5 - Notes roughly
coordinated with Tam McPartland's Old
Race Car site - 5 -
Frank Monise: One Pomona race Monise spun and
reentered the course through a flag station and into traffic, against the turn
marshal's orders. On the cool-off lap he came around to discuss the incident with
the marshal, who gave him a whack on the helmet with the yellow-flag paddle (wire
frame with patio chair webbing, like the one you see here: Turn
At Riverside Turn Seven the flag station wasn't always on
the outside edge of the track there. I worked both sides, and liked the inside
best, from a safety viewpoint. I don't know where my partner was, if any, in this
The classic "facing" position for flagmen was such that they
could cover 360 degrees: the downstream-facer could watch the cars approach on
the first and other early laps, but once the traffic strung out, he had to follow
the action around the turn.
Contentious as well as competitive, Monise
always had well turned-out equipment. He was a talented driver, but would shave
the rules at every opportunity. It was almost a compulsion with him. I don't remember
ever hearing a worker say he liked Frank. He did win races. I had a head-to-head
with him when I was Chief Steward at Holtville. That time he understood and stayed
out of trouble. Many other times, he did not.
His contentiousness was
probably a factor in a call I made in favor of the BRE
Datsun team at that Holtville National. One of their cars lost air from a
tire. It was at the end of a practice session, and the Datsun 2000 was stopped
in the entrance to the lane leading from the track to the paddock. It would not
roll, and had the newly approved aerodynamics on the front end, so the track wrecker
couldn't easily get it up in the air without doing some damage. We could not start
another session with that obstacle there.
Of course the car was within
jogging distance of the pits. The BRE crew trotted on down there, and were not
about to let the wrecker guys mess anything up. This was before the advent of
everybody-on-the-radio; they had no idea what was wrong, and had left their special
jacks in the pits.
is in the shadow of the mountains, and it gets dark early, even in April. The
organization was always under pressure to keep things moving. It was up to me
to tell the race wreckers to hook up and drag the BRE Datsun 2000 out of the way,
or give the BRE crew a few extra minutes to run back for a jack, haul it down
there, lift the car, replace the flat, and wheel the thing out of the way. Monise
was the driver. Everyone except BRE wanted me to say, "Drag his nasty self out
of the way," and watch the fireworks.
I'd already had enough negative
experiences with him to last as long as I could imagine. I overcompensated rather
than take advantage of the circumstances, and told everyone to take five minutes
to relax while BRE brought the car home. They didn't abuse the opportunity either,
performing their rescue very quickly, even though once they were out there they
could have spent a lot of time hemming and hawing.
I recently learned Frank
Monise was involved in the very early stages of the making of GRAND
PRIX, the movie.
Stirling Moss and Dan Gurney: Wow. Two more
heroes. Moss was and is, just magnificent. A man with a perspective and humor,
and an amazing person. The URL of his page at my site is in the Ken Miles section.
Dan Gurney: With just one exception I know of, a good guy all around,
and my choice for president many, many times. I have had several racing business
contacts with him, in addition to the numerous races I have seen him drive. One
of my experiences was set out on Rick Dikeman's USGP page (that seems to have
I was working as
Safety Steward at Turn 12, Long Beach Grand Prix circuit, during the tour's first
stop there. Someone had lined the inside apex of that turn and two or three others
with a wide pattern of "Bott's Dots," those shallow-domed plastic buttons
used to mark divisions between freeway lanes. Cars at speed were loaded to the
opposite side, and their inside wheels just skipped over the markers. The actual
limit of the track, both inside and outside the turn, was another artifact of
the freeway age: concrete barriers. Several cars had meetings with one or another
of those unyielding hip-high walls, shedding various components. Emerson Fittipaldi
was one contributor to the turn marshals' parts cache.
Gurney had apparently had his ear bent by a driver or two, and came
to the most easily accessed of the Botted turns. He and one of the
operating Stewards came to my station in a narrow island between the
pit lane entry and the track at Turn 12 (marked
by a yellow dot near the extreme left edge of the LBGP map). They
watched for a short time, discussing the situation. Gurney recognized
my orange Steward shirt and asked my opinion as a qualified expert.
I said I expected the dots were ineffectual as delimiters, but did
have the potential to inflict unwarranted upset or damage. Gurney
gave the other Steward a "told you so" look, and off they
went. A little later a crew came by and during a break in the action
they pried up the dots, and were gone.
When Gurney and Moss were racing
Lotus 19s at Riverside, I was a flagman at Turn One. Someone had "liberated"
a four-foot "Flagman Ahead" sign from a nearby road construction site,
and it was propped up against a stack of hay bales near the apex of
Turn One. That stack and the start of the race can be seen on the Team
DNF video, "Haybales
And Asphalt." The sign was out of sight on the other side of the
It appers the video is no longer available: the owner/maker of the original
found that someone copied his VHS to CD and was selling it, all without
theft", he said.
Patrick: This guy really loved racing. He seemed to be able to parlay his
skill and less-than-best equipment into respectable results. When I was helping
to organize, and was promoting the Tijuana Road Races
at the Bullring By The Sea, he was one of the ones I sent a flyer to. He actually
showed up, but not as a racer. He just wanted to see how it was going to be done,
and if it was worth his while to prepare for the next event. It seems not. I named
a dog after him. It was an overachiever, too, and very durable.