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2002 * Event 1 * Event 2 * Event 3 * Event 4 * Event 5 * Event 6 * Event 7 * Event 8 * Event 9 * Event 10 * Bonus * Top 4 * Final Standings

Mike Carr wins 2002 Cartek Corvette Challenge Event 3

John Mackey, Joe Conover, Dave Busch (Cartek), Mike Carr and Bob Trieschmann

The saying "things get better with time," definitely describes the 3rd Cartek Corvette Challenge for the 2002 race season. With, yet again, a record breaking starting field of 82 cars this time out, on June 29th, the event just keeps getting better and better. Who knows what's in-store or how many fans will be on-hand for race number 4 on Saturday, July 13th. You really don't want to miss the next Challenge! As usual, the attendance ranged from all over, with participants from PA, NY, DE, CT, MD, and of course NJ made their way down to mingle with other fans of GM's composite sports car. It was a great day, with no issues, or hard times, just some good, simple track fun.

Though, a fairly hot and humid day that turned into an only slightly cooler night, with only a slight reduction in the humidity, most racers found themselves at a loss of several tenths because of the less-then-optimum weather conditions. Some even lost time, because of trying to learn the track surface, that had been ruined by the large number of cars participating in the mornings Trophy Marathon. But, most importantly, all who came and tried, had fun in the process and made the best of it.

Of course, Dave, Julio, Ray, Roy and Rich, the Cartek crew, could be found roaming the pits, making sure all was well with their racers. The same can be said for The Vette Doctors co-owner Carmen Melillo. He was making a showing for his shop's consumers and also enjoying the day. Cartek's usual heavy hitters were there to scorch the tarmac, Brent Grigsby, Romolo Cifelli, Mark Ramos and Cartek's heaviest hitter, Mike Romain with his 415-cube stroker Black 99 C5 hardtop. This machine is Cartek's biggest dog until the testing and tuning of Brian Sherwood's 422 cid '98 C5 very soon. Sherwood's monster was on-hand for all to look at, but didn't make any passes this time out. It just made a casual drive from Cartek's shop in Garwood, NJ to Raceway Park's facility in Englishtown, NJ. The two machines shouldn't even be compared. Mike's car is a stick car that was built for naturally aspirated performance in a full-weight car, adding even more to the weight is Mike's own massiveness at 280+ pounds. Brian's car is an auto-equipped car that's meant to do well on motor, but even better on spray. Needless to say, that car will drop some jaws when it comes time to blast it down the 1320' ingesting serious amounts of bluebottle laughing gas.

Mike's car on the other hand was wowing the fans with 10-second ETs and 128-29 mph trap speeds for the majority of the event. Even more impressive is the fact it did it the way the car was driven-to-and-from the track, no tricks or tampering. Mike was knocking out 10.90 ETs like his life depended on it. Needless to say, Mike had the quickest and fastest car at the Challenge. Carmen has a C5 with almost equal displacement in the works to rebuttal Mike's impressive performance. An ironic note was that Mike's car was just buttoned up the night before and somewhat tuned on the chassis dyno the morning of the Challenge and still made it out to race. Impressive.

As impressive and enjoyable as the day was the most impressive match up was between Mike and Phil DeJohn from Long Island in his Lingenfelter modified and Callaway-equipped Torch Red ZR-1 Corvette. Phil DeJohn has quite a few ZR-1's in his climate-controlled garage and you should take advantage to talk to him about them. Phil's ZR-1 was packing a highly modified Lingenfelter 415 cid LT5 engine and Callaway "Super Natural" body kit. Both cars were on ET Streets, with matching "skinnies" up front and both owners had to do there own gear changing.

When these two cars lined it up, it was like someone announced a free money giveaway in the stands, everybody wanted to watch the match race. Both cars were easily capable of high 10-second ETs, so it was going to be down to drivers. The two cars performed equally impressive burnouts and staged about the same time. When the lights came down it was Mike out first by the slightest margin. Both cars 60-ft'ed in the low 1.60s. Mike kept his lead through the entire race, but does believe that the red ZR-1 was just barely reeling him in at the end, but even if that was the case it wasn't enough to take the victory from Mike as he crossed the finish line first with an ET and MPH of 10.89@128 mph. Phil quickly followed with an ET of 10.99@128 mph. How close of a race it was, was impressive, yet how awesome it was, is simply beyond words.

