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Eric Fischer Wins Event 9

By Edgar Perez

September 20, 2008 - Englishtown, NJ - The ninth East Coast Supercharging Corvette Challenge presented by Yank Racing Converters of the 2008 season had a first-time finalist, Ray Sztabnik, go at it with one of our top 5 drivers, Eric Fischer, who was in his second final of the season and fourth overall in the Corvette Challenge. We could not have asked for better weather for this one. It was the best of the year with temps in the high 60's and no chance of rain at all. Despite the great forecast, we did not manage to get into the seven round range that requires 65 or more first round entries. It did not help that we had a couple of Corvettes break during time trials with Dave Buddendorff and myself having to be towed back to the pits before first round. This was our eighth points race and Jeanne Linke walked in with the points lead and managed to walk out with the lead despite having to now race a different Corvette. Team owner John Panuzzo sold his C4 Torch Red Corvette and purchased a 2005 Blue Coupe that is simply stunning. Both Linke and owner, Panuzzo found the new car quite inconsistent. Despite not having enough participants for seven rounds, the turnout was great as we were running with our Vette Doctors Pro 11.50 class (20) and the American Racing Headers Pro 8 Shootout with 7 entries; the largest in some time. These events will be covered separately.

For today's The Vette Doctors Pro 11.50 Index presented by Russ DeLibero Emerald Financial Resources coverage click here.

For today's American Racing Headers Pro 8 Shootout presented by Carroll's Rod & Racecraft coverage click here.

Round one: There were 59 racers that made first round today. There were some familiar faces today with drivers returning after missing several races, some over several years. Marc Hinkes, known to many as LS1LT1 on the forums, decided to bring out his 2006 Corvette. He had not raced with us since he got the car several years ago. He was met in round 1 by Rich Shuleski in his new 2008 C6. Hinkes dialed in a 12.01 and would chase Shuleski, dialed 12.12. Rich had the better light with a .017 to Marc's .110 and was able to take the win with a 12.171 @ 116.16 mph to Marc's 12.143 @ 114.70. David Olejnik was back with his 1993 Corvette after several months trying to get a new setup correct, he went back to the original one so he can finish out the season and once again enjoy his car. He was paired with Raymond Sztabnik in his 1976 Corvette. Ray went to the final so you know he won this round. He cut a .083 light and ran 13.049 on 13.00 dial to defeat Dave who broke out going 12.315 on 12.39 dial with an out of practice .227 light. We had not seen Thomas Dulski in several years. Dulski was the winner of our 10th event in 2002. Today, however, Dulski would face our points leader, Jeanne Linke in round 1. Linke would leave first in the 2005 Corvette with a 12.95 dial while Dulski would chase in the C5 Z06, but left red, -.019. This gave the win to Linke who ran 13.091 with a .070 light. The new car has shown a bit of inconsistency so the Panuzzo team needs to get this resolved and quickly for the NHRA Division 1 bracket finals. Thomas Anderson had not been with us some time either and he suffered the same fate, 1st round loss. He was off to a good start when he treed David Harris, Black C5 Corvette, with a .048 to .249 reaction time advantage. David has a very quick Corvette as he was dialed 10.80 and ran 10.897 @ 128.27 and got the win when Anderson broke out going 13.021 on 13.05 dial. Round 1 is never a time to be shy hitting the tree for our racers and great lights lead to great wins. Leading the pack was Doug Bereczki with a .005 RT to take the win over David Tortolani who broke out going 11.406 on 11.41 dial with a .058 light and took just a little bit too much win stripe. Bereczki went 14.24 on his 14.13 dial. Doug was having a grand weekend racing Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Frank Fiori used a .011 light to defeat Alfred Salanitro who went .129. The RT advantage allowed Fiori slow his car and go 12.865 on 12.70 dial. Gino Spina went .013 against Russ DeLibero who was .036. Spina took the win with a 12.418 on 12.40 dial while Russ could not run the 10.50 dial he set running only 11.225. Rob Farley was also .013 green in the round. His light led to a win over Peter Lopresti who went .308 in his new Z. Farley would execute the "Farley Slide" and run 11.586 on his 11.52 dial for the win. Vic Gandhi cut his tree down but needed the shorter end of a double breakout to get a win. His opponent, Ron Higgins, was .078 green and broke out with a 12.012 on 12.07 dial. Gandhi was the winner with a smaller breakout going 11.502 on 11.56 dial. Talk about your fast bracket cars, Chris Young had the quickest dial at 9.85. His opponent went red with an 11.75 dial giving Chris the right to run it out and he did. He stopped the clocks with a 9.802 @ 137.74 mph. In the championship chase, we saw Linke advance but our second place driver did not fair as well. Bob Trieschmann, 2nd in points, was paired with Randy Lane. Trieschmann, dialed 12.85, would leave first and Lane would chase with a 12.17. Randy cut the better light with a .035 to Bob's .127. Lane took his light to the win as Bob could not catch him. He ran 12.242 on his 12.17 dial while Trieschmann ran 12.909 on 12.85.

