Corner Workers Do Topeka

Corner Workers Do Topeka

By Lindsey Long III

Steve Barr, Fred Schumacher, Jimmy Johnson, Lindsey Long Ill & Lindsey Long IV with his guest Casey Fletcher, left Thursday Oct. 12, 1989,
after work, for the SCCA Trams Am at Heartland Topeka.

We arrived in Topeka and drove straight to Lake Shawnee campground, There we pitched our tents and unrolled our sleeping bags to the beautiful Indian summers night.

After what seemed like 30 minutes of good sound sleep we arose to eat hptbreakfast and drive to the racetrack to register & attend the 7;00 corner worker meeting. We, the group, were assigned to work with Jim Hughes who arrived earlier in the week and a couple from Pennsylvania who were a delight to work with. They thought it strange at first when we would heave large stones, fruit, dirt clods or car parts at the porta-john when occupied by a corner worker - one which we actually knew, and had to work with.

Fred Schmacher was our Corner Captain who arranged us early Friday morning with 2 people each on 7 and 6 and 3 - 4 people 6A. We arrived at station about the time they were doing a course check. I opened up my PVC sleeve to find a checkered flag, a green flag, 2 yellow flags, etc.

I was wondering how long it would take the SCCA officials to come and wipe the evil smirk off my face as I stood at the top of the hill (before the cars were on track) and waved the checkered flag with gusto for all to see. I felt like an ‘Oregon’ SCCA starter at an INSA event,

The four hour Escort Endurance race was Saturday after lunch, This class is broken into 4classes not unlike the SCCA classes of same name, -.GT, A, B & C or something like that, Rebecka would have been proud of CRX Hondas, (yellow in color) that kept up with all but some of the Gt cars.

The racetrucks were a delight (spelled b o r e d) as they practiced and raced. Jeep had 4 trucks, general tire had 3 trucks, Nissan had 2 trucks, etc. They would “speed” around the track in groups of 3 or 4 bumper to bumper. Comments could be heard on the ‘net’ like ‘shouldn’t we make them run in order?’ - 7, 8 & 9 not 9, 7 & 8 or ‘should we give the first truck the passing flag?’ I think jeep took first place maybe second place too.

The Formula Atlantics wire obviously more spice in our life. We had several spins and continues. Some engines gave up and they pulled in to watch and some, whose engine had died, refused to leave the track and when pushed, steered up the hill expecting to be push started. Whether practice or racing some FA drivers seem to think corner workers are not subject to danger and should certainly be willing to push him back to the pits if necessary so his crew could fix his car. Ha! After several such incidents we all received reports of fines levied for such behavior on the ‘net’.

At the Saturday night Bar-B-Q there were Topeka and SCC4 dignitaries taking bows and heaping praise on one another. Drivers were given theschroeder opportunity to come and say a few words about Topeka, the track an all workers. It turned out to be the Dorsey Schroeder show, the ‘local’ national Trans Am Champion this season who politely asked that we not laugh out loud or make faces while he was driving by in his racetruck. His sense of humor and speaking ability ‘stole the show’, His sincerity in thanking the workers won him all of our hearts.

Sunday at corner 10 we all had more fun as we got to work as a team and probably even more important than that was the fact the porta-john was like 20 feet below and 20 feet laterally from our bunker at the wall. If ‘one’ were to need to use the fiberglass facility, ‘one’ should certainly have a white hat to wave at length before attempting to leave this facility or face the possibility of un wanted dental work. In the heavy wind
several of our workers were forced to move their cars to a safer location.

We had several brief ‘visitors’ on Sunday during the Trans Am Race. Surely the most memorable was the car which stopped on the racetrack on the bridge before our bunker. He did not pull off because he assumed ‘they’ would flat tow his vehicle to the pits. He wouldn’t leave his vehicle till he was told they are not going to flat tow ‘you’ till after the race. He was pleased with this decision and stomped off to tell somebody how much he appreciated THEM leaving him on the bridge and on the race track. I, of course, saw the incident in a different light - as his insufferable ego and poor judgement placed the corner workers, himself, other drivers and their expensive toys - in severe jeopardy.

On a much, much happier note the ‘Berettas’ swept the Trans Am field much to the dislike of Fred who mumbled something about ‘all Beretta drivers being ----?!? !‘

The trip home was uneventful if you don’t count waterpumps or alternators or tempers or cursing or the lack of sleep experienced by Jimmy Johnson and LLL IV who returned to Kansas, shortly after arriving in OKC at 10:00 PM and replaced Jimmy’s water pump, on a dark and lonely highway in the wee hours of the morning.

Yep, that’s why WE, the corner workers, get paid the big bucks, folks!



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