By: Patty Poupart
Corvette drivers were encouraged to come out and autocross on Sunday,
January 16th at Delta Region’s first event of the new year. Delta
was gracious enough to let the Corvette drivers have their own “grudge”
class. There were a total of 10 Corvettes that registered for the
event, although only 8 of them were in the “Corvette Challenge”
class. There were a total of 9 GNOCC members autocrossing in 4
different classes. The overall turnout for the event was 128
drivers. It was evident in the morning, as we watched the long
line for registration, that it was going to be a long day. We all
know that a good turnout is the start of a great event, but a lot of
drivers on a long course would mean the sacrifice of 1 run per driver
in order to finish before dark.
started out cold with clear skies but the sun stayed with us throughout
the day and kept us warm enough to have fun. Patty Poupart was
the Chief Safety Steward for the event and together, she and Mike
Poupart would see to it that the course was laid out so that it
“flowed” and remained safe. The course design was the result of
input from the members of the NOLARides.com internet forum.
Benson Young, Delta’s 2005 Regional Executive, took the suggestions and
created a course that seemed to level out the playing field for all of
the cars and drivers.
Patty Poupart assisting with
course setup. Lori Vellutini Photo
effort to get more drivers in our grudge class, a few other Corvette
drivers were recruited into joining the 5 club drivers in the Corvette
Challenge. Mistake! Mike did a walk-through with the
Corvette drivers who listened intently as he gave the tips and tricks
to being able to find your way to what appears to be a sea of
Mike Poupart leading course
walk-through. Lori Vellutini Photo
Two of the
guys, one a novice and another “old guy”, both
driving Z06s, finished 1st and 2nd ahead of Patty for the three trophy
positions. Patty, becoming more comfortable in her silver ‘04
Z06, was only .255 seconds behind the 1st place driver and .017 seconds
behind the 2nd place driver.
Poupart pauses on the way to grid. Buddy Cook Photo
competition was fierce between the next two positions. Buddy Cook
and Lori Vellutini both started out a little cautious and clipped at
least 1 cone each, but shaved off quite a bit of time on the 2nd
runs. Buddy finished 4th with Lori only 1.001 seconds behind in
5th place. With her former autocross experience, Lori was able to
run straight up against the higher horsepower of Buddy’s silver ‘04 C5
while competing in her silver ‘96 C4 Collector’s Edition. We even
managed to sneak Lori back into line after her last run, but this time
she was behind the wheel of Buddy’s C5. I walked back to the
spectator area with Buddy to watch Lori’s first time driving a C5 in
competition mode. Lori blasted off the start, overcooked the
first turn and ran over cones. I thought Buddy was going to have
a heart attack! By the time Lori came off the course, she
managed to scoop up 3 cones underneath the C5, not counting the
ones she hit and left behind! But, being the wonderful person
that she is, Lori immediately took off her helmet upon returning to the
pit area, grabbed some polishing spray from her car, and took to
cleaning any cone marks off of Buddy’s pretty silver Corvette.
Lori Vellutini, Jim Boudreaux
Patty Poupart. Buddy Cook Photo
back in the field, Bob Himes started out driving his electron blue ‘02
Convertible on the same course the rest of us ran, but got confused on
the 2nd run and kinda made it up as he went along. When the time
showed up on paper, I actually thought he was giving Mike Poupart a run
for fastest time of the day until I was told he took a short cut!
Jim Boudreaux rounded out our Corvette Challenge group entering his
black ‘02 Z06. Jim seemed to have trouble with the course on his
1st run, but got a clean run on his 2nd try. Both Bob and Jim had
to leave early and did not get to make their 3rd run in the afternoon,
but finished 6th and 8th respectively. They just needed 1 more
run to gain a little more confidence!
least had the courtesy to run the Z06 in the Super Stock class where he
finished 1st against another SCCA Z06 driver. He laid down the
fastest time of the day on his 1st run with a 54.067 which held until
the last run. He got beat by a Honda S2000 that ran a 53.445, a
difference of .622 seconds. Mike was sideways in the finish on
his last run and gave it up in the interest of not taking out the
timing lights with the Z06. Good judgment call!
other GNOCC members competing in other classes at the event.
Chris Vial and Matt Blakesley ran in A-Stock co-driving Matt’s white
‘99 Trans Am. Matt finished .467 seconds ahead of Chris in 6th
and 7th place respectively. Lifetime Member, L.J. Lee ran his
black ‘04 Monte Carlo (Dale Earnhardt - Intimidator Edition) in H-Stock
finishing 2nd out of 4 drivers. Robert Pugh and Bill Folse came
out for support and enjoyed watching the racing.
personal note, Mike and I would like to thank our fellow club members
for joining us at this autocross and sharing one of the many ways we
enjoy our Corvettes. It was fun spending the time to show you the
ropes and thought you were all good sports for hanging in there through
a long day and hope you’ll come back again.