RACE: Neohio Region Mid-Ohio national race preview

Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course - August 24, 2001 - The Neohio Buckeye Sprints National has close to 300 entries consisting of 24 Sports Car Club of America amateur classes. This is where many of the pro drivers started their racing careers; and many...

Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course - August 24, 2001 - The Neohio Buckeye Sprints National has close to 300 entries consisting of 24 Sports Car Club of America amateur classes. This is where many of the pro drivers started their racing careers; and many of this weekend's Buckeye Sprints entrants are working toward pro careers. Some of this weekend's drivers are SCCA championship contenders, whom you will see at September's Runoffs held here at Mid-Ohio.

During the 2000 Runoffs, four Neohio drivers drove to five national championships. Three of the four will participate in this weekend's race. Al Beasley, Jr. drove to two victories: one in CSR and one in DSR. Freddy Baker won the T1 championship. Mike Cyphert is the reigning GT3 title-holder. Warren Stilwell won the SRF title last year for the fifth consecutive year. However; this year, Stilwell has turned Pro and competes in the SCCA Pro Spec Racer series where he has won four races so far this year.

Other events being held in conjunction with the national race are two Pro series: PSR's American LeMans and SCCA's TransAm. Many of the drivers competing in the two series have ran at Mid-Ohio in SCCA amateur Club Racing events.

Many of the drivers are Central Division drivers from the surrounding states; however, there are drivers here from the East Coast to the West Coast. The same can be said for the many volunteers who have given their time to help put on this event. Flagging and Communications has over 100 SCCA licensed volunteers here this weekend. The most of any event held here at Mid-Ohio this year.

It takes a crew of volunteers to give their time just to plan for a race. The Neohio Region members work together to put on all of their events during the racing season from the Regional Executive (RE), Duane Harrington to the event Race Chairperson, Corky Dubois. The RE's job is similar to a president of a company - head of the organization and coordinates all regional activities. The Race Chairperson works extremely hard to ensure an event runs smoothly. This weekend's event took more coordination than usual because of the addition of the Pro events. The first task is to appoint event chiefs and other volunteers to help plan, coordinate, and execute the event. Neohio is one of the few regions to have a Public Relations Chief for all of their activities and events.

The Event Chiefs:

Registration - Dorothy Harrington. This position starts their work months before the event. The Registrar collects the entries and fees, assigns car numbers, creates the entry list, and coordinates the at-track registration crew.

Technical Inspection - Mike Kowalsky. The tech inspectors (also called scrutineers) inspect the driver's gear and the race vehicle if it needs to be tech (first time at a race track or was in recent accident or any other mechanical reason The staff uses the SCCA General Competition Rules (GCR) and one of the main areas of concentration is the safety of the vehicle prior to go on track. Tech also is available in pit lane during the events and the staff takes care of post-race inspections.

Grid - Jim Hilton. The staff aligns the cars on the false grid before each race group per each session, making sure the drivers have helmets and belts are properly fastened. The volunteers also release the cars to the racing surface.

Start - Larry Zimcosky. Starters are in a stand at the start/finish line. They wave flags, keep track of laps, and a whole lot more. Starters also inform drivers that a course vehicle is on track and they are on the final lap.

Flagging and Communication - Don Harrington. Corner workers are the folks with the colored flags. Their job is to communicate information to the drivers by using those flags. They are there to help if anything happens. They use hand signals to communicate with a driver who has gone off-course and wishes to reenter. They also have a direct line to race control with a communicator who informs or is informed about anything that happens on track, flag conditions and track conditions. This is about as close as you can get to racing without having to buy a race car as corner workers are located at strategic points along the course.

Timing and Scoring - Tony Kasper. The drivers rarely see the timing and scoring personnel; however, every driver sees the output of the T&S crew in session results. These people keep track of how each car is doing during the race. They are the first to know who officially won.

Sound Control - Brian Bartzi. They take the official accurate noise level readings. Their position varies from track to track. If the car is consistently over the legal decibel level, sound control informs the Stewards. This leads to a black flag on the offending car.

Pit and Paddock - Dave Bueno. This is a group that is split between pit lane and the paddock area. Their job is to keep order and ensure that all teams have an workable area in the paddock. In pit lane, they direct cars coming in the pit area during a session. They use hand signals to inform others whether the driver is exiting pit lane to the paddock or returning to the track. If the driver is returning to the track, they are the ones who safely allow him/her to reenter.

Stewards - Jim Green. These are the people who are the governors and judges of the race event. They make very important decisions about race events. They are judges in disputes. The even dole out punishment for wrong doings on the track.

Besides having volunteer workers from the local regions in Ohio, one of the members from Ohio Valley Region is in charge of Driver Information. Earline Kirk answers questions, directs driver's and others where they need to go or where they can go around the facility, and is usually the person who can help anyone with any type of question or at least knows how to get the answer.

-Neohoio/Lauri Burkons

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Series SCCA
Drivers Tony Kasper