2021 Silver State Classic Challenge re-cap Print
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Thursday, 07 October 2021 18:20

See more about the Silver State Classic Challenge here.

What a way to come out of the funk that was the year 2020!  A memorable event was had by all at this year's Silver State Classic Challenge event for Team Pantera Racing.  Despite the sad news of Bob Radefeld passing some weeks prior, the team came to the race with happiness to be together, have fun and race some cars.

Two Panteras started, two Panteras finished.

Mark and Dennis

Dennis "Mad Dog" Antenucci and his Crew Chief Asa Jay (AJ) Laughton were the first to arrive Wednesday, September 15, with Dennis' beautiful black Pantera.  Asa had spent much of the summer doing catch-up maintenance on Dennis' car to include many parts replacements for safety as well as fuel supply and ignition.  With some help from his tuner Richard Clewett, the car was running better than it has been in three years.  After some road testing, Dennis was comfortable enough to enter the 140 class.



Dennis "Mad Dog" Antenucci


Meanwhile Lee Pedersen arrived in his 2021 wide-body Dodge Challenger the same evening.  Lee's Pantera is currently waiting an engine rebuild that was not done in time for the event.  Better to run a non-Pantera than push to have everything done so close to the race.  Lee brought along his lovely wife Mali who we all chipped in to welcome.

Paul Katchadourian again brought his Viper and coming off the Sandhills Open Road Challenge, Mark Skwarek arrived Thursday evening with his orange Pantera.

Gerry Romack also came in though he flew to Las Vegas and rented a car to be with the team.  It's always a pleasure to have Gerry bring his Pantera wisdom.  And again, we had Peter Menyhart arrive, this year in his Mercedes, to help do parts runs or this year... drink and candy runs. 


From left-to-right:  Gerry Romack, Dennis Antenucci,
Paul Katchadourian, Peter Menyhart, Mark Skwarek


There were multiple highlights of the event this year.  The first was that no Pantera, no car, no trailer or tow rig broke down or needed work.  The entire team was free to visit, tour the town, take a train ride and generally relax for three days prior to the race. 

Mark decided to take it down a notch this year and enter the 145 class, while Paul kept at it in the 160. Our Rookie, Lee, entered the 105 class which gave him a much better chance of taking home a trophy against only five other cars instead of 20.  Each car passed tech inspection without trouble and was kept clean, dry, and servicable the entire weekend up to race day on Sunday.  After what turned out to be a relatively short driver's meeting, the team gathered for their final Ely dinner at Mr. G's Italian restuarant.


Clockwise around the table:  Lee Pedersen, Peter Menyhart, Mark Skwarek, Paul Katchadourian, Dennis Antenucci, Gerry Romack, Asa Jay Laughton
Photo credit, Mali Pedersen

Sunday was a great day for racing.  The weather was cool and comfortable all through the end of the race.  The race itself was mostly non-eventful with only one breakdown on course due to a blown tire. The driver and car were both okay after a bit of talented recovery.  As far as Panteras?  We know they both started, and finished.


First in was Paul in the 155 class, again making the distinction of fastest in his class (which doesn't net you a trophy).  Next was Mark in his orange Pantera.  In the finish pits, Mark figured he was off time by about three or four seconds.  That much can make the difference between first place, and last.  Things didn't look good.  Next was Dennis in his Black Pantera, coming in a bit early, one car ahead of lineup. In fact, Dennis took fastest in class again this year, but not by much.  Last in were Lee and Mali in the Challenger.  They had a difficult time getting their timing coordinated until the last five to ten miles of the course.  For their first time, never having done this before, they didn't end up too badly at all.


Mark Skwarek


Mark after a great run at 145 MPH

Once the race was over, everyone headed to Las Vegas for the awards banquet.  Good food and good company greeted us there.  We even had the chance to say hi to Owen Green, a Team Pantera Racing enthusiast and supporter, someone we welcome to chat with during the event.

When it came down to awards, it was smiles and bonuses all around.

Did we mention the event t-shirt this year had Mark's orange Pantera in the foreground?  A yellow Pantera sat in the background and Mark's took center stage.  Because of this, Team Pantera Racing probably purchased near $500 in t-shirts for friends and family and a few folks on the Detomaso email forum.  I think it safe to say the event had awesome t-shirt sales this year.


To cap off the fact Mark's Pantera was all over the event, Mark actually took third place and really was off by four seconds.  First and second place were off by less than a half a second, but the fourth entry in the class ended up 13 seconds off.  It does pay to be in a class with fewer entries.  It turns out Mark's timing was where he thought it was.  Next time, he'll do even better.  Mark's Speed Trap top speed came out to be 156.7 MPH.

MarkAward1 MarkAward2

No one else in the team took home a trophy, but we all had a great time.

Mad Dog averaged 143 MPH (in the 140 class) and was off time by 51 seconds.  His Speed Trap result was 152.3.

Paul Katchadourian averaged 156 in the 155 class and was off time by only 22 seconds.  His Speed Trap result was 165.8

Lee Pedersen and Mali averaged 104.8 and were off time by only 4.3 seconds which put them into fifth place out of six entries.  Third place this year was off by 2.1 seconds and change.  In their first year, it was hard for Lee and Mali to recognize the Speed Trap, so they ended up with a 101.4 top speed; still in triple digits and they bumped it to make the final average of 104.

A fantastic time was has by everyone this year.  It's awesome to have a year when nothing really goes wrong, some of the team get trophies and everyone goes home with a smile.  2021, was all that and more.


Which brings us to Awards for 2021

The Iron Man Award goes to Mark Skwarek for completing both the SORC (along with good friend Jim Wallace) and SSCC, winning third Place at SSCC in 2021

The Gary Hall Memorial goes to Major Roy (Bullet) Laughton for being himself despite not being able to make it to Ely this year, -and- for sponsoring the Team Pantera Racing dinner for 2021

The SOBill Award goes to Crew Chief Asa Jay Laughton for continuously coming to the Silver State Classic Challenge even after selling his own Pantera in 2016; always providing help or advice as needed (even if unrequested).

Congratulations to this year's winners, you all deserve the accolades.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 December 2021 10:11