their yellow flags. Got radios? Have
your crew person call out the green.
Further, have them tell you if the
pace car lights are off, then if it pulls
into pit lane. This info gives you
the chance to set up your restart
from two corners back. Typically, in
SCCA Road Racing (and most road
racing, come to think of it), when
the green flag is waved at the start
line, passing is allowed everywhere
on course. No sleeping at the
back of the line. Always catch the
pack. Be aware and race smart.
And “green, green, green!” also
means survive. Green flags are a
thrill, so exciting, and the closest the
cars will ever be around you. Drive
aggressively smart. The green flag
inspires and demands a total Envelope
of Awareness, and a cool head in the
mad rush. Be ultra-ready, get what
you can, and survive the “green,
green, green!” so you get to what you
came for: the race that follows.
If you are on the pole, slower
starts in lower gears will give you a
bigger jump. If you have less power
and better handling than the cars
behind you, faster starts will reduce
the acceleration advantage. Faster
starts are also safer in Turn 1, by the
way, because they tend to spread the
field. Slow start speeds bunch the field
in the first corner and can give a big
jump to cars in the middle of the pack.
It’s also very risky to speed up
the field from the pole and then slow
them down in the hopes of a good
jump. Pick your speed early, which is
actually supposed to be the speed of
the pace car, but there is usually a fair
amount of wiggle room. Officials want
to get the race going and not waste
valuable time waving off a start.
And, in those rare moments
when the race does not go green,
when there is a wave-off, keep
your speed up, wave a hand in the
air like mad, and like always, be
smooth and steady. You are part of
a rushing stream of cars, no panic
stops on flags. Be mirror-aware and
just ease off. There’s plenty of time
to get back around and restart.
“In those rare moments when the race
does not go green, when there is a
wave-off, keep your speed up”
(ABOVE) When the
green flag comes
out, the race is on!
But it turns out, the
race actually starts
a few turns prior.
In other green-flag gamesmanship,
some experienced drivers like to get
on and off the gas and brake. I call
this swinging for the fences. I also
call it squirrelly, and risky. If you are
very lucky, it’ll go green when you are
on the gas and you’ll look like a hero;
but inevitably, by Murphy’s Law, it will
go green just when you have to hit
the brakes, and three cars will slip by.
It’s also a good way to create trouble,
for you and those around you. Let’s
just get this race going, shall we?
Let’s not crash out before Turn 1.
Here’s another tricky trick: light
the brake lights while flooring the
gas. If you see brakes in the start
zone, be aware of what’s going on
beyond the car ahead. Could be
a trap, especially if there’s only
one. Some turbo cars do this to
build boost pre-start. I certainly
did in the K-PAX Volvo. Had to.
If you are farther back in line,
think ahead and estimate where the
lead car will get the green, and be
ready. On a restart, in a large field,
it could be three or four corners
ahead. No radio? Watch the flag
stations around you – they will drop