VOLUME XII,  ISSUE 4 - OCT. - DEC.,  2018

GM announces end of Impala, other sedan brands

This classic Impala (now there was a car!) will be for sale at the Barrett-Jackson Auction held Jan. 12-20 in Scottsdale, AZ. This 1959 convertible has been given a frame-off rotisserie restoration. It's equipped with a new 6.2-liter LS3 crate engine, chrome intake manifold, and new 4L65E automatic transmission with RetroTek Smart Shift push-button shifter.


Amid shrinking numbers of sedan automobiles sold (North American customers now prefer SUVs, crossovers, hatchbacks and trucks), General Motors has announced that they will end production of six cars by the end of 2019. On the chopping block are the Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac CT6, Cadillac XTS, Chevrolet Cruze, Chevrolet Impala, and Chevrolet Volt.


GM also announced massive layoffs (reportedly about 8,000) and is closing five North American facilities as it moves toward self-driving, electric cars. By closing three assembly plants and two transmission plants, GM hopes to save $6 billion by 2020.


The announcement comes seven months after Ford Motor Co. said it plans to cut the Taurus, Fiesta, Fusion, C-Max and Focus sedans in the U.S. By 2021 the only car it plans to sell is the Mustang. In 2016 Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) began paring compact sedans from its lineup and that decision to cut money-losing sedans in favor of profit-rich SUVs and trucks has proved lucrative for the automaker.


So far, the Camaro brand is safe. Whew.[12/07/18]

Donna Garlits honored for Museum work

From left, Dick Gerwer, Donna Garlits and Bruce Larson.


Donna Garlits, youngest daughter of Don “Big Daddy” Garlits, was honored on Nov. 10 at Bruce Larson’s “USA-1 DragFest” in Dauphin, PA. Ms. Garlits retired from the day-to-day management of the Museum in 2017, but still retains the title of Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors.


“I have chosen to honor Donna for her tireless efforts to preserve, promoted and perpetuate the heritage of drag racing as the General Manager/Chief Financial Officer of her father’s Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida, for several years,” explained Larson.

Larson is one of drag racing’s early Funny Car stars who raced the well-known “USA-1” Chevrolet Camaros.


Dave Hiesey began the “bench race gathering” 21 years ago and Larson joined the DragFest in 1997. He joined with Dick Gerwer to produce the event which brings together old cars, scrapbooks, memorabilia and more. The profits from the one-day event are donated to the St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN.    [12/07/18]

Striking Redline livery look for Corvette C7.R

Chevrolet revealed on Nov. 1 the Redline livery that the No. 64 Redline/Mobil 1 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R will feature when it races in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s upcoming round in China.


Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner will drive the sleek, silver Corvette which also features striking red and black design elements – hallmarks of Chevrolet’s series of Redline production vehicles.


The red front bumper, black wheel hubs with sleek red logos, and dazzling red lines running the length of the vehicle are sporty and trendy. The black tail featuring the Redline logo is the crowning touch, showing the passion of the track, and the youthful and sporty image of the racing car.


The Six Hours of Shanghai – running Nov. 16-18 – is Corvette Racing’s first event at the 16-turn, 5.45-mile kilometer Shanghai International Circuit. It also will conclude Corvette Racing’s historic 20th season of racing around the world.


A Redline Corvette show car also will be on display at the Guangzhou (China) International Auto Show, opening Nov. 16. [12/07/18]

Chevrolet teases crate engine for electric COPO Camaro

As Chevrolet debuted the all-electric eCOPO Camaro drag racer at the 2018 SEMA Show, it also subtly announced that it sees a “potential new avenue” for Chevrolet’s crate engine and performance parts department. Specifically, the 550,000 Watt power unit powering the electric COPO Camaro concept. For a company that dominates the crate engine market, this news suggests expansion into completely new territory.


GM Authority blog reports the twin BorgWarner HVH 250-150 motor assembly of the eCOPO Camaro has the same bell house mounting pattern and crankshaft flange as any LS-family V8 engine. This means that the system can seamlessly mount to just about any General Motors transmission. Yet Chevrolet admits that they’re “not there yet,” and it’s (officially) only something development teams are exploring. [12/07/18]

Lowe’s leaves, Ally joins Johnson’s No. 48

Lowe’s will finish out this season as Johnson’s sponsor. 


Digital financial services company Ally Financial (formerly GMAC) was announced as the whole-season primary sponsor of Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 team for 2019-20.


