The nationwide Summit Racing Equipment SCCA Road Racing program wouldn’t be possible without the hard work of volunteers that handle everything from event operations through technical inspection. Each year, a select few of these volunteers are honored as an SCCA Worker of the Year presented by Mazda.
The 2022 SCCA Worker of the Year awards were presented on Thursday, Sept. 29, during the All-Participant Dinner conducted in The Gallery at VIRginia International Raceway as part of the SCCA National Championship Runoffs. Each of the honorees, coming from different road racing worker pursuits, receive a commemorative plaque, patch and jacket, as well as an SCCA Gear merchandise gift certificate.
“Since 1944, the SCCA has provided a place for auto enthusiasts and motorsports fans to come together and enjoy a shared passion,” said Deanna Flanagan, SCCA’s Director of Road Racing. “As a Club, SCCA conducts several hundred road races in the U.S. each year, and there are thousands of volunteers who come together and work unselfishly to make these events a reality. To each and every volunteer around the country, thank you so very much for your time, dedication, and commitment.”
SCCA members submitted Worker of the Year nominations, and winners were selected by the SCCA National staff with input from Division leadership. Award recipients have shown dedication throughout the season to their specialties, events, SCCA Regions, competitors, fellow workers, and the Club as a whole. They’ve exhibited strong skills, good leadership, and a willingness to go above and beyond what is expected so as to offer excellent customer service.
Flagging & Communications
Ben Tyler, Cincinnati and North Carolina Regions. Tyler joined the Club in 1985 before he turned four months old. Obviously, that tells you SCCA runs in the family. He has worked tirelessly to keep corners staffed, attends events like Track Night in America Driven by Tire Rack, Cars and Coffee, and other auto enthusiast events for the sole purpose of recruiting workers. As a mentor to new flaggers, Tyler is helping to developed skills in others to ensure that strong F&C leadership continues into the future.
Pit & Grid
Vanessa and Valerie Farret, Washington DC Region. After volunteering to work grid, Valerie and Vanessa understood the immediate need to assist a Region that was without a Pit Lane Chief. Armed only with a can-do attitude and desire to serve, they took on learning the role of Pit Lane Chief. Next, they retooled tasks, communications, and coverage with limited staff. Essentially, Vanessa and Valerie, fondly referred to as “the twins,” do whatever it takes to keep the show moving. They model the way for others with outstanding customer service, focused attitudes, and positivity.
Sam Fouse, North Carolina Region. A member for more than 45 years, Fouse works as Race Chair, parking extraordinaire, lunch delivery wagon, and Region Treasurer. He’s also a social coordinator, coach, racer, and overall leader. Fouse spends countless hours planning, organizing, and building capable teams that ensure all of the pieces are there to deliver the best possible event experience. He’s a busy guy, but makes it all look effortless. Fouse’s knowledge and experience are invaluable, and he is committed to his Region and fellow members.
Race Data Technician
Paul Morrison, Mahoning Valley Region. In 2021, Morrison stepped up in a big way to serve as Data Acquisition Chief at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the SCCA Runoffs, and hosted nearly a dozen local students who joined the data team for that event. Since then, Morrison has actively reached out to area schools in conjunction with Hoosier Super Tour events, and invited their technical and engineering students to assist with data acquisition. His efforts have introduced more than 50 young adults to the SCCA, some of whom have returned to help at other events – some have even been hired by race teams. His love of the sport and for other people is evident, and the Club is fortunate to have him aboard.
Gary D’Abate, Atlanta Region. D’Abate has been a member of the SCCA for 35 years, and has been the Chief of Tech for his Region for more than 20 of those years. He brings enthusiasm to the specialty, and carefully considers his response to tech issues. His knowledge, professionalism, and level-headedness took him to the top of a list of candidates for Runoffs Chief Scrutineer during the second year of the pandemic – which meant recruiting capable crewmembers could be a challenge. Still, he accepted the role and executed with excellence.
Steve Mortimer, Steel Cities Region. Mortimer joined SCCA in 2006 and has been refining his start skills ever since. He has served as Assistant Chief of Start for the Runoffs, and co-Chief for the last two years. He supports Northeast Division events all year long, and is also his Region’s Chief Starter. When faced with challenges or curveballs, Mortimer responds with flexibility and agility, never appearing rattled. He is professional, committed to his craft and fellow workers, and also has a great sense of humor, all things that make him a great Starter and Club member.
Michael West, Mid-South Region. West is another utility player who is modest but mighty. He has been a member since 1974 and has done nearly everything the SCCA offers. Driver, coach, registrar, Time Trials event lead, safety steward, tech inspector, Chief Steward, Hoosier Super Tour Race Director, and even served on the Court of Appeals and the GCR Committee. Though he already had a full plate, West accepted the Midwest Division Executive Steward position in 2021 and has provided valuable leadership. He has worked to develop specialty workers in the Division, challenging them to grow and improve. West is the resident expert when it comes to the GCR, and carefully considers his decisions. His soft-spoken, Southern approach – and sense-of-humor – make him an absolute asset to the SCCA.
Timing & Scoring
Wanda Helser, Blackhawk Valley Region. Now celebrating more than 45 years of being an SCCA member, Helser really shined in 2022 as her knowledge and confidence grew. The Central Division asked her to manage all the various tasks required to make timing work, and she excelled across the board. She never shied away from learning the technical side of Timing and Scoring, and she embodies the very essence of being a team player.
In addition to the prizes awarded to all 2022 SCCA Workers of the Year, one randomly selected winner receives an all-expense paid trip to a race weekend supported by Mazda. That reward went to Mortimer.
Photo: Washington DC Region’s Valerie (left) and Vanessa (right) Farret earned the 2022 Pit & Grid SCCA Worker of the Year award.
Photo by Jon Krolewicz/SCCA Staff