So You Want (or don’t want) to Become a Scorer…
Read this first!!
Timing and scoring (T&S) is one of the most essential, yet easily overlooked, components of racing. That’s because, with the exception of registration, it is the most invisible among all of the workers’ positions. The remainder of the time, the scoring team sits within the confines of a vehicle behind the start/finish line focusing on every detail of the race procedure. In addition, T&S is responsible for overseeing several parts of the race day that directly involve and affect each driver. These include registration, line ups, maintaining a continuity for each race, determining the results of each race, providing line ups for the finale, and recording all race results for the end-of-the-day awards presentation.
To become a scorer, you must possess certain skills and traits. The first is the ability to focus, or concentrate. Even though an optimal scoring environment is one that is quiet and free of any extraneous noise or conversation, most working conditions are less than optimal. Distractions are likely to occur despite the efforts of the scorers themselves and those of the track officials. During each race, scorers must keep track of the number of cars on the track, cars that have gone into the pits, the number of laps completed by the lead car, and the order in which each car passes the finish line.
The next, but no less important skill, or attribute, is patience. Like it or not, most races aren’t as straightforward as most of us would like. There are yellow flags, black flags, red flags, and penalties to be considered during and between races. Cars passing the finish line in a white out might present a cause for frustration as well. The most consistent challenge, however, is the pressure that results from having to determine the order of finish quickly and precisely after each race so that there is little delay before the next race starts.
Sportsmanship and professionalism are two more attributes that a scorer should possess. Each scorer should read and be thoroughly familiar with the AMEC Ice Racing Rules. Favoritism, rude conduct, attempts to penalize drivers without the consent of the Chief Flagger and/or Chief Steward, and undue or frequent complaining are not analogous to a good scoring team.
Finally, the most predominant trait in a scorer must be the ability to HAVE FUN!! After all, we’re all a part of AMEC to enjoy racing… what else is there to it?
We mentioned earlier what a scorer’s day at the races involves, but here’s a detailed description of each duty. Keep in mind that scorers do not typically work alone… usually three or more people will assist in each task.
- Registration Book
- Registration Forms (pre-punched to fit into 3-ring notebook)
- Membership Forms
- Waiver forms for workers and drivers
- Rule Books
- Tech Sheets
- List of car numbers and drivers by class
- Some cash to make change
- Plenty of pens and pencils
- Line-up (grid) triplicate forms
Registration personnel should arrive at the racing site at 8am. The officer responsible for communication with the town official or restaurant owner hosting the races will make arrangements for access to the registration area. Registration personnel will be notified accordingly.
Make sure that all necessary materials are organized for easy accessibility and everyone working registration is settled in. All workers, including T&S, should sign the workers’ waiver form upon arrival. Drivers will arrive anytime throughout the morning until 10:30am. The following procedure should be followed when registering each driver:
- Make sure the driver is a member by checking the membership list. If s/he is not a current member, provide a membership form. Once the form is filled out, the appropriate dues should be collected. If the AMEC secretary is available, the form and dues should be collected by him or her and a membership card issued to the driver at that time.
- A registration form must be filled out by each driver at the first race of the season, or at the first race for that driver. The racing fee should be collected with the registration form. A “tech sheet” should be given to the driver to fill out and present to the tech inspector at tech. Every driver should sign the drivers’ waiver form.
- Registration forms should be placed in the registration book. The amount paid (for the race day) and the class in which each driver will race should be noted on the form.
- The car number should be highlighted on the list of car numbers and drivers for easy reference throughout the race day. If more than one driver will be driving a car, make sure that both drivers are registered according to the class they will be driving and that each car number and driver are highlighted under their respective classes on the reference list.
- At 10:30am, when all drivers have registered, the scoring team will review the list of car numbers and drivers. Starting line-ups for each class will be recorded on the triplicate line-up forms. See Race Procedures in AMEC Ice Racing Rules for line-up procedures. One copy should be distributed to the pit steward once the scoring team has gone out to the track.
- Scorers should locate and confer with the chief flagger as to the position of start/finish and the layout of the track. A parking place that allows for an unobstructed view of start/finish and the front stretch of the track should be chosen.
- Scorers should attend the drivers’ meeting held before the start of the first practice session. Any specific directives or changes in race procedure should be noted.
