It may not seem to be the craziest thing, but it is the most fun thing in the world.

Anyway, I announce at a 1/4 Mile Dirt Track in The Pacific Northwest, USA, and have for a couple of years now. I have called races on a team and by myself and have a mentor who has been doing it longer than I have been alive, who is complimenting and guiding me.

I started in 2020, after the Speedway had a disagreement with the previous announcer and I decided to message the director and he let me come aboard. I already had been racing for a couple of years, so I already had knowledge of the way things worked (even though this wasn't my home track).

Since then, I have been doing interviews, solo shows, and have received offers to announce elsewhere. So whatever you want to know, ask away!

Edit: Further proof of Me being me, I go by Thunder Jones at the track as a fun stage name, hence the Thunder in ThunderLCR. The LCR is Loose Cannon Racing, which is the team I raced in before becoming an announcer. I have a couple of other Redditors who can verify if need be, but I assure you, I would never lie about something as awesome as this.

Comments: 152 • Responses: 71  • Date: 

jackatman81 karma

Can I get a refund if I pay for my whole seat but only use the edge?

ThunderLCR33 karma

Unfortunately, refunds are not available, because you will stay the whole time anyway.

eye_spi1 karma

Can I sublet the part of the seat I'm not using?

ThunderLCR1 karma

You pay for general admission, so I guess.

thieflikeme4 karma

Monster Truck/Grump reference?

jackatman9 karma

Every racetrack announcer ever reference.

thieflikeme2 karma

lol awesome, I've only ever hard it in monster truck commercials, but i'm from the South, so...

ThunderLCR2 karma

It is a cliché. Haven't used it yet. Yet.

chillverado52 karma

Do you have a catchphrase you shout at the green flag?

ThunderLCR75 karma

My mentor always said, "Speeds are up, and there's the green flag!" So I adapted it to "Speeds come up out of turn number 4, green flag is out, we are racing!"

BatXDude12 karma

Why not try "And go."?

ThunderLCR9 karma

Because I am talking to the audience, not the drivers.

arcosapphire1 karma

But wait, only the drivers are racing

ThunderLCR3 karma

We are racing signifies the track being under racing condition.

arcosapphire2 karma

Yeah, but we could argue the audience should now "go" watch the race :)

ThunderLCR1 karma

They should already be there though.

jeffersonairmattress1 karma

I’m glad it’s not “And she’s over the wall!”

ThunderLCR1 karma

We have too good of a catchfence for that.

sprintfun34 karma

How many times over the course of a night do you want to say "these fucking modifieds" when they bring out their 4th caution in a 6 lap heat race?

ThunderLCR30 karma

Modifieds usually do the best. Normally it's usually the dwarf cars or micro sprints. But it can be tough not to say it. You have to look professional, regardless of how you may feel. Keep the audience excited.

bhc31732 karma

It sounds like it's a really fun gig. Do you love it?

ThunderLCR69 karma

I love it so much. I get free entry, the best seat in the house, I get to talk to the drivers, and I get paid to talk into a microphone about aomething I love.

bhc31712 karma

Congrats my friend! That is truly the dream. Now how would one get into this gig if they were brand new?

ThunderLCR18 karma

First thing is to research whatever sport you are getting into. Learn the lingo, talk to people. If you can talk to the drivers or athletes and learn about how stuff works, you may even have someone to help push you through. As I said, I message the president of the tracks sanctioning body on Facebook, talked a bit on the phone and got the job and a killer mentor. I would suggest emailing wherever you can to put your foot in the door, talk to other announcers in person and tell them you want to be one. If you go to church, do announcements at church. Do everything you can.

ThunderLCR13 karma

One more thing. Always be willing to take criticism and try to learn as much as possible. I talk a lot about research and stuff, but before any races begin, I am talking with drivers, seeing what's new. I am talking with new people, asking where they came from and telling them about the track. I am asking for input from friends, from my mentor, from the track president, from everyone. Once you get your foot in the door, take every chance to learn, because if you don't know what you are talking about, you won't make it at all.

