Racecar Driver John Heinricy Enjoys Running Autocross And HPDE While Helping Others Fine-Tune Their Cars

Matick Chevy Corvette Museum HPDE
John Heinricy instructs Corvette owners on how to drive their sports cars during a recent High Performance Driving Event on the National Corvette Museum's Motorsports Park racetrack.  

John Heinricy often doesn't knows what or where he might be driving any given weekend.

When he’s not racing his Corvettes or his Matick Chevy-sponsored Sonic, the Michigan racecar driver often spends time at road tracks and autocross courses training sports car enthusiasts on how to fine-tune and drive their vehicles.

A wide assortment of vehicles and drivers participate in these day-long gatherings.

At open events around metro Detroit, for example, “you’ll see every kind of make and model running,” says Alan Johnson, Matick Chevrolet’s Performance Vehicles sales manager. After participating in the events the past two summers, Johnson says Matick Chevy's Performance service team now offers many of the different car setups for Corvettes that he and Heinricy discuss with the autocross competitors.

At these entry-level events, miniature road courses are chalked out on a large parking lot and defined by pylons or cones. Drivers must wear helmets, but no special clothing.

“These are open to anybody,” adds Heinricy. “It’s very safe. You’re unlikely to do any damage to your car.”

Most who come out do this as a hobby. At any given event there can be 20 separate classes of cars, and up to 200 drivers signing up for time on the course. People who attend can expect to spend a full day because drivers also are assigned time to work at the course when not driving. Fees range from $20-$80.

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Matick Chevy's Alan Johnson competes in a recent autocross at the Schoolcraft College Public Safety Training Complex in Michigan.

Autocross enthusiast Bruce Wentzel of Milford, Mich., attended his first autocross in 1964 and has been hooked ever since. “It’s a hobby that becomes addictive,” he says.

“My wife, Mary, is every bit as addicted as I am. If you enjoy driving a car fast, this is the safest way you can do it.”

The Wentzels, who own several Corvettes, are members of the Corvette Club of Michigan like many of the other participants in a recent event at Schoolcraft College Public Safety Training Complex in Livonia, Mich.

Wentzel says he does it to “get a thrill.” He recalls the first time he won the “fastest time of the day” honor back in the 1970s. “I was on Cloud 9,” he says.

He recommends newcomers give autocross a try. “There are a lot of people at these events to give you guidance. It’s multifaceted and that’s what I like about it.”

Here are resources to learn more about autocross events:

Matick Chevy Corvette Museum HPDE 2016
High Performance Driving Events at the National Corvette Museum allows owners opportunities to improve their driving skills.

 

FAST TRACK ACTION

For a real thrill, the beginner-to-expert driver who wants to drive a road course can step up to the fast action at High Performance Driving Events (HPDE).

Heinricy attends these events at various tracks around the country as a pro driver instructor, often sponsored by Matick Chevrolet, one of the largest Corvette dealers in the Midwest.

“It’s not as intense as racing, but you can damage your car,” he warns. “There’s more risk with HPDEs.”

Matick Chevy’s Alan Johnson had to ride with an instructor for a full day before he was permitted to drive solo at one track.

HPDEs allow “for passing when the person in front designates a pass,” he says. “It’s that way for safety.”

At an Aug. 27-28 HPDE event at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky., participants each drove on the track for 20 minutes up to four separate times. Most drove their own Corvettes.

“But I did see some Camaros and Mustangs,” says Heinricy.

The cost can range from $150 to $250 per day, depending on the event.

To see what driving is like, take a virtual seat inside a vehicle at this HPDE event.

At Bowling Green, Heinricy ran his Matick C7 Corvette and Johnson drove his own C7.

“I enjoy it,” says Heinricy, who counted 120 attendees. "People came from all over — Michigan, Illinois, North and South Carolina." rel="lightbox353286"

Heinricy drove hot laps on the museum's track with six Corvette owners. Those lucky ones were selected in a hot-lap drawing, which was sponsored by Matick Chevy.

Corvette lovers also paid to ride with Heinricy during the weekend event, and that amount was donated to the museum, he says.

Heinricy and his passengers wore helmets with communications gear, which enabled him to narrate what was happening in the owner’s car while on the course.

“Sometimes the passenger can’t tell if I’m driving with an open or partial throttle,” Heinricy says, “so this allows me to talk with them.”

Matick Chevy John Heinricy New Jersey Winner
John Heinricy celebrates another summer victory in his Matick Chevy-sponsored Sonic at a New Jersey track.

HEINRICY RACING EVENTS

Heinricy, who won the SCCA National Championship in his 2012 Matick Chevy Sonic last year, will return to defend his title at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs at the Mid-Ohio Raceway. The Sonic will race at 4:25 p.m. Sept. 24. Heinricy is also taking his 2002 Camaro to compete in the A Sedan class on Sept. 23.

All championship races will be broadcast live on www.scca.com.

Back home in Michigan, he’ll participate with his C7 at the Detroit Council of Sports Car Club autocross Oct. 2 at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich.

Heinricy also is talking with promoters about taking his Matick Chevy Stingray for HPDEs to Grattan Raceway for a Devos Hospital benefit Oct. 6 in Grand Rapids.

On Nov. 10-11, he’s run the Trans Am series with a Corvette owned by Stewart Bachmann Motorsports, where his 800 hp vehicle could hit speeds of 200 mph.

Posted September 21, 2016

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‘Corvettes on Woodward’ Called ‘Coolest Thing Ever’ As Owners Gather To Help The Hungry

Corvettes on Woodward 2016 Matick Chevy
This year's Corvettes on Woodward moved to the impressive 87-acre M1 Concourse in metro Detroit that includes a racetrack and repair shops. 
 

Neither hot sun nor rain stopped hundreds of Corvette owners from turning out on Aug. 17 to enjoy some fun and raise more than $6,000 to help the hungry at the annual Corvettes on Woodward gathering.

The big fundraiser was held at the new M1 Concourse in Pontiac, Mich., prior to metro Detroit’s spectacular 22th annual Woodward Dream Cruise.

Two food pantries – Open Hands Food Pantry, part of Royal Oak’s St. John’s Episcopal Church, and Woodside Bible Church – benefited from the event coordinated by Corvette enthusiast Larry Courtney.

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Event coordinator Larry Courtney.

Matick Chevrolet in metro Detroit, which sponsors Larry’s U.S. flag-wrapped Corvette, provided the van used to deliver donated non-perishable food to Open Hands.

A highpoint of Corvettes on Woodward involved a huge Corvette caravan, led by Oakland County Sheriff’s officials, driving from M1 Concourse through Pontiac and along Woodward Avenue to the Open Hands Food Pantry where participants delivered monetary and food donations.

Corvettes on Woodward this year drew more than 600 Corvette owners to the impressive M1 facility, an 87-acre complex featuring climate-controlled, private car condos, a racetrack, repair shops and restaurants.

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One highlight of the annual gathering was a Corvette Caravan along the Woodward Dream Cruise route to deliver goods and money to a local food bank.

