Imagine a competition where you not only have to turn in the best average speed over three runs down the dragstrip, but also travel 15 miles to the track through Memphis and run on fuel you purchased at the local gas station. If you were to create such a competition, what would you call it? How about the Pump Gas Drags?

The recent Comp Cams and Rocket Brand Fuel-sponsored Pump Gas Drags at Memphis Motor Speedway brought out some of the wildest-looking and hottest-performing cars in the country. Everything from a '34 Ford coupe to a Datsun 240, an '86 Chevy S-10, and a fun-to-watch Viper versus Vette shootout was staged on Friday night. The result was a high-speed competition that intensified as the evening progressed. Competitors from as far away as New York, California, Texas, and Calgary and Ontario, Canada made the haul to Memphis for this inaugural event.

The premise of the competition was to bring street-legal cars together to compete for top honors as Pump Gas Drag Champion. The event began with a safety and tech inspection at Comp Cams headquarters. Cars were inspected, and all fuel was drained from the systems and replaced by 15 gallons of Rocket Brand 93-octane fuel. Then the cars were quarantined for the competition slated for Saturday. Unfortunately, a rainstorm expected on Saturday pushed up the program to Friday night.

Broken into two groups, the cars set off on a 32.5-mile trek to Motorsports Park, a journey that found three cars overheating in Friday evening Memphis traffic, one tossing a blower belt, and another dropping an ignition box.

All of the cars, except the one with the blower-belt failure and those no longer qualified for the competition, made their way to the track and took their turns running against the clock.

Of that group of disqualified cars was Steve Hoch's magnificent '68 big-block Corvette. His car turned out to be one of the hottest-performing cars in the competition and turned in what would have been an event-winning performance. His ultra-consistent 9.17, 9.17, and 9.18 second quarter-mile times were the most amazing of the event and must have scared the other competitors.

The overall winner was Robert Schmitt's Chevrolet-powered machine. His cool Chevelle logged an average time of 9.44 seconds, making it the winner of the day. Congratulations, Robert.

Top Finishers And Times:1. Robert SchmittOceanside, NY'67 Chevy Chevelle9.34 @ 147.219.42 @ 140.819.46 @ 138.67Average: 9.44 @ 141 mph

2. Kenneth CloseMunhall, PA'34 Ford Three-Window Coupe9.29 @ 149.259.21 @ 150.789.84 @ 136.06Average: 9.44 @ 145.36

3. John CunninghamCary, IL'68 Chevy Nova9.08 @ 151.549.22 @ 150.7010.12 @ 149.10Average: 9.47 @ 150.44

4. Raymond DoughtyPleasant Valley, NY'70 Chevy Nova SS9.12 @ 148.799.09 @ 146.4310.54 @ 118.26Average: 9.58 @ 137.82

5. Mike ThompsonRoscoe, IL'86 Chevy S1010.22 @ 136.449.43 @ 141.809.46 @ 141.46Average: 9.70 @ 139.90

26. Tommy MichalkowskiBrick, NJ'97 Corvette11.04 @ 125.7511.14 @ 124.2911.29 @ 123.56Average: 11.15 @ 124.53

Did-not-qualify Corvettes:Larry RobbEagle, ID'66 Corvette12.61 @ 99.4217.12 @ 53.82

Steve Hoch'68 Corvette9.17 @ 148.809.17 @ 148.859.18 @ 148.90Average: 9.17 @ 148.85Note: Car broke down on cruise.

On The BlockThis month, our coverage of Corvettes sold at auction took us down a well-known story line: "There's an old car in that old barn."

Many of you have probably heard about someone finding a special vintage automobile tucked away for years under a blanket in a barn on a farm somewhere out in the country. Over the years, I've found a number of these vehicles; and, yes, they're still out there today in barns, outbuildings, and garages scattered around the nation.

I was pleased recently to be notified of an estate auction to be held in Greensboro, North Carolina. Included in the auction were seven Corvettes and hundreds of parts, many classified as N.O.S.

The Corvettes and parts were stored in a series of outbuildings. At the auction preview, we talked with a police officer who lived in the area. For a year, he had driven by the property daily and had no idea the Corvettes or parts were stored there. And local Corvette enthusiasts didn't know about them or the owner (now deceased) who collected and stored them.

We were at the auction to record the action and had a bidder's card in the event one of the seven Corvettes could be had at a below-market price. However, I never needed to use my card.

The seven Corvettes included coupes and roadsters, new and old, some in excellent condition and some needing total restoration. It was a beautiful day and the crowd took advantage of the weather to look at and talk about America's No. 1 sports car.

The first Corvette auctioned was a '62 roadster in street-driven condition with a non-original 327 motor. It also had a four-speed manual transmission and a removable hardtop. It sold for $29,000. This Corvette sold new for $4,038, but today's market prices bring $40,000 for one in good condition with the correct motor. A '65 Corvette roadster with a 350 motor, a big-block hood, non-original wheels, no front bumpers, and in average street-driven condition sold for $22,000.

