Mark Smith has been a Sports Car Club of America member for more than 25 years and is very active within the SCCA’s Southern California Sports Car Club. As Race Chairman for this weekend’s Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA® Super Tour event at Buttonwillow Raceway Park, Smith’s job is to do everything he can to make sure all goes smooth and everyone has a great time at the track. While that can be a very complicated task, Smith is well prepared to handle the job.
“My start was with Flagging & Communications, and I made my way up to National Administrator for F&C,” Smith said about his history with the Club. “I was the Flag Chief for the Runoffs at Mid-Ohio and the first couple National Championships in Kansas. I’ve got a Scrutineering License, a Tech License, a Registration License, and I also got a Grid License. As a Race Chairman, you’ve got to know a little bit about everything.”
Not only does Smith know a little bit about a lot of different specialties, he is absolutely exceptional at some of those duties. In 2000, he was named the Flagging & Communications Worker of the Year. Then in 2017, he earned Race Administration Worker of the Year honors.
While Smith and his checkered-flag bandana are regular sights at Cal Club events and SCCA National events, some others outside the Club may be familiar with Smith’s “Turn One” work at the Long Beach Grand Prix, an opportunity that presented itself as an additional benefit to being a member of SCCA and Cal Club.
“I’ve been working Turn One at the Long Beach Grand Prix for quite a while,” Smith said. “Cal Club has been supporting the Long Beach Grand Prix from the beginning. It’s a really neat opportunity … to get out and see the ‘big boys’ go racing on the streets.”
Another “cool” factor to working the Long Beach Grand Prix has been the chance to assist with the Pro/Celebrity race, which has provided some exciting moments over the years for Smith.
“One year, I had Donny Osmond on his roof in the tire wall in front of me, and seen William Shatner blow up a few motors in the past,” Smith recalled. “It’s pretty cool to meet those types of people. But all those celebrities are just like everybody else. The most important thing is to make sure they’re OK.”
While being trackside to help pro drivers and celebrity competitors is interesting and fun, being involved with SCCA Regional and National events is still Smith’s passion.
“The Club provides a great opportunity to make a difference. To make sure people are safe and have a great weekend,” said Smith, a mechanical engineer who works at Boeing. “The smiles and enthusiasm, the excitement on the podium, you don’t get that in your daily job. We camp together, we socialize and share a lot of stories, we meet a lot of great people across the country. That’s what it’s all about, the people. To see the faces of people having a good time is a great thing.”
Follow all the great work of Cal Club volunteers and incredible Hoosier Super Tour racing action from Buttonwillow Raceway Park online at www.scca.com/live. There, viewers will find live timing & scoring, lap notes, live video, and Super Tour Radio presented by Hoosier Racing Tire.
Photo: Cal Club’s Mark Smith and his iconic checkered bandana