
I apologize if you’ve already received this email, but we wanted to make sure we didn’t leave out any of the past several years of experienced marshals.
We thank you for your past support of the United States Formula 1 Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas, and we are excited about this year’s event. Registration for returning marshals is now open and will be done online.
Volunteers will be emailed through MotorsportsReg.com for all communications, so please be sure to use a working email that you can check on a regular basis. Additional information, including a confirmation email from your specialty chief, finalized schedule details, and updates will be sent through this system.
AVAILABLE VOLUNTEER SPECIALTIES:
Flagging & Communications: operate yellow flag, blue flag, and radio communications
Intervention Marshals: assist with on-track incidents and manual labor operations, must be able to carry a 20 lb. fire bottle, run long distances, and feel comfortable on a hot track
Hospitality: behind-the-scenes volunteer helping with supply and lunch deliveries, registration/check-in, and more
Pit/Grid, Tech & Start are by invitation only. Your specialty chief will send you a password to access registration.
*Please note we have separated the F&C & Intervention Marshal specialties in to two separate options during registration. Please be sure to select the specialty you prefer. We will do our best to honor all requests, but understand we may need to shift people around.
PERKS OF VOLUNTEERING:
Dry camping and RV spots are available
Discounted hotel rates with shuttle to and from
Parking for those driving from other hotels and local residences
Three-day general admission guest pass for a friend or family member. You and your guest are welcome to attend the Taylor Swift concert on Saturday
Swag bag full of COTA gear
Some meals provided: breakfast and lunch each day, plus a few dinners.
SCHEDULE (all times are tentative and based on previous events, subject to change):
Please note that participation is required for all three event days. Thank you for your understanding and commitment.
Wednesday, October 19- POTENTIAL Registration for Intervention Marshals & Training
Thursday, October 20- Registration; Intervention Marshal Training during the morning & F&C Training during the afternoon; kick-off dinner
Friday, October 21 – HOT TRACK! – 8:00 am – 6:00 pm (morning meetings held 1-2 hours before hot track)
Saturday, October 22 – HOT TRACK! – 8:00 am – 5:00 pm (morning meetings held 1-2 hours before hot track)
Sunday, October 23 – HOT TRACK! – 8:00 am – 4:00 pm (morning meetings held 1-2 hours before hot track)
To apply to work this year’s event, please visit: http://msreg.com/F1USGP16-new
Should you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Thanks,
The Race Admin Team
Jeanie Caulfield, Bill Armitage, and Sydney Davis Yagel

Good luck folks!

PS. Major massive props to COTA for offering Intervention and F&C training on the Thursday leading up to the event. While some may dismiss it as Marshaling 101, I see it as an invaluable endeavor to get all these wonderful and completely different people from around the world to participate on the same wavelength throughout the event, considering none of the US-home based training includes F1 specific “stuff” … way to go COTA, I totally think it’s awesome!

Marshals Wanted Recruitment Video for Circuit of the Americas, Great Job Jeanie!

I think we all say: “Someone should do more to recruit marshals!”  and I’m happy to say someone is actually doing something about it. Jeanie Caulfield, the superwoman that runs event operations at the Circuit of the Americas: including hiring, training, feeding, and entertaining marshals for a slew of events that visit COTA; has spend a small fortune on a very professionally done promo video to help recruit new marshals. Kudos to you Jeanie! and a job well done!

I’ve taken a few screen grabs from the short version of the video which I was lucky enough to be a part of…. special thanks to Brent McNaul – the flag chief of the Lone Star SCCA Region who invited me to participate. I would imagine the longer version that has speech accompanying the vision where I got a chance to be interviewed, would become available at some point in time in the future, but for now please check out the quick promo:

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Link to video on facebook: COTA track marshals volunteers page.  facebook.com/cotatrackmarshals/videos/1899065936986548/

Be sure to follow the link to volunteer:  www.circuitoftheamericas.com/volunteer

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screen shot of the COTA Marshals Wanted Promo Video, go to: CircuitoftheAmericas.com/volunteer
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screen shot of the COTA Marshals Wanted Promo Video, go to: CircuitoftheAmericas.com/volunteer
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screen shot of the COTA Marshals Wanted Promo Video, go to: CircuitoftheAmericas.com/volunteer
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screen shot of the COTA Marshals Wanted Promo Video, go to: CircuitoftheAmericas.com/volunteer
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screen shot of the COTA Marshals Wanted Promo Video, go to: CircuitoftheAmericas.com/volunteer
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screen shot of the COTA Marshals Wanted Promo Video, go to: CircuitoftheAmericas.com/volunteer
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screen shot of the COTA Marshals Wanted Promo Video, go to: CircuitoftheAmericas.com/volunteer

