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Reunion 2005!


Well, those of you who missed it, you missed it! Although there were a few attendees who would
have liked being back @ the Indy track, there were many of us who felt we had been there and done
that during the last 2 reunions. So we were really happy to be doing something different in a
different venue. Here are the highlights, at least as I perceived them.

We started at “home” at the National Corvette Museum (NCM)on Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 27.After touring the CorvetteMuseum and an introductory video on American LeMans racing, we were treated to a presentation on Corvette Indy Pace Cars by the guru of Pace Cars @ Indy, Howard Kirchenbauer. Howard has been in charge of Pace Car preparation for all Pace Cars, Corvettes and otherwise, since the early ‘80s. He had lots of video and lots of Pace Car lore, and he kept us asking questions for over an hour about sometimes arcane information on Corvettes at Indy.

Following on was a no-host dinner at one of Bowling Green’s best restaurants, Mariah’s downtown.
Of all the events at the Reunion, this was perhaps the most friendly and cozy – our Coordinator, Paul
Barth, invited everyone, about 30 of us in attendance, to stand up and share our stories.
From Bowling Green to Atlanta in a 20-car caravan – NCM’s Adam and Kelly Boca led us through
327 miles of some of the most crowded Interstate Highway travel I’ve ever experienced! Getting
through Nashville and changing highways was a chore, and leaving Atlanta at rush hour for our hotel
site was grueling.

But the nightmare was forgotten the next morning, Friday, on arriving at Road Atlanta for the
beginning of the Petit LeMans festivities. NCM was in charge of the Corvette Corral, on the infield
of the race track, where Pace Cars had privileged parking in the front row. Friday was also autograph
day with the drivers, all 6 of the Corvette pilots, headed by Ron Fellows, sitting in a row at the
Corvette pit area and signing everything handed to them.

Friday evening was the 3rd Pace Car Reunion Dinner, now a tradition at our bi-annual event. Apart
from the auction, which raised well over $1,500 for the Museum Building Fund, our guest speaker
was Randy Whittine, designer for all the Corvette Pace Cars since ’78. Randy warmed and mystified
us with his Pace Car Trivia Quiz answers, and over the next 24 hours became a great friend to the
Registry during our time together. Wil Cooksey, Corvette Plant Manager, also lent his imposing
presence to the proceedings and signed auction items.

Saturday, Oct.1 was race day, 10 hours and 1,000 miles of the very best of Grand Prix racing. There
was no mistaking the Corvette racers, yellow Compuware #3 and #4, as they came around the track
in tandem. You didn’t even have to look up to know when they went by – the buzz-saw sound of the
C6Rs was unmistakable and distinctive from the whine of the Audis, the Porsches, and the Panoz
cars. Ah, but before the race began, all Corvette Pace Cars (with decals in place) were invited to take
a lap single file around the 2.54 mile Road Atlanta track. A brief but exciting run it was, especially
experiencing the changes in elevation as the track wound around the “Esses”, and the heart-pounding
drop into seeming nothingness after the infield tunnel. Wow, what a trip!

A personal highlight for me was “winning” the Longest Distance Driven award, presented by Karen
Rafferty, (new) Marketing Manager for Corvette. The trophy cup was impressive, but more so was
the stunning presence of Karen, who has to be a future shining star in the Corvette galaxy. Judy and I
drove a total of 1,400 miles to B.Green-Atlanta, which had to be only marginally longer than other
attendees, including our road companions Ralph and Joan Christ from Austin.

The Petit LeMans ended as the sun set, the #4 Corvette winning its GT1 class, the Corvette Team
then well ahead on points in their class for the American LeMans series. And so the 3rd Corvette
Indy Pace Car Reunion passed into history as a wonderful and memorable happening. Making it
happen, of course, was NCM Event Manager Roc Linkov, whose idea it was to do Road Atlanta in
the first place; and also NCM stalwarts Adam and Kelly Boca, who were with us from start to finish
and always helpful in the Corvette Corral.

Thanks, NCM, for a great event!

Planning is already underway for our next reunion to be held in 2007! Watch the website for more details as they develop.

T. Noel Osborn (’95 #216)

Email: thewave500@sbcglobal.net

To see a LOT more photos of this event, stop by The Kodak Easy Share Gallery.