Thursday, May 3, 2018

Detroit Dragway - Remembering The Legend

Flashback Friday: Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! At <b>Detroit Dragway</b>!
Detroit Dragway was located in the then not so populated Brownstown Township of Michigan just outside of Detroit. This legendary dragstrip opened in 1959 and closed its gates in 1998.

The shutdown was mainly due to two reasons. The first reason was Detroit Dragway needed a renovation, but the proposal to do so was turned down by Township residents in 1994. The extra traffic congestion and noise pollution were not what the now populated upscale Brownstown Township wanted. The other reason for closing down was a lack of business due to a much nicer updated track [Milan Dragway] only about an hour away.

Although Milan Dragway did not in no way have the history that Detroit Dragway had, it did, however, have much-needed safety regulations and creature comforts to attract more racers and spectators on a weekly basis.

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday

"Sunday, Sunday, Sunday at Detroit Dragway", that used to be the catchphrase broadcasted across the radio waves when main events were being promoted. Although by time I was old enough to go racing with my Dad the real history and charm of the track had already passed on and big NHRA names were no longer showing up, the tracks legendary stories, records and photos prove that there's no doubt the big time drag racers would always show for the big events.

In 1959 and 1960, Detroit Dragway hosted the U.S. Nationals for the first time putting them on the map and paving the way to host many more great racing events. Big names like "Big Daddy" Don Garlits, Connie Kalitta (a hometown hero), Shirley Muldowney, the Sox & Martin team, the Ramchargers team and much more would come to compete and put on a show.

<b>Detroit Dragway</b>

Detroit Dragway: A Dragstrip with a Purpose

One great thing that Detroit Dragway did for the surrounding cities was it gave illegal street racers a place to race legally. Growing up in Michigan, I witnessed and joined in on the street racing fun. Telegraph Rd. among many other Detroit highway roads were a hub for street racers, and Detroit Dragway was a place to go close by and legally race.

Another service Detroit Dragway provided was a place for promotion. “The Big Three” seen the dragstrip as a great place to promote their products. What better place to put their new performance vehicles on display than a racetrack that is right next to the then biggest automobile manufacturing city in the world (The Motor City).

Nothing Stays The Same Forever

Things have changed through the years. Detroit may still be nicknamed “The Motor City”, but it definitely is not the biggest automobile manufacturing city in the world anymore, and by most accounts, it is still broke and struggling.

Street cruising/racing on Telegraph, Outer Dr., and Grand River disappeared in the late 70’s and early 80’s but made a huge comeback in the late '90s and early 2000s. But after a police task force was formed to rid the city of the dangerous pastime and a few heavy hitting raids cost many of us big fines, suspended driver’s licenses and all-around big headaches, we mostly stick to drag racing legally and safely now. Although there may be some strays out looking for that kind of trouble still, there's not even enough of them for the Detroit Police Department to keep the street racing task force up and running.

<b>Detroit Dragway</b>

White Knuckle Racing
I did get to race at Detroit Dragway a few times before it was shut down. I was always hearing these stories about a big dip at the end of the track after the finish line, and I'm here to tell you it was there. I don't know if I would say it was dangerous, but it was an eye-opener when you crossed the finish line (hence the need for renovation).

Racing at Detroit Dragway was fun. There was a slight feeling of danger and fear when racing at that track, almost like you were crossing your fingers in hopes that you made it down the track and back to the pits safely. Milan Dragway doesn't really give you that feeling, but that's because the track is up to code and their safety team is 110% awesome.

Nowadays, Milan is where racers from the southeast side of Michigan and beyond go to do their drag racing. I recommend it to anyone, it's a nice facility and a nice place to race. And I can tell you from experience that the price of emissions is a small price to pay opposed to being caught in an underground drag racing sting.

Gone But Not Forgotten

The once famous Detroit Dragway located at Sibley and Dix in Brownstown Charter Township is now a warehouse facility. Most who live with-in the surrounding high-class bossie neighborhoods don't even know what kind of history was bulldozed down to keep their neighborhoods quiet.

But for those of us who do remember "Sunday, Sunday, Sunday" being shouted out on the oldies rock station, we knew what it meant. We knew that loud and fast cars would be lining up at the gates, then finding their spots in the pits, and eventually funneling into the staging lanes to wait for their chance to compete for a trophy win, bragging rights and a payout at the Detroit Dragway quarter-mile.  

