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2005   *  Event 1   *  Event 3   *  Event 4   *  Event 5   *  Event 2   *  Event 6   *  Event 7   *  Event 7   *  Event 8   *  Event 9   *  Event 10   *  Event 11   *  Event 12 * 2005 Standings

John Panuzzo Wins Event 10 and Ralph Savarese is First to Repeat at the Championship

By Edgar Perez

Englishtown, NJ, 11/05/05 - It did not matter what the weather was today for the final points race of the 2005 season for the East Coast Supercharging Corvette Challenge presented by Romar Fabrication. There was a Bracket Championship to decide in addition to the Vette Doctors Pro 8 Shootout Championship (covered separately). We also had a Rookie of the Year to crown and lots of jockey for position amongst the ranks to earn jackets for Top 8 or a chance to run in the Top 16 Gamblers Invitational the following week. So the fact that the thermometer hit 70 in November was far overshadowed by the competition. Banquet ticket sales began today despite the actual tickets are not ready yet, for our 4th Annual Awards Banquet presented by CCW to be held at the Holiday Inn in Monroe on February 11, 2006 (no tickets sold at the door). Ticket purchase information below. Without further adieu, let's recap today's bracket racing activities.

Runner Up Group Winner
2005 Champion Ralph Savarese does a burnout
photo by Alex Voronoff
Winner John Panuzzo, Runner-up Bob Sebrowski and Bob Trieschmann Winner John Panuzzo

We had a total of 71 Corvettes make the race although only 64 made it to the starting line in first round. Dan Swadis started us off being the first car out with a 13.54 dial against Danny Rotondo, 13.45, and set the tone with a .004 reaction time and the win against Rotondo who went red. A few pair later, John Panuzzo started his quest for a second event win in 2005 with a .007 light and a 2.902 on 12.85 over Joe Donnelly. If you think those lights were impressive, Ioannis Hadjiioannou from Brooklyn, NY was the quickest of the round at the tree with a .003 making it too hard for Mike Moran to stay out in front in the race. You don't always need a double-oh light to get the win however and John Reese, Wilkes Barre, PA was able to get the win with a .118 light when his opponent, Don Benson was little farther off the tree and never caught Reese to the finish. In a double red situation, Vic Gandhi got the win over Bob Korreck because Korreck was first to go red. This is called the "worst or first" rule in which the worse infraction is the round loser or if the infractions are equal, like the two red lights, the first one to do it loses the round. Chris Young was back out with his own C4 running 11.30s and he took the first round win over Frank Fiori by running 11.353 on 11.34 dial with a .038 light. Bob Sebrowski started his day with a first round match up against Marty Cavanagh. Sebrowski was .054 on the tree to Cavanagh's .092. Cavanagh ran 11.844 on 11.72 leaving some room at the top end and Sebrowski closed the finish 12.023 on 11.94 dial. I was surprised to hear Walter over the loudspeaker say Ron Higgins was at the starting line because I did not see Higgins' '66 Corvette today, either on the track or on Route 9 on the way to track as I had often seen him. Why? Because Higgins was driving Bill Fisher Collector '96, or was he. No, Higgins had not gotten a case of chrisyoungitis. He recently purchased the car from Fischer Sr. and was now driving it in the Corvette Challenge. I wish Ron well with the new car but it did not help him in this round as he cut a .006 reaction time with it, but could not run the number as he is learning the car and lost to Ellis Gray who had no trouble running his number. There was probably one race that was most nerve-racking for the driver of them all. Sure Young might have had butterflies needing to do his part to keep his hopes for a Championship alive, and he did, then Ralph Savarese had them too. It is much better to take care of your own destiny any Savarese would clinch with first round win. Savarese drew Sheila Murchan for the first round race and he ignored the butterflies and showed why his is the champ when he cut a .004 light and ran 11.557 on 11.46 because he did not have to run it all out as he had Murchan covered by the 1000' mark (video. With the win, Savarese clinched his second Corvette Challenge Championship. Congratulations to Ralph Savarese.

Lee Soffer between rounds
We would be on the ladder in round 2 because we were at the magic number for laddering, 32 Corvettes (we ladder at 32 or less). Panuzzo led us off on to the track and received a gift when Ken Gallassio, dialed 13.05, pushed the tree too hard and went red. Panuzzo used the free shot as a time run and found he ran under his 12.95 dial with a 12.796. James Kovitch cut the best light of the round with a .007 and couple that with a 13.716 on 12.70 dial to defeat Glenn Murphy who broke out trying to catch Kovitch running 12.523 on 12.70 dial. Lee Soffer got away with sleeping at the tree (and was later seen sleeping in the staging lanes) when Doug Bereczki broke out running 14.147 on 14.19 dial getting to the finish line first but giving the win to Soffer. In a very close match up, Louis Calicchia got the better of Vic Gandhi when his .026 light was better than Gandhi's .049. Both drivers broke out in the match but Calicchia's was just .005 under to Gandhi's .029 under which put the drivers at the finish line at almost identical times. Although Savarese did not need to feel butterflies for this next pair, he still attempted to hit the tree and did too quickly and went red by -.011 giving Ron Leader the win. Maybe this is an omen and we should all expect Leader to be our leader in 2006? Bob Sebrowski was paired with George Geipel who had gone to the semi-finals in the last event. Geipel left first with 13.72 dial to Sebrowski's 11.95. Once again, Sebrowski's found himself with an advantage at the top and he tightened up the race running 12.120 on the 11.95 dial using a starting line advantage for the win.