Color scheme and design of the car have not been worked out, but the Lowe’s blue is certain to be gone.


“Obviously, that neon 48 that is a part of Jimmie’s DNA, so I would expect that to continue,” said Ally Financial DEO Jeffrey Brown, “but we have a lot of plum in our brand, so a lot of plum running around Daytona may be fun to see and hopefully at the front of the pack.” [12/07/18]

Elliott wins at Kansas Speedway; third victory of the year

Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 Mountain Dew Camaro ZL1, raced to victory for his third win this year on Sunday, October 21, in the final phase of Round of 12 Playoff Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas. Elliott will be in the Playoffs in the Round of 8. [12/07/18]

Camaro featured at COTA Trans Am Corral

The Chevrolet Camaro is without doubt one of the true greats of American sportscar racing heritage, and as the 2018 Trans Am presented by Pirelli championship comes to a climax, it is once again the unmistakable Camaro that is competing for top honors. To celebrate this remarkable car, Burtin Racing is hosting a Camaro Corral and concourse at Circuit of The Americas Trans Am, the next race weekend for the series in Austin, Texas, November 2-4.


The Burtin Racing Camaro Corral is a gathering of Chevrolet Camaros of every age and vintage, so Camaro owners and their friends of all Camaro models and styles are invited to attend at the Grand Plaza of the fabulous Formula One facility on Saturday, Nov. 3, starting at 10 a.m.


Round 10 of the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli at Circuit of The Americas is scheduled to go green on Sunday, November 4 at 11:10 a.m.  [12/07/18]

Santa Pod to showcase ‘Roarin’ Rat’ at UK show

Santa Pod Raceway will unveil the latest addition to its roster of historic drag racing hardware when “Roarin’ Rat” takes the stand next month (Nov. 9-11) at the Classic Motor Show at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre.


The venerable 1957 Chevy was transformed into a high-riding, supercharged, ‘rat’-motored (big-block Chevrolet V8) dragstrip demon in 1978. Since then it has been featured twice on the cover of Custom Car magazine and has run low-10-second quarter miles at 130 mph. Just weeks ago, the scarlet machine joined the NSRA’s ‘Gasser Circus’ display at the Goodwood Revival. Following a succession of different owners, the hot rod has at last arrived at its spiritual UK home as a key acquisition destined for Santa Pod’s forthcoming museum project.


Also on display in Stand 660 in Hall 2 at the event will be Martin Hill’s “FireForce 5” jet dragster powered by a Pratt & Whitney J60 jet engine.   [12/07/18]

Line gets 50th career win, 300th for Chevrolet in Pro Stock

It was win, win, win for Jason Line in the NHRA Nationals at zMax Raceway in Charlotte, NC, on Sunday, Oct. 14. He got his 50th career victory while celebrating the 50th year in business for longtime sponsor Summit Racing Equipment. It was also the 300th win for a Chevrolet in the Pro Stock class.     [12/07/18]

Garcia and Magnussen clinch GTLM Driver title at Road Atlanta

Antonio Garcia (left) and Jan Magnussen. 


Corvette Racing’s Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen won their second straight IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GT Le Mans (GTLM) Driver title Saturday, Oct. 13, following the 10-hour Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.


“Congratulations to Antonio, Jan and the No. 3 Corvette C7.R team on clinching the GTLM Driver Championship,” said Mark Reuss, GM Executive Vice President and President Global Product Group and Cadillac. “This team never gave up all season to deliver our 12th Driver title for Corvette Racing over 20 seasons of competition. And congratulations to Corvette Racing and Pratt & Miller on their 13th Team Championship. They prepared a race car that delivered consistent performance and that great combination of power, durability and efficiency.”


It is the 12th Driver Championship for Corvette Racing and 13th Team title. See who won the race at ****INSERT LINK****  [09/15/18]

Johnson, Knaus go splits-ville

After 17 seasons of working together driver Jimmie Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus will no longer be together working on the No. 48 Chevrolet.

Although both men are signed to contracts through 2020, they said it was time.


“It’s the right time with the company with what we’ve got going on,” said Knaus. “We made a huge fundamental shift last year with the way the way that we operate at Hendrick Motorsports; combining the two buildings and putting four teams under one roof essentially. There’s time for evolution that creates opportunity for a lot of people. Obviously, Kevin (Meendering), Darian (Grubb) and myself. We’ve got to do what we feel is best for the No. 48, we’ve got to do what we feel is best for the other parts of the company. It’s just the right time.”


