Aside from the professionals who make a living at racing, the rest of
us do this for fun. The trophy does not justify the expense and
the bragging rights are the real glory. The time shared with
friends and the personal enjoyment is why we keep doing this. Read on.
This would be the last race in the 2005
Grand Bayou Race Series sponsored by Subaru Dealers of Louisiana.
It was supposed to be a nice easy day at the races. I had already
been informed that all I had to do was finish third and I would win the
championship for the year. I grabbed some left over tires and
planned to just enjoy a no pressure race and finish in the points for
the championship. Mike Poupart Motorsports again
only entered one car, Allan
McDonnel's Viper. Robbie Poupart was again crew
We practiced the car on the tires from the last
race. The laps felt fast and the car seemed to be balanced better than
it had been in a couple of races. This made it very easy to drive. We
swapped the tires to our race set for qualifying and all the handling
went away. The car picked up a terrible understeer. I was only
able to qualify at a 1.17.???, not anywhere close to John Crosby's
Porsche GT3 at a 1.15.???. Robbie studied the two sets of tires
and decided the practice set would not make it to the end of the
race. We were forced to stay on the race set. Again, I only
had to finish third or better to win the championship. I
conceded to just chase Crosby the best that I could.
John Crosby (far right)
spins as field scrambles to avoid contact. Robin Melton photo
Eleven cars took the green flag, with the same
scenario from the last few races, Crosby's Porsche on the pole and me
on the outside. Exiting the second turn after the flag, Crosby
got on the throttle a little too hard and spun in front of the whole
field. I followed the tail of the Porsche around as I went by and
the rest of the field scrambled not to make contact. As I exited
turn fourteen and was going down the front straight, the reality of
what just happened hit me. RUN & RUN FAST!!!
I was now the fox in the fox hunt.
knew Crosby would quickly cut through the field and the Porsche would
be coming fast. I figured he was a second or so faster per lap
and if I had a twenty second or more lead, I could beat him to the
checked flag and not have to go wheel to wheel for the finish. It
was time to drive for all it was worth and, with an ill-handling set of
tires, I had to go for it. I peered across the infield wherever I
could until I picked him out in the field. After I realized he
had cleared the second place car I watched my mirrors for the
Porsche. I've never watched my mirrors so closely, not even in
fierce battles, all the while concentrating on not making any
mistakes. Even a slightly slower lap would be better than a
The halfway signal from the flag
stand seemed to take forever, but the second half of the race went very
quickly as things got interesting. It was time to catch the back
markers and I had literally driven the tires off the car. They
were overheated and greasy making the car both understeer and
oversteer. I looked way ahead, planned my passes and hoped Crosby
would have someone hold him up. Once I could see the Porsche in
my mirrors, I could see it closing on me ever so quickly. Crosby
was going to catch me and I did not think I had enough car to race with
him. I knew the race had to be over soon. I did not know it
at the time, but Crosby caught me on the second to last lap. I
had to do my best and not leave him any opportunities to pass. I
took away all room in the brake zones and my loose car did not leave
anything on the corner exits for him to take advantage of. We got
the one-to-go signal from the flag stand and I was determined to make
the Viper as wide as the track. Crosby tried everything he could
and actually got along side me between turns ten and eleven. In
the last couple of turns before the main straightaway leading to the
checked flag, we came upon one last back marker. . . Ken Laborde's
Porsche. This was Crosby's team mate and I knew they had radio
communications between them. I waited until the last minute to
execute the pass, not to give a hint of which way I was going to
go. I went to the outside leading onto the straight. Ken
tried to squeeze me a little and I lifted for a millisecond.
Crosby took the Porsche to the inside and it was a three car wide drag
race to the flag. My little lift on the throttle gave the Porsche
all it needed against the Viper's big V-10 for a side-by-side
finish. I took the win by three tenths of a second. NOW THAT WAS FUN!
On the cool
down lap we swapped the congratulatory thumbs up and rode side-by-side
for a few turns. After we returned to the pits and and cooled of
for a few minutes, Crosby walked over to shake hands and share
stories. While he was there he asked where my transponder was
located because if it was not in the nose, I would have lost.
At the finish line - Mike
Poupart, Viper (center)
holds off John Crosby, Porsche (left) for the
Super Production win as they pass Ken Laborde,
Porsche (right) at the checkered flag.
Like I said, we do this because of the thrill and
the time spent with good people and t
is the time and the space to recognize everyone. It is also the
irreversible time to leave someone out, so excuse me if I do.
First of all to my wife, Patty. Her support is
outstanding. Special thanks to Allan McDonnel for his trust and
the opportunity to drive his race car. The championship is what I
can offer him in return.
Thanks to my son, Robbie, for taking the time when I
needed him. To my son, Shane, my sister, Shawn, her husband,
Donald, and my family members and close friends who came out to support
me during the year.
A salute to all the people who come out each race
and work so we can play. To the guys in the tower, registration,
tech and the corner workers, without you we would not have this
opportunity. I hope I do my part entertaining you and making your
To the other drivers that made Super Production
thrilling to say the least. John Crosby, John Walter, John
Centanni, Randy Greff, Scottie Buldoc and Mike Shetler.
To Jimmy Talbot and his son, Mike, for their show of
camaraderie in going home and taking parts off their street car so a
competitor could make the race.
To all the friendships that have grown through the
year. ( I know better than to try and name all of those).
Finally, congratulations to all the racers who won their
respective championships, race(s) or just an overall best finish or
lap time during the year.
!!! CONGRATULATIONS !!!
Allan McDonnel's #44 Dodge Viper GTS
Mike Poupart with his sister, Shawn
showing off the day's winnings.
to Mike Poupart, driving Allan McDonnel's #44 Dodge Viper GTS, for
wining the "Super Production Championship" in the
Grand Bayou Race Series sponsored by Subaru Dealers of Louisiana" at No
in Belle Rose, Louisiana (located near Donaldsonville, LA).