The first NASA NorthEast race of the season was at NJMP Lightning. This isn’t a favorite track of mine, but it has been growing on me in the past few years. The weekend started on with Friday’s test day. Four sessions of open testing with the faster Thunder race group. Thunder Race group consists of the faster half of racecars that run with NASA. Super Touring Unlimited, 1, 2, 3, German Touring Series 3, 4, Unlimited, American Iron, and American Iron Extreme.
Friday’s practice day started with a 1.12 around the track. I needed to find 2 more seconds to be competitive in the Super Touring 2 field. Super Touring 2 is a 1:8 power to weight ratio class. I was low on power and heavy on weight, but the ST2 field was too good to pass up. Racing a variety of cars like the Corvettes and Mustangs was also good to get used to since it similarly reflects the SCCA T1 field. By the end of the day Friday, I was at a low 1.11 around the track.
Saturday morning I opted to skip practice. I had plenty of seat time on Friday to get comfortable around the track, and there was no point on beating on the car any more than necessary. After looking at data Friday night, I identified some areas for improvement and visualized how I would put those in place. Doing my homework yielded me a 1.10.7 for qualifying. I was sitting in P3 when I pulled off. As I rolled across scales, I pulled out Race Hero to see that my fellow ST2ers were able to put down some even faster times. I was starting the race 5th with only a few tenths that separated all of us.
The race was fun. At the start, the Corvettes pulled away with ease. I managed to make up that distance in the braking zones, but being significantly overweight for the class, my competitors started to pull away. As we hit traffic from out of class cars, I was able to reel them back in and put some pressure on them. A full course yellow came out when a prototype car spun off into the sand trap at T7. I watched as three of my competitors missed the flags and continued to race. They were later disqualified for passing under yellow. Doug Winston and I had a close couple of laps. I managed to pass him going into Turn 2. There was a local yellow over the crest of 5, so I tried to wave off his pass but he didn’t see it in time and passed me back under yellow.
Despite the passes under yellow, it was a fun NASA season opener with the Super Touring 2 guys. The post race DQs bumped me to third. Podium for the first NASA round in the new car. Very reminiscent of my first race in the E36 in 2017 where I also took 3rd on Saturday.
Sunday’s weather brought a constant showers which left me uninterested in racing in the rain. While I’d normally run in the rain, the car was is still very new to me and there are plenty more races in the upcoming weeks.