Thanks for visiting Team ZR-1 and hope the information was useful to you.
Team ZR-1 Racing Journey
- There should be some unwritten law that says people owning a Corvette, the “American Sports Car” should be given at least two solid weeks per Corvette season to enjoy the purpose of it’s existence. Teammates decided to shed the work clothes pack up and head out to enjoy their Corvette to the fullest.
We start our journey with a little drag racing with some local Viper owners. The race day starts fine and in practice the Corvettes are out performing them. It seems Viper owners rarely do much then go for a local drive and know very little about the sports people do with a car like the Corvette or Viper. It was clear when 12 of them showed up and were wearing shorts and brought no helmets that we Corvetter’s would have a fun day. Practice showed that the three of us who mounted BFG drag radials on our Corvettes, that they were a negative for ZR-1's for our top end speeds dropped by 2 MPH and gained 1 tenth of a second in E.T. This was our second event using these drag radials with the same results. We will test them one more time for as they say three strikes and your out.
- We never got to complete our day of drag racing with the Vipers due to major rain closing down the track. A re-match date is in the works.
After replacing all the Corvette fluids with Redline’s products, and packing the car ( not a free inch of free space is left ) we continue on our journey at 7 a.m on May 31st from San Jose Ca. Our first destination is Las Vegas NV. The weather is what you expect for areas like the Mojave Desert and Nevada with daytime temperatures of 100 degrees plus. By 2 p.m we have traveled 561 miles and our unloading our belongings at the Imperial Palace Hotel smack in the center of the Vegas strip.
Sunday, June 1st.
The first task needed for a yearly Corvette vacation and the first leg of the CQS is a tuneup of our driving skills. This is done quite well by attending Richard Petty’s NASCAR rookie school. We arrive at 9:30 a.m and the weather is already breaching 90 degrees and climbing. Teammates attend a short class about the track and safety rules. This school is held at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, on the 1.5 mile banked tri-oval where all corners are banked 12 degrees.
We are suited up with Nomex suit and a helmet. We then take a few laps within a van and the driver explains how to safely handle the corners at speeds around 125 MPH. The hands on class is done with one instructor who leads, two student race cars. These are fully NASCAR ready 650 horsepower cars, one student is behind the leader car and the other student behind first student. The object is to stay about two car lengths behind each other. If you fall farther behind then that distance, the leader slows down the pace, closer then two car lengths and lead car picks up the speed. You get 8 laps around the tri-oval as fast as you can maintain the leader’s speed. The first lap is a warmup and get the feel of your NASCAR. The next 6 laps are clocked and speeds are recorded. The 8th lap is used as a slowdown before exiting to the pit lanes. Two teammates, Jerry Galang, who owns a 59 Corvette and Morley Wright [ who came to the CQS all the way from Canada driving his 95 ZR-1], neither have done any high speed driving and did extremely well. By the later laps were in the 143 MPH average lap speeds.
Morley’s ZR-1 is also Admiral Blue as mine is and every time we are caravanning next to each other, the gambling visitors are pointing and checking out our Corvettes.
Here is how my lap times went.
1st 8 Lap Session MPH & Times in seconds
Lap 1, warmup
Lap 2, 122.9 MPH, 0. 52.47
Lap 3, 126.5, 50.59
Lap 4, 131.1, 48.62
Lap 5, 133.4, 47.60
Lap 6, 134.9, 46.99
Lap 7, 137.1, 46.12
Lap 8, cool down
2nd 8 Lap Session
Lap 2, 135.3, 46.84
Lap 3, 139.2, 45.30
Lap 4, 139.5, 45.20
Lap 5, 141.6, 44.41
Lap 6, 143.1, 43.88
Lap 7, 144.7, 43.64
Lap 8, Cool down
- When completed they gave us a computer printout of the engine recording and a certificate signed by Richard Petty that certifies us as a graduate of their NASCAR rookie school. For $40 they do a photo shoot of you and the NASCAR you drove.
We highly recommend Corvetter’s doing this school, it is a real rush driving one of these cars on a banked tri-oval track and it really shows you can drive safely at these types of speeds with just a few practice laps. It’s a well designed class and the instructors treat you with respect and want you to have a enjoyable driving experience.
- The next leg of the CQS is spent on June 5th with a all day road course school put on my Derek Daly at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway using the 1.8 mile road course using either your own car or their Formula One type of race car. They normally charge $1,000 a day for this class but were kind enough to reduce the per driver cost to $600 when using their car or $450 if using our own car. Franky I was not impressed wth this school. We spent way too much time doing simple tasks rather then being on the road course at top speed. At most we got 2 hours on the main track and another two hours on a small oval track practicing entering / exiting corners and attempting to do heel / toe concurrently on brake and gas pedals. By the end of the day Rick Minson of N.C, had the nick of doing it.
