The Devil in the Dark... The Moon, The Stars, and The Cars History Made at NJMP with Great Support from South Jersey Region SCCA MILLVILLE NJ (June 19, 2010) from Daily Journal Report by Cody Glenn-- In an endurance race, wise drivers are...
The Devil in the Dark... The Moon, The Stars, and The Cars
History Made at NJMP with Great Support from South Jersey Region SCCA
MILLVILLE NJ (June 19, 2010) from Daily Journal Report by Cody Glenn-- In an endurance race, wise drivers are those who recall the story of the tortoise and the hare. Such strategy was the backdrop Saturday for the Sports Car Club of America's history-making Devil in the Dark race at New Jersey Motorsports Park -- a 12-hour, 400-lap competition that offered 900-plus miles of nonstop action. The driving team of Serge Tousiganat and Sebastien Rochon took the midnight checkered flag out of the 29 cars competing. "Ultimately to finish first, first you have to finish," park spokesman Don Fauerbach said. "You have to pace yourself. It's not all about horsepower here; it's about technique. You're not going to win it in the first lap." The noon-to-midnight event featuring BMWs, Mazdas, Acuras and other cars made New Jersey history as the first 12-hour race ever held in the Garden State, according to Fauerbach. It was the first time New Jersey Motorsports Park has hosted any type of racing after sundown, and was the longest endurance race in the racetrack's history since opening in summer 2008.
City rules allow for up to two 24-hour races at the park each year. "What this race does is relate back to the roots of racing in South Jersey from the '50s and '60s," said Dan Rieck co-chairman of the park's Green Flag Committee, referring to the four-hour endurance races held at the former Vineland Speedway.
No one driver could complete the entire duration of the Devil in the Dark competition. All cars had at least two drivers taking turns racing; some had as many as six. Teams generally made the switch when the car was due for a pit stop. Without any overhead lights illuminating the 2.25-mile Thunderbolt Raceway track, drivers relied on their headlights alone. Flag stations along the track utilized stoplights for cautions and other signals rather than the typical flags, which wouldn't be visible after dusk.
Despite the potential for danger, no serious crashes occurred. Still, racing after dark presented new challenges for the drivers. "You don't want to just follow the other drivers' taillights blindly -- they could be headed off course," said driver John Burke of Rumson, who competed in the New Jersey Motorsports Park-sponsored Lotus Exige. "It definitely got a little dicey at times. I lost a couple reference points, but it was a good, clean session." The red Lotus did find itself in some trouble just three hours into the race when the rear end insulation caught fire around the exhaust. Safety crews had to extinguish the blaze, but no one was injured and the car returned to action.
John Martin of Millville and his 12-year-old son, Nick Hernandez stayed for the long haul. The pair roamed between grandstands to catch the marathon race far past Hernandez's bedtime.
"To see this style of racing at night gets us so pumped up," said Martin, adding caffeine helped him press on. "We totally enjoyed it." Race results from The Devil in the Dark 12 Hr enduro - June 19th, 2010