AVONDALE, La. (April 13, 2015) – What started as a weekend of celebration in Louisiana ended with Mother Nature taking over NOLA Motorsports Park during Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama competition.
But the weather couldn’t stop Kelly Moss Motorsports from picking up four more podium finishes, bringing its grand total to 10 through three rounds of racing this season in the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) Single-Make Series.
Rebounding from a disastrous outing at Sebring International Raceway, New Orleans native David Ducote powered through Round 3 on Saturday to win in both Gold Cup and Gold Masters in his No. 6 Waskey-sponsored Porsche. It was his first podium finish of the season.
He was joined by his father, New Orleans native and resident Wayne Ducote, who matched his career-best finish from Sebring by taking the checkered flag in third in Gold Cup and Gold Masters. The strong performance came a day after he celebrated his 70th birthday.
“Kelly Moss gave me an outstanding setup on my Waskey Porsche,” David Ducote said. “But this is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be in my hometown and be on the podium, with my father on his birthday. It just can’t happen. But it did. It’s a miracle, and I’m thankful I had the opportunity to do this.”
Said Wayne Ducote: “When you can celebrate your 70th birthday, race in New Orleans with your son and get on the podium, it doesn’t get any better.”
It was a weekend of celebration for Wayne Ducote in his hometown and a special event for the Ducote family.
“It was icing on the cake for those guys after the last month of celebrating,” Kelly Moss Motorsports Vice President Jeff Stone said. “It was cool to see them both on the podium together in their hometown.”
But the chance for an extended celebration into Sunday with another podium finish was cut short when Race 4 was postponed.
“Both David and Wayne wanted to run,” Stone said. “They’re both good in the rain, especially David. But it was a wise decision by officials to call it off for safety and let us make it up in a future event.”
The Brey-Krause-sponsored Kelly Moss team didn’t have the same luck with its young star, Jesse Lazare. After sweeping the opening rounds at Sebring, Lazare, from Montreal, started the weekend strong by topping the speed charts in both practices. He qualified fourth. But Lazare and Michael Schein made contact on the opening lap, pushing Lazare to the back of the field.
Lazare gained 15 positions over the last 20 laps to finish sixth in Platinum Cup and show his natural speed and racecraft. The top-10 finish kept Kelly Moss tied for first in Platinum Cup Team Championship points. Lazare is in second in the Platinum Cup Driver Championship standings, four points behind Elliott Skeer.
“It was unfortunate that he got hit,” Stone said. “There wasn’t heavy damage, but it sent him to the back. It was pretty remarkable to see him come through the field. Very impressive. It shows the consistent maturity of a young driver.
“We thought we could have had a chance for another sweep, but it’s important to score points. We didn’t get as high as we wanted, but when he’s at the back, every car he passes is more points. If we would have had 10 more minutes or a caution, it would have been an entirely different race. But it’s early in the season, and we’re still happy with where we are.”
Jay Patel was the fourth-place Platinum Masters finisher and placed 10th overall in Round 3. The finish placed him second in Platinum Masters points in the early stages of his first season with the team.
“Jay continues to impress us,” Stone said. “This is all relatively new to him, and every time we see him interact with the team, engineers and coaches, we see improvement. With his incident at the (NOLA Motorsports Park) test, he really didn’t have much seat time here, so to see him do well is fantastic.”
Frank Selldorff and Bill Peluchiwski recorded seventh- and eighth-place finishes, respectively, in the Platinum Masters Championship.
“Bill had some mechanical issues this weekend,” Stone said. “There were some minor issues, and he didn’t get a lot of quality track time. We expect him to come back strong at Watkins Glen. Frank just doesn’t have a lot of time in the car, so the more time we get him in the car, the more we’re going to see him improve.”
Louisiana native John Crosby also was under the Kelly Moss tent this weekend as part of a partnership with local team NOLAsport. Stone has known Crosby and NOLAsport owner Jon Scheurich for a long time and joined forces with the team based at NOLA Motorsports Park to help it make a successful move to the series.
“John is really great to work with,” Stone said. “He complimented our team and staff all weekend. We would love to continue to work with him and will as long as he wants us to.”
The team has 10 weeks before the next scheduled Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama event June 25-27 at Watkins Glen International. Kelly Moss has nine events, including testing at Circuit of the Americas and The Glen, scheduled between that time to get its drivers plenty of seat time.
Next weekend the team will be in Long Beach, California, as part of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach for Round 5 of the Pirelli World Challenge ChampionshipÒ GT Cup.
For the latest news on Kelly Moss, visit www.kellymoss.com. For updates throughout race weekend, like the team on Facebook and follow @kellymossmotors on Twitter.