Vetterans - Joe Freitas

Joe Freitas - “It pretty much started with my heroes in the 40’s and the50’s. Guys that like to go sideways, and boy those early Corvettes were a hell of a lot of fun going sideways.”

Joe Freitas Corvette Racer

I grew up in Southern California in a place called Fontana. There were 3 things in your life: it was cars, girls and athletics. If you were on the coast you were a surfer, if you were in the mountains you were a skier; if you were in the Inland Empire you were a drag racer and street racer. But my love for cars probably goes back watching Phil Hill race a Ferrari at March Air Force Base. There is nothing better than a sound of a V12 Ferrari unless it’s a B51 Mustang. There was so much talent in Southern California with hot rodders; people from aircraft. It was just a mecca for anything with wheels and tires. You gravitated to one of them whether it was ¼ mile track racing or motorcycles. We had it all here.

It got in my blood real early and as my brother said, as long as I had a wheel in my hand, I was happy. I started out with a Studebaker pickup which I still own to this day, almost completely restored. My father told me you can do anything with that truck as long as you don’t disturb the cows because they’ll lose production. So I would take it out in the field and I would run it through the field sideways, so that set the stage. When the 56 Corvette came out that really hit a tone and then the 57 - that was the iconic Corvette. It had the European styling, it was fast, it had fuel injection and when I raced Corvettes I didn’t have any trouble with the brakes. I was 17 so I couldn’t own one, but I was doing drag racing and racing Chevrolets.

I remember we got this camshaft from Chevrolet and it had green paint on it and it said Duntov Cam. You could have painted anything - a Buick camshaft green and you would have called it Duntov. I went into the service for 3 years; got out, wanted to race and then met Dave MacDonald. It pretty much started with my heroes in the 40’s and the 50’s - guys that liked to go sideways, and boy those early Corvettes were a hell of a lot of fun going sideways.

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