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Thread: Tips from the SCCA Cal Club F&C Newsletter

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    Default Tips from the SCCA Cal Club F&C Newsletter

    These notes are from the SCCA Cal Club F&C Newsletter. F&C stands for Flagging and Communication. This group that represents over 100 members has a monthly newsletter. Since this is the season start they included a flagging and communication refresher I thought I should share with you all. This is care-of Mark Smith who rocks in helping with the affairs of Cal Club flagging including including the gigs at the Long Beach Grand Prix and AMA road racing at ACS.

    FACE-TO_FACE: Yellow looks down track, Blue looks
    up track. When Yellow throws, YELLOW TURNS to
    face traffic, BLUE responds, signals!

    ALERT CALLS: An ALERT call means possible injury to
    DRIVER, WORKER, or SPECTATOR. Call goes:
    ALERT,ALERT,ALERT Turn X…then say what has
    happened. Rollover, hard contact, etc.

    MECHANICAL CALLS: Identify the exact problem,
    where it is located, signal to the driver if possible.
    Remember the second call is a confirmation and
    RECOMMENDATION. No need for everyone to call.

    BLUE FLAG: The “check your mirrors” flag used to tell
    a driver a faster car is coming up from behind. Not
    given for cars “racing” for position. Not given on initial
    race laps. Careful not to under or over-use this flag.

    BLACK FLAG: If the Stewards want to end a session
    early, they will ask the starter and all corners to BLACK
    FLAG ALL. At this point all turns will display a
    STANDING BLACK flag. This would happen if como was
    down, scoring crapped out, etc. All cars would proceed
    to the pits at soon as possible.

    MAKING CALLS: Initiate call with your turn number and
    flag condition. Include if you will need a tow now. Wait
    for Control response. Short & Sweet.

    HAND SIGNALS: Each corner crew should go over these
    signals every day so that everyone understands the
    critical ones! They will be very important in Long Beach.
    Ambulance, Fire, Red, O.K., Help, Surface, etc.
    OTHER THINGS TO OBSERVE: Being the eyes for
    the Stewards, there are other things to look for while
    on station: Leakers, smokers, loose wheels, loose body
    work, tire rub, roll bar height, driving gloves, loose
    animals, arm restraints, loose doors, blocking, not
    using mirrors, weird smells, etc. Let Control know.

    SURFACE FLAG: Something on the racing surface has
    the potential to change the traction. Rocks, oil, small
    things. Remember, if you can drive THROUGH it,
    SURFACE, if you have to drive AROUND it, then it is
    a WAVING YELLOW.

    OTHER COMMO CALLS: Other commo protocol that
    is important includes …spotting for the STARTER,
    spotting for BLACKBOARD, calling PIT-STOPS for
    cars that have been BLACK FLAGGED, calling a new
    leader near the end of a race, commo silence on first
    and last racing laps.

    RESPONSE: The first rule of RESPONSE is to HAVE
    A PLAN. Know what you are going to do before you
    leave your post. Always bring a fire bottle. Keep your
    eyes on traffic, car between you and traffic, signal
    communicator, shut down electricals, get things safe,
    wait for Emergency.

    WHITE FLAG: Displayed for 2 stations. For slow
    moving vehicle (50% race speed), or Emergency
    vehicles. Remember, when the E-Truck stops, drop
    the white, as the Yellow covers the stopped truck.
    White is for “on the track” moving slow vehicles.

    RED FLAG: Now on each corner, the red is displayed
    at the direction of the Steward at Race Control to
    stop a session and stop the cars where they are on
    the racing surface. Flag is displayed waving. Cars
    should stop safely and wait for your direction.

    FLAGGING EMERGENCY FOLKS: Flag the incident as
    if EMERGENCY was not there. If it was a standing
    before they got there, don’t upgrade unless asked to.
    Consistent flagging, telling oncoming drivers what to
    expect. Emergency will ask for an upgrade if needed.

