That was only the beginning of Tex's notoriety in the Corvette club world. In 1980, she was elected Governor of the Western States Corvette Council's Southwest Region, and in 1982 became its vice-president, a position she held for two years.
In 1984, the Western States Corvette Council convention was held in Visalia, California. Laurie was the overall chairperson of the event and had invited Bob Wollenman, then the President of NCCC, to attend. The two of them had previously talked of bringing NCCC out West, so it was through Laurie's efforts that the West Coast Region of the NCCC was born.
In 1997, Laurie won the executive position of the newly-formed NCCC Roadrunner Region, a position she has held for two years.
Thirty years have passed since Schwab's dream of owning a Corvette became a reality. Today, she's in her third year as president of Desert Corvette Association, the largest NCCC-affiliated club in the country. Tex attributes all of this to her '65 coupe.
"That car formed my reality," she says. "That '65 pulled me from being a shy little person to the president of a Corvette club of over 300 people!"
Tex: The Racer
Laurie "Tex" Schwab grew up with racing. Everyone in her family was into either racing cars or boats. Her dad raced a jalopy in Petaluma, California. Her mom had a hot rod when she was a teen. Laurie's own "need for speed" began at a young age as a speed skater on the ice. It wasn't long before her racing interests turned to cars
Brother Marty contributed to Laurie's love of car racing. According to Laurie, he always had loud, fast cars. She was 13 years old when he took her to Riverside to see her first NASCAR race. Laurie was hooked!
In 1973, Laurie earned her SCCA Solo I road racing license at Riverside International Raceway under the instruction of Dick Guldstrand. Soon afterwards, she took the Solo I B-Production ladies record at Las Vegas. She continued to race at Riverside, Willow Springs, Las Vegas Speedrome, Laguna Seca, and Holtville
In 1983, Laurie, her husband Steve, and Danny McKeever raced a three-hour SCCA Enduro in Steve's '64 B-Production Corvette roadster at Riverside. They finished in the top 10, out of 150 cars!
Since entering the Corvette world, Tex has been an active participant in all types of car racing. Locally, you might find her burning rubber at Firebird Raceway's Friday night drags. She frequently takes Ladies Best Time of Day at the Desert Corvette Association series autocross in her '88 Challenge Car. Away from home, you'll find Tex competing at NCCC National Conventions.
Rubbing Shoulders at the Top
So many of us wish we had the opportunity to meet the legends in the Corvette world who have had such a tremendous impact on America's sports car. Laurie had that opportunity more than once.
Laurie met Dave McClellan for the first time in 1982 when the WSCC annual convention was held in Palm Springs. She was overall chairman of the event being hosted by the Corvette Council, and McClellan was its honored guest and speaker. The two quickly became friends.
Then, in 1984, Laurie was invited to the NCCC Convention in Detroit as vice-president of the Western States Corvette Council. She received VIP treatment at the banquet and had the honor of sitting between Dave McClellan and Zora Arkus-Duntov!
"Meeting Zora was quite an honor for me, as it would be for any Corvette lover!" says Laurie. "To think that I was in the same room, let alone "hobnobbing" with, the Father of the Corvette is a highlight of my life! I am very fortunate to have met him, as his creation is such a big part of my life."
Laurie was at the National Corvette Museum for the unveiling of the C5 in 1997. There, she met Dave Hill. Later in 1997, GM had a local unveiling of the new C5 at Mesa, Arizona's Brown and Brown Chevrolet. Dave Hill was in town for the event and contacted Laurie for assistance with feedback from local Corvette enthusiasts.