Racecar Driver Kellermeyer Snags Sixth Consecutive T1 Championship

Matick Chevy Corvette Blog SVRA Indy Invitational Indy Motor Speedway
Danny Kellermeyer competed in the SVRA Indy Invitational at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.    

Michigan Corvette racecar driver Danny Kellermeyer looks back on his busy 2018 racing year with pride, especially about winning another driving championship — the Waterford Hills Road Racing T1 title.

“The races there were awesome,” says Danny, an Ortonville resident and veteran racecar driver sponsored by Matick Chevrolet in metro Detroit.

This marks his sixth consecutive year winning the Michigan Waterford Hills crown in his Corvette. He even set a new track record during a September race – just over a minute at 1:11.682 – on the 1.4-mile-long track hadn’t been broken since 2016.

“When you set a record, you have to do it at the beginning of the race, lap 2 or 3, because that is the fastest the tires will be,” he says. “I had put a new set of tires on. Everything was going perfect that day.”

Matick Chevy Corvette Blog Kellermeyer Wins at WHRRI
Driver Danny Kellermeyer wins another race at WHRRI.

We caught up with him recently to ask a few questions as he looks toward next season:

How would you summarize this past year?

It was a good season, not without normal pitfalls. Rain (during) races did me in a couple spots. I drove each of my cars – Corvette C4, C5, C6 and C7 – at least once. My main car is the C6. Of my 28 races, I finished first in 20 of them.

What was a great racing memory from the 2018 racing season?

We did a 10-lap Australian Pursuit at Waterford Hills on the last race of the year in September. That mean all groups can race, anybody can sign up. The slowest car goes first, then next slowest, etc. I started in the 36th position because I was the fastest car.

So at the start, with those 36 cars, I went out 72 seconds late. We had everything out there, even a Volkswagen, but there was no crash damage, no contact. With one lap to go, I finally passed the leader and won. It was a fun race to watch.

What's happening at Waterford Hills during the off-season?

They tore up the track this fall and put down all new asphalt and curbing. We cut out one month of racing for (contractors) to dig it up. It should be nice for next year. It really needed it.

Matick Chevy Corvette Blog Kissing WHRRI track goodbye Danny Kellermeyer Colin Chappell Phil Robbins
Raecar drivers Kellermeyer (left), Colin Chappell and Phil Robbins kissed the old WHRRI track goodbye.

Tell us about your race at Mid-Ohio on Oct. 14.

It was a good run. I was in 44th place at the back of pack because I’d been knocked off the track. I did a lot of passing and finished second.

We hear you're mentoring younger drivers.

Yes! One is Christie Bagne. This was her first year. She’s driving a Miata, and doing excellent. She was featured on the cover of the Sports Car Club of America magazine. She’s an up-and-coming young lady who works for GM and lives in Royal Oak.

The other driver is Colin Chappell, from Hillsdale. He’s in a Corvette and got his racing license this year. It’s great to see interest in racing because it was down when money was tight. 

Matick Chevy Corvette Blog Celebrating the 2018 RAcing Season at WAterford Hills Michigan
Kellermeyer (in yellow) and other drivers celebrate the end of the 2018 racing season at the Waterford Hills track.

 

Tell us about the driving school.

At the Waterford Hills driving school in April and May, we had 52 students, the largest group ever. New drivers can participate in our competition school and become a novice right there. It’s highly sought after.

And your other activities?

  • I took part in Waterford Hills’ 60th Anniversary Celebrations, finishing first in the Big Bore Showcase Race on Sept. 8 and, as I mentioned, the Australian Pursuit on Sept. 9.
  • I participated in six Sports Car Club of America races, with a podium finish in five, including three first places.
  • I was in five Sportscar Vintage Racing Association races, the big one being the Brickyard Vintage Invitational at the Indianapolis Speedway where I drove my 1986 C4 Corvette. That June 15-17 event drew 750 entrees.
  • I exhibited my Corvette at Flint’s Back to the Bricks show in August. That annual event draws 450,000 spectators.
  • On June 24, I went to the Flint Corvette Club’s Auto City Autocross, where participants’ cars were scaled for corner weights, courtesy of my sponsor Matick Chevrolet.
  • I had my Corvette at the Detroit Autorama in March, and also at the Livonia Business Expo in May.
  • In January, I spoke to middle schools for the annual Young Inventors contest for middle school students in the Livonia Public Schools, Clarenceville Community Schools and Wayne-Westland Community Schools districts. I was a speaker at the awards dinner for the top 30 young inventors. It was a great night with all the students, parents and grandparents.
Matick Chevy Corvette Blog Kellermeyer Corvette at Livonia Expo 2018
Kellermeyer exhibited his  Corvette racecar at the Livonia Expo.

What will you be doing during the winter months?

I’ll be prepping all four racecars for the 2019 racing season. New engines and drivetrains are being built. All cars are built from the ground up, starting with bare frames. If I start and stay on it, it takes two weeks. It’s all the pre-work, making sure everything is sized and machined properly. That takes a lot of time. This is the third year on my C6 engine, so it has to come out. I’ll do it myself and my wife, Michaelle, helps me.

Any other thoughts about the year?

I certainly signed a lot of autographs and did a lot on the tracks.

Do you like letting fans get a chance to sit inside your racecars?

I think back to a race at the downtown Cleveland airport one year. A dad brought his son to the race, and the boy was skinny and fragile because he had muscular dystrophy. I talked to the young man and suggested we get him in the racecar. The dad and I lifted him carefully, got him in and I looked up and the dad was crying. I believe it was thought the boy could never get in a car like that.

Matick Chevy Corvette Blog Detroit Autorama Maverick and Danny Kellermeyer
Kellermeyer lets Maverick sit in his racecar during the Detroit Autorama.
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Larry Courtney Readies For Aug. 15 ‘Corvettes On Woodward’ Rally And Other Summer Sports Car Events

Matick Chevy Larry Courtney Corvette Events 2018
 

Watch for Michigan Corvette ambassador Larry Courtney on the road again this summer at various sports car events in his U.S flag-wrapped “American Pride” Corvette

Courtney and his wife, Verna (above), are regulars at summer car cruise events throughout the midwest.

“It’s been a busy summer so far,” says Courtney. “We’ve had a few rainouts, too.”

The 1999 Corvette with 140,000 miles on it, sponsored by Matick Chevrolet of metro Detroit, just had a new flag-wrap placed on the body.

“When installers took off the old wrap, the car was as shiny as the day they put it on,” says Courtney, who has showcased the car for Matick Chevy since 2012.

The biggest event Courtney organizes — the annual Corvettes on Woodward — is set for Wednesday, August 15. That’s a few days before metro Detroit's 23rd annual Woodward Dream Cruise on Aug. 18.

In addition to the Corvette rally, Corvettes on Woodward’s main goal is to collect money and food donations for the Open Hands Food Pantry at 26998 Woodward Ave. in Royal Oak.

