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Ralph Blauvelt Makes It Back-to-Back Taking Race 10

By Edgar Perez

October 30, 2010 - Englishtown, NJ - As the season approaches a close for East Coast Supercharging Corvette Challenge presented by Yank Racing Converters racers remain as enthusiastic as if it were the first race of the year. Cooler weather brings hopes of better performance from our Corvettes so we racers look forward to this time of year. It is also the time of year where one steps it up to reach those goals we set at the beginning of the year. Ralph Blauvelt is one of those racers who has stepped it up. After taking in the prior race just two weeks ago, he makes it two in a row today moving himself into third place in the standings. Tony Buonassisi, after a four race absence steps in and up never missing a beat going right to a final. Attendance was good today with 42 entries in the Corvette Challenge with several of those drivers running in our index classes which also enjoyed high entry with 14 racers in our 11.50, 9 in our 10.50 and 5 in our Pro 8 Shootout for a total of 70 entries from 52 drivers.

Round 1

The first pair on the track was Frank Schear in the Torch Red C4 against Artie Chin the Black C6. Schear nailed the tree with a .006 which would be good enough for the number 1 qualifying spot for the next round. Chin was late on the tree with a .176 and broke out chasing Schear who ran 12.92 on his 12.91 dial to boot. The very next pair was a double red involving our eventual winner. Ralph Blauvelt, dialed 13.77 would go -.040 red but it was only after his opponent, John Weitzel, dialed 14.20 would go red first with a -.009. In our type of racing the loser is the one who is worst or first and while his reaction time was not worse then Blauvelt's it was first so Blauvelt advanced to round two. The next pair involved a couple of C6's owned by John Panuzzo and Jerry Muniz. Panuzzo was out first with a 12.43 light and lazy .143 reaction time. Lucky for him, Jerry lost site of the tree rocking a .577 reaction time and Jpee was an easy winner. My guess, Jerry left on the green instead of the third yellow. Been there! Done that! Lucky for all of us, Jerry had his Flip video camera and stayed for the rest of the day to take some nice footage of our races and our racers. See link below. Our closest race of the round involved Rich Shuleski and Ray Sztabnik. Ray dialed his red C3 Corvette in at 13.14 and would leave first with a .137 green light. Shuleski followed with an 11.42 dial on the '96 Grand Sport Corvette with a better light at .051. Shuleski reeled in Sztabnik and unloaded the anchor running 11.565 @ 109.69 mph but it was not enough. Sztabnik took the stripe by .0031 for the win. Gene Paterno was back at the track with his Silver C5. Gene signed up for points at the beginning of the season for both Corvette Challenge and Pro 11.50. Car and health issues had held him back till today. He was back with a new motor build and running the 10.50 index in addition to the Corvette Challenge. He found himself paired with fellow 10.50/CC racer Marshall Brown. Gene is not quite done with his 10.50 build and was dialed in at 10.70 against Brown's Black C5 dialed at 10.01. He runs his car with a little nitrous and was looking for a new personal best. The race was over at the line when Marshall left with a red light and he got the PB but the nitrous did not kick in so it was a natural 10.267 which is great for the 10.50 index. Gene was a winner with a 10.804 and not showing his cards at 114.58 mph. Bill Martinson was back at the track as well. Some of our longer running racers may recall Bill finished second in the points chase to Bob Trieschmann in 2001, our first points season. He's got himself a new ride now and the bug to do some racing. Running his car on street tires, Martinson took a win in the round when he his opponent Peter LoPresti went red, -.005. Bill went on to run 11.698 @ 131.11 mph which he was pretty pleased with. Speaking of back at the track, Jay Dobbins, or JD as we all know him, was back as with Bill shooting video and taking pictures…just like old times.

While LoPresti's -.005 red was close it was not the closest in the round to perfect. That belonged to his buddy and neighbor, Ken Tyler. Kenny, our Gear Jammer point leader, went -.004 read against the just mentioned first points Champion in our series, Bob Trieschmann. We did have one dead-on pass in the round and that belonged to Eric Fischer in the Green C5. Fischer dialed in at 11.50 and ran 11.501 taking the round win over Bob Gay. Bob was not far off on his dial as he ran 12.032 on 12.00 dial with a .023 reaction time. Fischer took the win by a .0064 margin.

Other drivers who did not make it to round two are Tony and Vinny Cupolo, Louis Calicchia, Bruce Kopcko, Keith Bitzel, Ken Baranski, Paul Bogdan (who went on to win the 11.50 index today), Mark Bruener and Doug Bereczki.

Runner Up Group Winner
Runner-up Tony Buonassisi Group Winner Ralph Blauvelt
Photos by Edgar Perez and Vivian Harris. For over 7,000 Corvette Photos, click here.

