Corvettes Timeline Tales: Happy 52nd Birthday Ron Fellows!
Ron Fellows – From Carts to Corvettes!
Good guys shine and Ron Fellows has become one of the most popular race car drivers of our time. Ron’s a great example of starting our small – kart racing small, in fact. Kart racing lead to Formula Ford 1600 and Formula Ford 2000 cars. But this was strictly entry level racing that only last as long as there’s money in your pocket. After the cash ran dry, Ron took a nine year break from racing. But when you have gasoline in your veins, the itch to race never goes away. Fellows was back on the track, launching his professional driving career in the 1986 Player’s GM Challenge, racing a showroom stock Camaro.
Trans-Am racing followed and by ‘89 Ron was one of the most successful drivers in Trans-Am history, winning 19 of 95 starts. When the C5-R Corvette Racing Team was being assembled in ‘98, Fellows was one of “the” drivers to hire. When looking back on a successful long term career, it often appears easy, but this was far from the case. It was a long, hard battle for the Corvette Racing Team from ‘98 to the 2001 GTS Le Mans win. But even after you win the big prize, the next race can be just as hard. In racing, there are no laurels to rest upon. Fellows went on to win Le Mans again in ‘02 and ‘04, as well as GTS Champion in ‘02, and was co-champion in ‘03 and ‘04 with Johnny O’Connell. In ‘05 Ron was runner-up in the GT1 championship and was the ALMS Most Popular Driver in ‘04, ‘05, ‘06, ‘and ‘07.
To celebrate Ron’s success, Chevrolet released the hugely popular 2007 Ron Fellows Z06 Special Edition Z06. Only 399 units were built, 300 for the US market, 33 for the Canadian market, and the remaining 66 cars for other world markets. This would be the first in a series of very popular special edition C6 Corvettes.
And on the heels of the ‘07 Special Edition Z06, Corvette Racing sponsor, PRS Guitars (Paul Reed Smith), produced a limited edition, $4,700 Z06 Corvette branded electric guitar based on their PRS Corvette Standard 22 model guitar. What’s thrill, having a high-end electric guitar named after you. Fellows said, “Let’s face it, I’m just a Neil Young wannabe. I love music; this instrument will have a great home in my growing collection of wonderful guitars”
Since ‘08 Fellows has been very active in NASCAR truck racing and holds the record for the most number of wins by a foreign-born driver in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup, Nationwide, and Camping World Trucks series. Ron lives in Toranado, Canada with his wife and three children, is a passionate about hockey and the Toranado Maple Leafs and fellow Canadian, neil Young.
And to close out our birthday salute to Ron Fellows, the very latest from Ron is his June 2011 purchase of Mosport International Raceway, in Ontario, Canada. The racing facility was purchased from Panoz Motorsports Group, the owners of the American le Mans Series (ALMS) and includes the 2.5-mile track, a 1.5-mile driver training track, and a 1-mile kart track.
Happy birthday, Ron! And MANY more! – Scott
PS – Ron’s website isn’t completed just yet, but here’s the address… http://www.RonFellows.com
PSS – The Ron Fellows Z06 Special Edition Z06 was covered in The Illustrated Corvette Series in July 2007 as part of ICS No. 125 and again in July 2010 as part of ICS No. 162, Pt. 2 of the Special Editions 2-page color feature in VETTE Magazine. Prints are available by clicking the below images.
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