He estimates 400 Corvettes and their owners will attend. “This year I have permission to use the parking lot at the Masonic Lodge, which is closer to downtown Birmingham than our previous rally site,” says Courtney.

The lot is located in Bloomfield Hills on the southbound side at 37357 Woodward Ave., just north of Big Beaver/Quarton Road between Lone Pine and Charing Cross.

Corvette owners are welcome to come together starting around 4:30 p.m. Then at 7:30 p.m., police officers will lead drivers on a parade south along Woodward Avenue to the pantry at Eleven Mile Road and Woodward on the east side.

A $10 donation is recommended. For those who want to bring nonperishable food directly to the pantry, volunteers will be there waiting. Drivers can go a little farther south of the first turnaround on Woodward in order to keep cars from backing up.

“We will have raffles and door prizes at Open Hands Food Pantry and I hope to have Seeburger’s Cheeseburgers there as well,” Courtney says. 

The event is a lead-in to the annual Woodward Dream Cruise extravaganza, on Saturday, Aug. 18. The Dream Cruise attracts up to 40,000 classic cars and thousands of car lovers for a day-long cruise that jams Woodward Avenue in both directions from Eight Mile Road in Detroit to downtown Pontiac.

Courtney also organizes events for Corvette lovers who want to tour area auto-related sites.

  • On Wednesday, Aug. 15, enthusiasts can set out in the morning to visit the GM Heritage Center in Sterling Heights. The cost is $10.
  • On Thursday, Aug. 16, people can enjoy the Lingenfelter Car Collection in Brighton.

For more event details or recommendations about local hotels, contact Larry Courtney at michigancorvetteevents@gmail.com or 586-876-6923.

To his supporters, Courtney says, “Thanks for the many great memories and the friendship you have given Verna and me.”

FUTURE EVENT

Corvette lovers may want to keep Sept. 23 in mind, says Larry.

A new event called “Corvettes on the Island” is set to take place on Belle Isle in Detroit in the same paddock area used for the Detroit Grand Prix.

“Verna and I thought this would be a great time to get everyone together just for fun,” he says.

“We are thinking of a People’s Choice for best of each generation. We hope you will come out, have fun and see all the great changes in Belle Isle.”

More details to come.

AUG. 4 CORVETTE SHOW IN NOVI

Matick Chevy Corvettes at FountainWalk Show
Matick Chevy Corvettes at Fountain Walk 2018 Show
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Heinricy Now Focusing On Mentoring Drivers and Racing His 2002 Camaro

John Heinricy and Corvette Blog 6 2018
Racecar driver John Heinricy attended a recent Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan at Matick Chevy.

Champion racecar driver John Heinricy is well into another busy racing season.

Last year, of the eight regular-season races in his 2012 Matick Chevrolet-sponsored Sonic, the Clarkston, Mich., driver won seven.

Heinricy’s resume includes five national championships in A Sedan, won between 2003-14, and one in B Spec in 2015. He has earned seven other national championships in Corvette and Cobalt racing.

Last year’s finale came as 1,000 drivers convened at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the SCCA National Championship Runoffs held during the last week of September.

At the end at the runoffs, Heinricy drove home with two second-place trophies, beating numerous tough competitors.

Over the winter, Heinricy sold his B Spec Matick Chevy Sonic racecar, and is concentrating on mentoring drivers and racing his 2002 Camaro in A Sedan this season.

We asked the National Corvette Museum Hall of Fame racecar driver about what's happening this season.

Discuss your work assisting people who want to learn more about racing.

I ran high performance driving events (HPDE) at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky., in April. We gave hot laps sponsored by Matick Chevrolet, and they were very popular. I drove or rode with 10 to 12 people.

I drove one guy’s Cadillac CTSV, a high-performance supercharged car, and it was great. The car is a lot heavier than Corvettes and it was still extremely capable with 640 hp and very fast.

I’ll be doing one more HPDE in late August.

You also take part in autocross events with the Corvette Club of Michigan.

Yes, I’ll run three or four this year with the club. Sometimes we’re at Michigan International Speedway near Jackson and others at Schoolcraft College in Livonia.

I like the intensity and camaraderie with the other owners. It’s very intense competition because the time on the course is less than a minute. It’s a different kind of skill and really fun. Autocross is something Corvettes work extremely well in. It’s usually a whole day, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and there could be 200 cars there.

What is your racing schedule like?

I raced at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course June 1-3 to start qualifying with the Camaro. I had some engine problems but it’s been rebuilt, and doing pretty good. I ran at Watkins Glen International in New York in mid-June and I’ll race in New Jersey in July. The final races will be at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., in October.

What is this year’s biggest challenge?

Going fast enough to beat the young men and women. There are a lot more women coming into racing. I’m thinking it will be a good year for me. You always think positively at the beginning.

The Matick Chevrolet team works with you throughout the year, correct?

The Matick Chevy team is so great and they provided me with invaluable assistance on the Chevy Sonic, which they sponsored. They did body repair and tire mounting. The management team was very supportive. If I needed any mechanical help, they were always able to fit me in.

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2018 Corvette Caravan Experience Revs Up Owners At Detroit Grand Prix

Matick Chevy Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Experience
More than 120 Corvette owners and guests enjoyed the annual Matick Chevy Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Experience. 

Pete and Renee Pellerito, members of the Eastside Corvette Club, were “pretty pumped” during a recent Saturday morning as they anticipated driving their 2017 metallic black rose Grand Sport convertible (with license plate BLT N USA) in their first caravan to the Detroit Grand Prix.

They joined 120 other Corvette owners and their guests who were excitedly gathering at Matick Chevrolet in Redford Township by 7 a.m. on June 2 for the dealership’s seventh annual Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Experience.

The big event kicked off with a breakfast program at the dealership and included the police-escorted caravan to Belle Isle for special Corvette Corral parking, treats at Chevrolet hospitality tent, and reserved trackside grandstand seating near the pits to enjoy a full day of racing. Matick Chevy provided the 120 owners with discounted tickets to all the events.

Matick Chevy Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Experience 2
Matick Chevy's main new car showroom transformed into a fun event venue.

The Matick main indoor showroom (America’s largest) was transformed into a festive reception venue, with a full breakfast buffet provided by Crank’s Catering, packed tables for eating and socializing and, of course, a few rows of gleaming new Corvettes on display.

Bob Girkin, a former Formula IV and SCGA racer, teased his wife, Polly, and friends Michaelle and Danny Kellermeyer, driver of the Matick Chevy-sponsored signature-yellow Corvette racecar. “Remember,” he laughingly reminded his wife, “When we were planning and having our kids, and you said, ‘I’m not strapping you into these racing cars anymore!’”

Matick Chevy Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Experience 1a
Michaelle and Danny Kellermeyer with Polly and Bob Girkin.

Nearby, event veterans Peter and Joan Roberts, wearing Route 66 Corvette Pace Car Reunion jackets, came from Canada with members of the Corvette Club of Windsor.

