SCCA National Championship Runoffs

The Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) is a 60,000-member motorsports organization that incorporates all facets of autocross, rally, and road racing at both club and professional levels. It annually sanctions over 2,000 events through its 114 regions and professional subsidiary. Fifty years after the first edition at Riverside in 1964, and long after its last visit in 1968, the SCCA National Championship Runoffs returns to the west coast in a big way with an event at the iconic Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. National champions will be crowned in 27 runoffs-eligible classes in this winner-take-all motorsports classic. The SCCA National Championship Runoffs will take place October 6th through the 12th.2014 scca runoffs logo 1
Sports Car magazine has picked John Heinricy to win the Championship this year in the Matick Chevy Sonic and place second in his Firebird. Mr. Heinricy is looking good as the champion, winning all six races that he entered in the Matick Chevy Sonic this season. We had a chance to talk with “The Heinrocket” about the upcoming runoffs and hear some of his thoughts.

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• How many cars will be participating in this year’s National Championship?

Right now there are 536 entries for the SCCA National Championship races scheduled for October 6th through the 12th at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, CA. There will be 26 separate classes of cars competing. Each entrant will have qualified for the championship races by accumulating points during the 2014 season at SCCA races held on dozens of tracks across the US. I competed at Mid Ohio, Watkins Glen, NY and Gingerman Raceway in South Haven, MI.

• How many Corvettes will be racing in this year’s SCCA Runoffs?

There are 22 Corvettes entered. I have won the Championship 6 times driving a Corvette. Five of those were driving for Phoenix Performance owned by Joe Aquilante. This year, Joe’s team has 4 entries and I expect they will have championship results.

• What is your tie-in with the Corvette community?

My tie-in with the Corvette community started almost simultaneously while working for Chevrolet Engineering as the Development Manager for the Corvette in 1983 and starting to race Corvette professionally in 1984. I quickly found out how passionate Corvette owners are about their own Corvettes as well as racing Corvette. I spent about a dozen years engineering the Corvette and close to 20 years racing them so far, with more to come I hope. I have also spent many hours with Corvette clubs all across the U.S. and some in Europe, competing as well as at various club events.

• What is your role in this year’s event?

My role at the SCCA Championships this year is primarily as the driver in the Firebird and the Matick Chevy Sonic with the goal of winning the championship in both classes. I will also be the primary mechanic on the Sonic doing most of the work on the car while there. Tom Aquilante Racing will provide a crew for the Firebird, but I expect to help out as well. I will need to provide a lot of feedback to the team after each qualifying session so that the car will be improved for each session as well as for the race.

• What class are you racing in?

I will compete in two classes. The first is called A Sedan and consists mostly of Chevrolet Camaros, Pontiac Firebirds, and Ford Mustangs. I will be racing a Pontiac Firebird prepared by Tom Aquilante Racing of Phoenixville, PA. I have won this class 5 times driving for the same team, once in a Camaro and 4 times in the Firebird. The cars are powered by “old school” carbureted V8s that put on quite a show. This race will be held on Friday, October 10th at 2:30 PM. I have been picked to come in 2nd for this race behind a Ford Mustang by Sports Car magazine.

The second class I will race in is called B Spec. It is a class for “B” segment cars like the Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, Mini, etc. I will race the Matick Chevy Sonic on Sunday, October 12th at 8:30 AM. I have been picked to win this race by Sports Car magazine.

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• What will the competition be like?

Since the entrants are the top points winners from all over the U.S., I expect the competition will be fierce. Everyone racing is capable of winning the championship. There will be 3 days of qualifying sessions, which will determine the order of the racecars at the start, with the driver with the fastest lap time starting at the front, called the pole position. Each race is a maximum of 45 minutes. Besides having the advantage of starting in the front for the race, there are prizes and awards for qualifying position so everyone is trying their hardest to achieve the best possible time. Then, everything is on the line for the 45-minute race.

• What do you like or dislike about this track?

The Mazda Speedway is a major road-racing racetrack located in Monterey, CA. It has a long history of racing and is considered one of the top circuits in the U.S. The location is spectacular in that it is close to the ocean and Pebble Beach with great weather, usually. The track itself is very challenging with the most famous turn being the “corkscrew”, a very challenging downhill portion. Everything about the course is top-notch. Everyone’s racecar prep will be the best so I am expecting the competition to be very close. The only negative to this race is the long travel time to get to California!

• What do you think your biggest challenge will be?

