Tag Archives: NJMP

NASCAR K&N Series East at NJMP the debrief

For the second weekend in a row I’ve gone down to Millville, South Jersey… this time for stock car racing. Like last weekend, and now for the third weekend in a row I’ve had a gout arthritis flare up which meant it was really painful to stand. But I took a few Advil pills and managed to get through the day thoroughly enjoying the racing on track. I wouldn’t wish this stupid fat man disease on anyone!

Happy to say that like last week I got an awesome station assignment… Turn 14. As I already mentioned in the post card posts it was a fantastic day to go to the races. NASCAR had practice, quali and race all on the same day. And to fill in the time between their track time we had BMW Car Club of America practicing, qualifying and racing themselves as well. Lots of really cool BMW 3 series, M3’s, 2002’s etc.

I’m not going to lie, the club days at a track typically suck! Ferrari at Watkins Glen last year supporting IndyCar was awful. But this Bimmer support for NASCAR was outstanding. Cars were going at it hard. There was some good overtaking throughout the field. I enjoyed it!

But I truly loved the NASCAR K&N Series East racing!

I remember some of these cars from their support race at Watkins Glen for the Monster Energy Cup weekend. The field was significantly smaller with only 15 cars on the grid and some 12 finishing the race. But the racing was tough and hard. We did not have any incidents at Turn 14 but I got to catch a peak at Turn 7 with a spin or two. It was great…

I especially enjoyed the Grid Walk during our lengthy lunch break:

So to sum things up… I’m grateful for the opportunity to work this race. I’m happy with my station assignment. I’m really happy with my captain especially since she was kind enough to bring me back a nice refreshing ice cream when she went out to get her own lunch.

I left my home at 6am and was back home by 10pm

Great day of racing! I hope to be back at NJMP next year…

Grid Walk Post Card from NASCAR K&N Series at NJMP Thunderbolt Raceway

What a day!

I feel really fortunate and lucky to have worked the NASCAR race at NJMP this Saturday… not just because it was an action packed day with practice, qualifying and racing all taking place on the same day. But also because of my awesome station assignment where I was able to not just watch the racing up close but also venture into pit lane for an awesome grid walk prior to the NASCAR K&N race.

Here’s some pix:

The view from Turn 14 looking at the front straight, the race control building, VIP garages and of course pit lane.

My partner was super nice,  especially since she warned me against parking under the Acorn trees because they were literally bombarding everything beneath them… lol

Only Blue and Yellow flags used for NASCAR racing… Blue is the local Yellow, and Yellow is the Full Course Yellow… easy!

It was pretty warm this morning and really humid and myggy… When my partner decided to go to Wawa to get lunch I asked her to pick up a little bucket of refreshing ice cream for me… that did the job of cooling me down! Oh was it good…

The only chick on the grid… Hanna Zellers  @HannaZellerswww.facebook.com/HannaZellersRacing/

I am actually considering getting the NASCAR plate with flags in the bottom left corner of this ad. The New Jersey MVC sponsored this event which felt really weird… to be honest.

BMX show on the front straight…

Love to see fans, young girls posing for pictures with our female NASCAR drivers. Way to go Hanna Zellers!

Debrief coming up next…

Post Card from the NASCAR K&N Series East Paddock at NJMP

Greetings from NJMP! A fascinating experience working the NASCAR K&N Series East where in one day: Saturday the cars practiced, qualified and raced… and they had a support event to boot. BMW CCA was an unusual pairing with stock cars, but filled in the time nicely. Between that and the new Audi S3 pace car, it was an outstanding NASCAR event.

I took a ton of pix when I arrived Millville early in the morning…

another post card from grid walk is next…

Track Day Bro! Hooked on Driving MX5 Miata at NJMP Lightning Raceway

It was a great weekend spent at New Jersey Motorsport Park not just because of MotoAmerica bikes I  volunteered for on Thunderbolt but also because of cars I got to check out on Lightning. Camping at the track I was looking for things to do to kill time before calling it a night. Went into town to pick up some Chinese, ate it at the Tempest circuit watching kids race go karts. As I was about to leave I see an NC Miata being trailered into Lightning for next day’s event there… Hmm… what have we got here? I went over to take a look and the owner of the Miata was as excited as I was to see another NC MX-5 (he thought I’d race there too). We had a chat and the next day I stopped by during lunch time to take some better shots of his great looking Limited Edition (that metallic paint looked awesome!) with better light conditions.

