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Back to Back for the Express from Mahopac

By Eric Fischer

June 5, 2010 - Englishtown, NJ - Today we raced the fifth of eleven East Coast Supercharging Corvette Challenge presented by Yank Racing Converters races leading up to our Top 16 race at the end of the year. June 5th 2010: It seems the weather is always a factor when we race and today was no different. The mercury was rising and got as high as 89.6 per our statistics with a DA well over 3000 on most weather stations at the track, the result being that most cars slowed down as the day progressed. As we head into this 6th race of the season, it's notable that our top three drivers, (Ellis Gray, Ralph Savarese and Louis Calicchia, are building a commanding points lead. Two of the drivers went out early in the rounds, but the third could not be stopped today. That driver was Ralph Savarese. Ralph plowed his way through the field, taking out yours truly in the process, eventually beating his nemesis Rob Farley in the final. Congrats to Ralph on another stellar day of racing.

Now let's get on to the round by round race results:

Runner Up Group Winner
Runner-up Rob Farley Winner Ralph Savarese
Photos by Edgar Perez. For over 7,000 Corvette Photos, click here.

Round 1

Forty Corvettes made the call for first round; the first pair out was Frank Schear in his '93 taking on Mike Bogdan in his '03 coupe. Schear got a HUGE hole shot advantage .029 to .374, Bogdan runs way under his dial 12.501 @ 112.56 on a 12.67 and Schear takes the win running 13.279 @ 100.25 on a 13.25 for a very nice total package of .058. Next out is Rob Farley in the familiar right lane and Shawn Cavanagh in the left. It's all over at the tree, as Cavanagh must have been watching the pretty girls in the stands (or sumtin') and is caught napping with a .244 light to Farley's .053. Farley coasts it on out running 11.596 @ 95.58 on an 11.47 to take the win. We had three drivers score a "dead-on" ET in this round, two of them advanced to round 2, one did not. The first driver to advance with a dead-on ET was Artie Chin. Artie has become quite the competitor lately and is able to cut sub .040 lights at will. His opponent is Ellis Grey who was sitting at #1 in the points. Artie leaves first with a .024 light and Ellis counters with a .008. It's gonna be a battle at the finish. At the big end Artie gets there first when he runs dead-on his dial 11.986 @ 118.14 on an 11.98 dial to Ellis' 11.532 @ 119.78 on an 11.48. The points leader is going home early. In a double breakout race, Bob Trieschmann gets the tree advantage over Jerry Muniz, but Jerry gets the win running 11.769 @ 116.76 on an 11.80 to Trieschmann's 14.006 @ 97.86 on a 14.07. The next driver to run dead-on was your author. Paired with Tom Smith, Tom leaves first with a .143 light to my .037. Tom runs under his dial, which makes it very hard for me to judge the stripe. But I get the win when I run an 11.575 @ 116.31 on an 11.57 to Tom's 12.434 @ 113.9 on a 12.54. Paul Bogdan uses a .015 light to shut down Frank Fiori; Frank's light was a .120 and Paul drives around him for the win. Andrew Volponi in his '03 Z06 cuts a beautiful .025 light to Ray Sztabnik .072 but Sztabnik gets the win when Volponi can't run the number. Pete LoPresti must have also been looking up in the stands as reflected by his .321 light and then proceeds to break-out running a 12.394 @ 117.35. Savarese in the other lane, cuts a .058 light and then runs it out to take the win running an 11.295 @ 120.09 on an 11.26. Lou Calicchia, coming into the race at #3 in the points, continues his winning ways, and with a .043 light, sends Peter Huff home, who had a .139 light. Peter was the third driver to run dead on his dial, but that was not enough to overcome the large difference in reaction time. Huff ran a 12.488 @ 113.37 on a 12.48. Russ DeLibero, in his 2000 coupe puts together a very nice package, with a .026 light and running only .03 over his dial to take the win over Greg Colella who had a .361 light and then ran a 13.192 @ 101.03 on a 13.5. Today marks the return of my father to racing, as I had "borrowed" his car for quite some time while mine was down for repairs. Tony Buonassisi gets the better light .094 to Bill Fischer Sr's .152, but Fischer Sr. gets the win when Tony can't run the number. Fischer runs an 11.79 @ 113.43 on an 11.71 on the brakes to Tony's 13.263 @ 113.1 on a 13.04. John Panuzzo is out next against my brother in law Greg Errion. Greg leaves first with a .094 green. Panuzzo responds with a not so snappy .245 green. Greg's new to this game, and is learning to drive the top end. He sees that he is ahead of Panuzzo and slows down, but doesn't slow down enough and breaks out. Panuzzo gets the win running a 12.837 @ 102.74 on a 12.79 to Errion's 13.034 @ 103.81 on a 13.10. Ken Tyler, coming into this race #4 in points, scores another round victory by defeating David Buddendorff to close out first round. Five other drivers advanced this round via a red light. Vincent Cupolo, Edgar Perez, Mike Archibald, Tad Archambault, and Doug Bereczki all advanced when their opponents went red.

