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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

Sheila Murchan Wins First Event in Season Finale

By Edgar Perez

Englishtown, NJ, 11/19/05 - The final race of the 2005 East Coast Supercharging Corvette Challenge presented by Romar Fabrication was upon us and it was completed with the first woman ever to win an ECS Corvette Challenge. Sheila Murchan captured the win in her first final round appearance. Murchan joins fellow lady winners, Rochelle Dowdell in the West Coast, Emily Lewis and Jennifer Greeno, Bradenton Corvette Challenge with wins in the Corvette Challenges. Cool weather and perhaps the lack of "points" for this race held attendance to a season low of only 36. Because of continual low turnout for out non-points race over our points races, we will be moving the annual non-points race to the beginning of the season instead of the end in 2006. I typically write these articles from a third person perspective but will make an exception today. I also had the fortune of making my first final of 2005.

Runner Up Group Winner
Runner up Edgar Perez (nice seat) Runner up Edgar Perez and Winner Sheila Murchan Winner Sheila Murchan

I will start by thanking Jerry Muniz who came to the track with his new transmission but chose not to race and willingly accepted my video camera to shoot video of today's race allowing me to focus on driving so he gets some credit for my making it into the final today. Please be sure and visit www.challengevideos.com to see the videos of the races. Only 33 of our 36 Corvettes in attendance made the first round. We lost two Torch Red C4's in time trials due to breakage, including John Panuzzo's Corvette who after one too many passes in the quarter mile, said "no mas".

Sheila Murchan started her day with a superb .005 light, which she credits to adrenaline, on 14.49 dial to make early work of Tony Abbruzze whose light was late and left Sheila lots of room at the top end to get off the throttle. Sheila stated "Tony ran closer to his number, but I was hearing Ralphie/JP/Mackey as I got to the 1000' marker." There must be too many late nights with he new baby for keeping Abbruzze on the sleepy side. Just before first round, Sheila was lined up close to me and it looked like we were going to be paired for first round. Some may not know that both Sheila and I carry good luck ducks in our cars and because of this, Sheila suggested we should have "an all duck" final rather than first round. As duck luck would have it, we missed pairing first round by 1 car. Murchan's .005 was not the best light of the first round either. Tony Buonassisi launched his 6-speed C4 convertible to a .003 light which not only got him the Panuzzo Reaction Time award but the round win when Jason Anderson went red as well. Our quickest dialed car of the round was Vito Finazzo who dialed 10.44 and was chasing Ioannis Hadjiioannou but he had an apparent problem and never caught him sending Ioannis to the next round. The field was filled with racers who had not signed up for points in 2005 and look to be a great Rookie class for 2006. Ed Mowton, Dave Olejnik, Gino Spina and Randolph Lane all took first round victories today and look to be names I'll mention a lot in 2006. As for my first round opponent, Ralph Blauvelt, he had me covered on the tree and on the dial but unfortunately he did not close up the gap on the finish line enough and broke out giving me the win.

Sheila adorned rear glass with First Win
When round 2 came around, Buonassisi's .003 light will have earned him a bye because the ladder was uneven and he was number 1. He used the bye run to show us what he can do. He dialed 12.80 and ran dead-on with a nine (12.809) and chopped the tree down with a .009 for at total package of .018. He was looking pretty dangerous. Sheila Murchan would end up paired with our 2nd place points finisher from this year, Chris Young. Sheila stated "He was going for that 10 sec time slip, & the air was good.....knew I'd have my hands full." Sheila was bettered on the tree by Young but his car was doing some crazy wheels stands today and he would have to ease on the throttle to regain control and could not run his number. Murchan was a winner with .099 light and 14.591 on 14.55 dial and said "crossed 1st & took stripe by .0722 - on the brakes, hearing Dennis & Ralphie again (yes, I hear voices - thankfully really good ones!)." 2005 Rookie of the Year, Bob Korreck took himself out of this round when broke out running 12.726 on 12.76 dial allowing Dave Tortolani to move to the next round. I had the honor of racing one of my favorite cars, Don Peppler's Blue '67. Don is one of the nicest guys running a great looking car and he races it in many other classes as well. I hung out with Don when we raced at the Super Chevy Show last year. I had the advantage on the tree against Don and ran closer to my dial for the win against him. Thanks for the great race.