DETROIT DRAGWAY – Just another part of drag racing history gone but not forgotten.

first trip to <b>detroit dragway</b> was in 1961 when my cousin took me i ...


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

New Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 to Pace the Indy 500 - Here’s Why It Gets the Honor!

Image result for 2019 corvette zr1 Indy 500 pace car

With its aggressive look and big bold front end and rear spoiler, this Corvette looks like it’s ready to take on every supercar on the planet, and with its overwhelming power and handling abilities, it is.

Let’s take a look at some of the 2019 Corvette ZR1 hard hitting numbers and influential features that helped it earn its right to be this years Indy 500 Pacecar.
The monster 6.2-liter supercharged V8 that sits under the aggressive looking hood of the Corvette ZR1 cranks out 755 horsepower. That horsepower combined with an eight-speed automatic transmission or a seven-speed rev-matching manual transmission pushes this ZR1 from 0-60 in just 2.8 seconds and covers the quarter-mile in 10.6 seconds at 134 mph. If that still leaves you a little under impressed, then maybe the 212 mph average top speed at the track in Papenburg, Germany can open your eyes to just how well this Corvette performs.  

What makes this LT5 ZR1 6.2-liter engine so much more potent than the Corvette Z06 6.2-liter V8? The engine the ZR1 gets has been upgraded with a bigger Eaton supercharger, bigger throttle body, a beefier camshaft and uses both port-and-direct fuel injection for an increase of 105 ponies over the Z06.

Image result for 2019 corvette zr1Helping this massive LT5 engine perform well even at high speeds for long periods of time is a much larger front fascia than the average Corvette. The ZR1 front fascia includes huge air dams and fender vents to help push as much cool air into the 13 radiators as possible. The ZR1 also offers plenty of other large exterior features. The front splitter is noticeably bigger than the Z06 front splitter and the ZR1 rear spoiler just dwarfs the ZO6 rear spoiler. Along with some other awesome carbon fiber add-ons, the 2019 ZR1 Corvette creates 950 pounds of downforce. Now it should be noted that if you don’t plan on doing any major competition circuit racing, you probably won’t need the massive rear spoiler, and if you think it looks intrusive, you can order your new ZR1 with a Z06 rear spoiler for a more reasonable look.    

So how does this turn-key race car drive as a daily driver with an average driver behind the wheel? When the Corvette is switched to Touring mode, you will get to enjoy a quieter exhaust, looser steering characteristics and a softer suspension. Outside of being very careful with the aggressive acceleration, this new 2019 Corvette ZR1 has the ability to offer you a very easy driving powerful supercar that leaves you confident in your driving abilities. And if you do want to test your driving skills at high speeds, the Michelin Super Sports tires and magnetic suspension offers you the same easy handling attributes at high speeds as it does in everyday driving situations. For a car that can reach 200+ mph and go 10 seconds in the quarter-mile, its ability to let you handle the car at ease at any speed is incredible. And of course, stopping has never been an issue with Corvette’s high performers. Six-piston carbon ceramic Brembo brake calipers are used in the front and four-piston calipers are used in the rear.  

Obviously, the interior of the Corvette ZR1 cabin is just as high-tech as the exterior and drivetrain. An eight-inch touchscreen infotainment center host all of the goodies and connectivity capabilities you would expect out of a high-end General Motors vehicle. Included with that system is a rearview backup camera, a front end camera so you don’t mash up your front splitter, and a powerful Bose system so you can jam away on long car cruises.

Coming Soon
The most powerful and capable Corvette ever built is now available at select dealerships. The full load of the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 coupes and convertibles should be coming to all qualifying dealerships later this year/early next.

So what can you expect to pay for this 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1? Around $122,095 for the coupe and $126,095 for the convertible (no word on the extra cost for the Indy 500 Special Edition).

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To see this 2019 Corvette ZR1 in action, tune into ABC, Sunday, May 27 for the official Indy 500 Race.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

1951 Buick LaSabre Concept - More Tech Than Some Brand New Cars Have


Back in 1951, this convertible Buick LaSabre was not just extreme looking, it was way ahead of its time. It had technology advancements that weren't even thought of yet and would give us a sneak peek into the future of the automotive industry.

Harley Earl was the lead designer of this beautiful piece of machinery. From 1927 to 1958 he was General Motors' Head-of-Styling and had his hands in the cookie jar of many breakthrough designs and technology projects throughout his career.

