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Today is Sunday June 25, 2017      
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2003   *  Event 1   *  Event 2   *  Event 3   *  Event 4   *  Event 5   *  Event 6   *  Event 7   *  Event 8   *  Event 9   *  Event 10   *  Event 11 * 2003 Standings

George Esposito wins his first Corvette Challenge in Event 9

10/25/03 - The East Coast Supercharging Corvette Challenge saw a new winner, a final round that was almost uncontested, a new points leader, a shake-up in the Top 10, a high ranking points driver sit out the event with transmission trouble and the return of a couple of consistent drivers. George Esposito, from Staten Island New York, in his 1998 Silver C5, took his first career event win in his second appearance in a final. Esposito fell short in his first final to our new points leader, Ralph Savarese, in Event 3. Savarese went to the semi-final and took over the points lead as Joe Blass suffered an early exit in round 2 at the hands of Rich Shuleski, who had missed the last three events due to work commitment. Aaron Askenback also returned after missing three events making it to the quarter finals before breaking out chasing down event runner-up, Vic Gandhi. The Top 10 standings took a big change but the one surprising non-change was fourth place Edgar Perez, managed to stay in fourth despite not scoring a point due to an ill behaved transmission that just would not go into 3rd gear.
George Esposito (far side) and Vic Gandhi line up for the final
George Esposito (far side) and Vic Gandhi line up for the final

George Esposito, who is having a spectacular sophomore year in the Corvette Challenge, went the needed six rounds to win today's event and place himself into fifth place in the points. Esposito took out current rookie points leader, Chris Young in the first round when Young locked up the brakes at the top end in a scary moment but still could not avoid the breakout. Esposito took care of Jim Kovitch and Rich Shuleski and earned himself a bye in round four. In round five, Esposito squeezed out the win when both he and Frank Fiori cut lights in the .6xx range and neither ran their number, but George was the closer of the two taking the win in the semi-final. That set the stage for final. Esposito sat under the tower waiting for Gandhi, but it seemed that he was not showing. He waited patiently for what seemed like forever but finally Gandhi pulled under the tower and the race was on. Esposito had to make up some ground as Gandhi got the advantage on the tree with a .557 to Esposito's .570. Gandhi would be doing the chasing with a 12.91 dial to Esposito's 13.50. As the drivers approached the finish line, in an almost dead heat, Gandhi would take the stripe ahead of Esposito but the win light came up of Esposito as Vic had run too quick. George had run a dead on 13.50 with a five in the 1320 which is a package that is hard to beat. Esposito struggled to dial the car but had made the right decision dialing his car up from the previous 13.47 dial to get the win.

Runner-up Vic Gandhi John Mackey, Runner-up Vic Gandhi, Winner George Esposito, Bob Trieschmann Winner George Esposito
Runner-up Vic Gandhi (also won John Pauzzo Jr. Trophy for best RT) John Mackey, Runner-up Vic Gandhi, Winner George Esposito, Bob Trieschmann Winner George Esposito

Gandhi had a great day running double duty running in EFI race in the morning and then the Corvette Challenge at night. With his C4 Corvette wearing new MT ET Streets, (the old drag radials had had it after three seasons), Gandhi worked his way through the field to reach his first Corvette Challenge final after three semi-final appearances. In the first round, he treed 2001 series champion, Bob Trieschmann with a .506 earning him the John Panuzzo Jr. Memorial Trophy and cash. The .506 got Gandhi a bye in the second round as well. Round three was a bit a breather as his opponent got a 1.1 second head start and Vic saw him go red so he allowed himself to get away with a soft light. As expected, the deeper you go, the tougher the competition. Gandhi forced Aaron Askenback to break out in the fourth and then in the fifth and semi-final round, he drew Ralph Savarese. As proof that even the new points leader and 2003 points champion is human, Gandhi got out of the round with a win putting together a 12.93 on .91 dial with a .613 light while Savarese spun the tires and ran way off the dial of 11.73 with an 11.905 ET. This led to the final with Esposito. After the race Gandhi still could not believe he did not get the win stripe keeping a fender on Esposito but was done in by a better than expected 60' time.

For Gandhi the final almost did not come. As he went to start the car for the final, it would not turn over. The battery on the car had unexpectedly died. He tried a couple of times and was about to give up when fellow racers stepped in to help. Chris Young ran back to his car and grabbed the portable jump start box and raced back to the lanes. They got him started and Vic was able to make the call for the final. Vic thanks Chris, John Panuzzo, Bob Sebrowski and all the others that rushed over to help him get the car started. The Corvette Challenge had a similar occurence in a final round when Rob Farley did not make the call against Aaron Askenback just over a year ago on September 21, 2002.

Is this bracket racing or heads-up?

Round two was very unusual as we saw four pair of cars dialed almost heads-up. The tightest was John Policastro (13.20) vs. Chuck Carron (13.21). Chuck was better at the tree and better on the dial taking that win. Ellis Gray dialed 12.09 against Artie Sabatino at 12.11 in the battle of the "weighed down wanna run 11 seconds without a roll bar cars". Gray got the best of Sabatino also at the tree and dial. Joe Blass dialed his car at 12.02 against Shuleski's 12.08 and we know that Shuleski got that one. The other close battle was Jim Kovitch at 13.32 against event winner Esposito at 13.41. It was very exciting to watch cars running almost heads-up (the naked eye can barely tell).

