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Racing News

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2007 Schedule of Upcoming Events

We'd be happy to have you come out to see our teams race or plan for some driver instruction!  Please call us to confirm that we'll be attending any of the events listed.  The list is subject to change.  If you need any information specific to the event, please contact the organization or promoter holding the event.  Links to event organizers and promoters are shown after the schedule.

    Date          Event                                           Location
  Nov. 16-17    PCA Driver's Ed & Race Weekend         		No Problem Raceway - Belle Rose, LA
Dec. 1 Delta Region, SCCA - Autocross Zephyr Stadium Parking Lot - Metairie, LA
Dec. 1 Bryan Racing Lapping Day / GBRS Practice No Problem Raceway - Belle Rose, LA

Dec. 2 2007-08 Grand Bayou Race Series #3 No Problem Raceway - Belle Rose, LA
Dec. 8 Evotrack - Autocross EVO Center - Zachary, LA (flyer/registration form)

Links to Event Promoters:
Delta Region, Sports Car Club of America
Greater New Orleans Corvette Club
Historic Sportscar Racing, Ltd.
Mardi Gras Region Porsche Club of America
No Problem Raceway Park
Bryan Racing

Race Photos
If you participate in the Grand Bayou Race Series, there's a good chance we have a photo of your car in action on the track!  Email us with some basic information (event date, race group, car make/model/number/color) and we can check to see what photos we have with you in them.  We'll email thumbnails back to you and make arrangements for you to place your order through our secure on-line store.  Feel free to view all of our galleries at Poupart Photos.  Let us know what you think - we're always interested in your feedback.

Be sure to visit the Racing News Archives for stories on older events.
Grand Bayou Charity Challenge Road Race
  June 3, 2007

By:  Patty & Mike Poupart
Photos by:  Donald Tusa & Dennis Denuna (to be posted soon!)

    What began as an idea to have a road race to highlight sports car racing in southeast Louisiana and raise money for a charity at the same time quickly turned into a major fundraiser with support events all working for the same worthy cause.  With only 10 weeks of planning, and help from many sources, the Inaugural Grand Bayou Charity Challenge was able to present a check for $12,000.00 to UnlockingAutism.org, a national grassroots organization founded by Shelley Reynolds, of Louisiana, that offers help and links to resources for parents of autistic children.  We learned that our donation would fund the organization's 24/7 hotline for a whole year!  The event took place on Sunday, June 3, 2007 on the challenging 1.8 mile - 14 turn Grand Bayou Race Circuit at No Problem Raceway Park in Belle Rose, LA.  The Grand Bayou Race Series regulars provided exciting sports car road racing for the spectators and race fans alike.  Other fun events were held during the day including a 2-mile run, touring laps on the road course and a cruise-in for street rods, classic and exotic cars.  There were vendor booths, door prizes, 50/50 ticket sales and live music during the lunch break provided by Amanda Shaw and The Cute Guys.  There are so many people who volunteered their time and efforts to make this event happen, but huge thanks must be given to our co-organizers, Chris & Lois Wilken.

    Now for the inside scoop on the event from the race team's point of view.

    Mike Poupart Motorsports presented four cars to run in this event beginning with the #144 ex-Speedvision Cup Competition Coupe Viper driven by Mike Poupart.  Mike was joined in the Super Production class by Johnny Walter, driving the #98 Liberto Cleaners Corvette; Christian Francois, driving his #77 Corvette; and rookie, Robbie Poupart, driving the team's newly acquired #29 "Lumaro" (Camaro bumpers on a Lumina body) (actually an ex-Kelly American / IMSA GTO car), which only made it to the race due to the donation of a starter and used tires from Johnny Walter.  With all of the event excitement, the teams and drivers pulled together to help each other during the busy day with John Walter, Johnny's son, leading the way to make sure everyone's details were taken care of.  Mike Murphy helped Robbie throughout the day on details from fuel and tires to repairs and moral support.  Patty was busy being the MC (Mistress of Ceremonies) all day making public service announcements and calling the afternoon heat/feature races taking her away from her usual crew/photographer duties.

