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"EYE ON RIVERHEAD" by Bob Finan
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Sadly we start this effort off with the news of the passing of two names from the past, one attached mainly to Islip Speedway and one known for his work here at Riverhead Raceway. Dot Jaeckel Lee who for many years was the office manager at Islip Speedway passed away last Friday, Dot who was long known as "Larry's right hand woman" had the Islip office running like a fine tuned sports car during her tenure at the famed 1/5 of a mile. Ken Schou passed away earlier last week and he'll be remembered as the PR Director under Tom Galan when Tom promoted Riverhead Raceway. Ken also was a salesman for Ed Hawkins, the then track owner at Coram Rug Works. Ken, like Dot was very much Tom's right hand man. Both will be missed and we send our prayers out to their families.
There's nothing like some good old home cooking, just ask Justin Bonsignore #51 who gave his M3 Technologies team something to cheer about Saturday when he won the Cromarty Cup 50 on Miller Lite night. Justin revealed in victory lane that he won in a car he wasn't even supposed to race Saturday but when the Riverhead car came up with motor issues the Ken Massa team went to what would turn out to be the winning machine. Bonsignore stated he'll be back at the track where he won the 2011 title for the Baldwin, Evans & Jarzombek 77 on July 21st with that race serving as a tune-up for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event the week following on July 28th.
Shawn Solomito #66 may not have won the battle in the Cromarty Cup 50, a race that he won in 2011 but he might just have taken a step closer to winning the war so to speak in his Meade's Welding & Fabricating Chevy. With his runner-up finish Saturday and a DNF for point leader Howie Brode #96 they will go to this week tied for the championship lead with 290 points each and the footsteps they both are starting to hear come from third place Tom Rogers Jr. who sits third with 276. Getting tighter and tighter.
Ryan Preece off his win Thursday night in a 30-lap Sunoco Modified race at Thompson Speedway scored a third place finish in the Elite Towing #20 of Bill & Barbara Park. Ryan went into last weekend's action 4th in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National point standings.
"The Natural" Timmy Solomito #99 had on old friendly voice on his radio last week in the person of Fred Kraft and together the duo scratched out a fine 4th place finish for the James Becht Construction Team. It was great to see Fred Saturday night and we can see the restaurants and pubs in North Carolina are treating him nicely, real nice! Timmy has moved to 8th in our current Mod rankings.
Ron Silk #6 got his night off on the right foot, literally as he broke the 12-year old track record of Chuck Steuer when he turned a lap at 12.529 in his TS Haulers Chevy. Silk would draw 5th in the redraw and after making some early race noise would finish 5th. Car owner Eddie Partridge told me that once the checker flag waved on the July 28th Riverhead WMT race that this car is for sale and for the right price you can take it home that night!
Tom Rogers Jr. #0 came to the Cromarty Cup 50 riding a two-race win streak and finished 6th in the race. Wonder if Brode's early exit had anything to do with Tom's game plan??? Of course anyone who knows Tommy knows he's going for the win and perhaps 6th was all the Jessup Landscaping Chevy had in her last week.
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National points leader Ted Christopher #15 also had an "off" night in the Long Island Fuel Oil Accessories Chevy. "TC" will run from his Al-Lee Installations #36 at New Hampshire this week to a waiting plane and fly to LI for the 35-lapper this week at Riverhead!
John Beatty Jr. crossed the line 8th in his North Shore Recycling Chevy #14 and if you read this Tuesday or Wednesday prior to 5:00 pm then you can still catch John and his fun loving team on News 12 and Sean Bergen's On the Job segment!
Dave Sapienza #36 worked out a 9th place finish in his Buncee Inc. Chevy and today I spoke with Dave's teammate Frank Vigliarolo Jr. #38 who informed me he'll be in action for both the Baldwin, Evans & Jarzombek 77 and the WMT race at the end of the month.