2005 Event 10 Ladder

Eight pair left for round three. Mike Boniface, who had not made it to a Challenge since the beginning of the season was back and going rounds. His 11-second heads and cam combination was dialed at 11.49. His opponent, Jim Kovitch was first out of the gate with a 13.65 dial but went red giving the win and the free pass to Boniface who used to find his C5 had gone 11.33 on the 11.40 dial. Louis Calicchia made quick work of Ralph Blauvelt when Blauvelt went red before Calicchia left the line so he was off on a free pass of 12.799 on the 12.68 dial. John Panuzzo ended up not needing the .015 light as Tom Sabolevsky went -.065 red after Panuzzo left the line with the slower car so he ran it out and went 12.742 which was just under his 12.75 dial. This was bad and Bob Sebrowski was next. There was a fairly large oil down at the finish line befog this round the Raceway Park Crew was out there with the "Purple Power" machine and the jet dryer to clean it up. Unfortunately the delay was too long for Ron Leader to stay and he had to leave to meet a family obligation. This meant that his opponent in the round, Bob Sebrowski, would get a competition single. Sebrowski took the single and ran 11.953 on his 11.89 run.

Ellis Gray left this cloud of smoke behind in the quarter finals
Four pair in round four and we are almost done with the points season. John Panuzzo was paired the Eric Fischer who won last week. Panuzzo would leave first with 12.70 dial and Fischer would follow with an 11.97 dial. The lights were almost identical and differed by only .004 so the closer dialer would be likely get the win. Fischer was .024 over his dial which normally gets you the win. However, the Corvette Challenge's version of "The Professor", let's call it "The Substitute" was in class. Dead-on on with a 9 is what we heard on the speaker which is .009 off his dial. Super job by Panuzzo for the win. It had been a long season for Bob Hollingshead but he was in the quarter finals with his 63 4 speed Corvette. He left first with 12.88 dial and .023 and was looking for Mike Boniface to leave with an 11.28 dial. Boniface's day came to an end when he lit the red light with a -.030 light and Hollingshead was on his way to the Semis for the first time this season. Next pair was Sebrowski, 11.95 vs. Louis Calicchia at 12.88. Both were off green and Sebrowski had a small starting line advantage. Sebrowski caught Calicchia but neither driver wanted to give it up. They both broke out but it was Sebrowski just .048 under while Calicchia was under more than a tenth. If you want to talk about a busy driver day, try 23 runs. Ellis Gray usually maximizes his track time by running multiple classes when he comes to race. That and a few timing issues which had him re-run one race three times, led to the 23 runs. If you have seen Ellis do burnouts, you will know why he likely needs a new set of tires and why he was destined to be Ellis "Gray". When he leaves the burnout box, he leaves the biggest "gray" smoke clouds from the burnout. He would face Ioannis Hadjiioannou in the quarter final. Hadjiioannou left first with 12.16 and as Ellis left, he was red with a -.027. His first red of the day and it would allow Hadjiioannou to advance.

Now we are down to two pair and four drivers. Two of the four drivers had never won a Corvette Challenge and each had a chance to get in the final. Panuzzo would draw bob Hollingshead. The cars were very close in dials so the drivers will know when they leave how close their trees would be as they would be almost heads-up. it was 12.88 for Hollingshead and 12.70 for Panuzzo. The trees came down and the win light went on immediately. Hollingshead had gone red by two thousandths of a second and Panuzzo was on the way to the win. Next pair, Hadjiioannou vs. Sebrowski was not a close in dial but almost as close. Hadjiioannou would leave first with 12.18 on the window to Sebrowski's 11.90. However, Hadjiioannou also pushed the tree hard lighting Sebrowski's win light with a -.015 red and Sebrowski would meet Panuzzo in the final, again.

If you recall, Panuzzo and Sebrowski were in the final this year in Event 7 on August 6th. In that final, Panuzzo and Sebrowski each had reaction times they would rather not remember and I am sure they were bearing down not to repeat it. Panuzzo got the win last time. Panuzzo will leave first with a 12.73 dial and Sebrowski will follow with an 11.87. Panuzzo leaves with a .103 light and Sebrowski with a .125, not the best of the day for either but better than their prior final. Sebrowski was battling a blown head gasket situation and the car was inconsistent all day. He was hoping he can get one more run out of it and maybe the win. The car did not run the number as he was almost a tenth off at 12.055. Panuzzo on the other hand was pulling "The Substitute" act again. Dead-on with a two this time. He was off his dial by only .002 and across the finish line first for his second event win of the year. Panuzzo secured the 6th spot in the points and earned himself a jacket to be awarded at our banquet in February. Sebrowski's semi-final appearance boosted him over Rob Farley, who did not make this event, into 4th place, his highest finish since we have tracked points from 2001.

