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Mark Shaw Un-retires to Win Pro 8 Shootout Race 3

by Edgar Perez

Qualifiers - American Racing Headers/a> Pro 8 Shootout
presented by Carroll's Rod & Racecraft
1  Angelo Valla 8.552 162.86
2  Paul Major 8.659 126.66
3  Mark Shaw 8.958 155.99
4  Michael Conway 8.993 165.21
5  Sonnie Pongonis 9.496 142.05
6  Chris Young 9.813 138.05
7  David Shen 9.880 133.58
09/20/08 - Englishtown, NJ - The third American Racing Headers Pro 8 Shootout presented by Carroll's Rod and Racecraft of the season was full of surprises. The biggest being Angelo Valla returning after years in hiatus needing to regroup after an incident with the wall in 2006, his Championship year. Just before Angelo announced his return, defending Champion Mark Shaw had announced that he was retiring for the year from Pro 8 competition after finding coolant in the crankcase. His plan was to not run the remainder of the year and rebuild to compete in the 10.0 class next year. Valla's return must have been a great motivator as Shaw announced he would "unretire", (can you do that if you have not missed a race?) and return to today's event. Paul Major was back "testing" his LSX block and combination for the LSX Shootout in Memphis, TN early October...searching for mid-sevens. Mike Conway was out with his C4 which has Mike Mitchell's old motor in it. These drivers were complimented with a group of Pro 10.0 racers airing out their rides to compete heads-up with the big dogs making them work for their wins. A total of seven racers entered today's competition which is refreshing change of pace for the class. I want to thank you all for coming out to run the class.

For today's Corvette Challenge bracket results click here.


With 7 Corvettes attempting to qualify, the number 1 spot would be one to try to get because it would lead to a single run in the first round meaning a free pass to round two. The only thing that would keep any of these drivers out of the field would be the inability to run in the 9's. The great weather and season long tuning paid off the Shen team as David and his dad were able to get into the field in the 1965 all motor Corvette with a 9.880 pass at 133.58 mph. This pass would put them in the 7th spot but in the field nonetheless. Chris Young was in the field with his all motor 1993 Corvette and would hold the 6th spot with a 9.813 @ 138.05 mph. In the 5th spot was the newly licensed driver, Sonnie Pongonis from Philadelphia, PA. His license arrived just this week and the car was already where it needed to be as the supercharged 346 inch C5 Corvette convertible had already run several 9-second passes. He was in the field with his latest personal best, 9.496 @ 142.93 mph. Sonnie's package was put together by our 10.0 sponsor, Cartek Racing. The newly retired, no unretired, Mark Shaw was in the fourth spot with his 1970 Corvette 511 cubic inches with a 9.490@ 154.72. Michael Conway was in his 1986 Corvette with the nitrous and would take the third spot, and the first of our 8-second rides after one round of qualifying with an 8.903 @165.21 mph. Angelo Valla, with one black fender on the Blue 1972 Corvette, was in the second position with an 8.977 @ 159.78 mph. In the number one spot was Paul Major with the 2001 Z06 sporting 427 cid GMPP LSX block and twin 76 mm turbos breathing from the side pillars and 295 drag radials (the LSX Shootout trim. He just put the combination in the car and was running some test passes with us. He ran it all out until between the 1/8th mile and 1000' and dumped it. Surprisingly his first pass was an 8.659 @ 126.66 mph and put him in the number 1 spot.

Only two of our drivers were able to improve their qualifying times and positions in the second round of qualifying as the day started to warm up a little. Mark Shaw moved up to the third position becoming the fourth driver to get in the eights today with an 8.958 @ 155.99. The other driver that was able to improve was Angelo Valla. He leapfrogged teammate Paul Major to take the number one position and the first round bye. Valla stopped the clocks with an 8.552 @ 162.86. The field was set with seven Corvette drivers ready to do battle in round 1.

