By Tom Swift
Our last two events of the year had us going south – directionally correct as an old boss used to say. Mid October took us back to New Jersey Motorsports Park for two days at Lightning. This year we had terrific weather and a very good turnout. It should have been a great event, and for the most part it was, but it was marred by some less-than-stellar driving. VIR this year was wonderful. Perfect weather. A great turnout. VIR is known as one of the most technical tracks in North America, very challenging because of the number of connected turns. With the new pavement, the experience was nothing short of magnificent. I am not at all a superstitious person. I will admit, however, to being a bit “thoughtful” about taking that last run of the season. History remembers the last soldier to die in the “Great War,” at 1 minute prior to the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. I do not want to be remembered within NNJR as having stuffed my car on the last lap of the last day of the last event of the year. So, those final laps around VIR were at a somewhat reduced but still respectable pace. One last chance to enjoy the glorious sensory experience of the 996 cup car on track, declare victory and withdraw from the field, intact and thankful that I am lucky enough to be able to do this.
WRAP UP Our first day on track this season began at 18F, with black ice on the track, snow and ice in run off areas, tire barriers frozen to the ground, and shivers. Seven months later, our final day ended at 70F, with glorious sunshine, perfect new pavement, and grins of satisfaction. 28 days in 11 events, from Canada to Virginia and NJ to Ohio. No season summary is complete without giving thanks to the many NNJR people who invest countless hours of their time into the DE program: chief instructors, stewards, volunteer workers, and our registrar Craig Mahon. Instructors must also be thanked, and admired. It takes a combination of faith and commitment to jump into the right seat of a powerful car driven by a stranger who has both, a lot to learn and a desire to see how fast they can go. And lastly, thank you to the students and solo drivers, you are the lifeblood of the program.