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John Trescott is Grand in the 2006 Top 16 Invitational

Englishtown, NJ, 11/18/06 - 104 drivers signed up for the points championship in 2006 for the East Coast Supercharging Corvette Challenge Corvette Challenge presented by Yank Racing Converters and Gear Star Transmission, 10 more than last year's Top 16. The 16 drivers with the most points at the end of the 10-point season would get invited to today's Top 16 Invitational Gambler's Race. Newly crowned two-time Champion Rob Farley would lead the field of the toughest 16 drivers in 2006. There was only one-week after the close of the season when the Top 16 would have at it in a bracket race that, not only would feature spectacular reaction times and tight dials, but the winner would go home with $1,000 cash. The concept of the race is slightly different form the rest of our Corvette Challenges in that the drivers of the Top 16 fund this huge payout, thus making it a "Gamblers" race. Each driver put an additional $75 into the purse that was split, $1,000 to the winner and $200 to the runner-up in the biggest payout of our series. The drivers get put on a pro style ladder where the number one driver races the number 16 driver, 2 vs. 15 and so on.

Once again some of our Top 16 qualifiers could not make today's event. Fifth qualified driver Bob Sebrowski, winner of the 2003 Top 16 could not make it due to a business trip. Number 13 qualified driver Dan Swadis Jr. could not make it due to a broken rear suffered a couple of races ago that has not been repaired. Number 15 qualified driver Louis Calicchia could not make it due to a family event he could not miss, I hope she did Louis. The biggest surprise missing driver was number 2 qualified Ralph Savarese, (2004 Top 16 winner). Ralph Savarese was completing that last phase of the replacement of his rear end by securing the exhaust in place. Just when Ralph thought he was almost done. The exhaust slipped off the jack and pinned his left hand against the jack and exhaust. This does not sound so bad but the Ralph almost lost his left pinky finger and he also fractured his hand. Ralph was instructed by the surgeon that he was not allowed to race. Alternates filled the field and for the first time ever, we had to have a runoff for position. John Panuzzo and Joe Signore finished with the exact same points, no event wins and the same tiebreaker points. Panuzzo won the tie breaker to place in the 15th position and Signore took the 16th spot. Until Savarese broke his hand, this was to be a "play-in" match like the NCAA basketball tournament but it did not happen.

Runner-up Winner
Runner-up John Panuzzo Winner John Trescott, Edgar Perez and Runner-up John Panuzzo Winner John Trescott

Top 16 Ladder

Round 1

Rob Farley (1) vs. Joe Signore (16)
Farley was looking as determined as he has been all season putting his 1998 Pace Car at the head of the staging lanes. Joe Signore lost the tie breaker and was to face the Champ. Farley dialed 13.68 to Signore's 12.58. Farley left nothing to chance cutting a .036 reaction time to bury Signore on the line. Trying to make up the RT disadvantage, Signore had to break out running 12.549 while Farley took the stripe on the breaks with a 13.768 @ 88.92 mph.

John Panuzzo (15) vs. Dave Tortolani (2)
This has had more than it's share of matches with Tortolani getting the better of Panuzzo on a regular basis. JPee how ever is a money racer and put on his best racing face and was ready to race. Panuzzo dialed his newly detuned 1996 Corvette at 12.90 while Tortolani, dialed his 1999 Corvette at 11.55. Panuzzo was off with a.008 reaction time. Tortolani followed and was at .146. That left a lot of room for JPee to gather up his car and slow it to a 12.967 @ 99.24 to defeat Tortolaniís 11.594 @ 117.61

Eric Fischer (5) vs. Bob Trieschmann (12)
This match was green. Not because these guys are new to this but because Eric's Green 1998 C5 would face the Polo Green C4 Convertible driven by 2001 Champion, Bob Trieschmann. Bob would leave first dialed 13.86 and with a .056 light which was good for a near nine-tenths lead over Eric's 11.83 dialed C5. This one was close at the top and Trieschmann would have to battle Ericís' dead on 11.833 run @ 113.65. He crossed first but Eric's win light came one. Trieschmann had gone too quick and broke out. How quick? He lost it by going under by .003!

Neil Vernarelli (13) vs. Ron Higgins (4)
We just cannot get enough of the Vernarelli '57 Corvette, a staple at Raceway Park thought the driver is now the younger Neil. He would paired with Ron Higgins in the '96 Anniversary with the automatic transmission. Vernarelli would leave first with a 13.18 dial and .053 reaction time. Higgins would follow with 11.98 dial but he lit the red light. Higgins was minus point very early at -.169. Vernarelli completed the pass at 13.241 @ 104.23.

Jim Kovitch (6) vs. Jim Peins (11)
This pair was close in dial-ins with Peins placing his 1992 Corvette in with a 13.85 dial to Kovitch 1988 Anniversary Corvette at 13.56. Just as Kovitch's lights started, he got the win when Peins left early with a -.052 red light. Kovitch finished the run going dead-on with a 6 with a 13.566 @ 101.33.