Pro 8 Shootout Runner-up Pro 8 Group Pro 8 Shootout Winner
Runner up Angelo Valla From L to R, Winner Mark Shaw

Photos by Mike Roberts

Round 1

The first pair on the track was Mike Conway (4) vs. Sonnie Pongonis (5). Nitrous vs. Supercharger. Conway was out of the gate first with a .233 reaction time to Sonnie's .341. Conway quickly pulled away as Sonnie had a little trouble. Conway was across with an n 8.979 @ 136.65 while Pongonis slowed to a 12.424. Sonnie is hooked however and we should see him at the remaining Pro 8 Shootouts this year. Mark Shaw (3) would face Chris Young (6) in the next pair. Shaw was off with a .165 light to Young's .322. With the tree and the power, Shaw took the win to advance to round 2 with a 9.077 @ 156.44 while Young ran 9.925 @ 136.88. David Shen (7) would catch a break against Paul Major (2) next. Major was ready to make a full pass finally after 2 1000' passes. He left with a .120 light and ran the full quarter running a 7.687 @ 187.99 mph. The pass was great but too quick for our class and he collected the loss. Shen went .299 on the tree and collected the win with a 9.935 @ 133.18. The number one qualifier, Angelo Valla (1) decided to take a stroll and save the parts while taking the single. He cruised to a 21-second pass on the bye run.

Round 2

In the second round the first pair out was Valla (1) with Conway (4). Valla was looking for the win to move up in points and make a race of the chase for the Championship. As the cars staged, however, Conway rolled through the beams handing the win to Valla. Angelo, distracted by the premature leave, left with a .427 light. He did run out the pass and received a 9.333 @ 152.78 mph time slip. The next pair was the two red Corvettes, aren't they all red anyway? Shaw (3) would face Shen (7) for the right to face Valla in the final. This time, Shaw was not the underdog but Shen was, on paper at least. Shen left with a slight tree advantage with a .174 to .236. Shaw executed flawlessly and took the win 8.914 @ 157.44 to Shen's 9.904 @ 133.53. It would be Shaw and Valla in the final.

Round 3 and Final

This race had the making of a good race with Valla (1) having gone 8.55 already today and Shaw having gone a best 8.8 at the last race and looking for more. Valla would take the tree advantage .125 to .162 so Shaw was in a hole. After leaving, midway down track, Valla slowed. He was experiencing an issue and Shaw was on his way to an upset and improbable win after announcing he was hanging it up a few weeks ago. He was rewarded with yet another personal best in the independent rear suspension C3. That is right, that thing still runs IRS. His new best in the car is now the winning 8.770 @ 157.08. Big congratulations go to Mark for the effort put in to get the car ready for the race. Once again he proved consistency is the key to winning in our quickest and fastest class. Valla's issue was a failed fuel pump midway down track that may have caused even bigger issues. In the initial review of the motor, Valla found a missing wheel from a lifter that is yet to be found. Hopefully it is repairable for the next Pro 8 Shootout.

Awards and Payouts Today

  • Winner Mark Shaw earned a payout of $100 cash and a trophy
  • Runner-up Angelo Valla earned a payout of $50 cash and a trophy
  • Number 1 Qualifier Angelo Valla received a plaque for his 8.552 qualifying run
  • Mark Shaw received the Best Reaction Time plaque for the best winning reaction time in the first round at .165

2008 Points Standings

Mark Shaw's win keeps him in first place for the year. He now holds a 210-149 point lead over Michael Conway with two races left this season, one new one and one make-up from earlier in the year which still has one qualifier left. Valla's number 1 qualifier and 2 round wins instantly put him in third place 78 points. With two races left, this could be a three or four dog race if Maloney gets back in the game as he is fourth with 68 points.

Rank Name R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 Wins Rounds Avg Qual
1. Mark Shaw 77 114 210 228 245 2 5 8.520
2. Michael Conway 36 94 149 159 217 2 3 10.549
3. Angelo Valla 0 0 78 78 78 0 2 8.552
4. Bill Maloney 58 68 68 68 68 0 1 9.570
5. Edward Monari 35 35 35 52 52 0 0 9.468

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 | Team Panuzzo | Corvette Club of Delaware Valley - CCDV | Spectrum Equipment Service | The Blair Family | Simple Man | QTP - Quick Time Performance | Carroll's Rod & Racecraft | Kooks Custom Headers | CFM Racing | Tortolani Racing | Anger Management Racing | | | Romar Fabrication | Zaino Bros | Pro Torque | Perez Web Design

Pro 8 Shootout - American Racing Headers | Carroll's Rod & Racecraft | PM Construction

Pro 10.0 Index - Cartek Racing | J&M Motorsports | Best Western, East Brunswick, NJ | ECSracing | M & B Performance

Pro 11.50 Index - The Vette Doctors | Russ DeLibero Emerald Financial Resources | Wild Rover Racing | DeFelice Chevrolet Parts .

Next Race

The next American Racing Headers Pro 8 Shootout presented by Carroll's Rod and Racecraft will be Saturday October 25, 2008. It is the fourth points race for the fastest class our series has to offer so you will not want to miss it. Gates open 9:30 am.

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