Well, just as the sun set in to the horizon, time trials and match races came to an end. It was now time for eliminations and there were 82 contestants looking to do battle. We can't go through all of the rounds, but coming down to the fifth found of eliminations we had just five participants left. There's nothing odd about that, but what was strange was that neither the event's own John Mackey or Edgar Perez were in the field. Edgar took himself out of the eliminations with an oh-so-close red light of .484, en route to a 12.93 pass on a 12.90 dial in round one. Mackey suffered the same fate in round two when he ran a .491 red light preceding an 11.95 pass, on an 11.91 dial in. On a side note, last event winner Bill Wilson made it all the way to round four, when he paired up against West Chester, PA resident Al Conner and Torch Red '96 Corvette. Al cut the better light when he hit the tree with a .561 light to Bill's .717 reaction time. But, in racing that's more then enough margin to take the victory. Wilson kept his foot in it to the very end, posting a 13.86, on a 13.85 dial-in. Conner ran a 14.09, with a dial-in of 13.95.

The first pair up in round five was Mike Carr, from Farmingdale, NJ and his '99 Torch Red C5 Coupe vs. South Plainfield, NJ resident Wayne Kling in his '77 Corvette. When the lights came down it was Carr who got released first. thanks to a dial-in of 12.27. Kling followed shortly after with a dial-in of 12.14. Mike, having the reaction time advantage (.621 to .700) took the win posting a 12.40 at 111.53 to Wayne's 12.24, at 104.90. Next up we had Joseph Conover of Wall, NJ in his '99 Torch Red Convertible (rollbar equipped) and Al Conner, once again. Al ran the same 13.95 dial-in, while Joe dialed-in a 13.20. Both racers cut mid .500 lights, but Conover was closer to his dial-in, posting a 13.31, at 106.48, to Conner's 14.08, at 98.48. Brendan Kane, of Smithtown, NY had a bye run this round and chose to get to the other end of the 13.20 nice and easy, lighting the boards up with a time of 16.53, at 63.69 mph, on a dial-in of 13.40.

In the first race of round six we had Mike squaring off against Brendan, with both racers tripping the red bulb. But, as it goes, Brendan was the first one to red light, since he was the first car let out of the shoot, thanks to his 13.40 dial-in. But, even if the red light didn't get him, the fact that he ran under his dial-in would have, posting a time of 13.28, at 104.63. Mike took the win, with a 12.48 pass, at 112.37, on a 12.27 dial-in. Joseph Conover was the one left to race a single this round and also choose to run the pass out but hit the tree hard with a .516 to get ready for the final.

So, for the final round we had Conover taking on Carr. The cars dialed almost a second apart with Joe going first with a 13.20 dial and Mike following with a 12.27 dial. Joe carefully bumped the staging lights on but went a little to far and accidentally deep staged. His momentum would carry him through the starting light just as the tree started. His .000 reaction time attests to that. Conover knew the race was lost, so he took it easy down the 1320' accomplishing a time of 17.09, at 92.08. Better luck next time. Mike, after seeing the red light from his competition, took it easy on his reaction time, leaving the line 1.096 seconds after the last yellow was lit. But the funny thing is, at the end of his pass, he broke out, running a 12.24, at 111.25 on his 12.27 dial-in. But it did not matter, as Mike was our event winner, making his way through the field to become number one at this event and without the benefit of a single bye run. Who'll be the winner of the next event? Could it be you maybe?

