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Rick White Wins First Career Corvette Challenge in Event 9

Englishtown, NJ, 10/23/04 - The championship points chase is down to just two points separating top East Coast Supercharging Corvette Challenge drivers John Panuzzo and Rob Farley setting the stage for yet another nail biter final points race in two weeks, Saturday November 6, 2004 at 9 AM. Rick White, involved in Rookie of the Year points battle with Jerry Muniz, won his first career ECS Corvette Challenge and moved himself into tenth place overall in total points. White now holds the rookie lead by two points also. Today's race was action packed with the fastest Corvettes daring to race at E-town putting on show in The Vette Doctors Pro 8 Shootout Race 4 won by Keith Valone from Florida (event covered in a separate article). We had 68 Corvettes making the first round call with many new drivers trying the series for the first time (16 non-points racers).

Runner-up Ralph Savarese Runner-up Ralph Savarese and winner Rick White Winner Rick White
Runner-up Ralph Savarese Runner-up Ralph Savarese and winner Rick White Winner Rick White

Rick White comes from Nashua, New Hampshire to race the Corvette Challenge in NJ. This is a true testament to just how great the series is when White drives past his home track, just half an hour from him in Epping NH, to Englishtown, NJ which is about a five hour tow. Yes if we do the math, White left his house at the ungodly hour of 3 AM to make the gates by 8 AM and was still focused enough to drive to win. Not only did Rick run the Corvette Challenge but he also went to the third round in the EFI Shootout where he came in the defending race winner.
Event 9 Ladder

White's 1985 with 1996 panel Corvette is easily recognized for its unique Orange paint. After winning first round in EFI he came over to our lanes and faced Lee Soffer in the Blue C5. White left on Soffer when he cut a .019 light. Lee's light was late so White hit the brakes and took the round win running 11.622 on 11.29 dial. Back to EFI he went and another win there then back to the Corvettes. White faced Mike Koletas from Silver Spring MD dialed at 10.35. White would leave first with another stellar light at .037 and a second later the win light came on when Koletas went red. White crossed the stripe on the freebie at 11.319, still on the 11.29 dial. Round two was full of stellar lights as White's .037 only earned him the seventh spot on the ladder. White was paired with Thomas Sebolewski, a fairly new participant in the Challenge. White again did the tree thing with .079 running 11.498 on 11.26 dial on the brakes as Sebolewksi's light was not on par. Round four the competition got even tougher as White was to face number two in points and hard charging Rob Farley. White hit the tree with his second .037 of the day (in the Challenge at least). Farley did not hit the tree as hard and he had to stay in it hard trying to keep White from the finish line while he was running 11.263 on 11.25 dial. Farley got the stripe by .0033 but it was too quick as he broke out with a 13.516 on 13.55 dial. The fifth and semi-final round actually had some color to it (pun intended). It would be White vs. Gray. Ellis Gray, sitting in the top 10 all season, looking for his first win this year, was next against White. White dialed in at 11.25 against Gray's 12.00. Gray would leave first, but before he should have left, lighting his Red (color again) and White's win light. Had Gray been on the green side it would have been close because he ran dead-on his dial at 12.002. White took the final freebie and clicked it off at 11.235 on his 11.25. And now, Corvette Challenge Rookie leader and former New England Dragway track Champion, Rick White, was headed to his first Final at E-town in the ECS CC.

On the other side of the ladder, 2002 ECS CC Champion Ralph Savarese began his climb against Don Peppler Jr. in the first round. Peppler Jr., a Top 10 contender, dialed his 67 Corvette in at 13.17 to Savarese's 11.21. Savarese took a slight starting line advantage .056 to .078. Both drivers are very capable of running their number so naturally we had a very tight race with Savarese running .017 over to Peppler's .072 over and on went Savarese. Round two would not be any easier with Savarese facing Bob Hollingshead. Savarese bettered his chances cutting a .017 light giving him a decent advantage he would not relinquish. Hollingshead was not only a little late but .130 off his dial giving Savarese a good margin of victory which he tightened up by running 11.430 on his 11.21 dial. Third round Savarese would face Ioannis Hadjiioannou. Savarese dropped the dial to 11.18 against Hadjiioannou's 12.03 C5. Ioannis geared up too much and lit the tree red handing Savarese the win and a free pass. Savarese was clocked at 11.170 on the 11.16 dial. Round 4 Savarese faced Martin Cavanagh from Staten Island with the Spiral Gray C5. Cavanagh gave it a good effort cutting a .087 light and running 12.754 on 12.70 dial but Savarese had him covered on both ends. Savarese cut a .047 light and ran just .017 over on his 11.17 dial taking the win by .0778. The fifth and semi-final round put Savarese against the 2nd place rookie, Jerry "Boogieman" Muniz, in the hard top Black HOT C5. Muniz, like Savarese and White are all having great late season charges. Muniz had a chance for the win when Savarese cut his worst light of the event but could not capitalize. Muniz is a true rookie to racing and learned a valuable lesson in this double breakout race. Savarese took the win breaking out by only .019 to Muniz's .0581 in a tough race. Muniz was in his second semi-final appearance in a row but Savarese was on his way to his second final of the year and 12th career overall for a new record.

For the fourth event in a row we had an all C4 final. And once again they would treat us to a nail biter. In an almost heads up race the drivers would be neck-in-neck the whole way. White would leave first with an 11.23 dial that he slapped on the car after conferring with his opponent. White took the lead with a .022 light and Savarese followed with a .033 light. White's car moved left after 60' and he straightened it up and ran it dead on 11.233 as Savarese was just .034 over on his 11.14 dial. At the stripe it was White by only .0427. What a close race for the full 1320'. Interestingly one our NJ drivers (Edgar Perez) went up to race at New England Dragway last week and won, where White went out in the first round and White returned to NJ to avenge and take the win here. Video of the final click here.

