No questions allowed



E/C 1501. Flag signals used for the control of race events sanctioned by ICSCC shall be obeyed without question by all drivers.

I can only suppose that race workers should be held to the same standard of behavior.

In that case, each club should take note. The appropriate Pantone code for your turn stations' Green flags is 348C.
I see and obey, oh corner station...

I do like the image of questioning a flag-
whaddya do, pull over and give anyone who's
not trying to beat you over the head with a
firebottle an earful???

'Bonnie, I question <ow!> your use <ow!> of the
<ow!> blue flag <ouch!> since we've <yipe!> been
going after each other <ow!> for 6 laps and
hit each other <ow!> at least three times.
I feel a <yow!> black would <ow!> be more appropriate...'
Oh Toby, thanks for the laugh!!! I've spent the last week at the hospital with my poor little 85 year old mom who had a small stroke last Saturday, fell and cracked her head open, and has been mending since. I got home a while ago and just now managed to do some browsing, and hooted over this. Don't worry David, Toby is one of my favourites, and his jesting has lifted my spirits! As Toby would say ... <heeheehee>
Bonnie I'm sorry to hear about your mom, I know very well how that goes. Hope she mends quickly.

Good question though about blue flags. If 2 or 3 cars have been duking it out for a number of laps, then why bother with the blue? I know it is an advisory flag, but an-going battle is pretty obvious to those contesting the battle, and we really don't need to be advised that there is another car right up our a..

I am more concerned with the lack of blue flags, which was very evident at Spokane in July. I realize there was a worker shortage, especially Friday, but all week-end I noticed a distinct lack of blue flags out there. I use my mirrors constantly, especially when there are winged cars on track, but for newbies it could be dangerous not to know that a much quicker car is approaching. Also happened a few times at both PR and PIR. I clearly remember 2 workers at the SRP station just after turn 2 who were leaning on the railing chatting as an Atlantic blew by me on drivers right. They never moved from their relaxed position on the railing as we went by almost side by side. I saw him coming and held my line, but...
Isn't Jimmy Blackwell an exciting driver to watch from the "cheap seats"!
Thanks Wes, it is indeed a tough time, but could have been much worse.

Using the blue is a finely honed art. What Toby (jokingly) and you refer to is what we flaggers call "dicing". We try very hard to avoid that. It requires concentration. I remember very well my first Atlantic race at the hairpin at Westwood. I was a very "green" worker, but Roger and the experienced crew thought I had a handle on blue flagging, so they assigned that position to me. The first lap, the huge grid came roaring over Deer's Leap, and I absolutely freaked! The talented gal from California working with me said "just concentrate on the fast cars", to which I shrieked ... "THEY'RE ALL FAST!!!!" I refused to blue flag open wheels for a long time afterwards ... now as all my turnworking friends know, they're my favourite group to flag.

Practice and qualifying are very tough if you don't know the cars, especially when there are, say, 10 red Miatas!!! The driver knows what's under the hood and who's behind the wheel ... we don't always. The basic rule is "if in doubt, whip it out!" In a race, theoretically it should be easy - you don't blue until the leaders start lapping the backmarkers. Trust me, in a 30 or 40 (or 50!) car grid, that's not as easy as it sounds. It requires a great deal of concentration, and some folks aren't able to do that as well as others. I like to use it as a training aide as I progress on the other side of 50!

Remember, the blue flag is an "advisory" flag, not a "command" flag ... it's only as good as the person standing behind it, and even then, it's sure to have flaws! We do our best, but with dwindling numbers and graying heads, just hope that the YELLOW flag is out when you need to see ... and obey ... it! And forgive us when we mistakenly blue flag you and your dicing partner.

Coffee break's over - now I must get ready to head back to the hospital.
Hi Trout! How's Arizona? It's blue sky here, but friggin' FREEZING!! You gotta spare bedroom down there??
Training, training, training. Practice, practice, practice.

