Aspiring driver praises pro John Heinricy for his ‘absolutely remarkable’ expertise in racing

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High-Performance Driving Events. 

Chris Harris works for a defense contractor in Virginia, but in his spare time he aspires to race cars – and Matick Chevy-sponsored racecar driver John Heinricy has been helping him do just that during “hot laps.”

While on these non-competitive laps around racetracks, a professional driver will either be behind the wheel, or seated next to someone who is learning to race, providing guidance about becoming a better driver.

A few years ago, Heinricy climbed into Harris’ 2006 Corvette Z06 at the Virginia International Raceway.

“We did three laps together – my first time having a professional racecar driver in my car,” says Harris, 41, of Alexandria, Va.

“I remember us pulling into the paddock area after one lap and John is asking me to take four PSI – not 5 or 6, but 4 – out of my tires. Unbelievable knowledge!”

The two went back onto the track.

“The rear end of the car was much more ‘planted’ to the pavement,” Harris says. “(The change) reduced the oversteer during cornering.

John’s ‘seat of the pants’ feel for my car, one he’d never seen before, was absolutely remarkable.”

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Corvette racecar driver John Heinricy enjoys taking others out onto the National Corvette Museum's track during high-performance driving events.

Harris, who grew up in Riverview, Mich., also made Heinricy's recommended changes to his rear performance shocks and his racing line while driving around tracks.

“I changed my driving habits through certain sections and was able to carry more speed, which ultimately made me a quicker driver,” he says.

Harris has been attending these high-performance driving events (HPDE) at sites along the East Coast for the past eight years. Heinricy has been the instructor at two of them.

“My goal is to achieve my Sports Car Club of America competition license in 2017 and begin to compete when time permits,” says Harris, a defense contractor chief information officer in Falls Church. He frequents numerous tracks, including Summit Point Motorsports Park, Watkins Glen and Pocono Raceway.

Harris met again with Corvette racecar driver John Heinricy – who sits on the National Corvette Museum Board of Directors – at Virginia Raceway last June, this time with a 2014 Corvette Stingray Z51.

“After three hot laps, John said the wheel alignment wasn’t ideal for racetrack driving,” says Harris.

“John even offered to fix the issue in the pit area, which blew me away. He was very approachable and genuine, knowing he had an intense daily schedule with lots of people requesting his time.”

One final lesson, adds Harris, was that drivers “don’t need more horsepower to get around a track quicker. The focus needs to be on driving techniques and suspension adjustments.”

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Corvette owners can learn how to become better drivers by participating in an on-track high-performance driving session. 

At the Virginia International Raceway event, Heinricy greeted the 160 attendees and provided Matick Chevy-sponsored hot laps to participants who donated $150 to the National Corvette Museum.

The event, says Heinricy, allowed mainly Corvette owners with C4s through C7s models to evaluate their cars on a real track.

“I give a pretty fast ride,” says Heinricy, who was on the track 22 times. “About 145 mph.”

General Motors also had staff in attendance at the Virginia event.

“They are helpful to the participants,” says Heinricy, who retired from GM in 2008.

“The rides I gave in the Matick Chevy C7 were much appreciated,” says Heinricy.

Just before Heinricy headed to Virginia, Matick Chevy service experts installed the GM Performance T1 suspension kit and stage 3 Aero kit – a combination of GM parts and Katech parts -- on Heinricy’s 2016 Stingray. They also set the alignment to racetrack settings.

“This was my first experience with this equipment installed,” Heinricy says. “It performed very well on track with flatter cornering, better suspension control – and it instilled more driver confidence.”

He also competed at the Corvette Club of Michigan event at Michigan's Waterford Hills racetrack a week later with the same equipment and achieved the fastest time of the day with quicker lap times than his previous experience there, he says.

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“Drivers don’t need more horsepower to get around a track quicker. The focus needs to be on driving techniques and suspension adjustments," says aspiring racer Chris Harris.

Want to try hot laps on your own or with a pro?

