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All Ralph Day. Ralph Blauvelt Wins the Race. Ralph Savarese the Championship.

By Edgar Perez

October 16, 2010 - Englishtown, NJ - It was a super day for the East Coast Supercharging Corvette Challenge presented by Yank Racing Converters. It was an especially big day if your first name is Ralph with any last name. Ralph Blauvelt returned to the winners circle winning his second career Corvette Challenge with his first coming in 2007 Event 5. On the other hand, Ralph Savarese clinched his fourth Corvette Challenge Points Championship Title. Not only is he the first racer to win four CC titles but also is the first to clinch the title with two point races remaining in the season. It seems The Mahopac Express (one of the many nicknames Savarese holds) is getting better as he goes on.

Attendance today was on par with the rest of the season. We had 40 entries in the Corvette Challenge and for the day we had a total of 64 entries between the Corvette Challenge and its three heads up index classes. Following is how the action unfolded.

Round 1

We had 40 Corvettes in the first round of competition. Artie Chin and John Panuzzo got us started with Panuzzo going red by -.060 giving Chin the win. Chin went 11.087 on the 11.50 dial. Doing double duty running the bracket class and the 11.50 index, Greg Colella disposed of fellow double duty racer, Jerry Muniz. He treed Muniz with a .095 to .206 as Muniz broke out in the heads-up race with both drivers dialed 11.50. On the topic of trees, Michael Archibald cut the round best .003 reaction time. He used it to send three-time Champion Rob Farley to the sidelines. Farley, who two weeks ago lost by red light in round one in St. Louis at the LSX Shootout, might have been too cautious this round going .119 green in the loss. Archibald ran 12.078 on his 12.05 dial to complete the stellar package. In this sport you can go hero to zero in milliseconds which is what happened to our previous event winner, Doug Bereczki when Thrust Performance co-owner Mike Bogdan took the win over Bereczki with a 12.284 on 12.82 dial while Bereczki did not run his number going 14.472 on 14.27 dial. Frank Eckert, brother of Pro 8 Shootout racer Alan Eckert, was racing with us for the first time as he just picked up a 1984 Corvette to join in the fun. It was not a great debut however as Tony Cupolo ended his day with an 11.325 on 11.21 dial with .075 tree. Incidentally, Alan's "Green Monster" made its track debut with ECS' Doug Ring making its first shakedown passes in the test and tune lanes. Look for the car to make a Pro 8 Shootout debut soon and it is for sale too! The matchup of the round was our points leader Ralph Savarese paired with Ellis Gray who is second in points. This was an opportunity for Gray to make up some ground if he could take the win and advance. Savarese, looking to lock up the title as soon as possible hit Gray with a .010 green light. Gray, however, went red, -.098 giving Savarese the win. Top contenders losing first round left the door open for Savarese to clinch the title later in the day. Gray, Farley and Vincent Cupolo, all went out in round 1 holding the top 5 spots. Vinnie was left with little room to win when Don Peppler Jr. slapped him with a .005 light and dead-on 13.357 on 13.35 dial. This was an awesome pass for Peppler. The father and son Fischer combo was only half in action today. Eric was not at that track as he fell ill so it was up to dad, Bill Sr., to carry the Fischer name and that he did with a first round win over gear jammer leader Ken Tyler. Fischer's .117 light and 11.570 on 11.50 dial was better on all counts as Tyler was late on the tree and off his dial.

Two other drivers went dead-on this round to advance to the next. Frank Fiori dropped a 12.827 on 12.82 dial on Frank Schear. Schear, dialed 12.91, left first and went red, -.092 on the pass. Ray Sztabnik pulled the fear as well in the round going 13.137 on 13.13 dial. The double 13 dial sounds unlucky but not for him, but for Ron Higgins. Higgins took the loss by running quite a bit off his 11.68 dial. Other drivers who failed to exit round 1 were Louis Calicchia, Al Salanitro, Ed Bock, James Kovitch (back after a fairly long absence) Wayne Fisher, Adam Brandt, Ken Baranski, Gary Hillen and Andrew Volponi. One of our drivers that made test passes, Russ DeLibero, was not able to make first round in the class due to breakage.
Runner Up Group Winner
Runner-up Bob Trieschmann Group Bob and Ralph Winner Ralph Blauvelt
Photos by Edgar Perez and Vivian Harris. For over 7,000 Corvette Photos, click here.