    Robbie's day did not start well.  He got a flat tire on the trailer on the way to the track in the morning.  His newly mounted race tires did not fit under the front fender wells of the car which necessitated trimming the body to make them fit.  Then, while moving Mike's dually to go run a quick errand, Christian ran over the front nose of Robbie's car which was sitting on the ground.  Now the decision to trim the body to make the tires fit didn't seem so drastic.  Using an assortment of tools to cut the fenders and taping up the rough edges, a bit of help from Christian and Mike Murphy, and a few encouraging words from family & friends, Robbie managed to make it to the grid in time for the practice session.  This was the first seat time he was getting in the car and, with no power steering, the car would be a monster to drive all day. 

    The practice session went well. Everyone came in early for different reasons. Robbie wanted to get an assessment of the new car, Mike had other event duties to attend to and Christian was developing a power steering leak.  The qualifying session was interesting.  Robbie spent most of it parked near the big oak tree off the side of the turn 1 runoff due to a wire that fell off the fuel pickup.  Mike's session was short again, only about 3 laps, but that was because he was hurrying to give Amanda Shaw a ride in the Viper before the session was over and she started to play music during the extended lunch break.  Christian's power steering leak became worse and un-repairable.  He qualified his Corvette in mid-pack, but did not run the feature race. 

    A special treat was in store for the drivers and spectators as Amanda Shaw sang the national anthem from the microphone in the drag race tower followed by a group of youngsters on the grid who gave the call for "Gentlemen, start your engines!"  The engines fired up and got the excitement level up high as the cars pulled out onto the track led by a Louisiana State Police Officer driving a Camaro police cruiser doubling as a pace car for the day.   At the front of the starting grid for the Super Production /GTO / Vintage V8 feature race would be Mike Poupart in the #144 Viper (SP) in P1, Johnny Walter in the #98 Corvette (SP) in P2, Ralph Wicker in the #24 Monte Carlo (SP) in P4, Steven Melton in the #21 Corvette (GTO) in P5, and Robbie Poupart in the #29 Lumaro in P6, followed by Mark Summers in the #88 Camaro (GTO) in P7 and newcomer to NPR, Bill Ironside, in his recently acquired #44 GT1 Oldsmobile (SP) in P8. The field would be thirteen cars deep with only two Vintage V8 cars in the mix.

    With lights flashing, a State Trooper led the group onto the racing circuit.  When he got to turn 8, he got the signal from the tower to drop off.  The lights on the car went out and it sped away from the field in order to clear turn 10 before the green flag was shown to the racers.  Mike brought the field down nice and slow.  When the green flag waved, Mike and Johnny went side by side through turns 10 and 11. Mike slipped a little on the outside and Johnny got the jump and led into turn 12.  And so the race began. There was never more than a car length between Johnny and Mike for the whole race, but Mike could not get by for the lead.  During the race, Robbie's car was smoking in most of the long right hand turns and he was experiencing intense heat from the exhaust system.  His steering wheel was also hot to the touch even with his driving gloves.  As the race neared the end, Wicker had already dropped out, Robbie had passed Melton and was running 3rd overall staying ahead of the remaining GTO drivers.  He fought the idea each lap to come in, but he knew it was close to the end and he would be mad if he quit just before the last lap.  Being a Poupart, he doesn't know the word "quit" and stayed out there.  After all he had been through all day, Robbie never quit.  The decision paid off.  He finished 1st in GTO and 3rd overall behind his Dad, Mike Poupart (2nd in SP) and Johnny Walter (1st in SP). We used the "Cool Shirt" system from the Viper to help Robbie recover from the heat and the fumes while we stood around and celebrated the 1-2-3 overall finish with two class wins for Mike Poupart Motorsports.

    We are very proud of Robbie for taking the class win in GTO in his very first road race, especially under the conditions he had with the car.  With some new exhaust, power steering, some real service and tires we are sure he will be a regular threat, possibly even to Super Production.            

    As event organizers, we want to thank ALL the drivers in ALL the classes.  Their entry fees went directly towards the fund raising efforts as did the entry fees from the 2-mile runners.  We had a good turnout from the spectators and we don't think anyone can say they didn't have a good time.  We're already talking about next year and the possibility of a 2-day event!

