As I sit here in the frozen plains waiting to close on an old farmstead, and with most of my shop and race stuff in storage in Colorado, I find myself watching whatever racing I can find on TV. Speed TV isn’t about speed anymore, but at least in the off season, it isn’t NASCAR either. Just today I see the World Challenge series is moving to Versus. It would be nice if DIRECTV and Versus could now agree on a price and get Versus back. What I have discovered is HD Theatre and the WRC and the Isle of Man TT. The drivers/riders in both events must be absolutely looney. How they drive a car on gravel or snow at 130 mph with people and trees/rocks/etc. everywhere is beyond me. They don’t always get it right as the rollover down the hill (17 times) proves. The snow rallies are always my favorite but unfortunately last year the only one was in Norway. Years ago my wife and I attended the ice driving school in Steamboat where they taught us some of the techniques in snow rallying. Great fun! Of course the wife whipped me in every exercise. And I think I read somewhere recently our webmaster will be taking the course this year. Enjoy Christine, and our favorite dining spot is the Yacht Club.
I’m not a big scooter guy, but the Isle of Man is another event I find difficult to understand. A 37 mile true road course with a 130 mph average speed on a motorcycle in the wet makes no sense. Of course the sidecars are my favorite. For the last two years, Dave Hegeman and I have flagged the MotoGP races at Indy. Watching Rossi jump up into the airstream for Turn 1 after hitting 200 mph on the front straight is I hope, unforgettable. Last year we had a very tough time finding enough flaggers for the weekend and ended up with a lot of first time bikers. I would encourage all of you SCCA corner workers to attend. There are 20 some flag stations and the procedures are the same as our local races. The hard core bikers and the Indy Speedway firefighters are on a slightly different station and used as baggers and scrapers. The days are short and easy with 3 meals a day and more beer than you and I can drink. It’s a perfect location for you Ed.
Speaking of Ed Shuler, it was nice to see he was the Shirley Burtis Award winner last year. Well deserved after all those freezing days at HPR. I think Ed is planning on working the Daytona 24 this year and possibly the Sprints and the NASCAR Nationwide Series at Road America. Watching those taxis at RA will be a riot when they’re not under a full course yellow, which will probably be at least half of the race. I may have to work it myself. It will be interesting to see which corner Ed gets at Daytona. As I remember the same workers work the same corner every year. Not what we like to see in the Rockies.
Other well deserved winners at the convention were Teri Massey, Ted Winning, and Michelle McColl. As I read the list of winners, they were all good choices. Christine Jerritts was the most improved driver of the year, which I think is a tough award to give. I sure wouldn’t want to make that decision. I agree she did a fine job of driving this year, but I didn’t think she was all that bad last year.
F1. 13 teams this year if they all make it. USGP/USF1 is to have an all American driver lineup, or will they? I have followed F1 since 1960 and I don’t remember as many off season changes ever, then again, my memory. Michael pulls a Brett Farve and finally decides to come back. At 41 I think he’ll get his butt whipped. The teams as of now are Ferrari, McLaren, Williams, Toleman/Benetton/Renault, Minardi/Toro Rosso, Jordan/Midland/Spyker/ForceIndia, Sauber/BMW Sauber/Sauber, Stewart/Jaguar/RedBull, Lotus, Manor/Virgin Cosworth, Campos, USGP/USF1, and Tyrrell/BAR/Honda/Brawn/Mercedes. A Virgin Cosworth,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Hmmmmmmmm. The prettiest F1 car I ever saw was Eddie Jordan’s first 7 Up car in Phoenix. Some of the changes include no refueling, just tire changes, smaller front tires, no tire warmers, and changes to the points for each race. Life was simpler back in the 60’s when there were only 6 teams in each baseball league. If you get my drift.
Is that Abu Dhabi race course the wildest course you have ever seen? I sure wouldn’t want to work a corner in the pit out tunnel. Canada is back on the schedule and some of our workers are considering going up there. Who’s in??
And finally at the convention our leaders have proposed going to a set schedule for our races next year. CART/IRL and recently IMSA have used a “time certain” system with varying degrees of success. I can understand with TV involved why they use it. Something different had to be done and I hope this method improves what we have had recently. As with many ideas, the devil is in the details.
‘Soldiers in White’ is a monthly opinion column contributed by racer and corner worker Bob Stream. Opinions and views expressed here should not be construed to be those of the SCCA. Questions or comments for the Editor are always welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.