There were seven red light losses in the round which is about par for the class. Mike Calicchia, Jerry Muniz, Joe Latona and Ralph Blauvelt were among the ones already mentioned. Eric Fischer, our eventual winner, was the benefactor of one of those red lights. He faced James Kovitch who was dialed 14.18 to his 11.52. Kovitch's -.055 light gave Fischer the win. Fischer went red as well, -.015, but it did not matter as he already had the win light by virtue of Kovitch doing it first. He ran the Fairway Green Corvette to an 11.586 @ 114.74 mph on the 11.52 dial.

Other drivers who were not able to get past round one included Chris Haase, Anthony Bruno, Rob Zona, Bruce Kopcko, Tony Buonassisi, Mike Campbell, Joe Signore, James Peins, Bill Fischer Sr, Artie Chin, Ken Gallassio and a few others we did not get names on. Car numbers for the nameless drivers were 209, 9985 and 6020.

Runner Up Group Winner
Runner-up Raymond Sztabnik Winner Eric Fischer
Photos by Mike Roberts. For over 5000 Corvette Photos, click here.

Round 2: Drivers were paired on a ladder this round as we normally are when we have 32 or less cars. 30 Corvettes meant no singles this round. Frank Schear and David Harris kicked off the round. Frank went .032 on the tree while David struggled with a .613. Schear ran 13.121 on the 13.05 dial to take the win while Harris flew by him at the top end with a 10.517 on 10.60 in the very fast Corvette. Tony Abbruzze advanced when he defeated Shawn Cavanagh in a tight race. Abbruzze was out first with 12.85 dial and .036 light and Cavanagh would follow with a .068 tree and 11.50 dial. Abbruzze would take the win with a 12.879 @ 103.33. One of our new sponsors, Mike Bogdan of M & B, was the lucky draw in round one for a bye but this round he would have to face Tom Smith. Mike lit the ill fated red light, -.069, giving Smith the win. Smith ran 12.775 checking up on his 12.93 dial. He might need a little adjusting now. Don Peppler Jr. would advance to the next round when he faced W. Tad Archambault who could not run his number. Tad was off his dial quite a bit running 13.830 on 13.31 dial while Peppler picked up on it and slowed his ride to 13.44 on 13.10 dial. Vic Gandhi would hit the tree hard again this time with a .018 light. He coupled that with an 11.620 on 11.61 dial to defeat Ellis Gray. Ellis was late for some reason this go-round with a .165 light and a 10.901 on 10.85 dial. Fastman, Chris Young would win by red again this time from Randy Lane. Randy left early with a -.136 light. Young ran a 9.978 on 9.85 dial @ 135.20 mph for the win. Ralph Savarese, 3rd in points, faced John Hadyniak. Savarese was .029 green while Hadyniak was late with a .188. This was too much gap to give Savarese as he took the win with an 11.203 @ 111.51 on 11.10 dial. Louis Calicchia made a winner of Andrew Sabatello when he went -.005 red. Louis could have kicked himself after seeing the time slip. Sabatello was .481 green! He took the win with a 12.851 on 12.78 dial. A pretty even race was Rich Shuleski vs. Joseph Falzone. Rich dialed 12.18 to Joseph's 12.22. They even left pretty even on the tree with Shuleski ahead, .150 to .152. Falzone took the stripe but not the win as he went under, 12.214 on the 12.22 @ 110.51 giving Rich the pass to round 3 with a 12.257 on the 12.18.