Round 2

We are now left with 19 Corvettes for round 2. Gary Hillen would take on Tony Abbruzze in the first pair under the tower to the starting line. Abbruzze would leave first with a 12.92 dial and Hillen would chase with an 11.50 on the window. Great race at the tree with Hillen's .018 bettering Abbruzze's .031. Hillen did a better job at the finish line going 11.542 @ 105.41 mph getting the win over Abbruzze by a margin of .017, the close match of the round. Next we would see a rematch of the final from two weeks ago with Blauvelt having defeated Trieschmann. The result would be the same as Blauvelt advances 13.751 on 13.72 dial as Trieschmann lit the red by 0.059 when he left the starting line. Next up we would have a pair of CCDV racers, Ellis Gray and Tad Archambault. Gray took the win when Archambault could not run his dial-in which worked to Ellis's advantage as he was dead-late on the tree, .172. Ellis, by the way, just came off clinching the 2010 E'town Friday night 11.50 Index Championship the night before so big congrats to Yo-El on that. He remains in the hunt for an 11.50 index title in our Corvette 11.50 as well and sits in second overall in our bracket class. Good year for Ellis. Next up, Mike Campbell took a win over Bill Martinson when Martinson broke out on his 11.55 dial running 11.487. In a double red match, Ray Sztabnik's -.002 came before Eric Fischer's 0.064 so Fischer would advance to round 3. The next pair has another -.002 red light, this one owned by Rob Farley. Rob's red made a winner of Dave Buddendorff who used the red to check up on his 12.97 dial which he needed as he ran 12.718 doing so. Dead-on racing is what we got next with Tony Buonassisi doing it with a zero. His 12.310 on 12.31 dial at 109.63 mph was a winner over Ron Higgins who fell off pace on his 11.95 dial running 12.172. Our 2011 Champion Ralph Savarese ran his black C4 dead-on right after this one. His 11.434 on 11.43 dial with .024 light was a winner over Gene Paterno's better .013 light but 10.82 on 10.70 dial was not enough beat the Champ. In the final pair to the line this round, John Panuzzo took a double breakout win over Mark Fields to advance to round 3. Frank Schear's number 1 qualifying .006 reaction time round 1 earned him a bye run this round due to an uneven number of Corvettes. He went red but it did not matter on the bye run and ran 12.947 on 12.91 dial.

2010 Event 10 Ladder

Round 3

Down to 10 cars for the round and Buonassisi would lead us off with a match against Snoozo Panuzzo. Jpee is struggling with the tree and this time it cost him. His .227 light was off pace to Tony's .116 light. Panuzzo broke out trying to make up for the light difference running 12.383 on 12.43 dial. Jpee was lucky to get away today with a 3rd round appearance with an average of .173 on the tree. Frank Schear was not struggling at the tree and it showed with a .007 reaction time backing up is first round .006 and he was on the way to the next round without even needing it. His opponent Eric Fischer went -.010 red and Frank finished his pass with win light on. Blauvelt took a win over Dave Buddendorff when he ran the stripe better with a 13.722 on 13.70 dial as Buddendorf was off with a 12.92 on 12.85 dial. Gary Hillen lit the red with a -.011 light and gave the win to Mike Campbell who got away with one with a .231 light. Finishing the round was our first and second points drivers, Ralph Savarese and Ellis Gray. They met two weeks ago in the first round with Gray going red. This week was different as Gray drilled the tree with a .019 light. Savarese was trailing with a .065 reaction time. Gray was dialed 11.50 and Savarese 11.43. Both drivers ran under their indexes. Savarese took the win doing it by less with an 11.420 @ 113.17 to Gray's 11.480 @ 116.32.

Round 4 - Quarter-Final

Schear and Campbell would face off and after some really good lights, Schear slowed to .138 but got away with a round win. Campbell was late as well with a .151. He was better on the dial as will running 12.923 on 12.91 dial. The other pair was a pair of Ralph's. Blauvelt and Savarese would go at it again. Savarese's lit the tires up on his Corvette at the hit of the throttle and had to lift and he slowed to a nineteen second pass. His 60' was off by three tenths so there was not chance to make that back up. Blauvelt, having seen Savarese was not near, sailed across the finish line with a 15-second pass. The final racer of the round was Tony Buonassisi with a bye run. He did not push the tree or the car on the pass and was on his way to the semi finals.

Round 5 - Semi-Final

Buonassisi would face Schear and Blauvelt would get the bye into his second final in a row. Frank would leave first with a 12.91 dial but was late on the tree. His .338 light would leave the door open for Buonassisi to get to his first Corvette Challenge final. Buonassisi would leave with a 12.29 on the window and .028 green light. A tap of the brakes to ensure no breakout and Buonassisi puts in the books with a 12.637 @ 96.38 mph. Blauvelt then pulls up for his bye run and drills the tree but lights the red. Still it is close, a -.002. Did not matter, he was on the way to the final regardless.

Round 6 - Final

It is not a common occurrence for a racer to make a final two races in a row but that is exactly what Ralph Blauvelt pulled off. Tony has been racing with us for quite some though has not been out much this year. This is his first final round appearance. He faces Blauvelt who is in his fourth overall winning two of three thus far. Blauvelt dials 13.80 on the window with Buonassisi dialing 12.29. Blauvelt is away green with a .023 reaction time and just as he is getting away his win light comes on. Buonassisi had gone red with a -.014. Blauvelt is the third Corvette Challenge racer winning back-to-back events joining; you guess it, Ralph Savarese and Rob Farley as the only drivers to pull this off. Congratulations to Ralph Blauvelt.