Johnny Walter
in his
Liberto Cleaners #98 Corvette

Johnny Walter celebrates with his daughter, Stephanie, and his wife, Mary Pat
(Patty Poupart Photo)

Congratulations to Johnny Walter for wining the "Super Production Championship" in the "2006-2007 Grand Bayou Race Series" at No Problem Raceway in Belle Rose, Louisiana (located near Donaldsonville, LA).  Johnny drives a 1996 Corvette built and maintained by Mike Poupart Motorsports.  This is his third Super Production Championship in the series. 

2006-2007 Grand Bayou Road Race Series - Event #6
March 30, 2007

By:  Patty & Mike Poupart
Photos by Patty Poupart

    The last race of the 2006-2007 Grand Bayou Road Race Series took place on a beautiful spring day with a good turnout of drivers and spectators.  Mike Poupart Motorsports presented 2 teams for competition - Johnny Walter #98 Liberto Cleaners Corvette and Christian Francois in the #77 Yellow Corvette.  Both Corvettes run against each other in the Super Production class and would have no other competition for this event. The practice and qualifying sessions went well for both drivers.  Christian dropped 2 wheels off on the driver's right in turn 4 without damage or further incident.  He just got the car really dirty on that side.  Christian qualified 6th overall in a field comprised of Super Production, GTO and Vintage V-8 cars giving him a mid-pack start for the race.  Johnny, who qualified on the pole, chose to drop to the rear of the entire field for the start of the race allowing himself the opportunity to race everyone in the field and to allow the opportunity for a good battle in the GTO class between Steven Melton in the #21 Wicker Building Supply Corvette and Chris Wilken in the #0 Buckeye Contractors Porsche, who would now sit side-by-side to take the green flag.  Melton got a good launch over Wilken at the start and theirs was a good battle to watch.  Melton expired early with a broken distributor before the end of the race, Wilken's car "shut off" setting him back a bit, leaving Doug Boozer in the #20 Allied Mortgage Panoz GTS to take the win in GTO.  Notably, Melton and Wilken experienced their mysterious problems when Walter's Corvette passed them.  Maybe Johnny sucked the electromagnetic field with him as he went by!

Super Production/GTO/Vintage V-8 drivers get green flag start  (Patty Poupart photo)

    Speaking of Johnny going by, it was a lot of fun to watch was Johnny maneuver his Corvette through half of the field by the completion of the first lap and then lead the entire field within the next two laps.  By starting at the back of the field he would be able to race with the other guys.  Then he goes and passes them all so quickly.  That's just not fair!  Fun to watch, but not fair!  Christian had a close call in the middle of the race when he caught Boozer's Panoz in turns 13-14 and attempted a pass on the front straight.  Both cars went deep into turn 1 and Christian, going a little too deep, spun off driver's left at turn 1 taking a long ride through the grass.  He got the car restarted and rejoined the race.  Johnny and Christian finished 1 - 2, respectively, in the Super Production class.

    Being the last race of the 2006-2007 series, lots of battles were being waged for class championships, and we would like to congratulate all of the champions!  Click the button/link below to view a slide show dedicated to the class champions and to the corner workers.

    Mike Poupart Motorsports always tries to do something special for the corner workers at the last event of the year.  We were able to give out hats, die cast models and other door prizes as gifts of appreciation to the corner workers.  This in no way compensates these individuals for the gift they give us each race by volunteering their time and efforts.  Without them, we would not be able to safely hold each race.  We would like to thank John Durham for his efforts this year as the coordinator of the Korner Crew.  We understand he will not be returning as the coordinator next year.  Most importantly, we would like to congratulate Roger Corby for being named Corner Worker of the Year.  A special award of appreciation was given to Jack Butler, who is retiring from Registration / Timing & Scoring duties.  Jack's contributions and efforts to the timing & scoring team have played a major part in the development of the way this series is handled in the tower.  One more individual stands out above the rest - Tom Walter.  He goes largely unrecognized by many but his voice is known by all the corner workers.  His is the voice of Race Control.  Tom calmly directs the show from his seat in the tower no matter how big the excitement is on the track.  And last, but not least, we'd like to acknowledge Winston Landymore for his time and efforts in continuing to administer and oversee the series even though it is no longer his job at the track.