The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky., offers opportunities for participants to drive their own cars or one supplied with a professional driver around the Motorsports Park track.

Corvette lovers can also sign up to take part in their own high-performance drive school. The cost is $100; minimum age is 12. Average speeds top 100 mph.

Find more details about the Corvette museum's program, visit

Posted July 20, 2017

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Huge Corvette Generations Car Show Moves Temporarily To New Location

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Metro Detroit's Fifth Annual Corvette Generations Car Show is changing things up this year. 

Due to a major construction project in downtown Birmingham, Mich. — the Corvette Generations Car Show’s normal location — this year's gathering of beautiful Corvettes will be held at Culver’s of Lake Orion this summer. The club expects to be back in Birmingham for 2018.

Sponsored by the North Oaks Corvette Club, Matick Chevrolet and Culver’s, the show — at Lapeer and Dutton roads about 18 miles north of Birmingham — will be open to the public Saturday, July 22. The show runs 9 a.m. to around 5 p.m. with an awards presentation in the afternoon.

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Trophies will be awarded in many categories.

Advance registration for show Corvettes is $25. Day-of registration, space permitting, is $35. The event is held rain or shine. See the post about last year's Corvette Generations Car Show here.

“New location, same great show,” says Skip Hartlerode, the NOCC show chairman. 

“We’re excited to work with Culver’s of Lake Orion and Matick Chevrolet, which sponsors our club, to bring everyone this year’s Corvette Generations. We are expecting a record turnout, with owners showcasing Corvettes from every corner of the state.

“With DJ Billy D spinning your favorite cruising tunes, prizes, food discounts and lots of trophies, it should be legendary,” says Hartlerode.

"Everyone also will have a chance to sample Culver's great food and delicious frozen custard treats," says Hartlerode.

Plenty of public parking spaces will be available at the show, now in its fifth year, but good spots will fill up fast. So come early, says the show chairman.

An event  flyer and registration form with all the information needed to jump on board is available on the North Oaks club's website here.

For more details on this year's show, call Skip Hartlerode at 586-719-0660, or email him at

Posted June 16, 2017

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‘It’s Like We’re In Another World’ Say Matick Chevy Corvette Caravan Fans About Their Belle Isle Grand Prix Fun

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They’re off to the Detroit Grand Prix with the Matick Chevy Corvette Caravan. The sixth annual event drew more than 125 Corvette owners for a day packed with a starter’s breakfast, Corvette camaraderie, racing fun and more.  

Corvette owners and their passengers packed the big showroom at Matick Chevrolet in Redford Township on June 3 for Matick’s sixth annual Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Experience.

The more than 250 attendees arrived at the dealership, picked up their special discounted Corvette Corral tickets for Belle Isle race day and enjoyed a hearty breakfast, courtesy of Matick Chevy, a 2016 Chevy Dealer of the Year. Some had set the alarm as early as 4:30 a.m. in order to make it in time to join the early-morning caravan's 20-mile trek to Detroit.

Darryl Thomas of Detroit walked into the Matick showroom around 7 a.m. with date Lamerra Hobbs of Ferndale.

A Plante & Moran employee, Lamerra says this was her first time attending.

Darryl, a retired building engineer, was a veteran of Matick’s Corvette Caravan Experience, attending all but one of the six annual events. “ I like the Corvette camaraderie,” he says.

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Matick Chevy Sales Director Paul Zimmermann shared details of the day with the more than 250 people attending the Grand Prix Corvette Caravan bash.

Muhammad Abdur-Rahman, a contractor from Flint, arrived in his 1999 black Corvette. He purchased his Corvette beauty on eBay from a seller in Chicago. "It was shipped to me,” he says. “I was up all night waiting for it.”

Muhammad ordered the car last year.

“It’s comfortable for a sports car,” he says. “Sounds good, looks good.”
He was ready to get the day started. “I’m here to experience everything,” he says.

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Matick Chevy Grand Prix Corvette Caravan guests enjoyed their starter's breakfast spread.

