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2004 Grand Bayou Road Race Series - Event #4
October 2, 2004 

By: Patty Poupart

   The Mike Poupart Motorsports pit area was all about BIG horsepower for the 4th race of the 2004 Grand Bayou Race Series sponsored by the Subaru Dealers of Louisiana.  In the Super Production class, John Walter would be defending his points lead for the series in his #98 Liberto Cleaners Corvette, Mike Poupart would once again campaign Allan McDonnel's #44 Viper GTS, and John Centanni would be racing his #96 blue Corvette.  There were no other challengers in Super Production for this race.  Pete Alimia would be debuting his #93 Corvette (newly built by Mike Poupart) in the GTO class in his first race at NPR.  Pete would be one of 6 drivers in the GTO class.  In order to pit together, you had to get to No Problem Raceway before Saturday (race day).  The additional event for Wheels of America Spec Miata group on Saturday and the two Enduro events on Sunday would draw a lot of cars for the weekend. 

    On Saturday,
I was the only other person there in the morning for the warm-up/practice session and was trying to crew for all 4 cars.  It was very busy in the pit area and in the grid, making sure that everyone had what they needed, the mirrors were in the right position, etc., but you know me - I handled it all! Robbie Poupart and his friends (Mike, Dennis & Craig) showed up just as that first session ended and jumped in going right to work to get the cars ready for the qualifying session.  I was so happy to see them and they did a great job busting their butts all day!  The MP Motorsports cars qualified 1-2-3 with Poupart in the low 1:17s and Walter & Centanni following in the 1:18s.  Alimia, being cautious for his first race, concentrated on being very clean and qualified at the back of the grid.

    Robbie & his friend, Mike, worked for the whole team helping to get all 4 cars ready for the race.  Saturday's racing was exciting!  Poupart & Walter brought the field down nice & slow givng the pace car time to get out of the way before the green flag dropped in turn 10.  Poupart & Walter each took a turn leading in the first two turns.  Poupart led into turn 10 and Walter took the lead entering turn 11.  They swapped the lead again about midway through the race when Poupart got by Walter at the end of the front straight entering turn 1 giving Centanni a change of view from his 3rd place position.  Centanni, always looking for a place to pass either of the leaders, ran out of track while looking around the right side of Walter in turn 9.  Centanni slid off the track about 2/3 into the race and spun into a dirt embankment.  He was uninjured and signaled to the corner workers that he was OK.  Can't say the same about the car.  The ground effects for his car (an expensive Morrison body kit that doesn't exist any more) broke in several places.  Centanni has great in-car camera action of the close racing between Poupart and Walter, even the passes on the slower traffic, up until the point of his on-track boo-boo.  Walter's car died at the beginning of the last lap due to a dead battery getting no charge from the alternator.  Poupart won the race even though he was assessed a 1 lap penalty after the checker flag for instituting a pass before completing a standing yellow zone (area where Centanni was way off course).

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