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Louis Calicchia On A Hot Streak Wins Event 2

By Edgar Perez

March 27, 2010 - Englishtown, NJ - Wow what a change in the weather one week can make. The East Coast Supercharging Corvette Challenge presented by Yank Racing Converters had its second race of the year today, its first for points racers. We were spoiled by the near 70 degree temperature we had last weekend and treated to some icy cold 32 degree temperature when we reached the track. It warmed up to a balmy 45 degrees for about a half hour and started to go back down. That did nothing to stop the hot streak that Louis Calicchia is on having won the Top 16 Gamblers race last weekend and then the Corvette Challenge this weekend and he doubled up winning the Classic vs. Modern Street class today as well. To top that off, I he has taken the title of burnout king from the man he defeated in the final round, Ellis Gray. Despite the weather being less desirable today, our car counts for the day were up by about 35% from last week. Racer's also enjoyed a densitay altitude of sub -1000 all day compared to over 1000 last wee. Today's race is the second of three in row for the class and we could only hope for temperatures to at least come between our first two races for some more comfortable race time. Because many of our drivers were unable to get a hold of the track during the first time trial due to the cold, Raceway Park gave our bracket racers a thrid time trial.

It was great to see some of the familiar faces and Corvettes. We also saw quite a few new faces in the lanes including a rookie class for the season of at least seven at the time of this writing. So without further delay, let's see how today's racing went. We took over 40 mintues of video today and hope to have that available to you as soon as possible.

Round 1: There were 45 Corvettes in the first round of competition. As with any race, Raceway Park pulls a tech card before round 1 the lucky driver selected,if we are uneven round 1, will get a bye. Today's lucky draw was Jack Dennis. Jack is new racer with the series with a 2006 Lemans Blue C6 Corvette out of Rochester, NY. That is right, Rochester, some 8 hours away, NY. The first pair to hit the track to start our points season included Ken Tyler and Doug Bereczki, two Red Corvettes. Bereczki dialed his '87 in at 14.02 while Tyler was in at 12.60. The drivers had very close reaction times with Tyler enjoying a .062 to .069 advantage. Both drivers broke out and Tyler did it by the least and scored the first competition point for the series in 2010. The "Sleeper" pair in the round involved John Panuzzo and Peter LoPresti. Not because one had better odds than the other to win but because Panuzzo got away with a .162 light thank to Pete's .414. You are usually a goner with a light like Jpee's but luck was on Jpee's side as LoPresti not only was later but also broke out running him down in the C6 Z06. Panuzzo would run 12.384 on his 12.34 dial while advancing. Back to the brighter side of the lights, multi-time champion Ralph Savarese would go .026 again Rich Shuleski's .070. Savarese, back in his familiar '85 Corvette and Shuleski back in the familiar '96 Grand Sport (by the way did you catch the 2010 Grand Sport in the pits)? Rich would leave first with 11.50 dial and Savarese, launching with the wheels high in the air today dialed 10.85. Both drivers broke out however with Savarese, just .006 under at 10.842 @ 122.4 to Rich's 11.431, getting the nod to advance to round 2. Next pair Ken Baranski hit the tree with a great .031 when he launched his '88 Corvette on his 14.47 dial against former champ Bob Trieschmann with his '98 Vette dialed 12.40. Bob T was late however with a .247 light. Despite the light advantage, Baranski broke out going 14.455 on his dial but lucky for him, Bob T broke out worse and Ken advanced. Another stellar light came from Rob Farley with his freshened motor in the '98 Indy Pace Corvette. He was facing Tad Archambault who dialed 13.70 and would leave the tree with a .131. Rob, dialed 11.38 would leave with a .049 light and would slow his run to 11.648 at a mere 85.57 mph. Artie Chin, '08 Corvette dialed his ride in at 11.50 against Greg Colella in his '99 dialed 13.60. Both drivers are from NY. Greg leaves with a really good .066 light but Chin was better at .022. Then Chin proceeds to run 11.549 @ 113.16 while Colella breaks out trying to staying ahead. Dave Buddendorff, finalist from last week, was back with his '73 Stingray Corvette would face Don Peppler Jr. was back with his '67 Corvette and one would not advance as they raced each other. Peppler, dialed 13.24, would leave the line first with a .036 light and Buddendorff would follow shortly dialed 12.88 drilling the tree as well with a .029. At the finish line the cars meet and Buddendorff gets the win light going 12.916 while Peppler breaks out going 13.192.

