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"EYE ON RIVERHEAD" by Bob Finan
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Opening weekend at Riverhead Raceway is now in the record books and when all was said and done some 480 laps of feature event racing was presented by Barbara & Jim Cromarty in a 24-hour span! This coming Saturday May 12th will mirror this past Saturday with 180-laps of scheduled main event racing including the Twin 30's for the NASCAR Modifieds.
Some 29 NASCAR Modifieds signed into the pits this past Saturday with 26 taking time after three teams scratched (Justin Bonsignore, Al Ermmarino & Marisa Neiderauer) with "The Fancy Farmer" Dave Brigati #98x setting fast time with a lap of 11.805 in his Outlaw Inc Chevy.
Eddie Brunnhoelzl III in his Senix Creek Inn Chevy won the first 30-lap segment for the Whelen All-American Series points and heading into the final 30-laps looked to be the car to beat. Eddie told us after the races on the final restart in the first 30 he felt the car bogging down and when the green flew for the second 30 the issue got worse in a hurry. At first the third generation driver thought the motor broke but later the team discovered the problem may be in the carburetor but whatever it was it left him crawling under the starters stand and he was eventually hit by Ronnie Silk in the TS Haulers Chevy with both cars heavily damaged. Both drivers were okay. Eddie will be on a long planned vacation this week leaving his loyal crew to burn the midnight oil to be back for this Saturday.
"The Natural" Timmy Solomito #99 who chased Eddie to the checkers in the first 30 made a great inside move to take the lead going into turn one in his James Becht Construction Chevy. Timmy, who won the opening night show last year quickly found former car owner Dave Brigati on his heels and past teammates put on a heck of a race for the win which Timmy took. Great touch by the young star to avoid parking in the middle of victory lane so he would avoid parking on 'Lil Jay’ Trinca's #48 that is there in honor of the fallen 7-year old and his mom Keri. This young man showed a lot of poise Saturday, first holding off the hard pressing Brigati and later in a very emotional victory lane. He's the real deal.
For Brigati he too wanted to win for the Trinca family who were very involved with his East End Kart Racing club but if he was going to finish second to anyone it might as well be his former driver. I caught up with Dave afterwards and he asked me "was it a good show for the fans?" Yes Dave indeed it was. He said he gave Timmy as much a shove going into three as he could without dumping him but the former EEKR star wasn't going to be rattled.
Former two-time champion Frank Vigliarolo Jr. #38 drove his heart out for a third place finish in the Frankie's Towing Chevy which is fielded out of the SAP Enterprises shops. I quizzed him about his 2012 racing plans and he gave me that look that only he can deliver and said "when I feel like racing I'll race". I'll bet even money after Saturday and with a good run this week he'll feel like racing every week! Teammate Dave Sapienza #36 was 7th in his SAP Enterprises Chevy.
Howie Brode #96 had a steady race all night crossing the line 4th in the RW Truck Equipment Chevy and he should be tough this week and especially next week in the NASCAR Hall of Fame 100. Brode has always done well in the longer races.
Tom Rogers Jr. #0 looked to have his hands full with the Relay Communications Chevy and appeared at times to be wrestling the Joe & Debbie Ambrose machine more often than not, he'd finish 5th.
Eric Goodale #58 was 6th in the final tally with his Riverhead Building Supply Chevy, crew chief Jason Sheppard and the team were among several that had issues with the Hoosier Tires. Richie Pallai's Hurricane Motorsports team also had a tire grow on them during the day.
John Fortin #48 indeed was on the lead lap and 8th in the SGS Stone Works Chevy.
Jason Agugliaro #69x placed 9th in the Tom O'Keefe & Sons Chevy, the sophomore driver avoided much of the incidents around him for the fine finish.
Shawn Solomito made a late race charge for 10th in the SS Motorsports Chevy. During the day Shawn was trying to convince his in-laws to hook-up their TV in their camper to watch the NY Ranger playoff game!
WMT drivers Ryan Preece #20 and Teddy Christopher #15 both had front end issues. "TC" was ushered into the wall in the first 30-lap segment, while Preece broke a spindle in the second half.
For the first time in many moons Chris Young did not have his NASCAR Modified on hand for an opening night which is strange as in the past he was "Mr. Opening Night".
Mike Bologna #00 served notice that he enjoyed winning the 2011 Late Model title so much he'd like to do it again this year! Mike steering the PCHS Race Engines machine drove to the outside of Peter "Buzzy" Eriksen to score the win to which he noted in victory lane, "I got to the outside of Buzzy and he squeezed me more than I thought but we made it work". Indeed you did Mike.
Eriksen in the Harley Davidson of Nassau County #68 was runner-up when the checkers waved. I'm betting Peter really wanted that one for former Gater Racing News writer Ricky Miller who passed during the winter.
Maybe we should get Kevin Metzger an audition for the TV show Survivor, because what he endured to finish 3rd Saturday would qualify the driver of the Long Island Fuel Accessories Chevy in my eyes. By the way great ..
Folks for the first time in the history of the Eye on Riverhead I've experienced a technical difficulty that I can't seem to overcome. I wrote Monday night an entire column that covered every division and all the news and notes from Saturday and Sunday and lo and behold what you read above is all there is. I tried to find the rest of the Eye in "cyberspace' but unfortunately have come up snake eyes. With sincere apologies to those who I did not write about and wound up lost in space somehow some way I'm very, very sorry. If by some chance I can recoup what is lost we will update the Eye, again I'm very sorry. Before you ask I cannot re-write it due to work commitments and other scheduling conflicts.
Until next time - BF
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