The schedules finally worked out so NASA Northeast and NASA Mid-Atlantic had their first crossover event at NJMP Aug 18-20. “The Godfathers’ Challenge” homage to Regional Directors Casella and Cobetto proved that you can “make an offer they can’t refuse.”
The 27-car Spec Miata field was the largest for the Northeast and reportedly the third largest in the country, excluding the NASA Championships. Saturday’s race saw a tough battle within the top 10 cars, with youngster Ben Maier from Mid-Atlantic taking top of the podium, followed by Marc Cefalo and Jim Tramontano. Spec3 saw a record nine starters and its first standing start green flag, Jon McAvoy took the win, with Sean O’Hara and Charles Ford close behind. Kudos to Taylor Johnson for building a respectful Spec3 starting field where there was none last year.
The rest of the Lightning race group was Honda Challenge 2, with a field of eight and Spec E30 with nine. Phil Albertson took the win in H2, followed by Anthony Robison and Nathan Bookbinder. In Spec E30, Robert Grace, Jack Cobetto and Michael Kovac filled up the podium.
On the Thunder race group side, the ever-growing Super Touring 4 field saw 13 starters with a few more converts from GTS. Michael Sousa, longtime GTS2 winner, continued with an ST4 win followed by Brian Casella in his Nismo Z car and NorCal racer Scott Smith in his BMW M3. In GTS, Brian Jacon took the win in GTS2, Eric Wong in GTS3 and Michael Gershanok in German Touring Series 4.
On Sunday, the winners were Marc Cefalo in Spec Miata, Ken Martinez in Honda Challenge 2, Charles Ford in Spec3, Robert Grace in Spec E30, Brian Jacon in GTS2, Eric Wong in GTS3, James Zadrima in GTS4, Michael Sousa in ST4, Ben Grambau in ST1 and Jack Zweifel in Super Unlimited.
Saturday night’s trophy awards and party included a feast of Italian specialties, antipasto, pasta, meatballs, sausage and pizza. To crown the Godfathers’ Challenge winner, there was a trivia contest based on the movie, “The Godfather,” and our champion was Steve Garrison, a GTS3 racer from the Northeast. A great time was had, and remember, always “take the cannoli.”