First we need the people to train. It would be a great boon to our specialties if drivers would be as strong a force in recruiting race worker volunteers as they are in recruiting more drivers. Not to discount one for the other, but it is too obvious which way the scale is tipping.

The issues faced by our colleagues in Spokane are primarily a lack of exposure. Their only opportunities to train/practice are club track days, which is a different environment, and the one weekend/two races each year.

Although veteran race workers from all over the ICSCC map are there, it is very hard to train well when two people are required to maintain the flagging buddy system, communications and safety marshal functions required of each station.

You can't help a blue flagger spot, if you are looking the opposite direction.

At the Fall ROD meeting it was discussed and plans presented to help sponsor a transportation/lodging for some of those interested volunteers from Spokane to an IRDC event. It's hopeful that we can expand that to more trips to other events and tracks.

Just one more positive application of the contributions provided by our ICSCC driver/participants into each club's worker fund.

If those reading this far into the post may be willing to support this endeavor in some way please contact:

Doug Smith, NWMS Race Chairman,

You've got to know that it's a win-win.

Wes, you know that I tend to go on about this kind of stuff, but it's my particular love for this great sport that runs so deep. So also my passion for it's continued success on both sides of the 'wall'.

I consider Blue flagging as an art form. We can train the fundamentals, but the concentration, focus, and aptitude for recognizing all mixed (-up) car classes, who drives fast, who is still trying, and who the moving chicanes are, can only be acquired through the practice of MANY weekends. Then maintain the edge, once you've honed it.

The same is true for an individual's reaction time and use our other flags, the total comprehension of not only of their meanings to the drivers, but how to apply them with consistency, and accuracy when stuff hits the rotating blades. Communications, and Safety response from the station is whole different game. That's where you deal with the differences between a proper reaction, and an over-reaction to any given situation.

Some folks will "get it" and excel at flagging and communications, others will maintain at least a satisfactory assemblance of knowledge, and talent, and have their fun with it. Others may wander off to find a different specialty that more suits their particular comfort levels, and skill sets. That's the hope, at any rate, because we're ALL volunteers here.
Bonnie said:
"In a race, theoretically it should be easy - you don't blue until the leaders start lapping the backmarkers."

Yes, that's a good 'theory' and NOT a rule. But there are several things to watch for even at the start of a race.

The fast driver who didn't have a good qual session or came late to grid.
The fast driver who got snooker'd in T-1 or T-2 and it now moving back up with great flare.
The driver who baubles a corner exit and has gone into deep Zen meditation over the error. Now, a car is approaching with a high speed differential.

Yes of course we try to avoid blueing out 2 or 3 cars that are dicing lap after lap. But, as that 'develops' it isn't always easy to pick that situation out early on. So, they may see a blue a couple of times till their race is clear to every body.

Then of course, 2 dicers do slow each other down. So a 3rd or even 4th may be joining the group. They need to be aware of that as they are focused on each other and may get a blue.

My concern is that an over use of blue's will lead to 'ignoratativness' by the drivers. So, I try very hard to decide if a blue condition will develop BEFORE the next turn station. If so I throw. If most likely not, I hold and let the next station handle it.

Yes, the blue is in some ways an 'art'. And as we all know, no piece of 'art' is perfect.

Yes, in fact we do. And, you are always welcome!

Let us know when you plan on coming down and we'll get Jo and Murray to come up and Douglas Taylor and his lady friend (who's name escapes me at the moment) together for some adult refreshment and good food. It'll be like ROD SW. I wonder if Dick and Joanne Gadsden would like to come over from Yuma? That would really make a house full!

PS There's a non-stop from Sea-Tac to Tucson every day on Alaska that's usually at a reasonable price.

PS2 Offer's open to all. We miss our racing friends from the NW.

PS3 Weather has cooled off considerably here. High today was mid-sixties. Low tonight will be in the low forties
To remain off topic:

Some may not know much about art, but they know what they like.

