Tag Archives: Rolex Grand Am

Rolex 24 Daytona debrief

With the live “post card” tweets from the track it seems like I’ve given this particular race, the Rolex 24 hours of Daytona a lot of attention. Yet, as an opening event of the 2013 season it fully deserves it. As my first 24 hour endurance race, and a very eventful race as well, it deserves it even more.

So what did I like about this event so much? Well, first it was at an incredible track. My mom told my dentist I went to a racing event in Florida and her first comment was: “Dayonta?” … sure its not the same event she’s probably thinking of, but hell close enough. Second, it was interesting to see how I could handle such a long endurance race, and to my amazement I held up pretty well. Like the last 6 hour race for Grand-Am at Watkins Glen, with only two of us on station or the ten hours of Petit LeMans at Road Atlanta with six of us on station, it seems these endurance races don’t draw “too many” marshals. Ironically there’s almost always many more marshals for local SCCA events on each station than for these Pro-Events. And somehow we manage. Nobody forced me to work double or triple shift, but with so few people it made sense to stay on.

Time went by quickly particularly because we were in a direct impact zone for any car coming out of turn 4 and getting a wheel caught on the sand beyond the rumble strip. Four cars smashed directly into the station over a two day period I was there. Six in total over the Rolex 24 weekend. That doesn’t normally happen, but I’m glad we escaped unscathed.

Navigating my way thru Florida was fun. I always wanted to live there and after visiting Orlando and Daytona Beach (as well as a side trip to Cocoa Beach) I can totally see myself doing that in the future. Couch Surfing also came through with excellent accommodation near the track and near the airport, so I couldn’t be happier with that.

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daytona 24 crash APR

Photo courtesy of APR: http://www.onehotlap.com/2013/01/are-pro-drivers-eternal-optimists.html

Ironically, unlike at other events here we were encouraged to take pictures. And wouldn’t you know it that instead of the hundreds of shots I normally take, I only had a few. Luckily my buddy Tim Stoll took a bunch high-quality professional shots that he was kind enough to share, so check them out: http://www.flickr.com/photos/91832184@N04/

Next year’s Daytona is a must!

Rolex 24hr at Daytona application

The application for the 24 hours at Daytona, 12 hours at Sebring and St. Pete Grand Prix has now been open on the Central Florida Region SCCA web site: http://www.cfrscca.org/?page_id=1766

I have applied for the 24 hours of Daytona, the Sebring and St. Petersuburg races, as interesting as they are with American Le Mans Series, Indycars and World Challenge, the dates clash with Formula 1 in Australia and Malaysia on those same weekends in March. Looks like Grand Am is the only one I’ll be able to swing this year. Though I’ve heard rave reviews about Sebring! Wish it was on another weekend 🙁

Some of the interesting terms and conditions as well as prerequisites include:

1 PURPOSE: As all of the Event Organizers have continued to reduce the number of credentials provided to the club for staffing purposes, the CFR staffing team has a limited number of positions to fill. Due to the diminishing number of credentials available, turn assignments will be based on qualifications, experience, ability, attitude, dependability, and willingness to do what is necessary to make the event safe and successful. These workers must be willing to work during their assigned shifts EVERY day of the event as well as performing the duties assigned to them. Workers will be required to attend ALL flag meetings and MUST comply with the organizers’ supplemental regulations.
2 EVENT SPECIFIC: To help F & C assignments for the each pro event, all potential F&C personnel MUST complete and return the Central Florida Region Pro Race Worker Application form. This form is event specific therefore a new form MUST be completed for each Pro event that CFR is charged with staffing.  Events included are (1) Rolex 24 at Daytona (January 24-27. 2013), (2) Sebring 12 Hours (March 12-16, 2013), and (3) St Pete Grand Prix (March 21-24, 2012).
3 THIS APPLICATION IS FOR INDIVIDUALS ONLY — ALL MEMBERS OF A GROUP MUST SUBMIT AN APPLICATION INDIVIDUALLY FOR CONSIDERATION.  To eliminate delays in the processing of applications, ALL questions must be completed. Application acceptance may be delayed if pertinent information has to be requested.
4 NATIONAL/DIVISIONAL LICENSE HOLDERS: National and Divisional F&C license holders or other equivalent license holders (based on organization) in good standing with their own regions/organizations and in good standing with the CFR F&C Specialty team, will be given first consideration.
5 REGIONAL LICENSE HOLDERS: Regional F&C license holders or other equivalent license holders (based on organization) may be considered with the approval of the applicants home region/organization F&C Specialty Chief.
6 REVIEW PROCESS: Your application will be reviewed by the CFR Staffing Team. You will receive written notification of your status from the Event Flag Chief. Please be sure to add CFRProrace@gmail.com to your allowed senders to ensure receipt of any and all emails regarding the application process.
7 PRIORITY: The first priority will be to properly staff ALL turns. Therefore, it is important to be aware that we cannot and will not be able to honor all turn requests. Turn assignments will be assigned on a first come, first serve basis. Once a turn is determined sufficiently staffed, the next critical turn will be addressed. Due to the limited number of credentials, we are no longer able to justify overstaffing one turn while understaffing others. Assignments may be changed throughout the event based on the circumstances and needs of the specific event.
8 REGISTRATION: ALL workers must present current membership and license in order to receive event credentials. DUE TO LIABILITY ISSUES, THERE WILL BE NO EXCEPTIONS.
9 ABUSE OF CREDENTIALS: Credentials are for working personnel only. For example, if you have committed to working all days of the event, then fail to report for any of the assigned shifts without the notifying the CFR Flag Chief, your credentials may be revoked for the remainder of the event and may include possible exclusion from future Pro Events that CFR is charged to staff.
10 WAITING LISTS: Applicants not selected in the initial assignment process will be placed on a waiting list. If a position becomes available due to a cancellation, the next applicant will be notified in writing by the Event Flag Chief
11 GENERAL SCHEDULING/FOOD SERVICE CONCERNS: For the 24 Hour event, each station is divided into 3 teams. Each team will work 4 hours on/8 hours off. The actual shift assignments will be made by the Corner Captain. Thursday and Friday schedules will also be determined by the Corner Captains.
12 DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION SUBMISSION: Friday, January 4, 2013, 6:00 PM EST is the deadline for the 2013 Rolex 24 at Daytona.  Friday, February 22, 2013, 6pm EST is the deadline for the 2013 Sebring 12 Hours.  Friday, March 1, 2013, 6pm EST is the deadline for the 2013 St Pete Grand Prix.
13 DEADLINE FOR CONFIRMED PARTICIPATION: For the Rolex 24 at Daytona the deadline is Friday, January 11, 2013, 6:00 PM EST.  For the 2013 Sebring 12 Hours it is Friday, March 1, 2013, 6pm EST.  For the 2013 St Pete Grand Prix it is Friday, March 8, 2013, 6pm EST.  The applicant MUST CONFIRM participation by the cut off date. Failure to do so will result in loss of their position on the roster. The Event Flag Chief will the assign the next available worker on the waiting list. ”
If you have read and understand the above rules and policies, click ACCEPT (below) to continue to the application process.


Rolex Grand Am season finale @ Lime Rock

A few days ago I was totally complaining it was too hot, and suddenly I was shivering cold standing out in the rain all day watching some of the most exciting racing I’ve seen in ages. The Continental Tire Challenge which was ran in the rain on Friday. It is normally full of action and very exciting, but when it’s pouring rain and the whole front straight was flooded, the racing seemed that much more interesting. Amazingly the guys behaved much better than they normally do in the dry, though the few incidents we had at our sector were hard racing impacts nonetheless.

On Saturday – the main day of racing at Lime Rock as they don’t race on Sunday, was also action packed. The weather was better, no precipitation at all though the threat was there. But the actual Rolex Grand Am series did not disappoint. For this track – the bull rink as a lot of racers call it, the Continental Tire Challenge was broken down in two races as the fields were far too great for the short length of the track. So naturally Saturday saw the Grand Sport race before the feature Rolex Grand Am – Daytona Prototypes and Grand Touring mix. Both races were fantastic. I was stationed at 4 + 4A and we had several direct impacts throughout the nearly 3 hour races. It was indeed outstanding, especially since I got to blue flag most of the races 🙂

Some pix:

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Grand Am & ALMS merging

Perhaps the biggest story from the Baltimore GP as it was happening was the merger speculation of the Rolex Grand Am series with the American LeMans series. While the official announcement won’t be made until tomorrow, the fact that it will be made from Daytona Motor Speedway gives a hint that NASCAR’s Grand Am has got the upper hand.

Based on some preliminary reports, it turns out Grand Am has bought out ALMS from Don Panoz along with Road Atlanta and a long term lease of Sebring. LMP1 will be done with in 2014 when the two series do merge (2013 will see both series run separately for the last time as prior commercial commitments have already been put in place) LMP2 will be the top series followed by Daytona Prototypes, ALMS GT will be one up on Grand Am GT, not sure where the ALMS GTC belong though it should be made clearer at tomorrow’s announcement.

Not sure how I feel about this news. Especially since I have just started volunteering for both series and thoroughly enjoy the boy of them, separately. But as this will be the ultimate future for US sports car racing, its interesting what will become of this.