Again please consider volunteering at COTA it’s a fantastic experience: www.circuitoftheamericas.com/volunteer

Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas at the Circuit of the Americas the debrief

For a last minute trip, my visit to COTA for MotoGP and MotoAmerica racing was as good a trip as it gets. I’ve said this to a few people over the past few weeks of marshaling and I don’t think they can really wrap their brains around this statement so let’s break it down here.

I was set to go to Watkins Glen for the NASCAR Motorsport Safety Seminar… I chickened out when I saw snow and freezing temps on the forecast. It did indeed snow and was freezing Upstate New York but I didn’t sit around at home sulking. I booked a flight the day before my departure for Texas. Austin was expensive… of course it would be, I’m only competing with tens of thousands of spectators, teams, officials, etc. So I flew to Dallas. It cost $63 one way on American Airlines and $62 on the way back flying United.

Unlike the last trip a month ago for PWC, Megabus was pricey and the scheduling didn’t work. So I elected to try Greyhound… it still cost almost $30 bux round trip, and the experience was crazy to say the least… I was pretty surprised by the type of folks that ride Greyhound, especially those that make their journey across the whole country, but that’s a story for another time. Lucky for me the Greyhound station is very near to my friend Joaquin’s home and it was quite convenient to get a ride to and from the track there.

Joaquin had a full house so I used my tent that lives in Texas to camp at COTA which worked out very well. It was especially convenient since I told Jeanie that I’d be happy to flag, be a track marshal or deliver lunches and she snagged me to help out with track ops, where among other things I really did do deliver lunches. It was the hardest I had ever worked at a track while volunteering. I was running around so much I had to change my shirt during lunch time because it was completely soaken wet. But it was such a blast.

Probably the coolest experience for me was driving around on track delivering marshals to their stations. I got to use the Toyota Tundra to take a small group to Turn 20A and 20B, and then raced back around the track to see if more people needed rides. I also used a golf cart to run many errands driving around the inner and outer rings of the circuit as well as multiple trips to the paddock. Unlike other series, Dorna really enforced the rule of nobody but officials in pit lane and garages. Everyone got scanned in and out. And since we didn’t get the credentials the only time I got to go there was during the pit walk which we shared with spectators.

But I feel I really got my money’s worth. I was issued blue overalls and a tabard so when numbers were short Saturday morning I was the only flagger at Turn 16. Then I got another track ops person to join me. Then I got pulled off when a real flagger turned up. And as I was leaving I got to help push a striken bike onto the gator transport. It was pretty awesome. On race day I got to spectate from Turn 1 and when things went crashy I got to push another bike up on the transport while the track marshal who was working there was trying to get his hand looked on which he burned by accidentally touching the smoking hot exhaust pipe under the seat. Apparently it burned right thru the glove.

All in all it was the best time I had ever had at COTA and I wouldn’t rule it out that I would sign up again for this position for another big event like Formula 1 later this year.

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Postcard from Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas at COTA (MotoGP/MotoAmerica)

Well that was something completely different!

For a last minute trip it was much better executed than some of my longer planned in advance events. But of course I enjoy returning to COTA and thanks to my buddy Joaquin who’s been keeping my tent for me for a few years as well as  Jeanie Caulfied who always makes me welcome back in Austin (even on less than 24 hours notice) things went super smoothly.

I’ll write another entry when I have a little bit more time, it’s basically 1:30am and I’ve just flown in from Dallas via Houston and my alarm is set for 5:30am to go on the next trip to Long Beach.

But suffice to say I had my best time at COTA yet (I think I said this about the trip for PWC last month, but this one beat it by a mile!).