Trying to get words from the racers after the event was tough, and we're still waiting for a response from Mike, but Joe had this to say about the whole event and being runner-up. "I would like thank my wife Maria for her support as she knows how much my Corvette and racing mean to me. She just gave birth to our first child five weeks ago, Griffin Thomas Conover, and supports the event because she knows positive fun and friendly people are hard to find and important to me. I have enjoyed the 2002 Cartek Corvette Challenge season a great deal and try to spread the good word to other Corvette owners as much as I can," says Joe.

He also added; "I used to race motorcycles at Raceway Park about ten years ago and was mentored by Steve Miterman, a Pro Stock bike rider from Marlboro, NJ who I used to pit for on his East Coast National events and testing sessions, only stopping to start my office equipment sales dealership in 1991 Business World, Inc. found on the web at www.bizworldinc.com. I have owned Corvettes for the last eleven years and wanted to see what my new C5 roadster was capable of at the track. Edgar Perez was very helpful that day getting me involved with the Corvette Challenge Points series. I have not missed the chance to race since. The support of Edgar and John Mackey has been great, especially when one tends to forget the details of racing, so their experience, which spans many decades (just kidding) really is inspiring. All involved with the series have been great with help and information including the racers. Mike Carr (event winner) and the semi-finalist were all laid back and very cool with lane choices and bye run decisions. Nice to know we are there for the fun and not the stress."

"I would like to thank Dave and Julio and all the guys of Cartek for there work and their kick-butt clutch set up. I want to mention also, Leo Barnaby of Neverlift (Motorsports) and his crew for the roll bar set up on my convertible, as I can push the car to its true potential and see out the rear view mirror and the same time." Praised Joe.

Well, there you have the recap of race number three. We'll make sure to see you at race number four.

Abraham Bergian

Corvette Challenge participants break yet another record

In the third event of 2002, the Cartek Corvette Challenge managed to break it's starting field record for a third straight time. This event saw 82 Corvettes line up for 1st round. The 82 eclipses the previous record of 79 set just a few weeks earlier at 2002 Event 2, which broke the previous record of 78 set at 2002 Event 1. With the next Event set for July 13, 2002 at 3 PM, one has come to expect that the starting field record will be broken yet again.

Some statistics

Time # % Ladder for Event 3
11 5 6%
12 21 26%
13 37 45%
14 18 22%
15 1 1%
Total 82 100%
Listed above is the count of the dial-in times for each of the cars for 1st round.

Additional awards and prizes given out to the drivers courtesy of the sponsors.

  • Event winner Mike Carr went home with $200 cash and gift certificates for a free dyno tuning session at Cartek Racing and a $100 gift certificate for $100 from Pro Torque and the Event Winner Shore Motorsports sponsored Trophy. Shore Motorsports is located in Howell, NJ and can be reached at 732-370-2067 or on the web at www.shoremotorsports.com. Cartek Racing is in Garwood, NJ and can be reached at 908-317-4496 or on the web at www.cartek.net.
  • Runner up Joe Conover went home with $100 cash, a $50 gift certificate from Pro Torque, the "Money Back Runner Up Award" for $20 cash from Boweryboy Racing and the event Runner-up Vette Doctors sponsored Trophy. The Vette Doctors are located in Amityville, NY and can be reached at 631-841-0779 or on the web at www.thevettedoctors.com. Pro Torque, in Bohemia, NY can be found at www.protorque.com or by calling 631-218-8700.
  • Brendan Kane was the sole semi-finalist and won $50 cash.
  • All winners of the first round were awarded a trophy sponsored by CFM Racing. With 82 cars making 1st round Chris, Frank and Mike gave out 41 trophies.
  • George Esposito holding the Walden Farms package George Esposito won the Closest to Dial Award sponsored by Walden Farms by running a 14.088 on a 14.08 dial. George received a beautiful gift package from Walden Farms filled with low calorie low carbohydrate products. Oddly enough last event's winner went 13.088 on a 13.08 dial. You can purchase Walden Farms products at local grocery stores or on the web at www.waldenfarms.com.
  • Ohh so Close Award of Zaino products Todd Felicia (levrac68) won the "Ohh so Close Award" sponsored by Zaino when he was edged out in the 1st round by a mere .0017 second. For losing 1st round by the smallest Margin of Victory, Todd earned a Zaino starter package that includes Z1, Z2, Z6, Z7 and a polish pad. Unfortunately Todd left before collecting his prize. In the future if you lose 1st round by a close margin, go to the trophy room, you may have won this. Todd is the third in a row to leave this package behind. The previous two winners have collected already. Zaino products can be purchased online at www.zainobros.com or at Shore Motorsports on Route 9 in Howell.
  • Louis Calicchia won the Almost Perfect Award sponsored by Marotta Racing when he took himself out in the 1st round with the red light closest to .500. Louis's light was .494 and for that he earned a $50 gift certificate to the Raceway Park Souvenir store donated by Lenny Marotta of Marotta Racing. Louis also left before collecting his prize. Again, if you lose 1st round by a light close to .500, go to the trophy room!
  • Edgar hands Ioannis the John Panuzzo Jr memorial trohpy Ioannis Hadjiioannou won the 'John Panuzzo Jr. Memorial Trophy" donated by Team Panuzzo Racing for the best winning reaction time in the 1st round in his Black 2000 C5 Corvette. Ioannis hit the tree hard with a .505 light and a win. Corvette Challenge official Edgar Perez presented the trophy to Ioannis at the end of the night as Mr. Panuzzo could not stay untill the end of the night. Congratulations Ioannis.

