CHAMPCAR/CART: Detroit final corner worker report

Subj: Detroit ...



by: Kris B Mandt for the SpeedNet

Well here it is Tuesday and I'm back at work... I wish I was back at the track instead, but I've got to make a few bucks so I can go play in traffic at the Brainerd Int. Raceway ASA race in two weeks. Sorry I didn't get these final thoughts out last night but by the time I finished watching the tape of the IndyCar race all I could think about was sleep. Here are my final thoughts:

All low shots of the cars during the yellow flag laps were from our cameraman at 7B. If you watched the helo. shots along the back straight 7B was the flagging station just prior to the big Goodyear sign drivers right, the Goodyear sign was the begining of the fencing downstream to turn 8.

When the IndyCars went by us in a pack they seemed even faster than when they came by alone. Maybe it was just that wonderful sound they make when all that power is bunched up. Speeking of the sound, one car (Cheever) had a sound that really hurt your ears even with ear plugs. The other cars out there did not have that ear spliting tone. There is also no way that TV can show you just how fast these cars can go. You have to be at a race to see their real speed.

During some of our "off times" (when the "paint chips" or PPG pacecars were on the track) or on our luch breaks, I spent some time wondering around the pits and paddock. In the pits there were a lot of lap tops being used to upload and download info to/from the car. I got a chance to talk with one of Al Jr's crew and he showed me some of the output graphs that they were getting from the car. What he showed me was just a fraction of what they were downloading of course and for sure it was nothing that they thought was "sensitive". One of the highlights of the paddock walks for me was seeing the display of cars from the Motorsports Hall of Fame in Novi MI. Of course they had one of the Novi Indycars there but the one that caused me to almost have a religious experince was one of Mark Donohue's Trans Am Camaros. Those of you who know me, know that as a kid Mark was my hero and I still say that he's one of the great drivers of all time. I'm not ashamed to say that my eyes misted over when I was looking at that car.

TV opening shots of the cars getting airborne over the bumps at turn 12 were shot on Friday. As we were on our way to the worker party at turn 14 that day they were already working on grinding out the bumps and patching with "Set 45" concrete. They also were working on it more Saturday night. One of the things you did not see on TV, was that during two of the full course yellows they brought out two street sweeper trucks. The trucks went around the whole track on drivers right and drivers left to clean off some of the junk and busted up track surface at turn 7 and 12.

Detroit was an easy town to get around in and the worker parking/ shuttle to the Isle really worked out well. Even on Sunday as the estimated crowd of 67,000 were trying to get off Belle Isle, the workers and volunteers had their own shuttles to get us back to our cars. We were off the Isle in no time.

I hope all of you have enjoyed reading these posts, I had a lot of fun writing them and being SpeedNet's "F&C worker on the spot". Many thanks also go to our SYSOP Robert Heathcote for bouncing these posts from AOL to the BBS and InterNet [and back to AOL again! Thank you, Kris ...R.H]

I hope that some of you also will try working a SCCA race as an F&C worker, pick a local track or contact your local SCCA region and they will be happy to help you become an F&C worker. If you find that F&C doesn't seem to be for you, there are many other race specialities that you can try. We truely do have the best seats in the house at any race track we work. I'm very proud to be one of 3000 SCCA race workers in the US. I'm also proud of the reputation that the workers from DMVR have. We are welcomed with open arms at the events we work. One of the Detroit region workers told me Sunday night "It's great to have the DMVR workers here, we are always happy to have workers of your quaility to help us".

I close with a toast that our new found friends in the Michigan Turn Marshalls group used as we were having a beer at the end of the race weekend. "We got in, we got out, and nobody got hurt". Play safe in traffic folks...


=FE OLX 2.2 =FE SpeedNet: Motorsports at the speed of thought! AUTOSPORT= S BBS: 310-641-9627

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Mark Donohue