    The 2007-2008 series starts in October.  In the meantime, we'll be co-producing the Inaugural Grand Bayou Charity Challenge Road Race to benefit Unlocking Autism.org.  The race takes place on Sunday, June 3, 2007 at No Problem Raceway.  Many of our regulars from the Grand Bayou Race Series will be racing for charity.  Come out and race or spectate - all proceeds will go to this worthy charity.  There will be lots of activities going on besides the racing.  Check out the Mike Poupart Motorsports home page for more info as well as links for entry forms and sponsor forms.

2006-2007 Grand Bayou Road Race Series - Event #5
February 25, 2007

By:  Patty & Mike Poupart
Photos by Patty Poupartt

    We present two different perspectives of this event.  Patty spent most of the day out and about on the race course taking photos and Mike was in the pit, grid and the reviewing stands. 

    After several events of taking photos from the reviewing stands in the pit area, off of turn 13 and off of turn 14, I got permission to go way out to the other end of the track to a deer stand I spotted some time ago off the driver's left of turn 5.  Winston Landymore gave me a ride out there and, with help from Winston and Brian Johnson, we managed to get it standing upright and somewhat sturdy.  Winston made sure no critters were inside and I gathered up my gear and climbed the narrow ladder to perch myself up in the deer stand and await the start of the next race group.  The wind was blowing pretty good the the stand swayed slightly from time to time.  The trick would be not to move around too much, so changing lenses and maneuvering the tripod would have to be done gently and without any jerky movements.  I settled into the swivel chair looking over my shoulder to the pond from time to time to see if I could spot the alligator Winston told me about.  During the formula car race, I realized I wasn't able to see the action in turn 4 and I wasn't too comfortable with the swaying of the deer stand.   It wasn't set very deep in the mud and I was worried it would tip over and I'd be jumping out like the guard in the tower on F-Troop.  (Old TV show a LONG time ago!)  So, I loaded my camera over my shoulder, the camera bag on my back and the tripod in my teeth and climbed down the narrow ladder.  Inching my way out along the ditch, I could see the cars in turn 4 yet remain in a safe place.  The bracket group was on track and I and was able to improve my photos from my new vantage point.  Then I thought about the alligator and began to watch over my shoulder in between shots.  The Super Production / GTO / Vintage V-8 race was getting ready to start, so I made a run for the worker station in turn 5 and kept company with Brian Johnson for the next couple of races.  That was a good place for great action photos, especially for the battles between the big V-8s and then the Spec Miatas, but I have my sights set on a few other spots for the next race. 

    The day was filled with lots of hard charging excitement as the 2006-2007 Grand Bayou Road Race Series presented Event #5 at No Problem Raceway.  The series winds down to just one race left after today.  Johnny Walter leads the Super Production class in the #98 Liberto Cleaners Super Production Corvette.  Scotty Bolduc, in the #359 Porsche 996, returned to the series for the first time in about a year and was looking forward to some wheel-to-wheel battles with Johnny, but Scotty didn't give much of a fight.  Christian Francois pulled into the pit area with his new enclosed trailer for the #77 Corvette.  He fixed up the inside very nicely and it
helps to make the pit area a little more confortable for the Mike Poupart Motorsports teams.  Since I broke out of the GTO class while driving the car last month, Christian now enters the car in the Super Production class.  Christian drove well all day with no mistakes qualifying 4th in Super Production behind Scotty, who qualified 3rd.  Johnny, who had the pole position, lined up next to Ralph Wicker, who qualified 2nd in the #24 Monte Carlo.  Johnny got a good jump at the green flag and stayed ahead of the bumping between two GTO entries that were behind him battling for position in turn 1 on the first lap.  Wicker went out a few laps later with driveline troubles and Christian was able to move up a few spots.  It wasn't long before Johnny began lapping the back of the GTO & Vintage V-8 field.  Christian stayed clean and fought a few good battles for overall position finishing 2nd in class.  Meanwhile, Johnny took the win in Super Production and the overall win for the race.  He clinches his third Super Production Championship with today's win. 

