The fiberglass follies: A different sort of Kentucky-based derby

20 Corvettes will go to the post in a virtual Race for the Roses

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The 146th Kentucky Derby, the heralded “Run for the Roses” traditionally staged at Churchill Downs in Louisville the first Saturday in May, has been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic until September 5.

To help fill the void on the calendar, ClassicCars.com is organizing a virtual race of another sort. A little more than 100 miles south of Louisville on I-65 is Bowling Green, home to a racing vehicle with 4 wheels instead of 4 hooves.

Yes, the Chevrolet Corvette, which is now in its eighth generation as America’s sports car.

So here’s the plan: The ClassicCars.com stewards have culled through around 30 entries for the race and have selected 20 of them to enter the starting gate on race day, May 2.

Today, we present the list of entrants and the morning line on each of them.

We invite you to comment on the entries and their odds and to announce your personal favorite for the race. On Thursday, April 30, we’ll set the official odds and announce post positions. On Saturday May 2, we’ll report on the virtual race and share win, place and show.

Following are the entries, their morning line odds and a comment from the stewards or bookmakers:

1953 Corvette — The original Corvette was powered by an inline 6-cylinder engine and likely wouldn’t stand a chance against the field of V8s (at least not unless it rains and there’s a sloppy track that would bog down heavier cars). Regardless, the original ’53 will be honored as the “pace car” by making a parade lap before the race.

5:2 — 2019 ZR1, an awesome sports car and the last hurrah for the front-engine Corvette

3:1 — 1990 ZR1, a Corvette milestone, a high-performance model emerging during Detroit’s low-performance era, and with a twin-cam V8 tweaked by Lotus

7-2 — 1967 L88/427, the “almost” King of the Hill

5-1 — 2020 C8, the brand new mid-engine Corvette

6-1 — 1963 CERV I, Zora Arkus-Duntov’s original rear-engine Corvette designed with an eye on the Indy 500

10-1 — 1978 Indianapolis 500 pace car, hard to believe but it wasn’t until 1978 that a Corvette paced the auto race staged just north of Louisville

10-1 — 1963 Grand Sport, a Corvette purpose-built for racing

12-1 — 1959 Bill Mitchell Stingray, GM designers’ dream to show the potential for a second-generation Corvette

12-1 — 1973 454, a one-year nose design in the final year before the feds crackdown on emissions and fuel economy

15-1 — 1970 LT1, still considered by many to be the ultimate small-block Corvette

20-1 — 1957 “Fuelie,” the first Corvette V8 with fuel injection and another Duntov special project

20-1 — 1960 Le Mans class winner, first year that a Corvette won its class in the 24 Hours of Le Mans

20-1 — 2001 Le Mans class winner, after success in the early 1960s, Corvette wouldn’t win again at Le Mans until the 21st century

30-1 — 1963 “split-window,” an icon in automotive design

30-1 — 2000 Z06, the first road-going Corvette supercar

30-1 — 1988 Callaway Sledgehammer, the nearly 900 turbocharged horsepower fourth-generation Corvette was tweaked by Reeves Callaway and crew and set bettered 254 mph in testing on special Goodyear tires

30-1 — 1969 ZL1, only two were produced with 500 horsepower engines

50-1 — 2014 C7, despite the recession, the seventh-generation Corvette went into production and brought back the Stingray name

99-1 — 1955 V8, the first production year for Corvettes powered by a V8 engine

99-1 — 1963 Rondine, a Corvette design study that applied Pininfarina styling to the GM sports car platform.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. So, I just bought a 2003 C5 50th year Anniversary Edition with 6 spd manual and convertible. I’m also from Bowling Green, Ky and graduated from Western Kentucky University. My 95 year old mother still lives there and me buying this car warrants a visit! What a great occasion to drive it there from Houston, Texas and visit her while attending this event!! Thanks for the info.

    • Dan, we completely encourage you to visit your mother, but don’t be disappointed, this is a virtual race. Congratulations on your C5 purchase.

    • Hi Carl: This is a fictitious/virtual race that we dreamed up to stand in as a surrogate for the postponed/cancelled Kentucky Derby. Enjoy the series. We did it with Corvette fans in mind.

  2. If it’s on an oval I’ll go with the 1970 LT1. If you are running this on a road course I’ll have to choose the 2019 ZR1. Good luck to all, Be Safe!!

  3. Yes, there were only 43 built but the race purposed Airbox in 1957 just has to be part of this group. Zora would agree.

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