NASA Northeast’s Ninth Annual Thunder at the Glen assembled drivers from at least five NASA regions in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. For those who have been to the Glen, you know the drill. Weather can be totally unpredictable, because the track is in a climate zone of it’s own. This year proved no different, but in a delightful way: three days of absolutely terrific sunny weather! Sweat shirts off, shorts and flip-flops became the attire for Watkins Glen!
With perfect weather conditions, more than 250 drivers could concentrate solely on car performance and handling at this historic facility. Racers were eager to tackle the infamous portions of the 3.4-mile track, the Bus Stop, the Toe of the Boot and the drastic elevation changes.
One of the strongest battles of the weekend was Saturday’s GTS3 race between Edgar Cabrera, Eastern States Champion and Hugh Stewart, who finished in second place at the Eastern States Championships, and Eric Wong, one of the Mid-Atlantic region’s top GTS racers. Stewart’s No. 22 emerged the victor, 2.5 seconds ahead of Cabrera. In GTS2, Joe Fuchs, the 2013 Northeast GTS2 Champion, who has been on sabbatical, edged out the competition from Luke Pardi’s No. 156 M3 and Dan Harnick’s No. 336 M3. Jim Pantas, NASA Southeast Regional Director, was able to relax for a weekend and take home a GTS1 trophy for his Saturday win.
Despite a strong field of eight GTS4 cars, Mark Lounsbury’s No. 111 BMW M3 took home the trophy on Saturday but failed to finish on Sunday, leaving the door open for Mathieu Lussier’s No. 166 M3 to take the win.
Spencer Anderson controlled Honda Challenge in his No. 516 Civic, taking home two first-place victories over the weekend. He also set a new HC2 track record of 2:14.3. Also taking double podiums, Marc Cefalo in his No. 00 Spec Miata and Northeast Series Director Sean Curran in his No. 77 SpecE30 .
Watkins Glen drew the largest Time Trial showing to date for the Northeast region with 40 cars competing in six classes. Track records were set by Eric Wong in TT3 (2:03.4), Nick DeRosa in TTB (2:09.008), Jonathan Cowen in TTC (2:13.7) and NASA Southeast’s Mike Howard in TTU (1:56.15). Trophies were also awarded to Thai Diep in TT2 and Marc Cantor in TTD for their first-place finishes.
With the Racer Connect staff on site, in-car streaming video, photos and interviews were done all weekend and are now available on their website. You can also see the complete trophy presentations from Saturday night.