FaustusC22 karma

How do you announce crashes?

ThunderLCR39 karma

You just say what you see, but be careful when saying things like "fire" or "he looks hurt" because you don't want people to get worried. If there is a red flag and the action all stops, play music, so people aren't anxious. Aside from that, just use numbers/names and simple descriptors. "Number 48 goes around and gets together with the 2 car, both go into the walk and that will bring out a caution."

yahumno22 karma

I remember my brother in law racing dirt track, the first time he rolled. I have never heard my sister scream like that before or after.

Roll cages and driver restraints are a good thing. He was fine and walked away from it with no injuries.

ThunderLCR20 karma

Absolutely. There is so much in place, even more than most people think, just to keep the drivers safe. I am glad he is okay and I hope he still had fun.

yahumno9 karma

He absolutely enjoyed it. He is slowly retiring from racing, as he did it for close to 20 years.

Personally, I love the feel of the vibration in your chest that Modifieds give, when you are in the stands. I have no idea how the drivers deal with it.

ThunderLCR9 karma

It is a rush of adrenaline and nothing beats being on the track, surrounded by people that you are trusting with your safety. It is fun, it is scary, and I think everyone needs to at least ride along in a race car.

abysed5 karma

EDIT: saw your answer to this below, so all I have to say is I admire what you do, it's wonderful you were able to get into this position!

original question: Not sure if you have anything to add to your answer to op, but I was going to ask if you have witnessed any horrific crashes - ie hospital or worse, and how did you handle it to everyone? do you try to avoid talking about it at all unless there is good news to report? how were you personally able to handle it while announcing? I'm sure it's not easy knowing the outcome could be grim, but having to carry on with talking to everyone

ThunderLCR11 karma

I appreciate that. One more thing I could add though. Even if you are anxious about the crash or you are stressed, don't let it show. You are the voice of reason and calm. Report good as you can, but when in doubt, turn the music back on (not Highway to Hell).

Readcrafter4 karma

That's seems specific. Story behind the no highway to hell thing?

ThunderLCR8 karma

I am just careful with song choice. I say Highway to Hell because of a meme. The meme was a text conversation about one person's phone going off at a funeral, but the ringtone was Highway to Hell. It's 90% joke, but also be careful what song you put on when people are anxious.

Readcrafter3 karma

Well that flew over head. Makes sense though. I guess knocking on heavens door is out as well

ThunderLCR4 karma

Yeah. Anything relatively associated with death or pain. Put on Some Mötley Crüe and everything is okay. That's why I have 14.5 hrs worth of music on a playlist to choose from on Spotify.

TheCyanDragon3 karma

or ZZ Top. ZZ Top is always a good 'don't panic, but stay hyped' music.

ThunderLCR1 karma

ZZ Top is okay, but I only really like one song of theirs.

ASDFzxcvTaken2 karma


ThunderLCR2 karma

Not even on the playlist, to be honest.

ASDFzxcvTaken2 karma

Can't imagine it would be, more of a joke on which song titles would be inappropriate to play when someone's life is in jeopardy.

Another bites the dust, staying alive, lots of potentially inappropriate connotation even though both of those are good songs for doing CPR to.

Love this AMA, living the dream man.

ThunderLCR2 karma

There are so many songs that could ruin it. I will usually dig into my hype playlist.

I as well am enjoying this AMA too.

Chowderpizza10 karma

Have you had to announce over a serious incident? Like an accident?

ThunderLCR15 karma

Nothing that someone got seriously hurt, but we have had to bring in the EMTs a couple of times. When that happens, you try to distract them or play music and update them positively when you can.

ApollosBucket9 karma

What made you want to get into race car announcing?