The biggest challenge for me will be getting up to speed on the racetrack, as I haven’t been there for a few years. Not damaging the car during the week will also be a challenge. This will allow us to focus on making the car and myself faster rather than spending time making repairs.

We wish Mr. Heinricy the best of luck next week in Monterey! Those who cannot make the trip west to the SCCA National Championship Runoffs this October can watch all of the action from wherever they may be on

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Do You Know Your Corvette Facts?

Check out some of these fun facts, and let us know how many of them you already knew. Maybe we will stump you, or maybe you are already a Corvette expert!

  • Corvette is the world’s longest-running, continuously produced passenger car. The longest-running vehicle of any type is the Chevrolet Suburban.
  • 1968 was the first year an AM/FM stereo radio was offered as an option.
  • Corvette made its debut as a concept vehicle at the General Motors Autorama in New York City on January 17, 1953. It was such a success that a limited run of 300 production Corvettes began on June 30 of that year.
  • Corvettes produced from September 1, 1979 to March 25, 1982 were required by law to have speedometers with an upper limit of only 85 MPH.
  • All 1953 models were Polo White with a red interior and they were priced at $3,498.

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  • In 2006, the third 1953 Corvette produced sold for a record $1.06 million at auction.
  • Crossed flag emblems returned to the nose and sides of the Corvette in 1979 after many years of being absent.
  • Corvette was exclusively available with an inline six-cylinder engine until 1955. That year, the optional V-8 engine was ordered by 90 percent of buyers. The six-cylinder was dropped in 1956. Corvette has been available exclusively with V-8 power since.
  • The 500,000th Corvette was built in 1977; the 1 millionth was built in 1992, and the 1.5 millionth Corvette rolled off the line in 2009.
  • The first 1981 Corvette was built in St. Louis, and the last 1981 Corvette was built in Bowling Green.
  • No 1983 Corvettes were sold to the public. The model year was skipped in
    preparation for the all-new 1984 Corvette, which launched the C4 generation.

1983 corvette large

  • Forty-four Corvette prototypes were built as 1983 models. Only one remains, and it is on display at the National Corvette Museum, in Bowling Green, KY.

If you already knew all of the above facts, then we applaud you. If we had you stumped on a few, now you know a little more about the history of the Corvette. Are you looking more toward the future, then take a look at the new 2015 Corvette Z06.

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Auto News Reports On What Can Happen When GM And A Dealership Collaborate

Matick Chevy Mark Reuss Auto News
GM's Mark Reuss talks with AutoNews TV about lessons learned at Matick Chevrolet.

In this news report, Mark Reuss, GM's executive vice president of global product development, purchasing and supply chain, explains what can happen when the auto company and a dealership collaborate.

Click here to view the interview conducted by Tom Worobec.

Reuss specifically addressed how the team at George Matick Chevy in metro Detroit helped him deal with problems at GM and how to solve them.

Reuss and Alan Batey, executive vice president and president, North America, were on hand for the grand revealing of the renovated George Matick Chevrolet. Also attending to show their support of Matick's ambitious expansion plans were Brian Sweeney, U.S. vice president of Chevrolet, and Steve Hill, GM's vice president of U.S. sales and service.

Matick, one of the largest Corvette dealers in the Midwest, celebrated its $7-million renovation project with a VIP reception attended by the GM executives, community leaders, business partners, and friends Sept. 18 in the stunning new car showroom at the 13-acre dealership.

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Meet John Heinricy, AKA “Heinrocket”

johnWe’d like to introduce you to our partner, John Heinricy, better known as “Heinrocket!” Mr. Heinricy has had a long and distinguished career at General Motors, serving as Assistant Chief Engineer for the Corvette and as Director of the GM Performance Division. John retired from GM in October 2008 and is a noted racecar driver who was recently inducted into the Corvette Hall of Fame. John’s relationship with Matick began in 2012, and since then he has represented Matick at various events, including several races where he drove Corvettes and his Matick Chevrolet Sonic. We had a chance to talk with John and get to know a little more about him and his racing experiences.

