Tag Archives: NASCAR Xfinity Series

Most Un-NASCAR-Like Race at Watkins Glen the debrief

Greetings from the Glen! It’s NASCAR weekend and while the camp sites and the grand stands were all completely full (sold out some claimed) it was hard to believe that these were NASCAR races… Why? Because every driver, in each of the three series racing this weekend drove so professionally. It was a little hard to believe. I mean I don’t know much about NASCAR but if there’s one thing I’ve heard and seen talked about the series before is all it’s crashes. And there weren’t many. I saw a few nose to tail bumps, a couple of side to side contacts. A few spins. But that’s it. No major crashes. Hell, no minor crashes either. It was great to watch! Really spectacular racing with drivers in control of their cars ignoring the stereotypes. This was also the weekend that had the potential of seeing one of the first Monster Energy Cup events in the rain… and while the weather on Saturday had the potential for wet stuff, it really dissipated by Sunday and we had a picture perfect race.

I loved this weekend! I had such a blast.

First, huge thanks to RSI for the awesome station assignments again. I am super fortunate and blessed to get the views I was getting and for that I’m grateful!

Station 5A views, at Turn 5 exit of the Bus Stop

Station 2, at Turn 2 bottom of the Esses.

Both turns had a lot of potential for huge incidents. But instead we saw good clean racing. And that was neat!

I was super happy I got to hang out with some close friends over the weekend. Hit Watkins Glen downtown for some dinners. Enjoy the NASCAR atmosphere at the local pubs where drivers apparently served as bar tenders and free swag was given out. I was lucky to bring some of that swag home. That’s always a plus (not that I need any more swag).

Lucky for me, my buddy Chris from New Jersey came up to use my guest pass so I had an excuse to visit the infield for the first time (ever I think) during a NASCAR weekend. It was great to see sooo many people enjoying themselves. Checking out the displays, buying NASCAR gear, and having fun!

I loved the ambiance of it all.

And so another race in the books. This was probably the most clean NASCAR event I’ve ever worked. Which is a huge positive! I’m especially happy that for the Monster Energy Cup Series there was no Green/White/Checker routine everyone is so used to.

Thanks to NASCAR for putting on a great show. Thanks to Watkins Glen for being such an awesome facility. And thanks to RSI for making my volunteering enjoyable there!

See you next year.

Post Card from the Infield of NASCAR at Watkins Glen

So of all the years I’ve been doing NASCAR at Watkins Glen this was a first for me… Being able to check out the infield and all (some) of the insanity (cool shit!) it has to offer!

I was fortunate my friends from New Jersey came for the race, using one of my guest passes and purchasing a general admission ticket at the gate. It was interesting to hear their input on the very first NASCAR experience they had. But more importantly for me I got a chance to show them around a little bit during the downtime we had between qualifying and the race.

This was soooo cool!

I didn’t realize this before but NASCAR does an excellent job of keeping us (the marshals) away from their cars. This was a great opportunity to come very close to the replica/cutaways.

Not your typical Toyota Camry… it’s funny we’re used to call carbon fiber debris on track… with these cars its a bit more fiberglass instead, although 6 inch duct hoses seemed to be the culprit this time. And it’s nice to see them using some carbon fiber in the cabin finally… in an otherwise rudimentary/basic race car set up.

The State of New York / Tourism of NY sponsored the event.

Judging by the huge attendance, all grand stands were completely full, and thanks to the chamber of commerce for the excellent weather I’m know the State of New York got their money’s worth… I certainly did!

Post Card from NASCAR at Watkins Glen

Howdy Ya’ll!

A truly excellent weekend was spent at Watkins Glen for this year’s NASCAR – Monster Energy Cup, Xfinity Series and K&N Series East.

Here’s some pix:

Day 1 at Station 5A in Turn 5 – exit of the Bus Stop

Favorite car of the day: #6 Sunoco K&N Series East Toyota Camry

Runner up favorite car… this Toyopet sponsored old body that almost won the race.

Day 2 and 3, moved to Station 2 in Turn 2 start of the Esses.

Fantastic view, even closer to the track!

Preview of my next event in Atlantic City, New Jersey

Monster came thru big time, visiting the RSI campground and giving out tons of freebie drinks to the marshals. Thanks Monster!

I like how close US and Canada is at this event, with plenty of Canadian marshals (and many fans) represented, as well as Canadian anthem being sung before each of the races.

