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2006   *  Event 1   *  Event 2   *  Event 3   *  Event 4   *  Event 5   *  Event 7   *  Event 8   *  Event 10   *  Event 11   *  Event 6   *  Event 9   *  Event 12 * 2006 Standings

"FIRST WIN" SEASON CONTINUES: DON PEPPLER, Jr. TAKES EAST COAST SUPERCHARGING CORVETTE CHALLENGE EVENT 4!

By Sheila Murchan

April 15, 2006: A classic '67 coupe and its classier driver bested a field of 75 cars for the ECSCC Event 4. Enduring the fits and starts at Oil-Town (oops! That's E-town), Don Peppler, Jr. argued his second ECSCC career final - a clutch judgment for the standard shifters! Opposing the counsel for a two-blue final was Dave Tortolani, going deep with his '99 C5.

Talk about your slippery slope - the Purple-puddle-picker-upper (not to be confused with Farley's "PAAS-mobile") got more track time than all the racers combined. Taxing as that was, three time shots were allowed and the weather cooperated for some egg-ceptional race conditions. Belts flew, tires spun and cars nosed over as racers hunted that perfect package basket. Sadly, gremlins got the better of several - most notably Jerry Muniz's tranny - we hope all are back 100% by next race. [Suspicious droppings in the staging lanes led some to believe one car was hopped-up on nitrous - but those pellets were just beanies, baby.]

For today's Vette Doctors Pro 8 Shootout coverage click here.

Runner Up Group Winner
Runner up Dave Tortolani launches
Photo by Chris Young
2006 Z06 C6 picutured owned by Gary Harta
Photo by Chris Young
Winner Don Peppler (image from 2005)

Round one saw more cars and fewer red lights than previous events - racers are getting a better handle on their rides, and that showed in competition. One of the closest 1st rd matches was between two C5's, Danny Rotundo's '99 and Chris Haase's '03. Chris ran 13.191 on a .15 dial, with an RT only .005 slower than Danny; Rotundo's run {sounds like a movie title, doesn't it?} hit the brakes at the stripe only .001 over dial … playing the top end well enough to earn Danny the CCDV's "Closest To Dial" award. (video) Another battle of C5's was Al Betz v. Stephen Schasaroch (say that with a mouthful of crackers! ). Running a 12.234 on a .20 dial, Stephen pushed Al to a breakout; margin of victory .0145, which earned Al the "Oh So Close" Zaino kit. (All Betz are not off though - Al is a perennial top 10 contender, and shinier too!). (video) Event 2 winner Jim Kovitch stayed In the points hunt with a winning RT of .014, taking the John Panuzzo, Jr award, and ran .944 on a .93 dial - a tough package for the hardest name in racing, Ioannis Hadjiioannou (pronounced "Smythe" - they're all silent … but not his black C5 - that roars!). (video) Newcomer to series Gary Harta lined up against old friend JP, but his copper C6 did a Bond in reverse ( -.007 RT) - at least he returned to Stratford with Raceway Park's "Almost Perfect" award. (video) Rich Shuleski rallied a 11.899 on a .89 dial, but a slow light gave it up to John Trescott's red C5. Starting his march to the final, Don Peppler's '67 was up against Mark Jackson's 427 '68 … which slowed a ton (& we hope is ok!) - a big "phew!" for Don. In other notable races, Gene Paterno & '02 showed how a good light can overcome opponent Paul Bogdan's hard dial; Dave Romancheck was fixing to put the hurt on Ralph Blauvelt, but it was Raplh's consistent C4 pushing Dave out by .005. One true "head's up" pairing (both dialed 13.00) came down to RT: Frank Schear ran a 13.059 & Joe Elsis ran 13.058 … but, alas, no mojo on the tree for Frank.

Round two had only 2 matches decided by near greens (smacking themselves were last event winner Anderson & 2005 champ Savarese - both very, very capable of killer lights); most racers hitting their marks & running their numbers. Though Bob Korreck's C5 chomped out a 13.355 on a .35 dial, Bob Sebrowski avenged his buddy's first round loss by swamping the ol' gator on the tree. A close one between John Panuzzo & Mike Moran's C5 pushed to a double breakout - JP by only .005. Fischer & Son marched on to next round with very solid runs (12.039 on 11.98, & 12.301 on .29), as did Ray Sztabnik (13.795 on .78), Joe Elsis (.097 on .00), Ellis Gray catching Ken Baranski (11.691 on .65), Blauvelt wreaked havoc again with a .263 on a .25. Trescott's affable smile deflects a deadly consistent ride - a 12.149 on .14 (rd 1: .161 on a .13).

