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2007   *  Event 1   *  Event 2   *  Event 3   *  Event 4   *  Event 5   *  Event 6   *  Event 7   *  Event 8   *  Event 9   *  Event 10   *  Event 11 * 2007 Standings

Jeanne Linke Wins Event 11, Savarese Captures Third Championship, Haase Is The Rookie and Peppler Wins Gear Jammer

By Edgar Perez

November 17, 2007 - Englishtown, NJ - The final points race of The East Coast Supercharging Corvette Challenge presented by Yank Racing Converters and Gear Star Transmission season is always the most difficult to cover. We go into this race usually with no titles settled and this year was no different. In fact, title chases often overshadow the fact that we are having a race at all. When the Event winner happens to be a title winner, it does not seem to matter but that rarely happens. Today we had 56 bracket racers attempt to win the event but it was Jeanne Linke who captured her first Corvette Challenge win. While that was happening, the pressure was mounting for Championship hopefuls John Trescott and Ralph Savarese and Rookie chasers Chris Haase, Alfred Salanitro and Steve Pistilli. As the eight season of the Corvette Challenge came to a close, the titles were decided. Today' event also featured the same pressure for our Pro 8 Shootout drivers who were having their final race of the season.

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

Round one - Turnout was lower than expected yet we still had 54 Corvettes make first round of the bracket race. As usual, Rob Farley was first in the lanes. He was paired with Rich Shuleski, how got his '96 Grand Sport, now sporting an automatic transmission, into the 10's for the first time. He was dialed 10.98 and broke out against Farley while collecting his newest personal best, a 10.891 @ 121.77. Farley took the win with his 12.708 on 12.66 dial. Pro 8 Shootout racer Alan Eckert brought his newest street car, 2003 Corvette and went red to James Peins who drove his Corvette to a 12.780 on 13.65 dial. Lou Vernarelli was back in behind the wheel of his 1957 Corvette as his sone Neil could not make the race. Despite a .088 reaction time, Vernarelli did not get the win as he was off of his dial of 13.41 with a 14.545, likely due to being out of the seat some time in the manually shifted Corvette. Chris Young got the break and win against Lou. Shawn Cavanagh cranked up the boost on his Spiral Gray ECS Paxton Supercharged Corvette and broke out but went home happy with a 9.82 @ 138.96 MPH on a 10.0 dial. Congrats to Shawn on his first nine-second pass. Don Peppler Jr. was the benefactor of that break out getting the win with 13.476 on 13.35 dial. Ken Rammer broke out in his match with Anthony Cupolo but he still got the win as he broke out by a smaller amount in the double breakout match that he cut a .027 light on. Ken Tyler lost a close one to Gary Hurta in this round. Ken went 12.247 on 12.13 dial with a .066 light while Hurta went 11.931 on 11.86 dial and .124 light but it was not the closest match. Tony Abbruzze took that honor, unfortunately losing the match by .0038. Samson Sweeting had the task of racing the points leader, John Trescott. The match was not close at all as the drivers have very different levels of experience and it showed. Sweeting left with a .318 light and did not get a clean run and Trescott took advantage and back off on his dial of 11.70 running 11.936 @ 89.83 getting the win. Savarese kept in the hunt when Wane Hagopian went red, -.037. Savarese showed he was sharp going 10.978 on 10.95 dial and .026 light. On the Rookie side, Chris Haase advanced with a .037 reaction time and 11.818 run on 11.79 dial putting the kibosh on Joe Signore's day. Steve Pistilli kept pace when Ralph Blauvelt went -.003 red. Pistilli ran it out and went 12.925 on 12.95 dial and .050 reaction time. Alfred Salanitro was the driver that took out Abbruzze so nothing would be settled this round for them. Peppler Jr. took the win over Cavanagh and that combined with Cupolo' loss, clinched the Gear Jammer award for the Peppler.

Other drivers who could not get into the next round were Ron Leader, Michael Archibald, Clifford Bray Jr., Michael Campbell, Tom Smith Edward Mowton Sr., Ken Tyler, Louis Calicchia, Jerry Muniz, Jay McCardle, Frank Fiori, David Tortolani, Barry Adler (QTP owner and Associate sponsor of the Corvette Challenge), Frank Schear and Joe Latona.


