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Rich Shuleski Ends 8-Year Drought with Event 3 Win

By Edgar Perez

April 3, 2010 - Englishtown, NJ - This was our third week in a row of racing for the East Coast Supercharging Corvette Challenge presented by Yank Racing Converters and we were once again racing in spring-like weather as opposed to the wintery cold we raced in last week. The turnout was once again, great with 46 drivers making the first round of competition. Two other drivers made time runs but were not able to get to round one. Thirteen of these drivers also entered one of our Index classes too. It was an action packed day of racing for our series. Title sponsor, East Coast Supercharging brought out their new two-car stacker trailer freshly painted and lettered with their name and logo on the side. If you did not get a chance to check it out, stop over during the next race and see for yourself the massive amount of space in the trailer.

It was a bit of a rare day for our racers and event Winner, Rich Shuleski as he was at the track without his faithful sidekick, Jaymie. She was not feeling well and stayed home and missed her husband's return to the winners circle. We missed you Jaymie but if Rich is superstitious we may not see you till the banquet next year. Hopefully not.

Runner Up Group Winner
Runner-up Dave Robert Gay Coordinator Bob Trieschmann, Winner Rich Shuleski and Runner-up Robert Gay Winner Rich Shuleski
Photos by Edgar Perez. For over 7,000 Corvette Photos, click here.

Round 1

When the call came for round one, Doug Bereczki and Greg Colella led us to the starting line. Bereczki would leave first with a 14.37 dial on the 87 Corvette and runs dead-on the dial to kick us off with a 14.397. The bad part for Doug is he was late on the tree with .371. The good luck for Doug is that Colella ran well under his 13.50 dial. The deal was Colella drives a convertible and cannot dial less than 13.50 without a rollbar or hardtop. He ran out the pass breaking out by 2 seconds running 11.491 and Doug would escape the late light and advance. A few pair later Frank Schear and Vic Gandhi faced-off with a couple of great reaction times. Schear left with a .059, and Gandhi bettered that slightly with a .052. With the trees almost even, the driver closer to the dial would likely get the win. It was Schear going 13.084 on 13.05 dial while Gandhi would run 11.862 on 11.76 dial. But that one was not as good as the John Policastro and Tony Abbruzze pair. Oddly both drivers dialed even numbers. Abbruzze 13.00 and Policastro 12.00. Abbruzze cuts a .013 light and Policastro answers with a .009 light! It gets better. Abbruzze goes .059 over on the dial and Policastro goes .047 on his dial getting the win by a margin of only .0143. Great race gentlemen. The best reaction time of the round went to Mike Moran in his 2001 Corvette he was sharing with ECS co-owner Doug Ring who was running our 9.50 Index for points while his own car is down. Moran faces Rob Petyo and took a huge tree advantage cutting a .006 light to Petyo's .336. Moran rode the light to the win running 11.610 @ 116.60 mph to Petyo's 11.239 on 11.11 dial. Another nice pair of lights came from Russ DeLibero and David Tortolani. They cut identical .041 lights. DeLibero was off his 13.48 dial with a 13.585 run but Tortolani ran under his 11.06 dial breaking out with just an 11.056. Out of frustration, rumor has it that Tortolani took the "Farley exit" and drove straight out the back of the track.

Ken Tyler drew fellow New Yorker John Panuzzo. John had his Blue C6 dialed at 12.70 and Tyler dialed slightly faster at 12.40 as both left clean and green Tyler had a big advantage by virtue of his .041 to John's uncharacteristic .155. The man of many nicknames was coined today by Walter Frey; "Snoozo Panuzzo" for that light. That's gonna leave a mark. John was out front and Ken came charging hard but ole Johnny Boy was takin' the stripe thus Tyler forced him out with a 12.64. Tyler was safe by .07 with a 12.47. It has been quite a turnaround for Tyler this season who said he won more races the first couple events than all last season despite the fact that he runs a standard 6 speed, who many consider a disadvantage in bracket style racing. Tyler commented a standard transmission built right for the application with the help of an experienced tuner and the right clutch can be a deadly combination. His Corvettes of Westchester tuned Rockland Standard Transmission equipped Vette is proving the naysayers wrong. Tyler is eager to try index racing in the trial 12.50 Index race scheduled during the Corvette Show & Go July 31. A quick reacting car might have an advantage on a pro tree. We'll just have to wait and see.