1. How did you get into racing?

I have been interested in driving fast and at the limit since my early years on our family farm in South Dakota. Once I got to Chevrolet Engineering I pursued work in Vehicle Dynamics and High Performance vehicles. Through this path I was able to become friends with some pretty important names in Corvette racing like Dick Guldstrand and Tommy Morrison. Dick gave me sound advice on how to get started in racing and the need to prove myself from a driving standpoint. I quickly progressed in SCCA Club racing and Tommy Morrison gave me the opportunity to drive with his team of winning Corvettes starting in 1984. It helped immensely that we also had a very famous name in racing engineering, Paul Van Valkenburg working on Tommy’s team. Paul worked with Penske Racing and Mark Donahue in the ‘60s and ‘70s. It also helped that Dave McLellan, Chief Engineer for Corvette, who I worked for at the time was very supportive of my racing activities because he felt that it would help to develop the racing credentials of Corvette as well as be a catalyst for improving the performance of the vehicle.

2. How did you get the nickname, “Heinrocket?”

In 1989 I was racing with Mecum Racing in the IMSA Firehawk series in a Chevrolet Camaro and the SCCA Escort Series with Don Knowles as a co-driver. The Mecum team also had a second car that was driven by Leighton Reese and Mitch Wright (who is currently the General Manager of the new Motorsports track and facility at the National Corvette Museum). There were conflicts in both series and several times I needed to get into the Mecum car with little or no practice and was able to get up to speed very quickly. Leighton Reese is a very funny guy and he used the nickname Heinrocket to describe me and my driving performance in these circumstances. The name stuck and I have since registered it and use it as the name of my engineering and racing business, Heinrocket Inc. 

3. What was your first car?

I had a number of old junker-type cars in high school and college - about 10 of them that just got me through for transportation. The car that I consider my first real car was a 1970 SS396 Chevelle that I bought new from a dealer in Rapid City, South Dakota. I kept this car for several years after I started working for Chevrolet until I was assigned my first company car. I drag raced the Chevelle at a few local tracks.

4. What was your favorite race you’ve competed in?

In the early ‘90s I was racing Corvettes with Tommy Morrison in the World Challenge series. We were racing a Corvette ZR1 in the Mosport 24 hr. race. One of our main competitors was Bakerracing in another ZR1 Corvette. Don Knowles was driving the Bakerracing ZR1. It rained hard throughout the night and the Mosport track had no auxiliary lighting so the conditions were very poor with limited visibility and very little grip on the track. Don and I found ourselves racing against each other in a very close battle for 1st and 2nd places for about two hours in the middle of the night. The experience was very taxing but also very rewarding. 

5. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

As a child I was very interested in mechanical things, in particular those powered by internal combustion engines. On our farm we did almost all the maintenance and repair work on our farm machinery. I thought that I wanted to be a mechanic but my mother encouraged me to go to college and become an engineer, while assuring me that engineers work on cars!

6. What is the fastest speed you’ve ever reached?

I have driven over 200 mph a number of times, once in a Corvette on the autobahn in Germany and in a modified Corvette on test tracks. I think the fastest is about 220 mph in the Hennessey Venom GT Supercar.

7. How long have you partnered with Matick?

My relationship with Matick Chevrolet started in 2012 while discussing racing Corvettes at the Detroit Grand Prix on Belle Isle. Those discussions continued and my work on the Chevrolet Sonic racing parts package for Chevrolet Racing led me to racing the Sonic in 2014 with Matick Chevy sponsorship. It has been a very successful racing season with 6 wins, 1 second and 1 fifth place finish. I recently purchased a C7 Corvette from Matick and am looking forward to representing Matick in a number of different Corvette activities.

John and Corvette

8. Why do you like working with them?

I have had quite a few interactions with Matick personnel at all levels of the organization parts, service, sales and body shop, including maintaining the transportation needs of my family as well as my racing business. I have always looked forward to these interactions as highlights of my day because the service experience is second to none. The whole facility is a first class Chevrolet dealership that I am proud to be associated with.

9. How many Corvette models have you driven?

My career at GM, racing, and my relationship with Corvette owners worldwide has given me many opportunities to drive virtually every production model of Corvette in its history as well as many prototypes, race cars, and styling Corvettes like the Stingray.

10. Which would you say is your favorite and why?

It is always hard to pick a favorite, but I have come to the realization that it is always the “next” Corvette that is my favorite since each new one is always better than the last one because of improved technology.

11. What do you like best about driving a Corvette?

For me, driving a Corvette is always about the driving experience. The performance is exhilarating and the Corvette gives the driver this feeling of oneness with the machine that is hard to explain. The Corvette is also very easy to have as a daily driver because it is comfortable and roomy enough for travel. One of the best parts is that owning one makes you a part of a very large yet close community of Corvette owners who appreciate owning and driving the Corvette as much as I do.