Discuss this on the Corvette Forum.

Team CCDV Wins Corvette Challenge Club Challenge Cup Competition

While words like domination, automatic and dynasty come to mind, I will simply say, The Corvette Club of Delaware Valley, has clinched its third consecutive Club Challenge Cup. The County Corvette Association, (CCA1) could not gather enough club support to make this competition even close. CCDV drivers finish the points season with 147 points to 38. CCA1 had only one driver make it out today, Al Conner. CCDV had 6 today and earned a 4 point bonus with Ellis Gray making Round 4. In addition, they received 6 points from 6 drivers in attendance. I would like to thank all the Corvette Club Members who participated in this Challenge2005 Club Challenge Standings.

Bob Korreck Wins the 2005 Silly Goose Racing Stables Rookie of the Year

Bob Korreck lived in Florida when we started our season. He temporarily relocated for work to Connecticut and took advantage of his close proximity and made the 400 mile round trip in his motor home with wife, Mary and their two dogs and 1 cat, for the remaining 7 points races. With being three races in the hole, he set his sights on becoming Rookie of the Year. Two runner-up finishes aided in helping him accomplish that goal. His 24 points was more than enough to finish ahead of Neil Vermicelli and Kyle Nikola (17 each). Korreck joins Rob Farley, Chris Young and Rick White as winners of the Silly Goose Racing Stables Rookie of the year. That is great company to be in. Congratulations to Bob Korreck and to this year's Rookie class. There are several racers who tried out the series this year and we look forward to another competitive Rookie competition in 2006. Rookie Points Standings click here

Other Awards Handed Out at this Event

  • Event winner John Panuzzo went home with $300 cash, a $100 gift certificate from Pro Torque, a tee shirt from Speed Dawg Apparel and winner trophy.
  • Runner-up Bob Sebrowski went home with $150 cash, a $50 gift certificate from Pro Torque and runner-up trophy.
  • Semi-finalists included Bob Hollingshead and Ioannis Hdjiioannou who won $75 cash.
  • Ioannis Hadjiioannou 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. Ioannis Hadjiioannou was quickest on the tree in the 1st round when his RT was .003.
  • Tony Abbruzze won the 'Almost Perfect Award' with a loss in the 1st round with the red light closest to .000 (Almost Perfect). Tony Abbruzze's light was -0.020 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.
  • Ralph Blauvelt won the CCDV 'Closest to Dial Award' by running only .002 off his dial. Ralph Blauvelt was awarded a trophy and free tech card for a future race from Corvette Club of Delaware Valley.
  • Ohh so Close Award of Zaino productsJohn Policastro won the 'Ohh so Close Award' presented by Zaino when being edged out in the 1st round by the smallest margin of victory of .0008. 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 Policastro 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 71 cars making this event, United Racing gave out quite a few trophies or 1st Round Trophy Upgrade Program credits.

2005 Corvette Challenge Awards Banquet, February 11, 2006

Our 4th Annual East Coast Supercharging Corvette Challenge presented by Romar Fabrication and Vette Doctors Pro 8 Shootout presented by Neverlift Racecraft will once again be presented by Complete Custom Wheel, more commonly known as CCW. Please see me or email me for Banquet Ticket Information.. Tickets are $35 each and will NOT be sold at the door. The banquet will be held on February 11, 2006 at The Holiday Inn, Monroe, NJ just off of exit 8A of the New Jersey Turnpike.

Next race

The next race is open to only the Top 16 racer on November 12, 2005 at 9 AM. It is for the Top 16 Gamblers Invitation in which the Top 16 driver put in an additional $75 fee to run the race gamblers style in which the winner will receive $1,000 and the runner-up $200. Drivers will be invited via email and phone calls. All Corvette racers are welcome to come to the track either as spectators or as participants in other Raceway Park classes, such as Trophy Marathon or Test and Tune. The following week, November 19, 2005 will be our final race. It will be again open to all Corvette drivers. All full Corvette Challenge payout and prizes will be given out at this race. The only difference it that is not for points. Visit the Drag Schedule at to view the schedule.

Corvette Challenge Multimedia


Photos by Joe Donnelly
Photos by Alex Voronoff
Click for Edgar and Gary's Photo Gallery


Video Coverage by Edgar Perez, Neil Fine and Chris Young

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 | Romar Fabrication | United Racing | The Vette Doctors | Team Panuzzo | Corvette Club of Delaware Valley - CCDV | Silly Goose Racing Stables | Simple Man | Marotta Racing | QTP - Quick Time Performance | Neverlift Racecraft | SLP Performance Parts | Pro Torque | Kooks Custom Headers | CFM Racing | Tortolani Racing | Anger Management Racing | FINEST Racing | Speed Dawg Performance Apparel | East Coast Corvettes | PCM for Less | Zaino Bros | Perez Web Design

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