Brad Oleshansky, M1 Concourse founder, called the Aug. 17 event “amazing,” one of many back-to-back events at the facility during Pontiac Power Week celebrated during the Woodward Dream Cruise.

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Enthusiasts were able to chat with other owners and check out the unique cars.


During the Aug. 20 Woodward Dream Cruise, Oleshansky says the Corvette remains the “dominant car on Woodward.”  

For the Corvettes on Woodward gathering Oleshansky says, “We’ve finally given them room to accommodate their event.”

Bleachers were being erected near Woodward Avenue. He anticipated up to 25,000 guests for a drag racing exhibition at M1 on Aug. 19.

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 Participants took hot laps around the new M1 Concourse racetrack.

M1 is expanding quickly, and currently officials are taking reservations for the next phase of its car condos.

Corvette owners and their spit-polished cars were the stars of  Corvettes on Woodward. Each paid $10 to enter, with the funds being donated to the food pantries.

Lucille and Dennis Thomas of Southfield chatted with friends before heading out to the infield, the main parking area for the Corvettes.

The Thomases have owned 7 Corvettes over the years, and now they drive a 2014 black Corvette Stingray.

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Dennis Thomas loves his 2014 Stingray.

“We bought the first Corvette after the kids left home in 1989,” says Lucille.

Dennis worked for Pontiac Motors for 39 years. The Thomas’ first Corvette was a 1989.

“They ride good,” says Lucille, who wore a red Stingray T-shirt that matched her husband’s.

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Rain threatened the event for a bit but it didn't dampen the excitement.
 

Corvettes on Woodward had been held at a hotel in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., for years, but the venue could only accommodate 500 cars. So event coordinator Larry Courtney decided it was time to find a bigger space and M1 came to the rescue.

Courtney and volunteers even lined up red, white and blue Corvettes to create a large American flag during the day.

A drone was able to capture the image from the air above the M1 Concourse infield, filled only with Corvettes.

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Corvette owners lined up their cars in red, white and blue rows to create an American flag.

Courtney said Oleshansky and staff were welcoming. “We had a good turnout considering it rained. It’s a perfect venue and we will make it bigger and better every year,” he says.

Out in the infield Mike Reed of Southfield was in attendance with his 2006 yellow Z06 Corvette – his third Corvette. “I always like Corvettes since I was growing up,” says Reed, 56. “I thought they looked like muscles.”

Reed, who works for Chrysler, looked around at the dozens of parked Corvettes in the infield.

“They are all beautiful cars to me,” he says.

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Dennis Pillsbury supercharged his 1957 engine and added a few other enhancements as well.

A few rows away, Ortonville resident Dennis Pillsbury walked around his 1957 red-and-white Corvette convertible, complete with a supercharged small block engine he built himself.

Pillsbury, a retired vehicle builder from GM’s Truck and Bus division, said a friend of his named the car “Alien” and that is the name that appears on the car’s front license plate. Pillsbury also owns a 1967 Corvette.

“They were perfectly made, the (two) prettiest cars they ever built.”

He said if he doesn’t sell the car, he will give it to his son, Scott.

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Corvettes on Woodward owners enjoyed  fast laps on the M1 Concourse 1.5-mile racetrack.

Because of the car’s age and stick shift, Pillsbury admits the car can be “finicky” to drive. Pillsbury changed the hood so that it opens at the front instead of the back. “People asked me why I did it, and I said, ‘Because I could.’ It came to me in a nightmare,” he jokes.

First-timers to Corvettes on Woodward, Elaine and Steve Meltzer of LaSalle, Mich., drove their 2000 red Corvette convertible to the infield. After Steve, a retired airline captain, had a heart attack in 2007 and subsequent heart transplant, Elaine said the couple purchased the car in Florida after Steve was recuperating.

“It makes him so happy,” says Elaine, a former sales representative. “Steve is generally the car’s driver. It has a six-speed so I don’t drive it that much.”

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Elaine and Steve Meltzer drove their 2000 Corvette to the day-long event.

Steve assessed the new M1 venue. “It’s awesome,” he says, and even drove the Corvette around M1’s new 1.5-mile track.

Rain Didn’t Dampen Spirits

Skies blackened after 3 p.m.at the event, sending some people to a large tent at the event entrance.

Barbara Walsh of Washington Township, Mich., stayed near her 1990 white Corvette. She works in the automotive weather stripping business and maintains her own vehicles. “This is my sixth Corvette,” she says. “This one is a C4 with only 17,519 miles on it.”

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Barbara Walsh has owned six Corvettes, including this 1990 C4 with 17,519 miles.

After being complimented for her skills, Walsh said she had recently replaced the gears in her headlights in the past week. When she runs into a situation where she needs help she says, “YouTube (how-to video) is great.”

A rare bird among the many younger owners at the event was 20-year-old Carl Rygwelski of Washington Township. He drove past a 1992 white Corvette coupe listed for sale along a road last year and ended up buying it. “I got it for $8,000,” Rygwelski says happily. “It only has 51,000 miles on the odometer. It’s been a dream car for a year.”

He said his father co-signed papers to help him get the car.

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Carl Rygwelski purchased his first Corvette at age 20, this 1992 coupe.

“I’d been driving my dad’s old Ford F-150,” Rygwelski says. “The Corvette’s my first car and the coolest thing ever.”

Rygwelski maintains two jobs – working as a videographer and Kroger employee. He’s also a student at Oakland University studying finance.

The new M1 Concourse complex was deemed “pretty sweet” by Rygwelski. “I’m impressed with it.”

Rygwelski was asking owners he met to sign the free Corvette yearbook Larry Courtney distributed to all who brought their cars to the Aug. 17 event.

One site caused many attendees to stop and ask for a photo – the Chesterfield Township man who pulled his tiny miniature Maltese dog Brutus on a wagon. The dog named Brutus serves as the Vietnam veteran’s service dog.

A cloudburst hit at 3:30 p.m., sending many scurrying to that large tent at the entrance.  The event DJ cleverly played the Cascades’ 1962 hit, “Rhythm of the Rain,” to lighten the mood.

Inside the tent, Harlan Charles, GM’s Corvette product and marketing manager, chatted with guests. “This is my first time here at M1 and it’s a great facility and a great place to have this event,” he says.

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Harlan Charles, Corvette product and marketing manager, shared insights on the Grand Sport.

Charles drove a 2017 white Grand Sport Corvette to entice Corvette fans.

He shared that the Corvette division doesn’t have to do much research on how to improve or upgrade the product. “The owners always give us suggestions,” he says. “The Grand Sport is what the customers want.”

He joked that people in the market for a new Corvette should “order early and order often.”

Buyers can purchase the new Grand Sport in Admiral blue, Black rose, Watkins Glen grey or Sterling blue.

Monalee Kubik of Sterling Heights, Mich., came to the event with husband John Kubik. She was looking forward to the Corvettes on Woodward caravan to deliver the donated food and funds to Open Hands Food Pantry.

She shared that she has enjoyed riding in the family 1994 red Corvette convertible. “I like the wind in my hair,” she says, moving her head to simulate the feeling. “It’s a fun ride, and fun to meet people who are new to Corvettes.”

After the rain let up at the event, people ventured back outside.

