CLAIRE KELLY Presented by Barbara McClellan
Claire first became involved in racing in 1970. She had worked a car show with Dick Raymond, who was a Steward. He contacted Mary Lou Robson about a potential Communicator. Mary Lou followed up and Claire joined the Communications crew and was there for seven years. Those were the days when we had so many volunteer workers that we had separate Communications, Flag and Fire Crews. Claire fondly recalls her days as a Call Girl and has the T-shirt to prove it. And she remembers working at Cotati, Vacaville, as well as Sears Point and the old Laguna track. It was through racing that she met her husband, Bill Blake.
After being a Communicator, Claire decided to join the Race Central Crew, which was the source of track information. She worked with ladies who are no longer involved with SCCA – Lori Eandi, Pauline Laskin, Shirley Schultheis, and Liz Reese. In the beginning, they had a table to work from, then an umbrella, eventually a trailer, and finally a building. By the late 1980’s, Claire was an Assistant Chief of Race Central, and she was named Chief in 2001.
Within a couple of year, she started talking with RJ Gordy, who was RE at the time, about combining Race Central and Registration crews. He said “Go for it.” So, in 2005, Claire was named the Chief of Race Administration. This is a role she had for a number of years, before she and Linda Rogaski decided they would share responsibilities as Co-Chiefs. Not only are they responsible for registering everyone, they serve as track information, as well as handing out trophies to race class winners.
Several years ago, they started opening registration to drivers the night before the race weekend. Frequently, about 50% of the drivers get registered early. This is much easier at Sonoma or Thunderhill, because they have access to their computers. At Laguna, they have to work off paper list and enter all that data later in the weekend.
Claire has served as the Pro Event Registrar for many years. If she has the credentials ahead of time, she registers the Workers at events prior to the Laguna Pro event. But then she makes a special trip to Laguna for the 90-minute registration the first morning of the Pro event., at oh dark thirty.
Claire’s many contributions to this club have been acknowledged by Board awards and being selected as Worker of the Weekend. She says her favorite thing has been to meet so many drivers, crews, and families at Race Administration.