AMP Stories – Lance Oujesky
Flagging has been an essential element in motorsports since its inception. It is the most effective way to communicate major events to a driver at high speeds during a race which is vital for safety. The starter’s positioning on the start/finish line of any racetrack makes him or her the main source of communication between race control and the racers throughout the race.
If you’re a frequent participant in The AMP Race Series you’ve probably noticed the goggle-wearing starter vigorously waving the flags at the start/finish line. 31-year-old Lance Oujesky is AMP’s primary starter on Race Days and his passion for flagging has blossomed into a career. Lance’s unparalleled fascination with flagging began at the young age of 15 at Texas Motor Speedway.
“As a kid, I got into wanting to be a starter because I watched the NASCAR race and the IndyCar race. I would watch the starters and the one that really stood out the most to me was the IndyCar starter. He really seemed like he was in command of the race and you could tell what he was wanting the drivers to do through his flags so that’s what sparked my interest.”
Lance pursued his interest and quickly landed himself a flagging job with The Lone Star Legends series at the Texas Motor Speedway dirt track at 15 years old but it wasn’t long before he made the jump to the superspeedway.
“My first time on the superspeedway I was 16 and there was a late model stock car series that was racing the same weekend as the NASCAR Truck Series and the IndyCar Series on the mile and a half. Their starter did not show up so they called Lone Star Legends and they got a hold of me and they said, ‘We need you to help us flag,’ so at the ripe age of 16 I got to flag a big superspeedway.”
After stepping in at the main track, Lance’s commitments doubled as he flagged races at the dirt track and the superspeedway. He also began receiving guidance from the NASCAR and IndyCar starters who had sparked his interest in this aspect of motorsport.
“I had a lot of help,” Lance recalled. “The IndyCar starter, Bryan Howard, and also at the time the NASCAR truck starter, Dennis James, were there and they had a lot of advice and a lot of pointers for me.”
Lance’s commitments at Texas Motor Speedway came to an end when he moved to Atlanta for a job at the Mercedes-Benz corporate offices two years ago. After taking a short break from flagging to get acclimated to the area and his new job Lance heard about AMP.
“I found out that AMP needed corner workers so I applied and met Travis and he hired me the same day because I don’t think he ever had a résumé sent to him with 14 years of experience in flagging.”
Since then, Lance’s dedication to AMP and flagging has led to some wild situations including as recently as this month when he flagged the NASCAR, IndyCar doubleheader on the Fourth of July, and the AMP Race Series the very next day.
“I drove eight hours to Indianapolis on Thursday. Got to the hotel at one in the morning, then got up at seven in the morning to be at Indy by 7:30. I did Friday and Saturday at Indy and after the Xfinity Series I drove back to Atlanta and I was at AMP the next day. It was a lot of driving but it’s just the dedication I have for the sport.”
AMP has also helped Lance continue to develop his flagging skills on the road course as he edges closer to his lifelong dream.
“My experience before coming to AMP was over 90% oval so I have gained an incredible amount of experience as far as learning the general radio lingo and what to say and what to do on a road course. That experience has helped me going to work these professional races; mostly IndyCar but also IMSA at Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta so AMP has opened those doors.”
“My goal with motorsports is to be the starter for IndyCar. I want to get to where Bryan Howard is because since I was 14 years old he has been my mentor and been the man who has trained me to be a professional race starter.”
Lance continues to work for Mercedes-Benz in Atlanta Monday through Thursday, while gaining vast amounts of experience across the country in flagging on the weekends.