John Trescott (8) vs. Kimberly Rudolf (9)
Close in points but in the race. Rookie driver, experienced bedazzler Kimberly Rudolf could not work her magic. Maybe Kimberly got a little too involved this week in some friendly "trash talk" with champ Rob Farley. Kim was dialed 13.90 and was out first with a light I would bet she would rather not be published. Trescott was off behind her on the chase with a .046 reaction time on 11.70 dial. He caught her and laid on the brakes and took the win stripe with an 11.878 @ 92.83 mph.

Ralph Blauvelt (14) vs. Don Peppler Jr. (3)
Looking at points rankings you might think this one was an upset. That would be wrong because although they are ranked fare apart, anyone of these 16 drivers is capable of taking an event win. Blauvelt would leave first with a 13.75 dial and stellar, round best .007 reaction time. Peppler was off next with 13.30 dial and .082 reaction time. The deficit at the bottom end was too much and Peppler broke out while trying to catch Blauvelt who won the race with a 13.784 @ 99.18

Devon Bold (7) vs. Jerry Muniz (10)
Muniz got off to a great start in 2006 and struggled to find consistency the remainder of the year but he still made the show. he would chase our Rookie of the Year, Bole, who was dialed 13.40. Devon survived a .06 reaction time disadvantage to get the win. Muniz cut the better reaction time but could not run the number running 12.379 @ 115.13 on 11.83 dial. Jerry went on the redeem himself by going 3 for 3 in the Trophy Marathon and then taking the runner-up spot in the King of the Hill match.

Round 2

John Trescott (8) vs. Rob Farley (1)
Trescott continued his journey to the win by taking out our 2006 Champions Rob Farley. Farley was out first with 13.66 dial and .65 reaction time. Trescott dialed 11.68 and was better on the tree with .039 RT. Farley would struggle to stay ahead of Trescott and in the very tight double breakout it was Trescott getting the win light. Farley had gone under by over a tenth, 13.548 @ 100.14 mph and Trescott was closer going .025 under with an 11.655 @ 118.33.

Eric Fischer (5) vs. Neil Vernarelli (13)
Vernarelli would leave first on 13.20 dial and .110 reaction time. Fischer would follow with nearly identical light, .111 and 11.83. Vernarelli is one of the gear bangers and was bit by the gear banging when he could not run his dial going 13.363 @ 104.49. Fischer was off his dial as well running 11.935. Doing the math, that is a five hundredths win.

John Panuzzo (15) vs. Devon Bole (7)
Panuzzo followed his .008 first round reaction time with a round best .010 reaction time. He would chase Devon with Devon dialed 13.52 to his 12.91. Devon was late and no match for the .010 RT and Panuzzo would advance with a 12.969 @ 102.12.

Ralph Blauvelt (14) vs. Jim Kovitch (6)
Blauveltís .007 first round reaction time was super. His second round reaction time was super late. He must have been distracted as he would out of the hole .171 but whatever distracted him must have distracted Kovitch as he was even later. The RT advantage was enough tot carry Blauvelt to the win with a 13.860 on 13.85 dial defeating Kovitch, who is from Blauvelt, NY, who broke out running 13.518 on 13.55 dial.

Round 3

John Panuzzo (15) vs. Ralph Blauvelt (14)
Panuzzo continued his tear on the tree. He was .028 this time. Blauvelt, trying not to repeat the last round's late light went red. He was -.040 giving Panuzzo the ride to the final. Panuzzo ran it out going 12.878 on 12.90 dial

John Trescott (8) vs. Eric Fischer (5)
Another close pair in dial-in times. Fischer would leave first dialed 11.84 and Trescott would follow with 11.66 dial. Fischer would take the lead with a .051 reaction time to .115 for Trescott. Fischer kept it in front and took the stripe though it was too quick. He was under by only .019 but it was enough to give the win light to Trescott who was 11.674 @ 113.37 on the 11.66 dial.

Round 4 - The Final

John Trescott (8) vs. John Panuzzo (15)
It was now easy to predict who was going to win. My bet was it was John with the Torch Red Corvette. That is because they are each named John and each driver a Torch Red Corvette. So all kidding aside, let's get to the race. Panuzzo, dialed 12.87 was planning on running this one out. Trescott, kept his 11.66 dial on the car. Panuzzo's lights were stellar in the prior rounds staging the car deep would cut his worst light of the race with a .081. It was good enough for a one-thou advantage to Trescott's .082. This one would be won at the top end. Both drivers one the brakes at the finish and Panuzzo would give up the stripe. He finished the run 12.940 @ 105.03 while Trescott handled the stripe better running 11.691 @ 107.73. Trescott had taken the win by .038.

Congratulations to all of the Drivers

Congratulations go out to all the drivers who qualified for the Top 16 Gamblers Invitational. Thank you goes out to all who participants, alternates and spectators. This event has been a big success and very popular with our drivers. Good luck to all in getting into the Top 16 in 2007.

Congratulate the drivers on the Corvette Forum

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