HEY! Ever been to any Sports Car Club of America ( SCCA) "road course" races?

Why not?…Been, but looking for that "missing magic"? Well...what a deal I have for you. Experience up close and personal a heightened sense of racing's best offerings; excitement, knowledge, involvement and camaraderie (not to mention...you get in free). Become a member of the subculture known as "Race Officials". This is the "Worker Corps" of the SCCA, volunteering their time and efforts for many reasons, all good, but basically... IT'S FUN! I'm an experienced novice flagger (you never know it all), who wonders if the excuse of "I don't wanna" really means "I dunno how". If this is indeed the truth, I hope the following insights gleaned from working with these crazy (SUPER) people makes it easier for you to get started.





First trick...become a SCCA member. Next, contact your regions Flag Chief, tell them you have admitted to yourself the fact you are crazy and wish to come out of the closet thus announcing it to the world! This bold step will provide you with the best seat at every track, the opportunity to play a vital role in racing (from it's grass roots to it's pinnacles, everyone's idea of the pinnacle differs) and the chance to perform team operations with the best of the best - the SCCA Flagging and Communications Workers of the World!

Becoming a novice corner worker you will need only a few basic items of clothing, a little training and the desire to be necessary, without fanfare or reward. Actually the rewards are many, there is great racing to be witnessed, a party at each event, good friendships to be made and cherished over the years and maybe even the thanks of a driver (or two) whose life you may have saved during the day. Most of the rewards will come from within yourself, the pride of knowing you can do the job.

A flagger is responsible for providing their own uniform and personal equipment. Creativity abounds, but safety is the major consideration...first, last and always.


The uniform is referred to as "Whites". White is the requested color to be worn on station because it's easy to spot. All of your outerwear should be of 100% cotton. Cotton "breathes" allowing for good ventilation. More importantly, cotton when exposed to flame is slow to burn and will not melt against your skin, as a synthetic will. Stay away from the synthetic/cotton combinations, even 40% of a shirt melted to your skin would be painful.

Don't quit now...the SCCA has many safety guidelines, this is just the first you will learn. A good source for 100% cotton pants is the famous "Duck Painters Pants". White, 100% cotton shirts are a little harder to find, those old worn button down collared "Oxford Cloth" shirts are the ticket. Your shirts should be long sleeved, for protection from the cold or sunburn or insect bites.

Simple enough...until you get to a corner and witness the many "shades" of white being worn there. Once you are on a corner, you will find some of what you've been told are strict rules, will be personally interpreted. You won't be kicked off a corner for wearing blue Levis, but the safer you play, the safer you will be. Remember, the rules and guidelines are created to insure the highest degree of safety for the workers.


Here is an area where you will see a number of different "rules" interpretations. The recommended footwear for the corner worker is boots with leather uppers and soles resistant to petroleum products which provide good gripping on paved surfaces. Arguments can be started at any gathering of workers by mentioning steel toe boots are or are not the correct footwear. High topped boots do provide extra protection from many hazards, such as hot pipes on the sides of Corvettes being pushed, or low lying briar bushes on the way to the johns. Let the wearer beware!

Prepare for working a corner station as you would prepare to attend a picnic. Sound strange?...bear with me. When attending a picnic: you should tell someone you plan to attend (unless you "vant to be alone"); you may have to park far from the picnic site, carry and be responsible for the many items (or remember at least half of them) required for a successful outing; be prepared for the elements; consider the needs your fellow, more unprepared, picnickers; bring snacks and drinks.


If you have attended a "Crash and Burn School" (do it, if you haven’t, or again if you haven’t in a while), or your Regional Chief has noted your interest, you will probability be placed on "flagger mailing lists". If not, give your name and address to anyone in "Whites".

Most Regional Flag Chiefs mail out news (in the form of "flyers"), from past and invitations to upcoming events thru out the racing season. Worker flyers contain vital items of interest, such as: upcoming events; event scheduling; worker meeting locations and times; party location; tidbits on the specialty; general gossip. It will be your most accurate schedule thru out the season. The flyer will also contain a return form for you to fill out and/or "other" ways to contact the organizing powers. Returning the information is VERY IMPORTANT to both you and the Flag Chief. Send the information back! This, at the very least, keeps your name on an "active" list, lets the Flag Chief know who to expect on a certain weekend, the experience levels available, gives insight into how to distribute the workers and most importantly, the number of "goodies" required. Second on any Flag Chief's wish list, after "having more than enough" workers, is having people who said they would be there…actually show up! This is why you SHOULD ALWAYS contact the Chief if your plans change after returning the flyer.


The following items should at least be considered as a starting point: This is a basic suggested list, with experience you will learn too much gets heavy and you will always take out what you need...the night before you need it.



Ask your Flag Chief for the Registration times for the event. Be early to register, seek out the "Worker line", be prepared to show your membership and workers license (a Regional Workers License can be obtained before, or at an event, from the Flag Chief).


