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Corvette Fever YearOne Shootout - Got It? Show It... Run It!

The Corvette Fever Yearone Shootout

Scott Ross Mar 25, 2009
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Light 'Em Up Robbie Clark heats his '00 Corvette's rear tires before hitting the Atlanta Dragway strip during the Corvette Fever YearOne Challenge.

Building a Corvette to show is one thing; building one to drive is another. But building one to show, drive, and run hard is a whole other ballgame. That's the reason behind the Corvette Fever YearOne Shootout, held during the YearOne Experience weekend.

The Shootout consisted of an on-track session at Braselton, Georgia's Atlanta Dragway that followed a 25-mile cruise on the public roads near the track. That prerun was included to give participants a chance to show how their cars would handle the reality of public roads, traffic, and other drivers en route to the track. All cars had to be street-legal and NHRA-legal for the e.t. the car could run. In addition to winning bragging rights and YearOne gift certificates, all Shootout participants also received two passes to the YearOne Experience that allowed them to also cruise Road Atlanta, participate in the 0-100-0 competition, and run in the autocross.

The owners of four Corvettes had shown interest in taking part in the Shootout. Unfortunately, two of them weren't able to make it.

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Road Tour The C5s of Joe Underwood (above, right) and Robbie Clark led the other YearOne Challenge cars on the 25-mile road tour near Atlanta Dragway.

Brent Jarvis contacted us about bringing his killer '59 Corvette from Mundelein, Illinois. Brent claims his car is the quickest and fastest street legal Pro-Street Corvette in the country. This car is capable of running low-seven-second e.t.'s at well over 180 mph in the quarter-mile. On top of that, it's an ISCA show champion. The '59 would've made its presence felt at the strip, thanks to its 655ci aluminum Donovan big-block, topped by a pair of 1,150-cfm Holley Dominators atop a hand-fabricated aluminum manifold, nestled between a pair of hand-ported EPD aluminum heads and breathing out through a 5-inch stainless steel exhaust system. The Candy Purple-with-pearl flames color scheme on the '59's original body--that topped a custom Alston chassis--would have garnered its share of attention, too. Brent is an accomplished racer, and his Corvette has run consistently in the low eights for years. We were looking forward to seeing Brent ravage the competition, but unfortunately, a death in the family prevented him from attending.

Also not able to attend was Gary Box and his '65 Sting Ray Coupe from Westlake, Ohio. We wanted to show you Gary's midyear in action so you could see his incredible dual-purpose machine, with its 555-inch big-block (equipped with twin Dominators on a Holley Tunnel Ram, Dart heads, Wiseco pistons, Crower forged crankshaft and connecting rods, among other hardware that Gary built it with), along with Gary Reese-built chassis and dual-purpose race/road rubber in each fenderwell. Gary has won Shootouts all over the United States and usually runs in the 7-8 second range all day long. His car would have created quite a ruckus at the very least and quite possibly could have won the event. Unfortunately, due to some new NHRA chassis changes that couldn't be completed in time, Gary couldn't make the Shootout, which left us with two C5s--the blue '99 of Joe Underwood (which you can read more about starting on page 46), and Robbie Clark's red '00 convertible.

Once all participants--ours, plus those representing our sister publications Mopar Muscle, High Performance Pontiac, and Vette magazines--arrived at Atlanta Dragway, and after the mandatory drivers' meeting, each contestant vehicle and its driver was photographed by each magazine's photographers, and the cars all received close scrutiny by the event's NHRA tech inspectors.

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Got Boost? Under the hood of Clark's '00 Vette is a modified LS1 engine wearing a D1 ProCharger that puts out up to 15 pounds of boost--enough to spin the dyno gauges into the 700 range for both horsepower and torque. Clark's best run of the day was 10.14 seconds at 137 mph.

Then it was time to hit the road and show what they could do, as they each had to survive the cruise route that was made up of public roads and their attendant traffic, signals, civilian-vehicle drivers, wind-blown bugs, road tar, and other hazards (that may have also included tourists with cheap GPS navigation units flashing the reassuring message "You're lost--go read a map!").

The heavy rains that swept through Atlanta and North Georgia the night before were gone by the time everyone arrived on the morning of the Shootout, and the roads on the cruise route were fairly dry. There was also no road construction of the emergency or long-planned kinds. The previous night's rainfall played havoc on the Atlanta Dragway's racing surface, washing away a layer of freshly applied VHT before the participants could make a run on it. Still, the track was in decent shape for both the round-robin quarter-mile runs and the make-against-make rounds set for the afternoon.

How'd our two C5s do? Joe Underwood's '99 ran a best of 11.20 seconds, solidifying his win for this Shootout that included a $250 gift certificate from YearOne. Joe says that times in the nines would have been possible had the newly installed Nitrous Express nitrous-oxide injection system been properly dialed in. At least Joe was able to drive home after the on-track session, something that Robbie Clark couldn't do with his red '00 droptop. Robbie made a quick 10.17/137-mph pass without the juice, and it was the best run he would do that day. As he launched on one of the round-robin runs (before he had the chance to add a spray of nitrous to his Vette's fuel stream), the rear axle gave up the ghost, and that ended his day early. Robbie was able to claim the Corvette Fever Best E.T. award of the Shootout, which also included a $250 gift certificate from YearOne.