Anyway… here’s the pix:

My shitty cell phone camera barely captured the metallic paint job…

The car sounded amazing. Very nice tone to the exhaust. And the owner was kicking ass on track, blowing past other cars including Camaro’s and Porsche’s… (at least the passes I got to see)

Oh look a Heinlein tuned Moostang Shelby!

Is it a rental?

Watching the Miata kick ass in the Carousel.

If I had the money I would totally do a track day… although instead of using my own car I would probably rent one. There were plenty of rentals all over the parking lot… great variety to choose from.

Oh yeah, back at Thunderbolt spotted this gem… the only Miata in attendance for the MotoAmerica SBK race, and must be a member judging by the license plate frame:

Post Card from Moto America Championship of New Jersey Round 9 at NJMP Thunderbolt Mega Photo Gallery

Greetings from a beautiful weekend in South Jersey volunteering for my only bike race of this season with MotoAmerica Championship Superbikes, Superstock and Supersport bikes supported by KTM RC Cup and Vintage Bikes.

Enjoy the over 100 pix from Race Day on Sunday… and stay tuned for more to come about this awesome event.

I got to work Turn 7 which is probably the best station at Thunderbolt and certainly for me, because during our long lunch hour I was able to just walk into the paddock area and check out all the bikes… spectator bikes, bikes for sale, racing bikes, etc.

The young kids riding… that is really inspiring!

notice the missing BMW engine behind the cowling…

These KTM spec series bikes are really neat!

Love seeing all these vintage bikes, many of them for sale!

And of course lots of new stuff for sale, Suzuki and others had a great test ride opportunity with customers going on a cruise in a convoy of new bikes around Millville, New Jersey

NJMP offered a good discounted lunch option for us, all for $5 bux

Philly Cheesesteak, fries, chips and drink.

By the time I finished my lunch, the grid walk was wrapping up… so I did some drive-by shooting of pix as the bikes were getting ready to grid up and race.

The kids riding area was super cool… I think a few racers actually joined them which looked pretty funny but must have been an amazing opportunity to inspire the young riders to pursue this hobby further.

Enjoy… more to come soon!

Is SCCA Membership Still Worth Keeping to Volunteer as a Marshal?

Is SCCA still relevant in 2017 for those of us wanting to volunteer PRO events? Is it worth paying the membership fee to volunteer? Are there alternatives that don’t require this costly option?

Let’s find out…

For the past few years I’ve been seriously debating whether it’s worth it or not to renew my expensive SCCA membership. This year, as of March the price has gone up another $5 dollars. And this season SCCA PRO lost several series they used to sanction. Among the most notable are the Global MX-5 Cup which is now weirdly sanctioned by IndyCar and Pirelli World Challenge which is now sanctioned by USAC (among several other lesser “pro” series, including those on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder).

So why pay $70 bux a year to volunteer maybe one or two remaining SCCA PRO events that now only include Trans Am and Formula 4?

Doesn’t seem like it’s worth it.

In addition, a number of circuits now no longer require SCCA membership for volunteers to participate in their PRO events. Circuit of the Americas (COTA) has had this policy of welcoming non-SCCA members for several years now. Many of them flag for COTA as employees for track rentals and such. But many show up just for the big events and work directly with the more experienced SCCA members who complain how inexperienced those people are. Lime Rock Park is another example that recently changed it’s policy of requiring SCCA licensed marshals to work their events. Now only SCCA-equivalent training is required, but not necessarily a current license. In addition Lime Rock Park pays $50/day for participation. New Jersey Motorsports Park relies solely on employees to staff their events, however it is possible to “volunteer” some of the bigger races there. I’ve had experience where they let me volunteer and others where they actually paid me for my participation. The Moto America event at NJMP gets you a $300 check in the mail a few weeks later. I’ve already talked extensively about volunteering at Watkins Glen where SCCA membership isn’t required, but the local club that organizes marshals requires you to join them at $15/year fee, which I must add is very reasonable. USAC at Indianapolis Motor Speedway charges upwards of $30 per event to volunteer with them. A discount was offered for multiple events the last time I worked with them in 2013. Similarly ACIND in Montreal, Canada charges you $30 CDN to play with them for F1. Many Motorcycle events organized by Flagging by Faynisha pay you for participation, while the bike race at Laguna Seca requires you to pay to join the USARM club which only staffs bike events at Laguna Seca.

There are however events still, very old-school/old-fashioned, that will force you to join SCCA even if it’s the lesser $30/weekend license fee or whatever they call it. Central Florida Region is a stickler for those, ironically they have the most PRO events out there, especially early in the season when the big events don’t clash with any other.

