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Rob Farley Captures First Win in Two Years in Event 9

By Edgar Perez

September 1, 2007 - Englishtown, NJ - It had been over two years since two-time Champion Rob Farley had gotten an event win in The East Coast Supercharging Corvette Challenge presented by Yank Racing Converters and Gear Star Transmission. He had not captured a class win since June 11, 2005. Well the season is getting late and Farley had fallen behind in the standings and is now determined to make a move to the top again so look out. He could win three in a row! The weather could not have been better with beautiful skies, no chance of rain and the temp not going above mid-80s. Given it was a holiday weekend, turnout was good with 60 Corvettes making first round and three more in the Pro 8 Shootout. Storylines were great today with John Panuzzo bringing a hired gun to drive his Corvette, a points lead change both in overall points and the Rookie of the Year chase and a first time finalist.

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

Runner Up Group Winner
Runner-up Anthony Abbruzze Winner Winner Rob Farley
Photos by Mike Roberts. For over 5000 Corvette Photos, click here.

Round one - 60 competitors made it out to the first round of action on this holiday weekend. Of those 60, 10 were non-points racers meaning 50 of our 101 points racers were present. This is down a little from previous races and our overall 61 points racer average and could be an indicator of drivers bailing on the points series (please say it ain't so). You will be happy to know that we captured videos of every pass this weekend including time trials so you will have lots of viewing and can show all of the your friends you racing action from So on with coverage of the race. Previous event winner Anthony Cupolo continued his hot streak taking the first round win with a .021 light and his opponent, John Arguello missed a shift and bailed on the run so Tony took it easy running 15.328 on 11.70 dial and the easy win. Chris Young was our only Cartek Racing Pro 10.0 participant running in the brackets today and took a first round win with stellar .036 light and 10.159 on 10.12 dial getting the win over Doug Bereczki who was 14.114 on 14.08 dial. Steve Pistilli cut a round best .013 reaction time which carried him to round two in the number one position of the ladder which would benefit him if he made it to round three with a bye. Pistilli's win came over John Policastro who was very late on the tree as he works his way back into the racing mix after a first half of the year layoff. Ron Higgins was not as fortunate despite a .020 reaction time. Higgins faced Ken Baranski who went .028 on the tree and dead-0n 14.609 on 14.60 dial to end Higgins' day. Speaking of trees, these are a funny thing. How is it we can have one driver lose with a .040 to an opponent with a .313 reaction time. That is exactly what happened when Ellis Gray was late on the tree and Rich Shuleski's Grand Sport just kept on running breaking out with an 11.213 @ 114.47 on 11.31 dial while Gray ran under as well but not as much with an 11.218 on 11.23 dial. That is how. Another driver getting out of the round with a late light was Dave Buddendorff who got away with a +.300 light as his opponent, Michael Ross, was +.700. Buddendorff was dead-on the dial with a zero going 13.080 on 13.08 dial and he was moving to the next round. In a double breakout race, Ralph Blauvelt got lucky while being unlucky in running under .001 on his 14.07 dial. He did not get the loss because Ken Tyler went under by more so that was Blauvelt's lucky break. Chris Haase also dead-on this round going 12.006 on 12.00 dial taking the win over Louis Calicchia who did not run his number going 11.808 on 11.60 dial.

Our two lady drivers of the day were paired off first round; how unfortunate. Our sophomore driver, Kimberly Rudolf nailed the tree against new racer, (to Corvettes), Jeanne Linke with a .032 to .143 reaction time. Rudolf however could not run her dial and Linke was on the way to the win. Linke was driving John Panuzzo's Corvette as he was not able to race today due to some stronger than normal medication. Linke is an accomplished driver frequently competing in the NHRA Stock Eliminator class in the Northeast Division along with he uncle Russ and brother Bubba. On his way to the final, Rob Farley had a tough first round match against Jim Kovitch. Drivers were off with near identical lights with .050 for Rob and .051 for Jim. Farley got the win running closer to his 12.95 dial going 13.061 to Kovitch's 14.061 on 13.89 dial. Anthony Abbruzze (Tony), took out another Anthony (Tony), Buonassisi, in this round. Abbruzze drove his 69 Corvette to a 12.954 on 12.94 dial while Buonassisi broke out in his C6 with a 12.773 on 12.84 despite the reaction time advantage.

The race with Championship implications in the first round was Don Peppler Jr. going out for the first time this season in the first round. He was up against Lloyd Mackay in the '66 mid-year. Pretty cool as it was a mid-year, mid-year (okay third quarter) battle. Peppler was off with a .110 light on his 13.22 dial to Mackay's .134 on 11.84 dial. Peppler smoked the tires at the start....literally (video) and that left him in a position to lose the points lead as he could not recover and ran well off his dial at 15.303 and Mackay was on to the second round.

Other drivers not making it to round 2 included James Tucker, William Archambault, Clifford Bray Jr., Eric Fischer, Joel Fellman, Alfred Salanitro, Mike Calicchia, Joe Latona, Ken Gallassio, Neil Vernarelli, Pete Lopresti, Michael Archibald, Randy Lane, Bill Fischer Sr, Jesse Malolo, Samson Sweetiny and Dave Tortolani whose C5 suffered engine failure and borrowed Eric Fischerís car for this first round.

