The 184,000 mile old C5 Bracket Beater

This ‘98 C5 Corvette started its life as a gift to the previous owner’s wife on Valentines Day many years ago. And for the first few years was a daily driven bone stock Corvette, until the couples youngest daughter, Emily Lewis, turned 15 and got her learners permit.

At the time, IHRA allowed teens that were at least 15 years old and held a valid license to compete in the footbrake non-electronics class. Emily had been racing JR. Dragsters for years while she entered the car in the sportsman points race. She proceeded to hold first place for a portion of the season and was soon in the winners circle with both her Jr Dragster and the ‘Vette.

Photos and Story by Tracy Lewis

The modifications came soon after receiving the car to get the 13.90 ETs down to the mid 11’s. The car today is relatively the same with only mild heads, cam, long tubes, FTI billet converter, and a FAST 92 intake manifold. RevXtreme of Bradenton, FL did all the modifications and over the years have developed a computer tune that allows for consistent ET’s, run after run.

The car soon began to follow the RevXtreme race team’s Gold Rush stacker to the big bracket races throughout the Eastern US as the “grocery getter”. This served use for any of the racers that needed a loaner, and entering it in any of the footbrake non-electronics events. As the hauler was filled with 3-4 dragsters and the pit vehicles, the ‘Vette rarely got to ride inside the hauler and was driven the 500-1000 mile long trips to these events. It wouldn’t be uncommon to see the ‘Vette running against purpose built drag cars that were trailered in and ending up in the final rounds. In fact, the car has won enough money to pay for itself and then some.

The car has been raced by some of the more notable bracket racers in competition, including: World Champion Troy Williams Jr, Kenny Underwood, JP Hickmon, Jeff Keen, Stanley Albritton Jr., John Rollins, and many more. All this track abuse and street driving as put the current odometer reading at 184,000 miles! Emily’s mother Karen was a good sport about the “hijack” of her dream Corvette and has been a regular at most of the events the team has raced. Never fear, she soon got a 2005 C6 as a replacement.

Through the years the abused C5 has hit the wall twice, been rear-ended hard by a Lincoln Navigator, and of course the occasional transmission rebuild. The car has always been put back together after each mishap and when the piston broke, it was decided to add a set of Diamond forged pistons to give it a little extra insurance against a repeat. The car is still daily driven and used as the shop delivery truck at times. This car is just another testament to the awesome durability of the Gen III & Gen IV LSX motors GM has developed.

Modifications List


Patriot Performance heads
TPIS headers
Pete Incaudo spiral ported 90mm throttle body
Comp cam with just under .600 lift
Harland Sharp Roller Rockers
Coated Clevite bearings
ARP fasteners throughout
FAST ported 92 intake manifold
Vararam cold air


Front sway bar delete
90/10 front drag shocks
Z06 rear sway bar
Worn-out OEM rear shocks
CCW rear drag wheels (16”) with M/T ET Streets,
Late model GTO spares (17”) with M&H Race master front runners.


3:42 gears
FTI Billet 3800 stall converter
RevXtreme built rear diff w/300M output shafts
RevXtreme level III 4L60E transmission

About the author

Mark Gearhart

In 1995 Mark started photographing drag races at his once local track, Bradenton Motorsports Park. He became hooked and shot virtually every series at the track until 2007 until he moved to California and began working as a writer for Power Automedia. He was the founding editor for its first online magazines, and transitioned into the role of editorial director role in 2014. Retiring from the company in 2016, Mark continues to expand his career as a car builder, automotive enthusiast, and freelance journalist to provide featured content and technical expertise.
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