Dave Tortolani Starts our 10th Anniversary Season Off With his 3rd Win
March 14, 2009 - Englishtown, NJ -
We are underway! The 10th Anniversary season of The East Coast Supercharging Corvette Challenge presented by Yank Racing Converters got of to a great start with 39 Corvettes entering the annual Corvette Challenge warm-up race. Just think, a couple weeks ago we had a foot of snow dumped on New Jersey. It melted and we were back racing. Today's event also featured the completion of our 2008 season with the annual Top 16 Gambler's Invitational that should have been run last year but we used the date for a makeup race. The Top 16 racers were all allowed to run in the Corvette Challenge so they got two for the price of one which is a great way to start the season. Coverage of the Top 16 race will be found in a totally separate article.
The start of the season did not come without disappointments for some as there was breakage that kept some drivers from round 1 and caused three-time Champion Ralph Savarese to go scrambling for a Corvette to borrow when he snapped the rear in the second time trial. Vic Gandhi stepped up to share his car for both the Corvette Challenge and the Top 16. Neil Vernarelli was towed off the track when his 1957 broke and he pulled to the side of the track. David Harris also broke today and did not make round one. He believes he hurt a seal in the rear and the car is on the way back to ECS for repairs in the hopes to be read for the first Pro 10 Double Index next week.
Runner-up Jeanne Linke
Doug Linke, John Panuzzo, Jeanne Linke, Dave Tortolani, Bob Trieschmann
Winner Dave Tortolani
Photos by Edgar Perez. For over 5000 Corvette Photos, click here.
Only 35 of the 39 total entries made it to first round. Even with Raceway Park's new call to the lanes procedure, Rob Farley was first on the track. However, he must have gotten lost on the way because he was in the right lane. He was paired with Gino Spina who was driving his new to him, 1999 C5 Corvette instead of the C4 he normally drives. Spina cut a better light, .085 to Farley's .091 but ran too quick running 13.409 on 13.50 dial and Farley advanced with an 11.310 @ 116.52 on 11.29 dial. As mentioned, Savarese borrowed Gandhi's 1985 Blue Corvette and promptly took the round with a perfect .000 reaction time in a car he had never driven!!! The perfect light was too much for Paul Bogdan to handle as he went .275 so Savarese checked up on the dial running 11.786 on 11.53 dial. Paul did not walk away mad, he walked away with timeslips showing his first of many trips into the 10's; congrats. Hey don't cry foul but there were 10 red lights in this round. More then half the pairings were decided with reds. Tony Abbruzze was closest to perfect with a .008 light giving Bob Trieschmann a free ticket to the next round. Trieschmann was dead on his dial with a 12.603 @ 109.92 on the 12.60. The worst of the bunch was Bill Fischer Sr. who actually left before the tree was activated giving Dave Buddendorff the win light as he ran 13.056 on 13.00 dial. Also exiting the first round with early launches were Artie Chin, Ray Sztabnik, Tony Buonassisi, Gary Hurta, Rich Shuleski, Tom Smith, Wayne Hagopian and Doug Bereczki. On the green side we saw James Peins take out Eric Fischer (pun) as Peins was dead-on with a 6 on 13.90 dial with a .167 tree to Eric's .126 and 11.678 on 11.63 dial. Ellis Gray, just a few weeks after surgery on his ankle, was at the track with a boot on his right foot. He donned a sneaker to race but it was hard to get used to and it showed when he lost the round with a .153 light. Ken Rammer took the win against him with a .058 and 12.906 on 12.87 dial. Joe Signore was sharp on the tree when he cut a .011 light and ran 12.197 on 12.05 dial over Bill Martinson who was .286 on the tree. We had a Young in the field but it was not Chris. It was Bill Young, no relation in a 2009 Corvette. He caught a huge break when he left with a .445 tree but Ralph Blauvelt, who was .090 on his, broke out running 13.797 on 13.84 dial. After Savarese returned to the lanes to give Vic Gandhi back his, Gandhi took the car to another win when he defeated Frank Fiori. Frank got the edge on the tree with a .001 light to .054 but could not run the number on the window, 12.66, going 14.331. Jerry Muniz got the lucky draw and was the recipient of the first round bye. How did our most recent Champion Jeanne Linke do? She was the benefactor of one of those reds. No matter; she was on with a .036 light and 12.230 on 12.24 dial in John Panuzzo’s C6. Team Owner John Panuzzo has stated that she will not be defending the point’s title as he will be taking over the driving duties beginning next week for his own chase at the title. Dave Tortolani was also a benefactor of a red and he also went under by .009 on the free pass going 10.861 on 10.87 dial.
We were on a ladder this round and there would be no singles as we had an even number of racers. Number 1 seed Ralph Savarese would go last this round and was too quick on the tree this time with a -004 light and an 11.511 on 11.53 dial. The benefactor would be Dave Tortolani who went 10.862 on 10.88 dial on his second free pass of he day. He needed it as he was .226 on the tree. The other driver of the same car, Gandhi would suffer the same fate. He went -.005 red giving James Peins a free pass and he went dead on again with a 13.903 on 13.90 dial. Red was still the order of the day as three others also went red. Chris Haase went -.016 sending Shawn Cavanagh with his .315 light to the next round. Rob Farley also went red, -.016. His red sent Ken Gallassio to the next round with a .082 light and 11.812 on 11.73 dial. The earliest red goes to Joe Signore who went -.130. His red advanced Bob Trieschmann who went .026 on the tree and 12.655 on 12.60 dial. Ken Baranski advanced over Bill Young with a .047 light and 14.651 run on 14.57 dial in his 1973 Blue Corvette. Ken Rammer faced Jerry Muniz and used a .032 to .053 tree advantage to take the win. He was closer on the dial as well going 12.922 on 12.89 to Muniz' 11.378 on 11.32. David Hollingshead was back after missing all of last year and he showed he has not missed a beat. He ran dead on, 13.454 on 13.45 with a .040 light to make easy work of my own 10.482 on 10.35 dial and .121 light. Jeanne Linke advanced with a win over Dave Buddendorff with a.056 to .151 light. She also ran 12.275 on 12.26 as Buddendorff broke out.