Jason Agugliaro #69x won for the second time this year the "Tiger" Tom Baldwin Hard Charger of the Race by Fred Bobb award racing from 19th to 10th in the Cromarty Cup 50. Jason did want to thank the Van Houten family, Oval Speed Unlimited and his crew for their effort the week prior (June 30th).
As Howie Brode was leaving the track Saturday I stuck my head in his truck and asked him first how bad the Peter Clark Motorsports #96 was after his early trip into the turn two wall. He told me the right front was torn up but he thought the clip was okay and then I asked what happened and his response was that of a died in the wool, old school racer. "It was just a racing deal" he shrugged "I guess it was my turn to go into the wall"
Feel for the family run and for the most part funded Brad Van Houten #09 Van Houten Trucking team as for the second week in a row late in the race the car started trailing water. I'm told a faulty head gasket is suspected and the engine was being pulled for review and unfortunately they might have to miss this week.
Eddie Brunnhoelzl III in the Senix Creek Inn #8x was another early victim with front suspension damage which drops him to 7th in points.
John Beatty Jr. with 244 and John Fortin Sr. #48 with 232 are currently 4th and 5th in NASCAR Modified points.
Several years ago towards the end of what were than 20-lap Figure Eight main events I recall rain starting to lightly fall over the track with Roger Maynor #28 doing his best Steve Kinser impression to drive to victory. This past Saturday Maynor in his Barrasso & Sons Mason Supplies Ford felt as though another competitor was losing fluid and once again he put his slick track driving skills to use to win the Miller Lite night 15-lapper for his 106th career victory.
Arne Pedersen #34 scored the runner-up money after surrendering the lead to Roger with two laps remaining as his BNR Home Improvements Dodge was losing the back end in the moisture. Pedersen, the defending champion in the class is tied for third with Tom Ferrara #14 third in the current 2012 rankings with 270 each.
Ken Hyde Jr. #58 recovered again nicely from an early race incident to score third place money in his Planet Speed racer and he currently ranks second in the Figure Eight standings at 274, just four back of current championship leader Mike Mujsce #13 who has 278.
Scott Pedersen the 2010 champion in the class is the new hired gun for Benny Vecchio and his #19 and together they tallied a fine 4th place showing in the sponsor wanted Chevy, the former Bill Batsche machine.
"The Alter Boy" Tom Ferrara #14 collected 5th place money in the K. Clement Landscaping entry, after the race Tommy was heard mumbling "if only I had Freddie for a spotter".
Point leader Mike Mujsce was 6th in his Bill Beener Tree Service Chevy.
What a difference a week makes, if you don't believe me just ask first time Charger winner Eric Zeh #34. Just seven days removed from nearly executing a last lap pass on Ray Minieri for the win, this past Saturday Eric put his Finishline Container & Construction Chevy out front with six to go and the rest they say is history! It was great to see Eric with his mom and dad, Michele & Eddie Zeh celebrating afterwards, all that was missing was Grandpa Carl who must have been on vacation.
What a breakout race for rookie driver Cory Midgett #14 who was the race leader before Zeh came along on lap 14 to take the lead. None the less in just his 7th start in the Charger class Cory raced his way to a fine runner-up finish in the R. Bono Plumbing & Heating Toyota. Midgett put the pressure on Zeh over the final six laps of the race.
"Radiant" Ray Minieri #43 was third in his F&S Race Fuels Dodge and with that finish moves into a tie with none other than Eric Zeh for second in points with 310, just ten back of leader Jeremy McDermott #5 who has 320.
Speaking of Jeremy he was 4th in his Eastern Door & Remodeling Pontiac and he's slated to make his Late Model debut this week in Jim Wichert's Unique Golf Dodge #4, a well deserved opportunity for this talented young shoe!
John Baker #07 drove his Sunrise Medical Labs Chevy to another top five finish with a 5th place effort.
Rough night for four-time defending champion Chris Turbush #81 as he tagged the wall and was out early with heavy damage to his Arrow Security Chevy. He actually posted on his Facebook page that he'll park his damaged Charger and put all his efforts towards his Super Pro Truck title fight but our sources in Riverhead tell us otherwise!