12. Who are your nemeses out there and why?

I really don’t have what I would call a nemesis, but I guess that the main competitor in each race could be called a nemesis. But, it is only for the moment. Each year at the National Championships there are competitors who should have a good chance of winning, so for the moment, they are the nemeses.

13. Can you tell us about your crew?

My crew changes a lot depending on what team I am driving for, or if it is my own team. Most of the time I am driving for someone else and they provide a crew to maintain the racecar for the race weekend. For my own team with the Matick Chevy Sonic, the workload is fairly light and I am able to do most of the duties myself. For this year’s Championship races I will be driving in two classes and the other team I will drive for will also provide support for the Sonic.

14. What do you do for fun on the road traveling to races? Does your family go along?

My wife has attended most of my races until the last several years because now grandkids are taking up a lot of her time. In the past, though, we often tried to take in the local sites as much as possible, but the responsibilities at the racetrack are pretty encompassing so staying focused on the racing is usually the rule of the day! For me racing is the fun!

15. What equipment have you had worked on at the Matick body shop?

Recently I raced the Matick Chevy Sonic in the Pirelli World Challenge race at the Mid Ohio racetrack in Lexington, Ohio. During the race I had contact with competitors that required body and paint repair. The Matick body shop did a great job of getting the Sonic back into shape for me so that I can focus on preparing the Sonic for the next races.

16. What are some of your best racing memories and worst experiences?

The best memories are usually the wins! But there are specific experiences that are also very memorable. For instance, the opportunity to drive the Callaway GT3 Corvette racecar competitively in Germany and Belgium at some of the most famous tracks in the world. Also, driving the factory C5R Corvette prepared and raced by Pratt and Miller at the Daytona 24 and Sebring 12 hr. races were definitely high points for me. Setting World Speed records in the Corvette ZR1 was also very memorable.
The worst memories were crashes. I’ve raced several hundred races so crashes are inevitable. The saying is that there are only two kinds of drivers, those who have crashed and those who are going to crash. Twice the crash has resulted in trips to the hospital in an ambulance, once in Sonoma, California and the other in Miami, Florida. Fortunately, neither one resulted in serious injuries.

17. Why drive a Sonic vs. some other car/model?

Racing sanctioning organizations like SCCA and Grand Am started classes for the Sonic class of cars due to requests from various manufacturers. I was contracted by Chevrolet Performance to develop a racing package for the Chevrolet Sonic that Chevrolet could sell to Sonic owners who wanted to race the car. While developing the racing parts, took a liking to the class of racing and decided to give it a try. It has been very rewarding in that there’s quite a big difference in driving style compared to high horsepower cars like the Corvette that I am used to. So it has required learning new skills.

18. What do you think about while driving?

Most of the time I am analyzing the performance of the racecar and am trying to adjust my driving to get the most out of the car. This could be for handling/cornering, braking or acceleration. I would be adjusting the location of the apex of the corner or when and how hard I may be able to start accelerating depending on how the race car is performing or when and how hard I might be able to brake. The grip of the tires change a lot during the race so I continually need to adjust my driving to the changing conditions. If I am attempting to pass someone, then I am analyzing the competitor’s actions and am strategizing on when and how I am going to attempt the pass. I may be attempting to keep from getting passed also. Suffice it to say that there is never a dull moment.

John’s racing activities this year have qualified him to enter the SCCA National Runoffs in Monterey, California October 6th through the 12th. He will be competing for the National Championship in his Matick Chevy Sonic and also in a 2002 Pontiac Firebird. John currently holds 12 National Championships in Corvette, Camaros, Firebirds and the Chevrolet Cobalt. And we would love to see him add the Matick Chevy Sonic to the list. John is also planning on participating in the High Performance Driving Experience events at the National Corvette Museum September 26, 27, 28, and 29 with the C7 Corvette.

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Auto News: GM issues 2 recalls, stop-sale orders for 2015 Corvettes

2015 Corvette
2015 Corvette

About 2,800 cars being held back for airbag, brake cable problems.

From Automotive News, Sept. 11, 2014.

To visit Automotive News, click here.

By Nick Bunkley

DETROIT -- General Motors is issuing two more recalls, both on the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette, according to stop-delivery orders sent to dealers today (9-11-14).

The recalls, GM’s first in more than a month, bring its total number for the year to 67. They cover problems with airbags and parking brake cables on a total of nearly 2,800 cars, though very few have been sold to customers, a GM spokesman said.

