August 5-7 is the date for one of our most popular events, Watkins Glen. Referred to as “the greatest track on the planet” by racer and driving coach David Murry, the moniker is something I cannot dispute. As you read this, NNJR is enjoying three days of great driving at this fabulous venue. Earlier in the year I wrote about the history of some of the tracks we visit, and this month seems like the opportune time to talk about the rich history of Watkins Glen. Before I delve into the history books, a reminder that registration for Lightning at New Jersey Motorsports Park is now open and closes August 26. September 9-11 will be our last trip to NJMP, so please sign up soon so you are not waitlisted. The Lightning circuit is fast and fun, with many drivers preferring this track to its sister track Thunderbolt. Registration is also open for solo/advanced drivers at Watkins Glen September 19 and 20 (and David Murry will be in attendance for driver coaching).
A quick look back to June had NNJR at Mid Ohio for three days. As opposed to some dodgy weather last year, the conditions this year were ideal and some drivers new to Mid Ohio found out why this track is a favorite of many, including myself. Last year when I wrote about Mid Ohio, I caused a bit of a stir by trying to dispel the notion that the signature right-hander after the back straight was called the “Jump Turn”. Locals refer to this particular turn as “Madness”. At the event, I ran into a few of the long-time local drivers and queried them on the “Jump Turn”. Apologies to a few, but I was vindicated. The turn in question is most certainly “Madness” and there is no “Jump Turn” at Mid Ohio (sorry Bill). Actually, if there was a jump turn, that distinction would more appropriately go to Turn 11, which is the right turn that exits to Thunder Valley, the short straight on the back part of the course. Turn 11 used to have more of a crest to it, and cars used to hop over the hill and take a jump to the left. After the re-paving a few years ago, the crest was flattening so the “jumpiness” was significantly reduced.