Calling all Vettes! Meet me at the DragsRichmond, VA - You want me to do what with my Corvette in the middle of the winter!!! Take part in the first major Corvette gathering in the Mid-Atlantic part of the country at a drag strip in Richmond, Virginia race and all. My partners Steve Oyer, Bill Wilson and I had decided the location for the 3rd National Corvette Challenge Drag Racing Event would take place in Richmond at the beginning of the racing season for our area, February. We carefully selected a date that least conflicted other Corvette Drag Racing events and it just so happened to be on February 24, 2007. We studied weather history for Richmond, VA and knew it would be a gamble but hoped for the best. 150 pre-registered race entrants did the good weather dance and it worked. While it was not tee-shirt and shorts weather, it was warm enough for us to take to the track and the show car fields and get the season started in a big way. The weekend had a one-day drag race with four different classes and people's choice car show which would benefit a popular Corvette racing enthusiasts, Sonny Parks, who participates in high speed events, who had the misfortune of being involved in a an accident leaving him in between jobs with no medical benefits. It was to be a full day and the first time the National Corvette Challenge featured a show in addition to the racing. The new mix was a success. 130 race entries, 54 show entries and numerous other Corvette owners on site to take in the event put us well over 200 Corvettes on the grounds. The weather cooperated with temperatures reaching the low 50's and the snow/sleet/ice storm waiting till Sunday morning to hit so we completed the event as planned.
Our mission for the event is it to get all Corvette owners to give drag racing a try. Several racers from Regional series at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, NJ were joined by racers from series' at Darlington Dragway, Darlington, SC, Moroso Motorsports Park, Jupiter FL and Bradenton Motorsports Park, Bradenton, FL. The trip cross country for our West Coast Racers at Los Angles County Raceway, CA and The Strip at Las Vegas, NV was a bit long so they were not able to make the trip. We did have one driver, Eric Oday who drove his Blue 1984 crossfire Corvette with Orange ZR-1 wheels halfway across the country from the Houston, TX area to Richmond VA. A large portion of the racers traveled hundreds of miles to make once-a-year race/show.
The weekend started with participants arriving Friday evening at the host hotel, The Wingate Inn, Richmond Airport. We booked a room and had refreshments and snacks for travelers during a "Meet and Greet" where weary travelers got a chance to meet both the organizers and other participants. The parking lot was overfilled with Corvettes and we spilled onto the street and it was a site to see. We contacted the local Henrico County police department to request a few additional visits to the grounds to ensure no there was funny business with the equipment and they were more than happy to oblige sending a patrol car several times during the night to check on us. We were happy to meet many of the folks who attended as race day would be difficult to talk to folks. Preparation for the event was both hard work and a lot of fun for Steve, Bill and me. We had weekly conference calls to go over the details like gathering sponsorships and coming up with event race payouts, prizes and trophy's for racers and the car show. At the meet and greet, Steve and Bill decided they would award me with an event jacket with several titles but thankfully not "moneybags" as they referred to me during these calls because I took on the treasury duties. We are happy to report all sponsorship money and race entry fees that were not used to cover event costs like the track rental were paid back to the racers. Over $6,000 was paid out to racers in the four classes, helping cover the costs of the trip with the winner of the bracket class taking the biggest prize, a cool grand and trophy and a jacket. We have to give a big thanks to Jeff Creech at Carolina Auto Masters for taking on the title sponsorship for the overall event and Valone Motorsports and RevXtreme for taking lead roles in the Outlaw and 11.50 index classes respectively and Zip Corvette Products for the taking the lead of the car show sponsorship.
Saturday, Steve and I got to the track around 7 am to meet with track manager, Johnny Davis, to iron out the final details. Around 8 am Corvettes began to line up at the gate. They turned the corner and backed out onto the street as we opened the gates. Several Beachcomber Corvette Club and Richmond Corvette Clue members jumped in to help keep the lines moving. The empty pits and show field began to fill. After the track was prepped, Steve Oyer invited all drivers new to the drag racing to the starting line and held a "Drag Racing 101" session which several drivers took advantage of. We were now ready to fill the staging lanes with Corvettes of every type, color and generation. It was a site that had to be seen to truly be appreciated. Drivers could enter any one of our four classes, with the big one being the bracket racing class which had 80 entries. Bracket racing handicaps the driver's start so that cars of any performance capability can compete against each other and make it a fair race. For example, if a car than can cover the quarter mile in 13 seconds races one that can do it in 12, the 13 second driver would get a 1-second head start so they theatrically arrive at the finish line at the same time…provided they react to the starting lights the same way which is where many races are won or lost. The bracket racing cars would be followed by our three heads-up classes beginning with the Outlaw class for the baldest Corvette racers put it all on the line and all out, heads-up. They were, however, limited to 1/8 mile racing due to concerns with weather conditions not being quite right for all out 8-second or quicker passes these cars were capable of. Next out would be our 10.0 Index class which is heads up racing where cars a limited to 10.0 second performance meaning they could not go quicker than that or they'd forfeit the run. The last class out would be the 11.50 Index which was the same as the 10.0 Index but limited to 11.50. This gave virtually every driver the choice of racing handicapped style or heads-up and several chose to do both!
