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"EYE ON RIVERHEAD" by Bob Finan
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
After a lengthy absence, in fact the longest in its history, the Eye is back. At the end of this effort we'll go into why it's been so long and even ask about the future for this effort but first let's remember some folks who have left us since our December writings.
Without question if there was a class on short track racing journalism A View From The Island penned by our late friend Ricky Miller would be a great tool for the teacher to use. Miller who was very passionate about his love of short track racing on Long Island passed away just prior to Christmas after a lengthy illness. Ricky did a wonderful job working a great balance on reporting on what happened at either Riverhead, Islip or Freeport, getting some behind the scenes news and always helping a driver and a team out in promoting a sponsor. His writing was fair and balanced and never did he cross over to the National Enquirer side of writing, which is a rarity in these days. To his lovely wife Karen our thoughts are with her. As much as Ricky loved his NASCAR Modified and Late Model racing, his other passion was the Lynbrook Fire Company No. 1 of which he was a member for many a year, if you'd like to thank Ricky and honor his memory you can forward them a donation in his name.
Noted engine builder Bob Baker who also dabbled in some Late Model racing in his #37 passed away suddenly around the holiday season. Baker was truly the "quiet man" and helped many a race team with power, most notably the Orlando family Jack and Kevin. To all those we knew Bob and of course his family we express our sympathies.
Also sadly Jimmy Bissett of Bissett Nurseries and of course most recently Long Island Aquarium, died suddenly prior to the end of 2011. Jimmy had just come back on board with three -time Riverhead Raceway NASCAR Modified champion John Fortin this past season and perhaps single handedly with his aquarium and hotel, turned the once dormant Main Street in Riverhead back into a thriving entertainment and restaurant area.
Before we go into some recent race news that in fact might not be breaking news any longer we do this at the request of Mike Cappiello, Jim Maggio and Walter Bonczyk Here are some rule changes for the following classes:
Legend Race Cars: Mandatory starting with the 2012 season all Legend cars must be equipped with either a master electrical disconnect switch or a fuel pump cut-off switch, clearly marked. It must be mounted to the right side of dashboard panel-easily accessible to emergency track safety workers.
Late Models: Under Brake System- Only single or duel G.M. mount style calipers permitted.
Blunderbust: ALL upper control arms must be equidistant!
NASCAR Modifieds: As of now carburetors will be gauged with exisiting gauges. A forthcoming rule from NASCAR is impending regarding carburetor boosters, more information concerning this will be made available when necessary.
4-6 & 8-Cylinder Enduros: Mandatory 5-point racing harness with shoulder harness mounted to a cross-bar are now required, belts must be properly and securely mounted. (Teams should contact NASCAR teams about buying spares or unused harnesses)
All EFI equipped cars must install an electric fuel pump cut off switch.
No Limited Edition, Limited Production or Specialty Cars permitted. Final decision regarding eligibility will be determined by track officials.
By reading the above you can see there are no major changes to the Figure Eight, Charger or Super Pro Truck rules, however all teams are encouraged to download the 2012 rules as some un-needed language was removed across the board. You can download the rules as well as the 2012 Trailer/Hauler Parking & Radio Frequency forms at www.riverheadraceway.com, there is a link on the home page to get you where you need to be. These will not be mailed to you as in the past.
This past Sunday at the Senix Creek Inn we hosted the annual Riverhead Raceway NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Champion's Luncheon before an overflow crowd. I'd like to thank Barbara & Jim Cromarty, Charles & Judy of Senix Creek Inn, Award & Gifts Shop, Mike Cappiello, Jim Maggio, Walter Bonczyk and John Ellwood from our staff and Sean Quinn for all pitching in during the event. The food was fantastic and we highly suggest you visit the Senix Creek Inn on Senix Avenue in Center Moriches.
For all the details and award winners please visit the front page or press release section of this site. I'd like to give a shout out to the Blunderbust and Legend Race Car divisions for having perfect attendance among their 2011 top five Sunday and give some more thanks to the Figure Eights who had four out of five on hand. Thank you!
Justin Bonsignore was presented with the 11th annual Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Long Island Driver's Cup but confirmed he'll not defend his 2011 NASCAR Modified title at Riverhead. Indeed the 2012 NASCAR WMT schedule and the desire to not have the pressure to race back to Long Island on conflicting weekends made the decision for Justin and his car owner Ken Massa. However in the days leading up to the luncheon the M3 Technologies team did announce they will field a NASCAR Modified weekly for Charger standout Chris McGuire #89x. "Furdog" as he is known by his closest friends has authored 15 career Charger wins which ranks him 6th on the all-time win list and after finishing runner-up over the past few seasons in the class will now realize a lifelong dream thanks to Ken Massa and the M3 Technologies team. Plans call for Chris to run a limited, perhaps time trial shows only Charger slate in 2012. By the way who was the last driver to use the #89 at Riverhead Raceway??? Alan Harbach of course some two decades ago.
Unless you live under a rock then you already know that "TC" Teddy Christopher will be strapping into the Eastport Feeds #15 of Wayne Anderson on a regular basis at Riverhead Raceway in 2012. As you have heard me boast over the years and I truly believe that even before Teddy and the Anderson team got together Riverhead had the most talented and toughest NASCAR Modified field at a weekly venue, well it just got even more talented and of course tougher with the addition of Christopher, who has earned some 10 career track championships, 7 of which came at the Stafford Motor Speedway.
After spending the last decade or so on the road with the late "Tiger" Tom Baldwin and most recently the NASCAR Whelen 2011 Modified Tour championship TS Haulers team, David Roys has announced he'll race full-time at Riverhead Raceway in 2012. David has reserved the number 5 for the season and is currently working on sponsors for his machine that will find engine support coming from Eddie & Connie Partridge of TS Haulers.
We hear Brad van Houten is in the process or has already purchased one of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour cars of Bryon Chew out of the Buzz Chew Chevy race shop and he too will be a regular at Riverhead Raceway in 2012. Brad won the "Tiger" Tom Baldwin Hard Charger Award by Fred Bobb in the NASCAR Modified finale and has 5-gallons of Sunoco Race Fuel awaiting him at the track in the spring, courtesy of F&S Race Fuels.
Spoke with Frank Dumicich Jr. at the awards luncheon and he reports his family team is back to square one as they now have just 3 Super Pro Trucks for the 2012 campaign. Frank Jr will be married this October and just bought a house he is going to totally renovate, sister Erin was engaged just after last season to Jerry Solomito Jr., so gone are the two Charger and one Grand Enduro car. The good news all three were sold to drivers who will race with us next spring.
Stephen Halpin along with his twin Timmy and myself will again be hosting Long Island's Original Daytona 500 Party at TJ Halpin's Sunday February 26th. For all the great details and great raffle items again we ask you to go to the press release section of this site. New to the week will be the addition of Thursday Thunder at TJ Halpin's with the Duel at Daytona qualifying races at 2:00 pm February 23rd. Happy Hour specials and drinks and appetizers will be in effect for those two very important races!
As we noted in the opening, with the advent of social media sites such as Facebook, of which we are a big fan and contributor recently, we questioned the usefulness of the Eye On Riverhead, which is very near and dear to our heart. After much soul searching and with some encouraging from Barbara & Jim Cromarty we will press on. We do however want your input which you can e-mail to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and while you're at it, include some news on your race team. We may fiddle with the format a tad so we will see.
Until next time - BF
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