Tom Fielitz, a writer with Vette Vues, admitted he left his Corvette at home because of the chance of storms.

“I’m impressed with how brave people are to come out in the rain,” he says. “But when Corvette people get together, everyone is smiling.”

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Rain lasted less than 30 minutes during the Corvettes on Woodward gathering of more than 600 Corvettes.

Wearing a striking long dress, turquoise necklace and sun hat, Rosie Richardson of Pontiac walked near her sleek black 2016 Corvette, which she purchased this summer.

The car was a present for herself. Once her children completed college, she says, it was “Mommy time.”

In early August, she convinced her childhood girl friend to hit the road with the new car. “We went for a week and two days down to South Carolina, just stopping wherever we wanted along the way. The car handled so well. It was so cool,” said Richardson, chair of the Pontiac Library Board. “I enjoyed every bit of it.”

Tom and Joan Psillas of Milford stayed near their two Corvettes. Joan sat in her 2002 convertible coupe, and Tom hovered near his 1961 beauty.

“I love the car’s peppiness, rarity and it’s style,” says Tom of his 1961 wheels. “It’s just outstanding.”

The car, equipped with a plate that read “It’s A61,” stood out in Honduras maroon with Ermine white coves.

“It was the first year Corvettes had dual tail lights,” says Tom.

Joan’s plate read “O YESSS.”

Joan loves driving in the 2002, says Tom. “She found out Corvettes have air conditioning,” he says, laughing. Joan adds, “And mine has lumbar support.”

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A Matick Chevrolet van was used to collect food for the event's Drive2End Hunger campaign.

Money Donated Goes To Help The Hungry

The majority of funds and non-perishable food donated at the event went to St. John Episcopal’s  Open Hands Food Pantry. Three representatives watched the proceedings as the food was transferred from the Matick Chevy van.

“Everything goes directly to our clients,” says Bruce Donigan, chair of Open Hands. Chuck Tucker and Pete Baird assisted him.

Created in 1984, the pantry, which is open two days a week, serves 14,000 people every year, says Donigan.

For every dollar raised, organizers can purchase 10 pounds of food.

“Unfortunately, the need is growing,” Donigan says. “We’re seeing more families.”

Enjoy more photos from the 2016 Corvettes on Woodward gathering at the M1 Concourse in metro Detroit.

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Corvettes on Woodward 2016 coordinator Larry Country and his Matick Chevy-sponsored Corvette.
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Phase three of the M1 Concourse car condos are now under construction.
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Photos by Robert Brodbeck

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Corvette Generations Car Show In Birmingham Shines As One Of The Best

 
North Oaks Birmingham Corvette Show 2016 1The 2016 North Oaks Corvette Generations Car Show drew thousands of car lovers and shoppers to Birmingham.  

Les Perkinson III of Troy stopped to admire a “money-green” Corvette in downtown Birmingham, Mich. during the North Oaks Corvette Club’s Fourth Annual Corvette Generations Car Show on July 23.

“I like that one and the yellow one up there,” the 48-year-old said, gesturing toward a sleek Corvette parked near Old Woodward Avenue and Merrill Street. Both roads were closed to traffic during the Saturday day-long event.

“I like poppin’ colors,” he added.

Perkinson, and his 22-year-old son, Les Perkinson IV, share a love of sports cars. Both said they’d be happy with any of the more than 100 gleaming rainbow of ‘Vettes lined up on display along Old Woodward.

“I always have wanted to get a Corvette,” said Les III. “We are the Motor City. Why not have something that represents the city.”

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North Oaks Birmingham Corvette Show closed Old Woodward and Merrill Street to traffic for the big event.

The Corvette show is a major element of Birmingham’s “Day on the Town” where the city’s merchants offer sidewalk sales, music on three stages and giveaways. The event is sponsored by the Birmingham Shopping District.

North Oaks Corvette Club member Skip Hartlerode, co-chair of the Corvette gathering with Sue Miller, counted 40 members of the club – all in bright neon-green T-shirts - in attendance. Matick Chevy in Redford Township, Mich., sponsors the North Oaks club.

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Congratulations to members of the North Oaks Corvette Club for hosting another successful  Corvette Generations Car Show.

Many other clubs joined the party, including the GMC Corvette Set club. Member Robert Jason drove his 2013 torch red Corvette to the show. “Clubs support one another,” he said.

The Washington Township resident declared the Birmingham show “awesome.”
“I like the downtown atmosphere, people are wandering around and it’s neat to see,” Jason said.

Pat Bean with the North Oaks club sat under a show’s canopy selling club raffle tickets. “I like the camaraderie of the club,” said the Milford resident. “We give back to the community.”

Part of the raffle proceeds go to Birmingham Bloomfield Community Coalition, a non-profit group that works in drug and alcohol abuse prevention among teens.

Bean, who came in her Matick Chevy Corvette, looked around at the crowd. “Everybody down here has been absolutely wonderful.”

With temperatures in the steamy 90s, people at the show carried water bottles or bought cold drinks.

Chef Adam Galloway with The Bird and The Bread restaurant was selling watermelon-and-hibiscus drinks under a canopy on the street.

“I mixed strawberries, peaches, watermelon, vanilla, lime juice and hibiscus for the tartness,” he said. “We just started and I think it’s going to go fast.”

Across the street, Toledo Corvette owners Don Beam and Steve Kosik smoked cigars in the shade.

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Corvette Generations Car Show attendees were able to talk with car owners and look under the hood.

“We got here at 7:30 a.m.,” Beam said. They won out with their early arrival.
“We got the tree,” he said, pointing out one of the few trees along the wide street.
Beam ventures out in his 2007 victory red Corvette up to 30 times during a summer. “We’re in Michigan more than Ohio,” he said.

“I love it here. People are friendly. There are gorgeous flowers, and good restaurants.”

Kosik, who drove a 1991 black Corvette to the show, added that Birmingham was “nice and clean.” Both men, members of the Glass City Corvette Club, won trophies in the 2015 show.

When questioned what they love about Corvettes, Kosik quipped, “Is there any other car?”

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Every Corvette owner had a story to tell about his or her sports car.

Lolita Sierens of Rochester Hills showed off the family 2003 electron blue Z06 Corvette.

“I like this location,” she said. “Women who come like that there are stores (for shopping).”

Sierens said she snagged a good sale on shoes at one vendor’s sidewalk sale tent.
She and her husband Dennis, who joined the GMC Corvette Set club in 2002, own two other Corvettes – a 1996 and a 2007.

She walked over to point out the 2003’s snazzy painted engine covers that Dennis, who retired from Dura Convertible Systems, designed.

“He comes up with special things like this,” she said.

Wandering through the show were Pokémon Go players Ricky Kevonian and Tony Fabbri, both 17. The two laughed, talked and stared at their cellphones.

They said they had been searching for the game’s characters since mid-morning.
“We caught an Eevee (a Pokémon character that resembles a long-eared dog) on one of the (Corvette) cars,” said Fabbri.

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More than 100 colorful Corvettes lined both side of Old Woodward Avenue through downtown Birmingham.