Bracket ClassWe got off to a little bit of a "hold your breath" start as a couple of drivers lost control of their vehicles but made spectacular recoveries and one managed to not hit anything. We were back under way and completed the first round of bracket racing time trials. There were 67 of the 80 Corvettes in our bracket class in the first round and the first pair on the track was underway with our soon-to-be event runner-up, John Trescott, NJ, by running 11.671 on 11.63 dial with a .064 reaction time. Event co-coordinator, Steve Oyer got a win when both he and his opponent, K Cartner broke out (went quicker than they predicted) with Oyer breaking out by less running 11.065 on 11.25 dial to Cartner's 11.612 on 11.80 dial. This race was close and Cartner had the lead having reacted to the starting lights better. Cartner left with a .016 reaction time (.000 is perfect) to Oyer's .206. The defending Champion of the East Coast Supercharging Corvette Challenge, a regional series held at Raceway Park in Englishtown, NJ racing 12 dates per year, Rob Farley advanced to the round 2 with a .039 reaction time and ran 13.01 on 12.90 dial defeating J Rowling who went too quick running 12.698 on 12.80 dial. Father and son pair, T and R Garrett each suffered first round loses as one left early scoring a -.098 reaction time causing an automatic win for Helmintoll and the other losing to R Bridges when he could not run close enough to his dial-in (prediction) going 12.657 on 12.30 dial.. Another father son duo, Jim and Devon Bole from PA both advanced when son Devon defeated Dave Buddendorff, NJ, while dad, Jim, got a red light win from Dick Abbott who was -.092 on the leave. One of the toughest losses this round went to J. Williams who left to early by only 5 ten-thousandths of a second losing his race to Bob Trieschmann from NJ. Before first round started Richmond Dragway pulled a random number out of the bunch. The racer who's number was drawn would be held back and would receive a bye run, no competitor against him, in the event there is an uneven number of Corvettes for the round. Turns out there was an uneven number and the lucky driver to get the draw was Dan Warren from Florida and he would get the free pass. Guess Dan used the luck of the "Fuzzy Dice" to have his number pulled.
The way this race is structured, drivers who lose in the first or second round were given an opportunity to buy back into the race. This means you had another chance to get back in if you pay an additional fee of $25 which is not much when you facture the prize you are racing for is $1,000 and you have spent far more than that getting to the race in the first place. So buy back racers were paired with each other and winners with winners and we were on our way to round two. 44 Corvettes remained meaning several did not take advantage of the buy back. Here is where the buy back becomes important; Ron Jeter was eliminated in this round when J Lovette laid down a .006 reaction time to his .043. Both drivers went under their dials but Lovette was the victor with a 12.513 on 12.55 dial to Jeter's 9.600 on 9.65 dial being closer to the dial sending Jeter to the buyback lanes but remember the name, it will be back. Ron Jeter's daughter was in the mix as well with her own C3, Samantha Jeter advanced to round three when her opponent J. Totaro lit the red light on the starting line when left -.0271 early with his C6 Z06. Another lucky lady was Kim Rudolf who came a way with a win with a .339 reaction time when her opponent, K Carnter left early as well with a -.0393 reaction time. Trescott advanced defeating C. Szollosy who was late in reacting to the tree (short for Christmas Tree which is what the starting lights are commonly referred to because of all the lights and colors including yellow, green and the ill-fated red) while Trescott was .083 and ran 11.669 on 11.63 dial. Done for the day would be our first round runner-up who bought back in this round and suffered the same fate and including G Lucia, Jerry McPeeks, Dick Abbott, M Cappo and yours truly, Edgar Perez who went red….Torch Red -.105 to Ralph Blauvelt form NJ.