2005 Event 12 Ladder

Sheila got the empty spot on the ladder so she got the bye in this round. She used it as a tune-up run and ran dead-on with 3, (14.553), on her 14.55 dial to ready herself to assault the next opponent. She summed it up by saying "The SheDevil jumped the gun with a -.059 light - oops; but she made up for it by running a .553 on a .55 dial ... bless her little heart." Dave Olejnik, future Rookie contender, caught a break and went on to win a "Competition Single" because Dave Tortolani could not stay for this round so he ran a very close 12.847 on 12.85 dial. Rob Farley, not missing a beat since getting into his 1998 Indy Pace car, got himself into the quarter final when Ed Mowton caught the ugly red light. Bob Trieschmann was a winner in his race with a .028 light and a 13.267 on 13.25 dial over Doug Bereczki who was off his dial and little late on the tree. I had the fortune of racing the guy who, to this point, was poised for a final himself. That's right, I was paired with, the .018 package in the previous round, Tony Buonassisi. Tony did it to me too, with a .021 light to my .067. Luck for me, after getting treed, Buonassisi's car picked up some ET and he held the peddle down to keep me from catching him, which he succeeded at but I got the win because he broke out running 12.758 on 12.80 dial and I was on the way to the quarters.

Rob Farley was the benefactor of the bye run in the quarter final and he used it for a time run as he ran 13.419 on a 13.50 dial with sharp .030 light. Murchan was paired with Trieschmann and cut a .063 light on the way to a 14.551 on 14.53 dial when she saw her win light come on. Trieschmann went red by three thousandths of a second and the race was over. Said Sheila of Bob, "Ever the gentleman, Bob took it in stride, & told me to run the table." I, on the other hand, was paired with Olejnik in the Black Rose C4. Wanting to be cautious with the youngster, I cut a .106 light and he had me beat with a .078 light. As duck luck would have it for me, I would have to hope he was off his dial more than I was. I was in at 11.31 and stayed in it all the way to run 11.385 which was just good enough to edge out Olejnik who was 13.004 on his 12.84. The MOV was .0615.

Finally it was my turn to get the bye and I needed it as the car was begging for a rest so I asked the other drivers if they minded my sitting out the race and they said I could. After a long delay when a car spilled something on the track, it was Murchan against Farley. This is the second ex-champ she would have to face and defeat if she was to get into her first final in the Corvette Challenge. Sheila's best finish to date was a semi-final appearance last accomplished in 2004 Event 6. She upped her dial to 14.54 and was off clean with a .055 light. Farley, dialed 13.50, would follow shortly but spun a little too much on the old EMT tires. His light was .137 and he had some catching up to do. Murchan shared her some words on Farley, "Rob "Predator" Farley & the Barney Pace Car - I was hearing theme music to JAWS now. 2004's season Champ is a sweetheart - outside the car! Two summers ago, when we barely knew each other, he asked a race friend to help me get my car back to CT ... a la JP & Special K this last time. Race people are simply the best. Anyway, the new dad & I flipped for lane choice, my RT was .055 to a rare .137 for Rob - again, I crossed first (see a pattern here?) by .1507 ... guess Chris' voice was muffled - but I was on the brakes; ran a .582 under braking for a .54 dial." The earlier predicted all duck final was set, with exception of someone stealing my duck at some time during event so I was duckless for the last few races. Turns out the duck was placed in Chris Young’s car in the hopes if his getting his first 10-second pass. It did not work for him though.

Sheila's Lucky Duck
I will let summarize the final round and then comment.
"Round 6 (my FIRST final!): Edgar, the Surgeon, Zorro (aka: Perez) & his newly-in-the-10's C5 - need I really say more? Lining up next to this ice cool customer reminds me of a recent approach into BDL - windshear +/- 20kts, mod to severe turb, visibility at minimums ... yikes. Like my flight, the run wasn't pretty (but successful) - true to her nature, the SheDevil decided to run her best after hot-lapping, plus my light was a tad snoozy (.113).....but the race gods took pity, & Edgar's light was truly out of character (.219). Now I'm watching this much faster car swallow up the gap, hearing the Team Panuzzo choir, but just before the stripe I hear Jim Harrington's credo --- "drive it like you HATE it", and I truly slammed on those brakes [locked 'em up actually, if anyone noticed after the line]. I knew I crossed first (.0932), but I wasn't watching the board (just the stripe & Edgar's hood) - ran a .506 on a .54 dial, but his was more of a breakout. Margin of FIRST VICTORY: .0132. Does my motor probably need work? Do I need new brakes? (yes) Do I care? NOOOOOO!!!! Sweet thrust-reversers, I finally got it right!

As promised - wordy .... but it was 4 seasons in the making. I can honestly say the entire group helped me get to this point - it was my time, and worth all the fits & starts. I do hope to make a habit of it, but I also know there's about 102 other ECSCC-ers who'll not make that easy! Guess I also wanted those who haven't won yet to know they CAN, and the only real loss is to never try - life is not a dress rehearsal. It's also enjoyed best with friends ..... which, for me, makes this milestone all the more rewarding.

