Sure, you’re a responsible driver—using your turn signal, yielding to pedestrians, always keeping an eye on that speedometer—but sometimes, you just want to see what she can do. You want to cut loose, put your foot on the gas and channel your inner Earnhardt.
You can do just that at the NOLA Motorsports Park. That’s right, anyone with a car (who meets the track’s age, licensing and safety requirements) can go for a thrill drive during the park’s Open Track Days. Ride a motorcycle? There are Open Track Days for those too!
Yes, NOLA Motorsports Park, which officially opened June 2012, is the place for speed demons and race fans—and birthday boys, business folks and others. The park is actually an events facility with a motorsports theme, where you can host a large or small meeting or event, or just bring your family for a Saturday of fun. The 700-plus-acre park is located in Avondale, just a 20-minute drive from New Orleans’ famous French Quarter. At NOLA Motorsports Park, you can be a part of the action, or take in one of the facility’s exciting professional races, like the AMA Pro Road Race season finale in October.
One of the park’s most popular features is its kart racing. In fact, they have the largest karting track in the country. With more than 1.4 miles of track, the park can host up to three karting events simultaneously. Their “Arrive & Drive” rental karting is available seven days a week for anyone 52 inches or taller (a waiver is required for drivers under 18). The 10-minute racing sessions can be pretty intense, but once you’ve mastered the course, join one of the park’s competitive karting leagues.
There's much more to do at NOLA Motorsports Park, including refueling at the Kart Cafe, which features burgers, gourmet hot dogs and roast beef po-boys by New Orleans chef Scott Boswell, owner of the acclaimed Stella! Restaurant. In addition to the kart track and the road course North Track, a 7.5-acre autocross pad is available for timed competitions, defensive driving classes and more. A second road course track and an automatic weapons range are in the works for the events facility, which is also planning trackside villas complete with ground-floor garages and upper levels outfitted for corporate entertaining or living spaces.
The need for speed can be quite addictive, but there’s another popular Louisiana motorsport that’s all about power—mud bogging. This down and dirty sport draws a good-time crowd who bring their trucks, Jeeps, four-wheelers and more to power through a messy, muddy pit without getting stuck.
Each year, thousands of folks head to Colfax for Louisiana Mudfest, an almost 400-acre park with plenty of mud and lots of room for families to camp and fish. Boaters can put in on the Red River. The park is open year-round for mud bogging, but it hosts four major events each year. Trucks Gone Wild kicks off their season in April, followed by events celebrating Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day. Those weekends include live music, concessions and other special events. The former cattle farm turned mud mecca has been featured on CMT, the Travel Channel and the Outdoor Channel.
Park owners say they've seen folks riding everything from Jeeps to lawnmowers through the mud course, but even if you don't have a ride, you can still enjoy the fun as a spectator.
About an hour and a half west of Colfax, near the beautiful Toledo Bend Lake, the town of Zwolle hosts a mud bogging event during its annual Tamale Fiesta each October and Loggers and Forestry Festival each spring. Mud pits on the festival grounds are open to the public. Nearby Negreet, also hosts MTM Mud Truck Madness Mudfest each Good Friday.
If you "brake for fun," be sure to check out Louisiana's motorsports and share a photo of your ride with us on Facebook.com/louisianatravel.