As with any of our races, some of matches get decided by the ugly red's; The tree not our Corvettes. One of our red-light drivers, rookie Peter Huff, was just -.003 but he still got the win. The reason he was able to get the win is because he was dialed 11.80 while his opponent, Frank Schear, was dialed 12.90. Schear left first and lit the red with a -.013 so Peter's red did not hurt him. The other drivers going red were not as lucky. Russ DeLibero lost with a -0.040, Anthony Buonassisi lost with a -0.049, Mike Bogdan lost with a -0.088, Ron Higgins lost with a -0.106 and Andrew Volponi lost with the worst of the bunch -0.214.

Our eventual runner-up got away with one in this round himself when Ellis Gray, '00 Corvette cut a fair .105 light but his opponent Greg Errion, a man in the Fischer family himself (Bill's son-in-law), could not run his 12.65 dial in his FRC Corvette after having a bit of a starting issue in the staging lanes. Gray ran an 11.636 on 11.48 dial at 108.43. Our eventual winner, Louis Calicchia got a break when Kimberly Rudolf was late on her tree with a .370. Calicchia cuts a .052 light and runs 11.555 on 11.37 dial at 98.91 mph. Other drivers that did not advance to the next round were Nuky Costantini, who Walter Frey, our announcer, had a lot of fun with when reading her first name, Michael Archibald, Gary O'Connell, Shawn Cavanagh, Anthony Cupolo and Bruce Kopcko.

Round 2: We would go to a ladder now for round 2 with 23 drivers left. The ladder is set by the previous round reaction time. Al Salanitro would hold the number one spot and get a bye run this round thanks to his steller light round 1. Bronx racer, Jerry "Boogieman" Muniz would face Peter Huff round 2. Both drivers are also 11.50 racers. It is actually fair to say many of our 11.50ish dialed drivers are also 11.50 index racers. Huff leaves first with 11.75 dial followed by Muniz dialed 11.50. There was not much of a difference in ET but with a .044 light by Huff, Muniz was in trouble with a .141. Trying to close the gap Huff let Jerry get around him however and Muniz emerged the victor in the round. It was a very close with a .0462 margin of victory for Jerry. They were followed by Artie Chin and Mike Campbell. Both drivers driving C6 Corvettes, Campbell dialed 12.40 to Chin's 11.50. Neither driver was steller on the tree with Campbell the better at .242 but it was enough to get the win from Chin who was .265 on the tree. Both drivers were close on the dials with Campbell running 12.413 and Chin 11.531. That was another close margin with a .0412 determining the winner. Jack Dennis was up next against Ralph Blauvelt. Blauvelt's '88 Corvette would get the head start with a 13.85 on the window. He lit the red light before Dennis could leave on his 11.58 dial so Dennis was on the way to round 3. Ken Baranski would dial 14.45 against Paul Bogdan, another 11.50 player, with an 11.50 dial on his car. Baranski would get .080 to .092 tree advantage. Both drivers stayed in on the throttle till the finsish line and showed their hands with both cars breaking out. Baranski was better at 14.418 to Bogdan's 11.431. John Panuzzo was back ready to make a another title chase with at least one driver picking him as the early season favorite for a 2010 championship! He entered both the Corvette Challenge and the Pro Dial Dash (a pro tree, dial your own car bracket race open to all cars which one of our racers, Shay LaScalla won) today. The class helped him hone in on the tree as he nails Frank Fiori with a .035 light and ran dead on his 13.38 dial with a 9. Fiori broke out by a few hundredths trying to hold of Panuzzo. Ken Tyler would get a win when his opponent Mike Moran cut lit the red with a -.198 light. Eric Fischer would face points rookie Rob Petyo this round. Fischer would leave first with an 11.65 on the window and Petyo would chase with an 11.05. Petyo had the lead with a .049 to .147 reaction time advantage. Fischer let up and Petyo took the stripe but not the win as he breaks out by .003! Fischer advances. Ralph Savarese faces Vincent Cupolo in the '80 Corvette. Vinny's ride is fast; real fast. Savarese would be the slow car here dialed 10.83 if we can call that slow. Cupolo would chase with a 10.20 on the window. Ralph did his thing with a .042 light to Vinny's .120. He could not catch Savarese as he only ran 10.534 Savarese would move on. Rob Farley, did I say former multi-time and current defending champion Rob Farley, would be next with rookie Marc Marsico. Farley would take a .057 to .097 tree advantage and not need to make a full pass as he figured Marsico was running under and he was right. Marc ran 12.442 on his 12.60 dial and was done for the day.