One of the first things that really set this car apart is the fact that it could function on gasoline and methyl alcohol. There were separate fuel cells for both sources and an easy way to switch between the two from the convenience of the driver seat. It also had one of the first smaller engines that could produce high horsepower, much like what we see in today's vehicles. This beauty used a 215 cubic-inch V-8 HEMI aluminum block that was topped off with dual carbs, aluminum heads and a supercharger that produced 29.5 PSI. All this was good for 335-hp @5,500-RPM. In 1951 that was an outstanding number for such a small engine.

The styling was nothing short of artwork for this Buick LaSabre. Earl designed the first wraparound windshield that was said to give the driver a panoramic view. It also saw the likes of GM's first rear brake coolers that used functioning rear scoops on the back quarter-panel. They were designed not only to cool the brakes but also the battery that was positioned in the back.

One of the very noticeable features that people hadn't seen too much of was the hidden futuristic headlights that would pop out from behind the grille with a flip of a switch. Also, the Buick LaSabre had a feature on it that to this day is only really used on Indy and Formula-1 cars. The automatic jack system was the first of its kind and allowed you to work under your car without a floor jack or jack stands. Maybe today that doesn't sound like much, but think back to 1951 and the stock emergency jack that would be provided for you if you had the unfortunate flat tire. Oh yea, remember, there were no cell phones to call TripleA or a friend and no OnStar type systems.

Another feature that may really stun you is the automatic sensors that could recognize rain and put your rag-top and windows up without you being around to control them. The Buick even had a backup source of power so if your battery were to die you could still at least control features like the radio, windows and the rag-top.

This car was designed from Earl's imagination and his love for jet-airplane designs. The sleek styling-lines and the flamboyant curves are what really sets this Buick apart. The interior even showed a little bit of aeronautical passion in it with a dashboard that included an altimeter, tachometer and a compass. Earl adopted this 1951 Buick LaSabre as his own and drove it till he had about 50,000 miles on it before handing it over to the GM museum in the 1960's.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Yenko Camaro: Rare 1981 Turbo Z

Image result for 1981 Camaro Yenko

Car enthusiasts, including knowledgeable Camaro enthusiasts, may believe one of two things: the last Don Yenko speciality car was the 1971 Chevy Nova Yenko, or it was the 2010 Chevy Camaro Yenko, but neither one of these beliefs would be true.

The 2010 Chevy Camaro Yenko is in fact not a true Don Yenko car at all. Chevy obtained the rights to use the Yenko name on the 2010 Yenko Camaro, but that does not make it a Don Yenko car. Instead, unlike true Don Yenko cars that were customized at his dealerships, the 2010 Yenko Camaro is just a special edition factory produced Camaro, the Yenko franchise had nothing to do with it.

The 1971 Chevy Nova Yenko may be the last memorable Yenko speciality car, but there is a true Yenko edition that came after the ‘71 Nova. The very rare Stage I & II 1981 Camaro Yenko Turbo Z may not have come out in the muscle car era when cars were known for their power, but like most of Yenko’s cars, these Camaros would be customized to be much more powerful than what they were when they were ordered from the factory.

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Thanks to emission regulations, the 1981 350-ci.-in. Camaro Z-28 was choked down to a mere 175 horsepower, not nearly enough to be called a muscle car anymore. Don Yenko decided that one of his last adventures in car building would be to give the Chevy Camaro some much needed modern power that could be respected.

There was 19 Stage I & II Yenko Camaros built at Don Yenko dealerships. Three of those were the Turbo Z Stage II Camaros making them some of the rarest Camaros in existence. All 19 of these Camaros are still considered extremely rare and came with an abundance of visual and performance upgrades.

Not only did the 1981 Yenko Camaro come with enough performance upgrades to knock off about three seconds from its original Z28 quarter-mile time, it also came with all of the luxuries that could be ordered from the factory like leather, air condition, tilt steering wheel and more. The only thing it did not come with was a radio - in place of the radio was a “Yenko Turbo Z” plate.

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1981 Yenko Camaro Upgrades:
  • 7 PSI. Turbocharger Added to the 350 cu.-in. Engine 
  • 350 Turbo Trans
  • G80 Positraction
  • 3.08:1 Rear Gears                      
  • Koni Shock Absorbers
  • Stiffer Stabilizer Bars 
  • IROC Front Spoiler
  • Turbo Z Logo Specific Decals and Floor Mats
  • Leather Racing Steering Wheel

Image result for 1981 Camaro Yenko

So how much horsepower does this turbocharged 1981 Camaro Yenko produce? Well, no one is for sure, but experts estimate that it is probably somewhere around 210-225 horsepower. If you were thinking about shopping for one of these rare Camaros, especially the 1-of-3 Stage II editions, have fun finding one.

