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Grand Bayou Road Race Series Opener
January 31, 2004

By: Patty Poupart

    No Problem 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.

    Mike 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 own class within the race.  Christian practiced well in the morning warm-up working a few bugs out of the new motor and clearing the cobwebs from his head. 

    During the 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.

    In the 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 the 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 able to 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!

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