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Churchill Downs hosts the “most exciting two minutes in sports” every year. That’s right; it’s the Kentucky Derby, a one-and-a-quarter mile sprint pitting the fastest racehorses in the world against each other. However, just over 100 miles away, General Motors employees assemble the most storied American sports car of all time: the Chevrolet Corvette.

The GM Bowling Green Assembly produces the C8 Chevrolet Corvette just over an hour and a half away from where racehorses do battle in the annual Kentucky Derby

Every May, some of the fastest racehorses in the country descend on Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky for the Kentucky Derby. And I don’t have to tell you that it’s a big deal for the residents of Louisville. Schools let out early, businesses close or host parties, and (weather allowing) people light up their grills to celebrate. However, the hype leading up to the big race doesn’t stop the GM Bowling Green Assembly Plant from rolling out Chevrolet Corvettes.

For many Chevrolet Corvette owners,  a trip to Bowling Green is a bit of a pilgrimage– especially if it means doing the drive in their Corvettes. However, the plant wasn’t always the home of Corvette. According to the National Corvette Museum (NCM), the plant has been producing the sacred nameplate since 1981. That’s almost 35 years of Kentucky-built performance cars. 

Three Chevrolet Corvettes park next to the GM Bowling Green sign in Kentucky, the home state of the Kentucky Derby.
Three Corvettes with the GM Bowling Green sign | General Motors

Still, the ‘Vette isn’t the only thing Bowling Green built over the years. No, the short-lived Cadillac XLR also had a home at the Kentucky plant. However, while the XLR left production in 2009, the Corvette has enjoyed one of the longest tenures of any American vehicle. 

Moreover, Bowling Green Plant isn’t the only Chevrolet Corvette institution in the Kentucky town. The National Corvette Museum and NCM Motorsports Park are also in Bowling Green. As you might imagine, the complex of Corvette culture is a major draw for the nameplate’s die-hard fans and loyal enthusiasts.


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