ThunderLCR14 karma

I have always been into motorsports, as has my whole family. I would use Hotwheels car and play demolition derbies, monster truck shows, racing and everything else, and I would announce for said shows. So whenever I was watching on TV or something, I would announce with them. I got to talk to an announcer as a teenager and we were able to talk a good amount. Later on, after racing for a few years, we sold my car due to financial reasons and I figured it was my chance, so I did it.

jeffersonairmattress3 karma

Two of my hockey announcer friends were the same way- they were just born to do what they do. They would call or colour anything from dogs playing to televised sports with the sound off. Straight into broadcasting school after highschool and were both lucky enough to shadow iconic mentors through their radio and television careers.

ThunderLCR1 karma

That is a great way to do it. Broadcasting school also sounds cool. I have a pretty great mentor with a ton of experience, so I am in good hands.

disposable-name5 karma

Oh, right, you mean racing.

How accurate is this short documentary clip?

ThunderLCR10 karma

Good documentary. It can feel like it's all redundant sometimes, but going to a track with no announcer and no one to tell you what's going on or to keep the audience entertained and excited is a little disappointing. Also, people normally love you, rather than throwing you out of the booth. Was gifted a soda after jokingly requesting one.

disposable-name5 karma

Was gifted a soda after jokingly requesting one.

OK, that was kinda sweet.

ThunderLCR8 karma

It was my first show alone and I couldn't use my laptop for music because of electricity things. I went to the front on a red flag and asked the audience car by car who they thought was gonna win by applause. I finished up with "And who wants to buy me a Dr Pepper?" People laughed, one guy raised his hand, and I went up to the booth expecting nothing, but partway through the race, someone comes up with a Dr Pepper from concessions and it made my night, my very stressful night.

TheShape1085 karma

I'm like super late to this but I raced dirt for years and midway into my first season people came up to me and started saying "Hey Mr. Excitement" which I thought was weird because I am boring nerd who does crossword puzzles. Someone told me it was the nickname the announcer gave me so I went asked why that and he said "I dunno, sounded cool". So I shrugged and went with it. But I was always curious other announcers and what their method is to giving nicknames or do you count on racers to come tell you? I've had it both ways where they asked me before races or sometimes just new it.

ThunderLCR1 karma

If someone has one already, I try to use it, but it normally is something that'll rhyme with or sound good with your name. It can also be a defining attribute in the way you act or drive.

TheShape1082 karma

Ended up being kinda weird for me, I'd roll into tracks and they'd be like "oh boy, Mr. Excitement" like it meant I was really aggressive and in fact I never crashed because I was to poor to replace the car ha ha.

ThunderLCR1 karma

Yeah the name should fit at least one attribute.

ScopeDopeBC4 karma

Do you have any experience with iRacing? I dabble in dirt tracks there, was curious how realistic it is. I find it both challenging and fascinating to change lines based on how the track wears, and trying to avoid people while going sideways. Definitely a whole nother world to the road racing side that I mainly stick to. A fellow PNWer here myself, haven't been out to a raceway since I was a kid, need to get down there some time.

ThunderLCR3 karma

I have played iRacing a bit, and it is a pretty good sim. I did Sport Compacts irl, but the idea is generally the same. You can see 2-3 cars wide, all equally fast because the track is just perfect, but towards the end, as rubber sticks to the dirt, it gets slicker. It is a whole different ball game compared to asphalt. If you ever get the chance to really try it, take that chance, but even going out to watch is a thrill of its own.

flibbidygibbit2 karma

Sport Compacts

I'm curious as to how an early 90s Honda Prelude is so much faster than literally every other sport compact on the dirt. Every time I go it's usually a couple Preludes and a bunch of also-rans.

ThunderLCR1 karma

It depends on the year and rules. Some are more open and will allow V-Tech and the like, some are Honda-only, some have too strict of wheel-base length, thus no new cars.

Distorted_Snail4 karma

How do you feel about Joe Biden's response to the rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine?

ThunderLCR27 karma

Honestly, it's all hard to keep track of, and it doesn't directly affect me, so I keep going through life and roll with whatever happens.

BlazeyTheBear4 karma

What’s the most wild shit you’ve ever witnessed on the track?

ThunderLCR5 karma

I have seen a couple of flips, a couple of small fires, and a nasty head-on collision. It makes you worry and can make you a little sick, but a racecar is one of the safest places you can be. Also saw a car get up on two wheels, nearly vertical, set it back down and keep racing.

