Tag Archives: United States Auto Club

4 PWC Races, 4 Different Marshal Roles! Highlight of my Motorsport Volunteering Career Thus Far

I am not bragging in this post, I’m simply counting my blessings!

Thanks to the powers that be this season, I got an opportunity to work four different PWC events so far. And as luck would have it each one of those races I performed a different role as a marshal. That is a massive accomplishment personally in my book. (Log Book if we were doing those things here)

Race 1: St. Petersburg Grand Prix in Florida: Pit Marshal

PWC ran as a support race to IndyCar… and I was there in pit lane.

Race 2: Grand Prix of VIRginia International Raceway (Fire Rescue)

PWC was the headlining event at VIR and I got a chance to ride in the fire truck and tow truck over the 3 day weekend, hooking cars and picking up debris on the hot track!

Race 3: Victoria Day Speedfest at Mosport (Blue Flag Marshal)

PWC sort of competed for the headline event at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park sharing the spotlight with local Pinty’s NASCAR series… I think most people went there for PWC but definitely stock cars brings it’s die fans too. I was there flagging over the weekend.

Race 4: Grand Prix of Lime Rock Park  (Backup Starter)

The most recent PWC experience at Lime Rock Park over Memorial Day weekend was a cherry on top moment for me working as a Backup Starter to the series Starters. Ahhmazing!

This really is an awesome time for me in my Motorsport volunteering career. If I were to stop marshaling now I’d feel that I’ve done everything I wanted to do with this hobby!

Of course, as many would say and as I totally firmly believe myself: “The Best is yet to come….”

How about a Road Trip to the South: Volunteering MX-5 Cup at Barber in Alabama and PWC at VIR?

I would really love to plan a Southern Road Trip to Alabama and Virginia for some awesome car racing. The trip would be approximately 2,000 miles long and last two weeks with a weekend at Barber Motorsports Park volunteering for the Global MX-5 Cup and it’s parent sanctioning body IndyCar. Followed by a fantastic weekend at Virginia International Raceway volunteering for some classes of the Pirelli World Challenge which would include Sprint X, GTS and the TC/TCA/TCB support series which all feature Miata’s.

How cool would that be?

I think it would be fantastic! But how do I make it work?

Challenge #1: Money!

My concern isn’t just driving down 1,000 miles to Birmingham, Alabama… that’s actually an easy part, and I could make it happen relatively cheaply. There’s only $1 in tolls crossing the Delaware River from New Jersey to Pennsylvania and then smooth sailing all the way down i81 which is my preferred route to travel to Florida. The problem is if I plan this now when I’m still unemployed it would be super tough requesting time off from an employer if I do find a job which obviously presents a predicament… should I make contacts now hoping to be accepted or wait until later time when I know for sure I am not committed to actual paying work… I don’t know.

Both the Barber event and VIR event pay for participation. At Barber Motorsports Park, Flagging by Faynisha organizes marshals. They pay some money which would certainly offset the fuel and some of the accommodation costs involved in getting there. Similarly, VIR pays employees for participation at non-club events. And even though last year both the Global MX-5 Cup and Pirelli World Challenge were under the SCCA Pro umbrella, this year neither one is. The MX-5 Cup went with IndyCar as it’s sanctioning body while Pirelli World Challenge switched to USAC for the same reasons. And that will be interesting to see how and what, if any, will the differences be within the series. I suspect little to none, but I am curious to say the least.

There would be a few days to kill between the event in Alabama and the next event in Southern Virginia on the North Carolina border, which is about 500 miles drive from Barber. I would imagine instead of heading directly to VIR I’d make a few day stop in Georgia and maybe spend some time exploring Atlanta. It’s a nice city with nice food and I would love to have a few delicious meals there, like the amazing Fried Chicken and Waffles I sampled on my last visit to Barber where I flew via Atlanta and spend the night before flying back through Philadelphia (hey, the flight was cheap… $35 bux cheap). Anyway, it would be pretty amazing.

And I think I’ll put this high up on the list of events I’d like to participate in this year.

Since neither event is SCCA sanctioned and neither of the marshal bodies are run by SCCA people, I wonder if I should even renew my SCCA membership this year?

Stay tuned…

Post Card from IndyCar at Pocono Raceway, The Tricky Triangle

Greetings from Day 2 of IndyCar at the Pocono Raceway… on the Tricky Triangle. What Turn 4?

So this time I’m doing something different, while still volunteering for a Motorsport event, it’s not quite marshaling. But I’m in pit lane, there are race cars around me, I’m happy!

A few weeks ago I worked with a guy from Pennsylvania at Watkins Glen who invited me to come volunteer IndyCar at Pocono… What? I didn’t know we could do that… I thought marshals weren’t needed on ovals… err… triovals.

They are not, but volunteers are always needed. I filled out my application… got a typical cryptic response that made me wonder if I was in or out, and tickets for the event showed up in my mail box a few days before the race. Cool!

The role for this event was: “Customer Service” with Team Pocono. Some would call it a security role, but there were actual security at the event that were hired help and were getting paid for their service. We worked for free, and we were the only ones in pit lane, where you know… it’s actually dangerous.

Our role was to check wristbands and paper tickets of spectators and VIP’s that were roaming around pit lane during all sessions of the event. I didn’t think this was even possible because typically the pits are off limits to spectators at other events I volunteer at. IMSA and F1 have a special Pit Walk for the spectators which is a watered down experience that lasts for about an hour or so primarily designed for spectators to take some close up pictures of cars in pieces and maybe grab an autograph from their favorite driver. Here, the pit lane was open to anyone who was willing to spend the extra money for this pit pass, and it wasn’t that pricey.