For some of our newer racers, you may not be familiar with term "dead-on". It means that you predicted your dial exactly to the hundredth of a second. Since we do not dial our cars to the thousandth but our elapsed time is recorded to the thousandth, we call it "dead-on" with a number which stands for the thousandth we do not predict on our dial. A driver who can predict "dead-on" is very likely going to get a win. It is not always the case, however. For example, Louis Calicchia, winner of our last two Corvette Challenge events, dialed his Corvette in at 11.60 this round. He ran dead-on with a 4 or 11.604. He did not get the win! He did not get the win because he cut a .115 light and his opponent, Ralph Blauvelt, cut a .008 light. A better light meant he did not have to be as close on the dial as Calicchia was to get the win. He ran 14.149 on his 14.08 dial. Tough break for Louis but Blauvelt ran a better package and was a winner in the "bounty" placed on Louis by John Panuzzo. Calicchia was not the only one that this happened to. Four-time Champion Ralph Savarese was also dead-on this round. Savarese, dialed 10.99 and ran dead-on with a 9. Savarese, however lost the round differently than Calicchia. Savarese left with a red light; a -.010 red light. When he went red, he lit the win light for our eventual winner, Rich Shuleski. Speaking of red lights, five other Corvette racers ended their days early by lighting the red light. Dennis Kazimir (-.016), Jerry Muniz (-.028), Artie Chin (-.029), Jack Dennis (-.052) and Ken Baranski (-.127) were joining Savarese on the sidelines, the red side.

It was not a good day to be a Bogdan as both of our Bogdan's lost first round. Mike Bogdan was treated to the "Farley Slide" when he left with a .204 green light to Farley's .121. Farley took the win with an 11.582 on his 11.51 dial at a "whopping" 104.91 mph. No doubt the brake rotors were glowing red on the Easter egg car. The other Bogdan, Paul, no relation, was paired with Ray Sztabnik. The tree advantage went to Sztabnik with a .081 to .119 light and he also took the win when Bogdan ran 11.472 on 11.50 dial breaking out. Other drivers not advancing to the next round were Tom Smith, Randolph Lane, Bruce Kopcko, Bob Trieschmann, Peter LoPresti and Greg Errion who suffered mechanical failure in his FRC when he snapped the left output shaft upon launch.

Round 2

Now with 23 Corvettes remaining racers would be placed on a sportsman ladder by their reaction times in the prior round. This meant Mike Moran would get a bye run this round thanks to his 1st round best .006 reaction time. After having the great race eliminating the winner of the last two events, Ralph Blauvelt would go out this round with a -.062 red light allowing Ron Higgins to advance with a .167 RT and breakout 13.142 on 13.15 dial. Al Salanitro would also go out by red light, his -.014. Tad Archambault would be the benefactor of that red and advance to round 3. The best light of the round was also the best light the event in eliminations and it came from a rookie, Russ DeLibero, schooling three-time champion Rob Farley. Russ DeLibero would lay down a .001 light when he left on his 13.52 dial. Farley would follow with a .060 light wondering what was up with this rookie he could not catch while breaking out with an 11.421 on 11.44 dial. This time Farley was not on the brakes, running it all out to 117.36 MPH. Watch out Russ, Farley never forgets. Nice light! Two of our top Gear Jammer competitors Ken Tyler and Frank Fiori paired off this round. Fiori, dialed 12.85, would get the head start over Tyler dialed 12.40. Tyler would win the battle at the tree with a .079 to .128 and Fiori broke out lighting the win light giving Tyler the win. Ellis Gray and Eric Fischer would square off and were nearly dialed heads-up. Fischer dialed 11.56 would leave .03 before Gray who was dialed 11.53. His .066 light trailed Gray's .048 and at the top-end Gray would get the win running closer on his dial with an 11.542 to Fischer's 11.591. Ellis has Fischer's number this year. The two have squared off 4 times already this year in multiple categories, and Ellis leads the series, 4-0. George Chambers dialed his 2000 Corvette in at 13.51 and ran 13.552 but had .345 light which cost him the race. His opponent, Bob Gay, ran 12.117 on his 12.05 dial with .043 light for the win. Rich Shuleski cut a .035 light against Vincent Cupolo and took the win as Cupolo was 4-tenths off his dial. Frank Schear cuts a .039 light and ran down Doug Bereczki for the win as he had him covered both on the tree and the dial. Two drivers got wins by their opponent going red. Tad Archambault would advance to the next round when Al Salanitro went -.014 red. Tad had a .230 light. We had two 10-seocnd cars in the round and Cupolo was one and Shawn Cavanagh was the other. Cavanagh would give the head start to Don Peppler Jr who was dialed 13.36 while he had a 10.50 dial. Cavanagh would leave the line with a .036 following Peppler's .078. Cavanagh ran him down and took the win with a 10.577 @ 125.16.