Now we are down to 33 Corvettes for round 3 and it is 1 round before we start to earn cash so I guess we can call this the money round. Blauvelt, who took me out, would draw the bye for this round and make a solo pass and advance to the next round. NJ champ, Farley, would survive a .104 reaction time when his opponent V. Rickman was .322 on the tree and broke out on his dial running 11.603 on 11.65 dial. Chris Haase, also from NJ, would get into the money when Helmintoll also was late on the tree and ran under the dial going 10.837 on 10.85 dial. J Lovette, after taking out Ron Jeter, Lovette took out Ron's daughter, Samantha. Though she had the better reaction time .081 to .124, she broke out by going 13.621 on 13.63 dial. Trescott advanced when R Tamos went .144 to his .043 and then Tamos proceeded to break out running 12.948 on 12.98 dial. Howard Wolf's 10.0 dialed car would be eliminated when he went red, -.109, sending the sole remaining lady, Kim Rudolf, to the next round. Ron Jeter, who bought back in after losing round two, took the win with a 9.650 on 9.58 dial when Oyer who was 10.976 on his 10.90 dial with a .108 reaction time. Two of the regular NJ series racers from PA suffered elimination in this round, Ellis Gray and Jim Bole suffered losses at the hands of two other NJ racers, Devon Bole, PA and Jerry Muniz from NY. Incidentally all four of these racers belong to the same club, Corvette Club of Delaware Valley in PA and a fifth, Tony Buonassisi was also eliminated this round by Eric Oday from Webster, Texas. They still have D. Bole, Muniz, Farley and Joe Signore in the running however.
Down to 17 Corvettes for round 4 and you were in the money even if you lost this round so everyone from here on walks away with a little loot for the day. Devon Bole, who was the 2006 ECS Corvette Challenge Rookie of the Year, took out Rob Farley, 2006 ECS Corvette Challenge Champion in a thrilling finish. Bole, .078 to Farley's .034 reaction, was in a hole. He needed a near, if not perfect run to defeat the champ. He dialed 13.33 and ran 13.333. In bracket racing we call that a "dead-on" and we would follow it with the thousandth of a second number so "dead-on with a three". Farley, being ahead, executed his now famous "Farley slide" hitting the brakes to close the margin of the victory as in bracket racing you just want to get to the finish line first and the closer you make the race the better off you are to avoid any chance of a break-out. He did not break out running 12.958 on 12.91 dial but he did not get to the finish line first either. Bole's "dead-on" got him to the finish line first and he was on to the next round. Chuck Schramm unfortunately left before the tree was activated which is the same as a red light but worse, and that sent J Lovette to the next round. Lady luck ran out for Kim Rudolf when Ralph Blauvelt, laid into the tree and scored a .028 reaction time which Rudolf could not overcome so Blauvelt would advance. Ron Jeter ran 9.598 on 9.58 and cut a .019 reaction time to send Jerry Muniz, who was .022 on the tree, across the finish line breaking out running 11.758 on 11.76 dial. Chris Haase sent NJ racer Joe Signore to the sidelines with a .044 and 11.808 on 11.72 dial while Signore was closer on the dial 12.549 on 12.53 but slower on the tree with a .133 reaction. John Trescott ended Floridian Dan Warren's day when Warren's car surprised him falling on its face while Trescott was .046 on the tree and 11.948 on the 11.65 dial slowing due to Warren being off his dial and his tree. Meanwhile our other Floridian, and current three-time Champion of our RevXtreme Corvette Challenge at Bradenton Motorsports Park was chugging along running 13.038 on 13.00 dial with a stellar .001 reaction time to send Louis Calicchia, from New York, out of competition. Bob Woodberry would advance when Eric Oday, TX, could not run his number but that did not take the smile of his face after making the ~1400 mile trip for the National Corvette Challenge and loving every minute of it. Ed Mowton Sr, another NJ racer from New York got the single run this round and on was on his way to the next.
Round 5 and we were down to nine Corvettes and Ron Jeter took out the younger Bole, Devon, this round with a 9.604 on 9.58 dial and .029 reaction time while Devon was .040 on the tree but 13.407 on 13.33 dial and was not enough this time. J Lovette advanced with a .029 reaction time of his own and went 11.683 on 11.65 dial to end Ralph Blauvelt's day who was 13.824 on 13.75 dial and .081 reaction time. Chris Haase went .027 on the tree, we are sensing a pattern of very good reaction times now, and needed only an 11.803 on 11.75 dial to advance against Ed Mowton who was late on the tree with .160 and ran under his dial 11.903 on 12.05 in this, his first National Corvette Challenge. Larry Beutlich from Florida got the single run and cut a .059 reaction time and ran 13.04 on 12.97 for the win.