Instead of flagging or track marshaling I suggested to Jeanie that I’d be happy to deliver lunches. And she let me do it! How difficult could that job be?  right?…   well, I worked my ass off! I was absolutely gutted by the last day of the event and my body basically gave out. I burned myself out. But I had a blast doing it. The Track Ops position that I volunteered for is far more than just delivering lunches to 300+ marshals. I got to drive on track twice a day to deliver marshals to their stations. I got to drive the ring road more than a dozen times a day running errands, everything from delivering late comer marshals to drink and ice runs, to lunch deliveries. I got to fill in on flags when the flag chief was short on people. And I was even lucky enough to push a few bikes on the gator transports when there were incidents at stations I was either assigned to or happened to be in the area. It was such a blast. I feel like I had gotten to do it all, and then some… Definitely not a position I had ever the privilege of experiencing before and one I would love to do again… for F1.

But enough talk… I must get some sleep… in the mean time, here’s some photos:

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Every morning I got to do a lap around the COTA circuit to deliver marshals to station, and every afternoon I got to do another to bring them back to the mustering tent.

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Of all the rigs at our disposal for “Hospitality Operations Services” I got to wheel every one of them, from pick up trucks to golf carts.

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Was super glad we got to do the pit lane walk, although having to share it with spectators kind of took away from it being as special, that and of course it was too crowded to take some decent pix. (especially when the crowd in front of Rossi’s and Marquez’s garages was at least five deep)

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For MotoGP the paddock and garages was difficult to access without credentials (which we didn’t have), but MotoAmerica was far more welcoming and we made a number of rounds through it to pick up ice and run other errands.

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Ducati Islands in vendor village was like a candy store, so many cool bikes on display it was awesome.

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But most awesome was getting to watch the event from different stations and therefore get some amazing perspectives I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.

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It was nice to see so many marshals passionate about Motorcycles, many rode their bikes to the event. Some showed up in Miata’s… like this Niseki Edition:

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Fantastic time! Can’t thank Jeanie enough for the opportunity!

Last Minute Trip to Marshal MotoGP at the Circuit of the Americas

Fucking Hell! If I put this much effort into job seeking or a real career as I do into my Motorsport volunteering I’d be a millionaire by now… but I am still one good idea away from being successful.

Lucky for me, things seem to be working out for this weekend.

I had committed to the idea of attending the NASCAR track services training (MSS: the Motorsport Safety Seminar) at Watkins Glen but the weather isn’t looking so pretty. It probably wouldn’t have been a big deal had I still used a Ford Explorer or a Jeep to get around, but with Spring-like weather for the past few weeks and me changing to my Summer-tires already on the Miata driving in freezing temps is not my idea of fun… or “safe” for that matter.

But I was determined to be at a race track this weekend, so what did I do?  I booked a freaking flight to TEXAS!

cota on track volunteers wanted red bull grand prix of the americas austin texas

Where I had failed to participate in MotoGP at COTA last year I will succeed this year! Thankfully Jeanie Caulfied replied to my urgent e-mail and I’ll get to volunteer in some capacity at the track this weekend, not quite sure what it’ll be… whether waving flags, picking up bikes, recoveries, or delivering lunches. I’m up for it!

To my biggest surprise the airfare between here and Texas wasn’t that ridiculous considering I booked a flight one day before departure! I am finanging a little bit with my routing, departing from Philadelphia on Wednesday morning on a direct flight to Dallas, and returning from Dallas to New York’s LaGuardia via Houston Intercontinental on Monday… which should get me home in time for a few hours of sleep before my departure for California (via Chicago). I am very excited thought. I still haven’t found a way to get from Dallas to Austin yet, and I’m not sure whether I’ll be camping or CouchSurfing yet, but those details I’ll iron out on the fly.

The most important thing is: I’m volunteering for MotoGP at COTA!

Fuck Yeah!

Grand Prix of Texas, Pirelli World Challenge Season Opener at CoTA

If there was one word to describe this race weekend it would be: VARIETY! There was excellent variety of cars in each class of the series. My station assignments gave me a good variety of action from different parts of the track. And there was a great variety of fellow marshals I got to work with as a corner captain. In this post I’ll share some of the experiences I had and some of my lessons learned.

First, the cars!