Johnson concurred saying, “Sometimes, change brings new opportunity. Change brings excitement, a new breath of fresh air, a spark. Whatever it might be, that opportunity is now here for us. We’ve been highly committed to each other, this team and our relationship, but it’s just to the point where we feel like change is the next step and potentially the next step for our next level of greatness as individuals. It just feels like it’s time.”


Knaus will be crew chief for William Bryon, No. 24 Camaro ZL1. Darian Grubb, formerly crew chief on the car, will become Technical Director for Hendrick Motorsports.   [12/07/18]

Ray takes first NHRA Pro Mod win

Jeremy Ray (far lane) got the win over Justin Bond.


Jeremy Ray raced to his first career victory during the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service portion of the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals on Oct. 7. This weekend’s Pro Mod racing, presented by Bruce Lowrie Chevrolet, is the 10th of 12 races this season.


Ray won on a holeshot with his pass of 5.785-second at 248.07 mph in his ’63 Corvette to Justin Bond’s 5.774 at 255.53. This is his first season in the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series.


“We just had to keep everything together,” Ray stated. “You have to be perfect every time you go up to the line. Everything worked well here though. The tuning was good, I was driving good and was able to just keep ahead on everything.”


Ray defeated Stevie Fast Jackson whose car made a move toward the centerline before he clicked it off, Steven Whiteley (5.796/247.57 to and No. 1 qualifier Sidnei Frigo (red light) to advance to the finals.

Sidnei Frigo qualified at the top of the Pro Mod field. He got the first-round win over a red-lighting Danny Rowe then Frigo coupled a .014 RT to a 5.801 at 256.11 mph to get the holeshot win over Mike Castellana’s 5.771/252.57.


Frigo’s crew chief Brandon Stroud revealed the Bickel-built '69 Camaro debuted by the Frigo team in April was carrying a brand-new engine combination.


"It's a new generation AJ Hemi by Proline with FuelTech EFI and twin 88-mm Precision turbos that produce 36 pounds of boost -- NHRA makes sure of that," he said. "This is my first race with it and it is a little different. We have to learn what it likes, but it's showing some promise."


Bond, competing in his first NHRA Pro Mod event, defeated Keith Haney (who got loose and clicked off the car), Rickie Smith (5.767/256.02 to 5.787/250.55) and Todd Tutterow (5.770/255.82 to 5.848/245.23) to reach the finals.

Pro Stock driver Erica Enders also drives in the Factory Stock class and just missed the cut, with her twin-turboed Elite Motorsports 2018 Camaro qualifying in the 17th spot of the 26 cars trying for the field. [12/07/18]

Hight proves that where there’s a will, there’s a way

Robert Hight got the final-round win over J.R. Todd for his second event win in a row.


Just the fact that Robert Hight was in the Lone Star State and racing his Funny Car was impressive itself, but that he wound up winning the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals Oct. 7, at the Texas Motorplex was nothing short of amazing. In a dramatic final round, Hight led stripe-to-stripe over J.R. Todd, leaving with a .016 holeshot, then running 3.95 at 325.69 mph to Todd's 3.98 at 319.52 combination.


"That was one of the biggest rounds I've ever won in my career, because J.R. Todd, he was 30 points behind me going into the final and there's 20 points available to win, so if I had lost I'd be just 10 points ahead, but now I have a 50-point lead, so that's a 40-point swing," he pointed out.


Two weeks earlier, the defending class champion was in St. Louis, where just as he crossed the 1,000-foot finish line at Gateway Motorsports Park to win the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals, most of the body on his John Force Racing flopper was sent sky high by a violent engine explosion. Hight brought the car to a safe stop and exited under his own power, but no one realized at the time that the subsequent crash into the left guardwall had broken his left collarbone.


After being examined at a local hospital and being told to expect an eight-week recovery time while the bone fused itself, Hight flew home to California where he met up with former Automobile Club of Southern California CEO and longtime team supporter Tom McKernan, who took him to seek additional medical opinions. The first doctor he visited reaffirmed what Hight was told in St. Louis; however, Dr. George Hatch at USC's Department of Orthopaedic Surgery predicted just a two-week recovery if Hight went through with internal fixation surgery that used a metal plate and screws to rejoin and stabilize the fracture to speed healing along.


Not surprisingly, he chose Option 2 and underwent surgery just nine days before the FallNationals began.


