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"EYE ON RIVERHEAD" by Bob Finan
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
The first of two pre-season practice sessions unfolded this past Saturday under bright & warm skies and it was a spirited afternoon to say the very least. In no certain order we'll update you on what some of the teams will be doing this season at Riverhead Raceway. Judging by the turnout this past Saturday the 2012 season is going to be one you don't dare want to miss at Barbara & Jim Cromarty's historic oval.
All teams please take note as announced Saturday the Hoosier Tire Truck will NOT be at Riverhead Raceway this Saturday April 28th for the second pre-season practice day. If you're going to need tires you should call them and make arrangements to go and pick them up during the week at their Calverton warehouse.
Barbara & Jim Cromarty announced over the weekend the addition of three time trial events for the NASCAR Modifieds this season. Time trial qualifying will set the field for the June 16th, August 4th and August 25th feature events. With three of the four races in May and two of the three Whelen All-American Series races TT shows the Cromarty's thought it would be nice to add these three dates to the schedule.
Former Demolition Derby and Enduro veteran "Mad" Mike Smith took his first laps at Riverhead in his Legend Race Car, the former Vincent Biondolillo machine. The car is being raced as a tribute to Jay Trinca Jr. with Jay's go-kart number 48 on the sides of the 2 Brothers Industries race car. Mike told me driving these cars is a blast and that he was so anxious to do so he went to Pennsylvania twice to get in some laps! By the way does anyone know what Mike is "mad" about anyway? The son of a good family friend of mine, Robert Cangialosi Jr. is among the Smith team for 2012.
When I stopped by the Glenn Logan NASCAR Modified pit area I quickly took note of his new sponsor HookupLI.com and I sheepishly asked what kind of business that was. Indeed it is a web page for Long Island singles to meet up on and they'll join Island Trees Automotive on Logan's car for 2012.
Jerry Solomito Jr. #59 was busy in the off-season signing on new sponsors for his NASCAR Modified effort. Jerry, who is now engaged to Super Pro Truck driver Erin Dumicich, added Supreme Skylights, Boomer's of Medford, Ralph Derose Realtor and State Farm Insurance to his marketing team for 2012. Jerry's day ended early with a light tap of the turn one wall.
Frank Dumicich Jr. looking fit for 2012 as he not only added Crossfit Long Island to his SPT team but that is also where the second place pointman in 2011 works out. He was fast all afternoon, spending much of the afternoon hounding his dad Frank Sr. in the #5.
Jack Handley Jr. #49 all decked out in new colors for his Blunderbust effort this year with a red racer. Papa Jack told me the team has added Rocco's Pizza of Riverhead as a sponsor for the new season.
"The Natural" Timmy Solomito #99 is now fully recovered from his wrist injury and ready to chase the 2012 NASCAR Modified title. Timmy who ended 2011 with a WMT ride in Ed Whalen's back-up car will carry Ed's Al-Lee Installation colors on his Chevy for this year. Also joining the team is former Charger car owner and driver James Becht Construction. Becht most recently owned the cars of Steve Ratti in the Charger ranks.
Ted Christopher #15 took his first laps in Wayne Anderson's Eastport Feeds Chevy. How serious is TC about his effort at Riverhead this season? Teddy has a friend with an airplane that flew him across the Long Island Sound for practice!
Defending Legend Race Car champion Chris Young was on hand with two Ray the Plumber entries and as one would expect was fast right off the truck. I have to correct my announcement from Saturday; Chris will be going to Purdue University in the fall on a full scholastic ride! Chris was sporting a Boilmaker shirt after warm-up, congrats Chris.
John Fortin Sr. nearly knocked me off my feet when he proclaimed "I'm not racing this year", as I walked into his enclosed trailer to say hello. Fortin, who now has four NASCAR Modifieds in his possession is just short of help at the race shop and wants to focus on Amber and John Jr. as 2012 starts. John will race if he can find a crew chief and some more crew members and if you'd like to help out the former three-time NASCAR Modified champion give him or Amber a call at John's Fuel Oil.
John Beatty Jr. debuted what is from front bumper to rear bumper an all new NASCAR Modified. Earlier in the day when I spoke to John's very shy father John Sr. he told me that John Jr. might want to change his number from 14 to another. By the end of practice Mr. Beatty told me that thought was now scrubbed.
The Mujsce Racing Team of Tom Ferrara #14 and owner Mike Mujsce #13 are very focused on wining the 2012 Figure Eight title in their Bill Beener Tree Service machines. They were early to the track and in a perfect storm would like to finish 1-2 in the final championship standings.
Hardly recognized Michael Rommeney and his Legend Race Car, known as the "Cheesebox" as his yellow race car this year is now a powder blue colored car with the #05.
The effort put forth by track operations manager John Ellwood again bore fruit Saturday. The new NASCAR trailer in the tech inspection area looked great and the re-vamped PA Systems perhaps was the clearest and crispest that I've announced on in my 37-years of doing this sort of thing. Bill Finan was alongside Saturday as he was able to get a day off.
