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First time volunteer needs advice


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I offered to volunteer at an upcoming race meet and could use some advice from those with experience.  I've never been to an auto race and could use a little help to prepare for it.  My interest in endurance racing is fairly new; it started in 2015.  What I have learned is from reading internet postings and watching streams on the 'net.  I know absolutely nobody who does any auto racing and I am hoping that by volunteering at a race I might meet some people who wouldn't mind helping me learn more about racing.  Of course this is insane but you guys race chump cars so I figured you would understand people who do crazy things.

 

I am hoping there is some way I will be useful to the race organizers.  I am nowhere near as agile as the pit crew members I have seen online.  And being short, female and um mature I am hardly an intimidating personality.  On the other hand I do have 20+ years experience organizing,

hosting, managing and running low-level competitions for the organic form of horsepower and there are some things about putting on sports competitions that should be common to all.  And those competitors were operating equipment with very limited braking and steering and it doesn't even stay on the ground all the time.  I'm hoping I could at least be useful gofering for race control or staffing some administrative  post.

 

So, on to my request for advice.  What will help a newcomer prepare for a weekend at a Chumpcar race?  I live on a farm and am used to being outdoors in all sorts of weather for significant periods.  I live in the same region as the track so have a reasonable idea about the climate.  Are

there any particular sorts of clothing I should bring?  Any special pieces of equipment I should have?  I gather that earplugs are useful but

anything else?  Any particular advice on social customs at the track?  So what advice would you give your crazy aunt who has decided to volunteer at a chump car race?

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A short, mature, woman, who is used to dealing with horses.... that actually sounds pretty intimidating. You are already high in the list of people at the track I don't want to mess with!!

 

Dress for the weather and wear good shoes as there may not be much of an opportunity to sit around much. Sunscreen and a good hat too as there can be very little shade on pit lane. The rest of the stuff will be given to you. 

 

Typically a volunteer will help to patrol pit lane watching for teams following fuel safety rules or place timers on the car at pit in or take them at pit out and/or holding cars in pit lane for rules/driving infractions. 

 

Social customs? Don't think so. Just bring a good attitude. Everyone tends to be pretty friendly at Chump. 

 

For what it's worth, after helping us for two years with the car, logistics, pit stops, etc, my 69 year old mother just drove in her first race this past weekend!

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Go to the novice drivers orientation session, usually around 5:30 or 6 PM Friday evening of the race weekend.  You have to hear the words, the "language" of the race, and it will help you to hear what the newbie drivers are being told.  And get your direction from the event volunteer coordinator; that is, ask them what is really important to them to have you do, to enforce. And thanks from all of us involved with the teams, thanks for volunteering!  You will have a riot.  It's great fun.

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(My experience)

When it is lunch time, the folks in the flag stands get lunch delivered to them while the race is still taking place.

Ask Mike if you can help deliver lunch or dinner and you'll get as close up as you should probably be to the action. 

Be where he says to be when he says to be there and he or Andrea will take good care of you.

 

On pit road, remember that you're there to keep us from hurting ourselves or others. Do not think for a second that you just need to stand and watch teams go about their activities.  Monitor and enforce.  See something you have a safety question about?  Radio in and ask. 

When it is time for you to take a break, take the break.  Sit, relax and take in the atmosphere during break.  Take time to sit.  Sit in your car if you need to. 

Hell...close your eyes for awhile, just listening to the event.

Look both ways before crossing pit road.  Sometimes teams think they can go the wrong way.  Look out for every car approaching you.  Throttle cables can stick & drivers can lose control at 30MPH as easily as at 90MPH.

 

 See a fire on pit road?, call it in.  Race control might not see it yet.   Maybe not a big deal and was put out fast with no harm but race control wants to know about it.

 

When you radio in ANYTHING, begin with "Pit Marshall to Race Control, I am standing in front of pit stall (#) and...." then give your information. 

I need a break.

I have a question...

I was asked by a team to...

I saw someone...

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  • Technical Advisory Committee

   Welcome Robin   , double e has it covered , Rember job one is safety expecially your own never turn your back on moving cars .. If one is about to hit you , car that is , go Jr Johnson and jump up and roll with it ..   I have worked about 20 events over the years ..hope you get hooked on chump ....