Ericka Kocian had just finished breakfast with her father, Gary Kocian, both of Redford.

Gary lives a block away from the dealership at Telegraph Road & I-96, and grew up in the neighborhood.

A barber by trade, he admitted to always having a thing for Corvettes. “I’ve been into cars my whole life.” He showed photographs of his five special classic cars, including an award-winning 1968 AMC AMX muscle car.

Ericka, who works for 1-800-4Blinds as a customer service representative in Southfield, says her father is “always working on a car.”

Maybe being a car buff runs in the family? Ericka looked over at the new Corvettes on display in the showroom and dropped a hint. “I like that gray one with the blue stripe,” she shared.

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Many said the Corvette Caravan Experience was a great way to meet new friends.

Canada was well represented at the event. A dozen members of the Windsor Corvette Club signed up for the caravan.

Dave Hitchcock, a retired Chevy dealer, drove to Redford in a 2014 yellow Corvette convertible with his daughter, Jessica.

“I always had Corvettes,” he says. “The one before this was orange.”

He reminisced about driving across the U.S. in his ‘Vette on Route 66 in 2013 over 28 days. “We met people from all over the world,” Dave recalls.

Jessica didn’t make that journey, but was looking forward to going to Belle Isle.
“It’s a day with dad,” she says.

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What a great event at which to check out more than 125 Corvettes, all lined up and ready to caravan to the Belle Isle Grand Prix.

Ed Jones from Windsor, and a friend of the Hitchcocks, tucked his 2014 Laguna Blue Corvette convertible, his sixth Corvette, into the dealership parking lot lined with 125 other Corvettes.

The Windsor club’s event coordinator, Ed has been to Belle Isle several times, but this was his first venture out with the Matick caravan.

Ed brought his son, Derek Jones, who works as an information technology director.

The Canadians got up at 4:30 make sure they had time to get through customs.

Ed says: “This (caravan) is really neat. We all have a common interest, common bond. It’s fun to get together.”

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Sure thing! It's one of the original Daytona 500 Corvette Pace Cars.

Retiree Mary Sagat, wearing a shirt with the words, Indy 500, in sparkly lettering, sat with the Windsor group next to her husband, Steve. The couple owns the actual 2008 Corvette Indy Pace Car.

Mary explained the Sagats were on a mission to get more Grand Prix drivers to sign the car’s fuel rail cover. “I’m excited,” she says.

Windsor residents Gary McGuinness, an OEM sales representative, and his wife, and Jenny McGuinness, a school board employee, own the actual black-and-silver 1978 Indy Pace Car.

“It’s been in the family since it was bought new in Ypsilanti,” Gary says.

Jenny notes, “You take care of things and they last.”

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The Matick Chevy Grand Prix Corvette Caravan was a neat way to catch up with old friends.

Janice Payne, a court reporter, and her husband, Roy, of Southfield, drove their gunmetal gray 2016 Z06 Corvette to Matick Chevy.

This Corvette-loving couple is on their fourth ‘Vette.

“Corvettes are exciting to drive. I love the car,” Janice says.

“When we caravan, it’s like we’re in another world. I feel like I’m in a special group.”

Fred Edwards of Farmington, who drives a black 2014 C7, was on a date with Arnita Murray of Detroit.

The retired GM designer acquired his first Corvette in 1991.

He said he is drawn to the car not only for its performance, but because the styling is great, “especially now. It has a futuristic reach,” he says.

Lucille Thomas of Southfield was wearing her black “Vette Girl” T-shirt.

Her husband, Dennis, drives a 2014 black Stingray convertible.

“I like the people,” says Dennis, of the crowd. “There is no difference where you come from (among Corvette lovers).”

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Matick Chevy-sponsored Corvette racecar driver Danny Kellermeyer and Matick Dealer Karl Zimmermann discuss Danny's upcoming racing schedule.

