For those who are interested in driving on a road course, just want to give you a heads-up on the new volunteer program that NASA Midwest and OH/IN have announced. They will give out free track time in exchange for your help in running the events. For those who are tight on budget, or have the free time but the car is not ready, it would be an awesome deal.
The credit you earn never expires and it's transferrable between people. So you could ask your girlfriend or wife to work while you drive for free. Wouldn't that be perfect. However, the credits are not transferrable outside of Midwest and OH/IN regions, so make sure that you work and redeem the credits within those 2 regions.
Cut and paste from the NASA annoucement, here are the positions they are looking for. Experience NOT required, but must be 18 or older:
Grid: You may have a variety of responsibilities such as directing grid traffic, checking driver wristbands and tech or group stickers, ordering race cars on the grid, etc. You may be issued radio and headset if required. There will be worker breaks and you must have permission of the chief if you need to vacate your spot at any other time.
Hot Pits and Black Flag Station: This is one of the more exciting places to be. The Hot Pits are manned by officials who hold and release cars onto the track. The Black Flag Station communicates with drivers who return to the pits because of some problem, and release them after it has been resolved.
Safety Crew: You will be assigned to work with the Safety Crew to assist disabled cars and their driver on the racetrack. EMTs and Fire Fighters are most welcome!
Timing and Scoring: You will be present in the control tower observing the track activity and documenting timing and scoring for each race practice, qualifying, and competition session for all race groups. Familiarity with computers and radio use is helpful.
Registration: Assist during registration hours of accepting entries, checking for duplicate car numbers, assisting with touring lap signup, handing out worker lunch tickets, directing drivers to classes, and posting results from the competition driving groups. Friendly and outgoing folks needed to greet our entrants and help them find their way.
Saturday night BBQ: Severs, trophy girls, drivers to chase beer and food, etc.
Technical Scrutineers (AKA Tech): Assist during tech hours with making sure drivers in tech lines have completed pre-tech forms, checking that racers have required NASA stickers, checking to make sure drivers have removed all personal belongings from car. Sharp eyes and familiarity with the safety requirements for HPDE entrants will be helpful.
Announcer: Making announcements for drivers to report to grid and other general announcements.
General Help: Given a variety of responsibilities such as making sure coolers are kept full with water, helping with party setup and trophies, helping with touring laps at lunch time, carrying supplies to timing and scoring or grid, etc.
Apr 20-22: Mid-Ohio
May 19-20: Putnam Park (with Midwest)
Jun 9-10: Grattan
July 13-15: Mid-Ohio
Aug 17-19: Mid-Ohio
Sep 22-23: Nelson Ledges (HPDE Groups Only)
Oct 6-7: Putnam Park
Apr 28-29: Iowa Speedway
May 19-20: Putnam Park (With OH/IN)
Jun 30-1: Mid America (With Rocky Mountain)
Jul 21-22: Autobahn (South Track)
Aug 4-5: Road America
Sep 8-9: Gingerman (HPDE Groups Only)
Oct 8: Autobahn (Full Track)
Oct 20-21: Road America
They need time to plan and staff the events, and only limited number of volunteers are needed.
Once you touch base with Jeff, and when registration is open (usually 1-2 months before the event date), go to: http://www.nasaproracing.com/register.html Remember, Midwest and OH/IN regions only.
Click "Register", scroll down and check off the box for "Officials", then pick "Volunteer" (or Trophy girl!) in the drop-down box, click "Add" and it would bypass the payment page. Then they will email you with all the info you need.
Cut and paste from NASA announcement again:
We follow-up with a brief questionnaire that lets you describe your interests and experience. Then you are assigned an event and placed on the mailing list for detailed instructions and schedule just before the event.
Show up at the track bright and early. Pick-up your Volunteer Log Book/volunteer credentials at the Registration Desk, and get your assignment with an introduction to your Chief, who will make sure you are comfortable with your responsibilities. If you need training your Chief will make sure you get it... on the Job!
The Volunteer Log Book is your responsibility to keep and have signed by your Chief or the Chief Steward at the end of each day. If you loose the book, you loose your points.
Then, and here comes the good part, for every two days you work as a Volunteer, the points you accrue in your Volunteer Log Book can be used for one day of free HPDE, TT or Race event track time. When you are ready to redeem points, contact firstname.lastname@example.org and she will explain the process.
You can transfer volunteer credits to another individual who can use them for any NASA driving event in the same region.
Unused points will carry-over from one year to the next. Previous experience is not generally required for Volunteer positions, but you must be 18 or older.
Not sure if anyone has looked into it. But here's some additional information.
As mentioned in the quoted annoucement, 2 days of volunteer = one day of free HPDE, TT or Race event track time. To be more specific, the program works in a "credit" system. The volunteer logbook will record the credits that you earn. 4 credits for each day, and 8 credits will get you a free day of driving. So for a typical weekend, it would be:
4 credits Saturday + 4 credits Sunday = 8 credits available for 1 free driving day.
However, you can not earn the credits and redeem them right away at the very same weekend. The credits you are earning are for the following events. But I guess it only matters most on the very first weekend when your credit balance is 0. Once you have banked 8 credits, things are much easier to work around based on the available options.
Let's say you have banked 8 credits, for the following event (Sat+ Sun), you could:
1) drive 1 day free, and work the other day to earn credits toward the next event
2) drive 1 day, and pay for the other day
3) or if you don't like that particular track, or the car is not ready, you can work the whole weekend and end up with more credits to use.
There are many different combinations, and one can actually get through the whole season and drive on several different tracks without paying a penny for entry fee.
At Grattan this past weekend, I was chatting with the NASA official (Jeff) who runs the volunteer program, and he told me that for the 4 events that have taken place so far, the number of volunteers they had were:
April Mid Ohio, 60 volunteers.
April Iowa Speedway, 25 volunteers.
May Putnam, 45 volunteers.
June Grattan, 40 volunteers.
All those people have earned and spent their free track time and are glad to come back for more. But Jeff says he still didn't have enough yet. He still needs more because of how large the events are getting and it's always a good idea to have spare to accommodate all the last minute changes.
One thing to keep in mind, once you signed up, you don't need to commit 100% to which events that you MUST show up, because who knows what happen a few weeks or months from now. There're always emergencies or issues that keep you from going and they understand that. But at least you are on the list and they know who are interested and might be available.
So here it is, back from the dead and hopefully more people would see it.