2006-2007 Grand Bayou Road Race Series - Event #4
January 28, 2007

By:  Patty & Mike Poupart
Photos by Patty Poupart

    The day started out with cool temperatures that heated up as the day went on, both on and off the track, at the fourth event of the 2006-2007 Grand Bayou Road Race Series at No Problem Raceway Park.  In spite of the chilly weather, the overall turnout for the event was about 65 cars.  The Mike Poupart Motorsports pit area was a busy, bustling place to be all day what with 2 teams to crew and watch over as well as 3 customers who needed a bit of driver instruction and car care.  Our son, Robbie Poupart, was a tremendous help to the effort as he took over driver communications among other crew duties.  Those radio headsets keep out so much noise that when you wear them you don't realize how loud you talk to everyone around you.  Got that, Rob?!!  Patty concentrated on photography and keeping warm while Mike seemed to be everywhere at once. 

    Let's talk about the teams and players for the day.  Johnny Walter, in the #98 Liberto Cleaners Super Production Corvette, provided "home base" with his enclosed trailer.  His wife, Mary Pat, kept the lounge area warm and organized and the windows on the race car clean.  Their son, John, came out later in the day with his girlfriend, Jackie, to support Johnny and watch the racing.  Johnny had his motor tweaked up a notch and added a new Jerico transmission with different gear sets.  His plan was to learn the changes during warm-up and practice, but we know he would be anxious to see how well his new improvements would perform.

    Returning after a long hiatus while his car was being refurbished, Christian Francois entered his #77 Corvette in the GTO class.  Christian was nervously looking forward to getting behind the wheel to see how it handled with the coilover suspension conversion Mike engineered.  Pitted around us were some new racing friends and customers, namely, Doug Boozer in the #20 Panoz GTS running the the GTO class; Ray Tipton in his newly acquired #93 Corvette which was entered in the Yellow Bracket group; and Mark Summers in a newly acquired #92 GT-1 Camaro also entered in the GTO class.  The combined total of the Super Production / GTO / Vintage V-8 cars was about 18 and made for quite a bit of exciting racing throughout the day.

    To set the scene, Johnny, Christian and Mike have been racing together and against one another for a long time.  They were always referred to as the Bayou Boys Racing® team back in the day.  On this day, Mike was crew chiefing for both of them.  Another ironic twist is that Christian's car, a 1977 Corvette, was formerly owned by Johnny prior to the building of his 1996 "super car" so, naturally, a lot of kidding, cutting up and trash talking was going on.  What fun!  An agreement had also been made between Christian and Johnny that they would run their old hard tires for this event.  No new rubber for either car.  That would certainly make it interesting. 

    During warm-up and practice, Johnny's car seemed to feel good and handle fine while Christian's car ran great but handled like crap.  Just short of half-way through the session, Christian brought the car in to the hot pit so that Mike could look it over.  Before we knew it, Christian was out of the car and Mike was in the driver's seat to take it back out for about 5 laps to get a feel for what might be wrong.  Before the session, Mike made a promise to Mark Summers to drive the Camaro to check the balance on it.  As soon as Mike brought the Corvette in, he jumped out of it and into the Camaro and headed back out onto the track to squeeze in a couple more laps before the session was over.  Whew!  The Camaro felt great and Mike was able to give Mark a lot of confidence in the car since no changes were deemed necessary.  The coilover conversion on the Corvette seemed fine, but the alignment felt off. 
Time for some quick changes and adjustments on Christian's car. 

    Christian was still a bit nervous about things being worked out on the car and he asked Mike to take it back out and check the alignment.  Mike communicated to Robbie on the radio that the car was feeling better with each lap.  Christian urged him to finish the session to make sure everything was O.K.  When the session was over, Mike qualified the #77 Corvette at P3 behind Johnny's #98 Corvette which was on the pole and Ralph Wicker's #24 Monte Carlo in P2.  Unfortunately, Ralph broke his motor and the #77 Corvette moved up to P2 for the race.   During qualifying, the
power steering fluid leaked a bit onto the header of the #77 Corvette causing some smoke.  Robbie replaced the hose and cured the problem before the car would go out on the track again. 

    As the cars pulled into the grid for their feature race, the two Corvettes sat side-by-side for the front row.  Nice photo op!  Johnny and Mike would go head-to-head with horsepower against finesse.  As the cars rounded turn 9 on the pace lap, they waited for the green flag.  And they waited.  Finally the flag came out and Johnny got the jump into turn 10 which put Mike door-to-door with Steve Melton's #21 Corvette before he charged forward to stay on Johnny's bumper.  As the field rounded turns 10-14, they began to stretch out a little with 3 Corvettes running 1-2-3 followed by the red Ferrari, the Mini Cooper and the Panoz.  By the 2nd lap past the reviewing stands, the silver Ferrari of Franco Valobra made its way into 7th place.  Not bad considering he started the race late and was the last car to take the green flag. 