2007 Event 11 Ladder

Round two - Drivers were paired on the ladder this round based on their first round reaction time as we always do when we are at 32 cars or less. We were uneven and Jeanne Linke held the top spot and would get a bye thanks to her first round best .020 reaction time. She used the freebie to test her dial capability in the Panuzzo Corvette and wouldn't you know she dialed 12.82 and ran dead-on with a two. Nice run. John Trescott would keep his hopes for the Championship alive winning a close one over David Hollingshead. Trescott had the better package with a .076 light and 11.718 run on 11.70 thought Hollingshead made him sweat with a .088 RT and 13.534 on 13.50 dial. Ralph Savarese would have to face Rob Farley in the race of two-time Champions. Farley nailed the tree with a .020 but Savarese was not far off with a .040. As you would expect from these two, they would be at it at the finish. Savarese would go 10.983 on 10.97 @ 115.96 dial to capture the win over Farley who used a little too much brake at the top end going 12.720 on 12.69 dial @ 107.93 MPH. In the Rookie chase, Haase would hold the points lead when Eric Fischer left the starting line with a .142 to his .056. Haase ran 11.852 on 11.80 dial for the win as Fischer broke out trying to catch him. Steve Pistilli squared off with Gary Hurta, another Rookie of the Year hopeful in this round. It was close on the tree with Pistilli getting the better of Hurta with a .163 to .183. Pistilli ran closer to this dial as well for the win running 13.101 on a 12.95 dial to stay in the chase. Salanitro kept pace as well this catching a lucky break. He faced Don Peppler Jr. who tore the tree apart with a .003 round best RT but could not run his number going 14.045 on 13.40 with an apparent shifting issue and Al was on the way to the next round. Joe Donnelly who missed a fair amount of the season was having himself a good day and had his golden Corvette running 11.133 on 11.21 dial on the bottle but took the win when Ken Rammer went red, -.110. Ellis Gray and Chris Young paired for a really nice race. Gray was away with his new LS2 with a .035 light and 10.75 dial while Young chased in the 434 sbc with a .028 light and 10.00 dial. Ellis went 10.768 but Chris took the win with a 10.023 @ 129.64 and a margin of victory of two thousandths for a second. All Raven, Bill Fischer Sr, John Hadyniak, Bob Hollingshead and Raymond Sztabnik also exited this round.

Round three - Call this the Rookie round because the Rookie of the Year was decided in the third round here. The first Rookie in the hunt to take the tree was Steve Pistilli and he was paired with potential Rookie contender for next year, Jeanne Linke. Pistilli would leave first dialed 12.96 to Linke's almost heads-up 12.84. He lit the red going -.019 giving Linke the win. He pushed the tree too hard and I am sure he kicked himself when he saw Linke had left with a .151 reaction time. Linke ran it out and broke out by .008 going 12.832. Al Salanitro was the next Rookie to hit the track and he faced Donnelly. Al would leave first with a 13.75 dial to Donnelly's 11.17. Al too went red going -.020 ending his shot at the Rookie of the Year title. Donnelly went .056 and 11.236 on 11.17 dial and the win. Haase would be the last pair on the track and he watched his two competitors go red and breathed a big sigh of relief. The relief was so great he did not mind leaving the starting line with a .137 light to Chris Young's .040 as he had the Rookie title clinched. He could not make up for the late light and Chris Young, a former Rookie of the year himself, showed no mercy and went on to win the round. On the Points side, Trescott would face top five contender, Doug Bereczki. Doug cut a .118 light and had to run under on his 13.99 dial going 13.961 trying to catch Trescott who went .032 on the tree and ran 11.715 on 11.70 dial for the win. Savarese would face Vic Gandhi to try and hold ground. Gandhi, dialed 11.52 would leave first and lit the red light going -.019 allowing Ralph a free pass and a trip to the next round with hopes of a Championship still lingering. He ran the pass out going 10.963 on 10.93 dial with a.090 light. James Tucker and James Peins also would exit this round.