Round 2

We are down to 10 pair of racers. Archibald leads us off against Colella. Archibald dials his '68 Corvette in at 12.08 against Colella's 11.50. Arch is off green with a .121, Colella follows with a red and Archibald is rewarded with the win. The next pair is the '96 Grand Sport owned by Rich Shuleski who just added a 2010 Grand Sport to accompany it in the garage, against Edgar Perez. Shuleski takes the win with a .025 green and 11.557 on 11.50 and Perez breaks out in the process of chasing him down with his 10.50 dial. Shawn Cavanagh was up next with a 10.50 dial of his own against Frank Fiori. Cavanagh takes the win with a .061 green light and 10.557 on the dial. Fiori was .096 green and 12.899 on 12.81 dial in the loss. Ralph Blauvelt would face Ray Sztabnik next. Blauvelt leaves first with 13.71 dial and .061 reaction time and Sztabnik trailed with the same halloweenic 13.13 dial and .215 light. This time the bad luck was on Sztabnik’s side as Blauvelt takes the with an 13.746 @ 97.39. Artie Chin would race Mike Bogdan next. Neither driver knocked the tree down but Chin's light of .229 was better than Bogdan's .279. Both drivers go on to break out with Chin closer to his dial at 11.464 on 11.50 dial. "King Ralph" Savarese would use a .076 and 11.064 run on 11.05 dial to take a win over Bruce Kopcko who was close on the tree with a .088 but broke out going 12.777 on 12.79 dial. Bob Trieschmann collected a win light when Todd Paino ran the red by -.008 giving him a free check up on the dial of 12.46 running 12.428. Tony Cupolo would defeat the other Bogdan in the field in this round with a .019 light to .239. He only needed to run 11.391 on his 11.23 dial for the win. Dave Buddendorff would make up for a .054 to .033 deficit on the tree when he was able to run 12.932 on 12.78 dial to Don Peppler’s 13.559 @ 103.77 on 13.43 dial. The final pair was Bill Fischer Sr. against Pilot Peter Huff. Despite a .058 to .119 reaction time advantage for Fischer, both drivers proceeded to break out with Fischer closer to his 11.50 dial with an 11.445 run closing out the round.

2010 Event 9 Ladder

Round 3

Fischer would lead off the round against Chin. Both dialed 11.50 this pass, Fischer would get the win in another double breakout run. This time he ran 11.473 on 11.50 while Chin ran 11.225. They were followed by Shuleski and Cavanagh. Cavanagh adjusted his dial to 10.54 despite running in the 10.50 index and Shuleski kept the 11.50 on his car. Shuleski would run dead-on with an 11.507 @ 111.34 and Cavanagh would break out running 10.478 ending his bracket day. Dave Buddendorff took the stripe in the next pair but broke out giving Bob Trieschmann a pass to the next round. Trieschmann ran 12.457 on his 12.44 dial while Buddendorff was 12.828 on 12.83 dial. Ralph Blauvelt then goes .026 green and 13.745 on 13.70 dial in his black '88 Corvette to take the win over Michael Archibald. Arch's pass was off as he ran 12.346 on 12.12 dial. The final pair had Savarese against Tony Cupolo. This was a close one as both drivers ran under their dials. Savarese did it by leas and advanced. His 11.036 on 11.06 dial was better than Tony's 11.155 on 11.20 dial.

Round 4 - Quarter-Final

We are down to the final five and time to step it up. Trieschmann would face Shuleski. He cuts a .012 light on his 12.43 dial. Shuleski launches with a .083. At the finish line, Trieschmann lights the win light having run 12.497. Shuleski trailed going 11.541, not enough to make up for the reaction time deficit. Ralph Savarese would now race Bill Fischer Sr. Fischer would leave first dialed 11.50 and he lights the red light. His -.111 gives Savarese the win and a chance to check up on his 11.05 dial and running 11.043 @ 122.97. The fifth and final driver of the round was Ralph Blauvelt who took the bye run and cuts a .004 light and runs dead-on 13.707 on 13.70 dial. At this point, one can see it is his day.

Round 5 - Semi-Final

Now with three Corvettes left, Bob Trieschmann would get the bye. He is first on the track and makes a test pass with a 12.40 dial on the car and goes 12.379 @ 112.28. He did not go after the tree with a .152 light. The battle of the Ralph's is next. Blauvelt would leave first with a 13.70 dial. He cuts a .055 light. Savarese follows with a an 11.04 dial and a .066 light. He chases Blauvelt down and breaks out doing so. Blauvelt also broke out. Blauvelt broke out by less running 11.691 while Savarese would run 11.021 on his dial. Ralph is going to the final, but Blauvelt this time.

