View Full Version : Thunderhill, Millville NJ

1996 328ti
06-29-2007, 06:16 AM
Looks like things are moving.

A cloud of dust rose up around yellow construction vehicles Friday as they cleared land in western Millville for the city's new Thunderbolt Raceway.

The process — three years in the making — finally began after a wire transfer of $2.8 million from New Jersey Motorsports Park to Millville and the Delaware River & Bay Authority cleared Thursday, ending what to that point could only be referred to as speculation.

So far, building this track has been one long, hard road.

The completion of the deal marks a significant achievement for Millville and Cumberland County as the project, which will cost about $150 million when complete, is expected to bring in new revenue and help change the culture of a city seeking change.

Mayor Jim Quinn had been waiting — ever since he visited Virginia International Speedway, saw what a track can do for a community and envisioned one in Millville — for these yellow trucks to start their work.

With how close this deal has been to completion and how long is has taken, it wasn't until Thursday — when the wire transfer went through — that Quinn knew the raceway would be a reality.

“It was like a thousand pounds were lifted off my shoulders,” Quinn said. “It had been dragging on forever.

“It just shows you when you're dealing with so many levels of bureaucracy how long it can take to get everyone on the same page.”

Government and raceway officials announced this plan in 2004. Local officials were pursuing a raceway project as far back as 1998.

Quinn said that bureaucracy could have frustrated the Motorsports developers and prompted them to abandon the project, but that it was too perfect and stuck with it.

“I think they realized that this will change the face of Millville,” Quinn said.

A laundry list of issues from government bodies and local activists accompanied the project's development since it became a serious endeavor two years ago.

There were lawsuits from environmental groups concerned about traffic and the displacement of the area's wildlife.

There were complaints from the Federal Aviation Administration over the sale of airport land for the project.

There were issues, lots of them, and they came from many directions.

But despite the calls to do so, Thunderbolt Raceway was never abandoned.

“This was the brass ring that we had to go after,” Quinn said. “We weren't going to ever give up, there were just some obstacles we had to overcome.”

One of the project's largest supporters — Quinn identified Democrats and Republicans on all levels of government as supportive — has been Gov. Jon S. Corzine.

“Corzine asked me what the two most important things for Millville were, and I told him one, the racetrack, and number two, the 55-and-over community,” Quinn said. “He said he would be supportive.”

While the 55-and-over community is still on the drawing board, Corzine did his part to encourage construction of the raceway, including signing a bill that would allow Millville to charge an additional 2 cents sales tax on every dollar spent on racetrack property.

The construction of the raceway is in its first phase, which is expected to be complete as early as spring. Millville will get an idea then how big of an effect it will have on the city and whether it proves to be in any way bothersome.

At the Millville Wings & Wheels Airshow on Memorial Day weekend, Millville Airport had to accommodate a weekend crowd that totaled more than 70,000. Center city experienced hours of gridlock as thousands of drivers tried to leave at the same time.

And that was only one weekend. Thunderbolt Raceway will hold at least six major races over the course of its first year, and race officials expect to attract about 25,000 fans to each event.

So far, Quinn said, the city's plan for the traffic seems to hinge on a belief that the number of incoming and outgoing fans will be staggered. There's also a plan to reroute traffic away from downtown to ease congestion.

The positive effects on the community outweigh the few negatives, Quinn said, noting that 20 raceway villas already have been sold for $400,000 apiece.

The new ratables, filled with generally wealthy tenants without children, will help generate more revenue for the city and cut down on costs, he said.

Quinn further emphasized the impact of the raceway on the rest of the city. The Arts District in Millville's redeveloped downtown has been the city's greatest achievement in recent memory and also its greatest concern.

While the boutiques, restaurants and art galleries on High Street specifically illustrate a decisive shift in Millville's personality, the largest concern was and continues to be the necessary foot traffic to support it.

“I see a solidifying of the Arts District,” Quinn said. “That's always scared me. They've been on the bubble.

“We don't have the feet on the street to support the downtown, but (with the raceway) they will flourish, I'm sure.”

06-29-2007, 06:39 AM
Thanks for this news Steven. We can follow the progress at:

1996 328ti
12-13-2007, 09:35 PM

12-14-2007, 05:56 PM
Despite this blogger's concern that there are no BMW CCA events, the Delaware Valley/New Jersey Chapters' event Aug 23-24 is on. They expect both Lightning and Thunderbolt to be open by then.

And it's Thunderbolt, not Thunderhill, which is a track in California.

1996 328ti
12-15-2007, 06:28 AM
I spoke with someone from NJ the other day.
Yep, they will be at Thunderbolt.
Almost makes me sorry I moved.
NJ is also keeping their dates at SPR.

Only thing that makes me wonder, Grand Am?
Don't tracks need to be sanctioned first?
Isn't that why some tracks will redesign runoff differently after the fact and push back barriers?

01-25-2008, 10:32 AM
Despite this blogger's concern that there are no BMW CCA events, the Delaware Valley/New Jersey Chapters' event Aug 23-24 is on. They expect both Lightning and Thunderbolt to be open by then.

And it's Thunderbolt, not Thunderhill, which is a track in California.

The weekend begins on Friday 8-22, which is a track familiarization day for the instructor corp.
It's always great to be let loose on a new track where everyone is on the same footing as far as line knowledge goes. The last time we had this opportunity was the Shenadoah Circuit.

I'm told the Thunderbolt track is near the old airport from which the then new P-47 were ferried out prior to deployment in WW II.

Woody is right; Thunderhill is an SCCA owned track located in Willows CA, about 1.5 hrs north of Sacramento on I-5 (in NorCal) Great track! Lots of run-off with nothing to hit. (Did my 1st SCCA race school there in 1996):)