On the road to the final, Louis Calicchia faced Dennis Kazimir this round. He would use a .088 light and 11.709 run on 11.65 dial to take the win as Kazimir's car run much quicker than it has ever run going 13.453 on 13.72 breaking out and leaving him stunned. Ellis Gray on the other side advanced when Dave Buddendorff, dialed 12.88 to Gray's 11.47 would leave first with and lit the red light -.009 advancing Ellis to the next round. He made the pass going .062 green and 11.546 @ 118.00 on 11.47 dial.

2010 Event 2 Ladder

Round 3: Six pair left and no bye this round. Two New Yorkers would face off first, Somers, NY's John Panuzzo and Bronx, NY's Jerry Muniz. Two C6 racers here with Panuzzo in Blue and Muniz in Black. Jpee dials 12.35 and Muniz 11.50. The old man rocked the tree with a .004 light, best of the day, thus far for any of our drivers. Jerry was in trouble as he rolled out with a.093 light. He chases him down and neither lifts. Both go under their dial-ins. Panuzzo, by less, takes the win light with a 12.322 to Muniz's 11.374. Jack Dennis faces Ken Baranski next. Baranski lights the red as Dennis waits for his tree dialed 11.58. he goes on to run 11.278 @ 111.57 and advances to the next round. New York! New York!. Seems to be a theme. Mohegan Lake, NY racer Ken Tyler vs. Mahopac, NY racer Ralph Savarese. Tyler dials 12.40 and would leave ahead of Savarese dialed 10.83. Tyler had a slight reaction time advanatage trying to eliminate Savarese by going .052 to .060 on the light. He was way ahead but it was too quick. He lit Ralph's win light while breaking out going 12.286 while Savarese went 10.869 on his 10.83 dial. Rob Farley had to race a 1956 in the next round. No not a 1956 Corvette, but a 19.56 Corvette. Al Salanitro dialed his Corvette in at 19.56 this round. He had an issue with the car and could not make a full run so he dialed it soft...real soft. He got out to the finish line and nearly parked the car and waited for Farley. It did not work but you have to give him credit for trying something a little different. Farley caught on to the trick and simply put his nose across in front of him for the win. Ellis Gray would face Eric Fischer now. Near heads-up with Fischer dialing 11.62 on to Gray's 11.50. Fischer is out first with a .166 and Gray was all over that with a .085. He goes on to run dead-on 11.501 @ 116.01 for the win. Louis Calicchia on the other hand cut a .007 light to eliminate Mike Campbell who ran close to his dial but whose .238 light did him in for the day.

Round 4 - Quarter-Final: Now down to six drivers and 3 pair. Savarese and Panuzzo would face off. Many times last year this would not have been possible as Savarese drove Panuzzo's car for a while when his car was down. Not this year. Both drivers are in there own cars. Panuzzo dialed 12.33 would leave first and Savarese would chase with a 10.85 on the car now. Panuzzo crushes the tree with a.013 and Savarese is not too shabby with a.048. Running it out the back door was the order for the race and both drivers did it and both broke out. It was Savarese breaking out by .028 and Panuzzo by .051 for a .0233 margin of victory for Ralph. Louis Calicchia would face Jack Dennis next. Louis was the first driver not to go red on the tree to Jack. It was a great tree with Calicchia .014 and Dennis .031. This one went to the finish line and was another double-breakout race. Calicchia, going under by .004 took the win with Dennis going .110 under the index. The final pair of the round, our two newest 11.50 sponsors, Ellis Gray and Rob Farley. 11.47 for Ellis and 11.37 for Farley were the dials. Ellis nails the tree with a .049 and Farley is off .125 green. Despite Rob's dead-on 11.367 Ellis took the win with the better light and an 11.467 on his .43 dial.

Round 5 - Semi-Final: Down to three and each one has more than one event win under his belt. Ellis Gray would face Ralph Savarese and Louis Calicchia would get the bye run into the final. Gray dials 11.43 and Savarese 10.81, tight! Ellis leaves first. Bam! Best light of eliminations of all drivers, .001. Savarese trailed with a .090. He could not catch Gray so let him take the stripe in the hopes that Gray would break out. No way! Gray ran 11.467 @ 116.20 and was on his way to the final, his second of the day having won the 11.50 Index race already. Savarese would run 10.870 at 117.98. Calicchia would do a smokin' big burnout for the bye run and smack the tree down with a .010 light then bailed on the run to save the car.

