It has been a long time since I have posted something here. It has been a wild and crazy start to the season for many of us. We had three successful Safety Days at Pitt Race, Mid-Ohio and Indy to kick off the season. We all eased into the LEC season with Porsche Club (which was a miserable weather weekend) and Formula Promotions. We were able to bring a couple of members into race control to begin training to work in RC. Kurt Stevens made his debut as flag chief for Formula Promotions and did an outstanding job.
We then next kicked off the SCCA season with the SCCA Super Tour which was fun event all weekend with really good racing and an excellent worker turn out. Most recently, we just finished with SVRA. It was a gorgeous weekend except for Friday where they could have held vintage boat racing. SVRA was the debut of Kevin Young as flag chief....he liked it so much he is doing Formula Promotions this weekend.
We have had several new people join LEC and many have started their training to become corner workers.
Thank you to everyone near and far that has come to Mid-Ohio and supported LEC and all of the various events to date so far...we are just reaching the halfway point of the season and in the middle of the brutal part of the LEC schedule. Hope you all can come out even for a day over the next three weeks as we can use your support.
There are several Safety Days available in the Region this year. Safety Training is extremely important for us as corner workers. We never know when we will be called in to action. This also gives us opportunities to get to know Emergency Services personnel and they get to know us.
There are three opportunities this year where you can experience safety training for the first time or brush up on the skills prior to the season. Please try to attend one of theses days....they are free to attend.
Sunday, March 19 (8:00 AM-5:00 PM) @ Indianapolis Motor Speedway.....Contact Bill Armitage
Saturday, April 1 @ Mid-Ohio (Mini-Safety Day).....Register at Motorsportreg.com
Saturday. April 22 @ Pitt Race....Contact Erik Avendutti
For a few LEC members the 2017 season started off early. Several LEC members traveled to Miami for the Race of Champions. This is a very unique event pitting some of the best drivers in the world in head to head battles to determine "The Champion of Champions". In addition there was a team competition along with USA vs. The World. This was an exciting 3 days of activity. It also marks the 1st time ROC has been staged in the United States.
For those not familiar with the Race of Champions. This track was built inside Marlins Park, home of the Florida Marlins MLB Team. The track was essentially 2 car width wide inside the ball park. Each race was one lap with two cars that took the tack at the same time and had to cross over. A race lasted 37-40 seconds. The racing was either group heats or the best 2 out of 3.
There were 8 types of cars used during the weekend and all the drivers eventually had to race all of them. The cars were the ROC buggy (dune buggy), KTM X-Box, Vuhl 05, Ariel Atom, Radical SR3, Whelen NASCAR, RX Super Lites, Polaris Slingshot.
A few drivers in attendance were Tony Kanaan, Helio Castro-Neves, Alexander Rossi, Kurt and Kyl;e Busch, Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe, Sebastian Vettel, Tom Kristensen, Travis Pastrana, Scott Speed, Pascal Wehrlein, Felipe Massa, Jenson Button, David Coulthard and few others that escpae my mind.
The competition was fierce but the drivers were having a blast. It was fun watching them in the driver change area.
LEC members that made the trip were: Bill Armitage, Randy Holton, Kevin Young, Doug Miller, Robin Banks-Clemens, and Bill Thompson
If the reports are true; ROC will be returning to Marlins Park in 2018.....if this true, I plan on returning.
Thanks to David Slaughter for some of the pictures.
What a way to finish off the season by working the United States Grand Prix at COTA in Austin, TX. LEC was well represented in many facets of presenting this world class event to the world. LEC also had a few members in leadership roles for the USGP....Bill Armitage was Race Chairman. Ron Long was promoted from Sector Chief to Chief Flag Marshal, Willy Perez was once again a Sector Chief. Gordy Ensing was Chief Starter while Jim Johnstone, Sue Wakeman and Kevin Young were Chief Post Marshals. Other LEC members that participated on course for the USGP was Jerry Cabe, Tom Roberts, Tom Schreiber and Bill Thompson. It was a lot of fun spending time with everyone in Austin.
Overall the weekend went very well. The weather was nearly perfect and the on-track activity was a lot of fun being around. It was also enjoyable to see other corner workers from all over the world and be able to spend time with our extended family.
Ron and myself were able to spend time with a contingent from the Grand Prix held in Baku. They were invited to the USGP to observe how we organize and run or Grand Prix. After spending several hours with them, I discovered many similarities but also many differences in how each Grand Prix is operated and organized. I learned several things from our friends from Baku to incorporate in to the USGP as well as LEC. I know our friends picked up many ideas from us as well. Hopefully during the 2017 Baku Grand Prix we will see some LEC influence in the marshals.
I hope next year many more LEC members will make the journey to Austin for either the FIA WEC race in September or the USGP in October....or even both. It is an excellent opportunity to interact with workers from all over the world but also see how other workers operate. I know I will be back for both WEC and F1 in 2017.