Christian's car was running and handling great and Mike settled into a steady rhythm about 6 car lengths behind the Liberto Cleaners Corvette.  Soon he was catching Johnny and the #98 Corvette was in the way. 
Then the #77 Corvette was in Johnny's mirrors - all of them.  For two laps, Mike kept getting beside Johnny but couldn't complete the pass.  When Johnny & Mike would go through turn 14 and onto the front straight side-by-side, Christian would get VERY nervous!  Valobra had his Ferrari in the third spot but didn't have enough to get past the two lead Corvettes.   About 3/4 through the race, the older Corvette passed its former owner in turn 5 and took over the lead.  The stands were going wild and Christian stood on the top seats with his chest puffed out touting how good it was to be the car owner. 

    The race finished with the #77 Corvette taking the overall race win and the #98 Corvette finishing in 2nd with the Super Production class win.   Valobra's Ferrari finished the race in 3rd position and a 2nd place finish in Super Production.  Mike drove hard to enjoy racing with his buddy, Johnny, and his fastest race lap was a 1:19.9?? which was 1/10th of a second faster than the 1:20.000 limit on lap times that forces GTO cars to run in the Super Production class.  Since the #77 was entered in GTO, Mike was disqualified for the class win in GTO, which was then passed to Steve Melton. 

    It was another weekend of good racing with friends and everyone did well.  Lots of fun with no damage and no broken cars which is always the goal.   Thanks to the team and crew for the help and support.  We'll be back for the next race on February 25th.

2006-2007 Grand Bayou Road Race Series - Events #1-3
October - November - December, 2006

By:  Patty & Mike Poupart
Photos by Patty Poupart

    Apologies are in order for our neglecting to keep you informed and up-to-date on the race happenings.  Life seems to get in the way for all of us from time-to-time.  We will be recapping the first three events of the 2006-2007 Grand Bayou Road Race Series.  This is something new - the series now runs 6 consecutive months during the winter.  In southern Louisiana, racing in the winter sure beats the heat during the summer months.  It also frees up drivers and cars to race elsewhere during the rest of the year. 

    Mike decided not to drive Allan McDonnel's #44 Viper GTS this year in order to take care of some personal responsibilities at home.  However, this doesn't keep us away from the track!  We still have drivers and cars that need our attention and TLC at the events.  We certainly can't let our friends down! 

    We would like to welcome Doug Boozer to the race series.  Doug is a customer of Mike Poupart Motorsports and is racing his newly acquired #20 Panoz GTS in the GTO class. 

    We can't remember all of the details of the beginning of the season.  The events have been somewhat overshadowed by the loss of our friend, Jose' Gonzales, who died in an automobile accident on the way home from the October event.  In short, Johnny Walter, driving the #98 Super Production Corvette, has won the first three races in the series and, with three races left, has a good probability of winning another championship in Super Production. 
As Doug settles in with his new car, he has managed a couple of second place finishes in his first two races and shows improvement each time out.  Stay tuned!  We'll have more to come and promise to keep you better informed for the rest of the season.

Remembering Our Friends
We raced with 'em and against 'em, towed and traveled with 'em,
and governed our car clubs with 'em.
So many stories.  So many memories.
We won't forget.

Jose' R. Gonzalez
March 5, 1965 - October 7, 2006


Jose' was a good friend who had a passion for cars and enjoyed racing with his friends. 
He loved his family and was a great dentist who was concerned with giving his patients
 the best service possible.  We were among the last ones to see him that day and
he left us with a happy heart and a smile.  He is greatly missed by many.

  Sidney J. deLeon, III
February 12, 1939 - January 28, 2006


Sid was as fierce a competitor in autocrossing as he was with everything he was involved with.
He was quick witted, always had a joke to tell and loved life almost as much as his wife, Gail.
Sid was committed to the future of autocrossing and helping the newbies.
 It was going to be a long call when you answered the telephone and Sid was on the other end,
"Got a minute?"

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UPDATED November 13, 2007