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Reunion 2008!

September 19-21, 2008

Well, those of us who are crazy about Corvettes, especially Pace Cars, could take lessons from the 500 + Camaro owners who gathered September 19 – 21 for the “Indy ’08, Back at the Brickyard” event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS). The event was sponsored by GM around its Centennial Celebration, and by the Central Indiana Camaro Club. It was billed as an F-Body get together, as well as to welcome back any GM Pace Vehicle. The total attendance was 518 registered vehicles (18 Corvettes), and over 1,000 people. All cars were parked in the Garage area at the Speedway.

GM’s main goal was to show off the new 5th-Gen Camaro (Corvette has our C1-C6, Camaro has 1st-Gen thru 5th-Gens), available in 2009 (as a 2010 Model Year) after a hiatus of 7 years. They had one of the camoflaged "mule" cars, and several production cars in various trim levels and colors. Below are some photos from the unveiling, which included a short presentation by Scott Settlemire from Chevrolet (in yellow helping with the unveiling).

GM also had a collection of vehicles on display, including a Cyber Gray ZR1.

As mentioned, it was also a gathering of GM Pace Cars and track support vehicles, mainly Camaros, of course, but with a decent participation by Corvette Pace Car owners – nearly all of the latter were Members or registrants in our Registry. There were some very nice and unique vehicles present, including an SSR NASCAR Pace vehicle (driven by Jay Weidner, a former ‘78/’95 Member), several of the earlier C1500 support trucks, and even a 1986 Chevrolet Cavalier support vehicle.

There were even some of the "Real" Pace cars from years past setup in a special indoor display.

There was plenty to do over the weekend. There were free shuttle buses running between the Speedway, Downtown Indianapolis, the Zoo, the Children's Museum, and the Host Hotel (The Holiday Inn North at the Pyramids). In addition to looking at all of the entrant cars and talking to their proud owners, you could tour the IMS Museum and Gift Shop. The schedule highlights looked like this :

Friday -

  • GM sponsored "Ride and Drives", where you could try out some of their new cars. Included were a Pontiac Solstice, Cadillac CTS, Hybrid Tahoe, Canyon Pickup, Corvettes (several of the '08 Brickyard 400 Track cars!), and several others. (This continued on Saturday too).
  • There were activities for both the adults and kids - tire changing and coloring contests (Saturday too).
  • There was a concert by The Jolie Holiday Band.
  • There was also space on the schedule on Friday for a presentation about Corvette Pace Cars, and our webmaster (and ’07 Year-director), Bob Kirsch, did a very professional presentation on the “10 Years of Corvette Pace Cars”. Bob has a great command of Corvette Pace car data, showed us lots of photos, and quizzed the audience with some interesting trivia questions. About 40 Corvette PC fans attended the presentation. Bob will be posting this presentation in Adobe format on the Members only side of the website, so be sure to log in and take a look!

  • And to wrap up the day, there was a cruise-in to The Suds, an old Dog-N-Suds drive-in Restaurant owned by a local Car Club in Greenwood, In.

Saturday -

  • At the GM Camaro presentation, there was lots of talk around the renewal of the “Camaro dream”, and excitement among Camaro owners about the resurgence of their lost marque. In attendance from GM were Camaro's "Big-3" (pictured below), Scott Settlemire (former Camaro Product Manager), John Fitzpatrick (Camaro Marketing Manager), and Cheryl Pilcher (current Camaro Product Manager), as well as Tom Peters (Director, GM Design-Camaro/Corvette), Al Oppenheiser (Vehicle Chief Engineer,Camaro), and John Santilli (Vehicle Line Director, Camaro).

    The new Camaro is impressive, with lots of thought into the design, and a sincere attempt to regain market share from Mustang and Challenger. It was fitting to hear the Camaro design team comment on how there is "a little bit of Corvette engineering" in the new design.
  • There was a silent auction held during the day with some very unique F-Body related items, and even a few things that would catch the Corvette owners eye.
  • We enjoyed (NOT!) a very unexpected short Thundershower that went thru the area (our only rain of the event), which included a few minutes of small hail !
  • To cap of the day, there was the Banquet and Live Auction held at the Speedway. The benefits ($10,000) from both auctions were donated to the Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis.

Sunday -

  • The main highlight was the Lap of the Speedway, which is always exciting, even at a top speed of only 30 mph. You really get the sense of the size of the track and banking no matter how fast you go, not to mention the feel of history of the track! Of course Photo by Chino was there to take your photo as you crossed the “yard of bricks”, the 3-foot strip of bricks remaining on the surface of the track at Start/Finish, harking back to the original paving of the “Brickyard” -- a moniker that has stuck with the famous and historical Indy track. Drivers were also given a very nice Certificate to commemorate the event.
  • After the traditional lap, PCR Members gathered at the Brickyard Crossing, the IMS hotel adjacent to the track, for a send-off brunch. In attendance at the brunch were: Don Bryne (’95), Mike Koken and son Thomas (’78), Bill & Linda Hahn (’07), Pat & Ann Murray (’04 Driveaway), Jay Potesta (’08), Bob & Pat Saultz (’95), Peter & Heidi Ziehl (’07), Bob Kirsch (’07), and Noel Osborn (‘95/’02).

Additionally, those Registry members attending the event that could not make the brunch were: LaVelle Hunt and son (all PC years), Bruce Bryan and Martha Fligor ('78/'95/'98), and Howard Kirchenbauer.

So overall, I think it is fair to say that we had another great Reunion! At this time, we believe our next reunion will be in 2010, so watch the website for more details as they develop.

If you attended the reunion and have a great photo you would like to share, just contact the Communications Director.

Article developed by Noel Osborn and Bob Kirsch.

To see these photos in a higher resolution, and a LOT more photos of this event, stop by The Kodak Easy Share Gallery.