Round four - This round would turn out to be the Championship round. Ralph Savarese, by virtue of the ladder, would get the bye this round. There was no pressure on him to keep pace in the Championship run as there was nothing he could do to lose this round. On the other hand, Trescott knew he had to win to hold the lead as Ralph was getting a freebie. The season title would be determined by the outcome of this one race. Trescott would have to face, Jeanne Linke. Now Jeanne is driving John Panuzzo's car and John Panuzzo and Ralph are teammates on the friendly team they call Team Panuzzo. Panuzzo predicted all week that Linke would drive his car in order to block for Ralph and here she is facing the driver just ahead of Ralph. Should Trescott win this round, he would hold his lead and potentially face Ralph in the final. Linke would leave first with a 12.84 on the car to Trescott's 11.72. Trescott would take the reaction time advantage with a .112 over Linke's .134 light. She broke out going 12.837 on the 12.84 dial but still got the win light! Trescott had broken out as well and by more than Linke. Trescott took the loss going 11.707 @ 104.77 on the 11.72 dial. That was it. Ralph Savarese would tie Trescott in points when he took the tree and he holds the tie breaker with two event wins to none for Trescott. It would just now be a formality. Savarese left the tree with an .071 and made a full pass going 10.941 on 10.95 dial on the single and took the win and the Championship for the third time in his Corvette Challenge career. Savarese becomes the first three-time Champ in our eight year history. Joe Donnelly continued to advance running 11.244 on 11.22 dial with a .017 light to boot and eliminated Jim Bole who had a .127 light and broke out trying to stay ahead of Donnelly with a 12.349 on 12.40 dial. The other pairing in this round featured the Blue Vs Red match that had been so talked about all season. It was going to be heads-up, then it was going to be a Pro 10.0 race but with both cars running tired from getting this far in the brackets, we decided we would slap 10.0 dials on the cars and do it here and now in the brackets. Young had no problem running a 10.0 dial as he had been in the nines in previous passes today. I was a little off the 10.0 dial so would have to get the win on the tree if it was to be. I tried too hard as I lit the red light, -.103 and Chris Young took the win and advanced to the semi final.

Round five - There were just four cars left. Savarese, now the 2007 Corvette Challenge Champion would face his nephew Chris Young. This time it was Savarese’s turn to light the red. He left with a -.009 light giving Chris a birth in the final as he awaited his opponent. Savarese still walked away smiling. Jeanne Linke would face Donnelly in the other semi-final. Donnelly had it all working thus far and ran dead-on this pass going 11.238 on 11.23 dial. That would have spelled trouble for Linke, who had a .102 light were it not for the late light Donnelly with the dead-on pass. Donnelly went .303, worst of the day ending his hopes for his first Corvette Challenge final. Instead it was Linke's first Corvette Challenge final.

Round six - I forgot to mention, Chris is another member of that Team Panuzzo team so "The Boss" had two cars in the final. I guess John is a "Force" to reckon with now. Linke would leave first with a 12.82 dial and .079 light. Young, dialed 10.00 would leave next with a better light, .074. She did it before and did it again, she was dead-on the dial. Linke ran 12.826 on the .82 dial. Young caught and rode alongside her but could not hold the lead. He ran 10.027 @ 123.75 which was not enough to prevent the win on ladies side. The Corvette Challenge now has two lady winners (Sheila Murchan being the first) and Jeanne Linke has made a name for herself in the Corvette Challenge.

Corvette Challenge Points Update

Once again our points Championship came down to be settled in the deep round of the final race of the season. This is a testament to the competitiveness of our drivers. While Ralph Savarese did win his third Championship, it certainly was not a gimme and he had to earn it. John Trescott had an outstanding year and was very consistent and came close to stopping the three-time Championship and deserves a lot credit. Don Peppler Jr. also did an outstanding job this season to finish third while driving a manually shifted car. Too many times automatic trans driven Corvettes are given too much credit and Don did a great job keeping up with them. Dave Tortolani had a trying season as well and kept in the hunt also having to use a manually shifted Corvette at one point in the season to stay in the hunt. All of the drivers gave it the best, every time out and that is what makes this series great.

The 2007 season is now in the books having completed our 10 points races and our warm-up race. However, we still have a Top 16 race to officially close the loop on 2007. The top 16 points drivers will be invited to compete for $1,000 winner purse in the Top 16 Gamblers Invitational. We will hold this race at the first race in 2008, our Warm up race. Each driver will put in an additional $75 to enter the race and that money is split with the winner getting $1,000 and the runner up $200. Look for you invitations in email before the year is out. The race is optional and drivers may opt out of it an we will go down to the next ranking points driver to fill any spots. Congratulations to the 2007 Top 16 finishers; 1. Ralph Savarese , 2. John Trescott , 3. Donald Peppler Jr , 4. David Tortolani , 5. Douglas Bereczki , 6. John Hadyniak , 7. Christopher Haase (r) , 8. Ralph Blauvelt , 9. Rob Farley , 10. Anthony Cupolo , 11. Christopher Young , 12. Steve Pistilli (r) , 13. Alfred Salanitro (r) , 14. Bob Trieschmann , 15. Gary Hurta (r) , 16. Ken Tyler ,
2007 Corvette Challenge Standings
Corvette drivers page with more driver information