Round 2

We are on the ladder this time. Every race there always seems to be a "red light" round, and in this case it was round 2. One half of the round 2 races were decided by the dreaded red light. Panuzzo, Muniz, Schear, Sztabnik, and Bereczki all advanced when their opponents Calicchia, Chin, Bill Fischer Sr., Paul Bogdan, and Ralph Blauvelt respectively all went red. In the non-red rounds, Farley was paired up with Adam Brandt in his '98 Vette. Brandt, who is out with his new to him C5, is out of the gate first with a very good .010. Farley responds with a .013. At the finish, Farley does the "Farley slide" to take the win. Farley runs an 11.509 @ 108.19 on an 11.47 to Brandt's 12.605 @ 110.83 on a 12.55. Yours truly goes dead-on again to take the win over Perez. My reaction time was a .041 to Edgar's .087. I ran closer to my running an 11.573 @ 116.2 on an 11.57 to Edgar's 10.34 @ 132.62 on a 10.50. Edgar later admitted that he felt he was on a record pass so he "let it all out" and never lifted. It wasn't a record pass but he would get one in the ensuing weeks. Savarese and Archambault both breakout but Savarese breaks out the least and gets the win. Ken Tyler puts on quite a show, cutting a .030 light and then proceeds to run dead-on with a zero, 12.670 @ 111.82. Archibald and DeLibero are out next, with only 7 thou' difference between their reaction times, Archibald takes the win by running closer to his dial-in, 12.138 @ 107.16 on a 12.10 to DeLibero's 13.685 @ 102.39 on a 13.58.

2010 Event 5 Ladder

Round 3

Only one red light this round. This time Ken Tyler is the benefactor when Bereczki goes red. The next pair is Sztabnik vs myself. I get the reaction time advantage (.006 vs .212) and I get the win when I run a 13.685 @ 102.39 on a 13.58 on the brakes to Sztabnik's 13.421 @ 102.2 on a 13.34. Farley comes up with a win when, on a double breakout, he goes 11.528 @ 117.42 on an 11.57 to M. Archibald's 12.10 on a 12.138 @ 13.685 on a 12.401. Panuzzo gets a .026 advantage on the tree over Muniz, and in a double breakout race, Panuzzo takes the win by breaking out the least running 12.772 @ 105.5 on a 12.81 to Muniz' 11.713 @ 110.92 on a 11.80. In the final pair, Savarese gets the better light, .033 to Schear's .096 and that is all he needed to take the win.

Round 4 - Quarter-Final

Five cars left. The New York crew is out first, Savarese vs. Panuzzo. I am sure he will correct me if I am wrong, but I don't think Panuzzo has been this far in a Corvette Challenge since, I dunno, 2003? Panuzzo leaves first with a leisurely .212 light to Ralph's .053. Ralph runs it hard and then coasts to the win running an 11.265 @ 114.06 on an 11.26 to Panuzzo's breakout 12.695 @ 110.72 on a 12.81. Ken Tyler is another racer that is on fire lately. But this time he tries a little bit too hard against Farley and goes -.015 red. Farley uses this as a tune-up pass and checks his dial running 11.443 @ 119.6 on an 11.45. By the luck of my position on the ladder, I get the bye into the semi's. I use this pass as a checkup pass for the 11.50 index class that I was running in concurrently and I go 11.528 @ 117.42 on an 11.57.

Round 5 - Semi-Final

Three cars left. Ralph and I are out first. Just prior to doing the burnout I still have my radio on and hear Walter saying over the PA "Fischer and Farley are already paired up for the finals of the 11.50 Index class. If Fischer were to get past Savarese, then it would be an all Fischer-Farley final in both the 11.50 and the Corvette Challenge, wouldn't that be fun to watch?.... HOWEVER, Fischer has to get past Savarese first, and that is no easy featů.." I agree with everything Walter says. We flipped for lane choice and I am not in my usual lane. I leave first and it's all over right away when I go red by .031. Then the car spins. I run it out anyway and run an 11.621 @ 117.28 on an 11.57. Savarese goes .065 green and runs it all out to check his dial running an 11.234 @ 120.51 on an 11.25. Farley gets the bye this round.

