Back in 2013, Derek Downing had a lot on his mind, but vengeance was not one of them. For the self-employed 48-year-old, the procurement of a 2009 Cadillac CTS-V was the most prominent thing on his mind back then.
It was the day after Christmas, and Derek and his wife, Danielle, had just bought a one-way ticket to Chicago, with the high hopes of flying up and driving back in the vehicle pictured here.
The automotive enthusiasts had been eyeing the LSA-powered Cadillac CTS-V for quite some time, as they were without question the fastest factory sedan at that time. So when the 4-door appeared on the Downing’s radar for a price that was impossible to ignore, notions of bagging a Caddy were put on the front burner, and plane tickets were quickly procured.
Off the Line and Pointed in the Right Direction
Being that Derek’s dad worked for GM in Michigan, GM vehicles have always been a part of his life. Naturally, this led to Derek and his buddies getting into vehicles like Corvettes and Buick Grand Nationals by the time high school came around.
As street racing quickly evolved into sanctioned racing, things started to escalate rapidly. After reading that you could race a ½-mile race wide-open down a private airstrip a flash of inspiration struck. we went to one and the rest is history.
Thick as Thieves in the Night
When asked about the meaning behind the CTS-V’s license plate, Derek is quick to elaborate. And oh what a story it is too.
It was November of 2018, and he had just completed a ½-mile event in Dallas, Texas where the Downings had taken first during both days in the 4-door “Privateer Class” for the fastest speed. The couple returned home from the event on cloud nine, their vengeful CTS-V stuffed snugly in the trailer behind their office.
During the night, a crew of thieves who had been following the couple on social media saw the big win and decided to “liberate” the race-winning Caddy from its trailer confines around 2 in the morning. After cutting the doors off the car hauler, the thieves proceeded to give the V a new purpose. Naturally, when the Downings saw the vandalized and vacant trailer the next morning their hearts dropped.
After a lengthy meeting with the police, all pertinent information was forwarded to the surrounding counties. OnStar tracking was out, as it was likely the first thing that the auto boosters deactivated upon opening the trailer, and nary a person on social media or the police had heard or seen a thing. It was looking like the car was gone forever.
But a couple of days later, the cops called, saying that they had recovered the vehicle and that the Downings could come to retrieve it at their earliest convenience. The vehicle had been scuttled out in the middle of nowhere, an obtuse slab of pristine Detroit engineering stranded in a really bad neighborhood.
Being that the thieves were a bunch of incompetent nincompoops, they had managed to lock up the motor, forcing them to ditch the ride where it sat. Apparently, officers were serving an arrest warrant to one of the houses that next day and saw the car sitting near a forested area with all the personal bandits’ stuff still sitting in the car.
With the vehicle back in their possession, the Downings set to building their race-winning Cadillac CTS-V all over again. Being that Derek’s office is literally 3 miles down the road from Vengeance Racing, access to one of the best race shops in the country was not an issue, and the rebuild moved along at a healthy clip. Old engine out, the CTS-V received a series of internal upgrades and fresh OEM innards, followed by an LSA Magnuson 2650 blower system.
Engine upgrade complete and the vehicle moving under its own volition once more, the remainder of the rebuild transpired based around necessity, with the better portion of the following four years containing mod here, a big purchase there, punctuated by one race win after another. The Downings aren’t close to being finished either, with one build of the stage after another dotting their calendar.
Speaking of wins, the Downings tend to enter 3 separate classes when they visit the track in their CTS-V. A roll racing class is always first on the list, followed by a couple of dig racing classes being the preferred form of competition. Derek’s mentality is that if he gets knocked out of one he can continue competing within another class.
As far as accomplishments go, the past few years have proven quite fruitful. Derek and Danielle have garnered 1st overall in a total of eight ½-mile race events, three of which were obtained in the past year alone during Shift S3ctor events.
The duo also won the roll-race in Charlotte, NC at the Zmax Dragway during the Street Car Takeover not once, but twice back-to-back! After skipping the entire 2020 race season due to the COVID outbreak, the Downings and their trusty Caddy came back with a vengeance in 2021, relentlessly defending their title, and taking first once more in the roll race class the team relishes so much.
This was accompanied by a 1st class win in the “Supercharger Class” put on by Speed Addicts Racing at SGMP, which low and behold, just so happens to be sponsored by none other than Vengeance Racing. Shortly thereafter the Downings and their CTS-V took 1st in the “Heavyweight Class” during the 2021 Street Car Takeover at Rockingham, a fitting finish to the crew’s winning race season.
So, About That License Plate…
Oh, and about that custom tag on the car that reads “U TR1ED” out back. It’s both a taunting gesture toward anyone foolish enough to compete with a Vengeance Racing-built Cadillac CTS-V and a slap in the face to the crew of thieves that didn’t know how to drive a race car properly.
2009 Cadillac CTS-V Build Sheet
Current engine: 377 cubic-inch
Engine built by (city/state): Late Model Engines (LME)
Heads built by: Mast Black label heads 255 of (city/state):
AIR and FUEL
Supercharger System: new LSA Magnuson 2650
Pulley setup: 80mm upper 9.84 lower
Type: 6l90e stock 6speed automatic
Driveshaft size / material: 1pc aluminum
Trans built by: (city/state): RPM Transmissions
Front: stock Brembo
Rear: stock Brembo
Original/Current color: Diamond white
Best quarter-mile ET: 9.40
60ft. time: 1.36