A '66 Corvette coupe with an original, numbers-matching 427-425 motor, knock-off wheels, and telescopic steering column drew active bidding even though it needed total restoration. This high-performance Corvette found a new home at $41,000.

Two '67 Corvettes were offered. A numbers-matching 327-350 roadster in primer paint was in need of complete assembly including the interior. It had all of the parts and interior to complete the restoration, a four-speed manual transmission, factory air-conditioning, and a black vinyl removable hardtop. It sold for $40,000.

The highlight of the auction was the other '67 Corvette, a black coupe in show condition. It had the correct numbers-matching 327-300 motor, four-speed manual transmission, factory air conditioning, optional bolt-on wheels, factory side exhaust, power steering, power brakes, power windows, telescopic steering column, and a black leather interior with headrest seats. This beauty found a new home at $52,000. The only downside of this Corvette was that the paint code showed it was Goodwood Green when it came off the assembly line in 1967.

A '69 Corvette, a Monza Red T-top in good condition, also drew a considerable amount of attention. It had the original 350-350 motor, four-speed manual transmission, factory air-conditioning, power steering, power brakes, speed alert, late-model factory aluminum wheels, and side exhaust. It sold for $22,500.

Rounding out the collection was a '98 Sebring Silver coupe with a six-speed manual transmission. It had two removable roof panels and only 14,546 original miles. The original window sticker showed a price of $42,454; the new owner's final sale bid was $24,000.

The bottom line: You never know what you'll find in that old barn by the side of the road.

Z06 Rumor MillWhile the official word about the standard '05 Corvette is out, the rumor mill concerning the new Z06 version is still churning. From some "reliable sources," we've heard this:The new Z06 engine option will fall slightly short of the 500hp final figure, but just barely. While that may hearten the spirits of those Viper fans who gloat over their 500-plus-horsepower machines, Corvette fans should not be despondent. The rumor is, the new Z06 will be 150 pounds lighter than the standard '05 Corvette, courtesy of features such as a magnesium front crossmember, a carbon-fiber hood, and lightened shock components. Remember, the '05 Corvette in standard form is lighter than the current '04 C5 Corvette.

The lighter weight and nearly 500 hp should make the Z06 a true Viper-eater. The '70 Corvette ad campaign proudly proclaimed that year's model as "The Best Vette Yet." Little did they realize how good the car would become 35 years later.-Cam Benty

Coming EventsJuly 13-17, Bowling Green, KY. Solid Axle Corvette Club's (SACC) National Convention in conjunction with the National Corvette Homecoming Show. Meet Noland Adams, seminars, tours, car auction, and women's retreat. Info: saccmb@hotmail.com or (270) 746-0306.

July 16-17, Bowling Green, KY. National Corvette Homecoming at Southern Kentucky Fairgrounds at Lampkin Park. Admission $8 for adults. Children under 12 free. Gates open on Friday and Saturday at 8 a.m. Two day Corvette/GM car auction. Swap meet, car corral, seminars, women's retreat and fashion show, and free all-Corvette parade. Info: (270) 746-0306; www.nationalcorvettehomecoming.com.

July 18, Joliet, IL. Glass Impressions Corvette Club's All-Corvette Show at Miss Camille's Variety Club and MG's Sports Lounge from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Three trophies per class. Participant voting, 50/50 raffle, show cars $15 entry fee. Info: Bernie (815) 735-1581; e-mail Bzoran@comcast.net.

July 24, Huntley, IL. Sunburst Corvette Club's Corvette Show at Prime Huntley Chevrolet from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Trophies awarded in six classes, goodie bags, dash plaques, door prizes, and more. Proceeds to local charities. Info: Tom Palmer (815) 455-4528, Drew Tyk (815) 455-5945, or Donna Sharik (847) 639-6774.

July 18, Niagara Falls, NY. David Chevrolet, Buick, and Pontiac Classic Car show. Registration 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Preregistration by July 16 is $7. Open to all classes of cars and trucks. Car plaques to first 150 cars registered. Goodie bags, awards, 50/50 split, door prizes, Chinese auction. Info: Corvettes of Buffalo, 7362 Balla Dr., N. Tonawanda, NY 14120.

July 25-29, Windsor, Ontario, Canada. The National Corvette Restorers Society's National Convention. Info: Scott Sinclair (905) 857-1463 (evenings), Gary Mortimer (513) 385-8526 (days) or (513) 385-6367 (days).

Corvette Shop Close-Up

County Corvette, West Chester, PennsylvaniaLocated in the northwest suburbs of Philadelphia, County Corvette is a full-service Corvette business offering customers restoration and repair, along with Corvette parts and vehicle sales. On a recent trip to the Northeast, we were given a tour of the full-service facility by cofounder and County Corvette President Jim Jordan.

