Tag Archives: Long Beach GP

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!

toyota grand prix of long beach pro celebrity race crash

toyota grand prix of long beach pro celebrity race crash 2

toyota grand prix of long beach pro celebrity race crash 3

toyota grand prix of long beach pro celebrity race crash 4

toyota grand prix of long beach pro celebrity race crash 5

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.

Registration for Long Beach Grand Prix 2015

On January 21st at 12:00AM Pacific Standard Time the registration to marshal the 41st Long Beach Grand Prix will be open with SCCA Cal Club. The event will be held from Friday, April 17th to Sunday, April 19th on the streets of Long Beach along the waterfront.

In my opinion this is an excellent event to volunteer because of the beautiful location of the temporary circuit. I often heard people comparing the event to Monaco or Singapore with it’s exotic, palm tree lined streets, the Pacific Ocean in the background and about as California as it could get with a great So Cal vibe all around. I only got to work one race two years ago, and unfortunately cancelled my participation last year because of a new job, I would love to go back.

I didn’t get a chance to do much blue flag because the person I was paired with refused to share, but other people I knew from the event didn’t have such an issue on their station. So perhaps if doing a particular role is important to  you, be sure to request it in advance.

Here are some pix from my last LBGP:

Long Beach Grand Prix, IndyCar 2013
Long Beach Grand Prix, IndyCar 2013

long beach gp


To sign up visit MotorsportReg.com and search for Long Beach GP or follow this link: www.motorsportreg.com/events/flag-com-long-beach-grand-prix-registration-scca-california-sports-car

Read about Cal Club SCCA here: http://www.calclub.com

I often heard Cal Club does things differently to the rest of the country, this was especially emphasized by folks from the San Francisco Region, but you should be a judge of that for yourself.

I think this is a fantastic event, and if you can be sure to consider the Formula E event to be held on the streets of Long Beach on April 4th read more about it here:  www.fiaformulae.com/en/calendar/2015-long-beach


Spotter guide for IndyCar Baltimore Grand Prix

While I normally post links to the very useful spotter guides designed by Andy Blackmore, there are series that he doesn’t cover. IndyCar is one of them, however Andy does link to the IndyCar spotter guides created by Ryan Long ( https://twitter.com/ryan_long_01 ) Those spotter guides are usually distributed free of charge at the various events like Baltimore GP, Detroit Belle Isle GP, or Long Beach GP, all events that I worked. However I learned they could also be downloaded directly from IZOD IndyCar Series web site at: IndyCar.com

So enjoy the download and share with your motorsport enthusiast friends!

spotter guide indycar

Grand Prix of Long Beach application

Grand Prix of Long Beach application will go live 1am Pacific time on Tuesday, January 15. Hopefully this post will serve as a reminder for me to apply, thru Motorsportreg: (http://www.motorsportreg.com/index.cfm/event/event.advert/uidEvent/1C2627FA-A9B9-68AF-39B04DDE0050287C#.UPLiKSftTJJ)

I would really like to participate in more North American events both because it is cheaper to travel here (now that I’ve signed up for some generous bonuses through US-based domestic airline frequent flyer programs) and it takes less time to get there. I have yet to marshal an event in California though I have worked with several marshals from there, last one being my post chief from the USGP at Austin, and before that another post chief at MotoGP in Indianapolis. The Grand Prix of Long Beach is a major event for Indycar, ALMS and Formula Drift which I haven’t participated in yet, so there’s a lot to look forward to.

Hope I can swing it 🙂