Andrew Sulich of Birmingham sat near his 1965 Nassau blue Corvette convertible with son, Evan, 17.

Sulich, a North Oaks Corvette Club member, purchased the car a year ago from a Chicago resident.

“I don’t take it out in the rain,” he said.

Andrew and Evan take a ride in the Corvette every Saturday night.

The car has a 365 horse powered engine. “That wasn’t standard,” Sulich said.
Andrew, a physician, loves the Birmingham show.

“Corvette people are the most gracious and they seem to be happy,” he said. “Every car here has a story and people swap stories.”

He also appreciates the father-son time with the car.

“It keeps my son from the electronics. I’m glad he’s not at a (phone or computer) pressing buttons,” he said.

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North Oaks Birmingham Corvette Show visitors could walk main street while shopping during Birmingham's Day On The Town.

Just up the street, retirees Jim and Arlene Schwab talk with neighbors near the Schwab’s 1982 silver-and-dark blue Corvette.

“We’re out every week in it, maybe three times a week,” said Jim. The Clinton Township couple, which take part in the Corvette Club of Detroit and also Holy Cross Cruisers, have owned the 1982 since 2008.

“I just love old cars,” said Jim.

Arlene laughed. “We’re living out our past.”

The Schwabs once owned a 1967 Corvette, but it was stolen in Florida.
“We flew home,” said Jim.

Mainly Jim drives the 1982.

“The first time I drove, he was more nervous than I was,” Arlene said. "After that I thought, ‘I’ll let him drive.’”

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North Oaks Birmingham Corvette Show 2016

Around the town, shoppers scanned stores’ sales along Maple Road, Old Woodward Avenue (home to the Woodward Dream Cruise later this month) and Pierce Street.

Near Pierce and Maple streets, shoppers looking to cool down walked through a device spraying a light mist onto the street.

Royal Oak residents Sara and Daniela, who didn’t give their last names, pushed two-month-old Simone in a stroller.

“We are here for the Corvettes and the shopping,” said Daniela, who sipped a cool lemonade.

Birmingham Shopping District director John Heiney said the day was going well for the town’s 100 vendors.

“The shopping day is great and the Corvettes are another reason to come out,” he said.

“The cars are a great addition to our event. And we’re happy there were no worries of rain.”

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North Oaks Birmingham Corvette Show 2016

Diana and John Dawson of Clarkston, who own a 2000 pewter-colored Corvette, had just joined the North Oaks club. “It’s such a nice bunch of people,” said Diana.

“We’re keeping ‘the wave’ alive,” Diana explained, raising her hand and waving. People at the event talked about the tradition that Corvette owners on the road always wave to one another.

John, a former GM supplier employee, said North Oaks is a “small, intimate club where everyone is super-friendly.”

Around bustling Birmingham, people walked their dogs, rode bikes and chatted with friends.

 

At the Jabs Gym booth, one woman worked up a sweat during a boxing demonstration with a trainer.

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Matick Chevrolet sponsors the North Oaks Corvette Club and the show trophies.

A Chesterfield Township woman stood near her Corvette, surrounded by tire cleaners, buffing rags and special sprays.

“I’m meticulous with the car,” said Mary Beth Erne-Vanlewen about her 2011 gleaming black Grand Sport Corvette.

Wearing her blonde hair pulled back, Erne-Vanlewen grabbed a long-handled cotton swab and ran it along one of the car’s joints.

“Look,” she said, showing a tiny amount of wax on the swab’s tip.

She bought her “dream car” in 2015 and even recalls the exact date. “June 17,” said Erne-Vanlewen, who explained she is from a “car family.”

She said men often treat their cars with kid gloves “but I never met any woman doing what I do.”

She has prizes for her hard work. “I received first place for People’s Choice the first year I brought my car here,” she said. “And I just took first at the Canterbury Village Corvette Show.”

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North Oaks Birmingham Corvette Show 2016

Rob Sopchak of Macomb stopped to admire a 1960 Corvette convertible – a show-stopping silver coupe trimmed with white.

“I own the 2003 50th anniversary edition over there,” he said, looking south on Old Woodward.

“Corvettes are just unique. I got mine new four years ago.”

Sopchak, whose anniversary-edition-red car won first place in stock C5s at the Birmingham 2015 show, raved about coming to town for the event.

“I love the way the streets are closed off and that the Corvettes get all the parking spots. I just love it.”

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North Oaks Birmingham Corvette Show 2016

 

Corvette Generations Car Show 2016 Winners

BEST OF SHOW

Stock: Dennis Sierens, 2003 Modified
Matick’s Choice: Kevin Jeffery, 1969 Stock
Birmingham’s Choice: Steve Destrampe, 2014 Modified

GENERATIONS WINNERS
C1 Stock
1. Harley and Barbara Buchanan, 1962
2. Keith Honhart
C2
1. J.T. Johnson, 1962
2. Ron and Nancy Reale, 1964
C3
1. Kevin Jeffrey, 1969
2. Gordon Henry, 1971
C4
1. Walt and Sheryl Weiss, 1996
2. Mark Mullin, 1993
C5
1. Gary Woodlington, 1998
2. Martin Rosenbaum, 2000
C6
1. Mary Beth Erne-Vanlewen, 2011
2. Robert Jason, 2013
C7
1. Wayne Little, 2016
2. Mark Madion, 2016

MATICK'S CHOICE

C1: Jack Driver, 1960
C2: Tom and Bonnie Baiiley, 1964
C3: 1. Matt Leone, 1979, 2. Glenn Wurm, 1974
C4: 1. Steve Kosik, 1991, 2. Roger Steeley, 1974
C5: 1. Dennis Sierens, 2003 2. Alvin Kelley, 1999
C6: 1. Cindy and Don Boozer, 2008,  2. Michael Plumb, 2008
C7: 1. Jim Wolfe, 2014,  2. Roger Colosimo, 2014

 

Enjoy more photos from the North Oaks Corvette Club's 2016 Corvette Generations Car Show in downtown Birmingham.

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North Oaks Birmingham Corvette Show 2016
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North Oaks Birmingham Corvette Show 2016 
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North Oaks Birmingham Corvette Show 2016
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Flint Club Hosts Record-Breaking NCCC Meeting; Now Eyes Corvette Crossroads Show In Mackinaw City

Matick Chevy Michigan Corvette Council
More than 200 attended the National Council of Corvette Clubs Michigan Region awards banquet sponsored by the Flint Corvette Club at Matick Chevrolet.  

In 1953, the first Corvettes were manufactured in Flint, Mich., a fact not lost on the Flint Corvette Club.

“Our club motto is ‘Birthplace of the Corvette,’” says Jim Harris, club president.

The club itself originally came together back in 1969.

Harris has been a member since 1973, when his ride was a 1971 red Corvette coupe. Now 74, he owns a 2003 Corvette coupe — and the car color is still red.

“My taste hasn’t changed a lot over the years. Black is beautiful, too, if you have someone else doing the polishing,” he jokes.

The Flint club’s 50 members get together monthly to attend events or just “dine and drive.”

“We do what the members want to do,” Harris says.

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Club member Stu Moore relaxes at last summer's Mackinaw City Corvette Show.

