Racing News Archives
Grand Bayou Road Race Series Opener
January 31, 2004
By: Patty Poupart
Raceway was the setting for the first race of the 2004 Grand Bayou Road
Race Series presented by Subaru Dealers of Louisiana. The 2004
series started Saturday, January 31st and will run as a six race
program for the third year of racing at the Belle Rose, LA track
adding a 90
minute enduro race during the October and November events.
Poupart Motorsports presented two teams for competition; John Walter in
the #98 Liberto Cleaners Corvette running in Super Production, and
Christian Francois returns to racing this year in the #77 Corvette
running the new GTO class. The GTO class runs at the same
time as Super Production and Vintage V8, each group being scored as its
within the race. Christian practiced well in the morning
warm-up working a few bugs out of the new motor and clearing the
from his head.
qualifying session, Christian radioed that the car's handling had gone
bad... very bad. He pulled the car over and parked outside of
turn 8 expecting a flat tire. When Mike arrived to change the
tire, they found that the rear end housing had broken off the
frame! The timing for such a repair couldn't have been better
since it was time for the event's lunch break. Luckily, Christian
had a spare rear end in his trailer and together Mike & Christian
changed it right where the car sat outside of turn 8 managing to get
the job done just as the workers were returning to their stations for
the first race of the afternoon.
half session he did run, Christian qualified 4th on the grid which
wasn't bad for his first race in almost a year since rebuilding a motor
after his experiences at the Walter Mitty Race at Road Atlanta in May,
2003. John Walter missed out on practice and qualifying due to
having to deal with real life responsibilities (we hate that "r"
word!), and was forced to line up on the grid at the back of his
class. When you are used to qualifying either on the pole or on
front row, it is a different view from "back in the pack." Mike
had to use a different pre-race driver coaching technique with John who
would be starting the race in traffic instead of the lead. John
and Christian would have to be patient and move up one car at a time in
order to be there for the win at the end of the race.
Johnny doesn't listen very well! When he saw
the green flag he launched the car to the 3rd place position while
entering the first turn. So much for patience! The move put
him nose-to-tail with his competition, Scotty Bolduc's Porsche 996,
recently upgraded to GT1 specifications, and Randy Greff's Porsche
930. At the start,
Francois fell into the 5th position overall. This race was a
fierce battle from
flag to flag.
The lead swapped about 8 times
between the 2 Porsches and the Liberto Cleaners Corvette. The
pressure of the
battle and a dirty track caused all three drivers to over-drive their
race cars resulting in two spins by Greff and one by Bolduc. Both
drivers recovered quickly from their spins without incident.
About mid race, Francois brought his car into the pits concerned about
his fading brakes and decided it was safer to quit early and still be
race another day.
In the end, it
was Randy Greff with the win, followed very closely by John Walter in
2nd and Scotty Bolduc in 3rd. This was the most fiercely fought
race we've seen in Super Production since no one driver was able to
take the lead with any distance over the other competitors. Our
compliments go to all three drivers for some very close nose-to-tail
and door-to-door racing without incident. See you at the races!