My best time of that day was when following the instructor at speed around the track I was tempted to pass him, got up to his back end and I lifted the gas pedal to prevent running into him and race car went into a 360 degree spin. With luck I hit nothing and was told to leave the instuctor in the lead.
Local Las Vegas teammate Larry Duis who owns a 94 Corvette, was nice enough to plan out the 400 mile trip from Las Vegas to Battle mountain NV, where the Pony Express 100 is held. Larry even went as far as to pre-drive round-trip and find the best route. Larry then spent the time, effort and money to make up route maps which included distances along the route and locations of gas stations.
- We leave Las Vegas at 5 a.m on Friday June 6th lucky to still have money in our pockets. Planned out with Rodger and Sherrie Ward of C.A.R.S, they held the practice road open 4 extra hours just to allow us time to get the caravan up there and have time left to do some high speed practice. Our caravan reaches Battle Mountain in time to check in our hotel, complete PE100 registration and get our Corvette’s though tech inspection. We then head out to a 7 mile stretch of road used for high speed testing. We make the first two passes at top speeds of 172 MPH plus and are assured our mighty Corvettes are ready for the open road race on Sunday. We meet many people who we have exchanged Corvette related E-mail over the Internet for the last several years.
- Saturday was the town of Battle mountain’s Pony Express 100 car show. We in Team ZR-1 got an O.K from Rodger Ward of C.A.R.S to setup a booth at the show for the N.C.M, where the Director and his wife ( the Strode’s) helped man the booth and sold lots of C5 raffle tickets and some NCM / Team ZR-1 tee-shirts. As luck would have it about 2 p.m the sky opened up and not only dumped lots of rain but also large size hail apon us !
- If there ever was a grand grass roots race event for the Corvette, the Pony Express 100 is that event. It’s kind of a weird feeling standing at the starting line, which happens to be at the original Pony Express trail used 100 years ago. As you stand waiting for your starting grid, you imagine those special men and horses cantering full blast on that trail. Now it’s our turn, but with many more ponies beneath us. For people who have never attended this event, you travel 83.55 miles and want to cross the finish line at a average target speed you choose. Winning places are within hundreds of a second. Our hard work of spreading the word on this event paid off. Over 150 cars attend this event and over half that field is made up of Corvettes consisting of about any model year. This breaks the record of cars attending and helps assure future PE100's will be around for others to experience.
Following is just a few of the Corvetter’s you may know. Listed is their name, the target class they chose and then the speed they averaged for their run.
- Sunday at 7 a.m we start staging for the race. We now play the waiting game for our turn at the starting line. We have about 1 ½ hours of waiting and our lucky it did rain the day before because it keeps the outside temperature to double digits. As you stand there waiting it seems like a lifetime. You wonder if you have made a big mistake putting the Corvette and yourself on the line. Even the first timers have their race faces on and you can tell they are one inch away from exploding from the fear of unknown. It’s a real thrill to see those same people at the finish line, for they now are no longer “first timers” and talk as if it was a Sunday cruise. All seem to have their special story to tell of their run.
L. Duis, 125, 125.023 MPH
M. Spaulding, 155, 154.976
B. Hirning, 110, 110.035
T. Bair, 145, 145.045
J. Nelson, 130, 129.942
J. Rupp, 130, 130.093
D. Beaver, 135, 134.793
H. Keith, 135, 135.257
T. Luck, 150, 149.584
M. Herald, 140, 141.548
M. Knaak, 110, 108.392
J. McMillan, 110, 112.270
J. Koch, 145, 147.920
D. Brown, 130, 130.094
M. Wright, 130, 133.961
W. Nauman, 140, 140.033
J. Rovner, 145, 146.329
B. Miller, 150, 149.860
R. Minson, 150, 150.608
D. Duchmann, 155, 147.063
C. Braffett, 105, 105.011
J. Henderson, 160, 134.052
S. Irby, 170, 159.715
R. Doria, UNL, 194.069
D. Durham, 140, 135.926
- In my case, I was in the 145 MPH class of the Grand Sport division. As you can see from my recorded score I came in 1.329 MPH to fast over the 83.55 mile road course. This put me in 6th place for my class. My tech speed was 168 MPH, and should not exceed that speed, but I did do a short burst to 174 MPH. 5th gear was used 98% of the time at around 5,000 RPMs. Oil temperature worst case was 239 degrees but mainly stayed around 225 degrees. Water temperature stayed at a constant of 210 degrees. The brakes were not used until I hit the finish line and the only other gear used after getting up to speed was 6th on long straights for short bursts which quickly brought down the oil temperature. Teammates Morley Wright, Rick Minson and I did not use a navigator, which makes it a little tougher to do the driving and navigation chores at those speeds.
