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2007   *  Event 1   *  Event 2   *  Event 3   *  Event 4   *  Event 5   *  Event 6   *  Event 7   *  Event 8   *  Event 9   *  Event 10   *  Event 11 * 2007 Standings

Ralph Savarese Starts the Season More Warmed-up Than Most With Event 1 Win

By Edgar Perez

March 10, 2007: Ah yes, spring is in the air. So what if we had snow earlier in the week and some had to chop ice to get to their trailers. It was opening day for the East Coast Supercharging Corvette Challenge presented by Yank Racing Converters and Gear Star Transmission we were all chomping at the bit to get rolling. Several drivers were already out racing at the National Corvette Challenge in Richmond a few weeks ago but many had not been out at all as of yet. The event featured 54 Corvettes making first round and several of them doubling up in the Trophy Marathon.

Today we also was the debut of the new Panasonic GS500 video camcorder that several of the drivers chipped in to purchase for use in the Corvette Challenge and I have to warn you, I am still learning the camera so bear with me when you check out the videos on I did not get a whole lot of videos but did take some after I parked my car which was having trouble hooking up due to worn tires. Enough about me though, let's talk about racing.

Runner Up Group Winner
Don Peppler Don Peppler, Edgar Perez, Ralph Savarese Ralph Savarese

Photos by Chris Young

Round one - The first pair was a couple 11.7 Corvettes to get us off to a quick start. John Trescott, winner of the 2006 $1000 gamblers race and runner up of the National Corvette Challenge, caught a break when his .095 light was more than enough to cover Ed Quinn how was late off the tree and ran under going 11.627 @ 121.11 on 11.75 dial to Trescott’s 11.8238 @ 97.97 on 11.77 dial. George Smith from Brooklyn cut a .028 light against James Kovitch's .146 but ran over his 10.92 dial by too much with an 11.054 on 10.90 dial while Kovitch was dead-on 13.922 on 13.92 dial. Tom Smith, no relation I presume, used a .038 light combined with a 12.872 on 12.94 to Frank Fiori's .023 and 12.557 on 12.65 dial to take a double breakout win. Bill Ehret ran his 2007 Z06 with 427 really close on his dial going 12.412 @ 121.07 on 12.40 dial but was late on the tree allowing Eric Fisher to get a way with a late light of his own but was .4 better with a .171 light running 11.976 on 11.93 dial advancing to the second round. Kyle Nikola was back with his C6 dialed 11.50 and he advanced when rookie racer Barbara Grippo ran under her dial with a 13.841 @ 100.00 on 14.17 dial. Kyle is headed back to school in Ohio with the Vette and will be looking to race at National Trail in Columbus. Bill Martinson, who contended for the championship in 2001, was back with a new to him Torch Red 1999 Corvette and promptly picked up where he left off three years ago taking the win with a 12.096 on 11.95 dial as Shawn Cavanagh lit the red light against him. Tony Buonassisi got the highlight of the round when his .012 light and 12.830 on 12.81 dial bettered defending champion Rob Farley who was .026 on the tree and 13.120 on 13.08 dial @ 105.95 MPH. Lucky for Farley this was not a points race. With the wind blowing leaves across the track at a quick clip, re-runs were the order of the day with four of them needed in round one.

Ralph Savarese, on the way to the final, cut a .093 light and did not have to run it out on his 11..09 dial as Ron Lynch gave him a nice starting line advantage and Ralph coasted to an 11.356 @ 97.83. Don Peppler Jr. was involved in one of those reruns due to a blow-by and got a -.009 red light from Al Raven, driving a 468 cid 1969 Corvette. Peppler went on to run 13.322 @ 104.20 on the 13.20 dial. Incidentally, Raven is involved in the Corvette Show & Go at Raceway Park and is looking forward to having our Corvette Challenge racers participate in that event as well. It's in August and we'll give you a reminder as the date draws near.

