How Brian Williams Became SCCA’s 2023 Pit & Grid Worker of the Year

Brian Williams went “straight” into motorsports, but it took some curves before he was introduced to SCCA. “I grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, and there was no road racing,” he says. “It was either dirt track, round-d-round, or drag racing. I gravitated toward drag racing and motorcross.” That road eventually led to SCCA, working Pit & Grid, and, in 2023, becoming SCCA’s Pit & Grid Worker of the Year presented by Mazda.

Williams, who is now a Central Florida Region member, moved to the Sunshine State in 1973. “I’m in Ocala, which is 30 miles south of Gainesville, so drag racing was still a big part of my racing history. I was going up to Gainesville [regularly] doing drag racing. I was down here about a year or so, and somebody told me about a race in Daytona. I told him I was not into NASCAR, but he said it was a 24-hour road race. I went and I got hooked right away. I was still doing drag racing, but we would go to the 24-hour race at Daytona every year. I’ve only missed a couple years since ’74.”

Williams sometimes lost track of what was going on on the track, but the corner workers, he says, knew what was going on.

“I always camped by them, and, since I couldn’t figure out what was going on [during the race], I would ask one of them and they were glad to tell me – why we went to full-course caution or whatnot,” he explains. “I just spectated for a few years, and finally I was talking to the Regional Executive here in Daytona, and I asked him how he got into this and how I can get into this. He said, ‘You join SCCA, and I’ll put you to work today!’ I said I was hanging out with my friends this year, but I’m definitely going to do it. That was in the early ’80s, and I’ve been doing it ever since.”

In 1974, Williams also discovered the Twelve Hours of Sebring, so he went to that, too. “Since then, every year, I’d go to Daytona and either Sebring or the Gator Nationals. I didn’t get into Club Racing too much. They were the only two races I did for several years.”

The pressures of work and family kept him from becoming too involved at the races, but that changed when he retired – “Now I’m able to take back roads and do two-week trips,” he says. He began flagging at Daytona and Sebring and added some SCCA races. Four or five years ago, he would talk with friends working pit lane, and “they kept bugging me to come to pit road and work down there,” he adds. “About four or five years ago, I did. I’ve been there ever since on the Club Racing side.”

Williams still flags at pro races, although with IMSA not allowing volunteers to work pit lane, he’s happier working the corners. “For pro races, we’re not interacting with the drivers or crew, so I’m more than happy to be on the corner,” he admits.

Talking about working the pits and grid, Williams says, “We’re actually crucial to Club Racing. We are the directors of pit road.”

When asked why he keeps doing it, he says, “Because I love racing. I’m past the point of pursuing a racing career. I’ve had offers to go on the road as a crew member, but I’ve never wanted to do that. I still want to have a hand in racing, and I enjoy interacting with the drivers – most of them – the teams, and especially the comradery of the SCCA Club members. Road racing is a whole different class of people – different mindset. They’re more into racing than partying. The spectators and teams are really focused on racing. I’d be there whether I was working or not.”

Everyone in the SCCA is glad he’s there, too, and the Club was thrilled to celebrate his accomplishments with the 2023 Pit & Grid Worker of the Year award.

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Photo courtesy Brian Williams