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Birthday Bash 2001

The C5 Registry Celebrates Another Year of C5 Corvetting

Ronnie Hartman Sep 1, 2001

Step By Step

NCM Lifetime members Roman and Marilyn Sabadaszka with Johnny O’Connell and Ron Fellows at the C5 Banquet and Auction. The Sabadaszkas paid $10,000 for the No. 3 C5-R tire Dale Earnhardt flattened at a practice session. The tire bears Dale’s autograph.

David Horsfall from Ypsilanti, Michigan, was the lucky Z06 raffle winner.

Andy Pilgrim and his fiancée join in the tribute to Dale Earnhardt. With them are Steve Crisp, race manager for Earnhardt Enterprises (left) and driver Darrel Waltrip.

Chief Engineer Dave Hill autographs an Electron Blue hood for auction.

Autocrossing at Beech Bend.

Paying homage to the C5 Corvette is best done in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and in April the C5 Registry returned to do just that. More than 5,000 attended the 4th Annual C5 Birthday Bash co-hosted by the C5 Registry and the National Corvette Museum. As a comparison, the group’s first celebration was in 1998, when 300 people attended.

The overall theme was Corvette racing, and celebrated the accomplishments and people behind Corvette’s racing endeavors of yesterday and today. Museum Event Coordinator Larry Hayes said, “This year’s bash offers a unique opportunity to meet the history makers of the current Corvette racing efforts, with a personal interaction with them in a social atmosphere.”

Over $48,000 was raised for the Museum through the auction of Corvette-specific items donated by Chevrolet, the GM Corvette Assembly Plant, the C5-R Racing team, Corvette Engineering, and others. Corvette celebrities autographed some of the items, upping the desirability quotient considerably.

At the C5 Birthday banquet and auction, attended by approximately 900 enthusiasts, Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona winners Ron Fellows and Johnny O’Connell pulled the winning ticket for the 2001 Corvette Z06, which went to David Horsfall from Ypsilanti, Michigan. David wasn’t in attendance, but Ron Fellows called him on a cell phone to give him the good news. Who wouldn’t love to receive a call like that? Naturally, David made plans to get to Bowling Green immediately to take delivery.

Museum Director Wendell Strode commented that “The support and enthusiasm by the special group of members and friends who attended the bash each year is amazing.” This is evidenced by the $16,000-plus that was raised in memberships and brick sales alone. On Saturday, a memorial was held for Jim Schefter, author of All Corvettes Are Red, and commemorative bricks were placed in the walk.

Attendees got a good return for their support of the Museum. The Museum hosted seminars by Chief Engineer Dave Hill, C5 Chief Designer John Cafaro, Helen Emsley, Chief Designer GM Interior and Exterior, Corvette Chief Designer Tom Peters, and others. They also got to see the newest Corvette exterior color, Electron Blue, which was introduced during the event. Those whose posteriors were better suited to Corvette seats than a theater bench headed to the nearby Beech Bend Raceway for the first-ever autocross school and Lingenfelter drag-racing tech session.

As always, there were tours through the GM Corvette Assembly Plant, celebrity autograph sessions, vendor and tuner demonstrations, and scenic road tours. Photo coverage of the event was updated and made available throughout the weekend on the Museum’s Web site, and plans are already underway for next year’s C5 Birthday Bash to be held April 18-20. Don’t miss it!

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