Corner Working and Other Autocross Tips

This page is here to help newcomers to Autocrossing understand some concepts of rules and how to work a station or a corner at an Autocrossing event

As you read these, be aware these ARE NOT OFFICIAL RULES, but are ideas to help you. For official rules, see a safety steward, the SCCA website, or your best resource, an SCCA rule book.

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Top rules to ALWAYS remember:

1. YOUR safety is top priority. Always keep eyes out for cars coming your way.

2. The safety of the other workers on course is second priority. Keep your friends safe.

3. The safety of any spectators is your third priority. Sometimes people wander on course or stand somewhere dangerous. Stop cars if you need to until the spectators can be moved to somewhere safe.

4. The cars on course can sometimes be a danger to their drivers or other cars on course. Be especially wary of novice drivers on their first run. They can sometimes wander off course and head for other cars. Stop cars that are lost or point them to a safe course exit.

5. Shagging a cone is last and least important duty when you are working a corner.

Rules for working a corner:

1. Always stand up. NO SITTING EVER! You never know when you need to fetch a cone or even run out of the way.

2. When you see a cone hit at your corner, RUN for it! DO NOT walk. You have approximately 30 seconds to get to the cone(s), put them back in the box, and get back to a safe distance.

3. If you can’t get to the cone, or there are a bunch of them, DO NOT try to be a hero or risk your life! Have the radio worker call in and the starter can hold the next car. If a second car is on track then they can get a rerun if the cones are down. Radio in right away if you cannot get the cones.

4. Always face the course. Know where the cars come through your area. Only if you are RUNNING back to your corner station should your be back to the course.

5. If you are the red-flag holder, always keep it at the ready in your hand. Don’t roll it up. Keep it bunched up in your hand. If you are told to red flag a car, wave the flag around vigorously. It should unfurl itself as you do this. Remember, the driver is very focussed on the course and you need to make the flag stand out for him. You might need to step toward the course to get more attention.

6. When the car stops, quickly get over to the driver and have him continue through slowly or give other directions that the safety steward radios to you. Remember, there may be another car still coming behind and it may not be slowed or stopped yet!

Cone and course rules:

1. If a cone is completely out of the box, whether standing up or knocked over, it’s OUT.

2. If the cone is knocked over on its side, it is out. Even if its touching the box.

3. If the cone is standing up, yet part of it still touches or crosses the box it sits in, then it is GOOD (OK, no penalty). Cars have been known to hit cones, flip them in the air, and have them land back in the box, standing up. This is OK (no penalty).

4. If the car goes outside of a gate or on the wrong side of a pointer (laying down) cone, then that car is OFF COURSE and is DNF’d.

5. If a car spins around, turns around, or gets outside of the “normal driving line”, yet stays inside the proper gates, does not shortcut a gate and does not go twice through a gate, it is OK (no penalty). Only when a gate is missed is it OFF COURSE.

6. If a driver goes through the same gate twice by way of spinning out or not going through the correct gate sequence (i.e.. slalom), that is also OFF COURSE.

Cone inside the chalked outline box

Cones out of box are a penalty

Cones over but touching - still a penalty

Cone up but still touching box - OK!


Tips and hints when working a corner:

1. Pick one worker to hold the flag and/or radio. One person should be on the ready for running for the cone. If there are three or more workers then two+ people should be ready to run for the cones.

2. When walking the course and walking to your corner, take note of the position of the cones, and take note of which cones might be the most probable for being hit. With 2 runners, have one person watch half or a section of the corner, and the other person the other half.

3. As the cars go by your corner, watch BEHIND them for cones they might hit or flip. Cones can have a delayed reaction, can get hit by the rear wheels, or get stuck under the car momentarily.

4. When radioing in for downed cones, state your corner, the kind of car (and number if you can clearly see it), and how many cones. “Corner 1, the white Miata has 2 cones.” or “Corner 3, 1 cone on the black Trans Am.” Timing will probably confirm your statement in a couple seconds “white miata, 2 cones, thank you.”

5. Be relatively prompt when radioing in, but wait until the car passes your corner. Try to keep it to 1 message. Don’t make a second or third correction message if you can avoid it.

Normal Line Of Travel And Off Course examples:



This page last updated: Sun, Jul 29, 2007


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