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Agree to all of the above.  You're very welcome.  Some guys can get intense, but don't worry about being intimidating.  If a situation comes up where you feel like intimidation is necessary, call in the big guns.  Only jerks that are about ready to get kicked out feel the need to intimidate a "mature" lady.

Drink lots of water even when it's cold.  

Wear comfortable shoes.

Talk with the teams as much as you can when they don't look busy.  99% of the teams love getting to know the pit marshals.

Keep us all safe even if we're too stupid to appreciate and accept it. If you aren't sure, report it. after doing this a few times, you'll learn what is acceptable risk and what is dangerous.

When you are on the hot side of pit lane (where teams do their fueling and driver changes), never turn your back to oncoming traffic unless you have no choice.  

 

You'll have the best seat in the house and have a radio that hears everything that's going on unfiltered.  It'll be a blast.

 

I think it's a bit corny, but here is a video about safe pit practices.

 

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  • Technical Advisory Committee
On 7/5/2017 at 8:21 PM, Robin said:

I offered to volunteer at an upcoming race meet and could use some advice from those with experience.  I've never been to an auto race and could use a little help to prepare for it.  My interest in endurance racing is fairly new; it started in 2015.  What I have learned is from reading internet postings and watching streams on the 'net.  I know absolutely nobody who does any auto racing and I am hoping that by volunteering at a race I might meet some people who wouldn't mind helping me learn more about racing.  Of course this is insane but you guys race chump cars so I figured you would understand people who do crazy things.

 

I am hoping there is some way I will be useful to the race organizers.  I am nowhere near as agile as the pit crew members I have seen online.  And being short, female and um mature I am hardly an intimidating personality.  On the other hand I do have 20+ years experience organizing,

hosting, managing and running low-level competitions for the organic form of horsepower and there are some things about putting on sports competitions that should be common to all.  And those competitors were operating equipment with very limited braking and steering and it doesn't even stay on the ground all the time.  I'm hoping I could at least be useful gofering for race control or staffing some administrative  post.

 

So, on to my request for advice.  What will help a newcomer prepare for a weekend at a Chumpcar race?  I live on a farm and am used to being outdoors in all sorts of weather for significant periods.  I live in the same region as the track so have a reasonable idea about the climate.  Are

there any particular sorts of clothing I should bring?  Any special pieces of equipment I should have?  I gather that earplugs are useful but

anything else?  Any particular advice on social customs at the track?  So what advice would you give your crazy aunt who has decided to volunteer at a chump car race?

 

Welcome to CCWS Robin. You will find most everyone is extremely helpful, and easy going. Safety is #1, so just keep your eyes open and stay alert if you are on pit road. 

As far as special clothing,  just make sure you are protected from the elements. A hat and sun screen, or rain coat etc. 

 

Everyone appreciates the help we get from volunteers, and I hope you enjoy your first race!

 

-Andrew 

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  • ChampCar Staff

 

Greetings and Welcome, we're glad for your help.

 

What race are you planning to work? I just looked through my list of race volunteers and I don't see a Robin.

 

Depending on the race, either Mike Chisek, Mike Morrison, or I will send out an email specifically to the volunteers with information for that specific event. The email covers when to arrive, what to bring, potential weather issues, and we attach some documents that cover the rules on pit-lane for you to read over. We use an email service called Constant Contact. Sometimes the email will end up in people's junk or spam folders so keep an eye out for it.

 

Thanks again, Dana

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I will be at the Brainerd race, I live in the upper midwest area.  I have gotten a couple emails from Mike Morrison but they seem to be aimed at the competitors; at least they assure me that I must be on some list somewhere.  I hope he is expecting me as I have been preparing for a couple days now.  I think I had better email him and check.

 

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I will be seeing the Chump cars for the first time at Brainerd, am going to be working a corner/F&C.  Have done other club events for several years at the track, but the endurance race will be a new thing for me.  Our corner staff is a fairly small crew, but well seasoned, comprised of people that have worked many of the various events and driving schools that are held at BIR.., I am guessing that the Series organizers them selves have volunteer spots to pull an event like this one off.  Excited to see this event.

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