In many ways this activity is where IndyCar is most similar to NASCAR rather than other series like IMSA or F1. The other similarity was running the oval which meant there wasn’t to be any racing as soon as the rain hit the forecast. That combined with a time-certain TV schedule meant that despite the scheduled race for today, the feature activity of the weekend, the actual race got moved to Monday because of the rain (even though as usual the morning was nice and sunny with some overcast)… This was the first time I’ve ever had a race postponed to the next day of the week.

The actual role of customer service was really neat. I got to interact with a bunch of spectators, several crew / team members of the pits I was responsible for, and got to see several drivers up close. The first day of my participation I was absolutely rubbish. There was a person smoking nearby who I missed completely, which was one of my responsibilities. People kept on sneaking up towards the pit wall every time I would turn my back, which wasn’t meant to happen. Someone walked in with a beer, which again was a big no no… Someone brought their young kids in, again this wasn’t good. But on the second day I got the hang of it.

As usual we were not allowed to take any pictures of the cars, but I snuck a few selfies in.

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Only British flags were flying on communication antennas in pit lane to commemorate the one year anniversary of Justin Wilson’s death which happened at this event last year sadly.

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First day I worked the “South” pits watching over Alexander Rossi and Tony Kanaan pits. While second day I got bumped to the North pits looking out for Marco Andretti and Takumo Sato. Second day we really had nothing to do. (because of the rain)

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I was most impressed with the whole registration process at Pocono. Things were well organized, people were knowledgeable and things went very smoothly. Camping was provided right on the inner course where I had driven once when I volunteered as F&C during an SCCA event.

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Chits for food were provided both days, and food was tasty!

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For the second day there was a car show with some interesting things on display like these Jaguars.

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For support event we had Vintage IndyCar organized by USAC.

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There were also lots of stock cars and dirt track cars on display very popular in Pennsylvania and among the crowd who were naturally mostly NASCAR fans. The whole weekend had a very low key feel to it, almost like a club event. Not too many people in attendance which made the event feel very open and drivers super accessible.

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The days on post were quite long and my feet were burning by the end. Luckily I had enough wet weather gear with me to stay dry when the skies opened up on Sunday.

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As a keepsake we got a pin for participation and a program. Which is more than we normally get while volunteering for F&C.

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All in all I had a hell of a time and even though I left the track when the rain started because I was not going to camp in the bog that the water created, I’m very much looking forward to the 98 mile drive back there on Monday to finish what I started/signed-up to do.

It was a fantastic experience to be sure!

USAC Marshall Program: License Application to Flag Indianapolis Motor Speedway Events

Saw a friend share a link today on facebook: usacracing.redpodium.com/usac-marshall-program I know USAC: United Sates Auto Club… the Motorsport sanctioning body responsible for organizing marshals for Indianapolis Motor Speedway events. Great people… looking closer at the license application page… they’re using my picture from Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix from a few years back. How cool?

The licensing fee is also significantly cheaper than say SCCA, but granted there are very few events where marshals are needed at IMS, which like other famous oval tracks rely on paid spotters and the light system to signal cautions at the big events, like Indy 500.

Nevertheless, a very worthwhile experience being a member.

USAC indianapolis motor speedway marshall application 2016

So if you’re interested… do join!

Registration open for 2014 Indianapolis events: IndyCar, MotoGP & Tudor Series

I have received an invitation from the United States Auto Club (USAC) to volunteer a few upcoming events at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this summer. The events include a number of racing series and styles of racing that others may be interested in so I would love to extend the invitation here to marshals reading my blog.

May 8, 9, 10: IndyCar will be running the Road Course of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as one of two events at this venue, the second being the traditional running of the Indianapolis 500 around the oval for which marshals aren’t used. At least not us volunteers.

July 24, 25: Tudor United Sports Car Championship will be run around the Road Course of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway same as the Rolex Series ran it for the past few years. I have participated in this event a few years ago and had a genuinely good time.

August 8, 9, 10: MotoGP will return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway to run the Road Course in the other direction which brings a great deal of spectators to Speedway, Indiana as well as bikers in general to downtown Indianapolis. I’ve done this event for the past two years and the level of enthusiasm from the MotoGP crowd is amazing. Highly recommend.

I would strongly encourage anyone able to or interested in volunteering any of the above mentioned events to go ahead and register. If you need a recommendation I am happy to provide one. Keep in mind that there is a processing fee associated with volunteering for USAC events. However, you get your money’s worth with event branded clothing, a welcoming dinner and the privilege of working at a world class facility.

For more info visit:  http://www.usacworker.com/ or http://www.motogpworker.com/

Accepted to the Indianapolis Grand Prix for MotoGP

I’m proud to report that for the second year in a row I’ve been accepted to marshal the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway featuring MotoGP.

My ratio of bikes to car racing is still way skewed towards four-wheels, but I love motorcycle racing and MotoGP is about as good as it gets! In addition, unlike F1 the ultimate series of automotive racing, with MotoGP you respond immediately to a crashed bike without waiting for permission from race control. Adrenaline rush to the max!

Truly looking forward to a great experience at the Brickyard 😉

United States Auto Club – USAC has also send me a training video for the MotoGP, like they did last year. I think its a fantastic idea as it covers in detail the types of flags used, how they are used correctly and in what situations, how to approach incidents, riders, doctors, etc. Very handy tool to refresh my memory when working motorcycle races!