Matick Chevy had several key managers at the event, including GM Molly Williams, Sales Director Paul Zimmermann and Dealer Karl Zimmermann.

“This gathering is a wonderful opportunity to share fellowship with amazing friends. In the Corvette, we have GM’s most technologically advanced product,” says Karl Zimmermann, the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Chevy Dealer of the Year.

“This caravan allows Matick to connect with community, car culture, our employees and customers.”

Over at an all-male table, Jim Hagglund of Brighton was sitting with his nephew, Dave Pohlod. Pohlod of Livonia was Hagglund’s passenger.

Hagglund drives a black 2003 Z06 Corvette. “All totally original,” he says.
“I’ve always been into cars.”

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Corvette photos tell a thousand words!

Women also arrived together with friends. As Matick employees requested people head out to their vehicles, Connie Esposito of Fenton – a member of the Flint Corvette Club – moved quickly through the crowd.

“I brought my friend Marilyn Epps,” says Connie, who drove her 2002 silver Z06.

Gary Kramer of Shelby Township and his brother, Jeff Kramer, of Macomb Township, were among the guests.

Both own Corvettes: Gary drives a 2001 red Corvette and Jeff, a 1993 ruby red Corvette.

Gary was teamed up with his friend, Dave Taylor, of Washington. Jeff invited his pal, Dave Corbin, of Sterling Heights.

“It’s fun getting together with friends and meeting new people,” says Jeff.

Gary agreed. “This is a nice relaxed event, the food is awesome and people friendly. Well put together.”

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More than 125 Corvettes are on their way to the Detroit Grand Prix with the Matick Chevy Corvette Carava

Enjoy this Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Photo Gallery!

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Matick Chevy Grand Prix Corvette Caravan drivers ready to enter I-96 for a "fast ride" to Detroit's Belle Isle.
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A Corvette Caravan participant checks out the performance inventory in Matick Chevy's huge indoor showroom.
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The registration desk was busy during the Matick Chevy Grand Prix Corvette Caravan.

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Staff from Lingenfelter was on hand to help Team Matick employees during registration. 

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Team Matick employees who worked the Corvette Caravan Experience look forward to seeing their Corvette friends again next year.
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C5 Corvette Pace Car Donation Kicks Off Waterford Hills Racing Season

Matick Chevy Danny Kellermeyer Pace Car Dedication
This new C5 Corvette pace car made its debut May 6 at Waterford Hills Road Course with (left to right) Matick Chevy-sponsored racecar driver Danny Kellermeyer, Matick Chevy Performance Vehicle Manager Alan Johnson, AES Auto Parts & Sales owners Twymen and Rachel Burrough, and Matick Chevy GM Molly Williams.

Corvette Racecar Driver Danny Kellermeyer celebrated a double treat at the beginning of the 2017 racing season.

First Treat: Stiff winds didn’t stop the veteran Matick Chevy-sponsored racer from maneuvering his 2008 Millennium Yellow C6 Corvette out in front of competitors three times over the May 6-7 race weekend at Michigan's Waterford Hills Road Course (WHRC).

Kellermeyer won two class races – one on Saturday afternoon and the other Sunday morning – and capped that off by taking the feature race Sunday afternoon at the 1.42-mile road course.

“It was a good weekend,” said Kellermeyer of Ortonville, Mich., winner of the 2016 SCCA Great Lakes Division T-1 Championship and Waterford Hills T-1 Championship.

“It was very close in all three races with different competitors. On the track the lead drivers were so close," says Kellermeyer of DJ Racing, “you could have thrown a blanket over us.”

Pace Car Unveiled

Second Treat: Drivers gathered around a striking new C5 Corvette pace car greeted the unveiling with applause and whistles at Waterford Hills Road Course May 6.

The shiny magnetic red beauty came about as a group effort by several businesses, including Matick Chevrolet of metro Detroit, AES Auto & Part Sales, SKF Racing, Hawk Performance and Whelan Automotive.