That wasn't enough to get him back in the Funny Car championship chase, though. While his team busied themselves under the leadership of crew chief Jimmy Prock building a new car from the ground up, Hight secured a carbon-fiber shield from Simpson similar to what Pro Stock racer Greg Anderson used to keep his shoulder belts away from the surgery area after undergoing a heart procedure a few years ago.


“I took that, measured around my chest and we got a mannequin and put towels around it and got it to the same size and put the head-and-neck restraint (HANS) on it and then put this thing from Greg Anderson on it and built ears off it of carbon fiber to go to the HANS device and the belts come over that. There’s room underneath to protect my collarbone," Hight explained.


With the seatbelt cushioning device in hand, he returned to see Dr. Hatch about gaining clearance to compete in Texas, less than two weeks after the St. Louis crash. "I did everything like he said, went back late on Thursday to get my clearance, and he said I wouldn't have gotten the clearance if I didn't have that device."


After making his first qualifying pass on Friday in Texas, Hight knew he'd be okay to go the distance.


"I was most worried about the chutes because it slams you forward when you hit the chutes, but no issues," he said. "But I probably couldn’t have raced without that piece. It's actually comfortable and I may never take it off. One of the first things I did was thank Greg Anderson for giving me a start.” – Ian Tocher  [12/07/18]

Gray takes Pro Stock win at Dallas

Tanner Gray increased his Pro Stock points lead with his second victory in the Countdown and seventh of the season in the Gray Motorsports/Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro SS.


In the second round of eliminations, Gray and four-time NHRA Pro Stock champion Greg Anderson (Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro SS) recorded the identical elapsed time of 6.636 seconds, but Gray advanced with an .018-of-a-second light to Anderson’s .028. Similarly, Nobile and Erica Enders (Melling Performance/Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro SS) both hit .016 on the Tree and Nobile ran 6.630 to Enders’ 6.635.

Gray earned his 12th victory in 45 career races with a run of 6.622 seconds to eliminate No. 1 qualifier Jeg Coughlin Jr. (JEGS.com/Elite Performance Chevrolet Camaro SS) in the final.


“I’m so ecstatic. When you can go and beat Jeg, one of the best to come through the class, it means a lot to me to go up there and beat him, especially when the stakes are so high in the championship,” Gray said. “I just want to keep the momentum going.”


Gray, last year’s NHRA Rookie of the Year, has announced that he will be moving to the NASCAR truck series next season.  [12/07/18]

Elliott overcomes penalties to earn victory at Dover

Never give up - Chase Elliott and the No. 9 Napa Auto Parts Camaro ZL1 overcame two pit road penalties and put themselves in position to capitalize when it counted most to earn their second victory of the 2018 season in the Gander Outdoors 400, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race at Dover International Speedway.  The win marks the second MENCS conquest of Elliott’s young Cup Series career and the third victory for the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.  The triumph, after 400 grueling laps around the ‘Monster Mile’, moves Elliott and the No. 9 Camaro ZL1 team on to the next Round of this year’s Playoffs and keeps him in contention to compete for the season-ending championship.


“We had a (speeding) penalty there, early, and fell behind, said Elliott in Victory Lane. “Luckily, I had a good enough car and a good strategy to get back. Man, what a day. Just thanks to those guys, man for the perseverance and good adjustments throughout the day.


“It was just a great effort. I appreciate everybody and all my partners, NAPA, Valvoline, Hooters, SunEnergy1, Chevrolet, Mountain Dew, and Kelley Blue Book. It’s been an up-and-down year, I feel like. To have this race slip away last year makes the day that much more sweet.”


Chevrolet has now visited Winner’s Circle 778 times at NASCAR’s premier level.  The win is the 40th victory for the Bowtie Brand at Dover, making it the eighth track where Chevrolet has 40 or more victories, other tracks include, Atlanta, Bristol, Charlotte, Darlington, Daytona, Martinsville and Talladega.


Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon, earned the seventh finishing position in the No. 3 AAA Camaro ZL1 rounding out the top-10 finishers for Team Chevy at Dover.


The other two Team Chevy Playoff contenders, Kyle Larson, No. 42 Credit One Bank Camaro ZL1 earned the 12th finishing position after fighting an ill-handling race car the majority of the day and Alex Bowman, No. 88 Axalta Camaro ZL1, was poised to have a top 10 day, but was caught-up in a late-race multi-car melee, relegating him to a 28th-place finish.