Eric Fischer had a tough match ahead of him with points leader Jeanne Linke. He was looking to make a points move himself and he did when he treed her with a .051 to .104. He made it look easy slowing his car to an 11.642 on 11.54 dial while Linke's ride could not run the number, 13.178 on 13.07 dial. Raymond Sztabnik was paired with Frank Fiori in a C3 pairing. Sztabnik would leave first with 13.03 dial and Fiori would follow with a 12.72 dial. Fiori took the lead on the tree, .056 to .114 but missed third gear and could not run the number sending Ray to the next round on the way to the final. Sztabnik completed his pass going 13.153 on 13.03 with a little brake tap to protect against the breakout. Other drivers who did not advance were Gina Spina, Doug Bereczki, Ken Rammer and Ken Tyler.

2008 Event 9 Ladder

Round 3: Tom Smith would face our number 4 driver in points, Paul Bogdan. He would get the win with a .104 to .161 reaction time advantage. Bogdan had to run under trying to catch him with a an 11.403 on 11.50 dial while Tom went 12.885 on his 12.83 dial. Let's take a moment to recognize Paul Bogdan for his great effort this season. Paul has been in the top 5 all year while also participating and being third in points in the 11.50 index class. What I learned today was that Paul does all of his own work and tuning on his C5 Corvette. He assembled the 427 cid motor in the car and tuned it himself. He not only does his own work but does it without the benefit of a lift while on his back. He is a true sportsman and a gear head for sure. Good job Paul. In this round Rich Shuleski ran dead-on, 12.247 on 12.24 dial but it did not get him the win. He went red, -.105, giving Tony Abbruzze the win and a spot in round 4. Another dead-on driver, Fast Chris Young, went 9.908 on 9.90 dial. He did it without fear of breaking out as his opponent Andrew Sabatello went red, -.483. That is three straight red light wins for the Kid. In a double breakout race, Don Peppler went slightly under, 13.155 on 13.16 dial but got the win when Michael Archibald went under worse, 11.858 on 11.93 dial. Rob Farley advanced as well with a .026 light and 11.587 "slide" on 11.45 dial. He defeated Frank Schear who went .110 green on him giving him the room he needed.

Raymond Sztabnik put a stop to Ralph Savareseís charge on Linke for the top of the points battle. Ray had his own agenda when he treed Ralph with a .030 to .075 light. The light was close enough to keep Ralph on the throttle as both drivers broke out. Savarese was 11.063 on 11.13 dial which was worse than Ray's 13.063 on 13.10 dial. Ray was on his way to round 4. On the Fischer side of the ladder, he would face Vic Gandhi. Knowing Gandhi has been hitting the tree, as he always does, Fischer collected his best light of the day, .001. Gandhi knowing the same of Fischer, tried for a similar light but went red, -.067. It was going to be nice race as the driver's dial-ins were near even with Fischer dialed in at 11.56 to Gandhi's 11.58. We were uneven this round and Gary Hurta got the bye run on the ladder. He cut a -.010 light and ran 12.112 on 12.05 dial.