2007 Event 9 Ladder

Round two - We were on a ladder this round with an even 15 pair of racers. Shawn Cavanagh ran his car dead-on, 10.769 on 10.76 dial but did not get the win. Instead Jeanne Linke got away with another one as this time she cut a better light going .102 and it was enough for her 12.94 on 12.89 dial to advance. Ellis Gray improved his reaction time too but went too quick going red and handing the win to Rob Farley who went 12.964 on 12.98 dial on the free pass. James Peins was close to taking out Ralph Savarese but just barely broke out going 14.092 on 14.10 dial and Savarese advanced to the next round. Best light of the round went to Vic Gandhiís who was .032 on the tree and took that to a win with an 11.771 on 11.73 dial as his opponent, Lloyd Mackay went red in his '66 Corvette. Abbruzze would advance this round when John Hadyniak went red. Rookie Gary Hurta was eliminated this round in a battle of C6 Z06 Corvettes. Ron Leader was dialed 11.59 to Hurta's 12.00. They both broke out and Leader broke out by less running 11.55 @ 122.71 to Hurta's 11.893 at 115.02. Also out this round were Frank Schear, Dave Buddendorff, Tom Smith Ray Sztabnik, Bob Hollingshead, Ken Rammer, Frank Fiori and Ken Baranski.

Round three - Pistilli's number 1 seed earned in round 1 would get him a bye this round. He took the pass and ran a very tight package going .011 red and 13.276 on 13.26 dial in the single pass. Vic Gandhi would again go .032 on the tree (.034 1st round, .032 in the second) and this time his victim was Richy Josephs. Josephs had some trouble getting it in gear and was well off his dial so Gandhi eased to the stripe for the win. Ron Leader advanced with his Z (never seen in pictures, LOL) when Chris Haase broke out going 11.992 on 12.0 dial after taking a large amount of stripe. Chris Young and Cupolo were in a double breakout race where Young broke out by less. Young was 10.122 on 10.15 dial while Cupolo was 11.626 on 11.70 dial. John Trescott ran dead-on 11.901 on 11.90 dial while getting the red light win from Joe Signore. The round win put Trescott in a position to take over the points lead in the next round and earn a trip to the bracket finals. Abbruzze continued his charge to the finals taking out Ralph Savarese. Actually Savarese took himself out with a -.012 red light. Ralph Blauvelt ended the dream debut of Jeanne Linke when he ran 14.106 on 14.08 dial and .036 light. Linke struggled with tree in the Corvette as I am sure it does not react the way her stock eliminator car does. She will get better. Panuzzo is talking about maybe having her contend for Rookie of the Year in 2008. Should be nice. Two former champions squared off and Rob Farley got the better of Bob Trieschmann. The race was close as Trieschmann was .096 and 13.492 on 13.44 dial but it was not enough for Farley who was .078 and 12.993 on 12.96 dial in the battle of the purple cars (though only one admits his car is purple).

Round four - Now there are eight cars left and no more bye runs. Gandhi continued his tear on the tree. He was .020 for this one and Leader was at a deficit at the tree. He could not catch Gandhi and his day was done. Gandhi advanced with an 11.887 on 11.74 dial while Leader ran 12.034 on 11.54 dial. John Trescott and Chris Young left with almost identical reaction times with Trescott slightly better at .040 to .041. As Young started to chase Trescott and shifted into second, the car stumbled and lost ET. Trescott took the easy win with a 12.003 on 11.90 dial while Young, admittedly ran out of gas, slowed to a 11.118 on 10.12 dial. Abbruzze was in the midst of his best Corvette Challenge day. He credits the day to some testing done the week before at the Super Chevy Reader Appreciation event at E-town. He said only 9 cars were in attendance. He made about a dozen passes in a couple of hours and that was enough for him to learn exactly how the car wanted to leave so he went home. Now he was on his way to the quarter final when he ran 13.002 on 12.98 dial forcing Steve Pistilli to breakout by 5 thousandths of a second. Farley would face Blauvelt and would get the win in a double-breakout race. Farley went 12.906 on 12.93 but was better than 14.012 on 14.05 dial though not by much.

Round five - And now the final four. As I walked around looking at the four, I noticed each of them was running on a different rear tire brand/make. Gandhi on MT ET Street bias ply tires, Farley on Nitto drag radials, Trescott on MT ET Street drag radials and Abbruzze on BFG drag radials. This seemed like an odd occurrence. Farley would face Gandhi who was killer on the tree so far. Farley stepped it up a little and left with a.049 light. Gandhi stepped a up a too but more than he wanted. He lit the win light for Farley when his red light came on with a -.017 light. An end to a very good day for Vic. Abbruzze would face Trescott for the other final spot. Trescott has been to the finals a few times in points races and had not captured a win so he was looking for another opportunity. Incidentally, by getting to this round and Don Peppler Jr. exiting first round, Trescott has taken over the points lead for the Corvette Challenge. Today would not the day though as this is as far as he was going today. Trescott broke out running 11.906 on 11.91 dial while Abbruzze was moving on with a 13.022 on 12.98 dial.