Now we are uneven and Dave Tortolani got the bye after taking out the number 1 seed. He used the pass to run 10.875 on 10.86 dial and 122.70 MPH. There was only one red this round. James Peins was the victim of the red this time leave .075 before the green. He fell short of third straight dead-on pass with a respectable 13.951 on 13.90 dial. Ken Baranski advanced on that red. His package was .111 and 14.638 on 14.60 dial. Bob Trieschmann eliminated Ken Rammer with a .053 light and 12.667 on 12.60 dial. Dave Hollingshead kept his return rolling when his opponent, Ken Gallasio, missed a shift and was well off his dial. Linke cut a .019 light and went 12.250 on 12.24 looking sharp as ever moving Cavanagh to the spectator’s area with 10.508 on 10.37 dial.
Now only five drivers left and Bob Trieschmann would get the bye. He took a stab at a perfect run and ripped off a 12.587 on 12.60 dial with -.010 light. Tortolani would face Hollingshead and would get the win when Hollingshead left early, -.053. Tortolani took the free pass and ran 10.857 on 10.87 dial. Linke would also advance via red light when Baranski went -.126 on the tree and Linke ripped off another great package. She was .015 on the tree and 12.263 on 12.25 dial and she had a bye going into the final.
Round 5 - Semi-final:
Trieschmann and Tortolani would leave with very close lights. Trieschmann had a slight edge with a .061 to .064. Trieschmann left first with his 12.57 dial. Tortolani left on the chase. Each pass Dave made got louder and louder (see videos) as the car went up the track sounding like it had a turbo. It does not. It has some kind of exhaust leak that is causing a loud whistling. He will be sure and take care of it before the next race. Anyhow, he chased Trieschmann down and both drivers broke out. Tortolani took the win going .014 under his 10.85 dial to Bob's .029 breakout. Linke would make a single pass to check her dial and ran 12.241 on 12.26 dial with a lax .083 light....for her.
Round 6 - Final:
Dave Tortolani was in his fourth final in the Corvette Challenge holding a 2-1 record in the first three. Jeanne Linke, 2008 Rookie of the Year and Corvette Challenge Champion, was also in her fourth final holding a 1-2 record in her finals. Panuzzo would change the dial on the car to 12.24 based on the last run. Linke would leave with a .038 light. Tortolani dialed 10.83 would chase her down. He was off with a great .019 reaction time, the best of the day for him. Linke took the stripe by .016 but it was .008 under her dial as she broke out running too quick for the prediction. Tortolani was just over his dial going 10.857 on 10.83 but the win light was lit on his side of the track. This is Dave's third Corvette Challenge win having won 2006 Event 7 over Neil Vernarelli and 2007 Event 2 over Frank Fiori. Congratulations to both our finalist. Dave Tortolani has denied Team Panuzzo and what is expected to have been Linke's last Corvette Challenge stint for the team. She will, however, likely be driving the Vette in other select Corvette races such as the race against the GTO's at Raceway Park on April 25th. Best of luck Jeanne Linke. Welcome back JPEE.
Ralph Savarese won the 'Best Winning Reaction Time - 1st Round' plaque presented by Raceway Park for the best winning reaction time in the 1st round. Ralph Savarese was quickest on the tree with the win light in the 1st round when with a .000 reaction time.
Tony Abbruzze won the 'Almost Perfect Award' with a loss in the 1st round with the red light closest to .000 (Almost Perfect). Tony Abbruzze's light was -0.008 and was awarded a plaque from Old Bridge Township Raceway Park recognizing the effort put forth to try and capture a perfect light but just slightly red.
Bob Trieschmann won the CCDV 'Closest to Dial Award' by running only .003 off his dial. Bob Trieschmann was awarded a plaque and free tech card for a future race from Corvette Club of Delaware Valley.
Eric Fischer won the 'Ohh so Close Award' presented by Zaino when being edged out in the 1st round by the smallest margin of victory of .0019. That number is the MOV number on your time slip. Although suffering a loss in the 1st round by the smallest Margin of Victory, Eric Fischer earned a Zaino starter package that includes various Zaino products.
All winners of the first round were awarded a trophy. With 39 cars making this event, we sure gave out quite a few trophies or 1st Round Trophy Upgrade Program credits.
Next Two Races
March 21, 2009 with gates opening at 9:30 AM. This will be our first points race of the year. Race day will also feature the first race of the year for the new look Pro 10 Double Index. Come be a part of the new format featuring racers in a 10.00 index being joined by racers in a 10.50 index.
April 4, 2009 with gates opening at 9:30 AM. This will be our second points race of the year. Race day will also feature the first race of the year for the Pro 8 Shootout and Pro 11.50 Index. Come be a part of the excitement with three classes running on the same day.
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, Dennis Kazimir and Rob Farley. We'd be reduced to time shots only without our sponsors - many thanks for the continued support of