I am deeply grateful to JP & Dennis & Jim; Ralph, Chris, Bob S, Frank F, Bob T, Mackey, John P, Mojo, Tony A, Rob, Edgar - and all your fabulous ladies ... God bless you. The entire ECSCC crowd is on my THANK YOU list (hope Rose left some screams for Tony!) - I'm both humbled & honored to be a small part of it. To our sponsors - mega thanks for making this series possible (& rewarding!). I haven't met Joe at Pro Torque, but I loooove his converter. Kudos to the Raceway Park people - David, Michele & company ..... great job all season. To Dave Knecht & Bill Mattson - thank you, you (& Dennis)made the SheDevil a contender!

Personal thanks to Dad & late Mom - my best teachers; 'Junior G'; and to my non-race buddies who also think this is waaaay cool! Sheila (& the P-Ducky)"

My comment? All I can say is Sheila is a very deserving, dedicated and open minded driver. Her willingness to learn and improve paid off for her today. While I wanted the win, Sheila made it not so hard to lose and that is truly the spirit of the Corvette Challenge. "You Go Girl!" PS, I like both nicknames.

Discuss this on the Corvette Forum.

Murchan Thanks Sponsor's and Friends

"First Win Special Thanks to: John Panuzzo, Dennis Kazimir, Jim & Tracy Harrington.....I am so fortunate to have learned from you; for their race savvy & good humor - entire Team Panuzzo (Savarese, Young, Fiori, Sebrowski, Farley, Schear, Policastro, Abbruzze, Korreck); Mackey, Perez, Trieschmann, Clan Hollingshead, Conner, Kovich, Swadis, Buonassisi, Muniz, Hadyniak.....essentially, the ENTIRE ECSCC racing family --- and that includes the fabulous ladies (Debbie, Rose, Marianna, Karen, Louise, Mary, Mrs. Rob & Edgar, et al ...forgive me if I left out a name!) who have always encouraged me, even when I raced their fellas. Great to win, but even better when you have deep respect for your opponents. I had to get past some of the toughest racers around, all of whom are genuinely good men. Race people ARE special.

To Dave Knecht, Bill Mattson & DK --- thank you for making the SheDevil a contender, and a safe ride. (also to Bob S/Bob H/John H/DK/Ralph & Chris for 'trauma' repairs!)

To ECSCC Sponsors --- continued thanks for your support of our series, making it extra special (& possible!). Personal thanks to Pro Torque - love that converter!

To Raceway Park personnel --- thanks for making it safe, memorable & fun.....always felt welcome. To Edgar Perez, Dennis Kazimir, Bob Trieschmann, Al Conner, & Mackey: thank you for creating & sustaining a competitive, rewarding & positive series - I think it's catching on......

Personal thanks to Dad, (Mom), family & friends who understood "I've got to go race" ..... and who always thought me a winner. God bless, & mea culpa for the length of this --- the first win is very, very special!"

Other Awards Handed Out at this Event

  • Event winner Sheila Murchan went home with $300 cash, a $100 gift certificate from Pro Torque, a tee shirt from Speed Dawg Apparel and winner trophy.
  • Runner-up Edgar Perez went home with $150 cash, a $50 gift certificate from Pro Torque and runner-up trophy.
  • Semi-finalists included Rob Farley and who won $75 cash.
  • Tony Buonassisi 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. Tony Buonassisi was quickest on the tree in the 1st round when his RT was .003.
  • Neil Vernarelli won the 'Almost Perfect Award' with a loss in the 1st round with the red light closest to .000 (Almost Perfect). Neil Vernarelli's light was -0.008 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.
  • Gino Spina won the CCDV 'Closest to Dial Award' by running only .011 off his dial. Gino Spina was awarded a trophy and free tech card for a future race from Corvette Club of Delaware Valley.
  • Ohh so Close Award of Zaino productsChris Pastorello won the 'Ohh so Close Award' presented by Zaino when being edged out in the 1st round by the smallest margin of victory of .0208. That number is the MOV number on your time slip. Although suffering a loss in the 1st round by the smallest Margin of Victory, Chris Pastorello 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 36 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 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....Next Season

Our 2005 season has come to an end and I have enjoyed racing with you all. We completed a 12 race schedule. There will be some changes next year to our schedule starting with the previously mentioned change of the NON-points race. Our non-points race will be our first race of the season and can be used as an exhibition or tune-up race before our first points race. We will have predetermined makeup dates for any rainouts during the season. Plans are not finalized but the target is to finish points dates by the end of October and having out Top 16 race at the end of the year leaving two or three dates in November for makeup’s. Scheduling is not finalized but we should have our preliminary dates in a few days and the schedule will go to the printer before year-end so it will be final then. The Vette Doctors Pro 8 will again return with 6 dates, 5 together with us on Saturday dates and 1 Sunday date with the No Time Nationals and Ultra Quick 8. Points signups will begin in December so visit our home page for a link to the application and the latest news on our schedule or visit the Drag Schedule at http://www.racewaypark.com to view the schedule when it is available.

Corvette Challenge Multimedia

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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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