Had such a wonderful time working with Barb an awesome marshal.

Hey! I’ve seen this car before… had Photographer credentials.

This fella almost ran over my tent backing that thing up… Ugh!

Awesome sunny day for race day on Sunday! And it was one of the most un-NASCAR-like races I’ve ever seen at the Glen!

Even in town everyone was enjoying the NASCAR spirit… visited Bleachers for dinner whom were very #2 Brand K-ski themed, giving out free Miller Lite’s and I even got lucky with a giveaway hat.

More to come in a debrief…

Marshaling NASCAR

Whenever I travel to volunteer overseas most people enquire not about our American sports car or open wheel racing series… but instead about NASCAR. More often than not people ask about how they too could come to America and work a NASCAR event… and often times I have to give them the bad news that marshals (volunteers like us) aren’t actually used by the series on ovals.

I have worked NASCAR events on a road course for many years, in fact NASCAR at Watkins Glen International is one of my favorite trips Upstate New York year after year. I even go to the Motorsport Safety Seminar put on by NASCAR and Race Services, Inc. at Watkins Glen to get properly trained to work NASCAR events.

So imagine my surprise when reviewing my calendar for events I wish to participate in this season (2017) the majority of the events I wish to work are NASCAR events. How in the world?

Will I actually work all those events I have pencilled in?

Probably not, but wouldn’t it be cool?

I have begun a habit of making notes (memo’s) of events I wish to do in order to inspire myself to follow through with those plans. So I’ll list the events below in order to reflect back at a later time to see how many of those races I actually participated in:

Completed Events:

April 1-2: Watkins Glen International – MSS (w/ RSI)

 May 19-21: Canadian Tire Motorsport Park – Pinty’s Series – Can Am 200 (w/ MMS)

 

Future Events:

June 9-11: Pocono Raceway – Monster Enegery / Xfinity / ARCA – Pocono 400 (w/ Team Pocono)

July 28-30: Pocono Raceway – Monster Energy / Camping World Trucks / ARCA – Pennsylvania 400 (w/ Team Pocono)

August 3-6: Watkins Glen International – Monster Energy / Xfinity / K&N Pro East – Zippo 355 (w/ RSI)

August 11-13: Mid Ohio Sports Car Course – Xfinity Series – Mid Ohio 200 (w/ Lake Erie Communicators)

September 1-3: Canadian Tire Motorsport Park – Camping World Trucks / Pinty’s Series – Chevrolet Silverado 250 (w/ MMS)

September 16: New Jersey Motorsports Park – K&N Pro East – Just Drive 125 (w/ NJMP)

 

I’m very excited about the possibility of any of these events… we’ll see how many I can actually participate in…!

Post Card from NASCAR (Sprint, Xfinity & K&N East) at Watkins Glen International

Another fantastic weekend… my fourth in a row volunteering and first on American soil after three weeks in Europe.

Some say the two couldn’t be different. Yet to me the crowds of European spectators were quite similar to American ones even when the racing was completely different.

Watkins Glen is a perfect racetrack to host NASCAR and the fans never disappoint. The weather was perfect, the station assignments were great, and the company I was in was absolutely excellent!

I had such an awesome time!

nascar watkins glen 1

nascar watkins glen 2

nascar watkins glen 3

nascar watkins glen 4

nascar watkins glen 5

nascar watkins glen 6

We were even lucky enough to deal with a few incidents!

NASCAR Cheez-It 355 at the Glen the debrief

I think the only person that had more fun than I did at this weekend’s NASCAR races at Watkins Glen International was Joey Logano who won both the Xfinity Series race on Saturday and the Sprint Cup race on Sunday. Well, maybe he had more fun, his lengthy burn-out at the end of the race almost burned the racecar down. But I got to watch the whole thing while marshaling, and that was neat!

