Every run group will have a starter assigned. You might think this is an easy job and a good excuse to get out of chasing cones. In truth, while it is somewhat less strenuous than working a corner, it is one of the most critical positions. The starter (with the help of a good grid crew) regulates the flow of the event and helps keep the course safe.
The responsibilities of a starter are:
- Work with Safety to determine if it is safe to release a second car before the car on course finishes, and if so, where.
- Ensure the course is ready for the next car prior to release.
- Previous car is clear or properly positioned for second car on course.
- All cones are standing and course workers are clear or clearing the course.
- No red flags.
- Quick scan of car and driver/passengers.
- Check car for things like dripping fluids, smoke, steam, tire issues (flat tires or cord showing), and open doors.
- Check driver & passenger for fastened seatbelt, helmets and wristbands.
- Ensure cars are released in a timely manner.
- Line up cars consistently with the nose of the car on the starting line.
- Be aware of which cars are “fast” or “slow” and be sure to slightly delay the start of a fast car that is going out behind a slow car. Likewise, a slow car starting behind a fast car can be released slightly early.
- Monitor radio for any and all “Hold Start” or “Red Flag” calls.
- Communicate with Grid Crew to ensure uniform flow of cars to start/ready line.
- Watch for downed cones near the start. Stand them up and call them in as required.
- Be sure nobody (including yourself) walks through the start timing beam.