Tension building now as the day is drawing to a close and only 5 Corvettes are left. Chris Haase earned the single on this one and was .066 on the reaction time and ran dead on with a 9 meaning 11.789 on 11.78 dial and was poised for the title being sharp on both ends of the track with the Convertible Corvette sporting a hard top. Ron Jeter returned the favor to J Lovette who eliminated him in round 2 but bought back in. This time Jeter was dead-on with a 6 running 9.576 on 9.57 dial and .0632 reaction time and while Lovette was better on the tree with a .012 but ran under his dial 12.507 on 12.54 dial. John Trescott, who incidentally won a $1,000 race at Raceway Park at the end of last season, was putting himself in position with a win over three-time Champ Larry Beutlich. Trescott went just over his dial with an 11.667 on 11.65 dial and .043 reaction time and while Beutlich was 13.069 on 13.00 dial and .014 reaction time. If you do the math, that is 15 ten-thousandths (.015) of a second margin of victory, much less than a car-length.
Semi-final round and Trescott would get the single this time. He dialed in 11.65 and ran 11.581 and cut his worst light of the day, .123. Meanwhile Ron Jeter prevented an all ECS CC final by defeating Haase. Jeter dialed in a 9.56 ran 9.581 with a .024 light and appeared unstoppable except for the second round loss. Hass broke out by .005 running 11.778 on 11.78 dial with a .092 reaction time. And now the final round was set.
John Trescott would leave first in the match with an 11.58 dial in the 2004 Torch Red Coupe. Trescott has been racing in the Corvette Challenge in New Jersey several years and finished in 10th place out of 102 drivers in 2006 and as stated, won the big one at the end of the season. He was off with a .073 reaction time and 11.58 dial. Ron Jeter, if you have not gathered already, is no stranger to the bracket racing. In fact, word in the pits is Mr. Jeter is a several time Richmond Dragway track champion. In fact, he has done it with the same car for 20 years, a 1975 Silver Corvette that had a borrowed motor that was installed the Wednesday night before the event. The man knows his Corvette. Once gain Jeter was dialed 9.56 and this time round run just .015 over with a 9.575 while Trescott would hold on but ran under his 11.58 dial going 11.546 and this one had gotten away from him. In very good spirits Trescott enjoyed the event and the challenge. Ronnie Jeter had accomplished what he came to do. Run the Vettes, defend the track honor and win the money. Congratulations go out to Ronnie, John and all the racers that came out to race in the Bracket Class.
Outlaw ClassThe Outlaw class was for the all out racing configured Corvettes. A class that leading up the weekend had a number of pre-registered drivers back out for various reasons. Some had motors that were not ready and others commitments come up that had to be tended too. The class was contested on the eighth mile rather than the quarter mile due to concerns with the safety of the cars on the top half of the track due to the conditions not being optimal. Only five Corvettes registered for the event. Bill Maloney from Toms River, NJ, took the top spot in the Outlaws class with a single rear mounted turbo 1997 Corvette Coupe built by The Vette Doctors, Amityville, NY. The top spot was claimed with a 5.58 @ 138.80 mph. To help those of us more familiar with a ¼ mile numbers this is roughly 8.78 in the quarter mile using standard calculators which don't really apply well to the top-end prowess of the turbocharger. Maloney has gone 8.60 with the Corvette and looks to topple that once he is on the ¼ mile with the latest round of top-end tuning by the Turbo People. Phil Corbin, 1991 Corvette, was in the 2nd spot with a 6.099 @ 114.80, which roughly equates to a 9.56 in the quarter mile. Derek Yates took the third spot with the Red C3 Corvette owned by John Cook with a 6.209 @ 111.25 which equates to 9.73 in the quarter.