The coolest thing about working with RSI at WGI is you get rotate stations every day you volunteer, so that’s three opportunities to check out different views every day. I got to work Station 9 short on Friday for the K&N race, Station 6 on Saturday for the Xfinity race, and be one of the flaggers at Station 16 for the Srpint Cup race on Sunday.

watkins glen nascar station 9 short shute

Friday I was a bit unprepared, forgot my lucky orange hat at home, and my bandana did a horrible job protecting my face from the sun. I got a very unique tan line for the rest of the weekend as a result.

watkins glen nascar station 6 flags

We had plenty of shade on Saturday, but I still managed to make a goofy mistake. It is RSI protocol to call “heads-up” from Station 6 to Station 7 for any car that decides to skip the bus stop. While working Station 9 the previous day I heard race control mention that heads-up weren’t necessary because there were so many of them. So I assumed that was the case for Saturday. I was wrong. My buddy Pat worked Station 7 and said he would have liked a few heads up because they nearly missed their calls when the cars blew the stop as required before rejoining the track after the bus stop. Oops!

watkins glen nascar station 16

Not much really happened on Sunday. But since we had a grand stand directly behind us (the Jackie Stewart Grand Stand) we had a big jumbotron directly in front of us. So we got to watch the entire race which included seeing the run-away wheel that rolled from pit lane all the way down the track and back up towards the Esses stopping after Station 2. And the car that caught on fire after Joey Logano celebrated with a huge burnout winning his second race of the weekend. We saw the car ahead of him run out of fuel directly in front of us, that was neat. To my surprise the race finished under Green which seems pretty unusual for NASCAR because at times the Green, White, Checkered is almost manufactured…

watkins glen nascar station 16 jackie stewart grand stand

Most of the pictures came out pretty dark because the sun was really bright and any pictures in the shade resulted in dark faces.

As far as best station assignment for the weekend, each one offered a unique perspective. I loved watching the cars run beyond track limits full speed at station 9, they came out right by us often spraying us with grass and other small debris.

watkins glen nascar station 9 flags

For the K&N Pro Series race I noticed a cool sticker job on one of the old Toyotas… the Kobe Toyopet dealership was listed as a sponsor. I had no idea that NASCAR was big in Japan!

watkins glen nascar k&n series

From Station 6 the views were probably the best! We didn’t really get to use the “Loop Closed” sign, but both Blue and Yellow flags got a work out that’s for sure. I had to rush to get Red out also, once.

watkins glen nascar station 6

watkins glen nascar station 6 bus stop

The racing line was right under our noses, with the station designed to put us over and close to the track behind the catch fence. Meanwhile station 16 was re-designed recently which eliminated the necessary cutout for the flagger to stand in, and instead they covered it with larger catch fencing and a small hole cut out for us.

watkins glen nascar TV car

Most of my day on Sunday I spend volunteering at the entry to pit lane. We helped work the crossings so that spectators and some die hard NASCAR fans among them could cross the actual track from Gate 5 towards the Bog. Many of them wandered into the pit lane, and most wanted to take a picture with our checkered or yellow flags. I worked with Pat and Beth who I spend a lot of time with this weekend, and it was a very enjoyable experience. NASCAR fans are some of the most devoted fans I’ve come across, something akin to the European endurance racing fans you meet at Le Mans. Some were, and would happily admit to being rednecks, but not all fans were necessarily in that category, I saw them as die hard racing fans who really celebrated their favorite drivers. For the littlelest fans in that group we had some real NASCAR lug nuts that Dave the pit lane chief scooped up for us the day before, and we were handing them out to the small kids walking through our crossing. I think that really gave them a kick and an experience they weren’t expecting.

watkins glen nascar lug nuts for the kids

The crossing job went on right to the point of other marshals getting delivered to their stations. So we went straight to our posts skipping the morning meeting, etc. I went to Station 16 while Pat and Beth worked Station 17 which is the last turn before Start/Finish.

I was hungry as ever, luckily there was this nice food stand at the bottom of Jackie Stewart grand stand and for $9 bux I had an enjoyable meal before the race.

fast food at wgi for nascar

As I mentioned previously the race ended pretty quickly and under Green flag conditions, so it was back to the RSI campsite to pack up. One of my favorite sights at the campsite was this OFF sticker on a few cars, the “Old Farts Flagging” Society. And it’s a sticker I had nothing to do with it’s creating. But I think it’s very funny.

wgi flag old farts flagging society

I am very much looking forward to my next trip to WGI! What an amazing experience this NASCAR weekend was.

 

BTW. there’s an interesting observation about NASCAR. Friday I used the wrong blue flag to work the race. I was always under the impression that the Blue flag with a Yellow stripe was an official NASCAR flag because you can clearly see it on most ISC circuit logos like Daytona for example. But it turns out that was not the case. For Saturday and Sunday I learned that the solid Blue flag must be used. Not only that, much like the FIA, NASCAR uses all waved flags on stations, and we got to wave the Blue, the Yellow and the Red. It’s ironic that typically in the US all flags are displayed stationary, but it seems when it comes to road courses NASCAR is much like the FIA!

