1968 L88 Chevrolet Corvette FAST Racing Class & Other News- Inside Track

Brad Ocock Jan 1, 2006 0 Comment(s)
Corp_0601_01_z Fast_class_chevrolet_corvette Racing_front_view 1/1

'69 L88 cuts 10.99 on FAST Times Terror
One of the generally accepted facts of our hobby is cars just don't run fast on bias-ply tires. They also don't like breathing through cast-iron exhaust manifolds, stock intake manifolds, or factory air-cleaner assemblies. Everyone knows the first step to make your car faster is installing headers, adding a performance intake and carb, and mounting wider tires.

Apparently Wayne Nelson and his friends running the FAST class didn't get the memo.

FAST (Factory Appearing Stock Tire) is a racing class that grew out of the Pure Stock drags. The name says it all-the cars must look concours-correct right down to the casting numbers, full exhaust, factory-size tires, and have to sound stock at idle-otherwise, anything goes.

Four years ago when the class was started, the limiting factor was thought to be bias-ply tires-700 hp doesn't matter if you can't get it to the ground. Everyone figured the tires would limit e.t.'s to the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) 11.99 rollbar requirements. Initially, the cars were running low 12s and 11.99 was a big deal. Eventually they started creeping into the 11s, then lower. Most tracks looked the other way on the rollbar issue until NHRA re-wrote the rule requiring rollbars in cars running 11.50 plus. The revision accommodated new Mustangs, Vipers and Corvettes, but FAST cars also benefitted.

Jump ahead a few years and these "restored" cars are running low 11s with air cleaner assemblies and full exhaust. Year One was instrumental in starting the class and last year offered a $1,000 bounty to the first car running in the 10s.

At the June 17 race held in Martin, Michigan, everyone anticipated fast times with the unseasonably cool air-barely above 60 degrees-since the entire class was already running in the 11.20s and 11.10s. A few cars dipped into the 11.00s but the cool temperatures didn't seem to affect the times.

Then Wayne Nelson posted a 10.99 at 127.85 mph in his '69 L88 Corvette and Year One had to pay up. Like most cars in this class, Nelson's Corvette will hold its own on any concours judging field. While Nelson's 10.99 was the fastest of the race, he fell to Terry Pennington's '69 ZL-1 clone in the final round, running a 11.58 at 127.05 mph to Pennington's winning 11.35 at 126.14 mph.

To put this in a little perspective, prior to the advent of Pro Stock at the end of the '60s, Top Stock and Super Stock cars were running in the mid-11s, with aftermarket intakes, open headers, ram air or hood scoops, no air cleaners, slicks and traction bars.

Nelson also made an appearance at this year's Mopar Nationals in Columbus, Ohio. Lining up against one of the reigning Mopars, a '69 Hemi Plymouth GTX, the blue Stingray received boos and sneers from the Mopar crowd. With the flash of the green light, the L88 launched down the 1320 while the 3,900-lb-plus Hemi GTX groaned under its own weight and struggled to catch up. The spectators fell silent as the lightweight L88 Corvette cruised down the shut off lane, ripping off a 10.93 at 128 mph to win the event.

Nelson idled back to his trailer, locked up, and waited for the next day's awards ceremony. The Shark ultimately walked away with first place, having made an indelible mark on the Mopar crowd who thought the mighty Elephant was unstoppable.

Corvette Enthusiast Receives Pennzoil Platinum Prize
Marion Galloway (left) of Lafayette, Indiana, re-ceived the Platinum Prize at the 21st Annual Midwest Corvette and Chevy Show in Valparaiso, Indiana, from George Kiser of Pennzoil. The award honors auto enthusiasts nationwide who have made the ultimate commitment to protect their custom and classic vehicles. Galloway will also receive a lifetime supply of the new full-synthetic Pennzoil Platinum motor oil and will be inducted into the Platinum Hall of Fame on Pennzoil.com.

Galloway's '78 Indy 500 Corvette pace-car replica was the featured attraction at the Penn-zoil Platinum Garage during the show. The garage travels to auto events nationwide and includes an interactive display trailer with synthetic oil displays, video, and a cut-away engine.

Galloway owns more than 30 Corvettes from all six generations dating back to the '50s. His collection includes replicas of all Corvette Indianapolis 500 pace cars. He also is a member of the Cross Flag Corvette Club, numerous Corvette registries, and he owns Harley Davidson of Crete, Illinois.

Corvette Racing Wins GT1 Manufacturers Championship at Road America
On a picturesque day at Road America, Corvette Racing clinched the GT1 Manufacturers Championship for Chevrolet and the team championship for Corvette Racing when Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta, and the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6-R beat teammates Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell with a 132-second victory.

This victory was the fourth win in five races for Gavin and Beretta, including a victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. With three races remaining, the two "Ollies" moved within three points of Fellows and O'Connell (127-130) in the race for the GT1 Drivers Championship.

"Chevrolet races to win in every series," said Corvette Racing Program Manager Doug Fehan. "It's a great day when Chevy wraps up its fifth consecutive ALMS Manufacturers Championship. There was some intense, exciting racing on the track today. If the race had gone one more lap, the outcome might have been different."

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