5-minute warning

Karen Stimson

Well-known member
I am proposing to make the 5-minute warning a specific time instead of a vague guess.
Section 707 E/C pages 27 & 28

Current 2010 verbage to be altered:
“…. The 5-minute warning cannot be given earlier than 5 minutes before the scheduled race start unless stated in the Race Event Supplemental Regulations and published in the race schedule. …”

Proposed addition:
“ … The 5-minute warning cannot be given earlier than 5 minutes before the scheduled race start unless stated in the Race Event Supplemental Regulations and published in the race schedule. If the 5-minuted warning is not to be given 5-minutes prior to the scheduled race time, then the specific set amount of time prior to the race start must be published in the Supplemental Regulations and the race schedule. (eg. “ The 5-minute warning will be given 8 minutes prior to the scheduled race start.”) …”
The only problem with that rule change is that it doesn't allow for us to be running behind schedule. For example if we're running 10 minutes behind schedule, the 5 minute warning would have to be given before the prior race was completed. The way the rule is written now allows for the 5 minute warning to be moved in accordance with the realities of the schedule.

The reason for the vagueness is in order to drop the green flag and start the race on schedule we have to allow time for the pace lap. The pace lap is variable from track to track.

We should really define the 5 minute warning somewhere in the rulebook. "The 5 minute warning will be given 5 minutes before cars are released onto the track. For practice and qualifying this is no earlier than 5 minutes before the scheduled start time. For race events it will be no earlier than 5 minutes + the number of minutes for one pace lap. Race organizers will post the the number of minutes alloted for one pace lap in the suplemental regulations and on the race schedule."

Or we could just add "All race event schedules will include the scheduled time of the 5 minute warning for races" that would really cut to the chase wouldn't it?

For what its worth....

Wow folks. I don't understand how this whole thing has gotten so convoluted.

A 5 minute warning is just that. If there is a change to the start time due to unforseen-circumstances then the Race Chariman, through the announcer need to keep everyone informed as to what is happening. The call to grid is simply that. The announcement that there are 5 minutes before the expected 1 minute warning. Do we want to add a 10 minute warning? How about a 15 minute, 10 minute, 5 minute, 2.5 minute etc???

Keep it simple and not confuse it. We are supposed to be responsible adults, responsible enough to go out on a race track and drive fast and in a crowd. If we can't track ourselves in the paddock to be where we are supposed to be when we are supposed to be there I am going to be a bit concerned about the drivers ability to focus when they are on the track!!
Unfortunately, things like this have to stated explicitly and be defendable in the event of a protest, with no wiggle room. The five minute warning came under fire a few years ago because I believe it was meant to represent 5 minutes unti the green flag fell for an individual race group. It included the one minute warning and the pace lap so in a perfect world the stated start time minus 5 minutes was the time a competitor would have to arrive at pre-grid in order to start from their qualification earned grid position instead of the back. What turned out to be the case and is now stated in the supps I believe, is that the 5 occurs about 8 minutes before the green flag so it is actually possible to include the five, the one, and the pace lap.

Mostly, the folks who have been most vocal about getting the rule cleaned up are those who have been bitten by the schedule and had to start from the back. I don't know if that is the case with Karen but to be fair, a misunderstanding on this subject can have a considerable impact on finishing position and by extension the outcome of points championships so I understand the concern.

As always - this is a more complex problem than it appears at first glance and as a result has no easy answer. Even if the rule is very carefully crafted and well understood the schedule at any race is extremely hard to adhere to considering the random occurances of a race week-end. I commend anyone who seeks to make the schedule more efficient and more widely understood. I would also urge all to be aware and flexible on race week-ends and arrive at pregrid early enough to avoid penalty as well as making it possible for our fine pregrid volunteers to handle you in an efficient fashion.

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So to simplify things and to give plenty of room for error, clean-up etc the "5 minute" warning should be worded a " 5 minute call to pre-grid" which would be 5 minutes before the SCHEDULED RELEASE from pregrid. Pregrid would give a one minute warning before the actual release. This way it would not matter if cars actually sat on pregrid for 10 minutes. Cars could still come in and be gridded in their qualifying order UP TO the one minute notification.
And while we're at it we should make all pre-grid personnel aware that engines are to off at the 5. I still see cars running after the 5, which according to the existing rules is a no-no.
At some tracks it is hard to hear the announcer, and hence the confusion, and occasional failure, with getting to grid on time. That of course is compounded when there is an incident or issue that puts us behind. When in doubt, get to pre-grid early!
You are right Wes, but the rotory folks will argue about the need for oil temp so they have to keep their engines running in order to save them...... or not.
The rule is there Kyle so we are all equal at the one minute warning. If your car can't start under it's own power you go to the back, and there is plenty of time in the paddock and during a pace lap to warm up motors and tires. I assume it also exists so the pre-grid people can have a quiet environment to work in and communicate better. Not sayng it is a good or bad rule, but it's there for now and should be enforced.
Us rotary folks have to plan ahead to warm the motor enough to make it through the sitting on pregrid :) Sometimes fairly iffy whether it will be warm enough after the pace/cool down lap....

I see the point about having a problem with my original wording if the schedule is running behind. Anyone have a good suggestion about wording to firm up what the 5-minute warning will be (variable at each track) yet give room for running late?