Some of the activities include participation in the Sloan Museum Auto Fair and Back to the Bricks where car lovers gather to park their classics in downtown Flint every August. 

This Aug. 27, hundreds of Corvette lovers — including members of the Flint club — will assemble in northern Michigan's Mackinaw City for the annual Corvette Crossroads Auto Show.

Harris, a retired electrician, and Flint club members helped organizers pull the first show together 27 years ago, he says, because people have a way of finding him because of his long association with Corvettes.

“I’ve gone every year except the one year I had to work,” he says. “It’s a nice place to go with a craft show, shops, and sights to see.”

The club members gather for an annual corn roast, ball games, and bell ringing for the Salvation Army or Super Bowl parties.

Matick Chevy Flint Corvette Club Danny Kellermeyer
A young Corvette lover checks out the Corvette racer driven by Danny Kellermeyer on display at a recent club meeting. Danny is sponsored by Matick Chevy.

The Flint club is also part of the National Council of Corvette Clubs (NCCC) and is sponsored by George Matick Chevrolet in Redford Township, Mich., a leading Corvette dealer and GM’s Chevy Dealer of the Year for 2014 and 2015

When a person joins the Flint club, they are also required to join the NCCC.

Harris, who lives in nearby Lennon, Mich., points out one of the national club activities involve competitive driving, including autocross.

“This year we’ll do our program Aug. 14 at Michigan International Speedway,” Harris says.

Participants line up for autocross, racing against the clock, not each other, on a course defined by plastic cones.

After the Flint club lost its dealership sponsor, one of the members who connected with Matick Chevy suggested calling the big Redford dealership, says Harris.

“It’s worked out great,” Harris says.

Matick Chevy and the Flint club hosted the April 3 regional awards banquet for the NCCC Michigan region. Read that story here.

More than 200 attended from 16 Michigan clubs. That was a record turnout, officials reported.

Funds raised were donated to Veterans Outreach of Southeast Michigan

“It was a good turnout and we recognized people who participate in rallies and shows,” he says.

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Club member Barbara Harris gets ready to lead the parade at the 2015 Mackinaw City Corvette Show, which the club has helped coordinate.

As for Corvettes, Harris has a trunkful of reasons for being a fan.

“They’re fun to drive and I appreciate the way the car handles and the technology that has taken place with the Corvette since the 1960s.”

Harris says he feels youthful behind the wheel.

“You see lot of us old geezers in newer cars,” he says.

The camaraderie connected with Corvette clubs might even affect an owner’s personal life.

Harris met his wife, Barbara, at a national Corvette gathering in the mid-1980s.

“A mutual friend of ours in ‘Corvetteing’ set things up for us to meet,” Harris explains.

Barbara was a Corvette owner and a member of a Toledo area club.

The couple met at a convention in Indiana, and Harris says, “The rest is history.”

The Flint club welcomes new members. “We are open and friendly,” he explains. “And we’re always looking for new people.”

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North Oaks Corvette Club’s Annual ‘Generations’ Show Transforms Birmingham Into Corvette Paradise

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The North Oaks Corvette Generations Show takes over the streets of Birmingham, Mich. on July 23. 

Skip Hartlerode’s neighbor walked over to his house in 2008 with an intriguing invitation. 

“I know a car you would look great in,” the neighbor said. 

Curious, Skip decided to take a look. 

The car turned out to be a 1994 Arctic white Corvette — and the neighbor was right.

Hartlerode bought the ‘Vette, enjoyed it for years and now drives a 2008 pumpkin-orange Corvette.

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Skip Hartlerode's pumpkin-orange Corvette.

That unique car and 120 others will be on display July 23 at the Matick Chevy-sponsored North Oakland Corvette Club’s 4th annual Corvette Generations Car Show in downtown Birmingham, Mich.

The show, free to the public, takes place along a quarter-mile stretch of South Old Woodward in front of the Birmingham 8 Theater and its classic marquee. Several main streets are closed to vehicle traffic during the event.

Skip, a North Oaks Corvette Club member for years, oversees the show with co-chair Sue Miller.

The event, which runs from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday, July 23, began six years ago with a group of Corvette owners during Birmingham’s “Day on the Town” event.

Four years ago, the North Oaks Corvette Club committed to attending the show.

During the event, regarded as the city's biggest shopping day of the year, local merchants offer sidewalk sales, music on three stages, restaurant deals and other giveaways. The Birmingham Principal Shopping District sponsors the event.

"Our Day On The Town was a great success again last year and the car show was a big part of the event. Sales at our stores and restaurants were strong throughout the day. It was great to see all of the Corvettes and their owners enjoying the celebration!" says John Heiney, head of the Birmingham Principal Shopping District.

The Corvette classics on display will date back to the 1960s and vehicles from each generation from C1 to C7 should be on display.

“All kinds of things go on that day,” says Skip, a retired Bayer AG employee from Macomb, Mich.

“Our show is entwined with what the (merchants) are doing.”

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The North Oaks Corvette show attracts big crowds during the Birmingham Day On The Town event.

The North Oaks Corvette Club consists of 52 active members. “We’re like a family,” he says.

North Oaks club members have to fulfill club requirements, including having to attend three meetings and come to three of the club’s annual events, such as one of the dinner cruises or Birmingham car show.

The friendly car club members will raise money during the day with more than 50 door prizes. Part of the proceeds go to the Birmingham Bloomfield Community Coalition, a non-profit group that works in drug and alcohol abuse prevention among teens.

Matick Chevy North Oaks Corvette Generations Show 2016 North Oaks Corvette Club members work the registration/information tent.

Skip says many of the car owners, their wives and girlfriends enjoy this outing because they can grab lunch in town and shop for bargains.

“It’s fun for the whole family,” he says.

The car owners vie for best of show trophies, chosen by participants attending the big Birmingham Day on the Town event.

Racecar driver Danny Kellermeyer may have a racing Corvette on site.

“We would like to have even more Corvettes at the show and park them on the next street over,” says Skip.

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The North Oaks Corvette Generations Show will have every generation of Corvettes on display.

That Arctic white Corvette started it all for Skip, who had never owned a Corvette until he bought his 1994 beauty.

“It had a damage title because it had been driven into a lake 15 years before,” he says.

The man Skip purchased the car from worked as a mechanic and bought it “for peanuts,” he explains.

The mechanic tore the car apart over three years, totally revamping the car. He drove it 10 years.

“I offered a ridiculously low amount and he took it.”

“I never had problems with it and won eight or 10 awards with it.”

Then in 2012, Skip placed a “For Sale” sign on his Corvette at a classic car show at Bakers of Milford, Mich.

Minutes later, a man stopped by, looked at the Corvette and bought the car the next day.

But Skip still wanted a Corvette.

“I always wanted a later model,” he says.

“And I didn’t want a car like everybody else’s. Most people have red or yellow Corvettes and I wanted a Daytona sunset orange or atomic orange Corvette.”

He looked online in 2012 and found a 2005 orange Corvette in Ohio. He drove down and bought it.

“Once you have one, you realize what a tremendous value they are for the money,” he says, adding that he has owned all varieties of vehicles in his lifetime, including a BMW.