I put together a list of 46 and 1 practice 2017 PRO Event on the Calendar, and my speculation on which of them require SCCA membership, as well as those that don’t…. I even listed those that by my experience either pay you for your participation or charge you a fee to play with them:

Date Event Name Series Location SCCA required? Marshal Organizer Participation?
Jan 6-8 Roar before the 24 IMSA Daytona YES CFR SCCA volunteer
Jan 26-29 Rolex 24 Daytona IMSA Daytona YES CFR SCCA volunteer
Mar 10-12 St. Pete GP IRL/PWC St. Pete YES CFR SCCA volunteer
Mar 15-18 Sebring 12 hour IMSA Sebring YES CFR SCCA volunteer
Apr 7-8 Long Beach GP IRL/IMSA/PWC Long Beach YES CalClub SCCA volunteer
Apr 23 GP of Alabama IRL Barber Mtsp NO Flagging by Faynisha get paid
Apr 21-23 MotoGP/Moto America MotoGP COTA NO COTA volunteer
Apr 27-30 PWC VIR PWC VIR NO VIR get paid
Apr 28-30 MotoAmerica Road Atlanta MotoAmerica Road Atlanta NO Flagging by Faynisha get paid
May 4-6 Sportscar Showdown IMSA COTA NO COTA/Lone Star SCCA volunteer
May 12-13 MotoAmerica VIR MotoAmerica VIR NO VIR get paid
May 13 Indycar GP IRL Indianapolis NO USAC pay to join
May 19-21 PWC CTMP PWC CTMP NO MMS Mosport volunteer
May 26-27 PWC Lime Rock PWC Lime Rock NO Lime Rock Park get paid
Jun 2-3 Detroit Belle Isle GP IMSA Detroit YES Detroit SCCA volunteer
Jun 2-4 MotoAmerica Road America MotoAmerica Road America MAYBE Road America volunteer
Jun 9-11 GP Canada F1 F1 Montreal NO ACIND pay to participate
Jun 10-11 Pocono 400 NASCAR Pocono NO Team Pocono volunteer
Jul 15-16 ePrix New York Formula E Brooklyn MAYBE NY SCCA/NJ SCCA volunteer
Jun 23-25 Kohler GP IRL/PWC Road America YES SCCA Road America volunteer
Jun 29-Jul 2 Sahlen’s 6 hour IMSA Watkins Glen NO RSI Watkins Glen pay to join
Jul 7-9 Sportscar GP IMSA CTMP NO MMS Mosport volunteer
Jul 7-9 MotoAmerica Laguna Seca MotoAmerica Laguna Seca NO USARM pay to join
Jul 16 Indy Toronto IRL Toronto NO MMS volunteer
Jul 21-22 Northeast GP IMSA Lime Rock NO Lime Rock Park get paid
Jul 28-30 Indy 200 Mid O IRL/PWC Mid Ohio YES Lake Erie Communicators volunteer
Jul 29-30 ePrix Montreal Formula E Montreal NO ACIND pay to participate
Jul 30 Pennsylvania 400 NASCAR Pocono NO Team Pocono volunteer
Aug 3-6 Road Race Showcase IMSA Road America YES SCCA Road America volunteer
Aug 5-6 Watkins Glen 355 NASCAR Watkins Glen NO RSI Watkins Glen pay to join
Aug 11-13 Utah PWC PWC Utah Mtsp NO Utah Mtsp employment
Aug 11-13 MotoAmerica Sonoma MotoAmerica Sonoma MAYBE Sonoma employment
Aug 12 Mid Ohio 200 NASCAR Mid Ohio YES Lake Erie Communicators volunteer
Aug 20 ABC Supply 500 IRL Pocono NO Team Pocono volunteer
Aug 25-27 GT Challenge IMSA VIR NO VIR get paid
Aug 25-27 MotoAmerica Pittsburg MotoAmerica Pittsburg MAYBE Pittsburg volunteer
Aug 27 Road America 180 NASCAR Road America YES SCCA Road America volunteer
Sep 1-3 PWC COTA PWC COTA NO COTA/Lone Star SCCA volunteer
Sep 3 IndyCar WGI IRL Watkins Glen NO RSI Watkins Glen pay to join
Sep 3 Chevy Silverado 250 NASCAR CTMP NO MMS Mosport volunteer
Sep 8-10 MotoAmerica NJMP MotoAmerica NJMP NO NJMP get paid
Sep 15-17 Sonoma GP IRL/PWC Sonoma NO Sonoma/SFR employment
Sep 15-17 MotoAmerica Barber MotoAmerica Barber Mtsp NO Flagging by Faynisha get paid
Sep 22-24 Monterey GP IMSA Laguna Seca YES SFR SCCA volunteer
Oct 4-7 Petit Le Mans IMSA Road Atlanta YES Atlanta SCCA volunteer
Oct 13-15 PWC Laguna Seca PWC Laguna Seca YES SFR SCCA volunteer
Oct 20-22 US GP F1 F1 COTA NO COTA/Lone Star SCCA volunteer

So this year, I went ahead and renewed my membership. I had $45 in worker credit that I didn’t want to go to waste. However, next year I’ll have to think long and hard to decide whether it’s worth it or not. There are plenty of events out there that I could put that money towards to still have fun volunteering.

