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"EYE ON RIVERHEAD" by Bob Finan
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
It was a damned if you do and damned if you don't situation last Saturday at Riverhead Raceway but as they've done in the past Barbara & Jim Cromarty were on the "if you do side of things" as they made an early morning decision to run last week's show despite a less than friendly looking sky and a worse forecast. Pressing forward we nearly got the entire show in with the Late Models having their 25-lap main event halted after just three laps were completed.
The remaining 22-laps of the Miller Lite night LM race will be run this Saturday August 18th with Kevin Metzger #23 the race leader. Kevin is slated to leave for a cruise this Saturday and he was kicking around the idea of putting another driver in his Long Island Fuel Oil Accessories Chevy as Kevin would still get credit for the points earned as he started the race. The downside is any driver switch would mean having to start at the rear for the restart this week. We hear Peter "Buzzy" Eriksen and Jeremy McDermott are also in the same boat for different reasons as well. Today Barbara & Jim announced the LM drivers will not have to pay to re-enter the pits this Saturday for the make-up. Everyone else will pay.
In speaking with Steve Tooker this morning the Repo Joe program for this week will work as follows. The pits will open at 12:30 pm with Legend Race car time trials at 4:15 pm. The NASCAR Modified time trials are set for 5:00 pm. To complete the August 11th show the Late Models will run the 22-laps left on their race at 5:30 pm and then the regularly scheduled Repo Joe night which includes a Full Size School Bus Demolition Derby will proceed at approximately 6:00 pm.
We should mention a stellar field of Late Models in fact the best of the season, 14 were on hand for the Miller Lite night 25 and we thank the LM teams for their understanding.
Shawn Solomito #66 notched his second win of 2012 when he topped the Miller Lite night NASCAR Modified tilt in his American Tent Chevy and in the process stretches his championship points lead to 22 over Howie Brode #96, 410 to 388 with four races left. With Tom Rogers Jr. #6 having issues in the race and losing laps in the pits he's now 52 back of Solomito which pretty much eliminates him for the track crown. Shawn in the meantime has rebounded very nicely from his grinding crash back in June that left his machine in shambles and after borrowing brother Timmy's car for a week has not missed a beat being back in his own car that was put back in shape by Meade's welding & Fabricating.
Ryan Preece #20 made one of the all-time great passes in the 63-year history of the track to finish second in the Elite Towing Chevy of Bill & Barbara Park when he made an inside pass of John Fortin entering the third turn. Ryan, if you read this before Thursday night, is on a three race win streak at the Thompson Speedway in the Sunoco Modifieds where he has won six times, enjoy him in the Northeast while you can folks cause he's going places real soon!
The good news for Ted Christopher is he didn't finish second again in the Eastport Feeds #15 Chevy, the not so good news was he placed third, which of course is not a bad night at the office. Ted and car owner Wayne Anderson announced late last week that East-West Marine of Manorville has joined their team as an associate sponsor for the remainder of the season.
Timmy Solomito #99 recovered from a broken right front suspension early in the race to roar back to a 4th place finish in the James Becht Construction Corvette. Timmy's right front wheel was wobbling through the third and fourth turn and when his car went up the hill he made contact with Howie Brode and was forced to pit for repairs.
Howie also was forced to pit after the get together with Timmy and he too made a textbook charge back through the field to salvage the race with a 5th place finish. Howie is due for a win before the season is out in his Peter Clark Motorsports Chevy and for his championship hopes the sooner the better!
Eddie Brunnhoelzl III made a good recovery from a spin after contact as he wheeled his Pete's Towing Chevy to a 6th place finish. Earlier in the night with his sister Michelle and boyfriend Kevin Rommeney vacationing in Aruba, Eddie drove Kevin's #20 Legend Race Car in their 20-lapper, he was 20th.
After paying his track fine John Fortin Jr. #34 made his first start since June in his sponsor wanted Chevy and after not even taking a lap of practice he crossed the line 7th after starting 16th in the 18 car field. That's good enough to earn the soon to be college freshman the weekly "Tiger" Tom Baldwin Hard Charger of the Race Award by Fred Bobb.
Ken Darch #03 was also late in arriving at the track due to work commitments but none the less enjoyed a fine 8th place showing in his Precision Water Works of Deer Park entry. We've noted in the past how Ken not only lets kids sit in his car, which he then starts for them after the races. Well this past week a young man who was as tall as our own Charlie Zukowski wanted to sit in the car but going through the window was not an option. So what did Kenny do, he took the roof off the car so the young man could climb in that way!
John Fortin Sr. #48 was 9th after late race spin in turn three in his SGS Stone Works Chevy. Once again while racing for third John and Teddy went at it hard and heavy for a handful of laps.
Marisa Niederauer #74 completed the top ten with a 10th place finish as she had to rally back from an early race incident in her sponsor wanted machine. In practice Marisa looked very strong and if not for that incident might have finished further up.
Amber Fortin was a start and park in Tom Rogers Jr's #9 after she too paid her fine. By the way Rogers told us at the back gate he might be in a Figure Eight car this week; he wouldn't say which car though.
Ted Christopher (358) and Eddie Brunnhoelzl III (290) complete the top five in the current NASCAR Modified rankings.
No doctor could have written a prescription for Brian Midgett Jr. any better than his brother Cory did for him Saturday as in just his 10th Charger start he won the Miller Lite night Charger feature. Midgett was a man on a mission as his injured brother Brian who suffered serious leg injuries in a head on collision was on hand in a wheelchair rooting his brother on. That was all the inspiration Cory Midgett and the R. Bono Plumbing & Heating team needed as he led all the way to pocket career win number one! Needless to say there weren't too many dry eyes in victory lane!