SCBFishdrop3 karma

How much does this job pay?

ThunderLCR2 karma

I am at a base pay of $50 per night, which is every other Saturday in late april to late september. Not much, but I am also only 2 years in.

saturfia3 karma

I grew up in a stock car family - almost everybody raced. My mom's got a photo album of my uncle's races, he was pretty good. Which do you prefer, paved or dirt? The local track where I grew up used to be dirt, and when they paved it, it was a big controversy.

Bit of a tangent, but my uncle had t shirts for the family racing team. I wore it to school when I was in 9th grade and was told I couldn't wear it anymore because it said "Doing it in the dirt." It was about racing, I swear!

ThunderLCR2 karma

I prefer dirt by a lot. I have seen both and dirt is by far my favorite.

SilenceSeven3 karma

My big question, from someone who photographed a lot of speedway events, and tagged all of my photos with rider's names, etc. How do you go about remembering all of the rider's names and be able to just call them out like you've seen them in action 100 times?

Our local announcer here in SoCal died a few years ago. Bruce Flanders He'd been the voice of motorcycle speedway for years and years. Him being up in the booth announcing was seriously half the fun of going to races. You guys really are the unsung heros. Thanks!!

ThunderLCR4 karma

I do stock car racing, but the idea is pretty much the same. It's mostly notes. Every announcer ever has a notebook or laptop for notes. You talk to the drivers or riders, see who operates what vehicle, what their numbers are, how they pronounce their name, and Write. That. Down. You can never have enough notes, especially when someone new comes and you are up in the booth. I will call number when I can and as soon as I have spare time, I run down to get their name. It also helps if you are already in the scene and know a few people there. You will also meet new people and become friends. It all boils down to research, talking to them, and notes.

SilenceSeven2 karma

I did sometimes take notes on the race schedules, and I'm sure like me, after a while you get to know riders/driver's numbers, paint schemes, etc. We also have a banked 1/4 mile stock car track here but it's paved. I've always like the dirt better.

ThunderLCR1 karma

I have seen both many times, but I will always prefer a dirt bullring. Getting to know drivers is one of the fun parts about being the announcer because it's a person who lobes racing talking to a racer and they will talk for hours if you let them. Racers and I am sure riders, too will always want to talk about racing.

ProfessorSucc3 karma

Have you gotten to meet/interview any nascar drivers?

ThunderLCR7 karma

I met Greg Biffle's nephew, but that is about as close as I have gotten. But honestly, some of these small-town guys are so much fun to talk with and they provide some of the most heartfelt interviews. I legit teared up once, which I have never done watching Nascar.

ProfessorSucc4 karma

That’s awesome. Small town tracks are so down-home and humble

ThunderLCR4 karma

The best people are the guys who don't treat it like Nascar. It is a completely different mindset and there is so much comradery. I have seen rivals hugging and helping fix each others cars. I have seen the craziest battles and they always talk about how much fun it is and about the trust with the other driver. I know people, including myself, who would rather lose and have fun putting on a great show, than win by half a track alone.

ProfessorSucc2 karma

Man, I feel like I’d start tearing up too. That’s really cool. I kinda noticed how by-the-book and overall chill some of those guys are at my local tracks albeit I haven’t had the chance to meet any or really get behind the scenes

ThunderLCR2 karma

If you can get into the pits, just try talking with them. Ask if you can help out. You can also look them up on FB or other Social Media and they usually love talking about racing.

ProfessorSucc2 karma

I guess I never put 2 and 2 together and figured they were that approachable haha

ThunderLCR2 karma

Most guys are, especially the guys with the slower cars or the more worn-looking stuff. I was always afraid of them, too, but since becoming an announcer (which is kind of cheating), I talk with everybody I can, even the guys I don't particularly care for, because it's fun and they love it, too.

SkunkHunt-4203 karma

How long is your mullet?