In round one of Outlaw, Maloney got a single by way of his number 1 qualifying position and there being an uneven number of Corvettes in the class. He did not make a full pass and saved the car for the next round. Phil Corbin took on bracket-to-be winner Ron Jeter who we saw was dialed 9.56 in the brackets all day. Corbin was away with a .160 on the .400 Pro Tree (meaning all yellow lights blink once and allow for .4 second for a perfect light) and ran the 1/8th mile in 6.056 @ 115.18 to Jeter's 6.109 @ 113.12 and .142 reaction time. Roughly that is a 9.50 to 9.58. Derek Yates took on Alan Eckert from PA with another turbo car, this one a twin turbo built by East Coast Supercharging. Yates was killer on the tree with a .041 and ran 6.20 @ 111.50 mph while Eckert was quicker at 6.18 @ 114.62 but could not make up the ground he lost at the tree with a .2109. We call that a hole-shot win when a driver defeats another driver that has a quicker time but worse reaction time because he "beat him out of the hole" The runs are approximately 9.74 to a quicker but losing 9.70.
On to round two and Phil Corbin would get the bye run and used it to run 6.10 @ 116.61 (~ 9.58). Maloney would race Yates in this round for the right to get to the final and take a shot at the $500 payout. After a little confusion staging where Yates got stage and Maloney overshot the stage beams the drivers staged for the Corvettes. Yates again banged the tree with a .030 and a 6.248 @ 111.19. Maloney, like Eckert, was quicker but came up short on reaction time with a .190. Maloney lit the boards with a 6.19 @ 134.25 MPH. This roughly equates to a 9.80 for Yates to Maloney's quicker 9.72 slowing seemingly with a problem with car. So it would be a C3, Yates and C4, Corbin, in the final. Could Yates make it three hole shots in a row? He left with a .016 reaction time and clocked 6.192 @ 111.25. Corbin also gave up the reaction time with a.152 and also like Eckert and Maloney, was quicker becoming the third hole shot victim. Corbin went 6.098 @ 115.83. So Yates had won all three rounds with hold shot victories proving the quickest car, even in heads-up racing, even Outlaw heads-up racing, is not always the winner. Congratulations to Derek Yates on the win and thanks to all the drivers that came out to put on an Outlaw racing show.
10.0 IndexIndex racing is becoming very popular and it was proven by our two index classes. The 10.00 index class had 22 participants attempting to qualify for 16 positions in this pro tree (.500) heads-up class where performance is imitated to 10.00 seconds meaning if you run quicker than that you lose. Qualifying in this class was very tight with Paul Smith Jr. taking the number one position with his 427 cid naturally aspirated 1998 Corvette. His was easy to spot as it is the MTI, Marietta, GA prepared entry with the large MTI stickers on the doors and is one of Reese Cox's developmental cars. The car has gone in the 9's but today's focus was the 10.0 index. Smith Jr. was in the number one spot with a 10.002, just two-ten-thousandths from perfect. He was followed in the class by Phil Corbin, doing double duty also running the Outlaw Class in the 1991 Corvette with a 10.011. Dwayne Schultz had his flamed Pewter C5 in the number three spot with a 402 cid engine with a shot of nitrous and a 10.013 pass. Jay McCardle was fourth with an East Coast Supercharging prepped supercharged stock 346 cid engine with a10.022. David Outten rode his 1966 Corvette into the number 5 position with a 10.035. We went down to the number 16 qualifying position which belonged to event co-coordinator, Steve Oyer, who made the field with his Carolina Auto Masters tuned 417 cid ALLTRHOTTLEANDNOBOTTLE combo at 10.827.
