Since then, he’s worked events across the country and around the world, even managing to incorporate flagging the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps into a European business trip.
“I build my entire relaxation around this,” Duncan said. “It’s what I do instead of vacation, though we do integrate an element of that. My wife supports me. She knows it’s my hobby and she actually comes to some races – she likes IMSA and Formula One. As corner workers, we often receive guest passes.”
Brian Sumeracki became involved with the SCCA in 1990. “I started out in club racing as a technical inspector, but I wanted to get into the racing part,” he said. “But life happened, and I got married. A friend suggested that I try flagging.”
He completed training in 2002 and mainly worked events at tracks in his region – Waterford Hills, Grattan Raceway Park and GingerMan Raceway. A longtime Chrysler employee, he also campaigned a Dodge Neon showroom stock car at SCCA events, and he also served two terms on the board of directors of the club’s Detroit Region.
He now works up to eight events a year and says the SCCA National Runoffs is his favorite.
“I got a couple cousins into flagging,” Sumeracki said. “I enjoy the camaraderie. You generally work with people from similar fields. I’ve met people from different parts of Chrysler who also work as flaggers.”
Shelby Township, Michigan, resident Jim Megel claims he’s not a car guy, yet he has worked as a flagger at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“I just like the racing,” he explained. “Some of these folks can tell you what the drivers had for breakfast, but I just like the competition. Racing is very technical.”
He started thinking about volunteer work when Roger Penske helped bring the Super Bowl to Detroit in 2006.
“I hit the wrong button on the computer and that didn’t go through, but about a year later, the Detroit Grand Prix came back to Belle Isle,” Megel said. “I reached out to the local SCCA and they just took me by the arm. I went to school, did the training.”
Clearly, for all the hard work that goes into being a volunteer, there’s plenty of payoff. And not just the legendary corner worker parties that traditionally cap a race weekend.
“It’s a volunteer thing so there is a satisfaction doing something for the racing community,” said Duncan. “You have that interaction with the drivers, and you are connected to the race in a different way than just sitting in the grandstand watching them go by.
“You get to be in absolutely the best seat in the house.”
To learn more about the SCCA and become a member and corner worker, visit SCCA.com