“Our jackets are from a four-day event we hosted with 38 Corvettes,” Peter Roberts said. “We were the pace car driving from Joplin, Missouri to Tucumcari, New Mexico on Route 66.”

“Today,” he added, “we caravanned from Windsor to here for this event, driving our silver C5 convertible (with license plate 1 BAD 9t9).”

“The hospitality is wonderful. We’ve really been looking forward to coming here,” said Michelle Hale, wife of Michael Hale and passenger in his black 1999 C5 (with license plate Hale 3).”

“It’s our first time here and it’s very exciting,” Michael Hale added. “We’ll be relocating to Florida in two months, so we might not get another chance to do this.”

Donald and Renata Turner, seated at the table with their friends and family (Caroline and Farrell Reis and Dennis and Dorian O’Bryan) drove their cyber-gray Stingray. “Everything was very smooth and organized,” Renata Turner said.

Caroline and Farrell Rels drove their 2010 red Stingray (license plate Farrell), and the O’Bryans drove their 2015 night racing blue Stingray. “Though you should have,” Dorian teased his dad, Dennis, “driven the 30th-anniversary of the C4 — your black rose ’93.”

 
Matick Chevy Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Experience 14
Ernest Stevenson, his sister Annette and nephew Steven Muntwell.

For Ernest Stevenson, the event was his third Matick Corvette caravan, driving his Nassau-blue ’98 C5. “I’m looking forward to walking around Belle Isle, collecting t-shirts,” he said. “It’s nice and noisy, just like we like it — loud!”

His sister, Annette Stevenson, drove her crystal red, C6 Grand Sport. “I call it ‘Burgundy,’” she chuckled. “I like the caravan, the way people pull over to watch. It stops traffic.”

Steve Wimberly was excited to see all the other Corvettes and “what people have done to their rides.” In his 2002 ZO6 (license plate Stevie), Wimberly was also looking forward to driving on the Belle Isle Grand Prix track, as were Danny and Ron Krewench, in their 2014 Z-51 white Stingray (plate Krewzin).

Matick Chevy Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Experience 21
Ron and Danny Krewench.

After breakfast and before the caravan prepared to leave, Matick Chevrolet’s Sales Director Paul Zimmermann addressed the guests.

“Thank you for trusting us, and for your loyalty and business,” he said. “In 2016, we were #11 in the country for new car sales. We moved up in 2017 as Chevrolet ranks us the #7 Elite Leader dealer in the U.S. That’s an impressive and very competitive jump. We’re also moved into the 8th position in the country for Corvette sales.”

Zimmermann continued with an announcement that a “20-year Matick vision” has now come to fruition: the opening of Matick Auto Wash, Michigan’s largest state-of-the art car wash. At 27,000 square feet, it is larger than the average new vehicle dealership.

“As a continuation of service to you, our customers, and as a re-investment in southeast Michigan and employing 50 people, our new auto wash has three special features designed for our Corvette customers and all Corvette owners,” he said.

Zimmermann explained that the conveyor belts in the unique two-tunnel set up are wide enough for any Corvette tire. The wheel-guide heights were lowered to avoid any interference with shrouds and the wash system features a friction-free, brushless spray.

The guests cheered at that point. Before directing drivers to their Corvettes so the 2018 Matick Chevy Caravan could begin, Zimmermann invited them to take a some time to really enjoy and celebrate the Grand Prix experience and Detroit’s auto industry.

Matick Chevy Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Experience 19
Larry and Verna Courtney's flag-wrapped Corvette lead the Matick Chevy Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan.

And, as Larry and Verna Courtney, in their U.S. flag-wrapped convertible and second behind the Matick pace car took the first turn out of the Matick Chevy new car lot, there were honks, waves and revving engines being put through show-off sport and race modes as the caravan began its procession onto I-96.

The staff applauded the departing Corvettes and each other for another successful event. Matick COO Molly Williams, Sales Manager Jack McInerney and Delivery Coordinator Michele Baldini gave each other high-fives as they gazed down the highway at the receding parade of new and classic Corvettes.

“Organizer Ryan Esler, Matick’s ‘man behind-the-scenes,’ really made this happen,” Baldini said. “He’s an organizer, a leader and a perfectionist — just like our Corvette owners.”

She added, “Thanks to our great team, this event ran like a well-tuned Corvette.”

Matick Chevy Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Experience 20
The Matick Chevy team that coordinated the caravan party are ready for their 2019 event.
Matick Chevy Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Experience 10
Renee and Pete Pellerito.
Matick Chevy Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Experience 11
Linda Whalen and Tom Malott.
Matick Chevy Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Experience 12
Michelle and Michael Hale.
Matick Chevy Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Experience 15
Matick Chevy Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Experience 15
Matick Chevy Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Experience 16
William and Patrica Cardasis.
 
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Matick Chevy Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Experience 17
 
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Corvettes begin lining up for the Matick caravan.
 
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Matick Chevy Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Experience 23
 
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Lauren Roberts and Daniel Toco.
 
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Matick Chevy Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Experience 26
 
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Matick Chevy Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Experience 27
 
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Matick Chevy Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Experience 28
 
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Matick Chevy Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Experience 29
 
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Corvette owners and guests were treated to a buffet breakfast as part of the caravan party.
 
Matick Chevy Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Experience 4
Matick Chevy Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Experience 4
 
Matick Chevy Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Experience 6
Jean and Peter Roberts.
 
Matick Chevy Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Experience 7
From row left to right: Dennis O'Bryan, Farrell and Caroline Rels. Back row: Dorian O'Bryan, Donald and Renata Turner.
Matick Chevy Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Experience 8
Every Corvette in the caravan received a Matick Chevy sticker for the Corvette Corral.
 
Matick Chevy Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Experience 9
Matick Chevy Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Experience 9
 
Matick Chevy Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Experience 13
What a sight to see Corvettes from every generation lined up and ready to caravan.
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Corvette Racer Kellermeyer Eyes Another Strong Racing Season

Matick Chevy Danny Kellermeyer at AutoRama
 Danny Kellermeyer's C7 Corvette shines during the 66th annual AutoRama show at Cobo Center in Detroit. 
 

Racecar driver Danny Kellermeyer expects another impressive racing season that hopefully will mirror his title-winning ways of previous years.

Last year, he repeated as SCCA Great Lakes Division T1 champion and Waterford Hills Road Racing T1 champion in his classic #37 Matick Chevrolet-sponsored yellow Corvette.

“I had 24 races and won 17 of them,” says Kellermeyer. The Ortonville, Mich. resident drives Corvettes he builds himself. “This gives us a total of 39 championships since 1989.”

He nabbed three second-place and three third-place finishes. Equipment problems forced him out of one race.

“Fans saw three generations – C5, C6 and C7 – run last year from my DJ Racing stable. And all of them managing to capture a first-place victory,” Kellermeyer says.

Although it’s still early in the 2018 racing season, Kellermeyer can already share a stomach-churning moment on the track this May.

“At GingerMan Raceway in west Michigan, I caught a water puddle and spun 360 degrees three times,” he says.

Kellermeyer held on tight and managed to keep his C6 on the track.