“When you get one, you feel different. Everybody talks to you. You can go to car shows, and always meet someone who has one. They’re a lot of fun to drive, a great road car. And the C6s and C7s ride like Cadillacs.”

He says his orange ‘Vette is not a “garage queen.”

“My wife and I put 5,000 miles on it in the summer.”

The car even has a personality.

A North Oaks member once joked that the car looked like a big pumpkin and started calling it the “Evil Pumpkin,” Hartlerode recalls.

He decided to work with that image and found a Kentucky-based artist draw a pumpkin on the car’s hood blanket on the underside of the hood.

“The pumpkin has the Corvette logo as its eyes,” he says.

In August, 2014, while taking part in the National Corvette Caravan, a tractor turned into the Pumpkin, tearing up the car – and Skip.

He’s endured several surgeries, he says.

Matick Chevy took possession of the damaged car and fixed it, he says.

“The people there are just wonderful,” the Corvette lover says.

After a year of repairs, both owner and driver were back on the road in June.

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Those attending the show can view the Corvettes up close and talk with their owners.

Skip hopes people will come out to the Birmingham show.

“They'll see pristine Corvettes in all colors,” he says.

Owners will talk about their cars with the passersby, rain or shine.

“It’s a big deal, one of the premier events in the city, and I’m excited for another year of the show,” he says.

Visit the North Oaks Corvette Club's website to register. NOTE: Scroll down the entire page.

 

All blog photos by Robert Brodbeck.

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There's still time to register for the North Oaks Corvette Generations Car Show.

 

To view more photos from the 2015 Corvette Generations Car Show, visit the North Oaks Corvette Club's photo page here

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Detroit’s ‘Corvettes On Woodward’ Expects To Double Turnout Next Month With Move To M1 Concourse

Matick Chevy Larry Courtney Corvettes on Woodward Lining Up
Larry Courtney's annual "Corvettes on Woodward" event will draw scores of the sports car lovers prior to the Woodward Dream Cruise.  

Watch for a major Corvette convergence in Pontiac, Mich. on Aug. 17 as hundreds of the sporty cars gather for the first time at the new M1 Concourse in Pontiac for the annual “Corvettes on Woodward.”

Matick Chevy Larry Courtney Corvette on Woodward Logo

The three-day event, organized by Corvette owner Larry Courtney, occurs in advance of the Woodward Dream Cruise.


 

Courtney expects 1,000 Corvettes, double what he had for year ago at a Bloomfield Hills, Mich. hotel venue.

“It’s going to be fun,” says Courtney, who drives the unique, Matick Chevy-sponsored, flag-wrapped “American Pride” 2005 Corvette.

Matick Chevy Larry Courtney Corvettes on Woodward 2016
Larry Courtney and his famous Matick Chevy-flag-wrapped Corvette.

“We finally have the room at the M1 location and we’ll be taking full advantage of the property.”

M1 (named after Woodward Avenue’s route number) is an 87-acre complex featuring climate-controlled, private car condos, racetrack, repair shops and restaurants.

How fitting, say car buffs, that the huge facility is located on a former GM Pontiac West assembly plant.

Courtney can’t wait to host the event, which raises funds for the Open Hands Food Pantry charity. “It’s going to be the largest Corvette event in Michigan,” he says.

He even hopes to gather red-, white- and blue-hued Corvettes and park them in a way to form a huge U.S. flag.

As the M1 Concourse grows, says Courtney, “it will be extremely good for Pontiac, Oakland County and even the metro Detroit region.”

Another charitable activity this year involves Flint, challenged with lead-tainted water issues. “The Flint Corvette Club has challenged us to donate 100 cases of water to Flint and we’re going to do that,” says Courtney.

Because of the shift to Pontiac, Courtney is also planning to donate funding to a Pontiac-based food charity.

Courtney and wife, Verna, bought their Corvette in 1999. In 2012, Matick Chevy and Courtney agreed that the dealership logo and American flag could be decaled onto the car.

The car gets a workout between St. Patrick’s Day through Halloween. In the winter months, the Courtneys put the car in storage.

Courtney loves all things Corvette.

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 Larry Courtney at the 2015 event.

“When I meet a new Corvette owner, I tell them all the great things in store for them because they are now part of the Corvette family,” says the affable retiree who left his career in management.

“There are clubs, shows, road trips, autocross, National Corvette Museum, drag races and other speed events. It is even OK if all they want to do is park it in the garage and drool a little bit.”

Courtney’s influence is far-reaching. He keeps track of 2,000 contacts in his email database and travels to Corvette events across the U.S. and Canada.

Friends from Sweden even had their Corvette shipped to the U.S. one year so they could participate in Larry’s annual Corvettes on Woodward gathering.

That event started back in 2003 when Courtney spotted a pack of yellow Ford Mustangs going down Woodward Avenue. “I said to Verna, ‘We can do better than that because we know a lot of Corvette owners.’”

The gathering started out small, he recalls, but grew over the years with more than 500 Corvettes assembling each August.

About four years into the event, Courtney decided to begin collecting for a Royal Oak food charity. “When we’d parade down Woodward, we’d turn around at 11 Mile Road to head back north into Birmingham and beyond,” he says. “The place we turned around near was the Open Hands Food Pantry.”

Something clicked, and Courtney asked for donations.

Vette Magazine took notice, calling Corvettes on Woodward one of 10 best regional events east of the Mississippi, says Courtney.

He’s looking forward to Aug. 17. “It's going to be a crazy-busy eight hours,” he says. “We’ll try to make sure everybody has a good time.”

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Corvettes On Woodward participants check out the sports cars on display at the annual event in metro Detroit.

 

Corvettes on Woodward Details

♦ Aug. 17-19 for the “Drive 2 End Hunger”

♦ Arrive starting 2 p.m., Aug. 17, at the M1 Concourse, northwest corner of Woodward Avenue and South Boulevard, in Pontiac, Mich. Enter through the South Boulevard gate. Gates open at 2 p.m.

♦ $10 donation supports Open Hands Food Pantry. Food donations also are accepted at the Matick Chevy van that will also deliver the goods to the pantry. 

♦ An evening police-escorted parade through the four-mile Pontiac Woodward Loop begins around 6 p.m. Participants then continue south on Woodward to the Open Hands Food Pantry, 26998 Woodward Avenue at 11 Mile Road, Royal Oak, Mich.

Additional outings coordinated by Larry Courtney include:

♦ 10 a.m., Aug. 17, GM Heritage Center tour, Sterling Heights, 

♦ 10 a.m. Aug. 18, Lingenfelter Collection tour, Brighton.

♦ 10 a.m. Aug. 19, Webber Wildlife Museum tour, Clinton Township. www.facebook.com/pages/Webber-Wildlife-Museum/212244948809438

♦ 9 a.m., Aug. 20, Woodward Dream Cruise, Woodward Avenue. 

For more details, contact Larry Courtney at 586-876-6923 or vjnlcsvette@aol.com.Corvettes on Woodward letter 2016 Page 1

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Corvette Driver Danny Kellermeyer Ready To Defend His T1 Racing Title

Matick Chevy Danny Kellermeyer Corvette Blog
Danny Kellermeyer and his Matick Chevy-sponsored Corvette racecar are ready to collect more trophies this season. Photo by Kayleigh Jordan.  