I don’t plan on doing any CLUB events this year… though as always that may change.

MotoAmerica Superbike Challenge of New Jersey at NJMP Thunderbolt

It’s been a few years since I’ve marshaled Superbikes at NJMP, but this weekend was amazing thanks to a new friend I made during Trans Am weekend that invited for this season finale.

There’s been a few changes since the last time. AMA Superbikes has been rebranded as MotoAmerica. And as such has improved tremendously in my opinion. One of the biggest contributing factors to this success I think is it’s affiliation with the global organization FIM… the MotoAmerica rep that we work directly with as flaggers proudly wore an FIM North America badge on his sleeve, along with AMA (which is still a thing, apparently) as a sanctioning body.

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Unlike the last time though, there were far fewer marshals… both flaggers and recovery it seemed. That said NJMP as an organization seemed very much more appreciative of the people that showed up.

I was lucky enough to work at Turn 5, station 7 which was ideal. I especially liked the turn because it didn’t require me to go offroading in the Miata to get to it. The location was right next to the bridge that connects the Thunderbolt paddock to the world. The station had a reputation of being a very active turn but in reality this weekend we hardly had anything happen. There was one bike that went down on the last day during the warm up session, and a few bikes that moto’ed (gone 2 off in the grass).

The racing itself was spectacular. Lots of close battles throughout the field, and lots of great control of the bikes even in circumstances where I was certain the rider would lose it. I was super impressed.

I was very much impressed with MotoAmerica and NJMP facilitating training to the newbie marshals. I didn’t want to miss the opportunity so I went to see for myself what the training entailed. And I’m really happy to see the FIM organized training, the same videos used for MotoGP, being used here for MotoAmerica SBK. That’s brilliant. I really want to see all of motorsport be on the same page, no matter where in the world bikes race. If the world can follow FIM rules so can the US.

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My other favorite activities as usual were exploring the paddock. Lots of interesting bikes on display. Lots of variety. There were bikes from Suzuki, Kawasaki, Yamaha, Aprilla, Ducati and BMW. KTM had a spec racer series which was awesome, very tight racing in there. One series that wasn’t present was the Harley-Davidson 1200’s… but from memory those bikes were much louder than they were fast, and they tended to leak oil a lot which is never good for racing.

So a fantastic weekend in the books. I hope this post promotes the event to other people to consider next year. This is well worth the three hour drive from NYC Metropolitan area and NJMP pays for your services! Win win…

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Post Card from MotoAmerica Season Finale at New Jersey Motorsports Park NJMP Thunderbolt

Greetings from New Jersey Motorsports Park’s Thunderbolt home to this weekend’s MotoAmerica race… the season finale of the Superbikes, Supersport and Superstock series along with KTM spec racers. In this post I’ll share some walkabout photos while the other posts will give a better description of an amazing event. So glad I had an opportunity to be a part of it!

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Bright and early morning meetings at the NJMP Officer’s Club.

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Awesome station assignment at Turn 5, station 7 that didn’t require me to offroad my Miata on the back of the track to get to flag point.

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Great place to set up camp near the pub… I think I was the only one tenting there among many VIP’s in RV’s.

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Weather was perfect and lots of Motorcycle vendors were displaying their wares including offering prospective buyers the chance to test ride their machinery. That was neat!

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The cozy feel of NJMP Thunderbolt paddock and the open garages to spectators made everyone feel very much part of the event:

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Demographically this was probably the most diverse Motorsport event I’ve been to in a while, and of course, lots of chicks!

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Super happy I was able to make this event. Highly recommend it!

Weekend of Thunder Trans Am at Thunderbolt New Jersey Motorsports Park minus Formula 4

It’s been at least three years since the last time I marshalled at NJMP. Or at least two years since I went there with HRD to audition for a job that I didn’t get. But after hearing about Trans Am holding a round there at Detroit GP I quickly signed up to volunteer. Besides Trans Am which is amazing in it’s own right, Formula 4 was supposed to make it’s rescheduled debut after cancelling the race at Lime Rock. Well, Formula 4 ended up cancelling again at NJMP and instead we got a NASCAR style weekend like what happens at the Glen where Trans Am had the event all to themselves with lots of downtime for the marshals.