“We survived and finished second,” he says.

Massive rainfall made driving slick at the track. “When we left May 21, the paddock was a full lake, just standing water,” he says.

So far during the 2018 season, Kellermeyer has taken part in three races at Waterford Hills and won all three.

He drove three races at GingerMan in South Haven, where he won one and finished second in two. He plans to drive in 26 events this season. We asked him a few questions about what race fans can expect when he's on and off the track.

Matick Chevy Danny Kellermeyer First Pace Finish Gingerman Raceway
It's another first-place finish for Danny Kellermeyer at GingerMan Raceway.

You have several vehicles in the stable. What are you driving?

"I’ve been racing the C6. I’m still sorting out the C7.  I’m having some parts made for it."

In what other non-racing events are you planning to participate?

"I participated in the annual Matick Chevy Detroit Grand Prix Corvette Caravan Experience breakfast on June 2. On June 24, I’ll be at the Auto City Speedway in Clio to support the Flint Corvette Club during an autocross event. We’ll weigh cars and Matick Chevy will provide free corner weights. I’ll be at Back to the Bricks in Flint on Aug. 18 to display all three of my Corvettes.

Tell us about how you took some Alpha Stamping employees under your wing at Gingerman May 21. 

"We rented the track and played. It was raining, but we made applesauce out of rotten apples. We had a complete track day and we showed them how to drive Corvettes and how to handle them in the rain." title="Danny Kellermeyer Matick Chevy at Livonia Middle School" rel="lightbox353901"

Talk about your new team member, Colin Chappell.

"I’m mentoring him in the world of racing. I went to school with his dad. Colin’s 25 and this is the first year he has driven in races. He’s going to travel with us."

Are there races you’re looking forward to?

"Mid-Ohio on Oct. 13-14. I was there last year and had a rear axle problem. I want to redeem myself."

"And I’m going to be at Indianapolis Speedway June 15-17 driving in the Brickyard Vintage Invitationals with Robert Pfeffer and his son, Jonathan. They have 1994 Corvettes, and I’ll drive my 1990 C4. It’s a big race with 700 entries. This is my first time at Indy. It’s been on my bucket list so I’m glad I have the opportunity to do it. I’m going to be in awe."

Kellermeyer kept busy last winter and early spring. On Dec. 17, his DJ Racing team displayed its new Matick Chevy C7 at the world’s largest racing trade show, Performance Racing Industries at Indianapolis. The show attracts 48,000 from the racing industry.

“Our display was extremely busy,” he says. “We received a lot of favorable comments on the build and answered questions on products we use.”

Danny Kellermeyer Matick Chevy at Livonia Middle School
Michigan middle school students enjoyed viewing Danny Kellermeyer's C7 during their Youth Inventors program.

On Jan. 26, Kellermeyer was guest speaker for the Youth Inventors program established for more than 600 middle schoolers from Livonia, Redford and Westland.

The C7 racecar was displayed in all six of the kick-off school programs. The students’ projects were completed and judged — with a banquet and awards held at Schoolcraft College in Livonia, Mich.

“It was great to meet all these young students and their parents, and say a few words and congratulate them on their accomplishments,” says the veteran racecar driver.

The DJ Racing team kicked off the 2018 season with a bang at the 66th annual Detroit AutoRama last March where the Matick Chevy, Corvette Central C7 was displayed in the Waterford Hills Road Racing display at Cobo Center in Detroit.

The C7 race car took centerstage in the Alpha Stamping display at the 2018 Livonia Business Expo in May  at the Laurel Park Mall. The expo, one of Livonia’s signature annual events, was the “perfect setting for displaying the DJ Racing/Alpha Stamping race teams’ efforts,” he says.

See Kellermeyer's 2018 schedule here.

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Driving Down Memory Lane With Highlights From ‘Woodward Dream Cruise’ And ‘Back To The Bricks’

Matick Chevy Back to Bricks Overview Cars
Back to the Bricks crowds pack Flint.  

Classic car cruisers from around the globe head to Michigan for two special events every August – the Woodward Dream Cruise, which runs along Woodward Avenue from Pontiac south to Ferndale, and Back to the Bricks in downtown Flint.

And Michigan Corvettes were well represented. Larry Courtney, driving his U.S. flag-wrapped Corvette, was busy along the Woodward Avenue route during Dream Cruise week while Corvette racecar driver Danny Kellermeyer set up his racing display at The Bricks. Matick Chevy in Redford, Mich. sponsors both Corvette enthusiasts.

Matick Chevy Larry Courtney Corvettes on Woodward
This skull hot rod was one of Larry Courtney's favorites during the Woodward Dream Cruise.

Corvette event organizer Courtney and his wife, Verna, maintained a full schedule in advance of the Dream Cruise.

This year's Corvettes on Woodward, a gathering of Corvettes Courtney normally coordinates the Wednesday before Dream Cruise to raise money for food banks, had a last-minute change.

Courtney says he cancelled the mega-Corvette event as a result of some changes by his host site. “I did not have a good site to get all the Corvette owners together this year. I contacted everyone about the change in plans and kept all of the other tours and events we sponsor in place,” he adds.

One of those events was an annual food drive at the Royal Oak-based Open Hands Food Bank at St. John’s Church, of which Courtney and others have been a long-time supporter. The Courtneys reported a steady stream of Corvettes dropping off food and checks at the facility all day long. In the past, Courtney and other Corvette owners would have dropped their donations off at the food bank as a part the Corvettes on Woodward gathering.

Matick Chevy Paws At Corvettes on Woodward
Detroit Tigers mascot PAWS showed up at the food bank drive to thank those making donations.

“I did a radio interview with Frank Beckmann on WJR on Aug. 15 where we talked about Corvettes on Woodward and the food drive. It was during the interview that I mentioned that all cruisers would be welcome to stop by and drop off donations. On Wednesday people came in droves and said they heard the interview and wanted to help.”

As an extra treat, PAWS, the Detroit Tigers Mascot, showed up to greet the people cruising in to make donations, Courtney says.

“We had hundreds of our Corvette friends from all over the U.S. and Canada stop to visit,” he says. “Our two Corvette friends from Sweden were here. Matick Chevrolet owner Karl Zimmermann and his wife, Sarah, stopped by with a donation to the food bank.”

In the end, Corvette owners and other cruisers donated $5,000 and a significant amount of nonperishable food. ”So, all in all, Corvettes on Woodward was a success,” Courtney says.

Larry had worked to arrange various tours of car-related companies and locations weeks in advance for Corvette owners. About 100 car enthusiasts came out for a private tour of GM's Heritage Center museum on Aug. 16.

On Thursday, Aug. 17, featured tours included the Lingenfelter Collection, Pratt & Miller Engineering and the Detroit Parade Co. On Friday, Aug. 18, cruisers toured Katech engine design in Clinton Township. 

Several out-of-state clubs visited this year and most stayed at the Somerset Inn in Troy. Clubs visited from Rochester, New York, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Columbus, Ohio. 

