Black Jack C5

I decided to move out of a C7 into a C5 Corvette, so I took delivery of a new to me, one owner 2004 Corvette A4 Coupe.


The car is in excellent shape for it’s age & mileage (65,000 US miles). My hats off to the previous owner for the excellent care he’s given to this car over the years.

I’m coming from a C7 Stingray 2LT. So here are my first impressions.
What I miss…
1) Miss the backup cameras.
2) Miss keyless ignition.
3) Miss passive lock/unlock.
4) Miss memory seats.
5) Miss Android Auto integration.

As for the C5, it rides and handles tight & responsive; much better than I expected based on age & mileage.

Looking forward to a new chapter of the Black Jack saga.

Version 2.0 — Out With The Old, In With The New

As you’ve no doubt noticed, I haven’t posted since my Drag Week blogs. I was involved in an slow speed accident a couple of months ago. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I was rear-ended at an intersection with a yield sign and the person behind assumed I was going thru without stopping. No real injuries.

Car damage was purely cosmetic. No frame or structural damage. But I was not happy with the situation. Specialty cars, like a Corvette, take a huge hit in value when it’s involved in an accident. Also, once it was in the shop for repairs, the flex-fuel conversion was discovered and they put a power train warranty block on my car. ๐Ÿ˜ Not that it really matters as I consider myself “self-insured” on the power train.

So I’ve spent these two months weighing different options. Keep it? Mod the hell out of it? Buy another Corvette? Or something else, but what? I finally went to CarMax for a trade-in quote a week ago and was shocked at the low offer*. But it’s easy to understand as the high volume Corvette dealers are offering as much as 20+% off new Corvettes. And the 2018s are fixin to be one model year old when Chevy starts producing the 2019 model year Corvettes in January.

Yesterday, I went to my favorite local Chevy dealer, Stonebriar Chevrolet. I was there only for research on what they would offer for trade-in. In order to get the process moving, I picked out a 2017 Stingray Corvette to use as a proxy for the conversation. Lo and behold, he came in on a number* that was $2,500 under my hypothetical target number. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

He came in lower on my trade-in, so I used that as the opportunity to walk out, havingย  concluded my immediate research. He stopped me and asked if he could match CarMax’s offer, would I buy? I thought about it for a hard minute or two and said yes. ๐Ÿ˜€ At the end of the day, it was probably the best case scenario for me staying in a Corvette. Also, my diminished value claim ( with the insurance company covered the negative equity*.

As far as the trade-in, for those that may be concerned, I fully disclosed the accident, the modifications and the blocked power train warranty.

So what, specifically, did I end up with? A 2017 Black Stingray, with the addition of the Z51 spoiler and the 2LT trim package (the 2016 was a 1LT). Otherwise it is identically equipped with red brake calipers, dual mode exhaust, carbon flash badges and 8-speed auto.

This also means I may not be competing in Drag Week 2018,ย as I won’t be modding this car at all. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

That’s it for now! Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

*I’m purposely not disclosing specific numbers, so please don’t ask.ย 

Drag Week Videos & Pics

Links to the Hot Rod Drag Week coverage keyed to my runs…
Day 1:
Day 2:
Day 3:
Day 4:
Day 5:

Links to the in-car videos of my runs…
Day 0 (TnT):
Day 1: (camera battery was dead)
Day 2:
Day 3:
Day 4:
Day 5:

Links to the highlight videos. Each video is about 20 minutes and gives a good synopsis of the day’s activities. Well worth the watch.
Day 0 (TnT):
Day 1:
Day 2:
Day 3:
Day 4:
Day 5:

Here’s a link to my photo album from Drag Week 2017…

Drag Week Days 2-5

Wow, what a week! Wish it wasn’t over already.

Run synopsis…
Day 2, Gateway – Ran a best 11.87 ET. Not surprising as I was on gas and not E-85.
Day 3, Byron – 11.67. Best run of the week. I was back on E-85.
Day 4, Great Lakes – 11.72.
Day 5, Cordova – 11.69.

