The 15-year-old paint job still gleams in the sun and ORSCA driver Mike Ghee says he enjoys keeping it looking that way.
“I have no idea who painted it, but I’d like to find out because they did a great job. It’s been very well taken care of,” the 46-year-old general contractor says of the ’71 Z-28 he steers in 5.30 index class action. Ghee continues that devotion to maintenance, saying he “field strips the car end to end” after each track outing. “I clean and check everything. It gives me my stress relief and calms me before I go to bed.”
Ghee began his drag racing career in the early-1980s behind the wheel of another ‘71 Camaro bracket racer. He eventually graduated to a Pro Street ’68 Camaro and later a 1997 Top Sportsman Camaro, but last year he came full circle when Larry Garner, a former business partner whose son Adam also competed last season in ORSCA’s 7.0 class, asked if he wanted to get back in the driver’s seat. Both Ghee (pronounced just like the letter) and the younger Garner are stepping up this year, with the Camaro destined for ORSCA’s new 5.0 class and Garner’s 1967 Chevy II entering the 6.0 ranks.
“I appreciate everything that Larry’s done for me,” Ghee states. “He’s never really raced before, but his son and I used to race motocross together and then Adam turned 16 and wanted to drag race and Larry thought enough of me to help mentor him.”
So Ghee joined the Garners in making a marathon two-day trip last April to northern Pennsylvania from his home in Oxford, GA, to pick up his current ride after finding it in an online advertisement.
“It’s a very well thought out car,” he says. “I would’ve liked to have seen it when it was brand new. It had to be a way-ahead-of-it’s-time piece, no doubt. But it was just a basic roller that needed a little freshening up when we got it.”