A visit with Mitch Wright about the future Motorsports Park adjacent to the Corvette Museum
The last three months have been full of good news for the 2014 Corvette Stingray. In November it was named Automobile Magazine’s Car of the Year, followed the next month by the same honors from Autoweek. Monday, it was named the Car of the Year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
It’s a car with a long and storied past – and no place is that more celebrated than at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green. In August, the museum will celebrate its 20th anniversary. As part of the celebration, the Corvette Museum will open a new Motorsports Park featuring a 3.1 mile road course on 184 acres just across the highway from the museum.
Leading the planning for the track is Motorsports Park General Manager Mitch Wright – a former professional race car driver-turn-motorsports park operator, who’s been behind the wheel for most of his life.
“I started quite young – I was 11 years old when I started racing go-carts,” said Wright. “From as far back as I can remember, I wanted to race…I wanted to race something.”
Nacarius Fant has been named Kentucky’s Mr. Football by the state Associated Press.
Fant was a major part of Bowling Green’s recent undefeated season that culminated with the school’s third-straight Class 5A championship. The 5-foot-10 wideout caught 83 passes last season for nearly 1,700 yards and 24 touchdowns.
Fant was one of four finalists for the Mr. Football award, a list that also included John Hardin High School defensive lineman Matt Elam, Connor quarterback Drew Barker, and Scott County wide receiver Scott Daniel.
The Bowling Green senior will continue his football career in the fall at WKU.
Fant wasn’t the only Bowling Green Purple to win an AP award. His coach, Kevin Wallace, was named the state’s coach of the year.
The Bowling Green Hot Rods minor league baseball team has a new owner. The team has been sold to Manhattan Capital Sports Acquisition, a group that also owns the Triple-A team in Reno, Nevada.
Stuart Katzoff leads the new ownership group, which also includes Indiana Pacers Owner Herb Simon and Katzoff’s father. The Hot Rods will remain in Bowling Green and will still be affiliated with the Tampa Bay Rays. The team was previously owned by Art Solomon.
“This is an announcement we make with extremely mixed feelings and a heavy heart,” said Solomon. “The people in this region have been so welcoming to us since we arrived in the fall of 2008, and without them we would not be where we are today. Stuart Katzoff is an outstanding, successful owner, and I have no doubt that this new era for the Hot Rods will mean great things for downtown Bowling Green and the surrounding region.”
The Class-A Midwest League team began playing at Bowling Green Ballpark in 2009 and has 15 years remaining on its lease with the city.
A writer, an engineer and a driver are the 2014 inductees into the National Corvette Museum Hall of Fame in Bowling Green. The museum announced the inductees this week.
Jerry Burton has written multiple books including “Zora Arkus Duntov: The Legend Behind Corvette” and “Corvette: America’s Sports Car: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”. He was also the founding editor and editorial director of Corvette Quarterly magazine and motorsports editor for AutoWeek. He’ll be joined in the Hall of Fame by John Heinricy who was both a driver and a Corvette engineer. He won 11 Sports Car Club of America national championships as a driver and oversaw production of the C4 through 1996. Dave MacDonald was one of the drivers of the 1963 Stingray in the “Biography of a Sports Car” national ad campaign. He won 47 of the 110 races in which he competed, but died at the age of 27 after a violent crash at the 1964 Indianapolis 500.
A ceremony honoring the three inductees is set for Aug. 28, 2014. The celebration will mark the museum’s 20th anniversary.
Kentuckians share their memories of John F. Kennedy
Eighteen-year-old Gerald Givens was a member of the Butler County High School Band in 1960 when then-Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy made a campaign stop in downtown Bowling Green.
“We were in front of his car, so when I got through with the parade I grabbed my camera and ran back up the street so I could get a good picture of him, which I did,” said Givens. “After that, we just disbanded, got on the buses and went back to Morgantown at that time.”
Givens captured a picture of the future president, riding in a red car with a Kennedy/Johnson sign strapped to the side.
“I was 18 years old and politics and all that didn’t register a whole lot. But I knew it was a big event because the streets were packed up one side and down the other,” said Givens.
A German company plans to invest $120 million dollars to bring a production plant to Bowling Green.
The Bilstein Group says the plant will bring 90 new, full-time jobs to the area. Governor Steve Beshear was on hand for the announcement Wednesday at Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce headquarters. Beshear, who just returned from a trip to Europe said he met with Bilstein executives on a previous trip.
The company makes cold-rolled strip steel products for the auto industry. It will be the Bilstein Group’s second facility in North America.
“At the end of a long and thorough decision making process," said Bilstein CEO Marc Oehler. "I can say we are absolutely certain that Bowling Green is the perfect spot for our new [facility] being both sufficiently close to our customers and suppliers as well as within reach from Europe and any place in North America.”
A federal appeals court is scheduled in November to hear the case of an Iraqi man sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to terrorism charges.
The attorney for Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, 25, will get to argue why he thinks his client's prison sentence should be reduced. Prosecutors oppose any reduction.
A co-defendant, Waad Ramadan Alwan, 32, received a 40-year sentence in January.
Hammadi and Alwan pleaded guilty in 2011 and 2012 to conspiring to ship thousands in cash, machine guns, rifles, grenades and shoulder-fired missiles to al-Qaida in Iraq in 2010 and 2011. Prosecutors said the two were working with a confidential informant.
Both were arrested in May 2011 in Bowling Green in a federal sting operation.
Hammadi is being held in a maximum-security prison in Colorado.
A Bowling Green man accused of international gun trafficking is no longer in custody. A federal judge on Friday morning granted bond to Adam Joseph Bunger.
Adam Bunger is accused of shipping firearms to England, Sweden, and Australia, all countries with stringent gun laws. He allegedly used a website called Black Market Reloaded to sell the weapons and used aliases to ship them overseas. The firearms were supposedly disassembled, and the parts hidden in video game consoles.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jo Lawless argued before U.S. District Judge Brent Brennenstuhl that Bunger should remain behind bars, claiming he was a flight risk and a danger to the community. She added that the government anticipates bringing additional charges.
“We have truly only scratched the surface,” said Lawless.
Not only was Bunger allegedly shipping firearms in illegal in other countries, Lawless said he was stripping the weapons of serial numbers. She also contended the investigation had turned up evidence of Bunger also trading in marijuana, fake IDs, and stolen credit cards.
A new hotel is being called a bridge that will bring WKU and downtown Bowling Green closer together.
City and university leaders Tuesday announced that a 108-room Hyatt Place hotel will be built adjacent to the WKU Augustein Alumni Center. Construction on the four-story building will start this fall, with a scheduled opening in fall of 2014.
WKU President Gary Ransdell described the effort as a "cornerstone" that will help unite the school's campus and the city's downtown.
"This is what begins to marry Western Kentucky University--our physical campus--with downtown Bowling Green. This project is going to be the bridge which begins to bring these two very important variables in our community together."
The hotel will be owned by Dellisart Wellspring, LLC, the same group behind the Staybridge Suites Hotel in Bowling Green at the intersection of Nashville Road and Campbell Lane.