The car -- a replica of the Corvette 50th anniversary pace car used at the Indy 500 in 2003 -- replaces a 20-year-old Miata that will now serve as the track’s backup pace car.

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Matick Chevy-sponsored racecar driver Danny Kellermeyer at the wheel inside the new Waterford Hills Road Course pace car.

Matick Chevy Performance Vehicle Manager Alan Johnson said the Matick Chevy team went through the car’s brakes and fluids and also cleaned the car.

Matick Chevy GM Molly Williams said, “We’re proud to be donating something will last for years to come – and we love working with Danny and the team at Waterford Hills.”

AES Auto & Part Sales of Romulus, owned by Twymen and Rachel Burrough, provided several parts donations.

“It’s exciting for us to get this car, exciting to see the sponsorship and support,” says Bruce MacDonald, WHRRI director of racing.

MacDonald said the donation comes as the track readies plans for its 60th anniversary in 2018.

Jerry Shiloff, WHRRI chief steward and Waterford track regular for the past 49 years, called the new Corvette a “fine addition” to the track.

“With next year being the 60th at the track, the pace car kicked off all the excitement,” said champion racecar driver Kellermeyer.

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Racer Kellermeyer Unveils His Newest Custom-Built C7 Corvette

Danny Kellermeyer Matick Chevy C7 Corvette
Danny Kellermeyer introduced his new C7 to members of the Flint Corvette Club, who visited his garage for DJ Racing’s annual Daytona 500 watch party.  

Matick Chevy-sponsored racecar driver Danny Kellermeyer heads into the upcoming 2017 racing season as last season’s T-1 Corvette racing champion – and as the owner/creator of a new Matick Chevy C7 Corvette Stingray.

“I built this one ground up from a bare frame,” says Kellermeyer, winner of the SCCA Great Lakes Division T-1 Championship and Waterford Hills T-1 Championship.

Cold-weather months are busier for Kellermeyer, of Ortonville, Mich., than many might assume. “That’s because we’re prepping and building race cars,” he says.

The other four cars in his fleet also are Kellermeyer creations.

Danny Kellermeyer Matick Chevy Racecar Driver
Danny Kellermeyer

He admits that after a long winter, he’s itching to get out onto the racetracks. This spring, he tested the new C7 after rains washed all the road salt off the highways. “I’m just fussy enough that I don’t take trailers out in the salt,” he says.

Races begin May 6-7 at Waterford Hills Road Course in metro Detroit, and Kellermeyer expects to take part in 22 races at tracks in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. Fans can follow his progress at

Kellermeyer’s other Corvette cars, which he also built, are primed to hit the track.

He owns two C6s – a yellow 2008 and a silver 2011.

His C5 – one of only 42 GM kit cars constructed in 1999 – is his backup racecar.

The oldest in the garage, a C4 built in 1988, runs once or twice a season in vintage class races.

The new C7 has advantages over the others – better weight distribution in the rear, and a GM Stage 3 Aero package that provides more downforce.

The racecar weighs 3,250 pounds and has 395 horsepower, plus its coefficient drag also is improved. “It’s a smoother car going through the wind,” he says.

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Danny Kellermeyer unveiled his new C7 Matick Chevrolet-sponsored racecar to the public at the Waterford Hills Road Racing display during the Third Annual Motor City Hot Rod and Racing Expo in Novi on March 25-26.

Three seasons ago, track officials decided Kellermeyer had to have a restrictor on his racecar engine to slow him up, mainly because he was always winning races.

In the new Matick Chevy-sponsored C7, the L56 motor allows him to have the largest restrictor and the lightest weight. “It makes Corvettes competitive with the cars we run against – Porches, BMWs and Vipers,” he says.

Kellermeyer, who also is lead instructor at Waterford Hills, has assigned the number 41 to the C7, and it’s painted yellow, as are most of his cars.

“Yellow is a good color, a happy color,” he says. “It shows up good on the track.”

Fans may wonder how he decides which car in the pack to race. It’s an easy answer for Kellermeyer: “The one I think I can win with.”