We got started with David Shen, NJ, in the 1965 Rally Red Corvette Coupe against Steve Oyer. Shen, Championship Runner-up in the Cartek Racing Pro 10.0 at Raceway Park in Englishtown, NJ, is no stranger to the 10.0 index racing. He would pilot his '65 to the win over Oyer with a 10.283 @ 120.35 and .238 reaction time to 11.812 for the White 97, one of three Corvettes in Oyer's garage. Steve Haynes, who's 1973 Corvette is for sale, sporting a 642 cid Merlin block capable for running low 9-seocnd passes on pump gas alone and has run 8.4 on 175 shot of nitrous (interested email firstname.lastname@example.org), was up next in this obviously de-tuned combination against number 1 qualifier, Smith Jr. Haynes took a small reaction time advantage with a .119 to .134 and was able to take the win with it as the drivers ran similar elapsed times with Haynes going 10.095 and Smith slightly quicker at 10.093. Michael Moore was up next with one of John Carter's C5's and against local racer Derek Yates. Moore was in the hole when the left the tree as he was only .197 to Yates' .034. Moore ran him down with the nitrous breathing 427 cid motored C5 catching him at the top end with a 10.042 @ 138.25 to Yates 10.252 @ 112.22 seemingly with and issue or on the brakes too hard taking the loss by only .046 second. Dwayne Schultz would take on Jerry Land who is no stranger to running 10.0 as he is a two-time Champion in the Serious Street Class of the American Super Car Challenge (www.racesupercars.com) which is an index series for Corvettes and Vipers held in conjunction with the National Street Car association (www.nsca-racing.net). Land's setup is 2002 Z06 converted to an automatic transmission sporting a 427 cid engine built by Cartek Racing with a shot of nitrous. Schultz gave up the starting line to Land with a .144 to .119 and the drivers were off to the finish. Schultz emerged the victor on the strength of a 10.486 @ 112.36 to Land's 10.767 @ 122.65 as his nitrous did not fully engage. The other MTI developmental car, the black one, owned by Howard "Chuck" Wolf was up against Robbie Clark, both drivers from Georgia. Wolf got the better of Clark on both ends of the track ending Clark's day with a .034 RT and 10.017 @ 130.43 to Clark's .288 and 10.209 @ 131.93. A pair of New Jersey's Pro 10.0 class racers was up next with David Outten (2006 Champion) racing me, Edgar Perez (2006 3rd place), with my new Vette Doctors built 402 cid LS2 motor stuffed into my 1999 Torch Red race car affectionately referred to as The Red Sled. I took the reaction time advantage with an .025 to Dave's .066 much to my own surprise, but Outten had more power and caught and passed me easily for the win with a 10.060 to my 10.641 @ 129.68 so he advanced. Alan Eckert, PA, who also races the NJ series, was out with his Navy Blue C5 sporting twin turbos where the mufflers used to be with the combination also prepped by ECS and he would face Phil Corbin in the '91. They were off to a close race with Eckert taking .023 to .033 reaction time advantage. This one was a peddle fest meaning both drivers would struggle to finish the pass. They regained composure and straightened out the cars and Eckert took the win with a 14.277, that is right, 14.277, to Corbin's 22.182. Like I implied, this one was not pretty. The final racer on the track was Jay McCardle and his opponent, Danny Spence, Sandston, VA, did not make the call with his 400 cid 1975 Corvette so McCardle got a single. He made an easy pass to take the win with a 15.753 cruise up the track.
On to round two and the competition would get tougher. David Shen would face Alan Eckert and would advance. He did it on the strength of a .072 reaction time and 10.193 @ 120.58 pass to Eckert's .153 and 10.476 @ 99.82. Our next pair would be the first time we saw anyone go under the 10.0 index. Both drivers, Steve Haynes and Howard Wolf, would go into the 9's on this pass. When that happens, just like bracket racing, the driver the goes under the least will advance. Haynes was out first with a .034 reaction time to Chuck's .062. At the finish Haynes crossed first by nine-thousandths of a second and also broke out the least with a 9.986 @ 132.59 to Wolf's 9.967 in this very tight and exciting race start to finish. Schultz would face Moore in this round and he would cover him on both ends of the track to advance to the semi final and the money rounds. Schultz left the hole first with a .158 to Moore's .251 and took the win with a 10.393 @ 109.46 on the brakes as Moore had issues with an 11.081 @ 111.39. The final pair was Outten and McCardle in a growing theme of NJ Pro 10.0 series index racers. Outten showed why he is the defending Champion of that series with a .068 reaction time coupled with a 10.044 pass @ 126.26 mph to McCardle's breakout run trying to catch him attempting to make up for a .348 reaction time running 9.714.
Now with 4 Corvettes we were in for a 10.0 treat. Steve Haynes was up first against Dave Outten. Haynes would cut a .010 reaction time to better Outten with a .035. Outten was better on the quarter mile pass with a10.004 @ 134.45 to Haynes 10.017 @ 127.19 for the hole shot win. Haynes took the win by .011 margin of victory. David Shen would race Dwayne Schultz for the other final round spot. Shen wan .041 on the tree to Schultz' .197. He also covered the quarter quicker with a 10.036 @ 130.51 to Schultz' 10.046 @ 139.84. In the final the racers would pair for $750 cash payout. Haynes cut his best light of the day, a .009, and Shen was not too shabby at .029. Haynes took the stripe with a 10.074 @ 130.70 to Shen's 10.081 @ 131.35 and the event win and big cash payout. Score this one to the locals as Haynes is from nearby Mechanicsville, VA.