ThunderLCR6 karma

I steer clear of mullets, my hair is too curly and my fiance would leave me, lol.

--GrinAndBearIt--3 karma

Is there anything going on this "SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY!!!!!!"?

ThunderLCR1 karma

Not this SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY!!! But later this year.

Restless_Fillmore3 karma

Grew up near a dirt track. My mom said it was weird not hearing the track on summer nights during the pandemic. She wrote the track a note letting them know how happy she was when they got back to racing. Many city folk move in and then complain about it.

Have you ever encountered drivers who you knew would be trouble (unsafe)?

ThunderLCR2 karma

I have. You can sometimes tell off the bat, and normally they are warned pretty quickly. I have also seen people banned from tracks on multiple occasions.

Restless_Fillmore1 karma

Thanks! If you dont mind another question... Are any of the drivers hostile to your questions/interviews?

ThunderLCR2 karma

If someone is busy, they usually don't want to be bothered. I haven't had that happen often, but I have had a couple guys get upset with me.

4_bit_forever3 karma

Do you like SCOTS?

ThunderLCR3 karma

I do not know what that is, so probably not...

jackatman2 karma

Fried Chicken and Gasoline.

ThunderLCR2 karma

Sounds like an odd combination. I like fried chicken, but not the taste of gasoline, but certainly the smell of burning gasoline, so I dunno.

jackatman3 karma

It's perfect when your on a Dirt Track Date

ThunderLCR2 karma

Now I have research to do.

VIPERsssss3 karma

I love watching dirt track and got to watch my uncle race his mini stocker when I visited him as a teen. What would you say is your favorite class of cars? And what would you say to interest people who are unfamiliar with the sport?

ThunderLCR2 karma

Honestly, as someone who drove a similar class, I have a special place in my heart for 4 cyl. cars, but man is it fun to watch Modifieds tear up the track.

I would tell someone it is like a three-lane highway with a one-lane off-ramp that everyone from every lame is trying to get to first, but made of dirt for 10-40 laps, 2 times per lap.

atomsej3 karma

What’s the income like? Is it enough to support yourself from only doing this?

ThunderLCR1 karma

Not at a small dirt track. It is 6 months. And I only ask for 50 a night, normally every other Saturday.

chainlinkchipmunk3 karma

Do you have a track you'd love to announce?

ThunderLCR11 karma

More of events that I want to announce. I want to announce World of Outlaws, Knoxville Nationals, and some other different events. As for tracks, I love my current track.

ASDFzxcvTaken3 karma


Every race fan of any kind should see a WOO race, on dirt, its absolutely wild.

C4bl3Fl4m33 karma

I grew up watching sprinters, sportsmen, etc. at Williams Grove in PA. 1/2 mile banked dirt. It was always a treat when the WoO came to town. "The best run four-abreast." :D

ThunderLCR2 karma

I may or may not have that intro memorized...

ThunderLCR3 karma

I haven't seen one in person yet, but I have seen 360 Sprints.

h77wrx2 karma

Probably one of the coolest yet most random AMAs I've seen. This coming from a driver in Indiana.

Do you have mods? What sanctioning body do they run under?

ThunderLCR2 karma

We do have mods. They are usually IMCA, but ours are a little more open in the rules.

ChronoMonkeyX2 karma

Have you ever been approached to advertise for Church services?

ThunderLCR1 karma

I have not yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if it happens.

LemursRideBigWheels2 karma

Please tell me that you play Southern Culture on the Skids over the PA! If not, do you get to choose background music between the races?

ThunderLCR2 karma

I have a 14.5 hour playlist that I built for the track and a couple of others for hype-up songs and national anthems. It is primary country and rock and people like it.

jjeponine2 karma

Aussie here. There’s a song by an Aussie bloke Adam Brand called “Dirt Track Cowboy” which give some insight into Aussie dirt track racing. Even has a clip from prob the most famous announcer in the country and lists the top drivers at the time. It epitomises Aussie dirt track racing - is it similar to the US format? Maybe some new sayings for you? Just found the clip here

ThunderLCR2 karma

That song is on my playlist. It is similar from what I can tell, but I will have to look deeper when I have more time.