Round 4: The final 8 were ready for the 4th round of competition. Ray Sztabnik would face Tom Smith. Another C3 pairing. Smith was dead-on his 12.87 dial with an 8 but it was not enough. Ray had taken the tree with .088 to .133 light and took the win with a 13.025 on 13.00 dial. That is a margin of victory of just .028 seconds. Tony Abbruzze was next against Gary Hurta. Abbruzze was off with a 12.89 dial and .164 light. Hurta, dialed 12.05, having trouble getting the C6 Z06 hooked all day, would leave -.112 red giving Tony the win. Next up was Eric Fischer and Don Peppler Jr. Another tough match but Eric was up to the task. A .023 light to Don's .080 put him in a good position to win. He did win with an 11.571 on 11.55 dial while Peppler broke out trying to stay ahead going 13.079 on 13.13 dial. Next up was Fastman Chris Young and Rob Farley. Again dialed 9.90, Young would wait to watch his opponent leave red. But not this time. All he saw was windshield full of purple and yellow (okay Radar Blue). Farley was off green with a .065 light. Young trailed with a .091. At the top end, Farley tried the slide but it did not work this time. Both broke out. Farley broke out by more, 11.412 on 11.44 dial to Young's 9.883 on 9.90 dial.

Round 5 - Semi-final: In the final four now and Chris Young's car was starting to get hot. He dialed it up a little to a 9.93 as he squared against Sztabnik. He would give him a 4-second head start as Ray was in at 13.00. He was off clean and green with a .089 and Young waited the four seconds. It proved to be a bit much as he seemed to have lost focus and went .160 green. Ray was across the finish line in 13.058 seconds on the 13.00 while Young blew by him at the stripe with a too quick 9.888 at 134.63 mph, almost 30 miles-per-hour more than Ray. Ray got the win with Chris' breakout. Fischer would follow his best light of the day with his worst. A .103 light for Fischer was late but his opponent, Tony Abbruzze, was later with a .129. Not much of a gap in the starts and Fischer pulled out the win with a dead-on 11.569 on 11.56 dial while Abbruzze broke out running 12.863 on 12.87 dial. The final was set.

Round 6 - Final: This is Eric Fischer's fourth Corvette Challenge final and was coming in with a 1-2 record. Raymond Sztabnik was in his first Corvette Challenge final. Fischer was now sitting in fourth place in the points having moved up 1. One win would put him within the tiebreaker of third with Savarese. Sztabnik keeps his 13.00 dial from the prior round and Fischer does the same with an 11.56. Ray gets off green but perhaps too green with a .140. Fischer bounces back from his .103 prior round to go .041 off the tree. With a tenth on the tree, it is evident at the MPH markers to Eric he can slow it a little and he does. He takes the win with an 11.609 @ 108.80 while Ray goes 13.013 on the 13.00 dial. Another great race in the final and Eric Fischer has just captured his second Corvette Challenge event win. Sztabnik has been steadily improving this season with his best overall finish topping his first semi final appearance this year in Event 6. Congratulations go out to both finalists and all who participated in today's event.

Corvette Challenge Points Update

Jeanne Linke, a Corvette Challenge rookie, despite being in a new car this race as team owner John Panuzzo stepped up to a 2005 C6 Coupe, managed to increase her points lead for the season. She came in 3 points up on Bob Trieschmann. Bob did not get out of round 1 while Jeanne did and she now holds a 4-point lead, 35-31 over him. Ralph Savarese remains in third and closes a little on Linke and Trieschmann and now has 29 points. Eric Fischer's win today vaulted him to fourth with 29 points as well and is trailing Savarese by the tiebreaker with 1 event win to Ralph's 2. Paul Bogdan falls to 5th in points with 27. Rob Farley moves up to sixth and still has an outside shot at the championship with two races remaining and 23 points. Louis Calicchia (8), Shawn Cavanagh (9) and Don Peppler Jr. (10) round out the top 10. Please note, not only do our top 16 earn a chance to get in the Top 16 $1,000 Gambler's Invitational race, but each will earn a Raceway Park Jacket and some will earn cash prizes too. See rules & prizes link above for more.
2008 Corvette Challenge Standings
Corvette drivers page with more driver information