Round six - Abbruzze had yet to race in a Corvette Challenge final while Farley has a number of wins. Five wins in 9 tries to be exact to this point. You cannot help but root for the underdog but in this case, Farley is an underdog too not seeing a win in two years. Abbruzze got the tree advantage with a .074 to .084 and was looking good going up the track. The cars were near heads-up too with Farley dialed 12.89 to Abbruzze 12.98. You could not ask for a better final. Farley crossed the finish line first with a 12.916, just .026 over his dial and Abbruzze was 13.038 dial, .058 over his dial allowing Farley to make up the tree deficit. So Farley is back at the top with a win which vaulted him to 7th place in the standings. Abbruzze walks away happy with a runner-up and a nice payday. Congrats to Rob, Tony and all the percipients today.

Corvette Challenge Points Update

We have a new points leader in John Trescott. The door was opened for Trescott when Don Peppler Jr. lost in the first round. Trescott went to the semi-finals to take the points lead by one point over Peppler, 32-31. Ralph Savarese also moved up to third overtaking Dave Tortolani for that position. Farley's win gave him a big jump in the points going from 15th to 7th with the event win.

The lead change cost Peppler a trip to the bracket finals and now John Trescott being the leader will get the invitation. Congratulations John.
2007 Corvette Challenge Standings
Corvette drivers page with more driver information

Rookie of the Year Update

Not only did we have a leader change in eh overall points but we also had one in the tight rookie chase. Gary Hurta picked up 2 points to move up to 21 and he wins the tiebreaker with an event win over Alfred Salanitro who exited first round and is now in second with 21 points as well (but no event win). Michael Archibald holds third with 20 points and an event win though two other drivers also have 20 points, Chris Haase and Steve Pistilli both having good days today. We have had some tight rookie chases in the past but never had 5 drivers within 1 point of each other at the end of eight points races. Keep a watchful eye on this rookie class.
Rookie of the Year Standings

Corvette Challenge Team Challenge Cup

Very little change in the 2007 ECSCC Team Challenge Cup standings after event #9. Ridin Dirty maintains the lead with 92 points. The Eliminators (89) have regained 2nd place from The Vapors (84), while Going Rounds (77), Tree Trimmers (76), and More Meds (65), have each held onto their previous positions. The only other position change was from Mistress/Mayhem (63) swapping places with CFYA! (61). The Trap Shooters (58), Sgt Peppler's (57), Devon's Demon's (53) and Mad Dawgs (52) continue to bring up the rear. Five racers still maintain a perfect team record by earning team points for every event. Those racers are, Don Peppler, Ken Gallassio, Eric Fischer Jr, Joe Signore, and Doug Bereczki.

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

Spectrum Equipment Service Gear Jammer Award Update

While Peppler built an early lead in this category, Anthony Cupolo is now making up ground. Peppler's first round exit this race and Cupolo's third round appearance makes the chase a five point difference with Peppler Jr. leading with 31 points and Cupolo now at 26. Ken Tyler follows with 22 points and Gary Hurta follows with 21. 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.

Awards Handed Out at this Event

  • Steve Pistilli won the 'John Panuzzo Jr. Memorial' trophy presented by Team Panuzzo Racing for the best winning reaction time in the 1st round. Steve Pistilli was quickest on the tree in the 1st round when his RT was .013.
  • 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 -0.003 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.
  • Dave Buddendorff won the CCDV 'Closest to Dial Award' by running only .000 off his dial. Dave Buddendorff was awarded a trophy and free tech card for a future race from Corvette Club of Delaware Valley.
  • Joe Latona won the 'Ohh so Close Award' presented by Zaino when being edged out in the 1st round by the smallest margin of victory of .0214. That number is the MOV number on your time slip. Although suffering a loss in the 1st round by the smallest Margin of Victory, Joe Latona earned a Zaino starter package that includes various Zaino products.
  • All winners of the first round were awarded a trophy . With 63 cars making this event, we sure gave out quite a few trophies or 1st Round Trophy Upgrade Program credits.

Next Two Races

October 20, 2007 will be our ninth points race of the season and will be the return of the Cartek Racing Pro 10.0 index class for their fifth and final race of the year. Gates open at 11:00 AM. Also please not the second session of the day starting at 3:30 pm will the debut of the Corvette Challenge 11.50 heads-up pro tree index. If you have a car that runs in that area, check out this race as we are considering this a test bed for a potential new class for 2008. Email if you have any questions.

October 27, 2007 - This will be our tenth and final points race of the year leaving making it the last chance for drivers to qualify for the Top 16 race. The Vette Doctors Pro 8 Shootout will return at this event for its final race of the season as well. Gates open at 11:00 AM

Visit the Drag Schedule at 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, Dennis Kazimir, Joe Amodea and Paul Ziajski. 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 | | 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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