Burning up a racetrack is a way of life for Corvette racecar driver Danny Kellermeyer of Clarkston, Mich.

When he was only 8 years old, Danny would slip away from his family’s farm near Jackson, Mich., to race go-karts at a nearby track.

“I told Dad I was playing,” recalls Danny. “I was winning and hiding my trophies in the cow barn so Dad wouldn't find them.”

When word eventually got around about his skill behind the wheel, Danny ‘fessed up and his father let him race.

The trophies have continued to pile up – from wins at drag races, then stock car showdowns and now in T1 racing.

Last year, Danny won the Waterford Hills Road Racing T1 Championship in Michigan and finished with the highest points in the SCCA T1 class in the Great Lakes Series.

This year, he has already won six of eight races, (and came in second in the other two) in his Matick Chevy-sponsored Corvette, with another 14 races coming up. His next race weekend is June 25-26 at Grattan Raceway.

This season’s early racing featured some wicked weather, but Danny still managed to win at Waterford Hills on May 14-15.

“It was the weekend from hell,” he says. “We were on the grid getting ready to pull out and it was cold and dry. A quarter-mile around, it starts to rain. Then another quarter mile and it starts to sleet — and then another quarter mile and it starts to snow. Officials brought us in because they couldn’t see the sightlines. I don’t own snow tires.

“I’ve never had a race like that, and I don’t want another,” he says.

Danny, a retired General Motors regional field service engineer, will be running his Corvette at the GingerMan Raceway in South Haven, Mich., and the Mid Ohio Sports Car Course Lexington, Ohio.

His Matick Chevy Corvette is in “top shape,” he says. But as always, Danny leaves nothing to chance, building his own components.

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Danny Kellermeyer enjoys a fun fan base at the Waterford Hills Road Racing track in Michigan.

Danny presumes his DJ Racing team is one of the only crews out there that is self-sufficient.

“I have my own machine shop, and do all my own machine work,” he says.

 The component exceptions, he adds, are roll cages and paint.

His father’s influence figures into Danny’s can-do attitude.

“Dad always said, if you have to hire someone more than once, buy the tools and do it yourself,” he says.

On his schedule this year is the computer design of a new C7 Corvette with a 346-cubic-inch engine. This is the first time he has created components by computer.

“I like the method,” he says. “For me to (physically) swap a camshaft is costly. On the computer, I can hit a key and within five minutes, I will know what new horsepower reading will be.”

Being in a machine shop is familiar when you consider Danny built his first car when he was 12.

He started drag racing when he received his driver’s license at 16.

After he married in 1966, Danny and his wife, Michaelle, had three children. He continued to drag race until 1978. After living for a time near Atlanta, Ga., he moved to Ortonville and has lived there 30 years.

Since the 1980s, Danny estimates he’s driven nearly 46,000 miles on racetracks.

Last year, he set the fastest T1 lap at the National Corvette Museum Motorsports Park in Kentucky.

Depending on the race event, he’ll bring along anywhere from one to five cars to each track.

“I take a C5 Corvette that I have as backup,” he says.

Competitors this year come in all makes and models – Viper, Porsche, BMW along with other Corvettes.

At GingerMan Raceway in May, Danny faced off against a Panoz, an American racecar built by a company founded by Daniel Panoz.

“There are not many around,” Danny says.

At Waterford Hills, Danny looks forward to being greeted by his loyal fans.

“It’s neat to have a following. I like the fans and take cars to display and let kids sit in them.”

Danny sounds ready and able to defend his 2015 T1 championship.

 “We’re the guy to chase. Somebody’s got to be on top and I like being there.”

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110-Plus Corvette Owners Enjoy Matick Chevy’s Annual Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Experience

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Guests attending the Fifth Annual Matick Chevy Corvette Caravan began lining up their cars by 6:30 a.m. on June 4.  
 

More than 113 ardent Corvette owners and their guests enjoyed an exclusive day of fast cars and racing entertainment during the Fifth Annual Matick Chevrolet Belle Isle Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Experience on June 4.

Drivers from around Michigan and beyond first fueled up on a scrumptious Saturday morning starter’s breakfast buffet and listened to Corvette presentations in Matick Chevrolet’s huge metro Detroit showroom.

Then they climbed into their Corvettes to caravan to a decked-out Belle Isle in the Detroit River, home of an action-packed weekend of racing. Instead of having to take a shuttle to the racetrack, Matick Caravan drivers parked on the island in a special Corvette Corral located near the track.

Discounted caravan experience tickets — provided by Matick Chevy to each participant — came with reserved grandstand seating at the track’s Turn One, paddock passes to the garages, lunch and refreshments throughout the day at Chevy’s hospitality tent on Belle Isle – and a chance to check out Chevy product displays.

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Matick Chevy Corvette Caravan guests savored a starter's breakfast and heard Corvette presentations before driving to the Detroit Grand Prix excitements on Belle Isle.

Greg Frost, a GM test driver in Hamtramck, chatted with his brother, Monroe Frost, over breakfast at Matick Chevy. Greg from Detroit has attended the Matick Caravan three times before; Monroe, twice.

Greg drives a LT3 Laguna blue 2016 Corvette he bought in September. “I like the look of the car,” he says. “I love cars, all kinds of cars.”

Monroe was looking forward to the end of the racing on Saturday because “they let us do a lap on the track,” he says.

Retired EDS employee Stan Slishinsky of Chesterfield Township drove his 2004 blue C5 to Matick, bringing along his brother-in-law, Jim Etkie of Sterling Heights. “I love all the Corvette people,” says Stan. “And with our Matick Caravan tickets we can park on the island. I’m looking forward to it being a great day.”

Carole Dimitry of Oakland Township chatted with her friend, Pam Liedtke, as they admired the rows of new Corvettes inside the Matick dealership. Carole drives a white 2016 C7 Corvette she bought from Matick Chevy in Redford Township, Mich.

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Almost every generation of these beauties was on display during the Matick Chevy Corvette Caravan on June 4.

“It’s our first time coming to this,” Carole says. “We came with four Corvette owners and we enjoy the camaraderie with the others.”

Pam loves the “comfort” of riding in her pal’s Corvette.  “We just went on a trip in it to upstate New York, and saw the wine country,” she says. “We even had the car’s first oil change in New York.”

Flint Corvette Club member Mary Hall, wearing earrings adorned with tiny Corvette logos, was ready for the day. “I woke up at 4 a.m. to get here,” she says, showing no sign of fatigue.

Olga Strahan of the Flint Corvette Club, which Matick Chevy sponsors, attended the caravan with her husband, Jim. He had talked about his dream car for years, so she purchased one for him. The 2005 silver Corvette was secretively parked inside the family garage. Jim came home and opened the door. “I cried,” he says. So Matick’s Corvette Caravan was a special day for him.

Southgate resident Rose Morey was another newcomer to the Matick Caravan. “My boyfriend Dave Johnson brought us here in a white 2012 Grand Sport Corvette,” she says. Dave races in his spare time, she explains. “I tried it, but I don’t have the need for speed.”

