Nola Motorsport Park SRO Races 3 & 4 "Fast reactions and quickly making the right moves"
New Orleans is called “The Big Easy,” and while this past weekend’s SRO/TC America race at NOLA Motorsports Park was more challenging than easy, it still resulted in some valuable championship points earned by all four cars of the L.A. Honda World Racing Team.
The first of two races during the weekend resulted in a podium runner-up finish for Mat Pombo in the TC Class, with teammate Mike LaMarra barely missing the podium with a fourth-place finish in the Saturday event.
Driving the No. 37 Honda Civic Type-R, Pombo finished .293 of a second behind pole sitter and race winner Kevin Boehm of Skip Barber Racing. Piloting the No. 73 Honda Civic Type-R, LaMarra finished just under 1.5 seconds behind Boehm.
Meanwhile, in the TCA Class, L.A. Honda World Racing’s Spencer Bucknum also claimed a podium showing, finishing third in the No. 5 Honda Civic Si, just under 1.3 seconds behind the winner. Team principal Mario Biundo finished eighth in the No. 77 Honda Si.
The second race of the weekend, held Sunday morning, was a bit more challenging, with the biggest problem for all four L.A. Honda World drivers being race traffic that put passing at an extreme premium.
Pombo barely missed his second podium of the weekend, finishing fourth (at 1:53.527, just under one second behind the winner), while LaMarra ended up sixth (at 1:53.928, nearly 1.3 seconds behind the winner).
“The LA Honda World team in New Orleans performed flawlessly,” Pombo said. “We definitely controlled everything that we could. Our car handled great and was very reliable. It was very hot, so to have a car that was reliable and finish both races was great and what we needed for the championship. We are going to keep battling on improving our car and I am confident we are going to be on the top step of the podium soon.”
Added LaMarra, “This past weekend at NOLA Motorsport Park was a lot of fun. It was great to learn a new track and the team really worked hard to give us great cars. We improved the car's performance daily and I was pleased with a P4 and P6 finish under the warm conditions. It was tough to finish under caution on Sunday, but we managed to salvage championship points. I'd like to thank our Honda team members for their hard work and dedication to our success.”
As for L.A. Honda World Racing’s TCA entries on Sunday, Bucknum barely missed his second podium of the weekend, finishing fourth (at 1:57.700, just under two seconds behind the winner), while Biundo was 10th (at 1:59.106, just over three seconds behind the winner).
“Racing at NOLA Motorsports Park was a new experience for me,” Bucknum said. “With only two practice sessions to learn the track, I felt I was able to pick up on the nuances of the track fairly quickly. However we quickly learned that we just lacked the outright pace of the front runners.
“Fortunately with some luck in Race 1, I was able to put it on the podium once again, but Race 2 I could only manage fourth. The high speed sections of the track make it one of the more enjoyable tracks to drive but the tight technical sections showed where we lacked some pace to our competitors.”
This past weekend’s event was originally due to be held at Ozarks International Speedway in Missouri, but SRO/TC officials moved the site to NOLA a month ago when it was determined that the brand new Ozark circuit, which was still under construction, would not be ready in time for this weekend’s race.
“The Big Easy and NOLA Motorsport Park in New Orleans treated us very well, all things considered,” Biundo said. “A late move of our race from Ozarks was a welcome surprise and coming home with podiums calls for celebration.
“With 2 of our 4 drivers achieving P2 and P3 in races this weekend got us valuable points. I would say we are on the right road to our goal of a championship. We do have challenges, some newcomers in the TCA class appear to have a significant advantage given their performance level.
“But we trust the series will eventually slow them down and get our drivers within reach of a win. The TC class is showing the same, but we don’t need to win every race to be champions, we need points at every opportunity. All in all, I am happy with where we are, but restless for our next race.”
The series now takes a nearly one-month break from action, with the next event – Races 5 and 6 of the 14-race SRO/TC America schedule – on June 17-19 at Virginia International Raceway.
“Hopefully we can show some more good results going into the next rounds at Virginia International Raceway!” Bucknum said.
Added Pombo, “It continues to amaze me how wonderful the LA Honda World staff performs at the track and that these are the same people you can see in the shop in LA fixing your Honda during the week. I can’t wait until next month at VIR where we get to one of my home tracks.”
To catch free replays of both races, go to YouTube at GT World.
Part of the Honda Performance Development program, L.A. Honda World Racing is the official race team of L.A. Honda World, a factory-authorized Honda dealership in the Los Angeles suburb of Downey, CA.
For more information about the drivers and team, visit L.A. Honda World Racing on the Web at www.lahondaworldracing.com and www.lahondaworld.com.
About L.A. Honda World Racing
L.A. Honda World Racing is an in-house professional racing team based in Southern California and participates in the SRO / TC America and IMSA racing series exclusively racing touring cars built by Honda Performance Development. They are also a factory authorized Honda dealer for American Honda Motor Co. www.lahondaworldracing.com
About Honda Performance Development
Honda Performance Development, Inc. (HPD), has a rich heritage creating, manufacturing, and supporting Honda Racing and Acura Motorsports customers since 1993. From pinnacle racing in INDYCAR and IMSA Sports Cars to commercial racing programs, HPD powers the dreams of professional and amateur racers from age 4 to 40+. HPD is a wholly owned subsidiary of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. and leads all of Honda and Acura's high-performance racing programs in North America. HPD specializes in the design and development of powertrain, chassis, electronics, and performance parts, as well as technical and race support. HPD offers parts and race support to Honda and Acura amateur and professional motorsports racers and is continually expanding its palette of racing programs that make Honda racing products available to all racing styles, from karting and Quarter Midgets to the highest levels of pro racing. For more information, visit www.hpd.honda.com