Discuss this race here.

Points Champ to be determined at the final points race for the fourth year in a row

Points leader John Panuzzo came in with a four point lead and left early in the 2nd round while Rob Farley closed ,the gap to two points. Each of the prior three years the ECS Corvette Challenge points championship was not looked up until the last event. This year will be no different. Panuzzo has held the lead for the past six races but the gap has closed to two points which mean Rob Farley can catch him by scoring three more points or winning the event and scoring only two more points (points tie is broken by event wins and both Farley and Panuzzo have one). You don't want to miss the action at the next race on November 6th. Prior year standings 2001 Bob Trieschmann, 2002 Ralph Savarese, 2003 Joe Blass.

Summary of driver Dial-In times

Time 9 10 11 12 13 14 Total
# 1 7 8 26 20 4 66
% 1.52% 10.61% 12.12% 39.39% 30.30% 6.06% 100%

Tony Abbruzze on the "Bump Spot" for the Top 16 $1,000 Gamblers Race

Tony is the 16th driver in the standings and has 21 points. There are 13 drivers that have a fair chance of catching Tony A., the nice guy that he is. Any driver with 15 points or more can win the next event earning 7 points and take Abbruzze if he fails to get out of first round if we go six rounds which is the most likely scenario. If he fails to make the event and we go 6 rounds or if we go 7 rounds and he is out first round then six more drivers with 14 points can over-take him. If he fails to make the event and we go 7 rounds then four more drivers with 13 points can catch Tony with an event win. The Top 16 race is an invitational race where drivers earn their spots by finishing in the Top 16 in points. All are welcome to attend the race as spectators to support our racers. The Top 16 will be invited as well as up to 4 alternates. Drivers will receive an email invitation and if they opt out of the race we will go to the next driver to fill the spot and all drivers move up. Good luck to all the drivers. 2004 Standings.

Clubs and Rookies

It is just a formality now as Team CCDV has clinched the Corvette Challenge Club Challenge Cup barring CCA1, led by Al Conner, can bring about 80 drivers to the last race. Ellis Gray led team CCDV today with a 5 point performance. CCDV gained eight points for attendance to CCA1 earning two. The Club Challenge points chase has been closer this year with the new points system but CCDV still holds an advantage in attendance and their drivers are tough competitors. Club Challenge Standings.

The top two rookies did well again today with new Spectrum Voice & Data Rookie of the Year points leader Rick White getting the event win. Jerry "Boogieman" Muniz went to his second semi-final in a row to keep the chase close. George Geipel put in a valiant effort in his first points season but unless we go nine rounds at the next race the numbers are not going to add up to move him ahead of White. He still has a shot at second though. Just like last year when rookies Chris Young and Joe Signore battled to the last race, so will White and Muniz. This series continues with the sub plots and the Rookie of the Year is one of them so watch for the Black C5 Vert with a hardtop and the bright Orange C4 at the next race November 6th. See rookies denoted with (r) in the standings.

Other Awards Handed Out at this Event

  • Event winner Rick White went home with $250 cash, a $100 gift certificate from Pro Torque and winner trophy.
  • Runner-up Ralph Savarese went home with $125 cash, a $50 gift certificate from Pro Torque and runner-up trophy.
  • Semi-finalists included Jerry Muniz and Ellis Gray who won $60 cash.
  • John Millen won the 'John Panuzzo Jr. Memorial' trophy and $50 cash was presented by Team Panuzzo Racing for the best winning reaction time in the 1st round. John Millen was quickest on the tree in the 1st round when his RT was .006.
  • Al Betz won the 'Almost Perfect Award' with a loss in the 1st round with the red light closest to .000 (Almost Perfect). Al Betz's light was -0.033 and was rewarded a trophy from Old Bridge Township Raceway Park recognizing the effort put forth to try and capture a perfect light but just slightly red.
  • Joe Signore won the 'Closest to Dial Award' by running only .009 off his dial. Joe Signore was awarded a trophy from Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.
  • Ohh so Close Award of Zaino productsJohn Hadyniak won the 'Ohh so Close Award' presented by Zaino when being edged out in the 1st round by the smallest margin of victory of .0014. That number is the MOV number on your time slip. Although suffering a loss in the 1st round by the smallest Margin of Victory, John Hadyniak 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 80 cars making this event, United Racing gave out quite a few trophies or 1st Round Trophy Upgrade Program credits.

Next race

We race again in two weeks on November 6th with gates opening at 9 AM for us. You do not want to miss this race as there are Championships at stake as well as Top 8 Jacket positions, Top 10 prize positions and Top 16 Invitation positions to be settled. Visit 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 $262. Dave Hollingshead won $131 and donated an additional $40 to the $131 donated so $171 went 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. That was half at $131 and the winner gave back an additional $40 for the cause. To date we have donated $131, $258, $186, $146, $125, $485, $126, $187 and $171 for a total of $1,8155 to the organization for 2004. Thank you for your continued support.

Corvette Challenge Multimedia


Videos from the starting line and finishline by Edgar.

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 | Marotta Racing | CCDV | Mufflex Performance | Quick Time Performance | Neverlift Racecraft | SLP | | CFM Racing | Tortolani Racing | Anger Management Racing | FINEST RACING | Pro Torque | Zaino Bros

modified: December 31, 1969 - 7:00 pm

Series Sponsors
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East Coast Supercharging

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Cool-Aid Company

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