    FIRE: Take a fire bottle every time you leave your
    station responding. Pull the pin, aim at the base of
    the fire. Sweeping motions. Don’t forget to verify
    that you have a GOOD bottle every morning when
    you get on station.
    To the right of The Sheriff. Isn't everyone?

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    Administrator ucfbrett's Avatar
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    Good stuff. I really like this part:

    Remember, if you can drive THROUGH it,
    SURFACE, if you have to drive AROUND it, then it is
    a WAVING YELLOW.

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    Chest hair required Olitho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ucfbrett View Post
    Good stuff. I really like this part:

    Remember, if you can drive THROUGH it,
    SURFACE, if you have to drive AROUND it, then it is
    a WAVING YELLOW.
    It is funny you cite that section. I originally had it highlighted in yellow, but then changed it when it was hard to read.
    To the right of The Sheriff. Isn't everyone?

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    Chest hair required Olitho's Avatar
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    I posted this as it is important for all racers and track day enthusiasts to know what goes on with flagging and communication, how they work and their communication protocols.

    It some day could save you from serious injury or death.


    Oli
    To the right of The Sheriff. Isn't everyone?

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    FACE-TO_FACE: Yellow looks down track, Blue looks
    up track. When Yellow throws, YELLOW TURNS to
    face traffic, BLUE responds, signals!
    I have no idea what that means.
    The deposed former Sheriff of trackHQ . . .

    2006 Porsche 997 Carerra Coupe 6-MT - daily driver
    1992 Honda (Acura) NSX 5-MT - classic investment I couldn't resist and occasionally drive
    2004 Honda S2000 AP2 6-MT - track day car
    2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX MR 6-MT - when I need a backseat, 4-doors, or a real trunk, and still want to haul ass . . .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard EVO View Post
    I have no idea what that means.
    It means you need to go back to race school.... ;-)

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    Senior Member fleadh's Avatar
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    Great to post the reminder for everyone! Also, keep in mind the rules might change slightly depending on which sanctioning body you're running with. For example, red flag with IMSA is like a black flag with SCCA.. only you get to the hot pits at race pace. Also, make sure you know exactly what the passing rules are when yellows are involved for whatever sanctioning body you're racing with. Obviously you can't pass under yellow, but each body seems to have their own interpretation of when the "yellow" starts in time and on the track. Can you race up to and complete a pass until you get physically 90 degrees across from the yellow flag or is passing not allowed from the moment you see it? Same with green flags.. is the course full green at the drop of the flag, or can you not pass until the start finish?

    It not only makes it safer for everyone to know the ins and outs of the flag rules, but also can give you an advantage over your competitors who don't.

    -mike

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    ^^^ Mike, since Oli is keeping it a secret, can you tell me what this means? It seems to be written in flagger-speak, not driver-speak.

    FACE-TO_FACE: Yellow looks down track, Blue looks
    up track. When Yellow throws, YELLOW TURNS to
    face traffic, BLUE responds, signals!
    The deposed former Sheriff of trackHQ . . .

    2006 Porsche 997 Carerra Coupe 6-MT - daily driver
    1992 Honda (Acura) NSX 5-MT - classic investment I couldn't resist and occasionally drive
    2004 Honda S2000 AP2 6-MT - track day car
    2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX MR 6-MT - when I need a backseat, 4-doors, or a real trunk, and still want to haul ass . . .

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    Senior Member fleadh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard EVO View Post
    ^^^ Mike, since Oli is keeping it a secret, can you tell me what this means? It seems to be written in flagger-speak, not driver-speak.
    The person responsible for the yellow flag is looking ahead (the direction oncoming cars are going) on the track for a reason to wave the yellow flag. The person responsible for the blue is looking at oncoming cars to find a reason to wave the blue at someone. When the yellow flag person finds a reason to wave the flag, they turn around and focus on oncoming traffic while waving the yellow flag.

