Having been a Competition Director for over 20 years thought I would give a little advise about the position and what is should require. I say what is should require because it depends on how selfish or how much love one has for racing. Ultimately, this position is one everyone thinks they can do until they get into it. One of the most respected Competition Directors in my opinion was Roy Vanbibber, he was fair, he was firm, and he only did the job one year but that one year made quite an impression on me as a driver because of the Competition Directors which followed. We had one Competition Director leave the back of a pick up truck during a drivers meeting going after then driver Scott Traylor.
There is a lot of stress in this position and many times you only have seconds to make a decision not minutes. My job as an Air Traffic Controller was a big plus in this area but most people go through life avoiding decisions much less make quick decisions. But not all decisions are correct, sometimes you have to admit you are wrong, apologize, and hope the apology is accepted. We have to remember people occupy these positions and people make mistakes! The problem you have with some people in these positions is they do not think they make mistakes, they do not think they should ever apologize, they think they know it all! In fact one such person made such a statement at a drivers meeting once, which is an instant loss of respect because we should be learning until the day we die, health permitting.
The Competition Director is also the leader of the team of officials. He or She should have some racing experience, because ultimately the decisions the team of officials make roll up hill to him or her. He or She should know scoring, track rules, and class rules. This takes quite an endeavor because scoring is one function, track rules is one function and it would help if the person had some racing background to understand what is going on in the cockpit of the racecar, and the class rules is another area where it would help if the Competition Director had some mechanical background of working on racecars. Otherwise how can a person make decision on something she or he does not know anything about.
How much love does a Competition Director have for the sport of racing, this goes a long way of finding out selfishness or love. Let’s say a bad call is made such as incorrect scoring, and this is discovered well after the protest time is over. How do you fairly correct this situation? In the past I have known of Competition Directors who pulled the money out their own pocket and paid the driver the difference, again apologizing for the mistake and doing the best he or she can do to make it right for the driver.
What about supporting the track as in the track owner. I have worked for track owners who needed assistance. It happens, there is not this great amount of money just growing on trees for owners to cherry pick, if there was there would be people jumping all over to buy race tracks and we know that is not the case, Central Missouri Speedway was for sale for a couple of years, before the owners reopened it themselves. So say you need tech equipment who buys it, sometimes it the tech man and sometimes it rolls uphill to the Competition Director. It should be the track but again the money is not always there so do you love the sport and buy the equipment or do you do without because you are selfish? Maybe the track needs a new public address system for the pits and it is the end of the season some Competition Directors will buy a new amplifier while others will just let it go (love or selfish).
Some Competition Directors will work year around and only get paid during the season. Many are working rules during the off season, working with drivers and crews during the off season, helping with banquets, visiting garages, pre-teching racecars, yet others will only show up on race day and call themselves Competition Director. Competition Director requires a servant attitude, it requires putting yourself on everyone’s level, it requires honesty, it requires being able to admit a mistake, it requires homework, it requires dedication, and it requires following the good book, do unto others as you would have done unto you.