Racing News Archives
HSR Walter Mitty Challenge - 2004
Road Atlanta, GA
April 30 - May 2, 2004
By: Patty & Mike
After a couple
of months with no racing, Mike Poupart Motorsports took two race cars
to the Walter Mitty Challenge at Road Atlanta in Braselton, GA.
This is a great annual event put on by Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR)
and is worth the trip whether you are racing or spectating. We've
done both and always had a good time. To see all the historic
race cars on display where you can walk up and see them up close is
exciting. To watch their proud owners take them out on the track
in wheel-to-wheel action at top speeds is exhilarating. It just
goes to prove that old race cars never die!
Francois brought his 1977 Corvette (#77) and Mike Poupart brought Allen McDonnel's "Speedvision GT" 1998 Viper GTS
for a weekend of racing at historic Road Atlanta. Patty Poupart
was there as crew and photographer.
the Thursday test day, we only entered the Corvette. Mike and
Christian shared the driving in alternating sessions to work out the
handling and check the new brakes. This was also an opportunity
both drivers to get more familiar with the track. Test day
grouping of classes put us in the same group with the Winston Cup and
IMSA cars. It proved to be fun. We were passed by some and
faster than others. It gave us a little confidence knowing that
we would get better as the weekend progressed. We put the car
away at the end of the day still running with no scratches. This
was new for us!
the practice day. The weather changed and so did the outlook for
the rest of the weekend. The
forecast was rain, rain, and more
rain. It was raining for our first practice session. We
liked the idea that nothing was torn up yet, so we decided to sit that
one out. Shortly before lunchtime, the rain stopped and
laps was about to start. What better than a long line of cars on
street tires to dry the track. We must have been doing something
right because just as we went to the grid the skies got lighter and
looked promising. We had a damp track with a dry line.
Christian in his Corvette ran a good clean session. On the other
hand, Mike in the Viper experienced a problem on the last lap. As
he put it, coming out of turn 7, he heard a "thump" in the rear of the
car and quickly checked the mirrors to see if he had been bumped.
He noticed he was all alone. At the end of the long back
straight, when he lifted and down-shifted for turn 10a, EVERYTHING just
shut OFF! He coasted into the pits just as the checkered flag was
shown and barely made it into the paddock area. After he got
towed back to the trailer, we checked out the car and found that the
battery fell out. Ooops! We figured out that the battery
tray broke in turn 7
and the cables finally broke off the post while under braking for turn
10. It turned out to be a short trip to NAPA and a quick repair
before we went to the sponsor's party. We checked the results for
the day and Mike was running about 6 seconds per lap faster than 2nd
place. Christian's practice times placed him 13th out of
approximately 26 cars in the class.
was due on the grid first thing Saturday morning for qualifying.
It was raining - again. Ten minutes before our group was to be on
track, the grid was still empty. At five minutes to go, eleven
cars showed up on grid. Not us! Our cars were still in one
piece and we liked it that way. As the day wore on, it continued
to rain letting up from time to time and actually stopped altogether
and cleared up enough for the sun to break through the clouds for our
second qualifying race. Mike was still fastest from the practice
times in the Viper and lined up at the pole position with a Porsche in
the number two slot. The green flag dropped and Mike jumped
out to an early lead over the rest of the class. It didn't take
long before he was 11 seconds per lap faster than the rest of the
field. He was able to get in a few fast laps before he started
lapping the slower cars and getting into some traffic. Christian
moved up from 13th to 5th place before he got a very fast run down
through the "esses" and braked too deep into turn 5 getting the back of
the car loose entering the corner. He dropped the left front
wheel off at the apex and the car hooked into the grass sliding very
neatly sideways until he touched the
concrete wall. Christian
says, "The wall becomes VERY LARGE as you get closer."
was wet from the rain all weekend and he was stuck where he
stopped. He got out of the car and stood nearby
his car watching
the remainder of the session. The car suffered only a damaged
rear wheel and no broken fiberglass. After the checkered flag, he
got a tow out of the grass and drove it back to the pits.
Christian put the car on the trailer and we put the Viper away for the
night before going to the hospitality party.
Patty split her time during the weekend doing double duty as crew and
photographer. She made sure both drivers had what they needed
before each session and went to the hot pits when they pulled into
grid. She took pictures from the fence on the front straight,
from various positions up and down the hot pits and in the last session
on Saturday she was in the truck moving around the track to get some
different camera views. It's not easy being everywhere at once.
With a threat of
Sunday and Christian's car on the trailer, we decided to load up and go
home early. We were happy with the results and had a good time in
spite of the weather.