2010 Event 3 Ladder

Round 3

Frank Schear is on a roll today and faces Ken Tyler this round. Schear leaves the line first with a dial set at 13.05 and Tyler follows him with a 12.45 dial. Mid-run, Tyler has some trouble and could only muster a 13.610 making Schear a winner. Bob Gay faced Ray Stabnik next and Sztabnik leaves the line with a .172 light on 13.00 dial. Gay leaves with a .158 on 12.05. With the lights slow but close, both driver's had a shot to win. Gay would run closer to the dial going 12.088 for the win. Rookie Russ DeLibero continued his strong showing against Mike Moran. DeLibero trees Moran with a .042 to .170 advantage. Both driver's ran too quick but DeLibero broke out by less taking the win. Anthony Buonassisi was determined to "go rounds today" but would cut a .170 light against Tad Archambault who was .356 on the tree. Buonassisi proceeds to run dead-on his 12.69 dial with a 2 for the win. Tad broke out trying to catch him. Rich Shuleski cut another great light in the '96 Grand Sport going .038 to get the advantage over Ron Higgins who was a respectable .079. Shuleski closed the gap at the top end going 11.730 on 11.51 dial @ 107.22 mph as Higgins was off his dial of 13.12 going 13.329. The final pair ended up being a competition single as Shawn Cavanagh, running two classes had just won a round in the 10.50 Index going dead-on 10.50 with a 9 but losing his blower belt in the process. He could not replace the belt and did not make the call. Ellis Gray took a competition single and ran dead on himself going 11.516 on 11.51 dial.

Round 4 - Quarter-Final

Six drivers left, 5 veterans and 1 rookie. Veterans Gray, Gay, Schear, Shuleski, and Buonassisi are all good racers who on any given day are capable of making it to the winner's circle. And rookie DeLibero is on a roll today cutting some killer lights. Shuleski would face Buonassisi in the first pair. Buonassisi would leave first with 12.61 dial and lights the red light going -.020 moving Shuleski to the next round. Shuleski took the free pass and ran 11.423 on his 11.51 dial. DeLibero and Gray would face-off next. DeLibero leaves first with a 12.40 dial and stellar .014 light. Gray waits for the tree with his 11.49 dial and is off just a little too quick. A -.009 red light puts the win light on for DeLibero. Gay would race Schear next. Schear was late on the tree with a .197 and Gay was not with a .047. A tenth and a half is too big a gap to give on the tree and Gay runs closer on his dial going 12.091 @ 103.31 on 12.05 dial for the win.

Round 5 - Semi-Final

Three left and Shuleski would get the bye run on the ladder. On the ladder the first bye run goes to the highest qualified driver who was Mike Moran in round 2. In this case, qualified means best reaction time in the round before going to a ladder. We go to a ladder when we get to a round with 32 cars or less. The second bye goes to the 2nd seeded driver or the person that defeats that driver. In today's case number two seed was Ralph Blauvelt who lost to Ron Higgins round 2 so it would have been Higgins’s who got the bye but he lost to Shuleski transferring that bye to him for this semi-final round. Gay and DeLibero would battle for the right to race Shuleski in the final. DeLibero would dial 13.35 and get to leave first to Gay's 12.04 dial. When he left the light the red came and DeLibero had lost with a -.061 light. Gay was away clean with a .061 light and 12.062 @ 110.58 on 12.04 dial and was headed to his third Corvette Challenge final.

