A Soggy Day At NOLA
Welcome to Race day at a very soggy, and somewhat miserable, NOLA Motorsports Park. When I first woke up this morning, I immediately checked the forecast. It didn’t look too bad – rain from 7:00-9:00, and then cloudy from 9:00 until 3:00. Well, it’s 10:00 as I type and it is an absolute downpour. When we arrived on-site, Susan and I decided it would be smart to sit and the car and let the rain subside. It was not a good move. The constant drizzle we were hoping to avoid morphed into a downpour. After about fifteen minutes of watching it rain harder and harder, we finally grabbed our gear and made a run for it. At least it didn’t quit right after we got inside. It’s still pouring.
The start of the race has been moved up forty-five minutes to 1:45 local time. This is partly due to the forecast of rain not returning until 3:00 and also the patterns of the past two days which has seen dry weather until late afternoon. But I’ll be honest, this is the worst day we’ve seen since we’ve been here.
The morning warmup that was scheduled for 10:00 has due to weather. I’m assuming that is to prevent anyone wadding up a car just a couple of hours before the race. This will not do anything to silence the critics that say that IndyCar does not run in the rain. I’m not trying to be a shill for IndyCar, but this track does not drain well at all. The surface is flat with no crown to speak of. The ground around here is completely flat and saturated with water. In short, it would be watching a demolition derby as these cars tried to drive through small lakes. That’s not my idea of entertainment. Another thing to remember is that the helicopter needed for possible Life Flight is grounded in weather like this. That may be the most valid reason for not racing in this slop.
I’m hopeful that they can get this race in for several reasons. With this being the debut of this event, it needed a better weekend that this. I really think this would have been a fantastic event, had the weather cooperated. As it is, if I were a local casual fan who had tickets to today’s race – I’d be hard-pressed to leave my dry home to come out here and sit in the pouring rain. Looking out towards the track from the media center, there are a few fans braving the rain. Good for them! we need a lot more like them.
But I feel for the fans that have spent a lot of hard-earned money to come out and be miserable; and make not mistake – it is miserable here right now. With this being the inaugural event, many will leave here this weekend with a bad taste in their mouth. As unfair as that is, that’s the truth. This will be their only memories of this event for a year and may not be inclined to return next year. Believe me, I can’t count how many times I’ve been to New Orleans. I’ve seen short periods of rain before, but nothing like this. This is not the norm. If you didn’t make it here this year, but were thinking about it for next year – don’t let this deter you. We’ve had a blast here, the weather notwithstanding.
Another reason why they need to get this race in today is that tomorrow’s forecast is actually worse. Plus, the Verizon IndyCar Series needs to pack up and move across the country in order to be in Long Beach in just a few days for next weekend’s race. Even if they only get in thirty-eight of the scheduled seventy-five laps, that’ll count as a race.
As I type, between multiple interruptions, it is now 11:00. Talk is circulating through the media center that the race won’t happen today. We are hearing rumors that they may return for the May 3rd weekend or possibly for the Fourth of July. I can’t imagine being here in July, due to the heat. May 3rd is when the oval aero kits debut at Indianapolis. We had planned to be there for that, but our budget won’t allow another trip to New Orleans so quickly.
That’s it for now. Please check back for updates.