Round 6 - Final: Calicchia has been to the finals four times before today, most recently the Top 16 for last year held just last week. He has won all four of them. Gray has been to five finals winning two of them. Both drivers are having great days obviously on the tree. Gray has averaged .060 to this point with a best of .001 and Calicchia .034 with a best of .007. The remaining racers and fans at the track watch in anticipation of what is to be a good race. These two did not disappoint. Dialed nearly the same, Gray at 11.43 and Calicchia at 11.34. Gray gets out with a .048 light and Calicchia follows with a .045 light. Like I said, we expected a great race. Side-by-side they go to the top end, face to face. Calicchia takes the win light 11.378 to 11.490 for Gray. The race was decided by a .0259 margin of victory. Gray did not come back for photos because just as he passed the 1000' mark he heard a pop and believes he may have hurt the motor. He had to be towed back to the pits. It might have been different, but we will never know...till they meet again. What and awesome job by Calicchia with the win here today and the Top 16 last week. He also entered the Classic vs. Modern Street and went four rounds there for the win too. He made 13 passes all told today and his average reaction time for all 13 was .053. Amazing!

Corvette Challenge Points Update

The first race is the easiest to do points for as everyone comes in tied with 1 point. The race winner will leave the points lead and that would be Louis Calicchia. His 6 round wins today coupled with his stage point and early signup point add up to 8 points and he leaves the race as our points leader. Of course he is followed by event runner-up Ellis Gray with 7 points. Ralph Savarese is third with 6 points followed by Rob Farley and John Panuzzo with 5 points each. This will all change next week with our next points race which is the 2nd of 10.
2010 Corvette Challenge Standings
Corvette drivers page with more driver information

Rookie of the Year Update

All our seven rookies, thus far, made it out to the first points race. Four of these drivers won their first round matches and advanced to round two. Neither of them made it out of round two but still enjoyed getting there first round wins in the first race of the year. Peter Huff, Marc Marsico, Vincent Cupolo and Rob Petyo all leave the race tied for the rookie points lead with 3 points each. Russ DeLibero, Andrew Volponi and Greg Errion leave with 2 points each tied for fifth. If you are rookie, it is not too late to join the rookie point chase. it is a 10 date season and there are 9 left. Get out there and have a good time. Join the points at the tower at the track before the first round of the next race.
Rookie of the Year Standings

Gear Jammer Award Update

Gear Jammer Standings. The chase is on again for the shifty driver. Kidding. The Gear Jammers Award is serious business and Ken Tyler starts the season in the lead. His third round appearance today gets him the Gear Jammers award lead with a total of 4 points. He is followed by Marc Marsico, Frank Fiori and Peter Huff who each made it to the second round today and have a total of three points each. Seven other gear jammers are tied for fifth with two points each. Good luck this season to all the drivers to dare to bracket race with a stick shift Corvette.

Awards Handed Out at this Event

  • Al Salanitro won the 'Best Winning Reaction Time - 1st Round plaque presented by Raceway Park for the best winning reaction time in the 1st round. Al Salanitro was quickest on the tree with the win light in the 1st round when with a .000 reaction time.
  • Frank Schear won the 'Almost Perfect Award' with a loss in the 1st round with the red light closest to .000 (Almost Perfect). Frank Schear's light was -0.013 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.
  • Paul Bogdan won the CCDV 'Closest to Dial Award' by running only .002 off his dial. Paul Bogdan was awarded a plaque and free tech card for a future race from Corvette Club of Delaware Valley.
  • Doug Bereczki won the 'Ohh so Close Award' presented by Raceway Park when being edged out in the 1st round by the smallest margin of victory of .0125. That number is the MOV number on your time slip. Although suffering a loss in the 1st round by the smallest Margin of Victory, Doug Bereczki earned a plaque from Raceway Park.
  • All winners of the first round were awarded a trophy. With 75 cars making this event (combined Corvette Challenge and Pro class(es)), we sure gave out quite a few trophies or 1st Round Trophy Upgrade Program credits.

Next Two Races

Our third race in a row happens next week, April 3rd. We then get a bit of a break and do not race again until April 24th. Hopefully you can make it out to these races. Please keep an eye out on our home page, and the , the Drag Racing section of The Corvette Forum and your email for news, updates and polls.

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

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