Denny Hamlin (Toyota), Joey Logano (Ford), Erik Jones (Toyota), and Kurt Busch (Ford) rounded out the top five finishers.    [12/07/18]



Clardy father & son top Super Chevy Show at Rockingham

The Clardy family sure LUVs its drag racing. Driving matching Chevy LUV pickup trucks, father William Clardy (shown) and son Bill, both of Loris, SC, swept the Footbrake titles to highlight the drag racing portion of the Original Super Chevy Show completed Sunday at Rockingham Dragway.


Bill Clardy scored on Saturday when he drove his Chevy-powered 1974 LUV truck to a final round win over Travis Hinson of Elgin, SC. Not to be outdone, dad William took his Pontiac-powered ’74 LUV to the final on Sunday where he forced Wilmington, NC’s Bobby Merritt into a breakout foul in his ’67 Chevy Nova.


While track owner Steve Earwood admitted that father-son victories on consecutive days is a rarity, it almost happened in Top ET as well before Raeford, NC’s Cody Strickland fouled out in the final round on Sunday after his dad, Tommy, had won on Saturday.


Tommy Strickland benefitted from a final round foul start by Terry Hersey of Bladenboro, NC. His son was guilty of a foul start on Sunday against David Lowe of Rowlands, NC.


Terry Rosberg dominated the professional portion of the program by pushing jet-powered “American Thunder” dragster through the quarter mile in 5.479 seconds at a finish line speed of 291.49 miles per hour.


Terry Adams won three straight over Harold Robinson in the Nostalgia Pro Stock Match, with a best time of 4.532 at 154.25 in the Frankie Iaconio Olds over the Monte Carlo of Robinson.


DOT: Thurman Warren Jr., Dunn NC, .035, 10.342 on a 10.320, 65.54 mph, def. Ronnie Locklear, Rowland NC, 2001 Buick, .088, 10.124 breakout on a 10.130, 71.33 mph.


Trophy: Scottie 2 Hottie, Pembroke NC, .047, 11.335 on an 11.360, 61.96 mph, def. Thurman Warren Jr., Dunn NC, foul.    [12/07/18]

Brittany, Courtney Force racecars to go pink for Breast Cancer Awareness

Like many of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series drivers, the Force sisters will go pink for October in observance of Breast Cancer Awareness month. They’ll be sporting pink Advance Auto Parts hot rods at the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals and the NHRA Carolina Nationals. Unlike the other drivers, their hot rods will feature TrueTimber’s Sassy B pink camo making a statement while expressing support of breast cancer awareness.


“Fall racing is in full swing, and we’re excited to team up with Courtney and Brittany Force to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month on the track,” said TrueTimber CEO Rusty Sellars. “During the October NHRA drag races in Dallas and Charlotte, race-goers will see both drivers’ cars and crews decked out in pink in our TrueTimber Sassy B camouflage pattern. It’s an honor for the TrueTimber brand and family to help drive awareness in this way.”


Brittany Force’s Advance Auto Parts Top Fuel dragster will be supporting Brakes for Breasts, an organization compiled of more than 100 independent auto repair shops across the U.S. supporting the research of a vaccine to cure breast cancer. For every brake service performed at one of the shops, customers will receive their brake pads for free and only pay for the labor. Each shop will then donate 10% of that brake service to The Cleveland Clinic Breast Cancer Vaccine Research Fund.


Courtney Force’s Advance Auto Parts Funny Car will once again bring awareness to the Young Survivors Coalition, an organization dedicated to the critical issues unique to young women under the age of 40 who are diagnosed with breast cancer. YSC is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.    [12/07/18]



Undefeated Mandella wins sixth straight SCEDA Stock/Super Stock event

Phil Mandella Jr. and his G/SA ’69 Chevelle have had a banner year at Auto Club Dragway as he won his sixth straight SCEDA Stock/Super Stock combo race this year on Sept. 16. To add to his success at Fontana, the son of chassis pro Phil Mandella (PMR Race Cars) also won the NHRA Pacific Division National Open and Stock Eliminator at the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event.


The first race of the Calvert Racing Suspensions/DNB Engineering-sponsored doubleheader weekend saw Mandella defeat Ross Wilson, Darin Grossi, and Shane Cherry before defeating Doug Gibson’s D/SA Camaro in the final (above). On Sunday, he got a round one bye as he was the number one qualifier, and then proceeded to defeat Mike Williams, Gibson, and Tom Ferruggia’s FS/C Camaro in the final round.    [12/07/18]


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