I guess stay tuned…

NASCAR and Grand AM at Watkins Glen International

Volunteered my first NASCAR event this weekend at Watkins Glen International… Surprisingly entertaining 🙂 Though the Internet forums are abuzz about the Sprint Cup race being one of the best in recent motorsport history. Really?

Two weeks ago I had an opportunity to watch Nationwide and Sprint Cup NASCAR series at Indianapolis Motor Speedway where I’m heading this weekend again for MotoGP, but I decided to pass the tickets to my CouchSufing host and nurse my car back to Michigan which wasn’t feeling too well and I wasn’t really feeling like a spectator. However this time around I actually got to flag the race so it was uber cool.

On Saturday night I thought the highlight of my weekend would be a very exciting Rolex Grand Am race, the second time I worked this series at Watkins Glen though this weekend Continental Tire Challenge were not racing. But Sunday proved me wrong. We only used two flags on each station (with four/five marshals manning each station, pretty unusual sight at WGI) and NASCAR didn’t want to hear many calls we would have normally made for other series like metal to metal contact or four wheels off the track. We couldn’t, even if we wanted to warn the drivers of oil on track or slow moving vehicle as a result, but it all made for an exciting finish. Check it out on YouTube, this french commentary makes it sound that much more interesting: click here.

I should add that the sound NASCAR makes is about as loud as F1 though more to the tune of Formula 5000. A few laps in I found my Comms set was not enough to stop my ears from ringing, every time the pack would pass I felt like there was a helicopter hovering overhead. Luckily I had a set of ear buds ready to use in conjunction with the Comms cans.

Check out my pix on facebook and stay tuned for my first MotoGP at Indy Red Bull GP soon:

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Brickyard 400 Grand Am at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

The second stop on my two thousand mile road trip over a three week period went rather well though very nerve-racking. Now that I’m back in Detroit, I guess I can say things worked themeselves out though I still have a trip to a mechanic coming up first thing Monday morning.

First the problem stemmed from a slow leak that has upgraded to an alarming leak somewhere between Canada and Michigan. Nursing the car all the way to Indianapolis for the race made me more than nervous for all five hours it took to get there. But I made it, and even though it looked like the coolant was gushing out of the system, I made it back to my friend’s house as well.

The race itself was equally nerve-racking. It was perfectly hot weather when I arrived Thursday. The buffet dinner was a welcoming sight, as well as meeting some big wigs at USAC – United States Auto Club that ran the event at the Speedway. However on race day the wather yo yo’ed from hot sunshine to cooling rain throughout the twelve hour schedule. I had to put my wet weather gear on three times or so. Both Continental Tire Challenge and Rolex Grand Am finished under caution, but racing was close and fun to flag. There was lots of blue flagging which I always enjoy.

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Media from Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix

UPDATE: I never gave credit to the photographer that took these photos because I had initially found them on facebook… but here’s his direct link: http://www.pointepics.com/Sports/Racing/Detroit-Grand-Prix-2012-Corner/23388439_TRsPtx#!i=1888965061&k=QqRg9Mm

An interesting sight at the Detroit GP… SCCA Detroit region hired a photographer to capture the work of the corner workers, luckily the guy was always around our post and took some awesome shots.

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Sahlen’s 6hr at the Glen, Rolex Grand Am

WOW! What a freaking weekend. Not only was it long… 4 days, 4 stations, and a 6 hour endurance race, my longest one yet. It was very intense and exciting! I love it.

I was a bit bummed out that I decided to follow Grand Am to Watkins Glen after flagging one of their races at NJMP, especially since ARCA was having a pro event there which paid corner workers for their help. But boy am I glad I came. Not only because ARCA at NJMP experienced a blackout due to the intense heat, but because Grand Am did not disappoint with the level of excitement and intensity.

I became a member of Race Services Incorporated since Watkins Glen doesn’t really use SCCA folks opting for their own special group of volunteers. And after visiting them a few weeks ago for the Porsche Club meeting I was amazed how quickly they trusted me to be on my own. Thursday I was solo at Station 9 at the entrance to the famous Boot. Friday I was at Station 5 the straight at the exit of the Esses, an excellent blue flagging station. Saturday I was corner captain at Station 3 which was supposed to be quiet, but with my fellow flagger getting sick, and several major impacts just before my station that I had to call in because Station 2 had no direct visual of the area thanks to the campers set up on the infield, it was amazing. For race day I was in my favorite location yet, at Station 17 just before the main straight for start/finish. The very last corner with me on blue flag was sweet!

I will definitely head back to the famous Watkins Glen International, it is all its cracked up to be, and then some.

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