2007 Event 1 Ladder

Round two - The highlight of this round was the Bole Bowl. Father, Jim Bole in the 2003 Corvette would race son, and 2006 Rookie of the Year, Devon, on Devon's birthday no less. Team orders, what team orders? Jim went 12.227 @ 110.61 but he won it on the staring line as Devon went red, -.070 to dad. Joe Latona was dead-on the tree this round with a .002 reaction time running 11.723 @ 115.92 taking the win light as he left the line with Gary Hurta in the C6 Z when he went red, -.089. Live by the tree die by the tree for Farley Killer Buonassisi as this time he was -.012 giving the win to Bill Martinson who was just under on his dial of 11.95 with an 11.942 @ 120.42. Ellis Gray was back at his winning ways with a dead on 11.269 @ 117.79 on 11.26 dial taking the win of Joe Signore who was 12.815 on 12.75 dial. Here is a close one for ya, .033 on tree for Jim Kasmala to John Hadyniak's .036. At the top end it was Hadyniak with an 11.357 @ 114.31 on 11.31 dial to Kasmala's 14.018 on 13.95 dial in a classic top end duel. If this was an omen, the two finalists were the last two pair in the round. Peppler Jr. cut an .017 light as he left on his 13.24 dial and Bill Fischer Sr. could not wait much longer with his 11.70 dial and left early lighting the win light for Peppler with a -.150 light. Savarese faced John Trescott and was the victor this time (they met in the final in 2001 Event 7 with an 11.237 @ 111.81 on 11.11 dial thanks to a .051 to .128 reaction time advantage.

Round three - Tony Abbruzze was up next and despite an impressive 13.148 on 13.12 dial could not advance against Hadyniak who was 11.360 on 11.32 dial this teem. Tony just could not make up the tiny .028 reaction time advantage he gave up on the starting line in this very close race. Jerry, "Boogieman" Muniz's day would be done this round as he came out on the short side in a double breakout race with Eric Fischer. Eric was closer to his 11.91 dial running 11.894 @ 112.82 while Muniz was 11.802 @ 116.06 on the 11.86 dial. Gray's tight dialing forced Jim Kovitch to break out getting away with a .126 reaction time. Kovitch went under his 13.92 dial running 13.871 @ 96.18 chasing Gray who was 11.223 @ 119.52 on 11.21 dial. Kyle Nikola advanced when Jim Bole lit the red light and Joe Latona got the single and ran it out running 11.620 on 11.65 dial @ 116.51. Savarese got a welcome back gift from Martinson when Martinson was late on the tree and Savarese was just getting warmed up with a .034 reaction time. Pepper Jr. was getting warmed up himself with a .016 reaction ending Vic Gandhi’s day despite Gandhi running 11.613 on 11.61 dial as a reaction time like Don's is hard to defend against.

Round four - Nikola's return would be halted by Hadyniak. Nikola took a tree advantage with a .042 to .084 but was a tenth off his 11.50 dial and that is just too much to give Hadyniak who went 11.345 on 11.33 dial. Eric Fischer used a .030 and 11.875 on 11.86 dial package to end Ellis Gray's day who was .048 and 11.179 on 11.21 dial on the a breakout pass. Savarese would get the courtesy of a red light from Joe Latona. Latona was close with a -.015 but a red is a red and Savarese would move on. Don Peppler Jr. would get the single this round and ran a 13.486 @ 103.83 on the all out test pass in the 1967 Corvette.

Round five - Four cars left and interestingly enough four different generations and none of the drivers strangers to getting this deep in eliminations. Ralph Savarese in the C4 would face John Hadyniak in the C3 in the first match up. Hadyniak would leave with a .076 but Savarese had him covered with his .039. Hadyniak chased and broke out chasing trying to catch Savarese running 11.278 on 11.31 dial while Savarese was on the brakes on the way to the final. Eric Fischer in the C5 would face Don Peppler Jr. in the C2 in the next pair. Peppler was out first with a 13.50 dial and .038 reaction time. Fischer would follow with an 11.86 dial and .056 reaction time. Fischer ran 11.873 on his .86 and Peppler 13.510 on his .50 dial. Both drivers were tight on the dial but the reaction time advantage was the difference sending Peppler to final to meet Savarese.

Round six - The Final - Here we are in the final with Peppler rowing the gears and Savarese doing his thing with the automatic. Peppler dialed in at 13.50 again would leave first and with a nice .049 reaction time. Savarese would follow with his 11.10 dial and .089 light light. Mid track the dreaded missed shift was heard coming from Peppler's car. He missed a gear and had to react and gave up valuable time causing him to be off his dial running 13.857. This advantage was all Savarese to needed to take the win. Needless to say Savarese has taken the big trophy several times being a former two-time Corvette Challenge Champion and multi-event winner.