Great to have former champion Rusty Turbush back as he wheeled Wes Zaleski's Burt's Reliable machine for the night, he was 7th.
Also back in action was Daryn Miller #30 in his D&D Auto Body Chevy which is owned by his dad Bob, their first start yielded a fine 9th place finish.
No doubt the feel good story of the evening was the first career Blunderbust win for Jimmy "The Kid" White Jr. #32 who just four years ago almost to the day was injured in a Demolition Derby fire. All of you who read this know the circumstances of that night back in 2008 when Jimmy was burned and later flown over the track in a Medivac helicopter but what followed was a true testament in determination and courage that saw this young man actually return to the track at the end of that year. Oh and by the way all he had to do Saturday was ward off the all-time leading winner of BB races at Riverhead in Tommy Walkowiak #00 to notch what would be a very popular win for the Busy Bee Pest Control team. Congratulations!
"The Wildchild" Tommy Walkowiak was runner-up in his Rommeney & Sons Snow Removal Chevy and with that finish reclaims the point lead by two over rival Tom Pickerell #4, 300 to 298. Tommy tried to rattle the cage of the eventual race winner but White was equal to every challenge.
"Krazy" Ed Mistretta #27, a teammate to Jimmy White, raced his way, as did Walkowiak and Pickerell from deep in the field to place third in the Hummel & Hummel Bakery Chevy.
Tom Pickerell #4 was 4th in his Premier Utility Services Chevy and the one common denominator that he along with Walkowiak and Mistretta shared in the race is they all improved 13 positions from their original starting spot!
Tim "Lightning" Mulqueen was a busy man Saturday as he was 5th in the BB race in his Quality Hay #77. Later Tim was 8th in the Figure Eight main event and after that was voted Fan's Choice in the 4-Cylinder Demolition Derby. To think he did all that in 90 degree heat too!
Jack Handley Jr. had a tough outing in his Relle Electric #49 as he was 10th after an early race trip to the pits during a caution flag. Jack came into the race as the championship leader but that turn of events drops him to third with 296, four back of the lead, two out of second. By the way, spies tell us Handley has secured a Charger car number from our office for the rest of 2012.
Hard hit was taken by Jessica Cohan #8 into the turn four wall, she was okay but the Rick's Buy & Sell entry will need a new front slip at least.
Brendon Bock #33 collected his second win of the 2012 season when he topped Paul Dodorico #55 for the win. Bock set fast time in qualifying with a lap of 14.019 and then drew outside pole in the redraw. It was some fun watching this talented teenage driver test leader Dodorico lap after lap with some well timed cross \over moves. In the end however Brendon would take the long way around for the lead and eventual race win in his sponsor wanted machine.
Paul Dodorico tried to win one for the "old guard" but would have to settle for runner-up money in his Bridal Suite of Centereach mount.
Defending champion Chris Young #49 appeared to regain his form Saturday as he wheeled the Bridgehampton Bank Coupe to a fine third place showing after a race long battle with Kyle Ellwood.
Ellwood wound-up 4th in the Buckley's Irish Pub #71 and remains the points leader with 424 over Kyle Soper #12 with 390, Young and Bock are tied for third with 384.
Impressive first year driver Richie Davidowitz #25 crossed the line 5th in his SAM Mechanical racer and rumor has it he earned some bonus money from some gambling friends after time trials!
Tom Marsh subbing for son Anthony in the Riverhead Brake #11, the younger Marsh was in North Carolina on vacation.
Danny McNamara back in the Narda L3 Communications #98 but honestly folks didn't look too comfortable.
Andrew Fowler #15 drove his Timmy's Towing chariot to victory in the program concluding 4-Cylinder Demolition Derby.
Jason Savoy #86 despite being turned on his side at one point was runner-up and the Judge's Choice in the Monster's Recycling "Misery Machine".
Until next time - BF
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