A Minute with Timing & Scoring

Chaos, that’s what the uninitiated may suspect they’re witnessing when first entering an SCCA Timing & Scoring room. Voices are calling out numbers or shouting instructions.  Folks are furiously scribbling away on sheets of paper as colorful cars go whizzing by on course just outside a window.  People are hunched over laptop computers and glaring with an intense focus at glowing screens.

But all of this is not pure chaos, technically speaking. It’s an organized chaos that makes working Timing & Scoring so exciting for so many Sports Car Club of America members around the country.

“You’ve got to be a little loony, in a fun way, to work in Timing & Scoring,” said David Kircher, a member of the Chicago Region and the Timing & Scoring Chief at this weekend’s WeatherTech® Chicago Region June Sprints® SCCA U.S. Majors Tour at Road America. “It can get intense in here.  There can be challenging situations.  But we have a good time.”

Kircher has been counting cars since the late ’60s and has seen substantial changes over the years. Back then, it wasn’t uncommon to have a Timing & Scoring crew of more than 100 people keeping track of June Sprints action.  This weekend, in 2016, the crew consists of 15 dedicated SCCA members.

“Back in the ‘70s, all of this was manual,” Kircher continued. “We had to write down all the numbers of the cars in sequence as they came by us.  Now, the cars have transponders so times can be picked up electronically and we use a lot of computers and technology to lend a hand.”

Deployment of new technologies is exactly why Toby Schuster, a member of the Milwaukee Region and Timing & Scoring Assistant Chief at the June Sprints, moved from down on the track to the timing tower a few years back.

“I’ve been working Timing & Scoring for about five years. But I started with Flagging & Communications,” Schuster said.  “I noticed that Timing & Scoring was getting to be much more technical, much more electronic.  I like playing with computers, so it was a natural fit for me to move over to Timing & Scoring and help out with the new technologies.  I do enjoy it.  It keeps me busy, and keeps me out of trouble.”

While Kircher enjoys playing a critical role in a race weekend, and Schuster loves playing with developing technologies, Janet Berry has been involved in Timing & Scoring for the last 20 years for a whole different reason. The retiree, who is a member of the Arkansas Region, now travels the country -- covering more than 10,000 miles a year -- to help at multiple events.

“I got started in this and it’s just hard to quit,” Berry joked with a grin. “I love this because of the people.  You get to see good friends and meet new friends.  Plus, Timing & Scoring requires a lot of problem solving.  And, well, we don’t have winners if we don’t champion over the problems.”

Follow the work of Timing & Scoring, along with the rest of the excitement from the WeatherTech® Chicago Region June Sprints® SCCA U.S. Majors Tour at Road America all weekend at www.scca.com/live.