NASA 944Spec Road Racing: Cardi Gras at NOLA

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Ah the annual pilgrimage to NOLA Motorsports Park. This year we did things a little different and brought the wives down early for a little race-cation. The trip was met with a few lows and many highs and the racetrack as well as the French Quarter did not disappoint. But if you want to get straight to the racing, skip below.

The Road to new orleans

The lows popped up before we even left town. First, our tow vehicle went into limp mode right before connecting the trailer. If you aren’t familiar, newer diesel’s will limit your top speed to 5 mph if it detects a fault in the Diesel Exhaust Fluid system. Needless to say this was a non starter for a 300 plus mile trip. So the Ram dealership was the next stop. They were helpful in a non helpful way. Couldn’t give us a repair time, said we could wait on said repair, said repair may not be permanent, refused a loaner truck … you know, the typical dealer B.S. all while the day is ticking away. Seeing as the truck was under warranty and the service department was hell bent on wasting our day, I left the truck and picked up a rental at Enterpise Truck Rental. They saved the day with a 2018 Ford F250 for a very reasonable rate.

At this point, we are running about 3 hours late but are finally able to finish loading and hit the road. Things went smoothly until a trailer tire blew somewhere before the Louisiana state line. This was about another 1 hour detour. Needless to say we were spent when we arrived at the paddock that night.

Race-cation
Delmonico’s was one of the highlights of the trip.

Thursday morning the French Quarter was calling our names. And after the fiasco Wednesday, we had some steam to blow off. Starting at Stanley’s for brunch, we moved on to my favorite spot in New Orleans, Aunt Tiki’s, while the ladies did some exploring. We all reconvened eventually, did some shopping and had an amazing dinner at Delmonico’s. Afterwards we partook in the typical New Orleans experience. I think that is about all the details you will get out of anyone in our party but I’m pretty sure everyone had a blast.

Friday was a mixed bag of recovery for some, test day for a few and back to the French Quarter for the brave. Those brave enough to venture downtown had to contend with a round of flash flooding while lightning struck the utility pole next to the RV in the paddock.  Some foreshadowing for the intense battles that were to take place over the next two days.  Now on to racing.

NOLA Motorsports Park
NOLA Motorsports Park Indy configuration.

This is one of my favorite tracks. We ran the Indy configuration this time around which turns the esses into a back straight. I was hesitant about the change seeing as 944spec is a momentum car but actually really enjoyed the layout. Conditions were hot and humid and unfortunately, their world class karting facility was closed for a private event running throughout the weekend. Trust me, if you drive this track, take the time to drive the karts if possible.

Race Summary

I will let the video’s speak for themselves but overall this was a very good weekend for me. I was able to move up to first in the regional points race with podium finishes in all three races. My big takeaway is that I really need to focus on race starts. I was consistently setting the fastest race laps all three races but have a tendency to lose position on lap 1. So at this point my focus is on coming out of the gate a little more intensely.

Race 1


Race 1 Podium: 1) Jeremy Pohlman 2) Chris Simmons 3) Manny Moody

Race 2


Race 2 Podium: 1) Chris Simmons 2) Manny Moody 3) Jeremy Pohlman

Race 3


Race 3 Podium: 1) Jeremy Pohlman 2) Chris Simmons 3) Shawn Taylor

By Chris Simmons

Chris Simmons is a race car driver, instructor, business owner and all around gearhead. His passion for motorsport started in the drifting community over 10 years ago and progressed into wheel to wheel racing of all kinds. When off track Chris can be found training and working on a myriad of projects. After a hiatus from writing, he is back to share his passion, knowledge and experience in regard to motorsports on and off the track.

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