The group from New York also toured Frankenmuth and the Henry Ford Museum while here.

On Saturday, Aug. 19, the big Woodward Dream Cruise day, most everyone started to cruise Woodward Avenue before finding a place to park.
 

Matick Chevy Back to Bricks Corvette Reunion
More than 600 sports cars participated in the Back to the Bricks Corvette Reunion.

“Verna and I started Saturday with our early morning traditional cruise beginning in Ferndale, then up to Pontiac and returning to Ferndale. We cruised Woodward a little more before parking at 13 Mile Road to watch the rest of the cars go by,” says Courtney, who moved to the region in 2001 and saw his first Dream Cruise in 2002.

They spotted their favorite cars, a vehicle that shoots flames and another that is modified into the shape of a skull.

Back To The Bricks

After lunch, the Courtneys headed up Woodward Avenue and drove to Flint for the big 13th Annual Back to the Bricks car show, where champion driver Kellermeyer displayed his Corvette racecars.

This big event “was once again a hit,” Kellermeyer says.

The Flint show attracts more than 500,000 enthusiasts, he says. “These car lovers were able to walk around and admire thousands of vehicles of every age and description.”

Matick Chevy Back to the Bricks overview of street scene
Downtown Flint transforms into a car lover's paradise during the annual Back to the Bricks.

Back to the Bricks organizers estimated 45,000 car owners came out, gathering as early as 2 a.m. in two staging areas in order to obtain the downtown spots.

This gigantic event celebrates the love of motor vehicles and Michigan’s historic role in the automotive industry.

Matick Chevy Danny Kellermeyer Back to the Bricks 2017
Danny Kellermeyer enjoys greeting show goers at his DJ Racing display at Back to the Bricks.

Visitors wander among thousands of street machines, restored cars, rat rods and street rods at the gigantic car show. Music, displays, food vendors and family-friendly activities added to the festive atmosphere.

“Flint is the birthplace of the Corvette, ‘America’s Sport Car,’ and proudly hosts a National Reunion for Corvette aficionados,” Kellermeyer says.

Matick Chevy Back to the Bricks Danny Kellermeyer and fans
Danny Kellermeyer spends some time with car show fans.

A show within a show, this year’s 8th annual Corvette Reunion was spectacular. More than 500 Corvettes gathered from various states and Canada. The Heritage Collection boasted a Corvette from each year of production.

Kellermeyer’s DJ Racing team was one of the key Corvette attractions, displaying two of the Matick Chevy/Corvette Central-sponsored racing Corvettes.

The team was located in a prime area next to the awards tent. Corvette owners and racing fans were able to get an up-close look at Kellermeyer’s championship C6 and new C7 Corvettes.

All were able to take home a signed Danny Kellermeyer poster. “I signed a lot of posters,” says Kellermeyer.

Matick Chevy Back to the Bricks Mike Oshust
Corvette owner Mike Oshust won best of show in the Corvette Reunion at Back to the Bricks.

“The kids are great and I love to see their faces and smiles as they sit in the race cars and get to see racing from a view they normally wouldn’t be able to see,” he says. “Even their parents get to understand what happens inside the cars.”

The day included a spectacular flyover by three WWII T6 fighter planes.

“The sight was amazing and our own GM Executive Vice President Mark Reuss was able to fly in one of the planes. Mark said afterward, ‘Today was a true life event for me. I flew in a WWII T6 over what was part of the arsenal of democracy, Flint, Michigan, where I started as a young engineer. It was emotional to say the least,’” Kellermeyer recounts of his conversation with Reuss.

“The Flint show was fantastic,” says Mike Oshust of Flint. “We enjoy all the shows.”

Lorie and Matt Bacon of Fenton say “it’s always a fun time at the Corvette Reunion.”

Matick Chevy Back to the Bricks Lorie Mat Bacon
 Lorie and Mat Bacon participated in the Corvette Reunion.

Donna and Scott Freimark of Holly called Back to the Bricks a “good show, and it’s good to see friends." First-timer Gary Hreben of Sterling Heights shares that he thought the event was “awesome.”

Private Cruise Parties

Alan Johnson, Matick Chevrolet performance vehicle manager, drove his Z51 Corvette to private Dream Cruise parties the night before.

“We had 100 cars at some of the parties. They were nice get-togethers,” he says.

Matick Chevy Woodward Dream Cruise PartiesThe Woodward Dream Cruises was a great time for car parties.

Johnson saw another Matick Chevy-sponsored racecar driver, John Heinricy, with his C7 at one of the gatherings where he also spotted several classes of Corvettes and Camaros along with Firebirds and Trans-Ams.

On Woodward Dream Cruise day, Johnson and his son, Cole, 6, drove his red C7 Corvette along Woodward Avenue from Jefferson Avenue in downtown Detroit about 30 miles north to Pontiac.

“It was my first time doing the whole route,” Johnson says. His son loves cars and “had a lot of fun and waved at all the people.”
 

Matick Chevy North oaks Corveets Club on Woodward tent
The North Oaks Corvette Club set up their front row cruise tent along Woodward Avenue in Birmingham.

The North Oaks Corvette Club comes together twice at the Woodward Dream Cruise each year.

On the Friday before Dream Cruise, the members tailgate in front of the Birmingham Walgreens and return to the same spot on Dream Cruise day. “We had 40 cars,” says Skip Hartlerode, club president.
 

Matick Chevy North Oaks Corvettes on Woodward 1
More than 40 North Oaks Corvette Club members displayed their cars at the Dream Cruise.

“We’ve done this every year for the last eight years,” he says. “On Saturday, we start at around 7 a.m. with members coming and going throughout the day. Almost all members drove their Corvettes.”

Gary Drago, Flint Corvette Club president, headed up this year’s Corvette Reunion in Flint. “We had a fabulous time,” he says. He drove his 2004 Corvette. (Matick Chevy sponsors the North Oaks and Flint Corvette clubs.)

He described the thousands of cars parked along a mile route of the Corvette Reunion. “You probably won’t see this in any other place in the country. Tens of thousands of people come to this event.”

Matick Chevy Back to the Bricks people scene
Huge crowds fill the streets at Back to the Bricks in Flint.

He estimates about 600 Corvettes were on display for the reunion.

“I saw hundreds of cars that took my breath away,” Drago says, and the event is “very well organized. They make it pleasant to see the cars.

“All the Corvettes are in one place,” Drago adds. “It gets better and better every year.”

Matick Chevy Back to Bricks Danny Kellermeyere display
Danny Kellermeyer's DJ Racing display at Back to the Bricks.Matick Chevy Back to the Bricks Celeste Eric Morphis
First-time Back to the Bricks participants Celeste and Eric Morphis called the show "awesome."
Matick Chevy Back to the Bricks Gary Hreben
This year was the first time Gary Hreben drove in the Corvette Reunion.Matick Chevy Back to the Bricks Mitch Swanson
Mitch Swanson is a regular at the annual Back to the Bricks show.Matick Chevy Back to the Bricks Phillip Loving
Phillip Loving can't wait for next year's Flint car extravaganza.Matick Chevy Back to the Bricks Scott Donna Freimark
Scott and Donna Freimark love seeing old friends at the car show.Matick Chevy Woodward Dream Cruise Displays North Oaks Corvette Club
North Oaks Corvette Club members viewed the car exhibits in downtown Birmingham during Woodward Dream Cruise.
 

