Tag Archives: Racing

“Can you go get some steam?”


When there’s a new person working at the pit lane of a racing track, there’s a hazing ritual that the new worker goes through where they’re asked to “get some steam” because they ran out. So, they’ll ask if anyone else has it, and when they ask a person they will usually send the newbie to the next lane, saying they have it. This continues until they reach the main lane, essentially. Sometimes, instead of needing to get “steam”, the newbie will have to get “a left handed screwdriver”, which once again, doesn’t exist because screwdrivers work with both hands.


The informant had a job in public relations and sponsor acquisition for a racing team.


Beyond being a simple practical joke, “getting steam” for a pit crew can be seen as a way of testing how a recruit reacts to and handles a future situation. While the team may not ask for steam in the future, they might ask for something else that is hard to find, or ask for something in a strange fashion. Being able to react to that information and find such an object is an important part of the job. Additionally, it fosters a sense of community between other members of the pit crews, as having a common joke that they can all be in on and trick new workers with serves as a way to strengthen the bond between the workers.