EMP_Mangos_Tattoos2 karma

have you had any opportunities to travel out of state/any significant distances to announce?

ThunderLCR3 karma

I live in a different state from where I announce, but it's still only about an hour with traffic. I have an offer to work with a certain promotion anytime they are close enough. And I might be able to announce a motorcross event 45 minutes out.

decentlyconfused2 karma

What's a fun phrase you like to say while announcing?

ThunderLCR2 karma

When someone is trying to pass, but can't get beside them I will say "24 is barking at the back bumper of the 16 car." Because it's fun. If he were to bump him a little bit, many announcers would say "He's using the chrome horn now." Or something to that affect. When they come to the green flag, it's always fun to say "We are rrrrracing!" With a little growl in the r.

decentlyconfused2 karma

Nice! Were these your own inventions? Or things you've picked up from family or other announcers?

ThunderLCR2 karma

Chrome horn is a staple in racing. We are racing is kind of universal, but I don't see many people use the growl. Barking at the back bumper is all me and I am proud of it. There are plenty more, but they are kind of in the back of your mind until the situation is there and you remember and say it before you forget it again.

pkfc92 karma

Do you draw any inspiration from Tug from King of the Hill?

ThunderLCR1 karma

Considering I don't know who that is, no. I would say Justin Roberts from AEW, Scott Haeton from Roadnoise Productions, Lloyd Massey from WGAS and a bit of everything I hear when I listen to others.

dualsplit2 karma

How many times have you said “at least he’s consistent”?

ThunderLCR2 karma

Consistency can win a race. I also try not to be negative towards drivers ever. You are everybody's hype-man.

Shaun3Sheep2 karma

What is your favorite thing about living in the PNW? Low key living my dream :)

ThunderLCR2 karma

There is a lot of culture and people here. It is a diverse area with so much to do and see and eat. The food is the best part. The rain is kind of awful though.

Shaun3Sheep2 karma

I’ll take rain over hurricanes and humidity

ThunderLCR1 karma

Fair enough, but it's still annoying and depressing.

LSG4M3R1 karma

I'm a great fan of racing and it sounds really cool to work at the track!

How do you keep an eye on all the events happening around the track? It looks like commentating a single battle or accident is hard enough, but there are multiple. Do you have somekind of assist or help by someone else?

Do you have any kind of privilege of being a announcer?

What do you do if nature calls you during a race?

ThunderLCR1 karma

I have a co-announcer who has his eye out, too. It is also a 1/4 mile track and I am up in the booth so I have a great view.

I do get free entry to the track, which is nice, as well as getting paid, but there isn't much more. I get to talk to any and every driver just by saying, "Hey, I'm the announcer, who drives this car?" And stuff like that. People want to talk to the announcer. I have also been gifted a few things.

Again, I have a co-announcer to help with that. I try to go before everything, so I am less likely to need to and we also have some intermissions, so I can then.

LSG4M3R2 karma

Thanks for answering my questions! It seems like you got one of the best job out there

ThunderLCR1 karma

I will always answer questions. I really do have the best job though.

ThunderLCR1 karma

By the way, I will continue answering questions as long as questions are asked. No 24 hr. limit or anything.

marloae1271 karma

Skagit, Elma or Cottage Grove?

ThunderLCR1 karma

I have been to CG and seen Elma, but I announce at St. Helens. I wanna go announce there, too, but RCS is home.

mikeyfireman2 karma

I’m right across the river from you guys. I’ll have to come check it out.

ThunderLCR1 karma

Do it! It is a great show and tons of fun.

UEMcGill1 karma

Do you feel baby Jesus is the better one to pray to or can anyone pray to what ever Jesus they want?

ThunderLCR2 karma

Well baby Jesus grew up. I pray to the father either way.

Eric6141 karma

Is it true that beer is better with a little dirt in it?

ThunderLCR2 karma

I don't drink, but I know the food definitely is.