Photos by Charles Ruggles Photography, North Oaks Corvette Club, and DJ Racing.

Posted August 30, 2017

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‘Corvettes on Woodward’ Cancelled, Yet Organizer Continues Tradition Of Donating To Food Pantry And Hosting Various Car-Related Tours

Corvettes on Woodward Larry Courtney
Hundreds of Corvette owners attend Corvettes on Woodward every year.

METRO DETROIT — Organizers are alerting Vette owners that this year’s planned Aug. 16 Corvettes on Woodward car cruise, held in advance of the legendary Woodward Dream Cruise, has been cancelled.

But the annual food and funds donation drive associated with the event to benefit the Royal Oak’s Open Hands Food Pantry will still occur, says organizer Larry Courtney.

Last year, the event raised more than $6,000 to help feed the hungry.

Courtney declined to discuss a reason for the late cancellation of the event that was scheduled for the M1 Concourse.

In the past, the annual event has attracted hundreds of Corvette owners in advance of owners driving en masse down Woodward Avenue to deliver donations to the pantry. The Corvette gatherings in previous years were held at a Bloomfield Township hotel and last year was moved to a large lot in Pontiac, north of Detroit.

The food and funds donations will still take place, at the Open Hands Food Pantry located at the northeast corner of 11 Mile and Woodward Avenue behind St. John’s Church in Royal Oak. Enter the parking lot from 11 Mile.

“My wife, Verna, and I will be there between 2-9 p.m. Aug. 16 collecting nonperishable food and monetary donations,” says Larry, who drives the Matick Chevrolet flag-wrapped Corvette. “Signs will direct people.”

The Dream Center of Pontiac also is slated to receive some of the donations, says Larry.

Anyone who wants to volunteer to help with the food drive on Aug. 16 is asked to contact Larry Courtney at michigancorvetteevents@gmail.com or call 586-876-6923.

Pre-Dream Cruise Tours

Corvette owners who want to get involved with other events organized by Larry Courtney leading up to the Woodward Dream Cruise on Aug. 19 can check with him to learn more about these annual tours to local automotive-related venues in the metro Detroit area.

  • This year, starting at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 16, guests can visit the GM Heritage Center, the automotive company’s private car museum near the GM Tech Center. Cost is $10.
  • At 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 17, guests can tour the Pratt Miller Racing motorsports operation in New Hudson, Mich.  At 10 a.m., Corvette owners can cruise over to the Brighton, Mich.-based Lingenfelter Collection, featuring 250 Corvettes, muscle cars and exotics. prattmiller.com thelingenfeltercollection.com
  • Courtney also invites guests to the Parade Company in Detroit at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 17 “to see how the Michigan Thanksgiving Day Parade floats are made,” he says.
  • At 10 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 18, drivers will gather at Webber’s Wildlife Museum in Chesterfield Township, Mich.

Corvette owners are invited to stay at the Auburn Hills Marriott. “Each night, from Thursday through Saturday from 7-11 p.m., we will have a party with a DJ, food and lots of cars,” says Courtney.

Courtney gets plenty of feedback from all his efforts. “People thank us for a great time and that is humbling. We have friends come from Sweden and Brazil who tell us they are thrilled to be here,” he says.

“We get the thank-you cards and emails asking about next year,” says Courtney.

Along with the news articles about the event and TV coverage, Courtney says, “How can you sum up all that emotion? Verna and I are thankful and blessed. We have a great group of friends who help us take care of our charities. Friends and sponsors, such as Matick Chevy, help at our events.

“And me? I’m the luckiest guy in the world.”

Contact Larry Courtney at michigancorvetteevents@gmail.com or 586-876-6923.

Posted Aug. 8, 2017

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Corvette Owners Share Stories About Their Favorite Sports Car At ‘Corvette Generations’ Show

North Oaks Club Corvette Generations Car Show Matick Chevy 1
North Oaks Corvette Club.  

If you love listening to sports car stories, then the annual Corvette Generations Car Show is a great one to attend and talk with 'Vette owners. We heard all kinds of tales, from their first-time Corvette purchases to how they restored some classic beauties.

Sponsored by the North Oaks Corvette Club, Matick Chevrolet and Culver’s, this summer’s event showcased 60 sleek Corvettes July 22 at Culver’s in Lake Orion.

The midsummer show, traditionally held in downtown Birmingham, relocated to Culver’s while construction took place in Birmingham. (See the 2016 show here.)

North Oaks Club Corvette Generations Car Show Matick Chevy 2
“Just say the cars’ waxes were tested today,” joked George Garza about the rain during the North Oaks Club Corvette Generations show.

Show co-chairperson Skip Hartlerode surveyed the number of Corvettes that came out to the show this year, despite rain in the morning and the change of venues.

“We’re pleased with what we have here,” said Hartlerode, who displayed his 2005 Sunset Orange 'Vette he’s nicknamed the Evil Pumpkin. “We have great door prizes, great trophies. Our North Oaks club cars here number 25.”

Drivers took shelter under tents during the first half of the show as rain fell on the parked Corvettes.

“Just say the cars’ waxes were tested today,” joked George Garza.

Rod Grimes of Clinton Township pulled up in his 2003 50th anniversary C5. “It’s my first Corvette,” said the retired Detroit Police officer.

He wanted a Corvette back when he first joined the force in 1978. “But I got married and had a baby,” he said.

Grimes, a member of the Competition Corvette Club of Michigan based in metro Detroit, finally retired and was able to buy that Corvette.

The striking car, a burgundy called Anniversary Red, has become the car Grimes drives to car shows.

“I bought a 2017 Grand Sport and that’s my ‘play’ car,” he said.

North Oaks Club Corvette Generations Car Show Matick Chevy 3
Rod Grimes has a special photo under the engine lid of  his 2003 50th anniversary C5.

He has placed a photo of himself under the hood, and keeps an airbrushed photo of him and the car under the trunk lid. The word, “Sirdeli,” appears on the trunk drawing.

“It’s part of my email address and means ‘So I remember don’t ever lose it,’” he laughed.

People often compliment him on his car. “They say it’s so classy,” he said.

Crystal and Al Andrews of Detroit brought their 2002 Corvette, which they purchased in 2012.

“It’s my husband’s dream car,” said Crystal, standing next to the Electron Blue convertible with a distinctive tan stripe. “He’s wanted a Corvette since he was in high school.”

Asked what she likes about the car, Crystal said, “Everything. The speed, the unique color. We do a lot of shows. We try to do a show every weekend.”

