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Corvette Racing Wins At American Le Mans & Other News - Inside Track

Richard Prince Oct 1, 2005
Corp_0510_02_z Corvette_racing_car Racing 2/1

Corvette Racing Reigns With 1-2 Finish At Rainy Mid-OhioFellows And O'Connell Win Again In Wet And Wild RaceCorvette Racing drivers Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell scored their second consecutive victory with the new Corvette C6.R in the American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio, but the win was anything but routine. Fellows' No. 3 Compuware Corvette was Second in the GT1 Class at the finish, but a 20-second penalty levied on the leading No. 4 Compuware Corvette driven by Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta elevated Fellows and O'Connell to the top step of the podium. O'Connell and Fellows tallied their 23rd ALMS victory, setting the series record for career wins. The result was the 24th 1-2 finish for Corvette Racing.

The race began under cloudy skies, and weather radar showed that rain was imminent at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Sprinkles began with 45 minutes remaining in the 2-hour, 45-minute race, and the final 10 minutes were run under wet conditions.

"It was very difficult with the conditions today and driving required total concentration," said Fellows, who drove the final stint in the race-winning Corvette on slick tires. "Both Corvettes had a solid lead over the GT1 field, so we just had to keep it on the road when it started to rain." The decisive moment came with 5 minutes remaining in the race. The twin Corvettes pitted together for a splash of fuel that would take them to the finish. Fellows was first into the pits, but Beretta was first out. "Both cars were running close and needed a couple of gallons of fuel," explained Corvette Racing Program Manager Doug Fehan. "The No. 3 car came in first but didn't stop quite short enough; when the No. 4 pulled into its pit, the No. 3 couldn't get out. The No. 4 Corvette took the lead, but was penalized 20 seconds because one of the crewmen didn't have his goggles in place during refueling. That penalty moved them to Second.

"All in all, it was an exciting race with an unexpected finish," said Fehan. "We never come away from an event without learning something. Most important, both cars are in perfect shape and ready to go to Le Mans."

Gavin drove the first segment in the No. 4 Corvette, leading the GT1 Class for 17 laps until the first fuel stop under caution. The Saleen S7R of Johnny Mowlem stayed out and gained track position under the yellow flag, but Gavin retook the lead shortly after the one-hour mark. O'Connell then passed the Saleen, and the yellow Corvettes ran nose-to-tail to the finish. "The Corvette Racing team is a fantastic team, and everyone is pushing to the maximum," Gavin observed. "Sometimes little things can make or break the race. I had a great race with Johnny-he was pushing me really hard. It was all-out for both of us, and huge fun." Traffic was heavy on the 2.25-mile Mid-Ohio circuit, and the race was slowed by three caution periods following incidents. O'Connell narrowly avoided disaster when three cars tangled in front of him in Turn 11.

"I must have made it through there with less than an inch to spare," O'Connell recalled. "There were cars spinning and braking, and somehow I came through without a scratch. There was so much debris that I was worried about a puncture, but everything was good. Ron did an amazing job in extremely difficult conditions. It's one of the most difficult things in the world to be out there on slicks when it's raining. Today's result was a great effort by everyone at Corvette Racing on both cars."

It was also an emotional win for the team. Fellows and crewman Mike West both lost their fathers in recent accidents. "It's been tough emotionally the last couple of weeks," said Fellows. "This race is dedicated to the memory of my dad and Mike's father. It looks like we had a little help from above."

Heartbeat In The Heartland 2005 TourFor over 50 years, the Corvette has been recognized as America's Sports Car. The passion it generates with owners and enthusiasts is unequaled by any other automobile. The Heartbeat In The Heartland Tour 2005 is a traveling exhibit to introduce and showcase the Corvette and the passion enthusiasts have for the Corvette and the National Corvette Museum.

The Tour's journey will include an array of activities, including presentations and displays, an overview and history of the National Corvette Museum and its history and purpose, dinners, and gatherings. The Tour will excite and enlighten Corvette lovers at every stop.

This year, part of the Heartbeat Tour will include the Corvette C5-R as part of the tour's traveling showcase. The C5-R Corvette is a monumental piece of Corvette's 2004 undefeated winning season and we encourage everyone to come out and see this exciting piece of Corvette Racing's legacy. This exhibit piece is made possible by the generosity of GM Racing.

Corvette enthusiasts, Corvette clubs/chapters, Chevrolet dealers, NCM members, ambassadors, employees, and supporters will participate in the tour activities at various location points. This combined participation will provide a true Corvette show on wheels.

