For years I have preached about going out of region to work races. In my SCCA Worker Career I have worked events at tracks in New England, Canada, the MidWest (Road America, IRP, Mid-O) and in the South, I have had a good time at each location and was well received at all.
This year Sara and I have gone up to New Jersey Motorsport Park (NJMP) three times to work with the folks in South Jersey Region. They are a small region, less than 500 members and can always use help. I only work Registration and Sara does Registration and T&S.
First event was their 12 hour “Devil In The Dark” enduro. Enduros in SCCA seem to be dying out. This may be a result of the growth of the American Endurance Racing (AER) series. We only had 14 entries at this event and 2 of those were for the optional lesser time races of 2 or 4 hours. Really a sad thing to observe. Will they repeat the event in 18? Who knows? I understand that the AER group was at The Glen that weekend which undoubtedly affected the NJMP field.
Then, in July we went up to do their Majors. The entry was decent, but nowhere near what we had this year, nor what DC region had for their Majors. For SJR, it was basically the last Majors in NEDIV. But we, as usual, enjoyed ourselves and had a good time. Although sitting in Registration throughout the 12 hours was boring. But with a book or two to read it was OK. And being a foodie I were well fed!
August 11-13 saw us return to NJMP for a Regional race. NEDIV scheduling did not help. An out of region DC MARRS was being held at Pitt Race the same weekend. So, we only had a whopping 90 entries. The Big Bore group had 2 cars but was reduced to 1 before we got to the track. That was really sad since they were expecting the V8 Racer Group that we entertained at the “Goblins Go” last year and are expecting again this year. So, leadership had a lot of juggling and rearranging to do. We even had one driver come in on Sunday to sign up because he got a call from a buddy telling him that another entry was needed. That was something! Tech got him taken care of right away and he was good to go. No idea as to where he finished since we generally leave after lunch on Sunday so we can get home to West Virginia before dark.
One thing you become aware of by going out of region is that all tracks are different. At NJMP Registration is in a building that also houses Tech and a lot of garage space for those wanting to rent same for the weekend. But we are right across from the tower and T&S delivers qualifying and race results at the end of each session. That same room is also where we have our lunch and dinner (plenty of room for that!), a Steward or 2 sitting in there, and the guys from Tech come in from time to time to cool off with the A/C.
The only part of going up to NJMP I don’t like is the drive. Under absolutely ideal circumstances it should be between 5 and 6 hours from our home in WV. BUT, and that is a big but, you have to go up I-95 and across the Delaware River. We take I-70 east from fairly close to home and then it’s I-695 north of Baltimore to I-95. Under ideal conditions, and we have had it once or twice, the traffic is not too heavy and is moving quite well. You pay a toll to cross the Susquehanna River ($8) going north but not south. Then the Delaware Turnpike (I-95) is $4 in either direction. Northbound over the Delaware is no toll, but you do pay southbound $4. Now here’s the kicker we found on the last trip. It was Friday and everybody and their brother was on NJ55 headed to the shore. On our previous trip, we took NJ49 after crossing the bridge and it is a nice trip scenic, urban (as much as South Jersey has) and about the same time. One reason I wanted to go that route on previous trips was I was hoping we would get close to the Nuclear power plant in Salem County that you can see downstream from the bridge. Well, never saw any signs to point me in that direction, but the drive still was pleasant.
I admit that it is a long haul to come up from NC, but if you can do it, you will be appreciated. Point of information: NJMP has 2 circuits, Thunderbolt 2.25 miles and Lightning 1.9 miles. Why those names? The site was the locale for when the Thunderbolt and Lightning fighter planes of WWII were built. The Millville Airport is next door and an excellent WWII museum is there. The track had hoped to join the two circuits so as to make a 3+ mile facility for some big time racing, but the plans had to be scrapped. Seems there is an area that they cannot do anything with. Might be some shells in the ground left over from that war. But there are a few WWII aircraft at the airport that can be viewed, including a British Spitfire of that era.
So, if you ever decide to give it a go, I’ll be glad to see you there.
Until the next story,
Stay warm, stay safe, stay above the sod