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Data File: '99 Corvette Coupe
Owned by Joe Underwood, Eads, Tennessee

Modified production '99 Corvette
Modifications: J&D Corvette Parts' high-rise hood
Paint: Mostly original (Nassau Blue), hood painted with Glasurit Nassau Blue to match rest of car; Paint applied by: Jerry Caudle at Smith Imports' body shop, Memphis, Tennessee

Frame: Production '99 Corvette
Suspension: Production '99 Corvette front and rear, with OEM front sway bar disconnected
Steering: Production '99 Corvette
Brakes: Production '99 Corvette with Brembo cross-drilled rotors
Wheels: Boyd Coddington "Timeless 5" billet aluminum, 17x9 inches front/18x10 inches rear
Tires: (Street) Michelin Pilot Sport 275/40R17 (front) 315/30R18 (rear) (Strip) 16x11.5-inch Mickey Thompson ET Street tires on rear.

Modified GM overhead-valve LS-series V-8
Machine Shop Work: Marian Performance, Marian, Arkansas
Assembly: Randy Hammons and Joe Underwood, Memphis
Modifications: Block line-bored, Lunati billet-steel stroker crankshaft, Diamond pistons, Lunati Billet Pro aluminum rods, ET Performance aluminum LS7 heads, Comp Cams hydraulic roller camshaft, 42-lb/hour fuel injectors
Displacement: 421 ci
Compression Ratio: 12.0:1 plus
Ignition: OEM GM electronic ignition
Induction: Vararam cold-air induction system
Power Adder: Nitrous Express nitrous-oxide injection system
Exhaust: Kooks full-length stainless steel system (catalytic converters removed), with 1 7/8-inch-diameter headers and 3-inch-diameter collectors, GHL 2 1/2-inch-diameter mufflers and 3-inch-diameter exhaust pipe
Horsepower: 552 at 7,000 rpm

Modified production T-56 six-speed manual transaxle
Built By: Rodney Massengill at RPM Transmissions, Daleville, Indiana
Modifications: "Level 5" upgrade, special Stage 3 clutch, 3.90:1 final-drive gears, Moser hardened axleshafts and carbon-fiber driveshaft
Shifter: B&M Ripper shifter with stock-appearing shifter knob

3.90:1 final-drive gears, Moser hardened axleshafts and carbon-fiber driveshaft

Modified production '99 Corvette interior
Modifications: Four-point rollbar, six-point Simpson safety harness for driver
Seats: Production C5 Corvette sport seats
Upholstery: Black leather
Carpets: Production Corvette cut-pile
Instrumentation: Production '99 Corvette (0- to 160-mph speedometer, 0- to 8,000-rpm tachometer, plus voltmeter and oil pressure, coolant temperature and fuel level gauges), auxiliary Auto Meter gauges on left A-pillar
Sound System: Production Corvette AM/FM/CD
HVAC: Production '99 Corvette

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Data File: '00 Corvette Convertible
Owned by Robbie Clark, Silver Creek, Georgia

Production '00 Corvette
Paint: Original '00 Corvette Torch Red

Frame: Production '00 Corvette
Suspension: Production '00 Corvette with QA1 shocks, front and rear
Steering: Production '00 Corvette
Brakes: Production '00 Corvette
Wheels/Tires: CCW wheels with 27-in (diameter) fronts and 28-in rears

Modified GM overhead-valve LS-series V-8
Assembly By: MTI Racing, Atlanta, Georgia
Modifications: JE pistons, Callies connecting rods, MTI custom-grind camshaft, Air Flow Research 225 cylinder heads
Displacement: 346 ci
Compression Ratio: 8.5:1
Ignition: Production '00 Corvette
Induction: Production '00 Corvette
Power Adders: D1 ProCharger (maximum 15 pounds boost) and nitrous-oxide injection
Exhaust: MTI Racing headers/dual exhaust system
Horsepower: 742 (at rear wheels)
Torque: 720 lb-ft (at rear wheels)

Modified production '00 Corvette automatic transaxle
Built By: RPM Transmission
Modifications: Stage 5 upgrade kit, 3,600-stall converter, 3.73:1 final-drive gears

Production '00 Corvette interior
Seats: Production C5 Corvette sport seats
Upholstery: Black leather
Carpets: Production Corvette cut-pile
Instrumentation: Production '00 Corvette (0- to 160-mph speedometer, 0- to 8,000-rpm tachometer, plus voltmeter and oil pressure, coolant temperature and fuel-level gauges)
Sound System: Production Corvette AM/FM/CD
HVAC: Production '00 Corvette



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