Angelo Valla Wins Vette Doctors Pro 8 Shootout!
by Edgar Perez
10/07/06 - Englishtown, NJ -
The Vette Doctors Pro 8 Shootout presented by Neverlift Racecraft was low on drivers today and lower on Corvettes. We started the day with five drivers registered for the race, Mike Mitchell, Paul Major, Angelo Valla, Alan Eckert and Dr. Rob Zona. Paul Ziajski was in the pits but with no Corvette after having sold his. Rumor had it that Ziajski would be debuting Mike Conway's car after major surgical work being done to it but it did not happen. Some suspected he would find a ride to at least attempt getting into the field which at less than 8 cars, would be only a technicality. Well after Rob Zona realized Ziajski was rideless, he sent him to the gate to buy a tech card and run his Z06 in the competition. This was a gracious gesture on Zona's part. In addition, Jason Anderson decided to bring his car into the field after making his two time trial passes. So we ended up with 7 signed up drivers and only 6 Corvettes.
|Qualifiers - The Vette Doctors Pro 8 Shootout presented by Neverlift Racecraft
|1||Michael Mitchell ||7.825 || 176.33
|2||Angelo Valla ||8.087 || 175.78
|3||Alan Eckert ||10.451 || 121.37
|4||Jason Anderson ||11.062 || 129.23
|5||Paul Ziajski ||11.775 || 119.77
|Did Not Qualify
| ||Paul Major||NT ||
| ||Rob Zona||NT ||
The buzz in the air was the chase for the first 7-second pass more so than the quest for a championship. Major came into the day having already accomplished the goal of a 7-second ride having done it at Atco Raceway in a test session last week. The talk was all over the forums about this pass with the video having been seen nearly 14,000 times on the internet. However, it does not count for our first Vette Doctors Pro 8 Shootout 7-second pass as it was not done at our event. So Major, Mitchell and Valla would be looking to get 'er done today. Mitchell has been struggling to get all the pieces dialed in this year and was rumored to have come close in his own testing session recently and Valla continued tweaking his ride not to be left out.
For today's Corvette Challenge bracket results click here.
Photo by Mike Roberts
|Runner-up Mike Mitchell
||Team Valla Racing
||Winner Angelo Valla
First round of qualifying and four Corvettes hit the starting line for qualifying attempts. Alan Eckert took the number 2 spot with his Navy Blue ECS supercharged Corvette with a 10.481 @ 135.77 despite shredding the belt mid track on the blower. Mike Mitchell was third after he got loose on his pass but and getting back on it to run 10.953 @ 169.44 in the 565ci Chevy headed nitrous motor. Paul Major brought the Silver Z06 with the rear mounted turbo to the line for his pass next to Mitchell. As he got the car settled and readied the boost to make an attempt the adrenaline was flowing and he waited for Mitchell to stage. The rocket couldn't wait any longer and the bullet took off before the tree activated. When this happens, no time is recorded for the driver and therefore, no qualifying time so Major was not in the field despite a very clean and quick looking pass which could have been the first 7-second pass in the Pro 8...but we will never know. Valla took the top spot this round and he was off and running bouncing the car to an 8.277 @ 172.50 MPH. Neither Zona nor Ziajski made it to the line this time and Anderson had not yet gotten in the field.
Second round of qualifying Anderson and Ziajski get in the field with passes at 11.062 @ 129.23 and 11.775 @ 119.77 respectively. Eckert was not able to improve on his first qualifying pass and was bumped down to the number three spot as this time Mitchell would make a clean pass. Angelo Valla did improve on his qualifying time and closed the gap on that elusive 7-seond pass. The blue C3 took off from the line with the usually eye-widening wheel stand and crossed the finish line in only 8.087 seconds at a monster 175.78 MPH holding the number one spot for the time being. The LOW ET crew was at the line next. This event, the Mitchell brothers brought the engine builder, Bobby Banmann with them and they got the tune in the car. It all clicked and they got off the line hard and fast with no reason to lift mid track this time. At the 330', no lift, 1/8th mile, no lift, 1000', no lift, could this be the pass? Yes!!!! The board light it up for the first time every in The Vette Doctors Pro 8 Shootout history....a 7. The pass was perfect and the number was the gauntlet had been laid down, 7.826 @ 176.33 MPH (video). Congratulations to the Mitchell family and team on the Seven. But wait....Paul Major was next. We could be seeing yet another 7. Major carefully staged the car again and got the boost up. The crowd anxiously waited but he did it again. He was off and running before the tree was activated. This new combination is tough to tame and while Major has a learning curve ahead of him, it cost him dearly today as he would not record an ET today, not even an RT which would have gotten in the field. While the car count of cars was under the 8, Major could not be allowed into the field per NHRA rules as no time was recorded. Tough break for the resilient Major who would be back out for first round to make an exhibition pass. Mitchell was number one and on we go to races.
