Sebrowksi tops in the 2003 Corvette Challenge Top 16 Race
By: Harry Widelitz
The second to last day before the conclusion of the 2003 Old Bridge Township Raceway Park season, the Corvettes were back in action in East Coast Supercharging's Top 16 gambler's race. Unfortunately, a few of the drivers in the top sixteen in points were unable to attend and alternates were brought in to attempt a shot at the big payout. With $1200 on the line, all racers were preparing to go rounds. With the temperature hovering around 60 degrees, the weather was uncharacteristic for November as the cars hit the track.
After a few time shot sessions, round one was underway. Bob Hollingshead, who rounded out the points series in sixth place, defeated Bob Trieschmann, the 2001 Corvette Challenge Champion, on a hole shot. John Panuzzo bettered Tony Buonassisi in the battle of two 1992's. Another round winner included David Hollingshead, who took care of a tire spinning Artie Sabatino. Louis Calicchia, the latest Corvette Challenge winner, fouled out with a -.011 to Rob Farley. Ellis Gray, who many people thought would seize the big cash payout, was late on the tree and gave the win to Daniel Swadis Jr., a fellow racer from Philadelphia. Other round winners included Robert Sebrowski, who eliminated the red '79 of Sheila Murchan; Ralph Savarese, who ousted the C2 of Don Peppler Jr. out of the ladder; and James Peins, who took advantage of Vic Gandhi's red light. After one round of competition, the field was narrowed down to eight competitors.
In round two, there were six C4's, a C3, and a C2 all striving to be the last Corvette winner of the season. Dan Swadis Jr. took Bob Hollingshead out of competition after running a 13.766 on his 13.75 dial-in. David Hollingshead eliminated Sheriff Panuzzo, who broke out. Staten Island, NY's Rob Farley was sent home after falling short to opponent James Peins. The final pair saw Robert Sebrowski taking out the 2002 Corvette Challenge Champion, Ralph Savarese, in a pair of eleven second 1985's.
Final 4 of the Top 16 lined up, Dan Swadis, Bob Sebrowski, David Hollingshead and James Peins
Between the four opponents that remained, only one has ever been crowned a winner at a Corvette event- Bob Sebrowski. In the semifinals, Dan Swadis Jr. eliminated his shot at a first Challenge victory as he broke out by nearly three hundredths. Sebrowski found himself advancing to the final after treeing David Hollingshead and having sufficient room to let off to avoid a breakout.
In the final, it would be two C4's- James Peins from Rahway, NJ and his 1992 up against Robert Sebrowski from Kinnelon, NJ and his 1985. Peins dialed a 13.75 while Sebrowski dialed the slowest he had all day- an 11.89. Peins had the advantage off the line by three hundredths of a second over his opponent, but was losing ground fast. Sebrowski passed Peins and let off the throttle with the cushion of a comfortable lead. It is a good thing he did, because he ran his dial with a zero while Peins managed a 79 on his 13.75 dial. Robert Sebrowski, who won his last event in August of 2002, found himself back in the spotlight after over a year without a Corvette Challenge win. Aside from having a great day on the track, Sebrowski did something truly admirable off the track. Upon bagging $1000, he decided to donate half the winnings to the Local 164 I.B.E.W. Breast Cancer Fund for a hospital in Teaneck, NJ.
And so this Top 16 gambler's race concludes the 2003 East Coast Supercharging Corvette Challenge season. John Mackey would like to thank all of the sponsors involved- East Coast Supercharging, United Racing, the Vette Doctors, Panuzzo Racing, Spectrum Voice & Data, Simple Man Racing, Envirolution, the Corvette Club of Delaware Valley, Mufflex, CFM Racing, Tortolani Racing, Boweryboy Racing, Marotta Racing, RMS Racing, Pro Torque, and of course Perez Web Design. We will see you at the Corvette Challenge banquet in January followed by a new season not too many weeks later.
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modified: December 31, 1969 - 7:00 pm
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