11.50 IndexHeads-up racing is a lot of fun but not the cheapest sport to get involved in. Index racing gives drivers a chance to race heads-up and with indexes set at reasonable levels, it can be for everyone. NHRA and IHRA require additional safety equipment to go quicker than 11.50 in the quarter so setting this index at 11.50 means that there is a significant investment that is not required. With very little needed to make today's Corvette run 11.50, heck the stock 427 cid C6 Z06 can do it with just drag tires, this class was truly for everyone. 19 drivers entered the class for a chance at 16 spots. Rob Zona, from NJ is a big proponent for the 11.50 class. In fact we were not going to have the class until and he kept on insisting it would be a successful thing. We hedged our bets when adding the class and sought out a sponsor to help meet the projected payout for the class and RevXtreme in Florida stepped up to sponsor this class. Wouldn't you know it the top spot would go to Mr. Rob Zona? He took the number one spot with his C5 Z06 with an 11.506. In the second spot was a NY racer who normally races a Cadillac CTS-V. Mike Calicchia is not a regular Corvette racer but his dad Louis is. Dad loaned Mike the supercharged C5 for the 11.50 class and Mike promptly placed it in the second spot on the ladder with an 11.590. North Carolina racer J. Smith was third in the field with an 11.599 in the Sliver C5 Coupe. James Geer was in at number 4 in the class with his 1995 Bright Aqua Metallic C4 with a 396 cid stoked LT4 engine. Wayne Totaro was in the fight spot with his 2006 Silver C6 Z06. The class was not as tight as the 10.0 class with the number 16 qualifier in at 13.26 but it was to be fun nonetheless. Incidentally if a car ran under 11.50 in qualifying they would move to the bottom of the ladder. Paul Major, who drives a 7-seocond Corvette in many drag radials classes around the nation, brought his two other Corvettes to compete in the 11.50 index. His C6 Z06, driven by Angelo Valla, broke at the line in the first qualifier so he did not make it. His other car, a 66 Corvette that he drove, made two qualifying passes under 11.50 so he did not make the field either.
Dick Abbott was up first with his C5 against Rich Shuleski, PA, with the 1996 Grand Sport. Abbott was out of the hole with a .171 reaction time and ran quicker for the win with an 11.720 @ 106.16 to edge out Shuleski who left quicker with a .115 but off the pace a little with 11.808 at 121.52 so Abbott would move on. David Matyjasik would drive Jeff Creech's (title sponsor Carolina Auto Masters) C5 and he would race Roger Bridges C5 in this round. Matyjasik was late on the tree but closer on the dial and took the win with a .437 reaction time and 11.364 to Bridges .390 light and 12.818 run. This would be a good time to point out that the race was held with a .500 pro tree and cars at this ET range are not very quick on reacting to the pro tree as well as drivers inexperience with a pro tree would mean we would not see stellar lights in this class but the drivers are on an equal playing field so they'll do the best they can. Mike Calicchia took his dad's C5 to the finish line first but was disqualified for going quicker than 11.50. He took the stripe with an 11.364 @ 113.64 mph but NJ racer, Tommy Michalkowski would take the win with an 11.667 @ 113.12 on the breakout. Ron Leader would be up next against Wayne Totaro a race of twin sliver 2006 Z06 Corvettes. Leader would be better on the tree with a .2577 to Totaro's .5589. Leader took the win running 11.518 @ 121.75 with his Z to Totaro's breakout pass of 11.3206. Roger Geer would face Ed Burks next. Geer would leave with a .114 reaction time but ran too quick with an 11.3422 sending Ed Burks to the next round with his 11.822 @ 125.55 in his Sting Racing C3 Corvette. Rob Zona would be up next with the son half of another father-son pairing, Doug Woodberry (dad Bob ran in the Bracket class) in the 2004 Z06 from Virginia. J. Smith would face NY racer Jerry Muniz in the next pair. Muniz' Black C6 would get the starting line advantage with a .131 to Smith's .256 but his ET would not be enough to move on. Smith would run 11.650 @ 94.66 on the brakes as Muniz would go 11.931 @ 117.86. Dave Satterfield, who organized a practice day at Maryland International Raceway in Budds Creek, MD the day before, Friday, would get a single when his opponent, John Tripp did not bring his C6 Z06 to the line for the. Satterfield got his A&A Supercharged 2004 Black Z06 into the 10's for the first time at the rental the day before and would make an easy 12.318 pass on the single run to advance.