Neither recall has been announced publicly yet, and parts are not available for the airbag repair. They come amid strong sales of the redesigned Corvette Stingray, forcing dealers to turn down potential buyers until the problems are resolved. GM sold 2,679 Corvettes in August vs. 655 during the same month last year.

The airbag recall covers about 2,000 Corvettes, many of which are still at the plant in Bowling Green, Ky. According to the stop-delivery order, the driver’s side airbag in those cars could separate from the steering wheel in a crash, increasing the potential for injuries. Dealers will be instructed to replace the airbag module with a revised version.

The second recall covers about 800 Corvettes, 700 of which are on dealer lots. GM said the cars were “built without one of the rear parking brake cables fully seated and engaged.

That means the parking brake will only operate on one of the rear brake drums, reducing its operational capability and potentially allowing the car to roll away if parked on a steep hill. The defect means the cars would violate federal rollaway-vehicle standards.

Both problems were discovered in recent weeks, the GM spokesman said. They are the first recalls affecting the 2015 Corvette, though four others cover earlier model years of the car.

They come after GM CEO Mary Barra said during a visit to India that the automaker is substantially done issuing recalls on older vehicles as a result of a months-long comprehensive safety review.

GM has recalled more than 29 million vehicles this year, almost single-handedly setting a new one-year record for the auto industry.

The safety review began after GM recalled 2.6 million Chevrolet Cobalts, Saturn Ions and other small cars for faulty ignition switches, a problem tied to at least 13 deaths and 54 crashes.

GM dealers have replaced more than 1 million of the ignition switches as of Sept. 4, according to a GM website with information about the recalls.

Mike Colias contributed to this report.
You can reach Nick Bunkley at

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Driver Kellermeyer Competes In Fierce Battles For Two Racing Titles

Matick Chevy Danny Kellermeyer 5
Danny Kellermeyer maintains the lead heading into the turn. 

Our "Danny Boy" of DJ Racing Enterprise in Ortonville, MI, has been zippin' busy these past few weeks.

Buzzing from event to event in his Matick Chevy- and Corvette Central-sponsored racecar 'Vette, driver Danny Kellermeyer has been busy as a bee (and looks like one, too, in his honey-bee yellow shirt and car and always-black pants).

First off:

The C6 Corvette and its driver, Danny, are on target for not only one, but also possibly two championship honors for the 2014-racing season.

With two more Sports Car Club of American (SCCA) races to run, Danny is leading the Touring 1 (T1) SCCA Great Lakes Divisional Championship.

Matick Chevy Danny Kellermeyer 2
Car handling and driver skills are what keep Danny Kellermeyer in the running for two T1 titles.

He is also leading the T1 Waterford Hills Road Racing (WHRRI) Championship in Clarkston, MI, which has three races yet to go.

T1 is the ultimate class for production-style cars. These cars do not resemble cars that come off the showroom floor. T1 is the stomping grounds for not only Corvettes, but also Porsches, BMWs, Vipers and other high-horsepower production cars.

Matick Chevy Danny Kellermeyer 6
Danny Kellermeyer's #37 Corvette.

Incidentally, this year, Danny’s Corvette was somewhat handicapped with the addition of more weight and an intake restrictor plate in an effort to equalize the class.

“It's a tougher class this year," Danny tells us. “We had a little more power last year that we could rely on, but this year we are equal with the other cars. It has produced tighter and closer racing.


At any race, you will see leaders change positions and lots of door-to-door racing. We have been running strong, taking the SCCA championship lead after Mid Ohio and taking the WHRRI points lead."

What's Next?

Danny and his cars will next be on display at the grand reveal of the completely renovated Matick Chevrolet in Redford Township, MI.

There’s an evening VIP event planned for Thursday, Sept. 18, and an open house for everyone from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 20. Danny will attend both events and will be on hand all day Saturday to talk about racing and his Corvettes.

“Back To The Bricks” 
The Matick Chevy-Corvette Central-sponsored DJ Racing Enterprise Corvettes do more than race.

Matick Chevy Danny Kellermeyer 4DJ Racing's display at the Back To The Bricks show in Flint.

Driver Danny and his little yellow racers also show up at various auto events.  Recently, the DJ Racing team displayed its racecars at “Back To The Bricks” car show in Flint, MI.

Danny reports that event organizers were happy with their turnout of the thousands of cars on display and an estimated 450,000 spectators.

An event highlight was a "Corvette Reunion," which drew some 800 Corvette lovers and their Corvettes during the same day as the Woodward Dream Cruise in Detroit.

