Most guys around the age of Wayne Ducote are slowing down, ready to find that rocking chair on the front porch.
Ducote, though, is more inclined to be in a race car.
The New Orleans native will turn 70 years old Friday afternoon during Rounds 3 and 4 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama, part of a weekend of events at the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale.
Ducote will drive the No. 70 Kelly-Moss Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car in the Gold Cup championship and Gold Masters division of the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA)-sanctioned Single-Make Series.
“I don’t know that I’m (nearly) 70,” said Ducote, who has been behind the wheel of race cars for just 15 years. “I don’t think I’m 70. I’m in very good condition. It’s fun. It’s taken a long time to learn what I’ve learned. I’m still not at the top, but I’m at least competitive.”
So competitive, in fact, that he finished the season opener in Sebring, Florida, in third overall in Round 1. He’s now tied for second in the Gold Cup standings and is second in the Gold Masters. No wonder one of his sons, David, calls him a cyborg.
Ducote is one of several Louisiana natives will participate in this week’s events, including:
Like his father, David Ducote — also a New Orleans native (he now lives in Houston) — will race for Kelly-Moss Motorsports.
Lafayette native Jeff Mosing, now living in Austin, Texas, will join the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama field.
Lafayette native Sarah Montgomery will compete in the SCCA Pro Racing Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires.
Keith Dusko of New Orleans is racing in Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda, another IMSA series racing this weekend.
New Orleans native John Crosby is a residential housing developer racing for a New Orleans-based team, NOLAsport, also competing in Mosing’s series.
“It’s pretty amazing,” Crosby said. “We come out here all the time, but you don’t see this kind of equipment here. It’s big deal to us.”
Crosby has been involved with racing for three decades.
In 1995, he competed in the street circuit race in downtown New Orleans.
“This track, I’m a little bit more familiar with so you can say I have a little bit of an advantage,” he said.
Except, he added, the spots on the track which have been modified for this weekend.
Believe it or not, the elder Ducote calls racing relaxing. It’s a great time to focus on the task at hand and nothing else. After all, missing the brake or a turn-in point can be pretty costly. Age has taught him to be smart enough to know where and where not to pass on the track, as well as to start learning the sport with smaller engine cars before moving up.
Wayne Ducote has no plans to retire.
“Age is no barrier,” he said, “as long as you have good reflexes and are in good condition.”
In celebration of his 70th birthday, Ductore is planning a crawfish boil this weekend for his team. Another third place (or better) would be nice, too.
Ducote jokes that he’s looking forward to Dan Weyland (age 74) returning to the series following a back operation so he will no longer be the oldest guy on the series.
Columbia’s Simona De Silvestro, the Verizon IndyCar Series’ 2010 Sunoco Rookie of the Year, and American Sage Karam are late additions to this weekend’s 75-lap race on the 2.74-mile, 13-turn road course.
De Silvestro will drive the No. 25 Andretti Autosport Honda. Karam will drive the No. 8 Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Records Chevrolet for Chip Ganassi Racing Teams.
Both were originally one-race entries.
Last month, De Silvestro qualified 11th in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the first race of the 2015 IndyCar series schedule. It also marked her first Verizon IndyCar Series race since September 2013. She finished 18th.
Karam, meanwhile, finished 19th at St. Petersburg in his first Verizon IndyCar Series street course race.
De Silvestro is also slated to become Andretti Autosport’s fifth entry for the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500.
New is good
Team Penske appears to have a knack for new IndyCar venues.
Its drivers have won the last four debuts at new sites: Simon Pagenaud won on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course (2014); Will Power won at Baltimore (2011), while Sao Paulo and Helio Castroneves won at Barber (2010).