You’re watching your favorite race, and you notice people in white standing track side. You wonder who those people are – and how they got lucky enough to be there! Odds are, those workers in white are proud members of the SCCA® family of volunteers and officials!
There are so many places behind the scenes where you can become involved: working on the grid helping the cars line up before the start of a race, feeling the ground rumble beneath your feet as the engines start up and the cars roll out onto the track; the air conditioned comfort of Timing & Scoring on a hot summer day; carefully studying the action from track side – the closest you can be to the cars without being in the cars – showing the flags that indicate track conditions; monitoring race traffic standing in the pit lane, or traffic control in the paddock area; or, surveying the action from your perch in the Start Tower, above the track, as you wait to throw the checkered flag – these are just a few of the positions you can learn, volunteering to be an SCCA® race volunteer.
The racing action is just part of the fun of being a proud SCCA® volunteer. When you work Pro events, you can even bring a friend to the event for FREE as your guest! You’ll make many great new friends, and enjoy hours of “bench racing” at the end of your fulfilling day out on track. No matter who you are – no matter what your physical abilities – OVR can find a place for you!
The smiling faces at registration are the very first contact drivers, crew, and workers have with our races. Registrars check memberships and licenses (competition, crew, and/or worker licenses), witness signatures on waivers, and issue credentials allowing participants access to the event.
Pit marshals monitor traffic in the pit lane, and stand ready for anything that might happen in the pit lane during a race. Paddock marshals monitor traffic in the paddock area (where the race cars and rigs park), and in some regions, assign paddock spaces and assist rigs in parking for the weekend.
Tech Inspector (Scrutineer)
Tech inspectors require good knowledge of the General Competition Rules (“GCR”) and are the final determination about whether or not a race car complies with the rules and is safe for racing. Tech inspectors weigh cars, check ride height, verify engine seals on Spec cars, issue log books for race cars, and many other duties. It is a demanding position that requires technical knowledge, as well as knowledge of the rules.
These workers help cars line up before their sessions (practice, qualifying, and the race). When it’s race time, grid workers help the competitors line up in the order they qualified. They are also the last people to check drivers and cars for safety, watching for things like window nets that have been left up, helmet straps that aren’t properly fastened, etc.
After you’ve gained experience as an F&C worker, you can move up to the Start Tower and be the person who starts the races and throws the checkered flag when it’s over. Starters keep track of the race leader and the number of laps down in the race. Starters also use their F&C training to communicate track conditions to the drivers.
Flagging & Communications (F&C)
Here in the Ohio Valley Region, we are fortunate to have the assistance of the Lake Erie Communications F&C group. They stand at track side, utilizing the colored flags to tell drivers on track of the conditions ahead – whether there’s a slow moving vehicle on course, or slippery track conditions, or to throw the dreaded “meat ball” for a driver who has mechanical difficulties or body panels hanging off his or her car. They witness and communicate incidents on track to Race Control, and request wreckers or medical assistance in the case of a serious incident on track.
Timing & Scoring (T&S)
Even though our division requires that all drivers operate transponders on their vehicles (little transmitters that tell the T&S people the car number and how fast the lap was when it crossed the start/finish line), we still use people for back up and other duties in the Timing & Scoring building. If it’s hot outside, most T&S buildings are air conditioned. If the conditions are less than ideal (cold and wet), it’s warm and dry at Timing & Scoring!
These workers come to the aid of drivers who are stranded on the track, or who develop mechanical or other difficulties during a race and can’t return to the pit lane under their own steam. Some run wreckers, others use their own vehicles and a tow strap to provide “rope tows,” and some operate roll-off trucks.
Medical, Safety, and Emergency Services
If you are a doctor, nurse, firefighter, EMT, or paramedic, and you’re interested in getting involved in motor sports, we can always use your volunteer skills and training at the track – for everything from attending to simple bumps and bruises, to serious medical emergencies. We don’t limit medical and safety personnel to staying at Medical, though. You can be a driver, F&C worker, pit/paddock marshal – or any of the other race specialties necessary to operate a race.
These workers monitor the sound level of race vehicles during all sessions, and read and log decibel readings on a sound meter. They also monitor weather conditions, which can affect the sound readings.
The friendly faces at the base of the tower at Mid-Ohio monitor race communications and keep notes. If a driver goes out during a race, crew or family members can find out from the workers at Information what happened to their driver, and how and when he or she will be coming back to pit lane. Information workers also provide directions, race results, qualifying grids, make announcements and call race groups to the grid, and are the all ’round good-will ambassadors at the track.
All SCCA workers are licensed by the SCCA, and there are different levels of licenses – regional, divisional, national, and senior. Each license grade has minimum requirements for renewal, such as a minimum number of days or events worked during the calendar year, as well as for upgrading to the next step of license. Your worker license is verification of your level of skill and experience, and whether or not you have sufficient experience to serve as a chief of specialty for a race. Learn more by reading the SCCA’s Guide To Obtaining An SCCA Official’s License.