Danny and his crew enjoyed a prime spot, displaying three of their racing Corvettes along with teammate Tom Janos’s C6 racecar.

A highlight of the display area was the beautiful 1954 black Corvette, owned by General Motors Executive V.P. Mark Reuss.

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Mark Reuss and Danny Kellermeyer talk about Reuss' '54 Corvette.

 “I signed our posters 'til my hand hurt,” shares Danny. “The day started with a 3 a.m. set-up, and we were busy 'til tear-down in the afternoon. These display-and-show days give us the opportunity to talk to a lot of our fans and let them see the Matick Chevy–DJ Racing Corvettes up close."

Matick Chevy Danny Kellermeyer
Back To The Bricks filled downtown Flint with thousands  of cars and fans.

Have you seen Danny in action? Tell us about your experience with Danny and his little yellow wonder!

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While Your Corvette’s in the Shop: Repaint, Replacements, & Repairs

When your Corvette’s involved in an accident or needs major work done, you want to make sure it’s being serviced by a certified technician. Below we will focus on three common areas of collision work: repainting, replacement parts, and repairs. One of the most common procedures performed during auto body repair is repainting, so it’s understandable that one of the most frequent questions from car owners is, “How do shops make sure the new paint matches my car?”

An auto painting technician assigned to your vehicle will use paint codes to match your paint correctly, taking into account common possible variances, such as geographical location and metallic color applications. The technician will also need to take into account any custom paint layouts, color fading, and tinting in order to obtain an exact match. Another thing they’ll need to consider is the longer your paint takes to dry, the darker the color will become as it dries. Using their training and experience, along with spray panel testing procedures, an excellent technician will have your car’s paint looking beautiful in no time.

Another hot topic of auto body repair is part replacement. There are two categories of replacement parts, Aftermarket parts and OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) replacements. Aftermarket parts are parts for cars that do not originate from the manufacturer. OEM parts are made by the vehicle's manufacturer and match the parts that came with your vehicle when it rolled off the assembly line.

There are pros and cons to both Aftermarket and OEM parts and one is not necessarily better than the other, which means that you sometimes must deal with reputable repair shops. Although Aftermarket parts tend to be less expensive, the quality of the parts can vary greatly and some are sold without a warranty. When it comes to collision repairs, make sure you are getting OEM parts, since aftermarket body panels may not fit properly or have proper crumple zones for crash safety. With OEM parts, you don't have to worry about assessing the quality of different brands and prices since dealerships usually have one type of part. OEM parts should work exactly like the one you are replacing, but these are typically more expensive.

So which one is better? It depends on what you are replacing and your knowledge and skill with aftermarket parts. If you're familiar with a number of brands or work on your own car, aftermarket parts can save you a lot of money. If you’re not familiar with aftermarket brands and prefer to have everything done at a dealership, then OEM is a good choice for you.

Since its release in 1953, the Corvette’s body has been constructed of fiberglass, and as such, the replacement and repair techniques are far different than traditional stamped sheet-metal panels. There have been different generations of fiberglass used on the Corvettes throughout the years and replacing cracks and holes can be a complex project that often requires taking your Corvette to a body shop. If you have questions about Corvette repairs, replacements, or repainting, contact the experts at George Matick Chevrolet for assistance.

14001 Telegraph Rd (@ I-96) Redford, MI 48239

Sales: (866) 667-5147 Service: (866) 561-0521

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While Your Corvette’s in the Shop

It’s a fact that many Corvette owners love to work on their cars. But what if you just don’t have the time or capability? Then you should look for a certified technician to make sure your Corvette is in the best hands. And to make sure all repairs and detailing are accurate, there are some questions you need to ask and common concerns that you need to know about.

Questions to Ask the Mechanic
When you first arrive at dealer you should always ask the mechanic to take a test drive with you to fully explain what is wrong. If your problem affects the exterior including lights or mirrors, then ask them to inspect the car with you present. Once that is complete, you should ask them a few questions such as:

  • What is your warranty on parts and labor?
  • Will I have the option to choose new or used parts?
  • What repairs should I get done for safety? What can wait?
  • What would you do if this were your car?

Minor Repairs and Tune-ups
No car part is made to last forever, but Corvettes tend to have some common occurrences that affect several models.