World Challenge Vision organization sanctioned by SCCA PRO has opened the field up to GT3 and GT4 cars from around the world (mostly Europe) to participate in the event, which really spiced up the field compared to previous years. I remember when the top battle in PWC was between the Cadillac’s and the Volvo’s. Not anymore! This time around there was an excellent representation of the best sports cars in the world right now. The GT3 field featured McLaren MP4-12C’s, Nissan GT-R’s, Audi R8 LM’s and LMS’s, Porsche 911’s and 911 R’s, new Cadillac’s, old BMW Z4 and Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, new Acura RL’s, Aston Martin’s, Bentley Continental GT’s, etc. And a very competitive field of Porsche 911 GT3-Cup cars. The GT4 field featured the whacky cars that haven’t been previously really visible stateside, like the KTM X-bow’s, SIN R1 GT4’s, Maserati Gran Turismo’s, a couple of older Lotus Evora’s, some relics of the past like Ford Mustang’s and Chevy Camaro’s, Aston Martin DB7’s, Ginetta G55’s, and others. Even the TC field was full of surprises. Turns out that with the introduction of the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup, the previous models had no place to go racing, so they ended up in both TC and TCA fields. Sporting a 2.5L motor and a big wing in TC and the standard 2.0 and the lip Mazdaspeed spoiler in TCA.

I loved all the variety!

grand prix of texas pwc at cota ktm xbow

grand prix of texas pwc at cota lotus evora

grand prix of texas pwc at cota maserati gran turismo gt4

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I already mentioned all my awesome station assignments in my post card thread. But it was truly fantastic to work Turn 1 for the first race of the season in the TC/TCA/TCB class. To my great surprise we went through the whole thing without a full course yellow! Both of the TC/(A)/(B) events went off without safety car periods even when there were plenty of incidents and some amazing hard racing, but the more professional drivers in the GTS and GT/GTA/GT-Cup were far more messy and up to their usual tricks. I think we started more than one of the GT/(A)/(Cup) events with a full course on the first lap. There were some heavy hits too, especially in the GTS races and practices. Both Sin R1 GT4’s were taken out on stations within a my view from Turn 9. It was such a shame to see that, but by the same token it was hard racing.

And finally to the lessons learned. I was lucky enough to be the corner captain for all of my station assignments, which was great because it taught me how to better work with people especially those with less experience than me. It’s always a fine line to try to teach others to work to your expectations without offending someone or giving them information that is contrary to what they have had learned before. I had this sort of issue at Turn 1 and 9 where I let the guys make their mistakes during practice believing that by the time a race came around we’d be on the ball. But it surprised even me how mistakes were made that I was not anticipating. This included waving double-yellow flags like in Formula 1 where this series only relies on a single-yellow. Or debating whether a yellow should have been waved over green when a car spun just prior and directly across form our station (since I was on flags I waved green, but my rookie coworker suggested he’d wave yellow in that instance… and he would be wrong to do so (I have already blogged about a similar situation from the IMSA race at Watkins Glen last year)).  All in all we were incredibly lucky to have stuff happen right in front of us. Plenty of spins, some of them quite dramatic. Some light contacts between cars and smashes into the barrier, etc. I think we all walked away from this weekend with a little more experience than we started with, which is an excellent opportunity! I don’t think anyone was bored the entire weekend.

And so it was a great start to my American racing calendar. I’m really grateful to everyone that made my experience an outstanding one. And of course I’m very much looking forward to more of the same (excitement) starting with my next trip tomorrow when I’ll be driving down to Florida for two back to back Pro events: Grand Prix of St. Pete and Sebring 12 hour. Wish me luck!

PS. It would have been even more variety if the Intercontinental GT Challenge had made it’s scheduled debut this weekend. However, even though it never materialized it was neat to see Mr. SRO himself wandering around the paddock… yep, I saw Stéphane Ratel at CoTA!

Postcard from the Grand Prix of Texas: PWC at COTA

Howdy from another fantastic weekend trackside.

What an amazing experience the Grand Prix of Texas, or officially Nissan Grand Prix of Texas presented by VP Race Fuels, was… I had such a blast it’s hard to describe quickly… I’ll do a more comprehensive debrief when I get home to Jersey, but for the time being I’d like to share a few pictures from the event.

Keyword for the event: VARIETY!

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#MakeDonaldDrumpfAgain 😉

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Some awesome looking MX-5 Racecars that raced in two classes, TCA – the standard MX-5 Cup Cars and the upper TC class that ran big wings and 2.5L engines which were on par with much larger Mustang V6’s and Nissan Z…whatever has the 6 cylinder in it…

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And of course the food was absolutely amazing, as always! Barbecue + Mexican + Tex-Mex, it was sooooo delicious!