John Hadyniak has first 3 round win day

John Hadyniak red whit and blue C3 Corvette John Hadyniak, West Carteret, NJ, put together three wins in one event for the first time this season. Congratulations go to John in his beautiful 1973 red white and blue C3 running an impressive 11 seconds all day long.

The points championship shakeup

Not only did we see the points lead change hands and Esposito jump to fifth in the points chase but we saw John Panuzzo, who entered the event in seventh, fall to tenth when Ellis Gray and Frank Fiori picked up four and five points respectively to follow Esposito in getting ahead him. Tough break for Panuzzo but don't expect to see him lay down and rest. He will set his sights at the eight spot (jacket earning) while protecting the tenth spot at the next race, November 1, 2003. Only two drivers in the top ten maintained their positions, Rob Farley and Edgar Perez. Gandhi came into today in the 15th position and with his six points put himself solidly in the Top 16 field at 11th spot for the newly announced Top 16 $1,000 Gamblers Race Nov 22nd.. We go into the last points race with three possible champions, Savarese in the lead, Blass back by one and Rob Farley back by five. Five drivers still have a shot at getting into the prestigious Top 10 to be honored at the Awards Banquet on January 10th and they are Gandhi, Murchan, Young, Abbruzze and Signore. As for the qualifying for the Top 16 gambler race, there are still 19 drivers not yet in the Top 16, that can get into that 16th spot held by Bob Sebrowski. Look for the final points race to be a big one with battles for position throughout the field.

Today's event featured 54 Corvettes making first round.

Other Awards Handed Out at this Event

  • Event winner George Esposito went home with $250 cash, a $100 gift certificate from Pro Torque and the winner trophy.
  • Runner-up Vic Gandhi went home with $125 cash, a $50 gift certificate from Pro Torque and the runner-up trophy.
  • Semi-finalists included Ralph Savarese and Frank Fiori who won $60 cash.
  • Vic Gandhi won the 'John Panuzzo Jr. Memorial' trophy and $50 cash presented by Team Panuzzo Racing for the best winning reaction time in the 1st round. Vic Gandhi was quickest on the tree in the 1st round when his RT was .006.
  • Mike Wicks won the 'Almost Perfect Award' presented by Marotta Racing when he took himself out in the 1st round with the red light closest to .500. Mike Wicks's light was 0.00 and for that he earned a $25 Tech Card gift certificate usable on a future to Raceway Park courtesy of Lenny Marotta and Marotta Racing .
  • Joe Blass won the 'Closest to Dial Award' Trophy presented by Boweryboy Racing by only .001 off his dial.
  • Ohh so Close Award of Zaino productsKeith Conner won the 'Ohh so Close Award' presented by Zaino when he was 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 he lost in the 1st round by the smallest Margin of Victory, Keith Conner earned a Zaino starter package that includes Z1, Z2, Z6, Z7 and a polish pad.
  • All winners of the first round were awarded a trophy sponsored by United Racing. With 54 cars making this event, United Racing gave out quite a few trophies or 1st Round Trophy Upgrade Program credits.

Next race

Saturday November 1st is the next Corvette Challenge. This will be the last points race But NOT the last race of the season. We will have a full prize/cash non-points race on Nov 15th featuring the first time ever Vette Doctors Quick 4 + 4. In addition, on November 22nd, qualifying Top 16 points drivers are invited back to race in the Top 16 $1,000 gamblers race and all drivers are invited to attend. Visit http://www.racewaypark.com to view the schedule.

East Coast Supercharging Corvette Challenge helps Toys for Teens & Tots

The 50/50 raffle was held at the track and the racers and spectators hopeful of winning the money while helping out a worthy organization put together $246. Rich Shuleski received $123 while the other $123 was donated to the St. Peters church in Jersey City to Sister Grace for the Toys for Teens & Tots fund from the East Coast Supercharging Corvette Challenge. We thank Jaymie Shuleski for making the rounds to collect the money. The 50/50 will be held at each of the ECS Corvette Challenges this year. Please see Jaymie in the lanes at the next race. To date we have donated $745 to the organization. Thank you for your continued support.

Corvette Challenge Multimedia

Pictures

Edgar Perez's pictures | Pictures by Mike Moran

Videos

Vic Gandhi vs. Ralph Savarese Semi Final 7 MB | George Esposito vs. Vic Gandhi Final 8 MB | Jay rides again - IN CAR 5 MB

We couldn't do it without our sponsors

The Corvette Challenge gives thanks to all of its supporting sponsors for whom without this series cannot be possible. Thanks go out to East Coast Supercharging | United Racing | The Vette Doctors | Team Panuzzo | Spectrum Voice & Data | Simple Man | EnviroLution | CCDV | Mufflex Performance | CFM Racing | Tortolani Racing | Boweryboy Racing | Marotta Racing | RMS Racing | Pro Torque | Zaino Bros | Perez Web Design |

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