Stox Personality of the Year 2018: Nominee #1

Four personalities have been shortlisted for the 2018 F1Stockcars.com Stox Personality of the Year award. This time, the nominees were chosen by last year’s winner, Stuart Smith Junior.

One nominee will be announced each day for the next 4 days – so make sure you keep checking the site!

How to vote

Once all nominations have been announced, you will be able to vote for your favourite via the F1Stockcars.com website. Voting will open on Saturday 8 December and will close at midnight on Saturday 15 December. The winner will be announced on Sunday 16 December.

Nominee #1: Conrad Wilson

Recently retired from his position as scrutineer and weighing officer, Conrad Wilson had the unenviable task of ensuring that Formula 1 stock cars complied with the ever-expanding rulebook. Most recognisable as the man with the scales, Conrad was tasked with ensuring that race-winning cars were not too light when they came off the track – a BriSCA version of Weightwatchers. We caught up with him to find out his views on the sport:

How did you first get involved in stock car racing?

I used to go watching when I was younger, then I started working for Stuart Smith Senior, and that got me back going. I was a mechanic for him. Then when the Shootout started, I helped bring some sponsors on board. Mintex wanted to send a van to all the meetings as a support vehicle like touring cars have. I started doing that, helping to take transponders to meetings, and it grew from there. Until the end of last year I was the weighing officer, post-race scrutineer and up to halfway through last year I was the technical scrutineer as well for new cars, plus I helped if they were stuck at meetings.

What exactly goes on in scrutineering?

It’s making sure that drivers have all their overalls and fireproofs and that it’s in good order, and that the cars are safe to race. I had turn up early at meetings to ensure that everybody can get through!

A few drivers have fallen foul of the scales this year. What causes them to fail?

Drivers normally weigh their car at home and it’s okay, but all scales weigh slightly differently and they fail at the track. They might argue that the car is right at home, but I don’t know how they have their scales set up, and drivers can always use my scales at the start of a meeting, so tough! They can always appeal to a committee member, but it has to be done there and then at the meeting.

They do get leeway for damage during a meeting and try to blame that, but it doesn’t always make a difference. Take Paul Hines at Stoke – he failed the weigh-in but there was no damage to the suspension or axles. His car looked a mess, but it only had cosmetic damage to bumpers and nerf rails which wouldn’t have affected his reading. In fact, one of his nerf rails was crushed in such a way that it should have helped his readings. Cars can be reversed onto the scales and an average of the two readings used as well, but in Paul’s case that actually made his weigh-in even worse!

What’s the best excuse you’ve heard for a car failing scrutineering?

I’ve heard all sorts of excuses! Sometimes drivers will say that they haven’t touched a car since the last race, but you can see them twiddling with the settings in the pits. Some drivers alter things on the cars that can change the weight, and they don’t put it on the scales to see – they presume it will be alright.

Any plans for next year?

Honestly, I haven’t got a clue what I’m going to do! I think I’ve done enough for a while. I’ve got a mate with a Formula 2, I might go and help him a couple of times, just for something to do. But I probably won’t even go to many F1 meetings – I just need a break. If I go to meetings, I’ll end up doing work!

How would you like to see the sport develop over the next few years?

It just needs a bit of common sense. I think the cost needs to be kept down. Stop double-header meetings on different surfaces. And try and get meetings closer together when they are double-headers – drivers have to pick which one they are going to do. It’s a bit stupid having a meeting at Northampton on shale the day after a tarmac World Final. I know it’s not always possible, but you have to think a bit about the paying punter.

Interview with Conrad: Scott Reeves
Photo: Colin Casserley

This disclaimer informs readers that the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the nominee.

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