White flag! Pretty much everyone knows what that means.
Last lap! Only ~60 more seconds of keeping it together.
Across the finish! I took both the start and the checker, and couldn’t have been happier. I won’t lie — at several points during my last laps I got a little teary-eyed behind the wheel. Your brain is so fried that cohesive thought isn’t really occurring. It’s just a flood of various emotions. I pictured teary-eyed drivers winning races and championships and wondered how they felt, and maybe I felt a little bit the same in that moment.
The American flag took the place of the traditional checker to close out the 24 Hours of America. On to the cool-down lap where lots of fist-bumps and waves were shared by all.
Why three fingers? Karts were immediately sent to parc fermé if you weren’t #1 in your class. But that’s ok – I’ll take a podium, any podium spot, in my first real race.
Sticking with the “three for third” theme, Ainsley greeted me at the finish, and we posed for the camera. I think that you can even see my smile through the helmet.
A quite traditional awards ceremony closed out the event, complete with champagne for the winners. Our team stands at right watching some of the other classes receive their awards.
And here we are – team #26 BNL Racers! Each of us received an individual trophy, and the team received a big trophy for finishing 3rd overall in the rookie division. We plan to ship it around every year to a different team member. Maybe in the future we’ll have to ship a whole box of them!
If you’re interested in what a lap of the circuit looked like, check out the following video of me driving:
The 2017 24 Hours of America will again return to NOLA, except a different configuration of the circuit will be used. Expect a longer and more technical track. But, be sure to inquire about registration soon! The event is likely to fill up quickly and previous participants are given the first shot at entry.