The Bounty was on points leader, Edgar Perez

Going into the event, Edgar Perez had surmounted a substantial lead of 5 points on second place Jack Schwarzwalder and 9 points on third Aaron Askenback. In order to not allow Edgar to run away with the points title, John Panuzzo, in a desperate measure, put a "Bounty" on Edgar. Drivers could be a part of the "Bounty" by putting in $5. If a driver in the "Bounty" beat Edgar, they would collect the entire "Bounty" amount. Should Edgar not lose or be beaten by a driver not in the "Bounty", the money would be donated to Toys for Teens & Tots along with the collections from the 50/50. Bill Martinson, the runner-up in points from 2001, got the honor of lining up against Edgar in the 1st round. After some significant "trash-talking" the drivers staged with Edgar playing Ja Rule on the stereo, and Bill blasting Iron Maiden. Edgar would get the head start with the slower car, but he took a little too much of a head start, taking himself out in the early departure with a .484 red light. Martinson, not in the "Bounty", took pleasure in being the one forcing Edgar into the early departure and helping tighten up the points chase for 2002. Look for the "Bounty" to possibly be continued at the next event on Saturday July 13, 2002. The $65 collected was donated to Toys for Teens & Tots.

Points Standings

The Points standings certainly got tighter for points leader Edgar Perez going out in the 1st round and 2nd place Jack Schwarzwalder going out in the 3rd. The top 10 stands as seen below

1. Edgar Perez 17 *
2. Jack Schwarzwalder 14
3. Bill Wilson 12 *
4. Aaron Askenback 12
5. Mike Carr 11 *
6. Vic Gandhi 11
7. Joseph Conover 11
8. Frank Fiori 10
9. Five tied with 9
Please visit Raceway Park for the complete points standings

Cartek Corvette Challenge helps Toys for Teens & Tots

The 50/50 raffle was held at the track and the a racers hopeful of winning the money while helping out a worthy organization put pot together of $434. Of the total collect, $217 was donated to the Toys for Teens & Tots fund. The winner of the 50/50 was who was racing in the Real Street Class. Special thanks to Mariana Trieschmann and her helper for making rounds to collect the money. The 50/50 will be held at each of the Cartek Corvette Challenges this year. Please see Jaymie Shuleski in the staging lanes if she does not find you first. You do not have to be a racer to participate. Raceway Park officer, Tim, thanks the Corvette Challenge racers and fans for supporting the Toys for Teens and Tots. Thank you for your continued support.

More photos by Edgar Perez | Photos by Jim Batista

Thanks you to our sponsors

The Corvette Challenge gives thanks to all of it supporting sponsors for who without this series cannot be possible. Thanks go out to .



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