    -mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by fleadh View Post
    The person responsible for the yellow flag is looking ahead (the direction oncoming cars are going) on the track for a reason to wave the yellow flag. The person responsible for the blue is looking at oncoming cars to find a reason to wave the blue at someone. When the yellow flag person finds a reason to wave the flag, they turn around and focus on oncoming traffic while waving the yellow flag.

    -mike
    So then "BLUE responds, signals!" means that the flagger waving the yellow flag has turned around to look up the track and can see the flagger at the station before him (who responds in some way with hand signals)?
    The deposed former Sheriff of trackHQ . . .

    2006 Porsche 997 Carerra Coupe 6-MT - daily driver
    1992 Honda (Acura) NSX 5-MT - classic investment I couldn't resist and occasionally drive
    2004 Honda S2000 AP2 6-MT - track day car
    2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX MR 6-MT - when I need a backseat, 4-doors, or a real trunk, and still want to haul ass . . .

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    Senior Member fleadh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard EVO View Post
    So then "BLUE responds, signals!" means that the flagger waving the yellow flag has turned around to look up the track and can see the flagger at the station before him (who responds in some way with hand signals)?
    Ya, I think so. I've never been a flagger.. but I'd imagine it's corner to corner or if there are 2 people in the same box.

    -mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by fleadh View Post
    Ya, I think so. I've never been a flagger.. but I'd imagine it's corner to corner or if there are 2 people in the same box.

    -mike
    YES! 2 flaggers/ station. SCCA is one of the safest clubs in the business and take safety more seriously than anyone else I know. They staff "every" corner station "and" with 2 flaggers per station one looking upstream and one looking downstream at all times until some action casuses them to do otherwise. The benefits of this are obvious including a flagger left in the station to control traffic while another flagger assists a downed driver.

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    Chest hair required Olitho's Avatar
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    I forwarded the link to this site to Mark Smith. He read it, but elected to reply to my e-mail rather than post directly. Here is his answer to your questions/comments:

    --- The confusion on the "FACE-TO-FACE: Yellow looks down track, Blue looks up track. When Yellow throws, YELLOW TURNS to face traffic, BLUE responds, signals!" is definitely "flagger speak". A properly trained corner Team always has someone facing oncoming traffic (i.e. the Blue Flagger in most cases to "cover the Teams back" (i.e. Stations do get hit, and it's always nice to "see it coming")), and when the Yellow flagger has to display the Yellow Flag, we want to ensure that it gets out, away from our bodies and give the oncoming drivers the best opportunity to see it, thus he would rotate around and now the Yellow flagger is the person facing oncoming traffic, displaying the Yellow Flag. That enables the former Blue Flagger that ability to "deal with the incident", be it motion to the driver to proceed, respond with a fire bottle, or give hand signals to approaching drivers as to what side of the track to drive on, all while the Yellow Flagger is displaying the Yellow Flag. We have accomplished 2 things by doing this, get the Yellow out and displayed quickly (first priority), and that single task is all that person does, as it helps to keep others from joining in the mess... And it enables a "responder" who really isn't tied to the station (Blue Flagger) to deal with all the other "help" that might be needed.

    --- Good question on "Also, make sure you know exactly what the passing rules are when yellows are involved for whatever sanctioning body you're racing with. Obviously you can't pass under yellow, but each body seems to have their own interpretation of when the "yellow" starts in time and on the track. Can you race up to and complete a pass until you get physically 90 degrees across from the yellow flag or is passing not allowed from the moment you see it?"...... With SCCA, it is the "Yellow Flag zone starts with a line drawn perpendicularly from the Flag across the track".. I guess we took the "easy way out" as it is very subjective as to when one "sees the Yellow", but the physical location (line across the track at the Flag) is indisputable. It is usually not a good idea to "race to the Yellow flag", as that is a very risky proposition. Also understand what a "pass" is... As National Administrator and Flag Chief at the Runoffs, I defined a pass as the change in relative positions of the "nose" of the cars in question... i.e. the nose of the car leading at a Yellow, needs to be the nose of the car leading as you pass the incident, and the two noses shouldn't ever change relative position in the "yellow zone". Significant is that it is not the "whole car" that needs to pass another car... Yellows and safety are very important to understand.. Often there are people exposed and all we have to "protect them" is the Yellow piece of cloth on a stick. I have been involved when an "over driven Yellow" results in cars hitting Tow Trucks and workers. Difficult to explain why you did not have the car under control in a Yellow "zone"
    To the right of The Sheriff. Isn't everyone?

