Sunday, October 31, 2021

The C8 Z06 Reveal

This week the much anticipated Reveal of the Z06 version of the mid-engine Corvette took place on Tuesday morning at 9:00 AM at the Peterson Automobile Museum in Los Angeles.  Nan and I watched the 42 minute recorded video and the panel discussion that followed.  Wow!  What a car!  

Don and I figured that we needed to go check this car out for ourselves in person.  Both of us had been to the famous Peterson Museum before and, since it is only about 100 miles away, we decided to drive up on Wednesday morning in his C7 Stingray to capture all the excitement.  

We expected a mob of people to be there, so we left early from Carlsbad, arriving just as the museum opened its doors at 10:00 AM.  When we entered the lobby we were astonished to find ourselves in a nearly empty building.

We raced to the second floor and quickly found the site of the Reveal.  There, sitting on the same pedestal as in the Reveal program, was the red Z06 convertible.

(If you missed the Reveal, you can see a replay here: C8 Z06 Reveal )

Other than three docents (who kept telling us, "Don't touch the car!"), there were just a handful of Corvette fanatics in the large room.  We found the beautiful Z06 convertible pictured above, a cut-away display of the Z06 frame, and another cut-away of the new LT6 twin overhead cam engine.  For two hours we had all the Z06 beauty and mechanicals that we could handle.

We loved the C8 to begin with, but what the Corvette engineers have done with the Z06 is truly exceptional.  From every angle, the car is just magical.  

I'm a big fan of the side "wishbone", a feature needed to feed lots of air to the mid-engine power plant.




And I'm happy that for the Z06 they have gone with the centered four exhaust pipes -- similar to our C7 Z06.

 While the exterior is captivating, the interior is inviting.

Don and I are always interested in the engine and mechanical parts of the car, and the Reveal provided plenty of material for even the most inquisitive enthusiast.  The LT6 engine is unlike any Chevy small block we have ever seen!  We poured all over the cut-away engine pondering its unique design.

Here is a great article describing the LT6 engine (thank you, Gary Rodemeyer, for sending this to me!):

LT6 Engine Article from Hagerty

If ever a passenger car's frame resembled that of a race car -- this is it.  We marveled at all the detail of each cast piece and the creative and light-weight ways that the car was reinforced to be able to take all the forces of racing.  Don told me that the tight packaging of the Z06 reminded him of the time he saw the F18 fighter up close with a see-through skin -- his memory was that, ". . . there wasn't enough spare room to put a pack of cigarettes anywhere in the aircraft!".

Since we were already at the museum, we went to the other floors to see the many displays.  Our favorite was the James Bond display -- showcasing the cars, boats, airplanes, and submarine-car from the many movies.  No one has ever seen so many crashed Aston Martins in a single room.  If you are up in LA sometime soon, this is a must-see!

Before we headed home, we went back for a last look at the Z06.  

I think someone I know really needs this car!  Orders can be placed in the Summer of 2022 -- it is going to be difficult waiting that long!


Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Sonny at the Corvette Museum

 The passing of our life-long friend, Sonny Boteler, a few days ago, hit us all hard at Beltsville Shell.

Remembering Sonny

So Canon and I decided to dedicate a National Corvette Museum Brick in Sonny's memory.

The brick will be placed in the walkway outside the Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, leading to the entrance.

The brick lettering (they only allow 13 letters/spaces per line, 3 lines maximum) will read:

Sonny Boteler

Mr Beltsville

1966 Corvette

 Cary & Canon, August 17, 2021

Corvette Museum - Venice Florida Corvettes

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Buff Goes to Bakersfield

After a great time in Riverside in February with the VKA event, we took Buff (the yellow Fox Kart) to Bakersfield (for the first time) in April.

The April event was sponsored by VKCA -- the Vintage Karting Club of America.  This year they put on a very special event -- in addition to the usual Kart judging and track time, they held a celebration of life for recently deceased Karting Pioneer, Faye "Ladybug" Pierson.  