Round 6 - Final

And now for the final pass of the day. Ralph Blauvelt would keep the 13.70 dial on the car and would leave first. Trieschmann keeps his dial at 12.40 as well. Blauvelt crushes the tree with a .040 light. Trieschmann cuts a .104 and is in trouble. Blauvelt taps the brakes at the top end with the huge tree advantage; and a lucky thing he did. He runs dead-on, 13.708 @ 96.42. Trieschmann follows breaking out with a 12.376. The win is Blauvelt's second in three Corvette Challenge final round appearances. Trieschmann completes his day with a runner up and big move in the points.

Corvette Challenge Points Update

For the first time in our history we have crowned a Champion with two races remaining. Ralph Savarese has had a tremendous season winning three races and going to semi finals in three other races. Incredible is an understatement. He sits on top of the points with 42 points and three wins. He stands a great chance of breaking our single season points record of 48 held by Rob Farley who did it in 2004. One of the most feared drivers in our series, Ralph Savarese is now a four-time champion. His 2010 title equals his 2002, 2005 and 2007 Championships. Congratulations to Ralph Savarese on his title.

Now that does not make the season over for the rest of our points drivers. We all continue to reach for our personal goals, be it second place, Top 10 or Top 16 or even our own personal set goals. With two point races left before our Top 16 Gamblers Invitational there is sure to be changes in position. Ellis Gray, Vinnie Cupolo and Rob Farley all lost first round today and remain in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th place positions they came in at. Rich Shuleski's three round wins move him to the fifth position overall with 23 points and an event win. Doug Bereczki, Louis Calicchia, Ken Tyler and Eric Fischer hold 6th through 9th. Bob Trieschmann's runner up today moves him to the 10th overall while Ralph Blauvelt's win puts him in the 11th spot. Two races to go so let's see who can hold onto their top 16, jacket and Gambler's Invitation earning positions.
2010 Corvette Challenge Standings
Corvette drivers page with more driver information

Rookie of the Year Update

The 2010 Rookie of the Year title is likely to be the next title to be locked up. Vincent Cupolo has a 12-point lead with 24 total and an event win. Mathematically, second place rookie, Russ DeLibero has a shot but a difficult one. Should Cupolo lose round 1 in the next two races and DeLibero win both events, Russ would have enough points and event wins to break the tie to take the Rookie title. This basically means Vinnie wins a round and he locks up the title so this one could be over soon. It did not help that Russ's ride broke in time trials today. The round 1 pairing won by Peter Huff over Andrew Volponi allowed Pilot Pete to keep ahead and he now holds a 2-point edge for 3rd spot overall with 10 points to Volponi's 8 total. Rounding the fifth spot in the rookie chase is the rest of the class with three drivers holding 5 points. Not very round, I know.
Rookie of the Year Standings

Gear Jammer Award Update

Our Top 2 drivers in this category lost first round so no change at the top. Ken Tyler holds a strong lead with 21 total points while Gary Hillen holds 2nd 15 points in the category. This is far from over so lets see if Hillen can make a late season push to challenge Tyler for the title. While trying to catch Tyler, Hillen is being chased hard by Frank Fiori who gained a point on Hillen today and is now in 3rd with 14 points. Michael Archibald scored 3 points today moving him to 4th in the category after missing two races. He has a total of 12 points . He passes Don Peppler Jr. in the category who is now fifth with 12 points (Arch holds the tiebreaker).
Gear Jammer Standings.

Awards Handed Out at this Event

  • Michael Archibald won the 'Best Winning Reaction Time - 1st Round plaque presented by Raceway Park for the best winning reaction time in the 1st round. Michael Archibald was quickest on the tree with the win light in the 1st round when with a .003 reaction time.
  • John Panuzzo won the 'Almost Perfect Award' with a loss in the 1st round with the red light closest to .000 (Almost Perfect). John Panuzzo's light was -0.060 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.
  • Don Peppler won the CCDV 'Closest to Dial Award' by running only .007 off his dial. Don Peppler was awarded a plaque and free tech card for a future race from Corvette Club of Delaware Valley.
  • Rob Farley 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 .0248. That number is the MOV number on your time slip. Although suffering a loss in the 1st round by the smallest Margin of Victory, Rob Farley earned a plaque from Raceway Park.
  • All winners of the first round were awarded a trophy. With 65 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

Our next two races come almost on top of each other. We are back in action on Saturday, October 30, 2010 and then the following weekend on Saturday, November 6, 2010. These will be our last two points races of the season and with the Bracket Championship owned by King Ralph, we will be looking at the battles for the Championships in our three index classes. That is not to say our bracket racers have nothing to race for as they will be jockeying for position in the Top 16 spots that will be invited to participate in our season ending Top 16 Gamblers Invitational race to be held on November 13, 2010. 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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