For those that do not know. Yesterday Doug Rigel tripped and fell in the LEC Campground. He was transported to Central Hospital in Mansfield where he is resting comfortably and in good spirits. He will be there again overnight tonight. I spoke with him this afternoon and his right shoulder was dislocated and broken causing some nerve damage causing him to lose feeling in his right hand. Currently, they expect the shoulder to heal in about 4-6 months. They expect the feeling in his hand to come back but it will require 12-18 months of therapy. Keep Doug in your thoughts and prayers. If you would like to send him well wishes his address is:
3255 Oakstone Dr.
Ontario, OH 44903
Been a while since I posted anything....frankly it has been an extremely busy three weeks and finally able to catch my breath and reflect on the past three weekends at Mid-Ohio.
Let's start off with the IndyCar weekend.....First thing....Thank You All for an outstanding job all weekend. We were dealt with a very difficult situation all weekend with the Net....it was a pain from Thursday afternoon all the way through the checker on Sunday. I do commend each and everyone of you for remaining patient, understanding and mostly being the true professionals you are. I know there was a lot of frustration but everyone worked through the problem and everyone from myself, Mid-Ohio and IndyCar applaud your efforts....it wasn't fair to you and wasn't your fault. I'll get in to this more a little later. Other than the Net, overall the rest of the weekend went well. I wish I was able to spend time on station with you during the weekend but that proved impossible. I want to thank Lou Beal, Chuck Tucker, Matt Moritz, Bill Crowe, Amy and Gianna Armitage for having my back while I was dealing with the Net issues all weekend. All in all it as a successful weekend.
Cincinnati's Double Regional was up next and this was the first time all year we had to beg, borrow and steal to be able to cover minimums. I was a little disappointed with the result, but I understand the amount of time many of you have given over the past 7 out of 8 weekend we have had events. We were able to manage to get the staffing from a little help from start and a SIT. All in all it was a fun weekend and again the work was very good. We still were suffering through some Net issues but discovered some of the issues and tried to fix them. Unfortunately, some of the fixes didn't pan out. While the net was better it was far from where it should be but better than IndyCar.
NASCAR X'finity ends our three week stretch and 7 of 8 weekend journey this summer. Again everyone did very well even though we tended to get a little lazy on our calls on Friday but improved dramatically on Saturday. Flagging was very good. We did have a couple of major incidents with Trans-Am on Saturday but those involved did a great job with the calls. The weather was hot, humid and rainy at times. Been a while since I remember it being that humid. We can safely say that we are some of the very few that have flagged a NASCAR race in the rain....it was entertaining especially at Turn 4 and 5. The Net was much better even though we stayed on the Analog channel....it ran a lot smoother than the previous two weeks but again not where it should be but life was a lot easier.
In regards to the radios.....I learned a lot about radios....more than I care to....there were issues on both sides that caused our problems. We did have a lot of interference from unregistered frequencies on Sunday and those on our frequency on Friday and Saturday.....it was truly a mess. Once we got to Cincinnati and got rid of the extra radio traffic, we did find some issues with our system such as radios pre programmed with a sleep mode, some equipment issues that were causing bleed over. We tried to remedy those but were not fully successful. While testing went on the following week, it was decided to use what we knew worked which what we did for NASCAR. It worked well.
What does the future bring for the Net at Mid-Ohio.....to be honest, I do not know. I have been spending a lot of time with management talking about a bunch of different options....and yes including a landline....we all understand the safety issue of having a proper communications system and Mid-Ohio now sees it as well but the other side of the coin is cost....what gets you the best bang for the buck....it is a delicate balance between the two. Be assured LEC is part of the process to give our opinions regarding the system to be put in place for the future. It is not an easy decision but we are giving our two cents worth and these discussions will be continuing in to the off season.
Finally, we have three events left in the season Put-In-Bay, Runoff Tests and OVR Fall Double Regional. Kevin Young is handling organizing PIB and looks to be staffed for the event. Bill Crowe and Erik Avendutti are co-chiefs for the test days while I am at COTA for WEC. Erik is also looking for additional help for NASA in a couple of weeks at Mid-Ohio (which is a pay day). Contact Erik at email@example.com if you are interested in helping or for more information.
Again....Thank You for everyone's dedication this year.....it truly means the world to me that you are coming to the track this year. I have had a blast all year and I hope you feel the same. We are getting close to the off season and I look forward to a little down time but also excited to see if I can put some new ideas in to practice to make next year even better.
Enjoy your break...see you soon
What a nice weekend. An easy two day weekend of club racing. We had a really good turn out of workers. We were up 10 people compared to last year. I really appreciate the support all season. The racing was good. The car count was a little light but it still was fun to have a low key weekend. We had one new student start his training (Jonathan Palmer) and did very good job. The flag work was very good and the communications were good as well, despite the radio issues that has been plaguing us all season. I have received many compliments from everyone from drivers to stewards on how well the flagging was over the weekend. Keep up the good work!!!!
I still very thankful and humbled by everyone's support. I have stated to many that this last stretch of 4 races in the past 4 weeks would give me an idea where we were. My thoughts are we are heading in the right direction. The worker count has been up roughly 20-25% per event. We have had 7 new recruits begin training and 6 of those have returned to continue training. We have many members come back to give LEC another chance and they have returned for multiple events. I have seen steady improvement in our overall quality of work on station. I feel most are having a good time at the track again. Lots of smiles, laughter and messing around. The evening campfires are getting back to the way they once were.