Faye Marye Pierson was born on July 11, 1928 and passed on March 6, 2021.  She drove a Go Kart for the very first time on Christmas day, 1957.  Instantly hooked on Karting, Faye and her husband, Tom Pierson, enjoyed Karting as a hobby at first, then they began manufacturing Karts for sale, leading to the creation of Bug Engineering -- one of the most successful brands for many years.  Faye won races and championships, traveled across America and Europe to race, and even earned her pilots license.  Known as the "Queen of Karting" Faye continued to attend vintage Karting events up to the very end. 

VKCA Remembrance of Faye Pierson

Nan and I were lucky enough to meet Faye at various Karting events -- here she is in 2019 at the Adams Track in Riverside with her (and our) dear friend, Louie Figone.

Gary Crawford served as the promoter of the event assisted by Bill Parun and Steve Shaw.  The attendance was very high and the pits were jammed with vintage Karting fans.  Gary reports that there were 80 karts 51 drivers in attendance.  In addition to the usual awards, Bill presented the inaugural "Faye Pierson Best Bug Kart of the Show" -- a beautiful silver cup.  Following the awards ceremony, all the Bug karts in attendance conducted a Faye Pierson Memorial Lap, filmed from above by drone camera.  We are sure that Faye would have been pleased.

Before we headed to Bakersfield, I decided that Buff needed something for good luck.  Most of you know about "Jake" -- the mascot of Corvette Racing since 2004.  Legend has it that Jake brings Corvette Racing good luck.  

The Legend of Corvette Racing's Mascot, "Jake" 

I have Jake on our yellow Z06.  So I decided to put Jake on Buff too!

Buff had a good day.  It ran well on the nicely resurfaced Bakersfield Kart Track.  

When it came time for the Kart judging, we were overjoyed to learn that Buff won an award for "Best Restored Original Kart".

Many thanks to Gary, Bill, and Steve for a great event, and to the judges, Vince Hughes, Michael Jewett, Jack Murray, and Tom Thorin for the recognition!

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Farewell 62 DREAM

Today we bid farewell to our 1962 Corvette.  We purchased the car in May 1997 (for my 50th birthday) and restored it frame-off in 147 days.

Canon helped with the restoration -- she loved being in the garage as all the parts were assembled.  Here she is sitting in a box of new engine parts "helping Daddy"!


It appeared in Vette magazine in 1998 and we took it to the National Corvette Restorer's Convention in 2012 (for the 50th Anniversary of the 1962 Corvette).

 Over the 24 years we owned this car we had many cruise events and parties at the house.

Yesterday a few friends helped put together an impromptu farewell party at . . . In N Out (of course!).  Pictured below are the owners of four Corvettes (left to right): Me (1962), Bill Hatch (1957 - original owner!), Bill Steer (1962) and John Elder (1961).

Bill Connelly (1957) wasn't able to make the burger run, but he stopped by to say farewell on Wednesday.  This means, of course, that three Corvette owners named Bill participated!

Here is everyone who came out to say farewell (left to right): Nan, Shirley and Don Kingery, Jan Paul, Marylyn and Bill Hatch, Bill Steer and John Elder.

62DREAM is returning to Arizona, where it began its life's journey in April 1962 sitting on the lot of O'Rielly Chevrolet in Tucson, Arizona.  The new owner lives not too far from there.  I hope he enjoys the car and its home coming!

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Open Letter to Connor Di Phillippi - Move to Demolition Derby Circuit?

March 21, 2021

 An Open Letter to Connor Di Phillippi

Photo of Connor De Phillippi

Dear Connor,

I'm going to say what the Corvette Racing Drivers and Team are too polite (and classy) to say:

You should consider a career in the Demolition Derby! 

Your performance in yesterday's 12 Hours of Sebring is ample proof that your best skill is crashing into other cars!