Rookie of the Year Update

As the overall points leader, Rookie sensation Jeanne Linke also holds the rookie of the year lead. Her 35 points this season expands the record for rookie points formerly held by Rob Farley in 2002 (32). This is a simply amazing start for Linke. Shay LaScalla, second in the rookie chase, did not make today's race so she remains with 12 points. Mike Calicchia follows in third with 10 points.
Rookie of the Year Standings

Spectrum Equipment Service Gear Jammer Award Update

We have a new leader in the Gear Jammer chase. Donald Peppler Jr. has shifted himself into first place with today's performance. He now holds the lead with 21 points. Tom Smith bumped himself up to second place in the chase today. His performance gives him 19 points for the year and he trails Peppler by two. Steve Pistilli, missed his second race in a row and this has dropped him back to third in the Gear Jammers race. Gary Hurta moves up to 4th place today with 18 trailing Pistilli only by tiebreaker points. Frank Fiori sits in fifth after missing third gear today in round 2. 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

Ralph Blauveltís Bracket Masters holds the number one position in the Team Challenge Cup as they have for most of the season. This event's key contributor for them was Rob Farley with 4 points. The team has accumulated 87 points for the lead. Two teams now have 85 points. John Trescott's Eliminators is one of those teams tied for second. Tony Abbruzze was the lead contributor with 5 points for the Eliminators. Ralph Savarese's Ridin' Dirty team is the other team tied for second. They were helped along by Chris Youngís 5 points and Tom Smithís 4 points.

Current Team Standings

TeamTeam NameTeam CaptainPoints
T01 Ridin' Dirty Ralph Savarese 96
T08 Bracket Masters Ralph Blauvelt 93
T02 The Eliminators John Trescott 91
T07 Mistress and the Mayhem Christopher Haase 87
T04 Vapors David Tortolani 86
T06 SKAM ARTISTS John Hadyniak 81
T05 CCDV Douglas Bereczki 67
T03 Sgt Peppler's Donald Peppler, Jr. 64
click to see drivers on each team
Click if you cannot see Team Challenge Cup Standings

Awards Handed Out at this Event

  • Doug Bereczki won the 'John Panuzzo Jr. Memorial' trophy presented by Team Panuzzo Racing for the best winning reaction time in the 1st round. Doug Bereczki was quickest on the tree in the 1st round when his RT was .005.
  • 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 -0.013 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.
  • Paul Bogdan won the CCDV 'Closest to Dial Award' by running only .002 off his dial. Paul Bogdan was awarded a trophy and free tech card for a future race from Corvette Club of Delaware Valley.
  • Michael Campbell won the 'Ohh so Close Award' presented by Zaino when being edged out in the 1st round by the smallest margin of victory of .0041. That number is the MOV number on your time slip. Although suffering a loss in the 1st round by the smallest Margin of Victory, Michael Campbell earned a Zaino starter package that includes various Zaino products.
  • All winners of the first round were awarded a trophy. With 88 cars making this event, we sure gave out quite a few trophies or 1st Round Trophy Upgrade Program credits.

Next Two Races

October 30, 2008 - The ninth points (tenth overall) race of the season for our Corvette Challenge racers. We will also host The American Racing Headers Pro 8 Shootout returning for its fourth race and The Vette Doctors Pro 11.50 goes at it for their fifth and final race of the year. Gates to open around 9:30 AM.

November 8, 2008 - The tenth and final points race of the season (11th overall) for our Corvette Challenge racers. We will also host The American Racing Headers Pro 8 Shootout returning for its final race and The Cartek Racing Pro 10.0 goes at it for their fifth and final race of the year with the Championship on the line. All of these events are makeupís for rained out races. Gates to open around 8:30 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 and Rob Farley. 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

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