(I'm trying to pack to leave at the crack of dawn for Seattle tomorrow (after running around to 4-H and braces appointments and groceries all day...), so would be nice if someone else would have time to submit something on this topic.)
How about this?

If the 5-minuted warning is not to be given 5-minutes prior to the scheduled race time, then the specific set amount of time prior to the actual race start must be published in the Supplemental Regulations and the race schedule. (eg. “ The 5-minute warning will be given 8 minutes prior to the actual race start.”)
Since I'm sure all of us responsibe adults read the supps before wandering out to the track I hate to suggest that you direct your attention to item #30 for the Car Tender Challenge , where you will find the following:

"30. The "5 minute warning" will be given 9 minutes prior to the start of the race to accomodate the 4 minute pace lap."

We included this many races ago because of this exact confusion and the resulting unhappy entrant or entrants. Not suggesting that you didn't read the supps or anything ............ right?

Since different tracks have different pace lap times, it needs to be handled in each set of supps.

We go to all of the trouble of writing them in little tiny letters, the least you could do is get out your spectacles and read them!
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Here we go again...

And for reference, I believe that the reason for the 5 minute warning is for people that are already on the grid, not the drivers still in the paddock.

So, what does the 5-minute really warn against?

5 minutes before release from Pre-Grid for Practice, and/or Qualifying sessions, where the clock is started upon release from pre-grid?

5 minutes before the release of the grid to the Pace Car, for 'Race' sessions, where he clock starts as cars cross the S/F timing line on the first attempt at a green flag (perhaps some 8-9 minutes after the 5 minute warning was given)?

Is 5 minutes enough time to get from the paddock at PR to Grid? Or is the mushed up rule simply another excuse to use when one is late, and loses their grid position?

Word that.
Rick, yes IRDC actually posted a specific time on their supps. Thank you

Other reasoning for my original posting--vagueness is annoying, and looks strange (bad) to those who may not have raced with us before (eg SCCA drivers).

Most people shouldn't have a problem getting to grid on time, but for those who find they have an issue to resolve and are working under the gun to change/fix something like brakes, etc., knowing exactly how long they have can be very important. The extra few minutes between planning to be to grid 10 minutes early to make sure one is on time, versus knowing you have until 6 minutes before the race to be on grid, can make the difference between one last fix or check and not.
We have been under that gun already this year when the thin-wall, deep-well socket for my lugs broke right before the Portland race.
Agreed Karen - and it is especially bad at Pacific where the schedule is always tight and usually changes over the course of the day. I thought that the track announcer did a very good job of announcing the number of minutes the schedule was behind on a pretty regular basis throughout the day. The only problem is with the people out of earshot or around running race motors who don't hear that. How was it for you?

Looked like you had a good race, by the way!
So lets change it and get away from the time specific. It would simplify it and make it easier to understand;

1st call to grid: Given at APPROXIMATELY 10 minutes before EXPECTED/SCHEDULED release from pre-grid.
2nd call to grid: Given APPROXIMATELY 5 minutes before EXPECTED/SCHEDULED release from pre-grid.
1 Minute Warning; (dare we change this to "start Your Engines???). Given 1 minute from the known release from pre-grid. The time of the actual start of the race becomes hidden and not a concern of the racer and leaves the Officials with flexibility to cover unfoerseen clearing, fixing, cleaning etc.

The grid could close on the 2nd call, though 5 minutes is a long time and plenty can be gridded then. What we don't want to do is to cause the Pre-Grid Team a lot of running around and anguish trying to get people lined up SAFELY on pre-grid.
Rick, I almost never was able to hear the announcer from our paddock area at Seattle--they should move some of the speakers off the residential fence and put them in the middle of the paddock!
My method for seeing if we're on schedule is to try to listen for the car going out in the last group before mine and check the schedule--works better at some tracks than others... Harder at Seattle where you don't really hear the cars leaving pregrid.

We had a great race! Thanks. Got to give alot of credit to my husband for constantly working to make the car better.

Kyle, it is the vagueness that I was originally disagreeing with--see previous post. I think that the version I sent you to give to Phil is the best compromise. Giving a warning a specific time ahead of the "intended" time of the race start seems to give the necessary flexibility for incidents, clean up, etc.
OK, I guess I am too much of an Okie to see how having anything other than a specified time would be vague. If we have to follow each supplimental rules and say "the 5 minute warning will be given 8 minutes prior to the start" seems pretty abstract to me.

At this point it don't matter. I'll be there and if I sit for 20 minutes after the 8 minute call to the 5 minute warning that becomes a 30 minute wait then I suppose I can protest for some dumb reason and get nowhere but more confused.... call me an Okie :)
It is the simple difference between saying that the "5-minute warning" will be given "no more than 8 minutes prior..." or "8 minutes prior..."--the first is vague.
Before the first of last year there were only two speakers in the paddock @ PR. Since then all of the speakers have been replaced, a number of new locations added, and all of the main lines replaced. And all very expensive. More are planned, but it takes time and money to map out where the sound doesn't cover, and under what conditions. It's far better now than it used to be. AND the announcer is on 540 AM, so bring a radio. The AM radio system covers the entire complex.
I don't remember seeing any AM radios in the OW cars on grid... where the five minute warning is used. If competitors are in the paddock, and hear even a rumor of a five minute warning for their group, then they are already too late, and where it is announced in the schedule is irrelevant.