Bullring Bash Track Services Team: Grassroots Events, National Standards
by Chris Leone
Images: My Race News
When it comes to motorsports of all types, a safe event is a successful event. That’s why the Bullring Bash Quarter Mile Challenge has assembled a Track Services crew comprised of some of the most experienced safety personnel in New England to implement safety protocols that match up with the highest levels of racing in the United States.
The Bullring Bash Track Services team is led by director Sean Strohman, who previously served as Track Services Director at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park starting in 2016. Strohman is joined by Andy Biron and Rick Shepard, who will serve as Track Services Liaisons and Field Service Investigators, and paramedic Josh Kusek, to keep competitors safe during the promotion’s inaugural 2019 season. Each member brings a wealth of experience to the organization, and members have worked a number of events across America up to Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races.
“With the Bullring Bash, we wanted to assemble a Track Services team that was second to none in motorsports,” said Bullring Bash founder Josh Vanada. “I’ve worked with every member of our team before, and I know that they all bring valuable insight to our events and venues that will help us set a new standard for safety in grassroots racing.”
“From a grassroots perspective, we’re taking more of a professional look at track services,” Strohman explains. “We’re taking things from a senior level, like the Cup tour, and using what they’ve already established in initiatives and trying to implement them at a grassroots level. For instance, our EAP (emergency action plan)—that’s not something that anyone around here has ever done, as far as being prepared for all contingencies at an event, from an active shooter to weather protocols. It’s really just taking what the national series do and implementing it at a different level—we’re not rewriting any rules, we’re just taking what’s already out there and established and trying to implement it at a different venue.”
As with most of the Bullring Bash team, Strohman, Shepard, and Biron have worked together for a number of years, making the transition to brand new events that much easier.
“I’ve known Shep and Sippy now for about five or six years, and I knew of them before working at Thompson,” Strohman says. “Over those years, we’ve learned how to lift each other up, we know when each other is ticked off, and we keep track of each other so nothing ever goes too badly. That’s the advantage of being friends—we’ve eaten together, we’ve partied together, we’ve gone to events together. It’s nice to know whenever something happens that the team’s got your back, and I’ve never felt that more than with these guys, and with Josh as well.”
“We understand what makes each other tick,” adds Biron. “We can understand when one of our staff is having a bad day, pick up on that, and support them. If they’re struggling, we know who the strong and weak parts are to help them in their specialty. It’s just a cohesive unit, and it’s cool that we’ve worked together for six years and figured each other out.”
That cohesion is especially useful when going to tracks like White Mountains Motorsports Park and Thunder Road International Speedbowl, venues that haven’t necessarily featured Modified or Legends racing in recent years. But with a traveling crew as part of the series, competitors who are planning to go to multiple events will see familiar faces in the chase truck no matter where they run. The team’s end goal is to provide a standard protocol at every event, and provide support to the tracks however possible.
“Most of our competitors have probably never competed at these facilities,” Biron explains. “They don’t know the track staff, the track services group, the responders. But they’re going to see us, and we’re going to be the liaison between these groups. A lot of us have worked at these facilities already, so we have a working relationship, and we can deal with our competitors instead of having them go to the facility and maybe going to a person who doesn’t deal with their issue.”
“The key word here is ‘liaison,’” Strohman notes. “We’re going to be helping them—we don’t intend to replace any facility’s medical staff, cleanup or recovery staff, we just hope that we can provide some guidance for them. And if we can help those guys at their other events, when our product isn’t on the track, then all the better—we’d love to help out as much as we can! We’re not going to step on anyone’s toes, but we’re going to be advisors as much as we can.
“As far as the medical staff goes, it’s the same thing. Our paramedic is working diligently right now to get licensed in all the areas that he needs to be licensed, so he can practice paramedic medicine. But he’s still not going to be the primary person out at a wreck on the track—he’ll help wherever he can, and this way we can have a better say in how medically things go, and a direct interest and influence in how things go on track, as far as our event goes.”
Building up to the inaugural event at White Mountains on June 16, the Bullring Bash Track Services team and event venues will work together to finish determining key protocols for the events.
“There’s stuff that we’ve learned from working with different national series and other events that we’ve picked up and made into our product,” Biron concludes. “People don’t come to the racetrack to see track services for five, six, seven laps—especially at a quarter mile—struggling or not having the right equipment to pick up or move a disabled vehicle. We have to protect the investment of our competitors, and we want to bring the race vehicle back without more damage than it’s already sustained from an incident.”