If your car has been overheating or is leaking green fluid, it is most likely an issue with the water pump. Water pump issues are typical for 1992 – 2007 models. Most water pumps are designed to last 100,000 miles, but it’s not unusual to see leaks at 50,000 miles. Leaks can be caused by a broken seal or cracked connector.

Another common issue with Corvettes is steering. Things often go wrong the control valve or steering column. Of the two, the most common is the steering column and it’s commonality to lock the steering wheel in place. The cause of this issue is the Electronic Column Lock (ECL) failing. It affects pre-2000 A4 and all MN6 or MN12(Z06) cars.

To prevent these issues, as well as others, it is recommended that you keep up with routine maintenance. You can also contact your local Chevy dealer for any additional problems that come up.

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Indy Speedway Laps and Churchill Downs Lunch Highlight Day 2 Of Michigan/Indiana Corvette Caravan

Michigan Corvette Caravan Matic Chevy Indy Track
Michigan/Indiana/West Kentucky Caravan participants take a lap around the Indianapolis Speedway on Wednesday.

"It's been an absolute blast."

Reports from the Michigan/Indiana/West Kentucky Corvette Caravan echoed Mark Madion's enthusiastic response to his two-day adventure driving his Corvette to Bowling Green, Ky.

"Despite driving through monsoon-type rainstorms, and construction zones that seemed to last forever, it's been a blast," says Madion, of Chesterfield Township, Mich. "Arriving at the museum yesterday made the whole trip worthwhile. Check-in lines at the National Corvette Museum could have gone quicker, but it was all worth the wait. Corvettes of every kind are everywhere." 

Michigan Corvette Caravan Matic Chevy Caron Lunch
Michigan Caravan Corvettes begin lining up at Caron Chevy on Tuesday for lunch.

After a Tuesday morning breakfast send-off at Matick Chevrolet in metro Detroit, the Michigan Caravan enjoyed lunch on Tuesday (Aug. 26) at Caron Chevrolet in Marshall, located in south central Michigan.

Michigan Corvette owners from east (departed from Matick Chevy), north (departed from Graf Chevy) and west Michigan converged on the Caron dealership to form the 160-plus Michigan Corvette delegation that would then snake south along I-69 intro Indianapolis, Ind., to meet up with the Indiana delegation.

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Cockpit view: Corvettes take a lap at the Indy Speedway.

Once there, one highlight of the delegation's cruise to Bowling Green were laps around the Indianapolis Speedway. Sixty Corvettes at a time, all from the Michigan/Indiana/West Kentucky Caravan, were able to enjoy early morning sprints around the legendary track and have photos of their cars taken crossing the finish line.

"It doesn't get much better than that for a Corvette owner," said Larry Courtney, a Warren, Mich. resident and captain and coordinator of the Michigan/Indiana/West Kentucky Caravan. His group was one of 26 other caravans from around the country heading to the museum to party this week.

"Our Indy Speedway event was very unique. This is a memory they'll never forget and the photo of their personal Corvette crossing the finishing line with the track background will be a memento they'll talk about for the rest of their lives," added Courtney.

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Corvette Caravan enthusiasts enjoyed lunch at Churchill Downs

After the Indy track experience, Courtney's caravan raced to Louisville, Ky., where the 300-plus Corvettes, now the official combined Michigan/Indiana/West Kentucky Caravan, enjoyed lunch at the famed Churchill Downs horse-racing track. Louisville Corvette clubs hosted the luncheon.

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Caravan Captain Larry Courtney readied to lead the Corvettes from Churchill Downs to Bowling Green Wednesday afternoon.

The Michigan/Indiana/West Kentucky Caravan "arrived excited and happy," according to Courtney, at the National Corvette Museum Wednesday afternoon. More than 4,500 Corvettes will cover the museum's grounds to help celebrate its 20th anniversary.

"We're a little tired, but thrilled with what's to come over the next several days," said Courtney. "It's a Corvette lover's playground here."

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Corvettes at Churchill Downs.
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Corvette Caravan cars line up to enter the National Corvette Museum celebration complex.
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Michigan/Indiana/West Kentucky Corvette Caravan on the road.
Michigan Corvette Caravan Matic Chevy Gift Shop
Finally, owners have time to enjoy activities at the National Corvette Museum.
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Dashboard View: On-The-Road In A C7 With A Corvette Caravan Rookie

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Michigan Corvette Caravan Captain Larry Courtney directs activities at the Marshall, Mich. meeting site.

“It was like watching a huge, colorful snake speeding down the highway.”