Into Round three, and only one match produced a foul - an odd double red, & for Ray Sztabnik's C3 first meant worst (a gift to "WJ" Fischer!), though Ray did the smart thing and ran it out … 13.782 on .76. Event finalist Dave Tortolani used precision to take out Shawn Cavanagh (11.752 on .72 / .037 RT), while Don Peppler pushed Elsis' C6 to a .024 breakout - very tight match, start to finish. Rob Farley unleashed his best RT of the day (.001) on the invisible racer, someone named 'Bye' {who showed up for 4 of the 7 rounds}.


2006 Event 4 Ladder

Round four upped the ante, with 4 of 5 matches having close lights (though not necessarily 'stellar'). The nail-biter race saw former finalist Eric Fischer with a start advantage of .011, ran .138 on .10 - but Peppler was not to be denied his motion for round 5: the blue beauty ran 13.374 on a .36. AARP bragging rights went to Panuzzo, after the fiber kicked in his C4 put Bill Fischer on the walker with a 12.962 on a .91. Bob Gay continued his happy hunting by pushing out Event one winner Joe Signore.

Five cars advanced to Round five, starting out with Tortolani v. Panuzzo. The track sweeper would've spanked either of them off the line (sorry guys, couldn't resist), but the launch margin was only .013 for Dave. Neither racer quit - and at the top end a double breakout put Tortolani in the semi's with a 11.764 on .77, to JP's .862 on .90 … that's good racing! (video) Bob Gay continued to be, with yet another forced breakout by Farley … oh, and Bob's '85 ran .181 on a .17, ouch.

Round six assured Tortolani a berth in the final, using his bye for a solid shot of 11.733 on a .72. Earlier in the event Dave endured launch issues with his torque converter, & what he described as inconsistent time shots & one bad bog … but at the end of the day, he showed the mettle needed to be a contender - in his words: "Thank the Vette Doctors for giving me a great running & consistent car". Peppler was left to take out the ringer, and did so by forcing Gay to a breakout (.158 on a .17) … and Don's .036 RT didn't hurt his cause either! (video) Bob had fun though - enjoying not just the racing, but also the positive atmosphere we're known for…expect him again this season.

The longest day in recent series history came down to Round 7, with Peppler v. Tortolani for all the eggs. The lights were close - Don a .065, & Dave a .081 - and Dave made it a race by virtue of a .786 on a .68 dial, but the verdict went to Peppler, running a 13.519 on a .47 dial … slick finish, well done!! (video)

Though far outnumbered by automatics in the series (90+ v. 12+), Tony B & the Gear Grabbers [next gig - season banquet, with vocalist 'Pit Chick'] were delighted to see one of their own have a career day. Don said the '67 ran great all day, hooking up off the line so well he was able to modify his stage procedure - and found even better consistency! [read: be afraid, be very afraid! ] As the second owner, Don has breathed new life into a great ride since '73 - both above & under the hood. A true Corvette enthusiast, he sacrificed another classic {a GTO - sniff, 9 …ed.} for love - how can you not like this guy? - managing (through 2 gas crunches) to keep the '67 in his growing family. In '95, Don almost sold it - but decided on 'one last blast' … took it to the dragstrip, & got hooked, as he remains today - excellent decision. In addition to thanking the ECSCC sponsors & racers, Don expressed his sincere appreciation with the following: "I am fortunate to have a wife who lets me spend all day at the track; and the guys at J & W Auto in Neptune City (NJ) who keep the Vette running get my thanks." You & that '67 are a class act Don, and we're a better series for having such a gracious competitor - congratulations again on a well earned (& overdue) series win!!

Answer to last week's trivia: All of them!

Complete the phrase….."Panuzzo is ……. "

  1. so old, his school mascot was a wooly mammoth.
  2. so outrageous, Don King calls for advice.
  3. so lucky, he's the only racer to win an event - without besting any round.
  4. such a sandbagger, sea turtles return each year to nest in his garage (and reminisce about last 100 yrs)
  5. truly one of kind - don't change a thing!

