Equipment for Race Day Requirements

Mike Poupart Motorsports has the equipment you need to meet your race day requirements!

AMBit Transponders (get your own and don't get left out!) 380.00 for hard-wired
420.00 for rechargeable

Call us for your HANS device and custom fitting. This is now required by GCRS! We can also order all safety equipment, belts, window nets helmets, Hoosier race tires, etc.

Mike Poupart Motorsports
504-472-0400
130 Veterans Blvd., Suite E Kenner, LA 70062 mikepoupartmotorsports.com

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Rolex 24 at Daytona - January 24-27, 2008

The race teams needed a little R&R (rest & relaxation), so we got together for a trip to Daytona, Florida for the Rolex 24 hour race. The trip was the brainstorm of Mark Summers (Red #88 GTO Camaro) who thought it would be good fun for a "guys" weekend at the Rolex 24-hour race at Daytona Speedway. The only problem was that Mike wasn't going without me, especially since I've been begging him for about 10 years to take me to Daytona to watch the 24-hour race from the infield. So I was the only girl - which isn't a big deal because when you race with the guys, you are one of the guys.

The players on this weekend, besides Mike and I, are Mark Summers (a/k/a Mr. Summers in the important circles), Chris Wilken (Red #01 GTO Corvette), Johnny Walter (Yellow #98 Super Production Corvette) and his son - John Walter, Robbie Poupart, three of Mark's friends who I will name by nicknames for their protection - Tater, Herm & Chim-Chim, the pilot - Ben, and his co-pilot - Jim.

Mark's "original" idea was to have everyone take the 1.5 hour flight on his family's private jet on Friday (25th) after work and come back on Sunday (27th) right after the race. Mark has a very nice, very big motor home and it wasn't long before Mike & Chris were volunteering to leave a day earlier and drive the motor home to Daytona so we would have it parked in the infield. Everyone else planned to meet at 5:00 p.m. on Friday at the airport in Slidell, LA where the jet is kept in a private hangar. Somewhere along the way, I realized part of the true beauty of flying on a private jet. No security! No luggage restrictions! No lines! No time schedules! And no one would be left behind if they arrived a few minutes late!

I was the first to arrive 'cause if anyone was going to be late, it wasn't going to be me! I met the pilot standing on the steps in the open hatchway and, after introductions, he came to my car, took my luggage and got it ready to be put on board. He instructed me to park the Corvette inside the hangar. Sweet! Secure parking for the weekend! Everyone arrived within the next 30 minutes and we were boarded and off the ground just after 5:00 p.m. We hadn't been in the air 5 minutes when I realized another great thing about flying on a private jet. No alcohol or drink restrictions! The Crown was flowing and everyone was getting pretty wound up about going to Daytona. We moved around the plane swapping seats, getting to know "the new guys" and generally cuttin' up. We were all about half hammered by the time the jet touched the ground in Daytona!

We deplaned on the tarmac near the terminal and transferred our luggage to the Ford Excursion that was waiting for us. Another car was waiting for the flight crew. I made a cell phone call to Mike & Chris to let them know we were on the ground. They saw a jet land at the time we should have been arriving and were already making their way to the front gates to meet us. We picked them up outside the gates and Robbie drove us to dinner at a restaurant highly recommended by Chris. A round of drinks were ordered along with some great food and we started to catch up on the travel stories.

We got the story from Mike & Chris about how they parked the motor home inside the track a day earlier than they were supposed to. They arrived at the track around 9:00 a.m. on Friday morning to pick up all the tickets and pulled up at the gate to the infield because they didn't know where to leave the motor home. They told the gate personnel that they weren't sure where they were supposed to park, but "Mr. Summers" told them to bring the bus to the infield. When asked as to Mr. Summers' whereabouts, they responded that Mr. Summers was flying in on his jet later that evening and they had instructions to have the motor home set up and waiting for him. The attendant then ordered them to follow him and to park exactly where he told them and to stay put. They were then promptly escorted to a very nice spot in an area that had the hairpin on one side the the high banks on the other. Mr. Summers must have some clout!

