Showtime Motorsports Emits Strong Showing at NOLA
March 15, 2023
As one of the only teams that took advantage of the Trans Am NOLA test day, the entire Showtime Motorsports team was feeling confident as they headed back to the track for the 2nd round of the Trans Am National Tour Championships. With their experience of knowing the unpredictable weather that can be had at the event, they were prepared for it all and ready to make it happen.
Following the same schedule as Sebring, Thursday would provide testing and Friday held practice and qualifying. The team worked to get the set ups strong, and qualifying proved they were heading in the right direction. Evan Slater earned the P6 position with a blazing 1:40.746 and Dylan Archer wasn’t too far off with a 1:40.998 putting him P8. Abbate struggled to find herself at a similar pace - although her personal best lap time of 1:44.4 placed her 27th in the 30 car field.
Dylan Archer put on a commanding race effort while getting some redemption after the mechanical failure at Sebring. He had an excellent battle and secured the P7 position by the end of the 100 mile race.
“It was a decent race for us, I could've done some things differently and held onto a few more positions at the start but all in all it felt good to be back inside the top 10 and headed in the right direction! Everyone on this team put in a lot of work, never gave up and that's all you can ask for, so we have a lot of positives to go off of as we head to Road Atlanta in 2 weeks!" - Dylan Archer, #4 TA2
Evan Slater had a respectable race as well, especially considering he fell victim of a slippery track where another car dropped power steering fluid which sent him into a spin early on. Slater kept his head down and worked his way back up to finish in P8 by the end of the race; grabbing another top 10 finish and putting him 4th in the overall Championship points.
“It was a hard weekend at NOLA motorsports park for the second race of the Trans Am season. The whole Showtime Motorsports and Franklin Road Apparel gave me a great car for the race, and it was looking like we had potential for a top 5 finish. Unfortunately due to a competitor dropping power steering fluid on the track, we suffered a spin that dropped us to 10th. From then it was all about making a good recovery, and trying to get as many points as possible. We crossed the line P8. Looking forward to being back in the car in less than 2 weeks at Road Atlanta.” - Evan Slater, #6 TA2
Abbate was able to advance 11 positions during the race and finished P16.
"I learned a lot this weekend, and I am really focused on trying to improve my driving techniques in order to qualify better. It was obvious I struggled to get in the vicinity of competitive lap times, but I am grateful to have been able to recover with a smart race. Attrition is a big part of TA2 and I am proud that the Showtime Motorsports team continues to provide me with a very competitive race car - it’s on me to keep improving the results and I’m 100% focused on the challenge." - Michele Abbate, #30 TA2
Justin Marks and Ken Thwaits both had confidence as they worked through the test day and practice sessions. The team is still working hard to dial in the new Riley chassis on both the #7 and #99 but it is obvious they’re heading in the right direction. Justin Marks is two for two with earning the Motul Pole Award, as he set the fastest lap of the weekend during the qualifying session with a 1:34.394, and Ken Thwaits earned the P5 spot with his 1:37.485 for the Sunday race in the 7 car field.
At the start of Sunday’s TA race, Justin had an aggressive start, Matt Brabham got the jump into turn one, but Justin put up a fight to gain it back. Unfortunately into T8 the tires and brakes weren’t quite up to temperature and Justin went way off into the infield grass, allowing the entire field to drive by before getting back on the track surface. He fought tremendously and worked his way back up the entire field, remaining on the lead lap and earning a podium finish nonetheless.
"I was overall really happy with the performance of the car and the team this weekend. We made great changes again and it seemed truly like we’re starting to get a handle on what this car needs to optimize performance. We had a good qualifying setup which resulted in pole but a I had a really messy first lap. I think I didn’t get enough heat in the brakes on the pace laps and had a lot of lockup in the first few corners. I ended up sliding off the track and back to last place so had to just dig in and run fast laps to try and recover. It was good to be able to get back up and onto the podium but I felt like we had an opportunity for more." - Justin Marks, #99 TA
Ken Thwaits had his hands full as well, but drove a smart, successful, and clean race. He was knocking on the door of a 4th place finish but ran out of laps as he crossed the line in the P5 position to round out the top 5.
“Our team had a great weekend in both TA2 and TA races, bagging good points for the championships! All cars survived with barely a scratch on them! I personally had a slow start as we continue to learn our new Riley AR3 TA car. Once some fuel burned off we were able to close in on our competitors, and had a great race to the finish as we battled David Pintaric for 4th and 5th - David came home on top. Can't wait to try and get revenge at Road Atlanta in two weeks!" - Ken Thwaits, #7 TA
Every car in the Showtime Motorsports | Franklin Road Apparel stable came home without a scratch and it was a really good points weekend for every driver. Consistency pays off and when you can put the cars back in the trailer looking pretty close to how they did when they came off makes for an easy prep for the next event. In just under 10 days the team will head to Atlanta, GA for the third round of the Trans Am Championship. Catch all the action from NOLA on MAVTV Thursday March 16th at 9pm EST and stay tuned for the "Road to Glory" MAVTV Broadcast to make its season premiere, also on March 16th at 10pm EST!