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!