Welcome back, Corvette friends, to the series the never ends. When I started this string of articles 2 years ago, the title eluded to the midterm elections taking place across the country at that time. Now it can refer to the bigger elections coming up in just under a month. The subject matter is much more interesting here, though, as you get to ride with me as I show my 1972 Corvette at all the biggest events in our hobby. This time we’re off to Corvettes and Carlisle for the Chip’s Choice display.
You can catch up on the previous articles in the series here:
- Follow Along as I Campaign a 1972 Corvette Convertible (Part 1)
- Preparing for Flight (Part 2)
- The NCRS Motor City Regional (Part 3)
- Survivor Day at Bloomington Gold (Part 4)
- Bloomington Gold Certification (Part 5)
- MCACN Triple Diamond (Part 6)
- The Gold Collection at Bloomington Gold (Part 7)
- The 2019 NCRS National Convention (Part 8)
Three years ago, I showed up at Corvettes at Carlisle, cash in-hand, ready to buy my next Corvette. That Thursday afternoon I noticed a blue 1972 convertible backing into its space in the for-sale lot. While we didn’t get a deal done that weekend, about 6 weeks later that very blue car was now parked in my garage. You all know the story from there. Now this saga has come full circle. I was headed back to Carlisle, where I first found my car, but this time it was on my trailer and not someone else’s.
The annual Chip’s Choice display inside building T is one of Corvettes at Carlisle’s marquee events each year. Participants are traditionally selected each year by Lance Miller and the Carlisle Events staff. This year, however, they turned the reigns over to the crew from Bloomington Gold. In fact, 2020 marked the first time ever that a third party selected the theme and cars for the Chip’s Choice display. The theme chosen for this year was “Benchmark – The Best of Bloomington Gold”. All cars selected to participate would be recipients of the exclusive Bloomington Gold Benchmark award for unrestored, original Corvettes. Hey, I’ve got one of those!
Early in the year, and after seeing my car used in the first press release, I reached out to Bloomington’s Bill Locke and Guy Larsen and submitted my car for consideration in the display. A day or so later, I received a formal invitation to show my car in the 2020 Chip’s Choice display. Now I just had to wait and hope that Covid wouldn’t cancel Corvettes at Carlisle. Luckily for all of us the Carlisle Events team fought the powers that be, and the show was held as planned.
Flash forward to 6am on a drizzly August Wednesday morning when we set out from the Motor City Bureau HQ and headed eastward to Carlisle. We drove in and out of light rain for the first few hours before the weather broke and bright sunshine illuminated the way from there. About 4pm, and after 10 hours on the road, we rolled into the sprawling Carlisle Fairgrounds and unloaded right next to building T. After a quick text to Carlisle’s Jodi Morrison to announce my arrival, a staff member led me over to my parking spot for the weekend. There’d I spend the next 3 days amongst 9 other Bloomington Benchmark award winners. My car was tucked in between a 1,900 mile 1978 L82, 4-speed pace car on one side and the only factory black painted Corvette on the other.
The Chip’s Choice display was another low stress, relaxing way to show my car. There was no judging, no points to lose, and no nonworking items to worry about. In fact, the entire weekend was a nice escape the “new normal”. For many, me included, this was our first car show the thanks the Coronavirus pandemic. It was great to get out of the house, hit the road, check out some great Corvettes, and of course catch up with so many of my great Corvette friends. Other than the masks, a slightly reworked schedule, and lighter than usual crowds it was the same old Carlisle that we all enjoy so much.
Having a car displayed indoors at Carlisle proved to be quite handy. First, when the usual Carlisle heat set in, we could just head back inside and sit at the car for a bit. Then when the traditional rain shower moved in, it was back inside again to stay dry. While inside I chatted with folks about my car, answered questions, and spoke with Guy Larsen who had popped in to thank the owners for displaying their cars.
After 3 laid back days in Carlisle, Sunday morning rolled around and it was time load up and head back home. I got to the fairgrounds about 8am and 1 participant had already loaded up while Hendrick Motorsports’ transporter waited outside the door to pick up their Chip’s Choice car. With a long drive looming, about 9:30am it was time hook up the trailer, get the blue car on board, and hit the road. Another great Corvette weekend was in the books. Shout out to the Carlisle Events team for showing us that we can still have safe, socially distanced, Corvette fun even during a global health pandemic.
Twice before, I’ve thought this adventure was over so I won’t say that this is the last piece in the series. While I don’t currently have any future show plans, who knows where my blue car and I will turn up next. We’ll all have to stay tuned here to find out together what’s next.
Photos by Steve Burns