North Oaks Club Corvette Generations Car Show Matick Chevy 4
Car enthusiasts loved looking under the hoods of the Corvettes on display.

Ray and Sue Miller of Farmington Hills sold T-shirts to attendees. They own two Corvettes, a 1959 and a 2017 Z06. Helping them out were their dogs, Mandy, a Yorkshire terrier, and Rudy, a Maltese and Yorkshire terrier combination.

Dan Monaghan of Lake Orion, a member of the North Oaks Corvette Club for nearly eight years, drove his 2012 red Grand Sport.

“I’ve been helping with the parking and with door prizes,” said Monaghan.

He and his wife, Gloria, also come to Culver’s for classic car night on Tuesdays in the summer. The Matick Chevrolet-sponsored North Oak Corvette Club gathers at the restaurant on Fridays in the summer.

Dan, a retired electrical engineer, loves his Corvette convertible for its “standout” looks.

“We do a lot with the (North Oaks) club,” he said.

Gloria doesn’t drive the car much. “I’m afraid if something happened,” she said while looking around at the club members, each wearing a neon green club shirt. “They’re very protective of their ‘sweethearts,’” she said, laughing.

Heather Pascoe of Oxford and her husband, David, drove their 2015 Crystal Red Corvette to the show.

Heather, the North Oaks club treasurer and a retiree, was busy selling fundraiser tickets to attendees.

“I like our car’s styling and comfort,” she said.

The club, she said, is the ‘nicest group of people, down to earth and we thoroughly enjoy their company.”

North Oaks Club Corvette Generations Car Show Matick Chevy 5
Richard Pinke displayed his rare 1958 Panama Yellow C1 Corvette.

Sitting under a lemon-yellow umbrella, Richard Pinke of Allen Park kept an eye on his rare, all-original 1958 Panama Yellow C1 Corvette.

“Every month, Chevrolet writes me a letter asking me to sell it to them,” he said. “They want it back in the worst way.” But he’s not selling.

His father bought him the car new for just over $3,500 when Richard was 22 in 1958.

He took a job with Cadillac after he finished college. “I made $315 a month, big money,” he said.

The award-winning Corvette, which has both a hard and soft top, has only 30,000 miles on it.

“I keep it in the garage between Halloween and mid-May,” said Pinke, now retired. He plans to give the car one day to his daughter, Kimberley.

Pinke said only 224 Corvettes were built in Panama Yellow.

North Oaks Club Corvette Generations Car Show Matick Chevy 6
Pete Shilland loves his super-charged Callaway Corvette.

Pete Shilland of Commerce Township likes to show people the name on his 2009 Crystal Red Metallic Callaway Corvette’s license plate.

“When I bought it the salesman said, ‘What name do you want on the plate,’ and I didn’t want anything (referencing speeding) to get police attention so I said, ‘How about Pokey?’ That’s the opposite of what it is.”

Shilland, who owns Top Lube in Commerce, said he has pushed the 700-HP car to 180 mph along one area freeway. The super-charged Callaway Corvette is supposed to do 210 mph, he said. “It’s a racing-type Corvette.”

Ben D’Anna of Yale arrived in his red, white and blue 2004 C5 24-Hour LeMans Commemorative Edition Corvette.

“I’ve had it for four years,” he said. He once owned a 1994 Corvette but had to sell it because his son was heading off to college.

“My favorite is the 1966 Corvette,” he said.

North Oaks Club Corvette Generations Car Show Matick Chevy 7
Ben D’Anna shows off  his red, white and blue 2004 C5 24-Hour LeMans Commemorative Edition Corvette.

Retired from the pharmaceutical industry, D’Anna, who attached two U.S. flags to his car, likes going to car shows.  “I pick out one show a month,” he said.

Jim Fouts of Flint Township happily talked with passersby about his 1980 white Corvette. “I’m the only one who has ever driven it,” he said. “It’s just the way I bought it, except for new tires and a battery.”

Fouts retired from Chevrolet in 1980.  “I’d always loved Corvettes so this was my retirement present,” he said.

Fouts sang for Chevrolet and even toured with singer Dinah Shore, known for the famous “See the USA in your Chevrolet” jingle. “She was great,” he said.

When Texan Joe Denham came to the metro area to work with the Detroit Arsenal in the tank automotive division, he trailered his 1971 Corvette to town.  The car looked like no other, its exterior a bright green called “Synergy Green.”

“I painted it myself,” said Denham, who lives in Harker Heights. When he bought the car in 2006, it was just a shell and he went to work rehabilitating the Corvette.

North Oaks Club Corvette Generations Car Show Matick Chevy 8
Joe Denham painted his 1971 Corvette Synergy Green.

“Seventy-five percent of it was built off eBay (purchases),” he said.  “Either I do it myself or it doesn’t get done.”

Paul Lemieux of Oxford wound up with his 1959 white Corvette for a pretty low price. His brother bought it in 1960 and after he found another car in 1967, the brother sold it to Paul for a buck.

“It sat outside for a year,” he said. The 'Vette was his regular vehicle back in Lemieux’s younger years.

“I repainted it in 1980,” said the GM retiree.

“It’s kind of rare. I’ll be out driving (with his wife, Cheryl) and you don’t see them on the road anymore.”

He loves the North Oaks club. “It’s a small club and the people are fun to be with.”

North Oaks Club Corvette Generations Car Show Matick Chevy 9
Corvettes from all seven generations were on display at the annual show.

Show Trophy Winners

Many exhibitors drove home with a trophy for their Corvette Generations Car Show efforts. Listed below are the winners, city of residence and year of their Corvette. Those in first place are shown first, and then second place.

C1 Stock

  • Joe Feko, Troy, 1961; Harley Buchanan, Oxford, 1962

C1 Modified

  • Jack Driver, Commerce Township, 1960. No second place

C2 Stock

  • Gino Raffin, Rochester Hills, 1967; Tom and Bonnie Bailey, Oxford, 1964

C2 Modified

  • Andrew and Even Sulich, Birmingham, 1965. No second place

C3 Stock

  • Dick Molinare, Macomb, 1981; Ray Hoard, Grand Blanc, 1971

C3 Modified

  • Joe Denham, Harker Heights, Texas, 1971; Jim Schwab, Clinton Township, 1982

C4 Stock

  • Dale VanWormer, Vassar, 1996; Mark Mullin, Troy, 1993

C5 Stock

  • Crystal Andrews, Detroit, 2002; Ben D’Anna, Yale, 2004

C5 Modified

  • Jim Kaleto, West Bloomfield, 2002; Bob McGhee, Commerce Township, 2000

C6 Stock

  • Mitchell Sparks, West Bloomfield, 2007; Daniel Watts, Novi, 2005

C6 Modified

  • Tim Mayer, Utica, 2005; Skip Hartlerode, Macomb, 2005

C7 Stock

  • Tony Allison, Shelby Township, 20014; Bill Theurer, Plymouth, 2016

C7 Modified

  • Chuck Harmon, White Lake, 2016; Fred Andalora, Clarkston, 2015

Matick’s Chevy Choice Award

  • Gino Raffin, Rochester Hills, 1967

Culver’s Choice Award

  • Joe Denham, Harker Heights, Texas, 1971

Best of Show Award

  • Jim Mayer, Utica, 2005

North Oaks Club Corvette Generations Car Show Matick Chevy 13
One of the show's overall awards. 
 