After dinner, we made a fast run through the grocery store to get additional items for meals, snacks and drinks followed by a stop at a liquor store. Some members of our group don't remember being in the grocery store and I'm not sure they remember being in the liquor store either! The next stop was the hotel near the track where most of the group got dropped off. Chris then brought Mike, Robbie & I to the motor home inside the track. He would be back in the morning after breakfast. Being too excited to rest, the three of us walked all over the infield getting the "lay of the land" checking out where everything was located and seeing the campfires being stoked by other campers trying to keep warm. It was well after 1:00 a.m. before we settled down in the motor home to get some sleep. I was too excited and kept looking out of the window near the bed from which I could see the ferris wheel and other rides in the infield that stayed lit up all night. In total, I took several little naps that only added up to a couple of hours of sleep that night.

It was very early (before 7:30 a.m.) on Saturday morning when there was a knock at the door from Chris, Johnny & John. They got an early start and had breakfast while Mark and the rest of the crew were still passed out in their hotel room. Chris went back out a little while later to pick up Mark and would go back out of the track again around 11-12:00 to get the rest of the guys and shuttle them back to the motor home. We walked all over the grounds and garage area. All qualifying and practice sessions were completed on Friday and they were just making last minute adjustments prior to going to the grid pre-race. We went to the Fan Zone and also checked out the other infield displays by Pontiac, Toyota and Mazda.

There was a short exhibition race of the historic cars prior to the pre-race festivities that started at 1:00 p.m. The Daytona Prototypes (DP) and Grand Touring (GT) cars, 66 in all, rolled out of grid at 1:30 p.m. with an overhead fighter jet fly-by after the national anthem was sung. I filmed the start from the top of the motor home while others went to the International Corner to shoot photos of the cars on their first time by in a group. It was AWESOME! The atmosphere was super-charged! We whooped and hollered from the top of the motor home.

The next 24 hours were spent watching the most exciting racing I've seen in a long time. We watched from the stands, from atop the motor home, from behind the hot pits, and anywhere else we were. The race was on the big TV inside the motor home and on the smaller TV that slid out from one of the outside storage compartments. And, needless to say, we drank - a lot! Tater cooked some hot dogs & brats on the grill on Saturday afternoon and I whipped up a big pot of jambalaya for Saturday night. Before dinner, Chris, Robbie & I rode the ferris wheel which gave a great view especially when the operator stopped us at the top. Then we rode a wild ride that moved like a pendulum and spun us around in the process. Who was it that screamed like a girl?! We were dizzy when we got off which is why we rode before dinner! Ben & Jim (pilot & co-pilot) also came by to visit us, eat some jambalaya and watch a bit of racing.

Around 11:00 p.m., Mike, Robbie, Johnny, John, Mark and I walked over to the garage area. Things were hopping! Several teams came into the garage to make repairs that could not be made during a pit stop. The DP cars were doing all sorts of work. We watched the Kodak team change an axel shaft and hub. The Lowes/Gainsco team changed a gear set. We watched as several of the GT Porsche teams came in for service. The high-buck teams replaced major parts in a matter of minutes while the low-buck teams removed the broken parts, repaired and replaced them. The DP car sponsored by Dress for Less came into the garage with a broken rear differential. Unfortunately, they were now out of the race because the crew had no parts to change or make a repair.

It was early in the morning hours when everyone who had not gone back to the hotel was finding a place to settle down for the night. Soon it was "snoresville" and everyone was sleeping but me. I was just too excited to sleep! I wanted to go back outside, but it was very chilly and damp and then a short hard shower came down. No matter, I curled up on the sofa in the front of the motor home by a window where I could see a little piece of the track and the cars going past. I kept thinking, "I'm missing it! I'm missing the racing!" I stayed awake all night looking out of the window occasionally dozing for a few minutes here or there. Chris came by early and picked up Mark for breakfast. I grabbed about an hour of sleep from about 6:00-7:00 a.m. before getting up to fix some coffee and "fast food" breakfast.

Once everyone had showered, checked out of their hotel and returned to the track, we walked through the infield back to the garages to see what got destroyed during the night when we weren't watching and who was out of the race. We browsed the souvenier trailers and bought some shirts and stuff. Our ticket package gave us a free Rolex 24 hat which was cool.