Post Card from NASCAR weekend at Watkins Glen

I’m on a roll this season, another perfect weekend spent at the race track as a marshal playing with race cars! This weekend I spend a very enjoyable few days flagging the NASCAR races at Watkins Glen International with the Race Services Inc. crew. I was assigned station 9 short for Friday, station 6 on Saturday and station 16 on Sunday. Station 9 is a temporary station driver’s left in the shute, since NASCAR does not use the Boot configuration, on Friday the NASCAR K&N series support race took place along with practice for the NASCAR Xfinity and NASCAR Sprint Cup series. Station 6 is at the entrance to the bus stop, also driver’s left. On Saturday the NASCAR Xfinity series had an exciting race, after a quali session for both Xfinity and Sprint Cup series. Station 16 is driver’s right, the last turn before the final turn for the start finish straight. On Sunday only the Sprint Cup series race took place, but I had an incredible time volunteering for something else: spectator / fan crossings at the entry to the pit lane. It was an incredible opportunity to meet NASCAR fans, take pictures of them with the checkered flag and some even took pictures with me as an “official” and have a bunch of short chats in the process. It was awesome!

watkins glen nascar fan crossings

The drive up to Watkins Glen on Thursday morning was really uneventful, but quick and enjoyable. I made a pit stop at the Sheetz in Pennsylvania for a nice lunch on the go. And then had a delicious calzone at Jerlando’s in Montour Falls just south of the track. I also ordered a few more calzones to have for the weekend. Not really thinking the idea through. It was rather warm on Friday and Saturday but my calzones didn’t go bad, which was good. My face did get burned on Friday because I forgot my lucky orange hat at home. I wore a bandana to protect my scalp from the sun, which resulted in a very interesting sun burn pattern.

watkins glen nascar road trip sheets pennsylvania

The calzone was nothing like what I’ve had before. The upstate NY version is very different from what we have in New Jersey or NYC.

watkins glen calzone montour falls jerlando's

After setting up my tent, I went for a walk about the track. Made it all the way through to the infield. Took some pictures of a cool blue Miata just like mine, at the Medical center.

watkins glen nascar weekend mazda miata

watkins glen nascar my rig tent

watkins glen nascar spectator campers

Took some great shots of the NASCAR haulers entering the track, and eventually parking in the infield as well as along the curves of the Boot.

watkins glen nascar xfinity series

watkins glen nascar haulers

watkins glen nascar the boot haulers

I’ll write another post about the going on’s during the race weekend but I’ll end this preview with the well planned and throughout running of the track at Watkins Glen International. Particularly while leaving the track. After we got off station, and got back to the RSI campground it took me less than an hour to break down my tent and pack everything up. Everyone was saying I’d be sitting in traffic for hours to get home, but the reality was very different. I breezed through the roads leading to the highway, because the State Police created a traffic pattern that turned the two lane (one in each direction) country road into a three lane one way (out bound) funnel to get all the traffic out. This was one of my fastest departures from WGI!

leaving wgi three lane road with no traffic

I had made a few more pit stops along the way on the drive home, one of them at a gas station to add a splash of fuel (it’s a bit more expensive upstate NY than in NJ). And the stations that were most visible on my drive were Sunoco, which of course are the official fuel supplier of NASCAR… how cool to see everyday life relate to racing!

splash of fuel upstate new york at sunoco the official fuel of nascar

I am so glad that I got an opportunity to work the NASCAR event at WGI. I will describe in greater detail what happened and why I had such a great time, but suffice to say I had an amazing time and can’t wait to go back for more. WGI has been closed for the rest of the season to re-pave the track, so my most likely trip there will be sometime next year. And I’m very much looking forward to it!

 

Gas mileage: Best Yet! 38.25 mpg  drove for 519.5 miles, used 13.58 gallons, paid $37.01 total. Cheapest fill up in NJ 2.659 and a splash in Upstate New York at $2.899 used the Gas Buddy app, to find a Sunoco station about an hour away from Watkins Glen, last time I foolishly paid over $3.199 for the same gas. Live and learn!