We watched in disbelief as you took out the DPI-leading car as he tried to enter pit row.  Scott Dixon was enjoying a healthy lead until, as Daily Sportscar writes, "the penultimate pit-stop and there was drama on the way in as the #25 BMW of Connor de Phillipi hit the Cadillac hard on the right front corner as he tried to get to pit lane."  By crashing into him you denied the clear race leader a fair shot at finishing #1 overall.

Not satisfied with taking out one #1 car, you then proceeded to crash into the GTLM Class leading  #3 Corvette with fewer than 10 minutes to go in a 12 hour race.  You could have continued in second place and waited for an appropriate time to make a pass so that you could improve from second place to first.  Instead,  you decided to use more demolition derby tactics to take out the class-leading Corvette. Your stupidity didn't earn you any more points, and cost others dearly.

You have shown that you have the physical traits to be a great racecar driver -- but you are clearly lacking in good judgement.

The only solace I can find in your irresponsible actions is the comfort of knowing that you will be unemployed this season after four races.  Then you can get hired in the Demolition Derby Circuit!

In my opinion, BMW and RLL Racing are way too classy to have you on their teams.

Your Friend, Cary


Friday, March 19, 2021

Buff Returns to Riverside

Every year in early February the Vintage Karting Association hosts a three-day event at the Adams Kart Track in Riverside California.  I love these VKA events, and have participated in recent years. 

  • First, we took "Sparkle", the red Fox Kart, to Bakersfield.  
  • That inspired us to take Sparkle and "Shine", the blue Fox Kart, to Riverside in 2017.  
  • The next year we left Sparkle home and took Shine and "Buff" the yellow Fox Kart, to the Adams Track.
  • We couldn't attend in 2019 (the event was the same day as my retirement from Scripps)
  • 2020 was a return engagement for Buff and Shine

2017 - Shine goes to Riverside

2018 Buff and Shine Go to Riverside

2020 Buff and Shine Return to Riverside

This year's event was abbreviated to a single "practice" day rather than the nice three day events with judging, multiple track sessions, a dinner, and more.  Another COVID victim.  So, since we were going to Riverside for just a few hours we decided to just take Buff.  But we still had a blast!

Every racer needs a pit crew -- and in Vintage Karting, that person is mostly responsible for helping get the engine(s) started.  Guess who was my pit crew?

Here's how it is supposed to work:

As always, my Karting Hero, Vince Hughes, was there to help us.  I would drive Buff around the track, and stop by the Pits so Vince could adjust the carburetors on the MAC20 engines.  Here is Vince waving me in for an adjustment!

 Before long, Vince had the engines screaming!  Here is Buff by the end of the afternoon.

Buff was running so well, I scared myself.

Next we are going to Bakersfield in April for more fun!

Thanks, Nan and Vince!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

2020 and the C8R

 2020 was a year that held so many disappointments for so many people in so many ways.  But for Corvette Racing, and the inaugural year of the C8 Corvette in IMSA racing, it was a fantastic year.  Corvette returned to win the GTLM Manufacturer Championship, the #3 Corvette won the GTLM Team Championship, and Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor won the GTLM Driver's Championship.

2020 was a year of changes for Corvette Racing.  

Foremost was the new mid-engine racing platform thanks to the redesigned eighth generation Corvette.  On the street, the C8 has been a roaring success.  Accolades include: 2020 Motor Trend Car of the Year; 2020 Car and Driver 10 Best; 2020 North American Car of the Year; and 2020 Detroit Free Press Car of the Year.  And buyer demand (and production delays) have resulted in a year-long waiting list to buy a C8 Stingray.  But we had no idea how the race version, the C8R, would fare on the track.

There were driver changes, as well.  Legendary driver Jan Magnussen was replaced on the #3 team with Jordan Taylor; Jordan had participated in the past as the third driver in endurance races on the team, but he was now in a full-time capacity.  And by the end of the 2020 season, another legendary Corvette driver, Oliver Gavin, would announce his retirement.