I appreciate the ideas and suggestions and try to implement many of them when I can. Do we still have work to do....absolutely we do!!!! A lot of people have stepped up and have been helping keeping the ship running and others have stepped in to do the little things to help make the events on-site running smoothly.
We have another 3 week stretch of events coming up starting with IndyCar July 29-31. This our biggest event of the year and need to have the help to make sure that we are covered the best way possible. The next week is Cincinnati Region August 6-7 and ending with NASCAR Xfinity August 12-13. After that we only have three events in the next two months to finish the season. Put-In-Bay August 29-30, SCCA Runoff Test Days, September 16-18 and finishing off the season with the OVR Double Regional October 8-9.
Thank you to everyone that came out and participated for VMD at Mid-Ohio. It very much turned into a very low key weekend for us. Many of the groups tended to be on the small side but did have some nice size groups. The racing was generally good. We had several people that I have not seen in a while and several that traveled a distance to support this weekend. While we had assistance from the Mid-Ohio weekday staff to help cover corners and I thank them for their help. In the end, overall our participation numbers were up from the past several years which Mid-Ohio management and ownership has recognized and made comments to me about during the weekend. Mid-Ohio is very pleased with the efforts of our leadership to turn things around and they are very happy with the results they have seen. We are at the halfway point of our season and our brutal stretch of races. We still need help for this weekends OVR Double Regional and then get a weekend off before a stretch of three in a row with IndyCar and NASCAR with Cincinnati's Double regional sandwiched in there. Let's finish this stretch off strong as the season begins to wind down after NASCAR.
Again, thank you for the support this season. Hope to see you over the next few weeks.
This will be a short blog. First off THANK YOU to everyone that came out and supported this event. We were able to meet the needs of all the series and open up all the stations around the track. We could not have done this with out all of you supporting us.
We ended up in the upper 20's all weekend. The flag work was really good and the communications were good all weekend as well. I do see some issues that need to be addressed to tighten up some of our Com protocols.
I was able to test a new radio Mid-Ohio is looking to move to soon. I felt it worked very well....there are some added features such as tone to alert the net is engaged and disengaged. The radio seems more durable and the battery life is really good. The speaker with and without the headset was crystal clear. One small issue showed but I think it will go away once everyone is on the same radio, The plan is to test these radios during the OVR Double Regional in July and see how well they work. There is also talk of race control going to portable radios as well during the OVR weekend.
Here are some photos taken and shared by Michael Berchak from the weekend....Thank You for sharing!!!!
Look forward to seeing everyone soon.
Thank you again to those that attended SVRA at Mid-Ohio over the weekend. Our numbers were up about 10% from last years event. It was a great event. I had a lot of fun. It was nice seeing a lot of familiar faces that I haven't seen in a while. It was pretty much a laid back weekend for most. Not a lot of activity but a lot of nice looking cars running around over the three days.
Overall the flag work was very good and the communications were very good. The biggest issues were knowing the priority of call and radio silence. These items did improve through out the weekend.
Again we struggled with inconsistent radios. I was able to spend time with Mid-Ohio on Sunday to further discuss the issues. Rest assured that Mid-Ohio is working on a plan to replace the radios. We may have the opportunity to test a system within the next month. Please remain patient, we are working on resolving the issue.
We had or first LEC school of the season which was attended by 5 new workers. Since we had the available numbers, we were able to do a classroom session prior to them going out on course in the afternoon at 1B. Sunday they worked on their skills at Turn 6. I was able to see the progress in a short period of time. "Professor" Avendutti did an excellent job in preparing the new recruits for the adventures that lie ahead.
The new students were
We also had our 1st Annual LEC reunion during the weekend. We had many past members join us during various times throughout the weekend. For me, it was the first time I was able to meet some of our history. Friday night we had dinner at the Skirmant's paddock area, where we enjoyed brats for dinner. Again, many thanks for your hospitality. Saturday, we spent time around the campfire discussing LEC history and telling stories of the past. Thanks to Randy Holton for your effort in putting this together. If you have pictures to share from the reunion, please email them to me and I will post them.
Thank you to Mike Wheeler and Matt Moritz for helping keep everyone stocked with plenty of ice and water.
Thank you to Chris Zemka for bring us breakfast that consisted of a breakfast casserole and coffee cake. It was enjoyed by everyone. I know it was delicious.
Dale Strimple provided some door prizes for our workers....Thanks Dale.
I really hope this is our turning point in getting LEC back to where it once was. The board and myself are working hard to do so. I know I speak for the other Board members and THANK YOU ALL for your support to this point. I hope you see and feel the difference and will be willing to participate more through out the rest of the year. Our season is very compact again with 85% of our events are from now until Mid-August.
I was able to speak to Mid-Ohio about some other items regarding port-o-pots, cross overs and a few other items. Our relationship with Mid-Ohio is getting better every weekend. We are working together instead of against each other. Mid-Ohio is very pleased with our progress in growing ourselves.
Look forward to seeing you again soon!!!!