With Father’s Day just a couple of weeks away, maybe it’s perfect timing for 45-year-old racer Jeff Nowicki to make his debut in front of his own dad at this weekend’s Chevrolet Grand Am Detroit 200 on Belle Isle in Detroit.
?I started racing in 1990 at a local Waterford track. My dad (Ron Nowicki, 70, of West Bloomfield) is excited for me he’s my best friend and this is the first time he will see me race in a profiled event,? he said.
Nowicki will be behind the wheel of the No. 46 red Corvette for Team MBR (Michael Baughman Racing), sponsored by our friends at George Matick Chevrolet. The race will mark Matick’s debut with Team MBR, and it also will be the dealership’s first motorsports sponsorship
?As we’re moving into the 60th anniversary of the Corvette in 2013, this is a most exciting race,? Matick Chevrolet owner Karl Zimmermann said. ?The Corvette is the iconic vehicle for Chevrolet and our entire Matick team can’t wait to race on Saturday. We’re ranked in the top 1 percent nationally of Chevy dealers for new car sales and look to transfer that success to the race track.?
The Detroit 200 is part of a full Grand Prix weekend set for Friday, June 1 through Sunday, June 3 and will mark yet another debut the first time the series has raced in Detroit. You can watch it live on Speed from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Nowicki has a long history with Corvette, dating back to the days when his father was an engineer and worked for GM’s design staff. ?For years, my dad would take me to the design studio,? he said, ?and I was always in awe of the Corvette’s design. The Corvette really is America’s sports car.?
Matick Chevrolet is no stranger to Corvettes, either. The dealership features Michigan’s largest indoor new-car showroom with more than 100 vehicles parked inside, including 20 or more Corvettes on display at any time. Matick is also the exclusive dealer for Callaway Corvettes in Michigan.
?Sponsoring the No. 46 Corvette with Team MRB beats being a sign on the wall it puts Matick Chevrolet down on the field as a player in the game,? Zimmermann said. ?I became involved in racing a Corvette last year. That experience committed me to racing as a means to demonstrate both the incredible capabilities of the Corvette and Matick’s commitment to our ever-growing list of Corvette customers. This is a perfect fit to help strengthen our Corvette program, including our Corvette blog, and give it exposure at a national level.?
Nowicki won his first of three consecutive Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) autocross class championships at age 18 in a race-prepared Camaro before moving up to road racing in 1990, making an impressive debut winning the SSGT Regional Championship two years in a row and setting track records.
He later made his professional racing debut in the International Motor Sport Association’s (IMSA) Firestone Firehawk Series as a co-driver. Nowicki kept driving Corvettes, Camaros and Firebirds in Firehawk, IMSA and SSCA World Challenge events. He placed fourth in his first race at Road America and, in 1992, Nowicki dominated the SCCA IT class and was asked to become a part of the Morrison Motorsports Corvette team at the final 24-hour event in the World Challenge series. In 1993, he won the SCCA IT Championship in a Corvette.
This weekend, Nowicki and his driving partner, Michael Baughman, will drive a 2007 Katech-powered Corvette C6 in the highly competitive GT division. Managed by Baughman, who brings 30 years of motorsports experience, both as an owner and driver, the team has competed in Grand AM since the Series? inception.
The two drivers will maneuver the #46 Victory Red Corvette around the winding 2.1-mile Belle Isle road course.