Round 1 - Five Corvettes, two pairings and a single. As luck would have it there would be only close pairing in the first round. It was not Angelo Valla (2) who would face Paul Ziajski (5). Ziajski was getting his point while Valla was .147 reaction time 9.664 @ 135.44 was good for the win over Ziajski's 11.418 @ 122.32. It appears Valla has been hitting the practice tree or has tweaked his car to react better to the .400 pro tree. Jason Anderson (4) had a shot against Alan Eckert (3). Anderson was off the line first with a .276 reaction time and got the win with a 10.894 to the slower Eckert 11.486 at 122.00. Mitchell (1) got a bye run thanks to the number one spot and completed an 8.926 @ 128.38 MPH pass.
Round 2 - Mitchell would be up against Anderson in this semi-final paring. Both cars burning nitrous but Mitchell was the favorite with a 565ci big block with Chevy heads was the favorite. Mitchell was away first and never looked back with an 8.324 @ 173.84 to Anderson's 10.712 @ 129.02. Valla got the single in this round and launched hard with a .078 reaction time but slowed to 11.019 @ 107.02 when the car got squirrelly mid track.
Round 3 - The Final - As it should be in heads-up racing, 1 vs. 2. Valla has been consistent today in with 3 out of 4 passes in the low 8's. Mitchell looking to repeat the seven second feat and capture to win. They staged and the tree blinked and they were gone. A couple of first happened here. First, Valla who had been struggling at the tree, beat Mike Mitchell on the tree for the first time. Valla's .105 reaction was better than Mitchell’s .116. The second first was the where the win light came up. Valla recorded his fifth 8-seocnd pass today at 8.274 @ 170.0 while Mitchell slowed when the transmission broke on the hit and was nowhere to be found when Valla cross the finish line. These two drivers put on a great show today and though we would have liked to seem them finish side-by-side, it did not take away for the thrilling day.
Exhibition Passes were abundant today. Leo Barnaby, Neverlift Racecraft (www.neverliftracecraft.com), was headed to MD to race when rain killed that plan so he diverted to Englishtown to make some exhibition/test passes with the series Neverlift presents. He made several passes, breaking his transmission on one but he got off a great one and nearly got the car into the 6's. This turbocharged Corvette competes in the Ultra Quick 8 at E-town and several Outlaw 10.5 races. Leo's best pass of the day was 7.01 at 199 MPH and we are fortunate to have it on (video) so enjoy it. Best of luck to Leo at the Ultra Quick 8 Sunday.
As stated before, Paul Major did not make the field for the Pro 8. Raceway Park allowed him to make an exhibition pass with the Pro 8 cars at the end of first round. This time out, Major got it all right. The jet sounding Silver Z06 was off and running with a reaction time and a 7-second pass of his own. He lit the board with a 7.899 @ an astounding 180.84 mph. You must see this to believe it so here is the (video).
Awards and Payouts Today
- Winner Angelo Valla earned a payout of $100 cash and a trophy
- Runner-up Mike Mitchell earned a payout of $50 cash and a trophy
- Number 1 Qualifier Mike Mitchell received a plaque for his 7.825 qualifying run
- Michael Mitchell received the Best Reaction Time plaque for the best winning reaction time in the first round at .043
So we have us a tie at first place. Thanks to Valla's win today, he brings his points total to 8 for the season. Paul Ziajski borrowed car move gave him 1 point brings his total to 8 points. Each driver has won one event. Alan Eckert follows in 3rd with 7 points. With two Pro 8's remaining, this Championship can go to anyone still. Click for points standings
The Vette Doctors Pro 8 Shootout will make up their June 24 rainout on November 4, 2006 and the August 19 rainout on November 18, 2006.
modified: December 31, 1969 - 7:00 pm
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