Corvette Challenge Points Update

2010 Champion Ralph Savarese increased his point total to 46, two shy of the season record high of 48 and all that is left for him to shoot for. Ellis Gray came in today in the second spot and remains there with a total of 29 points. However after two consecutive wins, he is within reach of Ralph Blauvelt who now has 26 total points for the season to go along with his two event wins. Rob Farley falls to fourth place with 26 points with no event wins (the first tiebreaker). Rookie Vinnie Cupolo falls to fifth place over all with his 25 total points and one event win. The top 10 is rounded out with Doug Bereczki, Rich Shuleski, Louis Calicchia, Eric Fischer and Ken Tyler. With only race left, the key here is who is going to qualify for the Top 16 Gamblers Invitation race. The 16th spot is held now by Dave Buddendorff with 17 points and he holds it with the tiebreaker points. With 7 point up for grabs at the last race (provided 33 or more entries) a driver from as low as deep as our 35th spot can still bump his way into the 16th, jacket earning, position.
2010 Corvette Challenge Standings
Corvette drivers page with more driver information

Rookie of the Year Update

Congratulations are now due to Vincent Cupolo on earning the 2010 Rookie of the Year honors. Vinnie's total now 25 with an event win clinches the title for the top rookie spot. Sitting by watching his brother, Tony, having all the fun, Vinnie went out and got a Corvette to join him. Vinnie had the talent and car to run away with the title. Second place in the rookie chase is still open with Russ DeLibero holding that spot with 12 points. Right behind him in third is Peter Huff with 10 points.
Rookie of the Year Standings

Gear Jammer Award Update

Ken Tyler's first round exit was just want Gary Hillen needed to help close the gap in the chase for top Gear Jammer honors for 2010. Tyler still hold a good lead with 22 total points for the season but Hillen has now closed the gap to 4 points with a total of 18 of his own. Hillen would need at least 5 points more than Tyler at the last race next week or 4 more points if he wins the event, to take it away. Tyler, will surely not want that to happen and would clinch by winning two rounds at the last race. Frank Fiori (14) sits in third place with no shot at first but has a shot at taking the second spot from Hillen should falter. Michael Archibald and Don Pepper Jr, 12 points each, have outside chances of getting to the second spot as well.
Gear Jammer Standings.

Awards Handed Out at this Event

  • Frank Schear won the 'Best Winning Reaction Time - 1st Round plaque presented by Raceway Park for the best winning reaction time in the 1st round. Frank Schear was quickest on the tree with the win light in the 1st round when with a .006 reaction time.
  • Ken Tyler won the 'Almost Perfect Award' with a loss in the 1st round with the red light closest to .000 (Almost Perfect). Ken Tyler's light was -0.004 and was awarded a plaque from Old Bridge Township Raceway Park recognizing the effort put forth to try and capture a perfect light but just slightly red.
  • Eric Fischer won the CCDV 'Closest to Dial Award' by running only .001 off his dial. Eric Fischer was awarded a plaque and free tech card for a future race from Corvette Club of Delaware Valley.
  • Richard Shuleski won the 'Ohh so Close Award' presented by Raceway Park when being edged out in the 1st round by the smallest margin of victory of .0031. That number is the MOV number on your time slip. Although suffering a loss in the 1st round by the smallest Margin of Victory, Richard Shuleski earned a plaque from Raceway Park.
  • All winners of the first round were awarded a trophy. With 71 cars making this event (combined Corvette Challenge and Pro class(es)), we sure gave out quite a few trophies or 1st Round Trophy Upgrade Program credits.

Next Two Races

We are down to one final Corvette Challenge race open to all racers and that is this weekend, Saturday, November 6, 2010. This race is open to all Corvettes to race in any of our four classes, Corvette Challenge Bracket, Pro 11.50 Index, Pro 10.50 Index and Pro 8 Shootout 9.50 Index. The next and final race of the season will be the following Saturday, Nov 13 and is open only to the Top 16 Corvette Challenge bracket racers. It is a Gamblers style race where the winner will receive $1,000 and runner up $200. The entry is the normal $30 Corvette Challenge entry plus an additional $75 per racer used to fund the payout for the day. It is an optional race for our Top 16 invited racers. If you think you might qualify and cannot make or choose not to participate, please let us know so that we can invite the next racer in the standings. All other Corvettes are able to participate in the one (or more) of the other classes Raceway Park is offering including the Corvettes vs. GTO (bracket) race and GM EFI Series which includes a bracket class, an 11.50 Index and a heads-up class. For more information about the schedule visit You can discuss the series on , the Drag Racing section of The Corvette Forum where you can find news, updates and polls.

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 and Dennis Kazimir. We'd be reduced to time shots only without our sponsors - many thanks for the continued support of our sponsors;

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