MOUNT VERNON — With the advent of the The 21st Century, Pacemakers Dragway Park made the decision to go high-tec. At the time, the owners of the historic track added a computer system to keep account of the cars, drivers, brackets, and how they are dialed in. Mount Vernon’s Cristina Hubbell who operates the system and keeps it running, has since become a vital part of the operation of the track.
“I got here about 2001,” said Hubbell “I went to the (Knox County) Career Center in the last couple of years of high school so I had some computer experience. I took typing. I found this job through the newspaper so, I thought I’d give it a try. When I got here, they had the system set up.”
Summer Saturdays can roll on until midnight at Pacemakers Dragway Park. For Hubbell, the preparation starts early in the morning as she enters the data for each driver who will be racing that day.
“I get the cards for each car, each person and each category and I have to put it in,” said Hubbell. “I get in here at 8:30 (in the morning) and I set up the computer and make sure that everything’s right. I keep going all day until the day is over with. It’s a long day.”
In fact, Hubbell puts in a 14 to 16-hour day setting up systems, entering information and communicating with track officials while constantly feeding a steady stream of information to track announcer Neil Marshall.
“Once I get it set up, the computer does the rest,” said Hubbell.
The DOS-based system, developed by Indiana’s Track Services Incorportated also times the driver off the start, shows their speed in the quarter mile and it holds information about the cars and drivers in the competition. However, it’s not enough to know the system and the software. Hubbell has learned quite a bit about racing while working in the booth with Marshall for nearly a decade.
“When I started, I knew about drag racing, but I didn’t know much about the details of drag racing,” said Hubbell. “I’m still learning as I’m going here. Neil (Marshall) is a lot of help there.”
Over the years, Hubbell grown into a vital link for Marshall. Not only does she keep the flow of data going to him, she also relays messages from the Track Operators.
“When the Track Operators are ready to go, they’ll announce to me,” said Hubbell. “I’ll relay it to Neil so he can annouce it through the PA system, or when we need to stop.”
I don’t know what I’d do without her,” said Marshall of Hubbell. “She’s indispensible.”