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Ralph Savarese is Grand AGAIN in the 2007 Top 16 Invitational

by Ralph Savarese

Englishtown, NJ, 03/15/08 - The 2007 East Coast Supercharging Corvette Challenge Top 16 race had to be postponed from November due to rainouts throughout the season and it looked like it might have to be postponed again due to rain. It rained Friday night into Saturday morning and then again on Sunday, but somehow we got the race in and it turned out to be a pretty nice day.

As most of you know, the Top 16 is an invitational race, pitting the top 16 points earners against one another for a $1000 to win. As you might imagine, this usually makes for some great competition and very tight racing. This year was no exception as witnessed by the sub-.050 average winning reaction time in the first round and several ETs within a hundredth of a second of their dial-ins.

Top 16 Ladder

The first round began with our 2007 rookie of the year, Chris Haase, up against former champ, Bob Trieschmann. This round went to Chris as he nailed the tree with a .011 R/T and ran within a hundredth of his dial. That's a tough round to beat at any level. Next through the water was Ralph Blauvelt and Jim Bole. Ralph has been working hard on improving his program and it showed with a solid .024 R/T and a dead-on run…another tough round to beat. The next pair was the 2007 points runner-up, John "the money man" Trescott against Eric Fisher. John took a small advantage on tree and held on for the win despite Eric's dead-on run. That one must have been pretty close at the stripe. Next round had Big Doug Bereczki against former challenge winner Gary Hurta. Let's just say that Gary left before the train even got into the station, handing the win to Doug. The fifth pair down the track was the 2007 points champion, Ralph Savarese, against Ellis "10.8" Gray. This round would go to Ralph as Ellis left a few hundredths early and strangely didn't run 10.8. Next up was Anthony Cupolo in his beautiful blue supercharged split window against an anonymous racer. Anthony used a solid .024 R/T to take the win and sent the anonymous racer riding off into the sunset. Next up was "Sgt" Don Peppler against Ken Tyler. Ken was just 4 thou on the wrong side of the tree, but Don's .025 package would have been real hard to beat in any event. The final pair for the first round was Steve Pistilli against Jim Peins (former top 16 R/U). Steve took the win in this round with a slight R/T advantage, while Jim ran well off his dial. And then there was eight.

Second round opened with Big Doug B against Chris Haase. Doug posted another one of those hard to beat packages as he drilled the tree with an .014 R/T and proceeded to run dead on with a 3. That's an .017 package for those of you keeping score….wow!!! Next pair was John Trescott and Anthony Cupolo. John got the win despite a huge R/T disadvantage. I can only guess that Anthony missed a gear or spun as he ran well off his dial. Next up was Ralph Blauvelt and Don Peppler. Don posted a respectable round as usual, but not enough to get around Ralph who again drilled the tree with an .015 and ran within 2 of his dial. Last pair of the second round was Ralph Savarese against Steve Pistilli. Steve left a little early handing the win to Ralph. This was one of those lucky rounds you usually need to win a race. Ralph was a little late on the tree and missed two shifts (with an auto, ugh) running well off his dial. I can comment because I was there……lol. And then there was four.

The third and semi-final round opened with Big Doug B and against Little Ralph S. There was a pretty big gap between the dials, having Ralph sit on the tree for over 3 seconds (Doug dialed 14.04 to Ralph's 10.99). However Ralph was back on his game for this round with a double-oh R/T to take the win over Doug. The other semi-final pair was John Trescott and Ralph Blauvelt. Ralph's first two rounds were almost impossible to beat and he looks like the favorite coming into this round, but he got caught napping at the tree this time. Ralph tried to overcome his R/T disadvantage by staying in it all the way, but ran under his dial. In the other lane, John had a respectable R/T and scrubbed a little at the top to take the win, sending him to the final against Savarese.

Final Round - Ralph and John to the lanes please. As the dust settled from the first three rounds, we find our 2007 points champ and runner up still standing. This same pairing could have decided the points championship in November as Ralph and John were on opposite side of the ladder in our final race of the season with one point difference between them. Neither driver made the final in November, but here they are 4 months later ready to do battle again. Ralph has won this race before, but this is the money round and we know John's nick name, sooooooo a good fight was expected and the drivers didn't let anyone down. Ralph held his 10.99 dial from the prior round while John dialed down a couple to 11.70. John would leave first with a strong .033 R/T, but Ralph raised the ante with an .019 and gave chase. At first, Ralph was closing fast, but those C5s can put up the MPH. At the stripe it was too close to call and both drivers kept there feet to the floor. As they cross, both drivers would have to check the win lights to know the outcome. Both drivers ran under their dials, but Ralph inched out the win, running only 7 thou under his dial. Very close and exciting final round.

I would like to thank supporters; Renzo's Race Cars, Pro Torque converters and Pops Panuzzo on the win.

Congratulate the drivers on the Corvette Forum

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modified: December 31, 1969 - 7:00 pm

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