Trip synopsis…
Day 1, Cordova to St. Louis – Left the track looking for an E-85 station but couldn’t find one as the GPS on my phone was all cattywhompass. I ended up having to put 93 octane in the car to keep from running on empty. The trip was long and through the countryside. Not much to see but cornfields. I had problems using the provided Google maps direction and as mentioned, my phone GPS was screwy. The drive was more than 5 hours, so it ended up being a pretty brutal first road trip.
Day 2
, St. Louis to Byron – Although this was the longest stint of the trip, it was mostly highway so I made pretty good time. Checkpoint was a pretty cool ice cream shop. I wasn’t feeling well so I was looking forward to getting to the hotel early and settling in. Only they canceled my reservations on me while I was driving up. There wasn’t anything available within an hour’s drive but I managed to luck into a B&B. Pinehill Inn Bed & Breakfast. Most gracious hosts and a beautiful home. I rolled into the sack at 10pm.
Day 3, Byron to Union Grove – Before leaving Byron, I topped off with Rocket Brand E-85. $11 a gallon but good stuff. :-O Fairly short distance wise, but thru a lot of beautiful country. Checkpoints included a stop at Lake Geneva. Beautiful community; some people were curious about us and some, not so much. ๐Ÿ™‚ I managed to get to see Lake Michigan and did a (sorry) burnout in front of the restaurant I ate at.
Day 4, Union Grove to Cordova – A little melancholy on this drive knowing that it was all soon to be over. I had a great time and met a lot of great people.

Hats off the David Freiberger and the crew at Hot Rod Magazine and Roadkill. Everything was perfect. It started off brutal as if to say, “Yeah, you might have bit off more than you can chew.” But as the week went on the thoughtfulness of the drive and checkpoint locations really shown through. All the evidence is in the videos where guys pulled over to the side of the road trying to fix their car, are still grinning ear to ear. I talked and walked the whole week and didn’t hear a single negative word or see a single disappointed face. I can’t wait until next year to do it all again.

I’ll post up links to all my videos & pictures later.


Drag Week – Day 1

Well, the first day of Drag Week is in the books. LOOONNGG day. And glad it’s over.

My first pass, the car didn’t want to shift if I didn’t lift. Halfway down the track, the dash pop up a message, “Performance Shift Activate”. No idea what happened. I was in track mode with Traction Control & Stabilitrak off. Used Launch Control. <shrug>

The second pass I put it in Sport mode, left Traction Control on and left off idle. Ran down the track just fine. Tomorrow, I’ll do my first pass like this and once that’s in the books, I’ll try Launch Control again.

So pressure is off now. I’m 50+ on the chart. Only the top 32 get to go rounds. Currently that’s less than 11.0 and I’m at 11.71. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Guess I’ll just enjoy myself.

One other thing. I’m might have been a little harsh on the (lack of) performance from the Halltech CAI. Looks like these drag radials are at least an inch taller than the same size factory tires. That would explain the slower MPH and a little bit less performance. I noticed this today driving the directions to checkpoints that my mileage was off. Looked at the MPH from the GPS and it was fairly consistent being 2-3mph faster than my speedo at highway speeds.

Tomorrow, Gateway Motorsports Park, then tracking back north the historic Byron Dragway in Byron, IL.

Drag Week – Test & Tune

Today was test ‘n tune. Long day to get “registered”. I was onsite and in line at 8:15am but I wasn’t finished teching & registering until 1:30pm. I can’t complain (too much) because there were still over 150 cars behind me. :-O

Really disappointed in my runs. 11.6 @ 120mph. Freaking drag radials are sketchy AF. No better traction than the Michelin Pilot Sports that come from the factory. 60′ are still in the 1.75 range. Car is consistent, but the DRs aren’t any better than the factory tires as far as traction and worse for ride quality. Also, and I know I’m going to catch grief for it, but the Halltech CAI isn’t any good. Absolutely no improvement. 11.6’s are my best before the Halltech & DRs and I have no improvement with those mods. I’m pissed because to make the 32-car field on Friday, I needed to be consistent 11.0. This is why people keep spending money on parts.

Hassled with a guy from Ontario with a Hellcat. His plates say “KrazyKat”. I was freaked about a Vette that had plates that said “KtyKilr”. Funny guy.

Ran into all the major actors, Frieberger, Finnegan, Lutz. Elana took pics of my car and I asked her if she got all the bug guts. She said she made sure to get pics of the failed attempt to wash them off. Hahaha.

So 11.6 @ 120mph is my baseline. Racing starts tomorrow in Cordova then south to St. Louis.

How ’bout them Cowboys!