We watched the last couple of hours of the race from the stands at the hairpin. It was exciting 'cause it was a good passing zone if the cars stayed on the track. The cars were filthy dirty, some were barely running and either missing body parts or the tape that was holding parts on was flapping in the wind. The Telmex team of Scott Pruett/Memo Rojas/Juan Pablo Montoya/Dario Franchitti won for the 3rd time in a row in the DP Lexus Riley. Second place went to the Lowes/Gainsco team of Jon Fogarty/Alex Gurney/Jimmy Vasser/Jimmie Johnson driving a DP Pontiac Riley; and third place went to the team of Ryan Briscoe/Helio Castroneves/Kurt Busch driving a DP Pontiac Riley sponsored by Toshiba. The GT class was won by the Castrol/Mazdaspeed Mazda RX-8 team of David Haskell/Sylvain Tremblay/Nick Ham/Raphael Matos that also placed 9th overall. Actor Patrick Dempsey (from Grey's Anatomy) was driving a GT Mazda RX-8 sponsored by Hyper Sport/Sobe Life Water that finished in 39th position but was still running at the end of the race.

It took only 30 minutes to pack up the motor home and get ready to pull it out of the track. We took a few photos before we piled into the Excursion to head for the airport with Chris & Mike in the motor home behind us. The trip home on the jet was pretty quiet. I think everyone was pretty wiped out but still smiling from ear to ear. We left the Daytona Airport around 3:00 p.m. and I was home in my jammies ready for a long nap by 5:00 p.m. Mike didn't get home until after midnight after co-driving with Chris to bring the motor home back.

What a great trip! A huge "THANKS" goes to our friend and teammate, Mark Summers, for inviting us on a first class trip - its the only way to go!

Check out the slideshow over on the left of the page. It is only "some" of the photos taken by Johnny Walter and Mike Poupart.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Gros Maintains Yellow Bracket Lead!

Like the Bowl Championship Series, it doesn’t matter how you get there as long as you're there. Dennis Gros, driver of the #02 BCI / Mike Poupart Motorsports Corvette maintains a 7 point advantage over second place Paul Donovan. Kevin Romano, after making changes to his car, has moved up a class and will no longer be in yellow bracket contention.

Gros, who shared his driving duties with new teammate, Patty Poupart, was unable to take the feature race green flag due to a transmission failure. As is his demeanor, Gros took it in stride and is optimistic that the bugs will eventually get worked out. “This one was not for lack of effort,” said teammate/owner, Chris Wilken.

The team's next outing is a test session and series race on February 1 and 2, 2008.

~Staff writer

Monday, January 7, 2008

GBRS Event #4 - Jan. 6, 2008

"It’s great to be one of the drivers again!"
That's what I told Mike as we were getting ready to go to the track on Sunday morning. I was a little sore in the shoulders and hips, but I didn't care. I was going to drive the race car again today!!

In trying to diagnose the sputter the car developed on Saturday, it was decided that we'd throw all we could at the car and, hopefully, the issue would resolve. By the time Dennis arrived in the morning with a rotor, cap and wires, Mike had all the old stuff off and was ready for the replacement parts. Meanwhile, Chris was at the rear of the car taking apart the fuel filter in the gas tank. Feeling a little left out, I cleaned the windows and got the seat ready.

The call for the driver's meeting came. I filed into the driver's lounge with everyone else just like I always do, except I went to the back of the room behind the other drivers. When they asked for a show of hands of new drivers, I didn't put mine up. I was hoping no one would notice that I would be driving. I was only going to run the warm-up/practice session in the bracket group and there was no need for a fuss. Ya know, I've listened to the driver's meeting speech many, many times before, but this time I paid very close attention to all of the details.

The bracket group is the 2nd group out on the track in the morning after the driver's meeting. I was determined NOT to miss the start of the session this time, but somehow I did. I was already suited up when the 5 minute warning was announced. I got in the car and had a little trouble getting the belts buckled. By the time I got to the grid, everyone was gone! I knew I wasn't early, but I couldn't believe I was late! I later learned that the grid chief was making the 1st call only 5 minutes before the session was to go on track. I waited in grid at pit out because the entire field had just taken the green flag and I didn't want them to be chasing me into turn 1 with cold tires and brakes. That scenario had a high possibility of being very messy.

So I went out behind everyone and let them speed away while I got things warmed up. Mike gave me words of warning. "Do NOT go through turn 1 at speed the first time after you take the green flag." And I didn't. The car still had a little shimmy at full throttle on the front straight. As my helmet shimmied with the car, my eyes had trouble focusing on the orange cone on the wall for my brake zone. A few times I hit the brakes a little early so I would be able to make it through turn 1. I did get to race by myself for several laps before the faster racers caught me and began to pass. Speaking of passing, I did notice the "faster traffic approaching" flag several times during the session. Heck, I was surprised that I even noticed the flagging stations!


