Race Control Facilities at the 24 Hours of LeMons
Running the 24 Hours of LeMons is a bit like circus work. In our travels we've found that track facilities vary wildly. Above, we're are at Sonoma Raceway - aka Sears Point. Perched high above the grandstands, Race Control is the hub of on track information, sort of like air traffic control at an airport. Not all facilities are created equal... here's a look at some of the places we go with an eye for their unique qualities.
The view from New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon New Hampshire. It's a NASCAR track with facilities similar to Sonoma. I hung out all weekend with this Stink Bug. He was fine and kept his stink glands to himself.
NHMS's Stink Bug up close.
Elkhart Lake's Road America - one of the more high-tech control towers we see, with cameras on most turns. The only issue here was Sirius XM Satelite radio (on the computer) tuned to Margaritaville - the all Jimmy Buffett station.
Eagles Canyon Raceway, Decatur TX. They've got bugs too. Actually this "tower" was hit by lightning overnight at one of our races, and the strike put a hole in the building, knocked the counter away from the wall, and made smoke marks through all electrical plugs and switches. It's fixed now.
Texas World Speedway. Built in 1969 USAC and NASCAR ran this 2-mile oval (similar in configuration to Michigan), but the track's grandstands started to settle on this man-made hill back in the late 70's and it was dropped from major racing schedules in the early 80's. Amateur racing is still held at the facility.
This is looking into the former press box and hospitality areas.
The settling grandstands and swag sales stations.
Gingerman Raceway, South Haven Michigan. That's Phil with some sort of paint gun or something on the pit lane. The tower here is a three-story wood structure over a pass through garage. The only issue here is the "Lake effect" on the radios - there's a constant static over the radio base station in the tower.
High Plains Raceway - Deer Trail Colorado.
Last year a big storm ripped through during the race and we had to shut things down for about an hour. A tornado touched down about 15 miles north of the track. This is the first time I've seen whitecaps on a pit lane. Winds were about 50 mph - worker porta-potties blew over out on the course, and garbage cans went flying through the paddock.
The Ridge - Shelton Washington
The Ridge tower is a wood building full of dead flies. We had it moved closer to the track with a skip-loader.
These were the highlights of 2012.... I'll add to this list in 2013.