Not everyone was fortunate enough to keep it pointed in the right direction, although some were fortunate enough to somehow keep it on the track when things went awry. Going off too far into the grass generally meant getting marooned and having to wait for a corner worker to come push you back on track. I definitely had my share of 4-wheels off excursions. I even managed to get fire ant bites. #ThingsOnlyKartersSay
Teams got creative with rain protection, donning everything from standard wet weather karting over-suits to all manner of rain clothes and plastic bags. Of course, no one on our team was particularly prepared. We got wet. Very wet.
There were various paid “extra” practice sessions held throughout the day, and in the evening the one official team practice began. Here teams line up to send their drivers off at the beginning of the 2-hour timed session. Qualifying immediately followed team practice, with 30 minutes for teams to try and get their best laps in. The wet conditions meant that what normally is a ~58 second dry lap for fast drivers became a 1:21 for our team. This was enough for a 16th overall qualifying position, and 2nd in our class. I guess all my time drifting back in the day helped!
In keeping with racing tradition, the national anthem signified the beginning of the race. Since it’s the 24 Hours of America, the US flag was used as the starting flag. Here, several of our team listen to the singer (Nick, right; Chris, middle; Sam, 3rd from right — Sam and Chris are husband/wife, too!)
NOLA is just outside New Orleans proper, and they do a nice and subtle job of reminding you. Here you can see the fleur de lis at the start/finish line as karts were lined up for the Le Mans-style standing start.
That’s right – a full-on run-to-your-kart Le Mans-style standing start. I asked other drivers if they had a strategy, and the best advice I got was “get on the gas as fast as you can and worry about getting settled later.”