Corvette Challenge Points Update

No points today and that, I am sure, makes some drivers very happy and some maybe not so but this one was to work the kinks out from the winter. Look for Rob Farley and Ralph Savarese to battle it out to become the first three-time series Champion, while 120 or so other drivers look to prevent that. Can you say "Bounty Time!"
2007 Corvette Challenge Standings
Corvette drivers page with more driver information

Rookie of the Year Update

This year's rookie class is growing. Currently we have 15 rookies contending for the Rookie of the Year title (which incidentally is currently not sponsored and great opportunity to get your company some very nice exposure, contact Edgar or Michelle at Raceway Park for more information). Several candidates are looking good with Chris Haase being one of the leading contenders despite his first round exit today. Martin Ganjoin and Gary Hurta also look to be strong contenders with there experience. That is not to say we could not be surprised like last year's battle where Devon Bole and Kimberly Rudolf took it to the final race of the year before Devon took the title.
Rookie of the Year Standings

Gear Jammer of the Year

Spectrum Equipment once again is sponsoring the Gear Jammer Award which recongnizes the top performer and runner up in points who shifts his way through the Challenge. Peppler Jr. once again did well getting to the final but since this is not a points race, no points are awarded. However, his runner-up performance here is a big indicator he is a contender to be reckoned with in 2007.
Gear Jammer Standings.

Awards Handed Out at this Event

  • won the 'John Panuzzo Jr. Memorial' trophy presented by Team Panuzzo Racing for the best winning reaction time in the 1st round. was quickest on the tree in the 1st round when his RT was .000.
  • won the 'Almost Perfect Award' with a loss in the 1st round with the red light closest to .000 (Almost Perfect). 's light was 0.000 and was rewarded a trophy from Old Bridge Township Raceway Park recognizing the effort put forth to try and capture a perfect light but just slightly red.
  • won the CCDV 'Closest to Dial Award' by running only .000 off his dial. was awarded a trophy and free tech card for a future race from Corvette Club of Delaware Valley.
  • Ohh so Close Award of Zaino products won the 'Ohh so Close Award' presented by Zaino when being edged out in the 1st round by the smallest margin of victory of .0000. That number is the MOV number on your time slip. Although suffering a loss in the 1st round by the smallest Margin of Victory, earned a Zaino starter package that includes Z1, Z2, Z6, Z7 and a polish pad.
  • All winners of the first round were awarded a trophy . With 53 cars making this event, we Racing gave out quite a few trophies or 1st Round Trophy Upgrade Program credits.

Next Two Races

March 17, 2007 for our first points race. The Cartek Racing Pro 10.0 index class will will be making its return. With the final Pro 10.0 of the season featuring and all 10-second field and no longer requiring points signup for this series, we look to have some very close competition in this class. See our schedule for racing on the top left of this page.

March 31, 2007 - This will be our second points race of the year. The Vette Doctors Pro 8 Shootout will return at this event. With the change over to an 8.50 index, this series will should provide close competion then it has in the past. You no longer have to be a points racer to partake in this class so if you can run in the from 9.99 to 8.50, come on down.

Visit the Drag Schedule at to view Raceway Park's schedule for other events and days for test and tuning.

As always, we couldn't enjoy our passion for racing without the tireless efforts of our coordinators - Edgar Perez, Bob Trieschmann & Dennis Kazimir. We'd be reduced to time shots only without our sponsors - many thanks for the continued support of Corvette Challenge - East Coast Supercharging | Yank Racing Converters | Gear Star Transmission | Team Panuzzo | Corvette Club of Delaware Valley - CCDV | Spectrum Equipment Service | Simple Man | QTP - Quick Time Performance | Carroll's Rod & Racecraft | Kooks Custom Headers | CFM Racing | Tortolani Racing | Anger Management Racing | East Coast Corvettes | | Zaino Bros | Pro Torque | Perez Web Design

Pro 8 Shootout - The Vette Doctors | Carroll's Rod & Racecraft | PM Construction | Marchese Homes, LLC | Lucid Diagnostic Imaging Services, LLC

Pro 10.0 Index - Cartek Racing | Silly Goose Racing Stables | Best Western, East Brunswick, NJ | Marchese Homes, LLC .

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modified: December 31, 1969 - 7:00 pm

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