The Noise, the Smell and the Excitement

10 Apr 2019 | Volunteer Stories

Russell Newman, Gridder and Assistant Clerk of the Course, Waikaraka Park Family Speedway

The noise, the smell and the excitement of stock car racing is truly in Russell Newman’s blood. He has been going to stock car race meetings at Auckland’s Waikaraka Park Family Speedway since he was seven years old.

His father was also a volunteer and took him to meetings. Russell quickly found a passion for the colour and speed of the highly individual cars that turned up to race at the meetings.

Today he is one of club’s most respected volunteers, the Assistant Clerk of the Course and a gridder, - perhaps the most exciting non driving job there is. He is the last on the track before a race starts, positioning all the cars at the start line, making sure it’s a fair and safe start for all who take part in the race.

He says “Walking in front of cars revving and raring to go might look dangerous but the drivers are professionals and are to be trusted, -there’s not been an accident yet.”

Russell is certain volunteers are the back bone of motor sport, “We couldn’t run any event in Auckland without them, and as a volunteer you see things the public might not see, in the pits or on the race track.”

Russell really enjoys it. He says, “Cars get faster as each year passes so there’s always something new.” He loves his relationship with the drivers and because he has been around for a long time the guys have great respect and look up to him.

There is always new people from all over the country to meet, -as well as old friends. Russell says, “Seeing the enjoyment in people’s faces is the main reason why we do it. I love it, it is simply exciting!”

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