Being in traffic and being passed didn't bother me. Actually, I thought I handled all that rather well. Haven't you ever been in morning traffic with 17 other frantic drivers who would pass on the shoulder or blow through school zones and red lights just to make it to work on time?


As I ran down the front straight on the final lap and saw the checkered flag waving, I took a deep breath realizing that (1) I drove for an entire session; (2) I didn't go off track or damage the car; and (3) I didn't get passed by every driver that was on track with me. It was also great fun to wave to the corner workers from the driver's seat and thank them for the job they do. I've been out there to man the flags and know how important it is for them to be there.

Pulling up in the pit area, I couldn't wait to get out of the car and celebrate my mini victories. After debriefing with Mike & Chris, a few of the other drivers came up to find out that it was me in the car. I guess they didn't notice the blue "x" on the back of the car and thought it was the regular driver of the #02 Corvette, Dennis Gros, who runs the car in the yellow bracket. A few apologized for buzzing me so close in the turns, that they would have given more room if they had known it was me. The apologies weren't necessary. I didn't want to be treated any differently. When the times were posted for the practice session, I had one more little victory to celebrate - I wasn't the slowest one on the track! My fastest lap time was a 1:36.567 which placed me 17th out of 18 drivers.

In spite of the issues with the car on Saturday, which we cured, I felt the car ran great and would be fine for Dennis for the rest of the day. Unfortunately, the car developed a couple of new issues after practice on Sunday. The radiator cap leaked. We fixed that. We ran over a piece of debris and cut a tire. We fixed that. Ironically, the debris was our own radiator support bracket. When we went to the driver's lounge to see what it was and who was going to claim it, Dennis recognized the part. We quickly grabbed it and snuck back to our pit before anyone noticed! Then the transmission failed and refused to go in a forward gear and the car didn't make it off the grid for the feature race. Since they probably wouldn't let Dennis run backwards, we were done. Dennis was leading in the yellow group and should be able to recover over the next two races to retain his points lead.

This whole weekend was the most fun I've had on 4 wheels in a LONG time! I can't thank Chris Wilken enough for the opportunity to drive his car and Denis Gros for sharing his ride time with me. I'm looking forward to the next practice day to get some more seat time and work on my lines, cornering and speed.

Still grinning from ear-to-ear!
~Patty Poupart

View and order photos taken at the GBRS Event #4 - Jan. 6, 2008 from Poupart Photos!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Bryan Racing Lapping Day - Jan. 5, 2008

Three words - "What a blast!"
That's how I would describe my initial seat time today in the BCI Motorsports #02 Corvette at No Problem Raceway. I was pretty nervous at first since I was driving someone else's car and didn't want anything to go wrong. After all, Dennis Gros, who is the regular driver in the Grand Bayou Race Series, is still running for series points and I didn't want anything to mess that up for him. I think I actually had a mini anxiety attack while I was suiting up before my first session out in the car. I kept reminding myself to 'breathe.'

We actually missed the first session for the the group I was scheduled to run with. We had trouble getting me high enough in the car and getting the seat belts adjusted properly. After getting in and out of the car at least six times, unbolting the seat from the floor to access the sub belt, trying two different seat inserts and borrowing a towel for added padding, I finally found the magic combination to fit comfortably in the car.

I drove the car around in the pit area before heading for the grid. My initial goal was to get a feel for the car and see how it handled. As I pulled up to the line and waited for the signal to enter the track, Chris Wilken (the car owner) comes over to the car, leans in towards the window net and tells me that the tires are "Flintstonian" so be prepared to run on old hard slicks. Great - not like I wasn't nervous enough!

After a few laps, I came in to let Chris and Mike check the fluid levels and temperatures and went back out for a few more laps. The car sputtered a bit here and there and, since I didn't want to push it too hard without letting the guys check it out, I came on it and called an end to that session. I was a bit shaky getting out of the car, which I sort of expected. The car is loud compared to other cars I've taken around the track at NPR and gives a false sense of going fast just because it is loud. Actually, I wasn't going that fast - not yet anyway.

The passenger seat was bolted in so that Mike & Chris could ride with me on track and critique my driving lines and braking zones. We had a few little mechnical issues that were worked on throughout the day. Later, brake pads were changed and the "big" tires were put on. Having sticky tires and knowing the brakes were fresh gave me a lot more confidence and I started going faster.

