The 2014 C7 Chevrolet Corvette won the Fiberglass Follies by a front clip over pre-race favorite, the 1990 ZR1. The 1978 Indianapolis 500 pace car, the first Corvette to pace at the famed race, finished third.
The race was a figment of the imagination designed to fill a void in the real horse racing scheduled caused by the postponement of the annual Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville. Hey, Louisville is just north up I-65 from Bowling Green, home of the Chevrolet Corvette, so, we figured, let’s do a “Race for the Roses” using classic Corvettes.
We selected 20 historic Corvettes to compete, well, actually 21, but since it was powered only by a straight 6-cylinder engine, we gave the original version, the 1953 roadster, the honor of doing a parade lap before the race, which, like the Derby, would be conducted on a dirt oval track, an interesting challenge for the V8 powered sports cars.
So here’s how the race unfolded:
As the starting gate opened, The 2000 Z06, a 20-1 shot launching from post position 15, zoomed out of the gate but immediately started to spin out. The 2020 C8, at 12-1 in Post 16, was able to use its mid-engine balance to avoid the contact, but as the Z06 slid toward the outside rail, it engulfed the 1957 “Fuelie,” the 1963 Rondine, the 1973 454 and the 1955 V8 in a NASCAR style multi-car mashup, thus eliminating 5 of the 20 cars from the race.
Meanwhile, over near the inside rail, the Callaway Sledgehammer, a 4-1 post-time co-favorite starting from Post No. 2, got a great start and moved slightly ahead of the 1978 Indy 500 pace car, starting from Post No. 1 with 6-1 odds.
Also getting a great start was the 1960 Corvette, the first of the breed to win its class at Le Mans, and it was able to take a position just to the right of the Indy pacer as the cars headed toward the first turn.
As the cars entered that turn, the 1963 CERV 1 came roaring up on the outside, the Callaway got loose in the turn and the CERV had to spin out to avoid the Callaway car, which also spun and came to a stop facing the wrong direction on the track.
As the cars entered the long backstretch, the pace car led on the inside with the 2014 C7 just to its right. Tucked in behind the pace car were the ’69 ZL1 and the ’63 Grand Sport, with the 2019 ZR1 (the pre-race favorite with 4-1 odds) and the 1970 LT1 in the outside row close behind the C7.
The 1967 L88/427 made a charge on the far outside as the cars hurried down the backstretch, but couldn’t maintain traction in the transition from backstretch to the turn.
The C8 went to the outside as the cars were coming out of the turn but the track was soft out there so the C8 had to tuck back into the pack as the cars turned into the homestretch.
It was in the homestretch that the 2014 C7 made its charge, holding its position to the right of the pace car but able to accelerate into the lead, which it held to the finish line. The 2019 ZR1 followed and just before the finish made an attempt to pass that swept it ahead of the pace car but still a front-clip behind the C7 at the line. The pace car finished third.
The C7 went off from the No. 3 post position with 6-1 odds and would have paid $17.20 to win (remember, this is all make believe), $9.10 to show and $7.00 to place. The 1990 ZR1 paid $4.20 for a winning show ticket and $3.10 on a show bet while the ’78 pace car returned $2.90 on a place ticket.
The 3-6 extacta paid $12.80 and the 3-6-1 trifecta returned $16.50.