Awards Handed Out at this Event

  • Event winner Don Peppler went home with $300 cash, a $100 gift certificate from Pro Torque, a decal from Speed Dawg Apparel and winner trophy.
  • Runner-up Dave Tortolani went home with $150 cash, a $50 gift certificate from Pro Torque and runner-up trophy.
  • Semi-finalists included Robert Gay and who won $75 cash.
  • Jim Kovitch won the 'John Panuzzo Jr. Memorial' trophy presented by Team Panuzzo Racing for the best winning reaction time in the 1st round. Jim Kovitch was quickest on the tree in the 1st round when his RT was .014.
  • Gary Harta won the 'Almost Perfect Award' with a loss in the 1st round with the red light closest to .000 (Almost Perfect). Gary Harta's light was -0.007 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.
  • Danny Rotondo won the CCDV 'Closest to Dial Award' by running only .001 off his dial. Danny Rotondo was awarded a trophy and free tech card for a future race from Corvette Club of Delaware Valley.
  • Ohh so Close Award of Zaino productsAl Betz won the 'Ohh so Close Award' presented by Zaino when being edged out in the 1st round by the smallest margin of victory of .0145. That number is the MOV number on your time slip. Although suffering a loss in the 1st round by the smallest Margin of Victory, Al Betz 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 84 cars making this event, United Racing gave out quite a few trophies or 1st Round Trophy Upgrade Program credits.

Next Two Races

May 13, 2006 for our fifth points race of the season. With four differnt winners and four different points leaders so far this year, could it be the first repeat? The Cartek Racing Pro 10.0 index class will return for its second race. A head ups class (separate signup required) in which cars cannot run under 10.0. Run whatcha brung but don't bring more than 10.0. We are hoping this will bring some really tight racing so don't miss this one either. See our schedule for racing on the top left of this page.

June 24, 2006 - After a fairly long layoff we return to action for our sixth points race In addition we will have the return of The Vette Doctors Pro 8 Shootout heads up racing for its third points race out of five for the season. To race in the Pro 8 Shootout, you must sign up for Pro 8 points separately. Be sure and check out this hard racing action.

Visit the Drag Schedule at www.racewaypark.com to view Raceway Park's schedule for other events and days for test and tuning.

Corvette Challenge Multimedia

Pictures

Videos

  • www.challengevideos.com for videos from of all rounds including time trials (including Pro 8 Shootout videos) by Edgar Perez

Discussion Forum

Points Update

After today's race, 2004 Champion Rob Farley has moved into the first place in the points standings becoming the fourth different points leader in 2006 (standings). In the Club Challenge cup Team CCDV continued its dominance with 15 racers in making first round and Farley getting the team a 5 point bonus based on his finish. In the much heated Rookie of the Year battle, Devon Bole and Kimberly Rudolf are tied at 8 and five drivers follow with 7 points (see both Club Challenge and Rookie points at the bottom of the drivers page).

As always, we couldn't enjoy our passion for racing without the tireless efforts of our coordinators - Edgar Perez, Bob Trieschmann & Dennis Kazimir. We'd be reduced to time shots only without our sponsors - many thanks for the continued support of Corvette Challenge - East Coast Supercharging | Yank Racing Converters | Gear Star Transmission | United Racing | Team Panuzzo | Corvette Club of Delaware Valley - CCDV | Spectrum Equipment Service | Simple Man | QTP - Quick Time Performance | Neverlift Racecraft | Kooks Custom Headers | CFM Racing | Tortolani Racing | Anger Management Racing | Speed Dawg Performance Apparel | East Coast Corvettes | Zaino Bros | Pro Torque | Perez Web Design

Pro 8 Shootout - The Vette Doctors | Neverlift Racecraft | Mitchell's Home Security | PM Construction

Pro 10.0 Index - Cartek Racing | Silly Goose Racing Stables | Best Western, East Brunswick, NJ | Marchese Homes, LLC, Lucid Diagnostic Imaging Serives, LLC .

Thanks again for working the lanes to Jaymie Shuleski, growing the coffers of Toys for Tots & Teens with her 50/50 sales; this race's winner not recorded, sorry. To those racers with cars in "rehab" - don't despair, there's a lot of track time left in the season … and no one is running away with the points {though not for lack of trying!}. Though oil downs can be tedious, our thanks to the Raceway Park staff - keeping us moving as quickly as safety allows, and having some fun along with us.

Speaking of bumps in the road: we're thrilled to report that ECSCC coordinator Dennis Kazimir is recovering 'nicely' at home! Though his recuperation is testing Del's patience, the cabin fever is a very good sign - don't be surprised to see him trackside sooner rather than later. (Sounds like he fared a whole lot better than JP's weather station!) Damn glad you're still with us DK, & do what's right for your health first - we'll leave the pre-stage on for you.

To ALL - good health, safe rides, & great racing …. See you on May 13th, trackside at 11:00!

sbm


TOP 5 THINGS OVERHEARD DURING OIL DOWNS:

  • # 5 "Does this fire suit make me look fat?"
  • # 4: "Holy Nitrous!! Paul Z. just asked to run under 'PINKS' rules!!"
  • # 3: "Concierge? I'd like a wake-up call for ….."
  • # 2: "JP - the rest of your weather station is stuck to my slicks."
  • And the # 1 refrain: "IT WASN'T ME!!!"


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