New Jersey Motorsports Park Embraces History While Building Its Future
New Jersey Motorsports Park is located on 500 acres immediately adjacent to the Millville Airport, an airport that was dedicated in 1941 as America’s First Defense Airport which played a key role in the country’s World War II military efforts.
The Millville Army Air Field opened as a gunnery school for fighter pilots for the Republic P-47 “Thunderbolt” in 1941. During its four-year existence, about 1,500 pilots received advanced P-47 Thunderbolt fighter traininghere.
New Jersey Motorsports Park embraced this rich history by naming its marquee 2.25-mile racetrack “Thunderbolt Raceway.” The 1.9-mile road course – Lightning Raceway – is named after the P-38 Lightning, a WWII fighter aircraft.
New Jersey Motorsports Park also carried the historical WWII theme by naming its trackside condominiums “The Villas at Breighton.” Breighton was the name of an allied airfield in Great Britain, where many of the Millville trained P-47 pilots served during WWII.
Other ties to the WWII theme include the English Tudor design of the clubhouse, the Officers Club Q-Hangar design that contains Cumberland County’s largest banquet facility and the Timing Tower that resembles a WWII air traffic control tower. Upon visiting New Jersey Motorsports Park, you will also notice that NJMP safety and security vehicles are based on WWII MP Jeeps.
While building the various structures at New Jersey Motorsports Park, many WWII artifacts were found and collected for display at the Millville Army Air Field Museum, located on the opposite side of the Millville Airport. The Bore Site range, located just outside Thunderbolt Raceway Paddock was used by Thunderbolt pilots during training as a range to calibrate their machine guns.
Today, a P-47 Thunderbolt- No Guts, No Glory aircraft is based out of Millville Airport. It is one of only nine in the world that still flies. Keep an eye on the sky when visiting NJMP – you may just see one pass by overhead.
Racing Through NJMP’s History
March 24, 2003: First official meeting about building a motorsports park in Millville, NJ. Includes Don Ayres, Millville Economic Development Director; Don Fauerbach, New Jersey Conference of Mayors; Lee Brahin, Brahin Properties; and Joe Savaro, Brahin Properties.
June 3, 2004: NJMP’s Green Flag Committee charter meeting.
Nov. 3, 2005: First press conference on the site of Lightning Raceway at New Jersey Motorsports Park to unveil plans for construction.
May 29, 2007: Construction begins.
Sept. 19, 2007: Groundbreaking Ceremony at “Lightbulb Turn” (Turn 10) at Lightning Raceway at NJMP.
July 5, 2008: First track day – Drivers Club member day at Lightning Raceway.
July 30, 2008: Clubhouse (Finish Line Pub) grand opening.
Aug. 29, 2008: First pro series on track – GRAND-AM Road Racing, Thunderbolt Raceway.
Aug. 31, 2008: First major spectator event – GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series 250. Oswaldo Negri Jr. and Mark Patterson capture the first ever Thunderbolt trophies by piloting their No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Daytona Prototype to victory.
Sept. 28, 2008: Stock cars invade NJMP as Justin Allgaier tops Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in the first ever ARCA Racing Series event at NJMP.
May 3, 2009: Nic Jonsson and Ricardo Zonta win in the rain in GRAND-AM’s return to Thunderbolt Raceway.
Sept. 5, 2009: AMA Pro Road Racing comes to NJMP for the first time. Josh Hayes captures both SuperBike class victories on Sept. 5 and again on Sept. 6, 2009.
Sept. 13, 2009: Patrick Long drives to victory in ARCA’s second appearance at NJMP.
July 18, 2010: Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney steal an unlikely win as the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Prototype blows a tire while leading with 2 laps remaining.
Aug. 15, 2010: Casey Roderick takes Bill Elliott Racing to Victory Lane in ARCA’s return to NJMP.
Sept. 4, 2010: In AMA Pro Road Racing’s second visit to NJMP, Josh Hayes again sweeps the race weekend by winning the SuperBike class races on Sept. 4 and Sept. 5, 2010.
May 22, 2011: Road course veteran Andrew Ranger passes George Miedecke with one lap to go to take home the race win in ARCA competition.
July 24, 2011: In his fourth attempt, Scott Pruett with co-driver Memo Rojas finally capture a GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series victory at Thunderbolt Raceway.
Sept. 3, 2011: With the AMA Pro SuperBike championship on the line, Josh Hayes captures the Race 1 class victory, his fifth consecutive victory at NJMP.
Sept. 4, 2011: In a nail biter, Blake Young holds off a hard-charging Josh Hayes to become the second AMA Pro SuperBike rider to ever win at NJMP.