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    Chest hair required Olitho's Avatar
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    PS. If you guys want to help flag the Long Beach Grand Prix, Mark is the guy to contact.


    Oli
    To the right of The Sheriff. Isn't everyone?

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    Great info. Thanks for posting it Oli.
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    As National Administrator and Flag Chief at the Runoffs, I defined a pass as the change in relative positions of the "nose" of the cars in question... i.e. the nose of the car leading at a Yellow, needs to be the nose of the car leading as you pass the incident, and the two noses shouldn't ever change relative position in the "yellow zone". Significant is that it is not the "whole car" that needs to pass another car
    Never knew that. That means that if my whole car is behind the leader, I can take an inside line and get right up next to him, as long as my nose does not pass his nose, all while a yellow flag is out. Try that, and then try to the explain the National Administrator and Flag Chief's definition at the black flag station.
    The deposed former Sheriff of trackHQ . . .

    2006 Porsche 997 Carerra Coupe 6-MT - daily driver
    1992 Honda (Acura) NSX 5-MT - classic investment I couldn't resist and occasionally drive
    2004 Honda S2000 AP2 6-MT - track day car
    2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX MR 6-MT - when I need a backseat, 4-doors, or a real trunk, and still want to haul ass . . .

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    Chest hair required Olitho's Avatar
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    Having been the perpetrator of a pass-under-yellow at the Runoffs one year I know they don't pull you into hot pit for a penalty. They let you finish the race and then penalize you three positions in the final results.


    Oli
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olitho View Post
    Having been the perpetrator of a pass-under-yellow at the Runoffs one year I know they don't pull you into hot pit for a penalty. They let you finish the race and then penalize you three positions in the final results.


    Oli
    And the Flag Chief explanation would not have saved you the penalty, unless he was there and in charge that day.
    The deposed former Sheriff of trackHQ . . .

    2006 Porsche 997 Carerra Coupe 6-MT - daily driver
    1992 Honda (Acura) NSX 5-MT - classic investment I couldn't resist and occasionally drive
    2004 Honda S2000 AP2 6-MT - track day car
    2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX MR 6-MT - when I need a backseat, 4-doors, or a real trunk, and still want to haul ass . . .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard EVO View Post
    Never knew that. That means that if my whole car is behind the leader, I can take an inside line and get right up next to him, as long as my nose does not pass his nose, all while a yellow flag is out. Try that, and then try to the explain the National Administrator and Flag Chief's definition at the black flag station.
    While there are always gray areas in the rules to exploit even if you are fighting for a national championship at the runoffs I'm pretty sure there is "still" no prize money and you are "still" racing for a plastic trophy. The ultimate penalty in our sport is "death." It is important to keep the "red mist" in check and keep things in perspective.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard EVO View Post
    And the Flag Chief explanation would not have saved you the penalty, unless he was there and in charge that day.
    No. My pass was a clear violation. It was on one of the tight turns at HPT. The flag station was on the outside of the turn. I was riding one of the Tracy's bumpers looking to the inside to pass. The flag was visible on my in-car video, but hard to see due to where my eyes were focused on making the pass coupled with the fact that it just came out and partly blocked by the car I was chasing, but it was there. When I got to the next flag station I got that "pit" in my stomach when I saw the yellow flag there. It was then that I realized I may have passed under yellow, but I was still not sure. When the steward approached me in impound after the race with the little red slip in hand I then knew....


    Oli
    To the right of The Sheriff. Isn't everyone?

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