 
 
North Oaks Club Corvette Generations Car Show Matick Chevy 10
Rain didn't dampen the spirits of those attending this year's fifth annual North Oaks Club Corvette Generations Car Show. 
North Oaks Club Corvette Generations Car Show Matick Chevy 11
Love that plate!
North Oaks Club Corvette Generations Car Show Matick Chevy 12
Exhibitors began lining up for this year's North Oaks Club Corvette Generations Car Show, which temporarily moved to Lake Orion this summer while construction was being completed in downtown Birmingham, the show's home site.

Photography by Robert Brodbeck

Posted July 26,2017

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Q&A: Behind The Wheel With Pro Racing Champion John Heinricy

Matick Chevy John Heinricy Sonic 2016 Winner
John Heinricy and his Sonic. 

Racecar driver John Heinricy is keeping busy this season racing two vehicles, teaching amateur drivers to maneuver their way around racetracks, and setting fastest times when he gets behind the wheel. 

Heinricy of Clarkston, Mich. drives a 2002 Camaro in the A Sedan series and the white 2012 Matick Chevy-sponsored Sonic in the B Spec series.

He has scored so well in early competition that he is qualified to race his Matick Sonic in the SCCA National Championship Runoffs in Indianapolis Sept. 25-Oct. 1.

His racing resume includes five national championships in A Sedan, nabbed between 2003-14, and one in B Spec in 2015. Add to that seven other national championships in Corvette and Cobalt racing.

“I have a lot to be proud of,” says Heinricy.

 
High Performance Driving Event Matick Chevy 2
Corvette pro John Heinricy enjoys taking others out onto the National Corvette Museum's track in his C7 during high-performance driving events sponsored by Matick Chevrolet.

Our Corvette Blog reporters caught up with John Heinricy between racing weekends to talk about what's happening this summer.

Corvette Blog: How were your early races this season?

John Heinricy: On May 13-14, I went to Pittsburgh International Race Complex and ran second in the Matick Chevy Sonic on Saturday and came in first on Sunday.

In Pittsburgh in the Camaro, on the first day the steering rack broke and we were unable to repair it, and I didn’t (race) it.

On May 27-28, I went to Pocono Raceway in New York and won both races with the Matick Chevy-sponsored Sonic. That’s pretty good! At Pocono, we had some mechanical issues with the Camaro, but I was able to come in fourth on Saturday and second on Sunday – a respectable finish.

At Gingerman Raceway in South Haven, Mich. on July 8-9, I only ran the Matick Sonic. I came in first on Saturday and second on Sunday.

CB: Talk about the difference in the two styles of racing for you.

JH: In the A Sedan group, it’s Camaros and Mustangs. I did see an early 2000 Cadillac CTSV or two running.

This is like old school racing, cars with older V8 engines with carburetors. (The rules) don’t allow anti-lock brakes or traction control. They run relatively small tires and brakes – and don’t corner or stop very well.

There is a lot of challenge driving them fast. They do have more than 400 HP. They’re tough to drive in dry weather or rain because of the balance they have, meaning they have a lot of power but not much brakes or tires.

There is plenty of competition and a lot of different people, including women. That kind of racing appeals to me.

The B Spec (Sonic) has 100 HP, hardly any power. You have to change your thinking – the car is smaller, lighter and has front-wheel drive. It’s a whole different technique.

At Pocono, I got right out of one car and into the other. It would be nice to have some time to settle down.

CB: What else is on your summer racing schedule?

JH: I recently went to Waterford Hills Road Course with the Sonic for about 20 laps on open test day. This weekend (July 22-23) I’ll be at New Jersey Motorsports Park. I need one more A Sedan race for the runoffs, and I may go to Grattan Racetrack on Aug. 12-13 with the Sonic for extra practice and testing.

 

CB: Do you have a favorite track?

JH: I favor ones that are like winding country roads like Watkins Glen, Road Atlanta, Road America in Wisconsin and Mid-Ohio. Waterford Hills is a fun local track and close to me.

John Heinricy Matick Chevy Mobil Oil
John Heinricy and his Matick Chevy-sponsored Sonic were featured in Mobil Oil racing ads.
 

CB: Any activity this year with high-performance driving events (HPDE) and Autocross?

JH: I have a 2017 Corvette Grand Sport I purchased at Matick Chevy and have done HPDEs (with my car) at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky. and another at Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Va.

Alan Johnson, Matick Chevy Performance vehicle manager, went to both with me.

As in the past, Matick Chevy, a top Corvette dealer in Michigan, donated six hot laps with me. That typically costs drivers $150. Instead Matick Chevy has donated the money to the museum.

It’s quite popular, with 100-200 people at both events. Besides driving my car, I drive participants’ cars and give them pointers on how to drive the course.

These are more road racing drivers, ages 30s to 70s, on nice big country-road racetracks. The cars there are mostly Corvettes but there are a few Camaros, Porches and Mustangs.

I plan to do one more HPDE at Bowling Green in conjunction with the Corvette Museum’s 23rd anniversary and Hall of Fame inductions

It will a particularly good weekend to be there because (friends) Jim Minneker of Rochester Hills, a GM engineer, and Tommy Morrison, a Corvette racing legend, will be inducted. (John was inducted in 2015.)

CB: And Autocross?

JH: Because my schedule has been so busy, I’ve only been at one Corvette Club of Michigan Autocross at Schoolcraft College in June.

Matick Chevy’s Alan Johnson let me drive his 2015 Stingray and I set the fastest time of the day. I did get my Grand Sport out on July 4 for time trials at Waterford Hills and set the fastest time of the day there for one lap.

CB: Sounds like there’s so much on your schedule.

JH: It’s been a busy summer but I’m enjoying it and trying to fit everything in. We just had another grandson born this past year so now we have seven – ages 9 months to 11 years.

CB: You work closely with Matick Chevrolet in metro Detroit as a sponsor, too.

JH: We set a lot of goals that are being achieved and I’m pleased that has been successful. We’ve worked to improve the Corvette business. Sales of Corvettes have gone up dramatically. We are working to make Matick Chevy known as a high performance car and truck dealer, not only in sales but also in service.

Drivers in autocross are getting setups done at Matick Chevy. Having Alan Johnson there on staff with his car-guy personality and performance knowledge has helped a lot. The dealership has changed to make it more satisfying for the customers.

Published July 21, 2017

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Huge Corvette Generations Car Show Moves Temporarily To New Location

Matick Chevy Corvette Generations Car Show 2017 2
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.

Matick Chevy Corvette Generations Car Show 2017 3
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 cgchairman@comcast.net.

Posted June 16, 2017

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