Jim and cofounder Jim Stuempfle established the business in 1986. Despite its modest beginnings in a two-stall shop in Pennsylvania, County Corvette now operates out of a 35,000-square-foot facility with five departments: Sales, Service, Body and Paint, Restoration, and Parts. Growth has been based on the staff's knowledge, experience, and focus on customer service. Jim Jordan says, "We have become recognized as one of the finest and most sought-after restoration and sales facilities, with satisfied customers from around the world. To date, we have restored some of the rarest and most important Corvettes in history."

County Corvette Sales was formed in 1997, bringing aboard partner Arno Zeyn to serve the ever-growing demand for high-quality vintage and late-model Corvettes. In 2003, a long-awaited parts and merchandise division was added, along with several new staff members to help further the scope and expertise of County Corvette's family.

County Corvette's customers range from world-renowned collectors to owners of daily drivers. It maintains a philosophy that no job is more important than any other, and excellence must be consistent in every job.

Included in County Corvette's staff of 25 are 11 master technicians with a broad range of expertise and credentials, including ASE (Automotive Service Excellence), MACS (Mobile Air-Conditioning Society), I-CAR, PPG, and GM certification.

Jim Jordan notes, "We are very proud of the business we have created. Our staff is like family and we have built a team that can accomplish results that are even beyond my expectations."

For information, write to County Corvette, Sales/Service Restoration, 315 Westtown Rd., West Chester, PA 19382; (610) 696-7888; www.countycorvette.com

Feature Your Shop!Get your Corvette restoration, repair, or service business in this column by providing a 500-word description of your shop, along with photography and testimonials from your customers.

Send your contribution to: Corvette Shop Close-Up, Corvette Fever, 3816 Industry Blvd., Lakeland, FL 33811, or send an e-mail to corvette.fever@primedia.com. Include "Corvette Shop Close-Up" in the Subject line.

Corvettes At Carlisle Features Corvette Racers, Greenwood, & '54 Corvette ReunionLance Miller to help continue Chip Miller legacyThe '04 Corvettes at Carlisle takes place August 27-29 at the Carlisle (Pennsylvania) Fairgrounds. Since Carlisle Events' cofounder Chip Miller's passing from amyloidosis in March, his son Lance Miller has decided to help run the show.

"I'll be continuing with my father's legacy by joining the Carlisle team and making sure that Corvettes at Carlisle remains the best of its kind," says Lance. "Corvettes at Carlisle had a personal feel to it because my father put his heart and soul into something he loved so deeply. I've always loved Corvettes, and they're a large part of my life."

"We're certainly happy to have the next generation involved in the business," said Bill Miller, co-owner of Carlisle Events. "Lance has been around car shows all his life and certainly will be a great asset to continue the growth of the Corvette show."

This year's Chip's Choice features Greenwood Corvettes. A Greenwood Reunion display will be part of the Fun Display show field. Select '54 Corvettes, superior examples in either original condition or restored to original condition, will be displayed under a tent. All other preregistered '54 Corvettes are invited to park in a designated area and will receive a special gift as part of the registration packet.

The Corvette Race Car Reunion will highlight Corvettes with racing backgrounds. There will be a designated parking area for all pre-registered Corvette race cars; drivers and crews will be on hand as special guests.

The Corvettes at Carlisle Benefit Auction will support research of amyloidosis. Before he passed away, Chip Miller donated his pristine '57 Corvette for auction.

The Mecum Corvettes at Carlisle auction takes place Friday and Saturday beginning at noon. Visit www.mecumauction.com to see a list of cars up for auction or to add your Corvette to the list.

The National Corvette Restorers Society will host the NCRS Gallery IV with a gathering of 19 award-winning Corvettes. Also, hosted by the York County Corvette Club, the National Council of Corvette Clubs holds the NCCA Judged Competition with cash prizes. Register your Corvette at www.carsatcarlisle.com/corvette.

On Saturday evening, hundreds of Corvettes will parade to downtown Carlisle, where Corvette enthusiasts and local community members can enjoy food, vendors, live music, and more. Corvette engineers will be on hand all weekend at the Fairgrounds to answer questions about the Corvette, including the new '05 C6.

All Corvettes on the Fun Display are eligible for Celebrity Pick awards, chosen by the Corvette celebrities at the event. The Corvettes at Carlisle Beauty Contest will award cash prizes to the most beautiful female Corvette enthusiasts. The Women's Oasis offers free seminars, manicures, massages, facials, and much more. The Corvette Fashion Show will feature all the newest styles in Corvette apparel. Kids' Corvettes at Carlisle includes a model-Corvette contest, mini-pedal cars, a gas or battery Corvette display, and much more for children to enjoy.

On Sunday, be at the stage at 3 p.m. with your giveaway ticket for a chance to win a Corvette. Corvette Mike provided the car, a '90 Dark Red Metallic coupe. No purchase is necessary, but you must be present to win. To learn more about Corvettes at Carlisle or to register, visit www.carsatcarlisle.com/corvette or call (717) 243-7855.

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