Vincent Biondolillo #06 sure didn't look like a 14-year old in his Riverhead Raceway NASCAR Modified debut. The nephew of the late, great Joe Biondolillo Jr. handled the former Chuck Steuer mount just fine all day long. In one session he tagged onto Ted Christopher's bumper as the green flew and although TC pulled away Vincent was able to keep his sights on him in his McBetts Racing Engine racer.
NASCAR Modified veteran Bill Park was driving crutches after recent knee surgery to correct a meniscus issue. Bill noted that when the doctor went in to fix the original problem there was more damage to be fixed which in turn will increase his recovery time. I'll say this, Bill is one tough cat, he told me even though the doctor gave him pain meds he never took one, ouch!
Thomas Puccia Jr. #51 is another Blunderbust driver who is changing his color scheme for 2012 as his Ferradino & Sons Construction machine is now white with green letters. Former BB champion John "King" Clancy is still working with the young lion.
Kyle Ellwood #71x will join the Goodie Motorsports Legend team alongside Jeffrey Goodale #46 in 2011. Budget restraints will find Kyle's NASCAR Modified on the sidelines for at least the start of the new season.
Eric Goodale, winner of the Richie Evans Memorial 100, down in Florida in February was on hand with his Riverhead Building Supply Chevy turning some laps. As many of you know, our esteemed starter Mike "Smokey" Boken drives a truck for Riverhead Building Supply but yet Saturday while flagging warm-ups he wore a Lowes/Jimmy Johnson hat!
Chris McGuire #89x looked like he'd been driving a NASCAR Modified for quite awhile as he shook-down the M3 Technologies Chevy, in my opinion Chris did a good job working the corners of the track which is the key to success at Riverhead. Chris might run his potent Charger car a few times in 2012 but his main focus is on Ken Massa's NASCAR Modified.
John Baker #07 who just hours before practice inked Sunrise Medical Labs as a sponsor looked good in his jet black Charger car, John was the 2011 Rookie of the Year in the class.
Also in a jet black Charger car was Jeremy McDermott #5, this car had to be totally re-done after his hard crash with Eric Zeh last summer. McDermott indeed will be a threat to Chris Turbush's drive for five straight Charger championships.
Speaking of Chris he had his nephew Mark Stewart out in his Sign FX Super Pro Truck for some practices. Mark I'm told by Chris will practice the truck weekly to get some seat time and Uncle Chris will race it. Mark is just another graduate of the East End Kart Racing club that races here at Riverhead.
Christian Conklin is another driver who did a solid job is signing sponsors, Conklin will go Legend racing in 2012 and has signed East End Limousine and Cool Breeze Trucking to his team They join his Enduro sponsors Let It Shine Detailing and Spit's Speed Shop on the former Kyle Ellwood car.
Strange to see Roger Oxee minus his potent #39 Late Model at the track. RJ just got his engine back and will wait until this week's practice to take some laps. After buying tires Oxee was off to take his car to sponsor Southold IGA for a personal appearance.
Late Model teammates Chris LaSpisa #7 and Arne Pedersen #11 were among the Late Models on hand. LaSpisa actually hopes to sell the #11 and in fact would love to see Arne buy it. Pedersen in his BNR Home Improvement Dodge will defend his Figure Eight championship and indeed will be a busy man in 2012.The two Late Model cars could use some sponsorship money LaSpisa told me.
Great job by the Riverhead Raceway NASCAR Technical Inspectors, Walter Bonzcyk, Terry Fallon, Ernie Keisling and Gary Fritz Jr. in keeping the Safety Tech Inspection line moving along at a fast pace, this allowed everyone who was there in the morning a chance to hit the track when warm-ups started.
Good to see Ricky Todd aka Captain Video setting up his broadcast booth, Ricky dropped some weight over the off-season.
Tough day for our own Robin and Don Merry who lost brakes on their van en route to the track, after a quick stop for repairs the couple did make it later in the day.
Great turnout of Enduro teams who got a chance to shake down their cars later in the day. Among them defending Grand Enduro champion Davis Antos in his CR Customs Chevy #73.
We also spotted the successful Anthony Pizzo in his STS Tires Chevy from the 8-Cylinder ranks.
Steve Mastro #45 Grand Enduro seemed to have some gremlins strike his Atlantic VW-Audi entry when he was out with a Blunderbust practice. Steve loaded-up and left before we could ask him what happened.
"The Pitbull" Steve Trimboli with an immaculate looking #69 Grand Enduro racer took his first laps in the class, he also had his 4/6-Cylinder Car on hand.
The father & son tandem of Andy "Daddy Cool" Owen #29 and Dale "Kid Cool" Owen were on hand with their 4/6-Cylinder Trucks.
The always lovely Mariah Lawrence shook down her General Lee #01 truck.
Jimmy Sylvester's #2 Legend Race Car is a real looker; love the chrome that was added to the side bars on the Planet Earth Recovery entry.
Rookie Charger drivers Jayson White and Cory Midgett, both of whom bought their cars out of the Dumicich race shops looked like they were adapting to the machines as the day wore on.
Until next time - BF
2012 Eye On Riverhead Archive
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