Round 6 - Final

The battle of the Champs. Three-time champ vs. the three time champ, C5 vs C4, the punk vs the nice guy, Farley vs Savarese for all the marbles. Savarese is on a tear this year having just won event 4. Farley is always strong. Both drivers are excellent at playing the top end. Farley leaves first and hits the tree with a .068 light. Savarese responds with a .040 light. Farley has to make up a .028 difference. Not impossible but improbable. Both drivers run it all out to the finish. Farley crosses first by a few thou but unfortunately breaks out by .001. Savarese gets the win with a package of 11.274 @ 123.07 on an 11.24 over Farley's 11.449 @ 119.47 on an 11.45. That's two wins in a row for Savarese. Congratulations to Ralph! With six championships between them it was an exciting finish. However, I think I speak for the masses when I say we would like to see some new blood to win a championship this year. I have nothing against Farley or Savarese, they just happen to be the ones with the targets on their backs. And if we want to see a new champ this year, we all have do our darndest to take them out in the early rounds. How about it guys?

Corvette Challenge Points Update

The back to back race wins puts the Mahopac Express, Ralph Savarese, solidly in first place. His 21 points and two event wins give him a 3 point lead over Ellis Gray with 18 points and no event wins. Event wins are very important as they are the first tie breaker when drivers have the same amount of points. In third place is Louis Calicchia, another racer form Mahopac, NY and he holds it with 15 points and one event win. That event win is what puts him ahead of yet another NY racer, Ken Tyler who has 15 points but has yet to grab a win this year. Eric Fischer, our first racer from New Jersey in the standings, is fifth with 14 total points, all the while running away with the 11.50 points lead appearin in all five finals this year there. He is followed in sixth by Rob Farley whose runner-up finish gives him to 13 for the season. He is followed by three racers with 11 points. Rich Shuleski holds the tie breaker over the other two with an event win thus holding seventh, while Rookie Vincent Cupolo and veteran John Panuzzo are truly tied at 11. Each round win counts for 1 point. There are 6 races left in the 10 race points chase.
2010 Corvette Challenge Standings
Corvette drivers page with more driver information

Rookie of the Year Update

Our top two rookies came in separated by one point and leave the same way. Rookie of the Year leader Vincent Cupolo has 11 total points which puts him in the top 10 overall for the series. Russ DeLibero follows one point back with 10 total and also makes sits in the top 10 overall in the series. Both drivers exited in round two today. The two points for each puts one more round of distance over the rookie class as third place rookie Peter Huff lost round 1 and has a 6 total points. They are followed Marc Marsico (5) and Rob Petyo (5). Marsico lost in round one and Petyo had a much worse fate. He had a small fire at the top end during his 2nd time trial today and was not able to return for round 1 of the bracket race so did not score any points today. The fire went out on its own quickly and hopefully the damage is not too bad. It was good to see all 7 of our 2010 rookie class out there doing battle today.
Rookie of the Year Standings

Gear Jammer Award Update

Seems like the only thing that could slow Ken Tyler in this category is breakage. Sadly the breakage bug bit him in round 4 today. However it was round 4 meaning he scored 4 points for the day to increase his lead in the Gear Jammers award category. He now leads with a total of 15 points over Frank Fiori who was out today but did not advance from round 1 and holds 2nd in the standings of this category with 8 points. It would be very difficult to catch Tyler quickly even if he missed the next race with this 7 point lead but there is a lot of season left so no worries for Frank. McDonald's has the Golden Arches and we have the Jammin' Arches as Tad Archambault and Mike Archibald are tied for third in the category with 7 points each. Both drivers leap frogged fifth place racer Don Peppler Jr. who was not able to attend today's race and holds fifth with 6 points. Eight other Jammers were in attendance today in addition to the four mentioned in the Top 5 of the category. If for some reason you are not shown in the Gear Jammer's standing and should be, please let us know and we will correct it. All you need to do is tell us you dirve a stick shift. All of your points from the season will be credited.
Gear Jammer Standings.

Awards Handed Out at this Event

  • Paul Bogdan won the 'Best Winning Reaction Time - 1st Round plaque presented by Raceway Park for the best winning reaction time in the 1st round. Paul Bogdan was quickest on the tree with the win light in the 1st round when with a .015 reaction time.
  • Bruce Kopcko won the 'Almost Perfect Award' with a loss in the 1st round with the red light closest to .000 (Almost Perfect). Bruce Kopcko's light was -0.011 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 .005 off his dial. Eric Fischer was awarded a plaque and free tech card for a future race from Corvette Club of Delaware Valley.
  • Frank Fiori 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 .0087. That number is the MOV number on your time slip. Although suffering a loss in the 1st round by the smallest Margin of Victory, Frank Fiori earned a plaque from Raceway Park.
  • All winners of the first round were awarded a trophy. With 66 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

Five weeks until our sixth race (5th for points) of the season so please be patient. That race will take place on Saturday July 10, 2010. After that however we only have a three week wait till the next race on July 24, 2010. As usual, all of our races have a 10 AM official gates opening time but we know that the gate will usually open around 9:30 so be sure and take advantage of the early opening time. 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 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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