Welcome to the grid! We appreciate your volunteering to help us to grid and release the cars onto the track. For your information the following are some of the procedures we will be following:
#1 Safety:You will wear a vest to identify you as a grid worker. You need to keep your eyes up and constantly look for cars entering the grid. Keep your head on a swivel, always looking around. Bear in mind that when there are several race cars operating, it gets very loud and it is difficult to hear when a car is nearing you. We supply you with water and some other goodies. The volunteer desk should supply you with ear-plugs, but we will have spares on the grid. We will be working some at night and everyone on the grid will have a flashlight. Again, #1 is Safety. We have some flashlights but if you bring your own, you will always have it.
Check-in: Each morning at the volunteer desk in the Gallery of Legends. This is important as the organizers need to know who is where to keep this running smoothly. You will pick up your meal tickets there, as well as any other info that is important.
Gate: If you are assigned to work the entrance of the grid you should know the following:
At the beginning of the event drivers may grid in any spot they wish. This is for practice or the first of the qualifying. We want to make sure they are in the appropriate run group. Please check the color of the wristband to match the run group number on the windshield. We will know the proper run group by the schedule of events.
When we grid by spot number, we station at least 2 people with the grid sheets at the entrance and 1 or 2 more to direct traffic. Again, the first thing to check is that the color of the wristband is matched to the run group number. Some of the pro teams might send an employee to grid the car and that’s ok. The grid volunteers tell the drivers what grid spot they are to take. This usually runs very well, but there are times when a driver will question the grid position. If they will not go to the spot you tell them, have them enter the grid and pull over to stop. Someone will come see them to solve the problem. If they are in the wrong group, they must exit at the same location where they entered and not the side gate. More than likely there was not a time taken on their last run because of a malfunction of their timing equipment. We have no choice but to send them to the far left and they will leave last to enter the track. Occasionally the number on the windshield will be wrong or missing. We have spare numbers to replace the old number.
Direct traffic at several locations to assist racers to the grid or back to their paddock area after each run..
Grid: If your assignment is to make sure the car is in the right spot, you should look for the following:
The grid cones are numbered and the spot number is on the drivers left. Check the car number against the grid number and make sure the car is in the correct spot.
Other Stuff: There are some radios issued but not enough for all. The two chairpersons will give instructions to the grid workers. Should you have a radio, call us if you have an issue. If you do not have a radio, find someone who does.
When walking the grid, please do a safety check on each car. The two most frequent items are a liquid leak and that the hood latches are not in place. Anything you see that you need a 2nd opinion on, please ask!
We give a 5 min. warning for the release of the cars. At that time the entrance to the grid will be closed. The late cars will be instructed as to where they will enter the track.
We will give a 3 min. warning and you will clear the grid of all persons and equipment. Keep your eye out for cars that have a problem or will not start. Do not allow the crew to approach the cars. Should a car not start the crew may approach the car after all other cars have left the grid and the car will leave the grid via the entrance gate. The car will then enter the track via the hot pits.
Keep in mind that there are PCA Scrutineers roaming the grid. They have “all access” passes that allow them to be anywhere and do anything (they have the final say on the legalities and safety of the cars). The "Scruts" may wander the grid anytime, even after our 3 minute callout. If you have any questions about safety or legality, you can always bring it to their attention.
We then give a 1-and-go, which happens rather fast. The person who releases the cars will look over the entire grid, make sure it is safe and begin to release the cars onto the track.
Once all of the cars have left the grid area there will be some cones to put back into place, and please pick up any water bottles, etc. and walk back to our tent for a cold drink. There is always time to use the restroom, sit down and get a drink of water before the next run group arrives at the grid.
We have a group called Advanced Solo, most of which are streetcars who do not ever grid by numbers. We check wristbands and safety check the cars. We release the cars in the very same way we do for the race groups.
When the cars do practice starts and race, there is what we call a splitter standing on the track directing each car as to which side of the track they will start. Safety is supreme and we want cars to leave the grid slowly so the drivers have time to react to the splitter. The number one car on the grid chooses which side to start. This is generally set up so this car is on the inside of turn #1, which releases the car on the left side of the splitter.
Ed Kohly - usually supervises the entrance to the grid and the east end.
Christian Rava - will normally be at the west end and supervises the west grid and releases the cars.
Even though most of us are seasoned veterans, there will be some new volunteers to train and this document should be helpful.
Ed and Christian, along with the drivers, appreciate your time and efforts. Let us know how we can make your time on the grid safer or more fun!
Ed Kohly, grid co-chair - Gold Coast Region
Christian Rava, grid co-chair - Suncoast Region