Round 6 - Final

Shuleski brings his 1996 Grand Sport Corvette into the final having been here twice before wining once. Shuleski is a formidable racer, but mostly due to mechanical failures and just plain bad luck, hasn't seen the winner's circle in 8 years. Gay brings his 1985 Corvette into the final for the third time looking for his first win. Gay is also a great racer, who doesn't race with us frequently, but when he does he usually goes rounds. Gay dialed 12.05 and would leave first. Shuleski keeps the 11.51 dial on his window. Gay would take the advantage on the tree with a .058 light to Shuleski's .113. He would need a near perfect run to take the win. That he did. He goes dead-on with a 6 in the final and takes the win over Gay's 12.119. It took us until the final round for closest margin of victory of the day. The drivers crossed the finish line only 0.0088 of a thrid apart. A very exciting final indeed and great finish to a great race. Shuleski leaves with his second Corvette Challenge while Gay collects his second runner-up in the series. Thanks for the great final today gentleman.

Corvette Challenge Points Update

With his four points today, Ellis Gray takes over the lead in the standings. Amazing, when you consider Gray's Corvette suffered some damage in his final pass last week and thoughts of not being able to return today crossed everyone's minds. He now has 11 total points and leads Louis Calicchia, in second, by 2 points. Calicchia's 9 points, after a first round exit today, actually ties him for second place with today's winner, Rich Shuleski. Each driver has 9 points and an event win. They are followed by four drivers with 7 points. The drivers tied for fourth with 7 points are an interesting mix. Two of them are multi-time Champions Ralph Savarese and Rob Farley; ne is our top gear jammer driver, Ken Tyler, and the forth is a rookie, Russ DeLibero. We have a total of 66 points drivers thus far it is not too late for you to sign up for the season.
2010 Corvette Challenge Standings
Corvette drivers page with more driver information

Rookie of the Year Update

This year's rookie class includes seven drivers thus far. The leader of the rookie class is Russ DeLibero on the strength of his semi-final appearance today. He holds a 2-point lead over Vincent Cupolo who has made it to the second round both appearances this year. In third place is Rob Petyo with 4 points. Three other drivers are tied with 3 points in the tied in third place. Peter Huff, Marc Marsico and Greg Errion are all tied now. With 8 more races to go this year you can still get into the mix so give it a shot.
Rookie of the Year Standings

Gear Jammer Award Update

Holding the top spot in our Gear Jammer's category is Ken Tyler with a third round appearance, his second in a row this year. He holds the top shifters spot with 7 total points in his C5 Corvette. Two drivers, Frank Fiori and Tad Archambault are tied for second, 2 points behind with 5 each. Don Peppler Jr. is fourth in the standing with four points in his '67 Corvette. Six driers are tied for fifth with 3 points each.
Gear Jammer Standings.

Awards Handed Out at this Event

  • Mike Moran won the 'Best Winning Reaction Time - 1st Round plaque presented by Raceway Park for the best winning reaction time in the 1st round. Mike Moran was quickest on the tree with the win light in the 1st round when with a .006 reaction time.
  • Ralph Savarese won the 'Almost Perfect Award' with a loss in the 1st round with the red light closest to .000 (Almost Perfect). Ralph Savarese's light was -0.010 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.
  • Doug Bereczki won the CCDV 'Closest to Dial Award' by running only .009 off his dial. Doug Bereczki was awarded a plaque and free tech card for a future race from Corvette Club of Delaware Valley.
  • John Panuzzo 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 .0126. That number is the MOV number on your time slip. Although suffering a loss in the 1st round by the smallest Margin of Victory, John Panuzzo earned a plaque from Raceway Park.
  • All winners of the first round were awarded a trophy. With 78 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

Racers now get a three week break before we race our fourth race of the year (third for points) on April 24th. That race is followed by an even longer break to our next race on June 5th. Please make plans to come out and have a great time either racing or just being at the track with friends.. Please keep an eye out on our home page, and the , the Drag Racing section of The Corvette Forum and your email for 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, Dennis Kazimir and Rob Farley. We'd be reduced to time shots only without our sponsors - many thanks for the continued support of

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