The up coming Mecum Auto Auction does offer you a chance to bid on a Stage II. The week of Jan. 5-14, 2018, Mecum will have one of these rare gems rolling across the auction block - expect a price tag around $140,000.00.  

Thursday, December 21, 2017

2019 Corvette ZR1 Spits Out Flames Like The Batmobile

In recent admissions from Chevrolet - they claimed that the new 2019 Corvette ZR1 will be capable of shooting flames out the exhaust pipes. No one really knew what that meant - would it shot out puffs of flames when you let off the throttle, would it shoot out flames at full throttle, or did it have some kind of flame-throwing device on it?  

Our questions are answered with this Chevrolet 12 second video. When the ZR1 LT5 powerplant is ran at open throttle, beautiful whitish, blue flames shot out of the exhaust pipes. When the throttle is released, aggressive sounding pops are said to follow as the flames disappear.

All this can be contributed to the dual over-head cams on the 6.2-liter engine that promotes a 52 percent larger supercharger than what you will find on the current LT4 Z06. Also contributing to the light show is Chevrolet's first duel-fuel-injection system. And flames aren’t all this exhaust system does.

Image result for 2019 Corvette ZR1 at Nürburgring

The new sound flap that Chevrolet has installed gives the ZR1 an amazing sound, one of which is so loud, in some of the videos of the ZR1 running the track at Nürburgring in Germany, you can see that the exhaust system has been altered to point in a certain direction. The conclusion that can be made for the odd-looking extended exhaust is to point the exhaust sound away from the noise emissions meter.  Nürburgring has strict noise pollution levels that can’t be exceeded.  

Image result for 2019 Corvette ZR1


Friday, December 15, 2017

2018 Cadillac V-Series Championship Edition

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When Cadillac returned to the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech Prototype Manufacturers Championship Series after a 14-year hiatus, the Cadillac team and drivers dominated the class winning the Champion for the season. To celebrate this achievement, Cadillac has announced a 2018 V-Series Championship Edition for the ATS-V coupe and sedan and the CTS-V, the same models they used to race their way to the winner circle.

The brand new Cadillac V-Performance DPi-V.R Prototype hit the circuit with a vengeance winning seven straight races out of ten, including the Rolex 24 of Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring to complete the “36 Hours of Florida”. Cadillac used three cars - the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R driven full-time by Jordan and Ricky Taylor, the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R driven by Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi and the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R driven by Eric Curran and Dane Cameron - to come in 20+ points above the 2nd placed Nissan team for the year.

Upgrades for the 2018 Cadillac V-Series Championship Edition Models    
CTS-V Championship Edition
  • Cadillac Black Raven or Crystal White Tricoat exterior paint
  • Cadillac V-Performance graphic on hood and rear spoiler
  • Red Obsession mirror caps
  • Cadillac DPi-V.R graphic on quarter windows
  • Serialized Certificate of Authenticity (sent after retail delivery)
  • 19” V-Series wheels in polished Alloy with Midnight Painted Pockets
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    Morello Red Package
    • Morello accented high gloss carbon fiber interior trim
    • Split-folding rear seats with Morello Red stitching
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    Carbon Fiber Package:
    • Carbon fiber front splitter
    • Carbon fiber hood vent
    • Carbon fiber rear spoiler
    • Carbon fiber rear diffuser
  • Luxury Package:
    • Tri-zone climate control
    • Heated rear outboard seating positions
    • Power rear-window sunshade
    • Manual rear side-window sunshades
    • 110-volt power receptacle
  • Ultra-view sunroof
  • Red Brembo® brake calipers
  • RECARO® performance seats

ATS-V Coupe and Sedan Championship Edition
  • Cadillac Black Raven or Crystal White Tricoat exterior paint
  • Cadillac Performance graphic on hood and spoiler
  • Red Obsession mirror caps
  • DPi-V.R graphic on quarter window
  • Serialized certificate of authenticity
  • 18” V-Series wheels – polished Alloy with Midnight Painted Pockets
  • Morello Red Package
    • Morello accented high gloss carbon fiber interior trim
    • Split-folding rear seats with Morello Red stitching
  • Image result for 2018 Cadillac CTS-V Championship Edition
    Carbon Fiber Package:
    • Carbon fiber front splitter
    • Carbon fiber hood vent
    • Carbon fiber rear spoiler
    • Carbon fiber rear diffuser
  • Sunroof
  • Red Brembo® brake calipers
  • RECARO® performance seats
  • Next generation Cadillac user experience

