NLS Racing #977 & #799 - Atlanta Motorsports Park 2021 Race Report:
We've been hitting it hard over the last few months prepping 2 cars for Atlanta Motorsports Park. A new engine in our main car (#977 240sx ) and a full safety update, color change, and windshield on the new ride
( #799 300zx ). The test day was pretty much a washout, we only turned a handful of laps in the #977 just to confirm the engine felt good. With the new #799, we were able to get all of our renters comfortable in the car and log some laps.
We got the luck of the draw for Saturday, starting 2nd and 3rd. About an hour into the race, we had some contact w/ the #977 and a Honda. Our tank of a car handled it well, or at least we thought until post-race prep for Sunday. The LR upper control arm had broken at the mount causing us to lean way over and cut into the tire. We're lucky it didn't go too deep. No other issues the rest of the day until the final lap shootout. We were content to finish the race under yellow and take 2nd, but the green flew and we had the top 3 nose to tail. Nemesis went wide into 1 and our driver went for the W...it didn't work though, as he spun it and handed 2nd to Visceral. Some great action for those watching. The rental car ran flawlessly all day Saturday, even passing the main car for position at one point during the race. It turned laps right on par w/ the 977, actually turning a faster lap time. With new drivers and a new car, we finished 16th. Not bad for its debut.
Onto Sunday and starting at the back of the field, We had our work cut out for us if we wanted to run down Nemesis in the dry conditions. We made our first mistake before the race even started. Our driver in the #799 car reported what felt like a flat-spotted tire. Sure enough, somehow we slapped on our single worst tire we had during Saturday night's race prep. Pitted just before the green flag, losing a lap or so. Mistakes happen. That was about the only drama until the final stint of the day. Visceral had a 1+ lap lead but was black-flagged for brake lights. Now it was on. The top 3, Visceral, 901 Motorsports, and NLS on the same lap. All within striking distance of each other. 30 mins to go is where it got really interesting, Visceral spun, putting us to lead but the 903 car was breathing down our necks. We held them at bay for a while, but they were able to get around us. I guess we're gonna have to settle for second as both cars were so evenly matched and just not much time left to do anything. Lap traffic put us right back on their bumper as 4th and 5th place were having their own battle, not wanting to give way. With 2 go, we managed a pass down the inside of turn 1 and held off the 903 car. We took the win by the slimmest of margins, only .7 secs!! So much drama at the end! It was so exciting and nerve-racking to watch. Hats off to all the drivers on the weekend. That was some damn good, and clean racing.
Our drivers for the weekend included Daniel Koehler, Corey Danley, Jeremy Boyce, Cory Brown, and our crew chief Cliff Beisler.
Other than our tire snafu, the new #799 car ran great and brought it home in 16th on Saturday, and 12th on Sunday. A big thanks to all our rental drivers Tyler James, Kevin Hanrahan, Bill Powell, and Ryan Ackerman. You guys surpassed our expectations for that car. Thank you for all the help in the pits as well.
The best damn racing weekend ever. 2 days and the top 3 separated by less than 15 secs at the checkers both races. Awesome. Thank you to ChampCar Endurance Series for giving us the opportunity to do this. Thanks to everybody who volunteers their time, corner workers, staff, track officials, and anybody else. Thanks to all the wives who were screaming at the top of their lungs, family, and friends. Couldn't do it without your support.
See you guys soon at Virginia International Raceway in December.............