Rookie of the Year Update

This was another successful season for Corvette Challenge Rookies. Eighteen first time points racers attempted to be the top Rookie for the year. Chris Haase came into the season as the favorite and struggled to get that top spot but when he got it, he kept it. Steve Pistilli and Alfred Salanitro did spectacular for this first season with the Corvette Challenge. Two Rookies managed to take event wins this year, Michael Archibald and Gary Hurta captured event wins, while not only Rookies but also grabbin' the gears too with manually shifted transmissions in a game too often assumed to be a an automatic win for an automatic transmission driver. Congratulations Chris Haase on the title and to all the Rookie racers. Look forward to you making a run for the Championship in the future.
Rookie of the Year Standings

Spectrum Equipment Service Gear Jammer Award Update

Congratulations to Don Peppler Jr. on winning the 2007 Spectrum Equipment Service Gear Jammers award. Don did a super job banging the gears and placing third overall in the Corvette Challenge Championship. Don is only the second winner of this award. Anthony Cupolo finished 10th overall in points but second in the gear jammers chase. Congratulations to the gear jammers placing two drivers in the top 10 in points proving you don't have to have an automatic transmission to be good in bracket racing. Spectrum Equipment Service once again sponsors the "Gear Jammer of the Year" award, presented at year-end banquet to the racer with most points in his/her manual transmission Corvette.
Gear Jammer Standings.

Corvette Challenge Team Challenge Cup

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Current Team Standings

TeamTeam NameTeam CaptainPoints
T01 Ridin' Dirty Savarese, Ralph 105
T08 The Eliminators Trescott, John 100
T02 The Vapors Tortolani, David 95
T06 Going Rounds Fischer, Eric 84
T10 Tree Trimmers Farley, Rob 81
T09 Mistress and the Mayhem Rudolf, Kimberly 78
T05 More Meds Higgins, Ron 73
T07 The Trap Shooters Kovitch, James 65
T03 Sgt Pepplers Lonely Racers Peppler, Donald 64
T04 CYFA! Sebrowski, Robert 64
T11 Devon's Demons Bole, Devon 62
T12 Mad Dawgs Muniz, Jerry 53
click to see drivers on each team
Click if you cannot see Team Challenge Cup Standings

Awards Handed Out at this Event

  • Jeanne Linke won the 'John Panuzzo Jr. Memorial' trophy presented by Team Panuzzo Racing for the best winning reaction time in the 1st round. Jeanne Linke was quickest on the tree in the 1st round when his RT was .020.
  • Ralph Blauvelt won the 'Almost Perfect Award' with a loss in the 1st round with the red light closest to .000 (Almost Perfect). Ralph Blauvelt's light was -0.003 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.
  • John Hadyniak won the CCDV 'Closest to Dial Award' by running only .011 off his dial. John Hadyniak was awarded a trophy and free tech card for a future race from Corvette Club of Delaware Valley.
  • Tony Abbruzze won the 'Ohh so Close Award' presented by Zaino when being edged out in the 1st round by the smallest margin of victory of .0038. That number is the MOV number on your time slip. Although suffering a loss in the 1st round by the smallest Margin of Victory, Tony Abbruzze earned a Zaino starter package that includes various Zaino products.
  • All winners of the first round were awarded a trophy . With 62 cars making this event, we sure gave out quite a few trophies or 1st Round Trophy Upgrade Program credits.

Next Two Races

The points season has come to a close and we look forward to seeing next year's schedule. We will once again have a non-points "Warm-up" race at the beginning of the season in which we will hold our 2007 Top 16 race. Racers participating in the Top 16 will race separate from the warm-up racers. We will again have a 10 rate points season following the warm-up race and we will finish the season with the Top 16 race for 2008 points. Look to these pages for the 2008 schedule soon.

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

As always, we couldn't enjoy our passion for racing without the tireless efforts of our coordinators - Edgar Perez, Bob Trieschmann and 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 | Team Panuzzo | Corvette Club of Delaware Valley - CCDV | Spectrum Equipment Service | Simple Man | QTP - Quick Time Performance | Carroll's Rod & Racecraft | Kooks Custom Headers | CFM Racing | Tortolani Racing | Anger Management Racing | East Coast Corvettes | WheelHQ.com | Zaino Bros | Pro Torque | Perez Web Design

Pro 8 Shootout - The Vette Doctors | Carroll's Rod & Racecraft | PM Construction | Marchese Homes, LLC | Lucid Diagnostic Imaging Services, LLC

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

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