Detroit Dealer Leads Corvette Caravan to the Chevrolet Belle Isle Grand Prix

Here's a story about an event during the Detroit Grand Prix written by Reporter Carol Hopkins that appeared in the 5/30/13 Oakland Press (MI).

Kenneth Byrd of Pontiac will climb into his sleek, gun-metal-gray Corvette Callaway Saturday and join a caravan of 60 Corvette owners for a journey from Redford to Belle Isle for the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.

“I’m looking forward to this and I’m excited about the Grand Prix,” said Byrd, standing next to his 2013 convertible, which he purchased at George Matick Chevrolet in Redford Township.

Karl Zimmermann races
Matick Chevy Dealer Karl Zimmermann

This is the second year that the dealership, owned by Karl Zimmermann of Bloomfield Township, has sponsored the Corvette Caravan Experience, which starts at 7 a.m.

The event includes breakfast and a guest speaker, Corvette race car driver Danny Kellermeyer. The dealership, which opened in 1967, is one of Kellermeyer’s race sponsors.

Byrd, 70, a "car guy" since attending Pontiac Central High School, can testify to that fact.

His specially built “cyber gray” Callaway, with more than 600 horsepower under the hood, has a top speed of 200 mph. Byrd’s gotten it up to 140 mph.

The car boasts a carbon-fiber hood, skirts and spoiler.

“They only make 300 a year,” he said. “Its speed and prestige make it unique.”

“We’re involved in lots of Corvette clubs in Southeast Michigan,” said Zimmermann.

For the caravan, the cars line up and then drive along I-96 to the Lodge and Jefferson Avenue to get to Belle Isle.

“Everyone participating will have tickets to park in the Corvette Corral there next to the Chevy hospitality tent,” said Zimmermann.

Byrd’s license plate reads “Soooo Bad.”

“I’ll look up in the rearview mirror and see people taking pictures all the time,” he said.

A police officer once stopped him, he said, just to see the car.

Owner of Woodward Counseling in Pontiac, Byrd has owned Corvettes for years, he said.

Zimmermann will drive the lead Corvette in the caravan.

"It's a thrill for a lot of reasons," he said. "I'll be leading 60 Corvettes with our logo on them and I'll be around folks passionate about their vehicles."

He recently almost bought a white Corvette 427 convertible he had sitting in the showroom.

Then a salesperson told Zimmermann a customer was interested in the car.

“Well, for a couple of minutes, I thought I was the owner,” he said laughing.

FYI

The Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix — Friday through Sunday — features the cars of the IZOD IndyCar Series, the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series and the Pirelli World Challenge Championship Series. The weekend features the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans IndyCar doubleheader at Belle Isle Park’s road course. Friday is Free Prix Day, which includes IZOD IndyCar Series practice and qualifying, GRAND-AM Rolex Series practice and qualifying, Pirelli World Challenge Series practice. Visit www.detroitgp.com.

Contact Carol Hopkins at 248-745-4645 or carol.hopkins@oakpress.com. Follow her on Twitter @OPCarolHopkins or on Facebook @OPcarolhopkins.

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2 Responses to Detroit Dealer Leads Corvette Caravan to the Chevrolet Belle Isle Grand Prix

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