- Plenty of pencils and pens
- Pencil sharpener
- Stapler (for collating race results)
- Line-up (Grid) sheet triplicates
- Race results triplicates
- Stop watch
- Plenty of continuity (tape) sheets
- Plenty of lap chart sheets
- Clipboards (one for each taper and one for the scorer keeping a lap chart)
- Radio (supplied by chief flagger)
Although scoring methods may vary, all scorers should be flexible in using a variety of methods that will afford the most accurate results. At least one continuity should be recorded for each race where 5 or more cars are racing. For finale or heat races that involve 20 or more cars, two or more continuities should be recorded. Using a lap chart alone for more than twenty cars is most often unreliable without the aid of records of the exact order in which each car passed start/finish.
Some scoring teams prefer to use a “caller” that will call out the number of each car as it passes start/finish. While the caller announces the car numbers, other scorers will write down each number accordingly.
Continuity Recorders, or “Tapers”
Whether a caller is used or not, other scorers will be watching the order of cars as they pass and recording them. This takes not only good recognition of the cars and their numbers, but a quick hand and an ability to write and watch simultaneously.
Continuity recorders should use a sheet that enables them to write without looking. Using a variety of sheets or steno pads during practice sessions until the right “match” is found is encouraged for new scorers. Each scorer should choose a method that is comfortable and reliable for him or her. A variety of sheets will be provided at each race weekend.
One scorer may opt to use a lap chart in addition to the continuities recorded by other scorers. A lap chart enables a scorer to record the results of each lap of the race as it is completed by each driver. In the case where one or more cars have been lapped by faster cars, or when a car goes into the pits during a race, it may be necessary to keep track of a few, or several laps at once. The results of the completed lap chart allow for a quick determination of the race results and the number of laps completed by each car.
Whether recording results on a continuity sheet or a lap chart, it is imperative to know what car is leading each lap! As the race proceeds, any change in the lead car should be noted by the scorers. Cars entering and exiting the pits should also be noted at the bottom of each lap. Assistance from the chief steward, pit stewards, and corner workers should be enlisted to report cars that are in the pits or otherwise off track.
When a full-course yellow flag is thrown, scorers will continue scoring the race. Each lap completed under a full-course yellow will be counted toward the total number of laps designated for that race and/or the time allotted.
When a red flag is thrown, all cars are required to stop. As the cars approach start/finish for a restart, the line-up should be checked against the previous lapcompleted by each car on the track. This must be done using a continuity sheet! It is not possible to determine the order of cars using a lap chart.
Calling “Half-Way” and “Two Laps”
The number of laps completed in the race is determined by the lead cars. Since a lead car may go off track or be passed by another car, it is important to keep track of the first four cars in each lap so that it is clear when a new lap begins.
Shortly after a lead car passes start/finish to complete the lap previous to the half-way mark, a scorer will report the first two cars working the half-way mark. For example, after the cars in the top two positions complete lap five of a 12-lap race, scoring will announce by radio, “Leaders 23, 45 working half-way.” The chief flagger can then signal the drivers that the half-way mark has been reached as they approach start/finish on the next lap.
To signal ‘two laps to go’, scoring will report the lead cars as having two laps to go just after the third to the last lap. That is, if a race is scheduled for 12 laps, a scorer will radio to the chief flagger “Leaders 23, 45 working two laps to go” just after the lead cars have completed the ninth lap.
Line-up and Results Sheets
At the finish of each race, the results for the group of cars having just finished should be recorded on the triplicate sheets. For example, if classes A, B, and C have just completed their first heat race of the day, the scoring team should record the results on the Results Sheet. A grid, or line-up sheet for that group’s next heat race should also be completed and given to the pit steward. A copy of the Results Sheet along with the original grid, continuities and lap chart for the race just completed should be stapled together and set aside for reference at the end of the day.
The grid for the finale is determined by the second heat race for each class competing. (See Race Procedures, AMEC Ice Racing Rules.) Following the completion of all heat races for classes A, B, C, D, E, and AWD, a grid sheet should be completed for the finale and given to the pit steward as soon as possible.
At the end-of-the-day awards presentation, a copy of the results for each heat race and the finale should be given to the presenter. A second copy (with attached grid and continuities) should be kept for scoring records, and a third copy given to the official points steward.