by Monica Shaw - MVRG (Missouri Valley Race Group) Race Worker Chair
Motorsports is more than just driving, and there are a million-and-one ways to get involved. Running an event requires the talents of a wide variety of dedicated individuals. The SCCA provides staff to every major road racing event from CART to NASCAR and Formula One.
Flagging and Communications (F&C)
F&C offers you one of the best views of racing - track side. Flag stations are strategically placed around the track wherever things are most likely to happen and are staffed by these white-clad specialists (often called corner workers or flaggers). Corner workers work to provide a safe course by warning drivers of track conditions by use of flags or other signals, communicating course conditions and incidents to race control, handling fires, retrieving damaged cars, and taking appropriate emergency action as needed. F&C workers have the "best seat in the house" but these dedicated diehards spend all day on their feet, exposed to all the elements - rain or shine.
Course Marshals and Emergency Services
Course marshals make sure all emergency equipment is operational and in place. While often in the background and out of sight, when an incident happens emergency services (also known as EV) is always standing by and ready to move at a moment's notice. Backing up the F&C workers around the course are the EV medical staff and ambulance crews, as well as firefighters and tow truck crews.
A great choice if you want to work under a roof and meet lots of people. The day starts early for registration workers, who are usually the first officials the drivers and crew meet when the arrive at the track. Registration workers organize official entry forms and check driver, crew, and worker credentials. If you're efficient, patient, and friendly, registration may be for you.
All eyes, especially the drivers', are on the starter - looking for that green flag signaling the start of the race and the checkered flag at the end. After the green flag drops, a starter counts and charts laps throughout the race, and serves as a flagger. Starters are usually easy to spot in their black and white striped shirts, worn for visibility.
Timing and Scoring
Using a variety of equipment from stopwatches to sophisticated computers and electronic sensors, the timers and scorers keep lap-by-lap records of each car on every lap, from the beginning when the green flag drops, to the finish when the checkered flag flies.
The grid offers you an excellent opportunity of viewing the cars close up and a chance to meet the drivers and crew. If you can follow directions, deal effectively with people, tell time and read a schedule, you have the attributes needed. Using qualifying times provided by timing & scoring, grid workers line up the cars prior to race sessions and make last-minute safety inspections.
Pits and Paddock
Pit and paddock workers are responsible for safety in these areas of the track and for keeping traffic areas clear for the race cars to safely enter and leave.
If you want to look at cars more closely, scrutineering (tech) may be for you. Scrutineers conduct safety checks to make sure every car and the driver's personal safety equipment meet SCCA safety regulations. They also inspect top finishers in impound after the race. Being interested in cars and technically oriented is a definite plus, along with good people skills. Be prepared to start early and work late ... but you get to know the drivers and their cars.
Sound control officials monitor the noise level of race cars on track. Noise levels are recorded, along with weather data and other information important to the stewards, who determine what action to take regarding violations of noise regulations. Being able to read and record data rapidly is a plus.
These are the individuals responsible for the overall running of an event, including enforcement of rules. The Chief Steward is the highest authority at a competition event and is responsible for coordinating the activities of the safety groups during the event.
If you want to be a hero and have skills in diplomacy, this is for you. A race chairperson serves as an organizer and liaison. Among the many duties of a race chairperson are helping plan and set up social functions at the end of the day, assisting the stewards and making sure the workers have what they need.
Getting involved as a worker or official is as easy as going to a local event and volunteering to help.
Workers are issued a license just like the competition drivers, and can work their way up through the four levels of licenses by participating at different events and gaining the knowledge and experience necessary to hold a national specialty license. SCCA licensed workers help staff most of the motorsport events held in the United States in one capacity or another.
There are four grades of licenses that may be issued based upon levels of experience and participation. Any additional requirements for each specialty are outlined in the specialty's Operating Manual. The four license grades are:
This license is issued to all new members entering a specialty. It is the license grade held while training and developing the skills required by the specialty. The officials will become moderately proficient in the core competencies outlined in the specialty's Operating Manual. It is recommended that a Regional license be held for a minimum of two years with active participation. However, an individual demonstrating outstanding ability and progress maybe upgraded early. Likewise, an upgrade from Regional is not an entitlement, and should depend on the worker's proficiency in the area, as well as dedication to the specialty.
The Divisional License grade is considered the "Standard of the Industry" and represents a recognition of accomplishment within the specialty. The Divisional license holders will refine their basic core competencies as outlined in that specialty's Operating Manual. The license holders will learn advanced skills and begin training in the managerial and administrative aspects of the specialty. The license holders will be competent in all non-managerial / non-administrative phases of the specialty.
The National license is issued to officials who progress beyond the typical qualifications and accept the responsibilities of leadership. The license holders will demonstrate advanced general expertise in the specialty. The National license holders will have the knowledge to perform the managerial /administrative functions of the specialty including training and serving as the chief of an event. National license holders are expected to share their knowledge with new workers.
The Senior License may be issued to any current National or Divisional License holder, with the recommendation of both their Regional and Divisional Administrator, and approval by their Divisional Executive Steward based upon long term, competent service in a given specialty. Senior License holders are judged to be at the divisional level of competency in the specialty. The Senior License holder may perform "Chief of Specialty" duties at any event except where the event requires a National License.
Terms of Licenses
- Regional - One Year
- Divisional - One Year
- National - One Year
- Senior - Three Years
Participation Requirements for license renewals:
- All minimum participation requirements will be in the number of days participating in an event.
- Only events sanctioned by SCCA Club Racing, Solo I or SCCA Pro Racing will be considered for participation requirements
- Training functions such as worker schools, fire and rescue schools, etc. will be considered event days for participation requirements.
- An official may request up to two consecutive one-year waivers to participation requirements. The Regional Administrator and the Divisional Administrator may approve these waivers.
- The National Administrator may issue annual waivers beyond the two consecutive one-year waivers.
Annual Participation requirements by License Grade:
- Regional License - There are no minimum participation requirements.
- Divisional License - A minimum of 6 days of participation is required.
- National License - A minimum of 8 days of participation is required.
- Senior License - There are no minimum participation requirements for three (3) years from date of issuance. At the end of each of three year period the Senior License holder must request reconsideration by again obtaining recommendations from the Regional and Divisional Administrators and approval of the renewal by their Division Executive Steward.
General: All license upgrades must be approved by the Regional and Divisional Administrator of the specialty. A letter of recommendation outlining the meeting of the requirements and any additional qualifications of the individual will be sent from the Regional Administrator to the Divisional Administrator with the upgrade request.
Requirements: Additional requirements may be needed as outlined in the specialty's Operating Manual.
- Regional to Divisional - A minimum of two (2) years active participation is required. A demonstration of continued participation and skills improvement is needed. The mastery of basic skills required of the specialty is also displayed.
- Divisional to National - A demonstrated mastery of basic and advanced skills as well as a commitment to participation and skills improvement is required. The display of a willingness and capability to take on managerial and administrative functions should be seen.