WWH Treated to a Day at the NOLA Motorsports Park

On September 14th, 2019, Veterans of W.W.H. were treated to a day at the NOLA Motorsports Park thanks to the members of the National Auto Sports Association (N.A.S.A.). When the Veterans arrived, they had no idea what awaited them. They were fitted for helmets and sent to attend a safety brief. When the safety brief was over, they found out that they would be riding in some very fast cars on a race track! 

The track is 2.75 miles long, including 16 turns with speeds exceeding up to 160 mph. We went to a  shaded waiting area, which had a lot of cold drinks and snacks. Everyone in the waiting area made it their mission to ensure each Veteran was taken care of and having fun. It was humbling to see the appreciation they had for our Veterans.

It didn’t take long for the first cars to pull up; Veterans strapped in, and off to the track they went. When the first group came back they were grinning from ear to ear. They were talking excitedly about the speeds they hit on the straight-aways, the G-Force in the turns, and the excitement of being in high performance cars.  By lunch time everyone had been on the track at least once, and they wanted more. Lunch was spectacular! For our lunch, Greyze Vieira, a N.A.S.A. member, driver and owner of Brazilian Market and Cafe, grilled steak kabobs and served them with rice, veggies and shrimp as a side dish. It was standing room only!

The members of N.A.S.A. went out of their way to spend time with us during the lunch break, and it was fun just being around the N.A.S.A. members! After lunch, the Veterans were waiting in line to get in a car and hit the track again. Jacob Billiot, a W.W.H. member, couldn’t get enough. He rode in anything that was available. One of the drivers said, “Jacob missed his calling as an astronaut as there aren’t too many people who could take that many “G’s” in one day and ask for more.”

This event wouldn’t have been possible without the work of David Shall and his crew. They went above and beyond to make sure this was a day to remember. I would also like to thank the drivers and their wonderful machines. They made sure each ride was special.

The following is a list of the drivers and their cars: -Kelly Vince: C7 Corvette -Leslie Shivers: Porsche 968 -Nick Hingel: e46 BMW M3 -John Crosby: Porsche GT2 Turbo -Frank Lee: e36 BMW -Ron Melnyk: Z06 Corvette -Dan Brown: Z06 Corvette -Pat Courter: Porsche 944 with Corvette engine swap -Jean Malek: e36 BMW M3 -Allan Matriano Lim: Aerial Atom (250hp, 1,500lb, tube frame open cockpit, no windshield) -Jason Renkenberger: Porsche 944S2 -Jetty Hui: Z06 Corvette -Rob Robinson: BMW M235i -Dave Cannon: Porsche 968 -Leslie Shivers: Porsche 968 -Felix Bircher: e36 BMW M3 -Reny Ramos: Z28 Camaro -Joey Dumas: Porsche 911 4S

One of the problems combat Veterans have is it is hard for them to experience an adrenaline rush after experiencing intense combat. The rides on the track gave them that rush. The drivers won’t ever realize just how therapeutic this event was for our combat wounded Veterans. You could see them relax and have fun. This was a perfect day for W.W.H.

A BIG thank you to David Shall, all the drivers, everyone who hung out with us, NOLA Motorsports Park, and the National Auto Sports Association.

Sponsor: Mike “Gunny” Cheramie