Only one Corvette failed to make the finish line and that was due to a engine failure, where the engine had just been rebuilt the week before. There were no human injuries and as in all the PE100 events was a safe open road race for all.
The next C.A.R.S event is on the weekend of Sept 14th, check out our main Official Team ZR-1 website at http://www.geocities.commain.html for all news, schedules and rules for that event and the 3 events for next year.
- One of the Redline products Team ZR-1 has been testing has been their Water Wetter, which improves heat transfer within the cooling system. We monitored the water temperature throughout our Corvetting journey. We also monitored an exact Corvette model / year as my ZR-1 and found under stress conditions up to 30 degrees cooler water temps when installing this product as per Redlines instructions. Water temperatures never went higher then 210 degrees even in rush hour traffic in 108 degree weather with air conditioner turned off. With it on maximum was 218 degrees in stop and go traffic conditions. With 6 weeks of testing we find this product to clearly do what it claims and is fairly a cheap way to reduce overall heat related issues. Team ZR-1 will continue to monitor this product in our Corvettes and see if there is any long term use issues.
- Another Teammate is Jim Weeks who also lives in Las Vegas. Jim has a Corvette engine shop and owns 1991 and 84 Corvettes. Jim was very helpful and opened his shop and tools to anyone who needed to setup their Corvette for the Pony Express 100. For my Corvette I replaced the spark plugs. I noticed that since I had moved the sensor to the cold air box that monitors the air temperature within the Mass Air Sensor, the idle was ruff and gas mileage was down. Plugs showed that moving the sensor did in fact cause a rich gas / air mixture. I replaced the spark plugs with the stock A/C 41-913s and moved the sensor back to it’s stock position.
- As luck would have it when heading East bound we started having stutter and bucking with our LT-5 when under a load. When in Chicago area we looked up old friend George Wronowski who heads up the Corvette service center at Bill Kay Chevrolet and found that the spark plug wires were going bad with only 24,000 miles of use. They replaced those and at the same time we had them yank the cam covers and replace their gaskets and O-rings which had been leaking motor oil.
- We left Battle Mountain NV, on Monday and drove just under 2,000 miles to visit the Corvette plant and go on the Tour. It is quite interesting how they make our Corvette and we watched the whole process of them making the new 1997 C5. We even got a close look at next years model being tested. I highly suggest everyone making the trip and doing this plant tour for you’ll learn a lot in what it takes to build Corvettes in a mass scale. At this time they were completing 15 cars a day.
- We spent 2 ½ days at the N.C.M and met all of the staff face to face that we all have talked to on the phone. It was good to see they were quite busy and lots of people were taking the museum tour or buying items from the gift shop. We did get some person time and got to know each of the staff members and even got some of them outside for a group photo shoot.
We leave Bowling Green Ky, at 6 a.m Friday and drive non-stop to the Chicago. At this point we have driven over 3,700 miles in less then two weeks of our journey. We can see by the bad conditions of the roads that we are quite lucky not to have ice or frost heaving our roadways back home. We contact and meet several of the Corvetter’s we have learned to know via the Internet and have a nice time with each we have met. We have had to fight rain storms the whole trip and it was no different here in ChiTown. During the week we drive to Warren Mi and meet with old friends of Team Corvette.
Return to Main Page
- We give the Chicago suburbs the highest rating when it comes to food but gets a FAT zero when it comes to the quality of their roads and our radar / laser detector was on more then it was off. We spend time with Dave Glass owner of D&M Corvettes which is located in Downers Grove Il. Dave sells, services, and has three buildings of Corvettes and parts. It’s well worth the time to stop by his business and check out all the different model year Corvettes he has for sale.
One night we were invited to the Fox Valley Corvette club’s monthly meeting and were kind enough to purchase 30 NCM raffle tickets to help support the NCM. Thanks to all of their club members for the support !
As with all good times, we had to pack up and make a 2,400 mile trip back home. We reflect how the Corvette got 24 MPG on the highway and then got almost 12 MPG averaging 146 MP during the Pony Express race, while turning 12.4 E.Ts at the drag races. This clearly shows how the Corvette was designed to take a beating and simply dust it off after a race and drive it home as other nameplate owners had to trailer their car to the events and still broke down when having to show their true colors at top speeds for 84 miles.
© 1990-98, Team ZR-1, LLC
5/3/98 9:25:48 AM