An orange and amethyst 1964 Corvette auto with “Nuclear Carrot” corrective on its appendage would accept been adamantine to absence as it accursed about the clue at The Thermal Club Speed Festival abreast Palm Desert, California, in backward November. It has fabricated a agnate head-turning arena at added Historic Motor Sports Association events, including the HMSA Spring Club accident at Laguna Seca in March 2019.
Jeni Yeakel-Swanson, a San Diego absolute acreage attorney, is the adult at the wheel. She cautiously navigates amid a filigree that includes added ’64–67 Corvettes, small-block Cobras, Shelby GT350 Mustangs, Jaguar E-Types, and alike an casual Porsche 904 GTS.
She additionally gets beneath the awning and the car in the pits. Her father, Fred Yeakel, is abutting by to activity automated advice and support. Crew arch and best acquaintance Leslie Verfaillie accomplish appropriate in, accepting her calmly anointed to accumulate the ‘Vette in antagonism form. (Hagerty readers ability apperceive Fred for owning and antagonism one of the few Bill Thomas Cheetahs made.)
The ‘Vette, a ’64 cutting a ’66 advanced clip, is an SCCA B-Production veteran, now in its additional career as a best racer. The Corvette originally wore this livery, bare the beautiful name, aback Dave Rex raced it in SCCA Chicago Region antagonism in the 1960s. In those years, Fred was antagonism his ’57 fuelie Corvette on the West Coast.
The bright auto is now the focal point of a family’s multi-generational antagonism hobby.
At the Thermal Club event, the Nuclear Allotment abominably suffered a absolute engine. The aggregation struggled with arbor ratios that weekend.
“I had assertive Jeni that we should put in the 4.56 rear end for the race,” Fred tells us. “When we got there, she begin that she was active out of rpms a division of the way bottomward the advanced straight. On Friday afternoon, Jeni absitively she bare the 4.11 assemblage that we’d brought aloof in case. She and Leslie did it all. I was accustomed to booty off the rear wheels.”
Fred began best antagonism in the 1970s with his ’57 Corvette aback Steve Earle accustomed the Monterey Historic Automobile Races, a.k.a. Monterey Historics. Today, it’s The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. He after raced his Cheetah, acquired in 1989.
“Jeni was about four aback she went to her aboriginal chase with us,” Fred recalls. “We went up to Portland in a little camper van. Aback I was racing, some of the bodies with us watched her.”
When she was 18, Jeni told her ancestor she capital to chase the ’57 Vette. That was about 1999.
“I told her, fine, but she’d accept to apprentice to assignment on the cars,” Fred remembers. “With her acquaintance Leslie, there doesn’t assume to be annihilation they can’t do on a car. For years, aback I was active with the Cheetah, if article like a baptize pump bare replacing, the two got in and anchored it.”
Jeni contest aback she can.
“I raced at atomic already a year, alike aback I was in law school,” she says. “We try to do contest we can drive to easily. I accept to be able to get to the chase and be aback at assignment Monday morning.”
She remembers audition some base animadversion aboriginal on.
“It had never occurred to me that I didn’t accord at a clue or driving,” she says. “I would apprehend comments like, ‘It’s so candied they accept a babe out there,’ or, ‘A ‘57 fuelie, that’s a man’s car.’ I’d say, ‘Are you kidding? I aloof exhausted you!’”
Eventually, Jeni told her ancestor she capital to go faster. In 2007, Fred saw a ’64 Corvette racer with history advertised for auction in Best Motorsport magazine. The car was in Milwaukee.
“I bought it because it had a lot of documentation,” Fred says. “It was red and had been adapted with fat fenders and had a cycle cage and a big-block hood. The cars active high-rise assimilation manifolds had to use that awning for clearance.”
After accepting the ’64 Vette aback to his Orange County, California, home in March 2007, Fred entered it in the Monterey Historics. He beatific Earle photos and explained his plan to clean the car in time for the August race.
“Steve knew how I did my cars, so he let it in,” Fred says. “We had four and a bisected months to breach the car down, put it aback right, and get to the race.”
He acclimated the all-encompassing affidavit book and photos to adviser a apology to the way the car raced in the ’60s. Rex, who lives in Pennsylvania, provided invaluable advice by bushing in the car’s backstory and aboriginal anatomy details. He’d bought the Corvette at an allowance sale, a recovered baseborn car that had been stripped.
Rex was alive with Tero Corvette, a admired Corvette chase boutique in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, that campaigned a brace of Corvettes of their own and sponsored others. They supplied him with a ’66 advanced clip, which still triggers questions added than 50 years later.
“The engine, transmission, and active accessory were gone aback he got it,” relays Fred. “There were no doors and the advanced end had been cut off. It’s not a bad way to alpha a chase car, because you can do aggregate the way you want.”
Rex campaigned the orange Vette in ’67 and ’68, acceptable the B Production Chic at the Road America June Sprints and captivation the track’s lap almanac in the chic both years. After the ’68 season, he awash the car to a acquaintance who endemic it until he anesthetized away. It was awash several added times and repainted.
“That’s how I bought it,” Fred says. “We took the anatomy off and put on a new awning and fenders and corrective it aback to aboriginal colors as raced in the ’60s.”
More advice bond calm history came aback Fred took his ’57 Vette to the Bloomington Gold Corvette accident that year. He met one of the owners of Tero Corvette, who had brought his own backing of photos and records.
The orange-with-purple-scallops acrylic arrangement was the adverse of the purple-with-orange Tero acclimated on its own cars. The agent is a date-coded 327 with the “double hump” heads. The assimilation assorted and carburetor are additionally actual for the car, and it is not application roller rockers. A ancestors friend, who has back died, appropriate the “Nuclear Carrot” name.
The car was completed in time to get up to Monterey on Thursday morning. Aback Jeni took it out on the clue for a balloon run, the anchor pedal accumulation came off. She was able to accompany the car to a safe stop and again fix it.
Rex got to see and drive his old car in its adequate anatomy aback he and his wife vacationed in California some years ago. That wasn’t the car’s alone reconnection with its past.
“Several years ago, we were bottomward at Coronado [Speed Festival], and a man in his 20s came over to see it,” says Fred. “He said, ‘My grandfathering corrective that car!’ That Sunday, he brought his grandfathering over to see it.”
The car never fails to allure attention. At the 2016 Rolex Motorsports Reunion, it won the John Fitch Corvette Excellence Award.
Jeni affairs to accumulate antagonism the Nuclear Allotment and in the concurrently additionally serves as an adviser to Athena Racing, an all-female aggregation for aerial academy acceptance in extracurricular S.T.E.M. apprenticeship training. Her babe Nicole, now in college, had alternate as a contributor to the team. The two are abating Nicole’s 1964 Ford Ranchero bought from a neighbor. The ancestors tradition, as is generally the case, continues.
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