The Museum is over 21,500 members strong. Yet there are thousands of Corvette enthusiasts and owners who know little about the Museum, its mission, or its location. The main purpose of the Heartbeat in the Heartland Tour 2005 is to take the Museum to America's heartland and permit people to experience the Museum in their own community.

All Corvette enthusiasts are asked to join the Tour at any of the stopover locations listed online. For additional information or questions regarding The Heartbeat in the Heartland Tour, subscribe to the Heartbeat mailing list by sending a blank e-mail to:

Syracuse Corvette Club Wins Eagle One Golden Rule Award For Community Service ProgramTurning their passion for cars into compassion for others has earned car clubs in four national regions the 12th Annual Eagle One Golden Rule Award for the most outstanding community service programs during 2004.

Winners were: East-Syracuse Corvette Club, Liverpool, New York; Midwest-Shelby Shifters Car Club, Shelbyville, Indiana; South-Pee Dee Street Rodders, Effingham, South Carolina; West-Cal-Rods Car Club, West Covina, California.

The clubs will receive a cash donation of $250 from Eagle One and $250 from Valvoline for a charity of their choice. They will also receive a custom-designed plaque and a generous supply of Eagle One's Bucket-Free Car Wash, NanoWax, Wax As-U-Dry, All Wheel & Tire Cleaner, Tire Shine, and 10 cases of Valvoline MaxLife motor oil for fund-raising purposes.

"Eagle One is proud to recognize and reward car clubs for the good works they perform in their communities, while actively engaged in the preservation and restoration of one of our country's greatest historical heritages, the automobile," said Doug Zalla, vice president of Marketing of Eagle One.

Eagle One appearance care products are part of the Valvoline family of brands. Valvoline is a division of Ashland Inc.

Car Collectors, Now You Can Take Your Car on VacationFedEx Custom Critical Passport Auto Transport, the premier transporter of classic, collector, and specialty automobiles, has announced its "Take Your Collector Car on Vacation" program.

Many collectors and enthusiasts don't get to enjoy their cars as much as they would like at home. And when they're away from home, they have to settle for rentals. After a long day of sightseeing, adventure sports, or shopping, some travelers just want to relax and be comfortable. How great would it be to walk past the rental-car line and right to the door of your favorite collectible auto? With this new program, families can take their prized vehicles with them.

Car aficionados can ship their favorite hot rod, classic, exotic, or sports car to any continental U.S. vacation destination, returning with some unforgettable motoring memories. FedEx Custom Critical Passport Auto Transport gives passengers the ability to travel in comfort and find their prized collector car waiting for them upon arrival.

As an example, vacationers can escape for a romantic weekend in Cape Cod in their '63 Corvette roadster. Enthusiasts can make memories that last a lifetime along the Pacific Coast Highway in their favorite weekend-only C5. Hot-rodders can take a picture overlooking the Grand Canyon with their families, including their cars, without risking damage to the vehicles on an extended cross-country drive.

"Besides the added fun of driving a favorite car while on vacation, we offer consumers the opportunity to enjoy their cars anywhere in the country, wherever travel might take them," said Robert Pass, founder of FedEx Custom Critical Passport Auto Transport. It utilizes specially trained professionals-experts in the care and handling of vintage, collector, and specialty vehicles-who load, secure, and track the vehicles while in transit. Its trucks are highly versatile and can be converted to ship every kind of vehicle, from a vintage fire engine to a low-slung exotic sports car.

For more information about FedEx Custom Critical Passport Auto Transport or to schedule shipment of a vehicle, call (800) 325-4267.

Coming EventsOctober 7-8,Kissimmee, FLThe 12th Annual Octobervettes celebration hosted by the Octobervettes Committee, at the Seralgo Hotel and Suites Main Gate East, 5678 Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway. Call (800) 366-5437 for reservations and mention code HD10070CT for the special price and designated Corvette parking. Visit the Web site at for more details.

October 14, Lakeland, FLFord Heacock, event chairman of the Lake Mirror Classic Auto Festival, has announced the dates for the 2005 Lake Mirror Classic concours d'Elegance, Downtown Classic Car Show and Hot Rod Rendezvous. The Hot Rod Rendezvous will take place on Friday. Hours are from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Lake Mirror Amphitheatre and Promenade. Info: (863) 683-1540;

October 16, Mays Landing, NJBoardwalk Corvettes presents the Smithville Vette Review XVIII. Rain date October 23. Day of show hotline: (609) 432-3782 or Info: Dave 609-432-3782 or Ron (215) 321-8835.

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