CAM car driven by Matyjasik would face Michalkowski in round 2 and Dave overcame a reaction time deficit by driving the C5 to a 12.055 @ 123.02 to defeat Tommy's 12.418 @ 88 mph after cutting a .139 reaction time to Dave's .350 and I'd have to guess Tommy was on the brakes, for the a tough break loss. Satterfield would face Zona in the two Black C5 Z06 pairing next. Satterfield would take the lead with a .145 reaction to Zona's .202. The drivers were close in ET as Satterfield took the win with an 11.658 @ 112.47 to Zona's quicker but losing 11.641 @ 108.33. Smith would strike again when both he and his opponent Dick Abbott would be on the brakes at the finish hoping not to run too quick. Smith was successful with an 11.564 @ 97 mph while Abbott was not with an 11.389 @ 107.94. Meanwhile Ron Leader would get the benefit of Ed Burks leaving before the tree was activated giving a red light win to him. Leader took it easy on the clutch and coasted to a 12.982 pass at 75 mph.
The remaining four drivers were in the payout for the day and would leave with at least some cash for their efforts. Matyjasik was up first and cut the best light of any competitor in the class with a .059. He ran the car to an 11.70 @ 123.80 while Smith could not slow his car enough this time and broke out running 11.454 @ 100 mph trying to take the win. Ron Leader would overcome a .165 to .127 reaction time disadvantage to Dave Satterfield in this other semi-final pair. Leader took the Z to the finish with an 11.536 @ 109.04 while Satterfield took his Z to an 11.626 @ 118.51. The margin was about a half of a car length. The final was set with Leader to face Matyjasik. Matyjasik scored well on the tree again with a .103 to Leader's .208. However, Leader overcame the deficit when Matyjasik could not make the car run the number (meaning run the dial). Leader was 11.95 @ 92.18 to take the win when Matyjasik can only muster a 12.476. Leader was on the way to the winner's circle and the payout window for the big bucks.
Racing SummaryThere you have the wrap-up for the four racing classes but every racer was a winner today. Race participants were given a free event tee shirt provided by East Coast Supercharging for each race entry they purchased. In addition to the shirt, class winners (all), runner-ups (all), semi-finalist (all but Outlaw), eighth finalist (bracket only) and 16th finalist (bracket only) received a portion of funds collected from race entries and sponsors for the event to the tune of $6,450.
Corvette ShowThe event also featured a car show. It might be early in the season for a car show but Richmond's faithful came out to show their Corvettes to the strength of 54 participants covering all generations. The show was led by show coordinator Tony Watson of the Beachcombers Corvette Club with the help of The Corvette Club of Richmond, VA. The show was sponsored by Zip Corvette Products and we thank them for the support and for bringing out the trailer for the show. The proceeds from the show were donated to Sonny Parks, a local Corvette enthusiast who was injured in a motorcycle accident and found his Corvette brethren ready willing and able to help him cover some of the lost wages and medical bills accumulated. Show winners were as follows;
Participants Choice Additional Awards
Looking Ahead to 2008The National Corvette Challenge is annual event put together by Corvette enthusiasts who volunteer their time and efforts for the pure enjoyment of squeezing every ounce of performance out of our Corvettes as possible in a friendly, safe and legal environment. Cash and prizes are a perk that helps us justify the expense of taking our cars to the track and making them consistent and quicker. If you are lucky enough win, you leave very happy. However, we are all lucky enough to be able to participate and that just makes it all that much better. We plan to put this together again next year though date and location are as yet to be determined. Keep an eye out on these pages and on our official National Corvette Challenge website, http://national.corvettechallenge.info for the latest news regarding the 2008 National Corvette Challenge. If you cannot wait until 2008 to race, you can join us at any of our regional series in New Jersey, South Carolina, California, Florida and the new to be announced series in Virginia right here at Richmond Dragway. You can see all the locations and dates at www.corvettechallenge.info/national/. See you at the track.
For video coverage of the event on the internet, visit Your Way Network at http://yourwaynetwork.com/Archive.htm and go to the February 28th Show Featuring: 2007 Carolina Auto Maters National Corvette Challenge from Richmond Dragway.
For more event photos, visit
Arcile in Vette magazine!!
07/21/07 - Don't miss 2007 Carolina Auto Masters Corvette Challengee in the September 2007 Issue of Vette Magazine. If you missed it, you can read it online at Vetteweb.com or you can order a back issue.
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