Elvin Binns of Detroit, owner of a torch red 2015 Corvette convertible, calls himself a devoted Corvette fan. “I’ve owned them since 1977,” he says. “I love the handling, performance and look of Corvettes.”

The 6-foot, 1-inch Elvin says he has no problems sliding in and out of the lower profile car. “I’ve developed my own technique,” he says, a smile crossing his face. He planned to enjoy breakfast and then swing back home to pick up his wife, Dee.

Mike Gold, an electrical engineer from Huntington Woods, brought his friend, Mayer Mechlowitz, who works in Detroit’s Eastern Market as a butcher. Gold has two Corvettes – a split window 1963 and red 2015 Corvette, which he drove in the caravan.

Mike revels in his Corvette. “It’s fast, handles great and looks good. It’s comfortable. It’s a fun car and a great car for the money,” he says.

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Matick Chevy Corvette Caravan guests fueled up on an early starter's breakfast spread at the dealership.
 

As the crowd finished up the buffet of bacon, eggs, fruit, donuts, juice and coffee, John O’Neill of Waterford grabbed bottles of water before heading out to his 2001 Corvette. “I love to see the cars racing in one place with Corvette enthusiasts,” he says. “I come every year with my wife, Shari.”

Ken Lingenfelter, who operates Lingenfelter Performance Engineering in Brighton, greeted familiar faces in the growing crowd. “We build a lot of Corvettes and Camaros,” Ken says. “I love being around Corvette people. And this new Matick Chevy showroom is amazing.”

He invited all to attend “Cars and Coffee,” held every Saturday at his Wixom location, 47451 Avante Drive, until Labor Day. Ken also welcomes all to view his 250-car collection at a June 18 benefit for the Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology for $15.

In her stylish cowboy hat, leather jacket and heeled boots, Beverly Ross of Oakland Township listened to the event speakers. Beverly, who drove her red 2008 Corvette convertible to the event, found her friend, Porki Mellado of Rochester, in the crowd. The two are long-time members of the North Oaks Corvette Club, which Matick Chevy sponsors.

“I love the cars and the people at this great Matick event,” says a smiling Porki, owner of a 2001 Corvette. “Matick treats us really nice.”

Beverly says she had been going to another dealer for years but switched to Matick, a drive of 30-plus miles, specifically for the outstanding service.

At that moment, the call came for the Matick Corvette Caravan drivers to head outside to their cars. Porki looked at Beverly with a big grin, adding, “Ladies, start your engines!”

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The 113-plus Corvettes pull out of the lot on their way to the Detroit Grand Prix during the Matick Chevy Corvette Caravan.

 

Browse more photos from the 2016 Matick Chevy Detroit Grand Prix Caravan Experience below.

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Matick Chevy Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Larry Courtney
Larry Courtney's U.S. Flag wrapped Corvette was a big hit at the Matick Chevy Grand Prix Corvette Caravan.
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Heinricy Prepares His Matick Chevy Sonic For Mid-Ohio Track Races

Matick Chevy John Heinricy Sonic 2016 1
Racecar driver John Heinricy, the 2015 B-Spec national champion, looks forward to another great season in his Matick Chevrolet-sponsored Chevy Sonic.  

When GM execs approached then-retired GM engineer John Heinricy four years ago with the proposal of designing a racing kit for Sonic Chevys, he bit.

“I ended up buying a wrecked Sonic and built a race car,” says Heinricy, by then a seasoned racer himself.

That early knowledge paid off last year when the Clarkston resident drove off with the B-Spec championship in his Matick Chevy sponsored Sonic, winning it all at Daytona.

Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) describes B-Specs as race cars as subcompacts that are “fun to drive, fuel efficient  and handle well.”

The class was established to provide regular people with an easier access to racing.

Heinricy, who retired from GM in 2008, has raced since 1984, driving mainly Corvettes, Firebirds and Camaros.

And he still will enter races this year with his Corvette C7 and Camaro.

The Sonic adventure will be unique this year, he says.

“I’ll be defending a championship. It puts a different pressure on you.”

Next up – steering the Matick Chevy Sonic onto the Mid-Ohio Sports Car track for the Great Lakes Race of Champions Majors June 3-5.

Because Heinricy was last year’s champion, race officials have put restrictions on his Sonic.

“They have taken away some power on the intake,” Heinricy says.

“They do it because they want everybody to have a chance.”

Heinricy will face drivers, for example, in Honda Fits, Kia Rios and Ford Fiestas.

He’s just come off a weekend of highs and lows. Heinricy won the May 14 race in his Pontiac Firebird at the Pittsburgh International Race Complex, but in his second race on May 15, the car’s throttle gave him trouble.

“It had started snowing several laps before the end of the race,” he recalls. “I let off the accelerator, but it stayed open. I was going 140 mph and couldn’t stop the car. I went into a tire wall and damaged the car. It’s not fixable so I’m working on another car.”

Heinricy says he was “bruised pretty good,” but is focusing ahead.

“I put it (crashes) out of my mind and go on to the next race,” he says. “I feel just as involved as I always have.”

He has a “good chance” in his Matick Chevy Sonic among the B-Spec competitors at Mid-Ohio.

This is the first of seven races in which he’ll compete this season. The final championship will be held at Mid Ohio.

The summer will also find Heinricy at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky. He recently joined the board of directors there.

People who donate to the museum can slide into the passenger seat in their own Corvette to enjoy “hot laps” with Heinricy at the wheel.

Matick Chevrolet, one of the Midwest's largest Corvette dealers, will be donating six hot laps for participants this year.

“I talk to participants and do some driving on the track in participants’ cars. I take them for three laps on the track. It’s very popular.”

Heinricy pushes the cars into the “80 percent” range, he says, so it's a good run, not just a slow roll.

“Pretty hard,” he adds.

Heinricy does admit racing is his “No. 1” activity.

“I love the competition, cars and technical aspects of it,” he says. “My wife and family are incredibly supportive of me.”

How supportive?

“They try to schedule weddings and births around my racing schedule,” he says with a laugh.

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Tickets Going Fast For Matick Chevy’s Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan

 

Matick Chevy in Michigan offers Corvette enthusiasts a $50-off discount on the regular $200 ticket price — for two — to its 5th Annual Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Experience.

Only 100 tickets are available. See the flyer below for more details.

To make your reservation, contact Ryan Esler at 313-532-2570 or reseler@matickchevy.com.trt

To see the fun at Matick Chevy's exciting event last year, check out our caravan post and our photo album, which contains two-dozen photos.

The Corvette Caravan Experience begins with a 7:30 a.m. starter's breakfast, performance speakers and more at the dealership before the police-escorted  caravan heads to the Grand Prix racetrack on Belle Isle. It's an impressive location for an action-packed day of racing-related activities.

Matick Chevy recently completed a $9 million LEED-certified renovation of its dealership. It's HOUR Detroit's Best Automotive Dealership for 2015.

Matick Chevy Caravan Flyer 2 2016
Matick Chevy Caravan Flyer 2016
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