As he enters another season, he says racing cars never gets old. “I love the camaraderie at the track and the competition. But when you hit the track, the friendship falls by the wayside and you are all competitors,” he says.

Kellermeyer has been racing since he was 8 years old, when he’d slip away from the family farm in Jackson, Mich., to race go-karts at a nearby track. And he’s always been a winner on and off the track.

He recalls races where he lost the lead on the “last turn,” he says, “but we got out and I slapped the winner on the back and said, ‘Good race, but I’ll do better next time.’”

Matick Chevrolet Performance

DJ Racing

Posted April 29, 2017

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Discount Tickets, Starter’s Banquet And Corvette Camaraderie Highlight June 3 Belle Isle Grand Prix Caravan

It's time to RSVP!  

Only 100 tickets are available for Matick Chevrolet's exclusive Detroit Grand Prix celebration of fast cars and racing entertainment in Detroit on June 3. 

Corvette enthusiasts from around Michigan and beyond will first fuel up on that Saturday morning with a caravan starter’s breakfast buffet and hear Corvette presentations in Matick Chevrolet’s huge metro Detroit showroom.

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2017 Detroit Grand Prix Poster

The excitement will build as the Corvette owners and their guests cruise off for an action-packed day at the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix on Belle Isle, along the Detroit River in view of the city's skyline.

Instead of having to take a shuttle to the racetrack as most ticket holders do, Matick Chevy Caravan participants will park on the island in a special Corvette Corral located right next to the track.

Discounted caravan experience tickets — provided by Matick Chevy to each Corvette owner and one guest — also come with reserved Grandstand 2 seating overlooking the track’s exciting turns one and two across from the pits, 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. 

See the flyer below for more details.

RSVP Today

Contact Ryan Esler at or 313-532-2570.

Matick Grand Prix Caravan 2017 Flyer
Matick Grand Prix Caravan 2017 Flyer
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Driver John Heinricy Reflects On Challenging 2016 Season And Looks Forward To Competing In Florida

Matick Chevy John Heinricy Sonic 2016 Winner
 John Heinricy won several races during the 2016 season in his Sonic racecar.   

While it’s time for most Midwest racers to tuck their cars and gear into garages until the weather warms again, racecar driver John Heinricy will slide back behind the wheel of one of his racing vehicles next month in Florida.

He’s looking forward to improve on his race results from last season.

Heinricy, the 2015 B Spec champion, had a challenging 2016, he says, coming home with a bronze (third-place) in races with his Matick Chevy-sponsored Sonic and also with his 2002 Camaro in the SCCA National Championship Runoffs at the Mid-Ohio Raceway in September.

Heinricy, the hard-working Clarkston, Mich. resident, drove his Matick Chevy-sponsored Sonic, winning several races during the season, including two in June and two in New Jersey in July.

Because he was the 2015 Spec B champ, he had an automatic invitation to the 2016 national runoffs in his Sonic.

But, he notes, officials required that he have a restrictor placed on his engine this season. That was done, he says, to ensure one car doesn’t dominate the field.

In the September championship runoffs, Heinricy attempted a pass, but had “significant contact” with another driver during the first lap — a situation that delayed him for several seconds.

The leader driving a Honda Fit then gained a considerable lead on Heinricy.

“Although I was able to pass four other cars to get to second place, I was never able to recover that time and was penalized one spot back to third due to the first-lap contact,” he says.

“I had a chance of winning had it not been for that contact.”

Heinricy has relived the contact moment in his dreams.

“One incident like that can ruin your chances,” he says.

Matick Chevy mechanics handled repairs on his Sonic and he praises the team for its work.

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Racecar driver John Heinricy takes a turn in his Matick Chevy-sponsored Sonic.

Meanwhile, in Class A Sedan competition, some challenges arose from mechanical problems that cropped up at the beginning and end of the season with his Firebird and Camaro.