ATS-V and CTS-V Championship Editions May Also Include These Options Depending on the Way the Dealer has Ordered Them:
  • Performance Data and Video Recorder
  • Sueded microfiber steering wheel and shifter
  • Advanced Security Package
  • 8-Speed Sport Automatic Transmission

There will be 200 Championship Edition Cadillac models produced throughout the year. They should start showing up at select dealerships this month. The ATS-V sedans should start at around $72,190 and the coupes around $74,390. The CTS-V will come in around $105,730.

With each purchase of the Championship Edition Cadillacs come along a tuition and accommodations to the Cadillac V-Performance Academy at Springs Mountain. The trip is good for 2 days and is well worth the time. If you want to learn how to use the power of a Cadillac V-Performance vehicle properly, this is the best way to do it.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Legal Detroit Drag Racing - New Detroit Motorsports Venue?

Image result for Coleman A. Young Municipal Airport

When the “No Holds Barred” Motor City Showdown legal drag race at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Airport was finally legitimized and given an official date, all Detroit and surrounding area car enthusiasts were ecstatic, to say the least. With the two closest drag strips to the Detroit area being long traffic crammed drives away, this gave illegal street racers a place to show off what they had without the worry of authorities or traffic intervening and with safety personnel on hand.

Image result for Motor City ShowdownThe event went off without a hitch and everyone seemed to have a blast. Detroit Police Chief James Craig kicked off the event with a parade of many classic looking roadsters and hot rods. After the short but glamorous parade, the competition began. Drag racers and their cars from all across the Metropolitan area made many quarter-mile passes giving the jam-packed crowd and their cameras just what they wanted - smoky burnouts, wheelstands and side-by-side action-packed drag racing.

Now that the event has come and gone with such success, many racers and fans are wondering if it’s going to be an annual event or even better, will the washed-up airport be
turned into a complete Motorsports venue. This thought has been tossed around at many city council meetings. Current Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is accepting proposals for what to do with the airport with a drag racing venue being just one many other proposals. Other proposals include an update and revamp to the airport, an area designated for techno dance clubs and others that hasn’t been publicly announced yet.
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Although the Detroit airport is still in use it has not had regular service from commercial airliners in 15 years and is on pace for a $1.3 million loss for the 2017 fiscal year. With Detroit still trying to recover from its most recent major economic decline, the job opportunities a Motorsports venue will create would be ideal. And just like with Detroit’s professional sporting events, concerts, auto shows and the many other activities that Detroit puts on every year, it will only help bring business to a city that desperately needs it. There is also talk about moving the very profitable Detroit Grand Prix to the new Motorsports venue if it gets built. This would help with some of the conflicts that Detroit has been having with the Grand Prix in the last few years.

So what’s the verdict? Mayor Mike Durgan just recently got re-elected, and from what everyone seems to understand is that he likes the Motorsports venue idea and is eager to do something profitable with the airport. We also have two major problems in the city - drugs and illegal drag racing. With a place nearby to drag race legally, that would definitely help combat the drag racing problems (Detroit has always had a bad one), and adding techno dance clubs to the city would probably help promote more opportunities for drug use and drug distribution. To me, it sounds like a Motorsports venue would be a win-win for the city of Detroit.  

Brian Olatunji and his group Leadfoot Events LLC. are the ones that came up with the idea for the “No Holds Barred” Motor City Showdown. Brian is a native of the city and a professional drag racer. He says, “We hope that this will bring tourism and highlight the city no different than other major events such as the Thanksgiving parade and the auto show”

It could do just that. With the right amount of big names behind a state of the art Motorsports venue, getting big money IHRA and NHRA events to Detroit might be something the city could end up seeing. With Kalitta Flying Services located next to the Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti about 50 miles outside of Detroit - the owners of the mega-aviation business are some of NHRA Top/Fuel drag racing’s biggest faces - and that could really help way in on a decision to bring another professional race event to the Motor City.

As far as a permanent answer, Detroit should have one for the second annual “No Holds Barred” Motor City Showdown by spring of 2018, with more information on more permanent plans for the airport by fall of next year.