Here's a couple quotable quotes, repeating what Bonnie mentioned: "if in doubt, whip it out!", "The only bad blue flag is the one that you didn't throw, when you should of.", and my particular favorite..."There ain't a blue flagger worth their salt, that hasn't blue flagged the leader at least once in their career."

Different groups have different needs, especially when it comes to blue flagging. Spec classes need to know when the leader is lapping the field, particularly in a group of many classes. Groups with FA working with FV is another special needs group. Open wheel classes have ity-bitty mirrors, and need early blues to create a focus. But by far, the most appreciated of "over bluing" as it may be percieved by some, is the Vintage classes. These guys really love to see lots of blues and very early.

We could get into blue flagging techniques. The quick loud snap to get everybodies attention, and then add to that an emphasis of rocking, or undulating. Next might be the waving blue, which I have seen a bit over done, but is very useful in areas of bad visibility, and overtaking speeds are great. On the other side of the spectrum is the tentative, or "lazy blue". This one says to the driver something like, "You may already know it, but I'll re-inforce the idea that looking in your mirrors here might be a good idea." or "Somebody else told me to put this flag up."

I'm more inclined to give it a definite "snap-rock-stash", and maybe two in quick succession to really drive it home. I'll wave it if I think it will do any good, but rarely. I don't like to lose control of the flag's "fluidic end" that much, as I may need to use it again quickly. I'll leave most of that waving stuff up to the Europeans, and 'concrete canyon' blue flaggers.

FYI: The proper Pantone code for the blue flag is 298C
You tend to go on and on Ken? Really, I had not noticed that little quirk! Glad I never do that...

Thanks for the illuminating input on blue flags guys, and gals, but after 34 years I just glance and ignore unless I see it when I shouldn't - that gets my attention occasionally. I tend to use my mirrors constantly, even in the M3 when I rarely need to. So that eliminates most suprises, but once in a while someone pops out of line who I didn't know was in line, and smokes us all into the next turn. (Trout's comment about Mr. Blackwell comes to mind right about now.)

Common sense, concentration and knowing who is around you at all times, much like being on a freeway.

Trout, we have to do the air museum next spring before it gets too hot. And the desert museum again, that was beautiful. We'll talk, but the party sounds really good. Sangria anyone?

Are you still where you were in June of 06', that was a nice house?
Yes Wes. I do tend to really try and spot those 'pop outs' when they happen. Between T3B/T5 and T6/T7 at Pacific are real popin-out of line points. That can happen fast even in the early parts of a race.
'Pop outs' going into 5 at PR can raise the pucker factor exponentially for sure. Same applies at turn 7 or whatever it's called now at PIR. At the end of the back straight anyway, where it narrows down and is approached very quickly in most cars. Just ask Mr. Spreen about that corner...

We're still in the rental on the SW side of town, where we were when you last came to visit. The air and desert museums are always a good bet for visiting. Lo and I have found some more good places to put on the feed bag, too.

Here's a link to Lo's blog about our house construction progress. It's really coming along quickly. We were out there this afternoon checking out the design for the fireplace and the staircase up to the deck on the roof of the shop. It's going to be a great place to sip sangria and watch the sunset and stars!
What I love is getting the blue flag, three station in a row, because I passed someone who "should" be faster! I'm sorry, but I just gota laugh when it happens, and it happens alot. Do I look slow or something?
My favorite question on the radio if or when I'm ahead of my team mates is "Does my a$$ look fat in this car?" They never laugh, but I gut myself every time. Simple pleasures.
Two things to keep in mind.
ALL RX7's look slow
It's not nice to pass people you shouldn't be passing.
I had not looked at the blog in a few weeks Trout, but boy it's really coming along. I can taste the sangria already bro!

I'll have to remember that line Jeff, it's very funny. Of course if I asked that question my crew would say "why yes, yes it does."