For all workers, getting to the worker meeting as early as possible is a very strong recommendation. Being early allows a novice the opportunity to "Stop, Look and Listen". This is an important and familiar phrase around a race track. If there is but one consistency from track to track, workers talking about what they do or the conditions they do it under, is it. Observe the other workers, their clothing and gear. Ask questions. A good first question for a novice to ask is, "Is there a mini school for novices this weekend?". Don't be discouraged if receive a "duh?" answer. Seek out the Flag Chief and introduce yourself as a novice (you WILL be welcomed), pose the question to the Flag Chief.


The Flag Chief is responsible for the workers weekend safety, performance and good time. Mini schools given at the track during race weekends are great! They are usually conducted when there is a sufficient number of novices present to justify holding one (bring some friends). Even if you have been fortunate enough to attend a Certified "Crash and Burn School", a mini school provides specific training at the track you will be working THAT weekend, conducted by worker(s) experienced in the operations at THAT track and under the sanction of THAT region. A "mini school" should take only a couple of hours at most. Again, "Stop, Look and Listen", ask questions at appropriate times. This process gives the novice the opportunity to learn and the instructor the opportunity to evaluate your readiness to be "turned loose on a corner".

If there will not be a mini school, you will already have introduced yourself to the Flag Chief, making them aware you are present. Assignment to corner stations will follow an informal meeting. Generally the worker's meeting schedule allows only 10 to 20 minutes to get to your turn and set up the station. A major reason to be prompt and ready!

At a mini school or in the "corner packet" there may be pertinent information that the region has prepared for it's flaggers.


On the turn, you will be working under a Corner Captain. The Captain has all of the responsibilities of a Flag Chief, within the limits of their turn. Also on the turn will be a Communicator, responsible for the transmission of information between the Captain and Race Control. Two workers manning the yellow and blue/yellow flags will be positioned in a manner which affords them safety and the ability to communicate, via the flags, with the drivers. This is the normal four person corner crew. Members of the crew will rotate, working each position on the corner, with the exception of the Captain, who is "it" all day. You may be placed with a veteran to observe and to be observed for a period of time. "Stop, Look and Listen", ask questions, at appropriate times, be alert always.

The more familiar you become with the track, the corner station(s) layout and the methods of operation of the region, the better prepared you will be. But that comes with time and experience, don't expect one without the other. The veteran corner workers will appreciate a quick, alert, safe learner much more than a hero.


(Yes, the event WILL BE HELD in cases of inclement weather)

FEET (Keep them warm and dry):


Pants: Outer shell of 100% cotton with normal and thermal underwear, layered. Mobility is a key factor.


Outer Shell: Few singular winter garments or jackets are available, fitting the recommended requirements of corner working. Your outer shell should be warm, loose fitting enough to allow for "breathing" and layering beneath, fire protective and of a color suitable for ease of driver recognition without being con fused with a flag. Layering of thermal underwear in combination with 100% cotton undershirts and shirts, covered by a 100% cotton white workers coat (normally too large), should be adequate in providing both warmth and protection. The coat should have a collar, the taller the better.

HEAD (The majority of your body heat is lost above your neck! Fact!):


Skin protection is usually used during the warmer periods, but the effects of the cold and wind are very hard on the skin. A cold weather sunburn has to be considered, as most of us have been wintering indoors, subjected to only the ultraviolet rays given off by the TV reruns of last years racing. A good suntan lotion or sun block should offer protection against sunburn and provide a moisturizer for the drying effects of the breezes. Lip chapping can be offset with the use of a lip balm. There are numerous lip balms on the market, in the form of sticks, which do not take up much space and offer protection from the elements, in both cold and hot weather. Both a lotion and a lip balm are recommended worker bag staples.


Wear gloves! That sounds rather simple, especially since corner workers are supposed to wear them anyway. But cooler temperatures sometimes make innovators of us, with good reason. Welding gloves are probably the most common glove worn by corner workers. They good provide protection against fire, hot debris, pushing on hot tires, steam leaks and yes, even sunburn. The tall cuffs of welders gloves reach over the cuffs of coats and shirt sleeves giving protection to the area above the wrist, at the same time allowing a pocket of air flow. Welding gloves are normally of a large fit, making them easy and quick to get off, if needed. The roomy fit of these gloves make them good candidates for being worn over a pair of warmer gloves...layering, in other words.


A very high priority consideration when preparing for cold weather corner working is the ability to move about in your layered configuration. Insure you retain the mobility which may be required of you on station. Once dressed, do some stretching exercises, breaking in your new suit of cold weather armor. Jog in place, checking the fit of your boots and socks (an army may travel on their stomach, but corner workers stand and run on their feet all day!). Bend over, to see if you can...and what pops out. Then readjust to suit.


Observe your fellow workers (your number 2 priority, always). Insure they are prepared for the weather. Keep active, change positions frequently. Standing in one spot or position for a long period of time should be avoided. Drink plenty of fluids, water is still a great fluid, even in the cold. Coffee and drinks high in caffeine content are stimulating. Hot drinks may produce the feeling of being colder than before drinking them, once the body has reduced the initial warmth of them, due to a "super cooling" effect. Familiarize yourself with the adverse effects of over exposure to the cold. Advise the captain, or anyone available, of any abnormal personal feelings or behavior from your co-workers, quickly! Cold can kill!


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