Edgar Perez wins 2002 Event 1

This is what 80+ cars looks like in the staging lanes! The first event of the 2002 Cartek Corvette Challenge was a huge record-breaking success. Held on April 6, 2002 at Raceway Park in Englishtown, NJ, the event hosted 83 Corvette racers. A total of 78 Corvettes made the first round call, which are 10 racers better than the previous high for the growing drag racing series. Friends and family also came to the track in the support of the racers and this great event. The weather was not ideal for drag race watching on waiting in the staging lanes but the drivers and fans braved the temperature around 40 degrees in the evening with a light wind making it feel colder. At least the weather was ideal for drivers to make new personal best ET's and they did.

The winner of the 2002 Cartek Corvette Challenge Event 1 was Edgar Perez of Howell, NJ. If the name sounds familiar it is because Edgar is the author of this article. Yes it is a challenge to write about oneself in the third person but it can be done. It took 7 full rounds to dwindle down the 78 Vettes that started the event down to the eliminator winner. In the end it was Edgar Perez left standing holding the winning trophy and prizes. Jack Schwarzwalder from Trenton, NJ was the runner up. The two red Corvettes staged for the final with the drivers facing each other for the first time. Edgar dialed in his 1999 Torch Red Coupe with a 12.31 and Jack his 1980 C3 Red Coupe at 12.00. It was as close to heads-up racing as we can expect in an event that saw Corvettes running from 14+ seconds to high 10-second range. When the drivers left the starting line, the reaction times were very close with Perez taking a .071 advantage. He needed it as both drivers were on their dial with Perez running 12.315 to Schwarzwalder's 12.009. The margin of victory was a slim .0753 seconds.

Video of the winning run: Click here. This is an exciting start to the 2002 season and the drivers anxiously await the next Cartek Corvette Challenge event to be held on Saturday, May 25, 2002 at Raceway Park. If you missed the first event, you will not want to miss the second. The Series has a total of 10 races. All the dates can be found on the www.corvettechallenge.info and on www.racewaypark.com web sites.

An interview with Perez after the event revealed Perez's secret to winning. "For me, the key to winning is to relax and to take the pressure off myself by not focusing on racing. I listen to music until it is time to approach the burn out box," said Edgar. When asked what was playing before the Final round, Perez answered, "Ja Rule, "Always on Time." The song must have worked because Edgar was "on time" with a good light and running .005 off his dial. In attendance for that night was Perez's family. Edgar's wife, Alina, and daughters, Kathleen and Heather, came to watch the race and to take photos and video at the finish line. Unfortunately the Perez video equipment could not overcome the darkness or the speed of the cars at the finish line and did not get very good pictures. Perez is a second time winner of a Corvette Challenge event as he won the 2000 Corvette Challenge Event 1 as well.

Perez has been racing at Raceway Park for 3 years now. Last year Perez finished 10th in the Points standings in the Corvette Challenge and 9th in the Real Street racing series also at Raceway Park. Before winter modifications performed by The Vette Doctors, Edgar's Corvette would run the 1/4 in the low 13 second range. This year Perez expects to run mid to low 12's and next year, "who know's?"

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Many awards and prizes were given out to the drivers courtesy of the sponsors.

Yes there was a C1 at the first event of 2002The Corvette Challenge is a series for all Corvette owners regardless of experience and year of their Corvette. While the majority of the cars are C5 and C4 (2 ZR-1's) models, we saw a dozen C3 models, 2 C2 models and one C1. In addition, The Vette Doctors brought a very mean looking and sounding 8 second Pro Mod Mid-Year owned by Phil DeJohn that we did not get to see run because of the car could not pass the noise test. Maybe Phil can bring one of his ZR-1's to the next Corvette Challenge. We appreciate all the Corvette enthusiasts that came out to the race to watch and brought their Corvettes as well. We hope to see you at the starting line at the next Corvette Challenge on May 25th, 2002.

Congratulations also go out to Bob Sebrowki who won the slick class, beating runner-up Fred Vetter, who is associate sponsor of the Corvette Challenge as DynoTech Performance, in the morning GM EFI Race Series 1 at Raceway Park. Bob ran 11.72 on a 11.69 dial with a .573 light to Vetter's 12.63 on a 12.62 dial with a .630 light. 32 Corvettes made the first round of the morning EFI race. In the future be sure to check the Raceway Park schedule as most of the Corvette Challenge events will be preceded by other Raceway Park events in the morning giving you the opportunity to race in a "double header". DynoTech Performance is located in Manville, NJ and can be reached on the web from a link at www.corvettechallenge.info

The Corvette Challenge is in its 4th year and is made possible thanks to the help of its sponsors. The 2002 sponsors are . The officers for the series are John Mackey, Dennis Kazimir and Edgar Perez. For additional information and pictures and videos, please visit www.corvettechallenge.info.

Visit www.racewaypark.com to see the current points standings. Click on the Points button then Corvette Challenge.

Cartek Corvette Challenge helps Toys for Teens and Tots

A 50/50 raffle was held at the track and the proceeds were donated to the Toys for Teens and Tots fund. The winner of the 50/50 was Mike Moran. Toys for Teens and Tots received a donation of $117.50 from the tickets sold in the staging lanes. The 50/50 will be held at each of the Cartek Corvette Challenges this year. Please see Jaymie Shuleski in the staging lanes if she does not find you first. You do not have to be a racer to participate. Raceway Park officer, Tim, thanks the Corvette Challenge racers and fans for supporting the Toys for Teens and Tots. Thank you for your continued support.

2002 Event 1 pictures by Edgar Perez | Videos of this and other Challenge Events at www.challengevideos.com

Written by Edgar Perez