The first race of the 2020 IMSA season, the 24 hour event at Daytona in January, didn't start so well.  The new platform didn't have the pace of its Porsche, BMW, and Ferrari competitors.  By the end of the endurance race the results were 4th place and 7th place (last) in the GTLM class.  It was not pretty.

Then COVID hit. Despite the uncertainty of the season, and the cancellation of events, the Team used the time effectively to fine-tune the car and the Drivers became more accustomed to the very different behaviors of the platform.

IMSA racing resumed, again at Daytona, on the weekend of July 4th. Oliver Gavin qualified in 1st place with the #4 Corvette and Jordan Taylor qualified the #3 Corvette right behind him in 2nd place. The only American manufacturer celebrated Independence Day with the first 1st place finish for the C8 in only its second outing.

Those great results continued throughout the 2020 season.  A Corvette finished in 1st place in six of the remaining ten races and in 2nd place an additional six times.  By the end of the season the #3 Corvette had a winning margin of 32 points, the largest winning margin that your author has been able to calculate (going back to 2011).  Corvette has been the GTLM Champion in four of the last five years.

The factory Porsche team was the defending champion for 2020, but failed to win a single race until the 9th race of the season.  But they did finish strong with three class wins in the final three races.  They suffered from some bad luck, but did themselves in a bit (in one race by crashing into each other leaving the pit row).  Sadly, they announced prior to the current (2021) season that they will not be returning -- too bad because they had some good momentum at the end of 2020.

RLL Racing, the group that fields the BMW M8, had a good season, finishing in 2nd place behind Corvette, a big improvement over the prior two years when they finished 4th each time.  They are continuing in 2021, which is good news.

As the 2020 season closed, we heard the sad news that our good friend, Doug Fehan, would be stepping down after leading Corvette racing for 25 years.  Fehan, Gavin, and Magnussen -- three greats departed in the span of one year.  Sometimes change is hard to take.

If 2020 was a great year (despite the personnel changes), how will 2021 play out?  

 All we know is that Corvette Racing is off to an amazing start!  While the 2020 Daytona 24 hours race was a disappointment for Corvette fans, the 2021 event was a smashing success as the cars finished 1 - 2 to start the season.  One or the other Corvette led 716 of the 770 laps. 

Corvette Scores Dominant Daytona GTLM Sweep

Up next, this weekend, is the 12 Hours of Sebring.  Here's hoping for continued success!

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Happy (89th) Birthday Bill Hatch

 Most of you are familiar with my neighbor and great Corvette buddy, Bill Hatch.

As near as anyone can tell, Bill holds the World record for the longest running ownership of a single Corvette by one person -- he bought his 1957 Corvette new from Bates Chevrolet in Monrovia, California in 1957 and still owns it today, almost 64 years later!

Here is an article about Bill from 2012

55 Years with a 57 Corvette

Here is the article that appeared in the National Corvette Museum's magazine, "America's Sports Car", about Bill from 2013.

Committed for Life

Monday was Bill's 89th Birthday, so I decided to take him in his favorite car, out for his favorite meal, and to eat it at his favorite place.  We first drove our Corvettes to the In-N-Out Burger in Carlsbad.

With two "Double-Doubles" in hand, we then drove down the I-5 Freeway (will Bill hitting 73 MPH) to Moonlight Beach, and parked our cars.

We then settled on a bluff overlooking the beach to enjoy our burgers, fries and shakes.

Bill and Marylyn have travelled the World, but Moonlight beach is one of Bill's favorite places of all. He has been coming here since 1970 -- 50+ years.  He loves the view, the surf, and (in prior years) riding his bike on the sandy shore.

But most of all, Bill loved playing two-person volleyball on the beach. When we finished our lunch, we took a walk down to the volleyball courts.  While Bill was sharing memories of his adventures there, suddenly a guy yells out, "Hey Bill!"

One of his volleyball buddies recognized him -- what a treat!

It couldn't have been a better day -- the weather was fantastic, the food perfect, and the company superb!

Happy Birthday, Bill!