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I mention downtime for the marshals because unlike other tracks that solely rely on volunteers, NJMP pays it’s workers. The good thing, after three year absence I noticed that most of the faces working as flaggers were very familiar. Which means NJMP retains it’s workforce. But the workers working this weekend were bitching a little about only having 4 hours of paid work on race day, since we had a late start and early finish with only two races on the schedule Sunday.

Unlike Detroit and Watkins Glen in the past, Trans Am at NJMP was pretty tame. There weren’t any major incidents, no blown engines, no heavy impacts… just little spins and continues, that’s it. I requested to work Start again saying that I really want to get practice with this position having worked it already at the Glen. But my request was denied. Instead I got to work Turn 2 on Friday, Turn 1 on Saturday and Turn 11 in the Octopus/Tail of the Devil on Sunday. All those turns were amazing, and I’m really happy with the experience I got at each post. I do wish I had a chance to work as a backup starter at least one day thought.

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Day 1 at Turn 2, wondering why NJMP and Lime Rock use an Orange strip Blue flag while the rest of the country uses Yellow stripe.

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Day 2 in the amazing Turn 1.

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Day 3 at Turn 11, which was even more amazing!

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The Starter Stand…

Unlike previous times where I basically CouchSurfed in Millville, this time around I camped at the track. It was convenient. I bought a new Coleman tent at Walmart because all my other tents that I own are living elsewhere so that I don’t have to carry them with me when I travel… (the latest one I left in Florida this year, there’s one in Texas which I left a few years ago, and one in Belgium I left ages ago). The brand new tent was amazingly spacious which was awesome, but less then 24 hours since setting it up I arrived to discover one of the poles broke on it, so I’ll have to take it back to the store for an exchange. Kind of bummed me out.

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I was the only camper at NJMP using a tent this weekend.

Luckily it didn’t rain and there wasn’t any foul weather. In fact it was a perfect sunny South Jersey weekend. I enjoyed it very much!

I took the opportunity to take lots of pictures in the paddock which was wide open to the spectators. Including some shots of my car with the extremely wide body Trans Am TA class cars.

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That was pretty incredible.

I’m hoping I could make it back to NJMP again if not this year than maybe next. The track is about 150 miles from where I live and between 2 and 3 hours drive. Which is about the same as Palmer Motorsports Park in Massachusetts or Thompson Speedway in Connecticut. It’s not exactly close but most people assume that since I live in New Jersey it is my home track. Next weekend I’m off to my true home track, Lime Rock which is only 100 miles and 2 hours away… see ya!

Post Card from the Weekend of Thunder, Trans Am at NJMP

Last Saturday morning during the Detroit Grand Prix morning meeting the Trans Am official giving us some encouraging words mentions their next round in New Jersey and a lightbulb goes over my head… hey, I live in New Jersey! why don’t I sign up?

Before I even made it to my station assignment in Belle Isle I was firing off an e-mail to NJMP to see if I could join their ranks to volunteer Trans Am at Thunderbolt… within minutes I had a response: Welcome to join! Sweet….

NJMP doesn’t rely on volunteers though. They hire workers to flag events and pay them about $8/hr to do so. The response email I got said that they had the event fully staffed but if I wanted to volunteer I was welcome to come. I wanted to push my luck and ride a wave of recent events I’ve got to work on the Start stand but for this event my request was denied. Still, I got to work some of the most awesome stations Thunderbolt has to offer. Day 1 I was solo on Turn 2. Day 2 I was the blue flagger on Turn 1 which was sweet! Day 3 I was blue flagger on Turn 11 which is in the “Octopus” or “Tail of the Devil” turn where the cars drive all the way around the station, which is almost on an island surrounded by ARMCO and a Tire-wall. That was amazing! More about the event later, for now some pix…

Day 1, paddock walk:

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Day 2, scrutineering line:

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I now use Pennzoil Platinum in the Miata, and like it very much!

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Day 3, Flagging Turn 11

Checking out the Starter Stand:

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New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission jacking my registration prices up so they could sponsor NASCAR…  and then there’s a marketing fail, “Just Drive 125???”

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Was happy to spot another NC1 Miata in the paddock:

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This time around when I drove past some cool race cars I stopped and jumped out to take a few shots… should have done this with the Pirelli World Challenge Miata’s though, kicking myself for not doing it at Mosport and Lime Rock.

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What an awesome trip!