Having two people that I respect with varying driving styles work with me was very special. With Mike & Chris you get compliments and critisism all coated with a good dose of teasing. Mike drove with me as a passenger for several laps. Chris went out in the same session in the red #01 BCI Motorsports Corvette to do a bit of lead/follow with me. Chris rode with me in the last session and teased that he had time to get out for a burger when I went through turn 3 and, after he gently grabbed the steering wheel to pull me closer to the wall on the front straight, I got closer on each successive lap. Tom Walter later told me he put a stop watch on me and I had gone from very slow mid 1:40s in the morning to consistent 1:36s by the end of the day. All in all, I got high marks from my instructors and lots of support and compliments from the other racers and course workers who were watching.

The ear-to-ear grin on my face at the end of the day was well worth it for everyone. I even did a little dance 'cause I passed two people in the last session. It really is the little things in life that make it all worthwhile! I'm looking forward to running one more session in the car tomorrow during the red group practice/warm-up of the Grand Bayou Race Series.

Thanks to Chris Wilken for giving me a great day in the race car and to my loving husband, Mike, for supporting me, for working hard on the car and with me so I would have fun, and for picking up the camera and taking some photos of me racing! You guys are great! I also want to thank my friends, Meg & Karl, for coming out in the morning to give moral support for my first session in the car. It was great to have them there!

View and order photos taken at the Jan. 5, 2008 Bryan Racing Lapping Day from Poupart Photos!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Press Release

Contact: Chris Wilken Director of Race Operations for BCI Motorsports
Phone: 504-616-3064 (cell)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 9 A.M. CDT, December 4, 2007


LOCAL ROAD RACING TEAM ADDS DRIVER

BCI Motorsports announces the addition of Patty Poupart as a practice/warm-up driver in the #02 Corvette for the remaining three races of the 2007-2008 Grand Bayou Race Series held at No Problem Raceway in Belle Rose, LA. Poupart will provide driver support to regular series driver, Dennis Gros.

Chris Wilken, Director of Race Operations for the team which is sponsored by Buckeye Contractors, Inc., finalized negotiations for driver and mechanical support with Mike Poupart Motorsports late Monday. Financial details were not released.

A three-time SCCA Solo2 National Champion, Patty has been racing since 1987. Her SCCA championships were captured in the B-Prepared class driving a race-prepared Corvette built and maintained by local race car fabricator, Mike Poupart Motorsports. “I’m very excited about this wonderful opportunity to be affiliated with BCI Motorsports and am looking forward to contributing whatever I can to their team,” said Ms. Poupart.


-End-

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Welcome!

Happy New Year and Welcome to our Blog! Can you believe that the year is 2008?! Mike Poupart Motorsports is movin' up in the technological world and we thought it would be fun to start a blog so that we could throw out thoughts, racing stories and progress reports as they come up. If you have any comments on something we post, please feel free to do so.

We'll be catching up with comments and posting photos from the first few events of the 2007-2008 Grand Bayou Race Series as soon as we can. Life got pretty busy with getting the gig of being the official photographer of the Mardi Gras Region Porsche Club's Blastin' on the Bayou event the week before Thanksgiving. Creating and mailing the photo disks was very time consuming, but it was a successful event for Poupart Photos.

We got a nice offer to help the BCI Motorsports team with some practice and testing, which means a bit of seat time and some fun for us! We'll keep you posted on the progress there.

As the new year was approaching, we figured it was time to get to work on making some serious changes to our web pages. Web design and maintenance involves quite a bit of work and I learn something new each time we do some major changes. We still have a lot of ideas that we hope to implement soon. So, if you want to stick with us, just buckle yourself into the passenger seat and hang on. We promise it'll be a fun ride!

T-Shirts For Sale!

These t-shirts are printed with our logos. The cost is $10.00 each for the short sleeve Aggressive t-shirts and $15.00 each for the long sleeve Mike Poupart Motorsports shirts - plus shipping of $4.00. You can order via e-mail and we accept money orders and Paypal.

#AG1005 - Aggressive Logo Front - 100% Cotton - Ash with Black/Red Silkscreen Logo or Brown/Green/Silver Silkscreen Logo - Sizes L, XL, XXL (Back of Shirt is Blank) - $10.00

#MPM101 - Mike Poupart Motorsports Logo Left Chest - 100% Heavy Cotton - Navy Blue with Embroidered Logo - Sizes XL, XXL (Back of Shirt is Blank) - $15.00

(Photo to be added)