Driving Schools – Summer 2016: Driver School and Club Races at NJMP and Summit Point
by Rich Altman
By Jeff White
In June, the chapter held its annual Driver School and Club Race to benefit the Westlake School. This year we welcomed Flemington BMW as our primary event sponsor. This year’s event was held on Lightning Raceway and was well supported by both driver school and club racer participants. Sixty-eight driver school students and 42 instructors were spread among three student run groups so that everyone had plenty of open track. Thirty-three club racers took the track on Monday for the first race with the second qualifying race on Tuesday morning followed by the feature race on Tuesday afternoon. Thanks to Flemington BMW for providing the i8 pace car for both days as well as plenty of water to keep everyone hydrated.
On Monday evening we held our banquet and charity auction in the Officer’s Club at Thunderbolt. Close to $3,000 was raised through silent auctions with prizes including an i8 RC car (Bridgewater BMW), Watkins Glen race tickets (DelVal chapter) and team shirts (Turner Motorsport) and regular auctions, led by master auctioneer Mo Karamat, of items including “slightly used” race car body work (from Jerry Kaufman’s Daytona car and from Turner Motorsports), an entry to a future Jeffapalooza event including coaching from James Clay, a child’s bike (Morristown BMW) and an adult bicycle (Flemington BMW). Door prizes for participants included watches, shirts, umbrellas, hats, car care products and gift certificates. We want to thank all our sponsors: Flemington BMW, Bridgewater BMW, Morristown BMW, Circle BMW, VAC Motorsports, Turner Motorsport, Bimmer- World and TireRack.
On Tuesday, we marked the highlight of the event when the students and staff of Westlake School visited. On their arrival, everyone was presented with a shirt and gift bag from Flemington BMW. Students and staff were treated to parade laps on the track in a colorful and multi-marque set of participant cars and then the students enjoyed watching the spirited feature race. See Brian Morgan’s article in the Roundel for a full race report. The students then helped out with the trophy presentations before heading back home.
Thanks to everyone who came out to make this a great event and thanks also to our race stewards (Barry Kaplan, Bruce Smith and Larry Fletcher), Tech workers and pit out workers. Without our volunteers none of this would be possible.
In July, we held the 3rd Annual Geoff Atkinson Memorial Driver School and Club Race at Summit Point Motorsports Park on the Main Circuit. For those of you who may not have known Geoff, he was an instructor, ITS mentor, club racer and all-around great guy who contributed much to the NJ chapter and we take this event as a way to celebrate all he brought to us. This was a sold-out event with 69 driver school students, 40 instructors and 32 club racers. All participants and volunteers were challenged by the heat and humidity of the weekend. In fact, driver school students were asked to run their A/C during their track time to help keep both students and instructors cooled down! Despite the challenges, all the school sessions and all 3 races were incident-free. Our race stewards (Bruce Lummis, Todd Massagee and Larry Fletcher) made sure the racers were well looked after. Once again, look for a full race report from Brian Morgan in the Roundel.
On Saturday evening we held our traditional track-side BBQ buffet including a very nice Kolsch beer from a local brewery (Escutcheon in Winchester, VA). Thanks to on-site payments from a number of BBQ guests we were able to raise an additional $300 for Westlake. Special thanks also go to VAC Motorsports for their sponsorship of the event.
As this issue of the Bulletin hits your mailbox we will be very close to our special event at NJMP Thunderbolt. On Friday and Saturday Sep. 16-17, the NJ Chapter will be the host of a special advanced driver school and Club Race in support of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race. This is the first time NASCR has come to NJMP and they asked us to participate! The driver school is open to solo advanced driver school students and instructors only. There will be 3 hours of track time on Friday and an additional hour on Saturday. The registration price also includes a VIP ticket that provides a special viewing area and BBQ buffet during the day on Saturday. The club racing portion will feature a warm-up, qualifying and a single sprint race on Friday afternoon and then warm-up, a qualifying race on Saturday morning and then the feature race in the afternoon just before the NASCAR race. This is a tremendous opportunity for Club Racing: two days of racing at a professional race series event. This is the chance to showcase Club Racing to an audience that may not be familiar with what we do: sports car racing that has cars in different classes on the track. For other fans, this is a chance to see where current racers such as Will Turner, Bill Auberlen, James Clay, Jeff Segal and our own Jerry Kaufman started. For our participants, we get to see the up and coming NASCAR racers of the future, and maybe teach them a thing or two about road course racing. We are also planning a special car corral for club member spectators – be sure to watch for announcements on the website and in chapter email blasts. This will be a unique event.
We wrap-up the season on Oct. 8-9 on the Shenandoah Circuit at Summit Point. Shenandoah is a small and fun event. A great time of year to be in West Virginia, small run groups, a paddock where everyone is close, skid pad for two days, a track walk and, most importantly, a chance to practice virtually every type of turn you will ever encounter on a race track. Driving Shenandoah will make you a better driver on every other track you visit. Come on down.
Registration for both the Thunderbolt event and Shenandoah is open on Motorsportreg.com, just click on the logo on the chapter website home page.
We’ll see you at the track.