That’s how George Matick Chevrolet Owner Karl Zimmermann described the Michigan Corvette Caravan on its first interstate leg Aug. 26 of a multi-day adventure to the National Corvette Museum’s 20th anniversary celebration in Bowling Green, Ky.

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Michigan Caravan participants lined up at the site where east, west and north contingents met Tuesday afternoon (8/26/14).

While most of the 160+ owners in the Michigan Corvette Caravan sport veteran credentials from previous caravans of some type, Zimmermann, whose dealership is in metro Detroit and was a sponsor of the Michigan Caravan kick-off event, was the rookie – both to the caravan experience and driving the new C7 Stingray.

“I’m a driving enthusiast who loves Corvettes and I’ve been on road tracks and ovals at high rates of speed. But I’ve never participated in an extended Corvette caravan like this,” said Zimmermann. “The novelty of this caravan event and my exposure to such Corvette camaraderie is outstanding.”

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Michigan Corvette Caravan enthusiasts headed back to their vehicles.

“The experience was purely wonderful and enjoyable. I’ve now come to better appreciate the friendships that develop during these caravans … and being with fellow Corvette owners who have aspired to enjoy "America’s Sports Car" and being on the open road in them,” he added.

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Michigan Caravan Captain Larry Courtney's U.S.-flag wrapped Corvette.

But Zimmermann made a rookie caravan mistake: running low on fuel.

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Dealer Karl Zimmermann (right) and Art Sprong.

“The fact is, that despite having a significant allocation of these beautiful new Stingray C7s in our dealership's inventory, this is the first time that I have driven one. To personally participate in the caravan, I drove a new convertible home the day before the caravan was to begin so I could get a feel for the car,” he admitted.


“Problem is I didn’t check the gas gauge before I left because I was so excited to be involved in the caravan, especially since our dealership was hosting the send-off breakfast for Caravan Captain Larry Courtney and 100 Corvette owners.”

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Day-Two Update: The Michigan Corvette Caravan readies for photo laps around the Indianapolis Speedway Wednesday morning (8/27/14).

So before he reached the Caron Chevrolet staging area in Marshall, Mich. more than two hours away, where the east (Matick Chevy), west and north (Graff Chevy) Michigan contingents of the Michigan Caravan met up, Zimmermann had to pull off I-94 for gas.

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On the road!

While trying to catch up with the caravan, he ran into highway construction delays and decided to take a different route, passing his alma mater (Albion College) on the way to Marshall. “Another fun part of this adventure was seeing scenic Michigan in an iconic American car on old country roads and cruising by my old college.”

So how does he rate the new Stingray?

“It’s unbelievable. Its capabilities … its refinements, its touch points, its performance … its accommodations in five different driving modes is just exceptional. I enjoyed four of the modes and found them very nice,” he said.

“Plus, I was able to make several business calls along the way. The Bluetooth quality of experience talking hands-free with the top down while driving on the expressway is outstanding. And then the new large-screen navigation system is just fantastic.”

Matick Chevy’s multi-million-dollar renovation added to the excitement for Zimmermann. “Leaving our 13-acre campus all shiny and new as the caravan pulled out was a sight to behold. Everything looked beautiful as Redford Township Police escorted our leader, Larry Courtney, and the caravan onto the highway."

“Looking forward and backwards in my rear-view mirror on the road … wow … what a thrill to see that extended column of Corvettes stretching out in the distance. The more than two-hour ride from Matick Chevy to Caron Chevy gave me time to think about how thankful I am for Corvettes, Chevrolet, our customers and a great staff back at the dealership taking care of business while I’m out here having some fun.”

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Michigan Corvette Caravan members gather for the second-leg meeting for their trip to Indianapolis.

The Caron Chevrolet gathering point for the Michigan Caravan also provided Zimmermann a chance to see Larry Courtney, the Michigan/Indiana/Western Kentucky Caravan captain, in action. “The staging site was exciting and it took more than 10 minutes to get all the Corvettes back on the interstate. I came to appreciate Larry and the affection so many Corvette owners have for this guy. He takes a thankless leadership position in the Corvette community, especially in organizing all these fun events for so many. He does it all so wonderfully and remains pleasant the entire time. Corvette owners just love him.”

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Larry Courtney detailed activities planned for the group's overnight in Indianapolis.

What’s next for Zimmermann?

“I’m looking forward to spending more time in a Corvette … yea the incredible C7s  … and hopefully being involved in a longer caravan in the future. I'm enjoying this special Corvette community more and more!”

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