It would be a
WIN / WIN day. It was the sixth and last of the 2004 Grand Bayou Race
by the Subaru Dealers of Louisiana. The battle for the Super
Production Championship would come down between two of the Mike Poupart
Motorsports cars. The points totaled so that if John Walter, in
his #98 Liberto Cleaners Corvette, started the race, he would win the
championship. If, for some reason, he could not start the race
and Mike Poupart,
driving Allan McDonnel's #44 Viper GTS, could win the race, he would
take the championship. The trash talk was going on all week prior
to the event as Mike had Johnny's car in the shop for race service and
Johnny had Mike's driving suit at the cleaners. Who would have
what they each needed to make the race?
Corvette and the Viper would be running on "what ever we had left"
tires. Poupart decided not to practice in order to save what
tires he had, and did some driver instruction with a driver in another
class that was battling for his own championship. Walter only
went out for a few laps to warm up the car.
qualifying plan for both cars would be to bring the cars up to
temperature, rip off a few hot laps, then put the cars away for the
race, again saving what tires we had left. On Walter's first "hot
lap", the left front hub and bearing assembly disintegrated. The
brake rotor was still attached to the wheel by the studs and kept the
wheel from coming off. He was able to control the car and not
stuff it into something, but had to leave it sitting just off the
outside of Turn 13. Poupart, on the other hand, qualified on the
pole again with a new personal best lap time of 1.16.770.
scenario was now being played out. We could not let the
championship be decided by Walter's broken car. We had
to fix the car. After our qualifying session, it was lunch break
for the track. Robbie Poupart went to the trailers and brought back the
parts and the tools to repair the Corvette right there on the side of
Turn 13. Robbie led the program and, with a little help from
others, he replaced the broken hub assembly to get the car rolling and
off the track before the lunch break was over. After returning to
our paddock area, Robbie went over all the work that was done on the
track and checked out the car for any further damage or repairs.
Johnny Walter's Corvette would make the race.
now knew that John Walter would make the race and win the
championship. The object of the day would be to just have fun and
enjoy racing. Mike and Johnny decided, since both other classes
that were on track at the same time as our race had battles for their
respective championships, they would start at the back of the pack and
let the other battles ensue. They would follow the field and
slowly work their way through the race.
the story of "best laid plans......". As the field was forming
up, just before the green flag, Johnny and Mike exchanged grins through
the windows and they each knew the race was on, at least between
them. When the green flag flew, they both dropped to the bottom
of the field, going three wide, and passed as many cars as possible
going into the first turn, Turn 10. Mike fell in line for the
second turn and Johnny moved his Corvette outside of the Viper and
passed him around Turn 11. Mike followed Johnny around the
outside to pass more of the field through Turns 12, 13, 14 and onto the
front straight. Entering Turn 1, they were running 3rd and 4th
overall. Another couple of passes entering Turns 4 & 5, and
they were 1 & 2. All this was pretty exciting to watch, but
the battle was still on between them. Through Turns 6 - 10 Johnny and
Mike swapped the lead back and forth, mostly running side by
side. By the end the first lap, Mike was leading in the Viper and
Johnny was a close second in his Corvette. From that point on it
was just a run to wear out the tires. Walter's tires went away
during the next few laps, so he just backed off to finish the
race. Poupart's tires lasted a little longer which allowed him to
clock another 116 lap during the race. Mike Poupart ended up
taking the win with John Walter about a half a lap back.
Just as we
said from the beginning, Mike Poupart won the race and John Walter won
the Super Production Championship. Not bad for Mike Poupart
Motorsports in 2004; one GBRS win early in the year for John Walter; a
win at the "Walter Mitty Challenge" at Road Atlanta; three consecutive
GBRS wins in the second half of the season by Mike Poupart; and a 1 -2
finish in the GBRS Super Production Championship chase (John Walter -
Mike Poupart respectively). Congratulations to both for a great
!!! CONGRATULATIONS !!!
#98 Liberto Cleaners Corvette
to John Walter for wining the "Super Production Championship" in the
2004 "Subaru Dealers of Louisiana, Grand Bayou Race Series" at No
in Belle Rose, Louisiana (located near Donaldsonville, LA).