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As usual big thanks to my buddy Joaquin for hosting me for this week, and chauffeuring me around to the track and all the restaurants. Big thanks to Brent McNaul the Flag Chief of the Lone Star SCCA Region for making my trip awesome with amazing station assignments each day… I got to do Turn 3 for the first time, Turn 1 and Turn 9… and all saw some great action there. Thank you so much! And a huge thanks to Jeanie Caulfield for taking care of the marshals with all the breakfasts, lunches and swag at the end. This is much appreciated and encouraging to come back again and again!

I’m very grateful for how everything went down during this event.

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Turn 3

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Turn 1

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Turn 9

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Yep… Have Flags and Will Travel!

Post-Race Praise for Jeanie Caulfield the Motorsport Operations Event Manager at COTA

I have major praise for Jeanie Caulfied the Motorsport Operations Event Manager with the Circuit of the Americas for a job well done at the Lone Star Le Mans this weekend.

In this blog post I would like to express my gratitude to Jeanie for the awesome work she has been doing, from a marshal’s point of view. That work is greatly appreciated because it makes a big difference for those of us that are visiting marshals. Those that don’t live in the Central Texas area and those investing significant amount of time and money to be able to volunteer the events that COTA puts on.

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I’ve had the privilege of meeting Jeanie on my very first trip to COTA for the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix in 2012. Since then, I’ve been back to Austin a number of times including several Formula 1 and a few WEC events. There were also a few that I almost participated in but things didn’t materialize on my end, most notably MotoGP this year, as well as Pirelli World Challenge and ALMS – American Le Mans that became the current version of IMSA TUSC series. And over the years I’ve learned that the most important person at COTA for the marshals is Jeanie. I made an earlier post praising Brent McNaul for his excellent work as a flag chief for the Lone Star Le Mans, but the majority of e-mails Brent forwarded onto the rest of us marshals actually came from Jeanie. So big thumbs up to her for the open communication channels and being a great person to seek information from about a particular event or the track itself.

I’ve been learning about Jeanie’s job(s) and the multiple hats she wears during a particular event purely from observation. I’ve seen her transport marshals to and from station during the F1 and WEC weekends. She is a great shuttle train driver, pulling several trailers behind a Ford Super Duty in true Texas style. She’s brought us a Kubota quad this weekend to make a quick getaway from station at the end of the day so we don’t impede scheduled track activity that didn’t require marshals. That was very thoughtful so we didn’t have to be stuck on track for another hour at the end of an already long day. Thanks for that!

The track services staff work directly with Jeanie and for anyone that likes food like I do, could appreciate her efforts in organizing lunches and drink runs to all the stations especially on hot days like this weekend. Track food is always a hit or miss. I’ve written posts about us volunteering for a soggy sandwich or how Singapore GP has the worst food I’ve ever had track side by offering Délifrance as the least-likely-to-spoil option in the heat of Southeast Asia (when distributed in the morning sign-on meeting and meant to last to the end of the day without refrigeration on station). But Jason’s Deli that COTA has been offering marshals for the past few years is quite tasty and the variety offers something for everyone. So thumbs up for taking care of us, when all of our attention is on the race cars on track!

I’ve even seen her ride around the ring road with the track services people delivering lunches and drinks with a water gun spraying unsuspecting marshals. So she’s got a great sense of humor to boot.

Jeanie has also been very creative in rewarding volunteer participation with excellent marshal swag. I think this weekend’s Lone Star Le Mans was her best work yet with a very stylish t-shirt design. A useful cooler bag with COTA branding. A participant patch customized to show the year of the event. And a neat poncho which we luckily didn’t have the need to use… but it made for a cool and useful keepsake.

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Besides being really good at her job she’s also a very pleasant person to talk with. She’s always friendly, polite and courteous and that’s important. Especially when arriving at the track at 5am and leaving after a double shift at 10 or 11pm like this weekend. I know I have a tendency of getting cranky especially when things don’t go my way, but Jeanie has a big smile on her face at the start of the day when you see her during the morning meeting, during lunch delivery or shift relief drop offs, or at the end of the day when we’re dropped off at the marshal tent. Thanks for always smiling!

Thank you very much Jeanie!

 

In true Austin style, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jeanie bring live music to the marshaling tent at a future event… some almost famous dude or a chick with a guitar playing a catchy tune at morning sign-on… yep! totally see that happening.