Jason Thimesch drove off with the car of his dreams Wednesday afternoon after winning the annual Stingray Chevrolet/Unity in the Community raffle.
Every year, Stingray owner and Unity vice-chairperson Steve Hurley donates a brand new Corvette to Unity in the Community, a Plant City nonprofit that works year-round to support those in need.
This year’s raffle tickets were sold at the Florida Strawberry Festival, at Stingray Chevrolet and online. On March 11, the last evening of the festival, a large crowd gathered around the platform to see whose ticket would be drawn to claim the brand new 2021 Chevrolet C8 Corvette 1LT with a 6.2 V8 engine pushing 490 horsepower, a “torch red” paint job, eight-speed dual clutch transmission, a 10-speaker Bose Premium audio system, Bluetooth technology and anti-lock brakes.
Hurley announced this year’s winner was purchased online and gave Jason Thimesch a call. He and his wife Christina Thimesch were presented with the car on Wednesday during a special ceremony at Stingray. The Thimesches are from Seminole and Hurley said while it isn’t required, it’s always a pleasant surprise when the winner is local. Thimesch bought $100 worth of tickets online and said he was shocked when they got the call.
“I’m just blown away,” Jason Thimesch said. “Never in a million years did I think that I would end up winning a Corvette. I heard the advertisement on the radio a few years ago and remember thinking, ‘How cool would it be to win that?’”
Christina Thimesch said they’ve supported the annual raffle for five years and when they found out they won, they were completely caught off guard. They told their family and many laughed, thinking it was a scam. When they pull into their drive in their new “torch red” C8 Corvette, they’ll prove once and for all the raffle is more than a pipe dream.
Hurley joked that the duo, who are parents to six children including a set of 15-year-old triplets, never owned a sports car before since it didn’t really fit the needs of their family. The car was pulled off the floor and into the parking lot, where they posed for one final photo before driving off.
Hurley also presents plaques and trophies to influential community members whom he said help make the event possible every year. Unity in the Community presented Hurley and his wife Susan with an award as a thank you for all their years of commitment to Unity.
This year’s raffle raised $334,000 for Unity and the check was presented by the Hurleys and Commissioner Mike Sparkman to the Unity in the Community Board at the event. Every penny goes back into the community via Unity.
Hurley also announced that as of this year, Stingray has been able to give back to Unity with a total of $2.167 million from the 12 raffles it has held.