Heinricy won the May 14 race in his Class A Sedan Pontiac Firebird at the Pittsburgh International Race Complex, but during the second race, his throttle stuck open and he hit a tire wall.

“That took that car out of contention for the rest of the year,” he says.

Heinricy, who was driving for Tom Aquilante Racing of Pennsylvania, says the team built a 2002 Camaro to replace the Firebird.

Heinricy then focused on gaining points during the rest of the season to quality for the national runoffs.

“If we had waited for (the Firebird to be repaired), we wouldn't have had enough points to qualify,” he explains.

Starting over brings on its own set of trials.

“The changes often don’t come out of the way you want,” says Heinricy, “so you have to fix issues.”

He praises Aquilante’s daughters, Amy and Beth, for the work they put into the Camaro.

 “Working with the two daughters is interesting,” says Heinricy.

The women, in their late 20s, are “such hard workers. They know what to do and they know what needs to be done.”

Beth even loaned Heinricy a car to run at Gingerman Raceway in South Haven, Mich.

“It was great she did that,” Heinricy says.

In New Jersey races in July, he finished second and fourth. In Pittsburgh, he wrecked on a final lap but still received points.

Then at Mid-Ohio in the A Sedan runoffs in September, he was thwarted halfway through the 23-lap race by electrical problems that reduced RPM capacity. The end result was the third-place finish.


We tossed a few questions Heinricy’s way as he gears up for his Florida competition next month.

John Heinricy

• Describe your personality.

I’m pretty driven; a Type A. It’s hard to relax.

• Do you think about the dangers of racing?

I do think about it in a pragmatic way in that I make sure my safety equipment is good and that the car construction is proper for the type of racing that I am doing. Once I am in the car racing, though, it rarely comes too mind.

• Who is your favorite race car driver, among all types of racing?

Dale Earnhardt, Sr. because he was a very aggressive driver but he was a racer from the time he was little. He did the work on his cars. Some younger people in racing have been helped by family and have had the road paved for them. Dale was working in the shop when he was a kid. (Earnhardt died racing in the Daytona 500 in 2001.)

• What's your 2016 proudest accomplishment?

Helping Alan Johnson, Matick Chevy Performance finance and sales manager, with his driving and C7 Corvette. He had had problems with his car’s handling. We were together at several high performance driving events and were able to figure out what was wrong, and together we improved his driving. He has gotten a lot better and he is the September Corvette Club of Michigan competition points champion. 

• What do you do when not racing in the off-season?

I spend time with my wife and seven grandkids, who are all boys. The oldest is 9. They all know I race and they come into my shop and want to climb into the racecars.

• You talked about doing some traveling. Where do you want to go?

My wife and I are looking at the northeast — Maine, New Hampshire and Newfoundland. We might be going to Europe to see areas we haven’t seen yet.

• We hear you enjoy remodeling houses. What’s going on?

We have three houses (in Clarkston) and they require a fair amount of maintenance because they are older homes from the 1950s. So I’ve spent a lot of spare time doing that work.

• What racing do you watch others do?

I am an avid Formula One fan, and watch most NASCAR and IndyCar racing, and sports car racing. It was great to see driver Nico Rosberg receive the F1 championship trophy last weekend.

• How do you keep fit?

I try hard to make up for getting older by keeping in shape. I’m usually racing against much younger drivers. I work out riding my bike several times a week, and I ride hard. I’ll ride until there is snow alongside the trail. When the weather turns, I switch to working in the gym at home. I look at the exercise as a different kind of challenge and I go do it and I look forward to it.

Read more about John Heinricy here.

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Racecar Driver Kellermeyer Pleased With ‘Fantastic’ 2016 Winning Season

Matick Chevy Kellermeyer Grattan Track Win 2016

Corvette racecar driver Danny Kellermeyer got used to carrying a checkered flag during the 2016 racing season. 

He won a whopping 70 percent of his 30 races – 11 in SCCA and 10 at the Waterford Hills Road Racing course, a record that resulted in him winning both the SCCA Great Lakes Division T1 Championship and the Waterford Hills T1 Championship.

