That Video of a Chevy Corvette C8 Driver Being Kicked Out of a Ford Track Day Was Staged
We got to the bottom of this clickbait mess.
Ford versus Chevy is one of the oldest rivalries out there—some say there exist Egyptian hieroglyphs of a little kid peeing on a blue oval. Any story playing off that feud is bound to grab attention. It's only natural that a video like this, purporting to show a 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 driver getting kicked out of a track day by a bunch of biased Ford Mustang owners, would raise tempers across the internet.
Well, it's complete nonsense. Faked for the attention. Join us, won't you, as we pick apart this brazen YouTube view-grab.
The channel that put out this video is named Speed Phenom, hosted by a young man in Southern California named Austin Everett. We'll sum it up for you: His first video is called, "GT350 R BURNOUT ON PROM NIGHT!!", and his most popular video is called, "Sister Reacts To 1000HP GT500 Super Snake! (Hilarious Model)."
He's also referring to his own sister when he says, 'Hilarious Model', not the Mustang. We'll just let that speak for itself and move on.
What matters today is the 15-minute video in question embedded below. It's one of those standard vlog-type deals, mostly filmed with helmet- and car-mounted action cameras and interspersed with that classic "here's what I am doing now" narration. Along with a friend, Everett drives from his house up to Willow Springs for what we're told is an open track day last weekend, bringing a 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 and the 2020 Corvette C8. He runs the GT500 first with no issues.
Midway through the day, he switches to his Corvette; he doesn't even get through a single lap before he's black-flagged and called into the pits, where he's asked by the organizers how exactly he got on the hot track. The interaction is bizarre, with one official telling him that "we don't allow Corvettes on the track" and advising him to park it or sell it. He protests that he also owns Shelbys—why exactly that would matter will become clear in a minute—before dropping the bomb: "I just don't understand the hatred towards the other brands."
There's some edited crosstalk over B-roll video of the parking lot in which Everett and the official can be heard arguing over whether the event is supposed to be Ford-only. It ends with Everett saying "It seemed like a track day for Cobra owners. I like all the brands and stuff, and I own Shelbys too, so I'm not trying to come like I'm the Chevy guy coming to the Ford event, it's nothing like that. I just bought that car, and I bought the 2020 500, so I just thought..." as a somber piano track plays in the background.
The whole thing seemed too weird to believe. So we reached out to Willow Springs track management, who directed us to the group that put on the track day: the Cobra Club of America. Eventually we got in touch with Cobra Club Co-President Lynn Park, a 49-year veteran of the group, the organizer of the event and the man behind the table in the video who tells Everett to park and/or sell the 'Vette. Unsurprisingly, he had a much different story.
This past weekend was the 49th year that Cobra Club of America has held a track event for its members and other Ford owners at Willow Springs—this was not an open day put on by Willow Springs itself. Park says it's been for Ford cars only (or Ford-powered vehicles only) since the 1990s after organizers noticed having multiple marques on track led to more dangerous situations. The Ford restriction was suggested by the club's insurance company, not born out of a hatred for Chevys. And it's usually attended by the same close-knit group of people.
"I explained it to him, and he cut that out of the video," Park said. "We used to have Porsches, Corvettes, a lot of different marques. But they tend to be competitive with one another. We had more cars going off the track and getting damaged. The insurance company finally said to us, you know what guys, stick to Ford. Other cars are the problem, and there’s less competition within the group. But he didn’t put that in his little video."
According to Park, Everett reached out prior to the event to reserve his spot like any attendee. In an email to Park provided to The Drive, he identifies himself as a YouTuber whose videos focus on his Shelby Collection and his C8 Corvette. Notably, he also says he's attended a Cobra Club track event before—and thus should have been aware of the club's rules.
"I would love to attend the event and bring a friend who will be my support guy track side. I will be taking my 2020 GT500 and maybe my 2016 GT350R," the email reads. Nowhere does he say that he'd bring the Corvette.
Park says he was shocked to see it out on the track and did his best to explain the reasons why they don't allow non-Fords. He says Everett edited that part out of his "little video," which would explain why it shifts from Everett's helmet cam perspective to random B-roll in the middle of their interaction.
Park does admit that there's one potential mistake on the club's part—his original flier specified the event was for "Ford-powered" cars, but that line was left out of a version reprinted on the Orange County chapter's website (that's the screengrab Everett flashes in the video). So Everett's right when he says that that wasn't on the website—however, that very page he shows also contains a link to Park's original bulletin where the Ford-powered line remains.
Absent the email proof, we could chalk this up to a misunderstanding. But that communique makes it pretty clear that Everett intended to surprise organizers with the Corvette to see what would happen, using his "two stickers" argument in the video as a fig leaf. You'll notice the GT350R never comes up in that tableside interaction. It is noteworthy that he managed to get on the track with the C8 at all, but pinning this all on the Willow Springs workers in the pits who cleared him is silly. They're not involved in the background rulemaking—they're there to keep everyone safe.
Now, you might imagine Park would be a little angry about this whole situation. But that's not the case. He says he's getting a kick out of reading the comments, and he's just glad that more people know about the Cobra Club's events now.
"He edited his video, that’s what you do. I explained to him that we’ve had problems with mixed marques before, and you know the truth of it is if he had come to me on Saturday morning and said 'I got a new Corvette,' which I didn’t know anyone in the area even had yet, and he said I’d like to do a comparison, that might’ve worked! But that’s probably my fault as much as his. I just saw the Corvette out there and thought ‘I don’t need a problem on this track. Especially this weekend.’"
But what about the LS2-powered Mazda Miata that Everett points out? Why was that thing still allowed to run when our boy with the Corvette got kicked out?
"He does have a valid point," Park conceded. "There’s a friend of ours down in San Marcos that makes these Monster Miatas, he puts Ford motors in Miatas. He’s been doing it for years. We didn’t realize one of the Monster Miatas had a Chevy [engine] in it. But a Chevy-powered Miata is a little different [than a Corvette], especially when it’s in the hands of one of our own people that have run in our events for years."
We also reached out to Everett for clarification on these points and Park's version of the events, and we'll update if he responds.
Park has watched the whole video, and sees how the type of person the channel has tried to paint him as. It's what everyone wants, Ford vs Chevy, an easy target for misplaced anger. It still doesn't faze him, though.
"I give him credit, he didn’t provoke a fight out of me, nor did I from him. We were kinda cordial to one another. I just couldn’t have the car on the track. If he’d come to earlier, we might’ve been able to make some fun out of it. I still wonder how he was able to get a new Corvette."
Either way, we're not sad, just disappointed that Everett couldn't find a way to make some honest content with two of the hottest American performance cars in his garage. I guess the views were worth it.
Additional reporting from Kyle Cheromcha.
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