The last NASA Northeast event for 2012 at New Jersey Motorsports Park’s ThunderBolt course on Oct. 26-28 brought back memories of the same event from 2011 when an early snowstorm blanketed the area from New Jersey to Connecticut. We had no snow at the track that weekend, but we all returned home to a foot or more, as well as power outages and lots of tree damage. So here we were at NJMP again and guess what? Hurricane Sandy was barreling its way toward us!

We had a great turnout in HPDE and racing. Friday and Saturday schedules were not affected, but the Weather Channel was a very popular app in the paddock. As the pictures show, even with the ominous forecast, we managed to find a few smiles. Our Saturday night trophy gathering and cocktail party was overshadowed by news reports and panicked calls from family members at home. The Sunday forecast was not promising, with rain and wind increasing throughout the day as the outer edge of the huge storm reached southern New Jersey. Gas lines were forming in downtown Millville as residents feared massive power outages.

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On Sunday morning, the paddock seemed like a ghost town, because so many members had decided to start the ride home before the weather got crazy. We had no rain falling, just wind, and did manage to get a race and all HPDE sessions done before the track manager told us the facility was closing at 2 p.m. to lock down before the storm. Everyone hurried to pack up and get on the road.

As everyone knows now, Hurricane Sandy devastated many parts of New Jersey and New York. Our thoughts are with those who lost homes and property. We have heard from quite a few members of our racing family who suffered huge losses. Rebuilding will be a very long process for them and for many. We would like to encourage everyone to make a donation to a hurricane relief fund. There are many different ones out there, but your help is needed.

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Image courtesy of Suzan Casella