Opening night winner John Baker #07 drove a solid race to bring his Sunrise Medical Labs Chevy home for runner-up money after starting 9th and in the process moves to third in the Charger points with 434. John along with his dad Daryl seemed to have the car back on track and another win is not too far off.
Eric Zeh #34 was another driving making some tracks last week in his ILS Landscaping entry as he raced his way from 11th to a 3rd place finish. Eric now is just four points back of Charger points leader Jeremy McDermott #5, 454 to 450 and the last few Charger races should be a blast.
CJ Lehmann #1 was 4th in the Your Floor Store Chevy after being involved with some wild early race happenings that weren't too kind to some of his fellow drivers.
Daryn Miller #30 had his best effort of the year with a 5th place tally in the Rocco Fischetti backed Charger, great to have him and his dad Bob back in the pits.
"Radiant" Ray Minieri #43, Brian Doyle #73 and Derek Stachecki #33 were all involved in the wild early race happenings we mentioned above. Doyle was the worst for the wear taking a few moments to gather himself but he along with the others were okay, the same could not be said for their race cars.
Chris Turbush's "Drive for Five" by his own admission pretty much has come to and end as he pulled to the infield with a flat. Chris noted on Facebook he didn't want to bring out a caution as to not hurt the chances of Cory Midgett winning his first race, my hats off to the driver of the Sapienza Racing #81.
Turbush (426 and Lehmann (418) complete the top five in Charger points.
With his good friend Mike Baxter returning to the New York Mets line-up recently, "The King of Queens" Mike Albasini #66 returned to the Super Pro Trucks winning line-up with his win in their Miller Lite night 20. Albasini along with Frank Dumicich Sr. #5 had their collective hands full with newcomer Roger Campo #38 who nearly pulled off an upset win. With the three racing in very tight quarters and Campo holding on for dear life he went around moving Mike into the lead, a lead he would not surrender. Mike would post his 9th career win, a much needed one after, like his buddy Baxter, he hit the wall hard a few weeks back in turn three. Hats off to the Gardner Specialty Auto team! Mike is now fourth in SPT points with 384.
Frank Dumicich Jr. #42 got by his father Frank Sr. with three laps to go and he would finish second in the Crossfit of Long Island Chevy.
Frank Dumicich Sr. was third in the Tonino's Pizza Ford F-150 which leaves him and his son in a tie for 5th in SPT points with 384 each.
Great showing for Keith Rotzi in the Power Tube Headers #27 as the second generation driver was 4th in the final rundown and looking strong in doing so.
Roger Turbush #88 completed the top five in the Superior Systems Chevy and he along with his brother Chris are tied for the SPT point lead with 398 each. Chris had an off night with a 10th place in his LI Poultry racer.
Lou Maestri #1 who is third in points was 8th in his Beach Huts of Long Island Chevy.
As for Rich Campo #38 what a job he did leading the first 14 laps of the race in just his 6th SPT start. The result might not have been what Rich and his NY Auto Giant team were looking for but what they did come away with is the knowledge that they have a truck and driver ready to win!
Kevin Nowak #53 made his first 2012 visit to victory lane as the 2012 champion scored the Miller Lite night Legend Race Car victory in his Tropical Smoothies Sedan.
Nowak, who could never be accused of not showing his emotions used his restart savvy to ride the outside lane to the race lead during a double file restart over Jeffery Goodale #46. Once out front Kevin never looked back and he was waving his arm out the window franticly as the checkers waved.
Brendon Bock #33 moved to second with five laps to go and he made a run at Nowak but would have to settle for second in his sponsor wanted racer. A big thank you goes out to Brendon and his dad George for allowing me to share their air conditioning during the afternoon when the sun did break out during practice. Bock has now taken over second in Legend points and trails point leader Kyle Ellwood #71x by 38, 564 to 526.
Jeffrey Goodale brought his Riverhead Building Supply machine across the line third after leading the first six laps of the tilt, Jeffrey is now 5th in points with 408.
Kyle Ellwood was 4th in the Buckley's Irish Pub #71x; hopefully his NASCAR Modified will be ready this week or next.
Kyle Soper #12 completed the top five in his Atlantic Chevy-Cadillac entry and he now sits third in points with 512.
Brad Van Houten was the third Goodie Motorsports car of Russell and Cathy Goodale in the top ten as he was 6th in the #43.
Good run for Greg Harris as he placed 10th in the Lowell Electric #65.
Chris Young #49 is 4th in points with 476 and was 7th after starting 17th in his Ray the Plumber machine.
32 Legend Race Cars in the pits Saturday and with this week's Repo Joe 30 a INEX National Qualifier event that number could swell even more!!!
EEKR Go-Kart standout George Tomko Jr. #5x made his first start in the Midgett Racing Legend and made the race as an alternate after the #6 of Bobby Jones couldn't make the start of the race.
Andrew Fowler #15 extended his Demolition Derby points lead when he topped a 15 car 4-Cylinder Demolition Derby field in the rain no less. Fowler in his Timmy's Towing backed fleet of Demo cars leads the championship points by 120 over Jason Savoy #86, 310 to 190.
Now before you jump up and say that's too many points to overcome, keep in mind a Demo winner gets 100 points, Judge's Choice 80 and Fan's Choice 60. All starters get 30 points. Third behind Andrew and Jason is Rich Fowler #6 with 160.
In his first ever Demo start Michael Suk #730 racing or should I say crashing with the Provenzano team, who showed up with a trailer of some 5 or so cars won Judge's Choice for his first time effort. Michael and Andrew Fowler were the last two cars standing when a red flag was waved for a fire. During that time Suk could not re-fire and was done for the night.
Matt Mulqueen #81 was voted Fan's Choice and he sit 4th in points in his Timmy's Towing machine with 150 markers.
Until next time - BF
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