“The No. 37 Matick Chevy Corvette won all the races and I also managed to set two track records along the way,” says Kellermeyer, now 70 and racing since he was. 8. “It was a fantastic season.”

Matick Chevy Danny Kellermeyer Corvette Driver
Danny Kellermeyer

The Michigan-based racing veteran started with testing his Corvettes on the tracks in April, but his most memorable moment came at Waterford Hills in metro Detroit on Sept. 11 when he and his crew were able to change a broken steering rack in a speedy two hours instead of the normal six.

“Everyone just jumped in and started tearing things apart,” says Kellermeyer. “A steering rack is a pretty serious thing and we didn’t have one with us. My wife, Michaelle, jumped in a truck and drove to our home and brought us another rack. She made it just in time.”

His Matick Chevy-sponsored Corvette made it to the grid on time and Kellermeyer and top rival and close friend Tony Mac battled it out to the finish, with Kellermeyer winning.

“We had margins of victory this season that were within hundredths of a second,” says Kellermeyer. “It was mind-boggling.”

The off-season means Kellermeyer might have more time to ride horses at his Oakland County farm with his wife. He’ll work on his race cars in his shop.

Reflecting back over the race season, Kellermeyer says if he could redo any moment, it would be during races where he chose to turn one way instead of another to move forward in a race.

There were times, he says, when the “competition snuck in beside me.”

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Corvette driver Danny Kellermeyer often appeared in the winner's circle this season.

Here's more of Kellermeyer's take on his summer racing schedule.

What a season. How do you do it?

“Winning isn’t everything, but driving to your limit is. At competition school that I teach at Waterford Hills, I always ask drivers 'Who is your competition?' They will name people they know. But YOU are your own competition. You have got to figure out how much you can push yourself."

What drives you to keep racing?

“A lot of things – the relationships with people and sponsors. You get to sit down and talk about Matick Chevy. We have the Matick car there at races and people talk about that. I’ve made friends in racing over the years. I’ve always said if it’s not fun, I’m going to do something different.”

Who is your favorite driver and why?

“Paul Newman is my hero. He raced and set records when he was 78.”

You do your own work on the cars. What will happen in your shop over the off-season?

“I want to work on the C7 Corvette. I’ll rebuild the C6 I have. Most of it is fresh, but I still look at it all. All the suspension and bushings have to be relubed or replaced. We’ll go back out to start testing again in April.”

You are a member of the Flint Corvette Club. Will you see them again soon?

“We are doing something all the time. We have a large Daytona 500 party at my place (next one is Feb. 26). We have a big screen TV and we set up tables in the shop. About 100 or so came out last year. We break out the pizza and soft drinks and talk cars again. The racing Corvettes are there. Everybody likes to see something being built, especially the C7."

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Wins at Mid-Ohio helped Danny Kellermeyer capture two 2016 championships.

Ever worry about the danger that comes with racing?

“Well, at the last race at Mid-Ohio, I had to start from the back of the pack. We’d run half the race when another competitor had something break up ahead. He went left and right and then into a wall, and it knocked him unconscious."

"They bought the ambulance over and black-flagged the event. (In my position) I sat across from the ambulances and watched them cut the top off the car and helicopter (the driver) out. As I was sitting there, I was praying and hoping he was fine. But you look at that. That broken piece could happen to me."

“It’s a dangerous sport and that’s why you prep the car. I feel my prep work is top-notch and I don’t seem to be scared that could happen to me. I believe in God and so does Michaelle. (Someday) God will pull my number. Until then, that’s the way I’m going to live my life."

Matick Chevy Kellermeyer Boy Scouts 2016
Danny Kellermeyer loves to share his excitement for Corvettes and racing with youth and special groups.
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Racecar Driver John Heinricy Enjoys Running Autocross And HPDE While Helping Others Fine-Tune Their Cars

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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:

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



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.”

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


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

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 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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