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"EYE ON RIVERHEAD" by Bob Finan
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Simply put Saturday's I Love America Night was fantastic with some great racing that had many story lines, a wonderful Bay Fireworks Display and the LI Blue Jays Drum & Bugle Corps who got things off on the right foot with a great performance. All this took place in front of a standing room only crowd. To all those who came out to join in on the fun, thank you and we get to do it again this weekend with the annual Labor Day Monster Truck weekend starring Big Foot!!!!
Imagine Justin Bonsignore's surprise when he received a text message while in North Carolina from car owner Ken Massa notifying the 2011 Riverhead Raceway champion that the M3 Technologies team would like to run Riverhead Raceway Saturday night, a race not on their 2012 slate. Justin who was 4th in the NASCAR WMT race last Wednesday at Bristol was taking a long weekend to visit his parents who recently re-located there and was going to get some R&R. Instead he found himself scrambling to get a flight while the team got his Riverhead entry ready. In the end the car was finished at 4:30 am Saturday morning, and Justin got back to Long Island in time to score his 2nd Riverhead Raceway win of 2012! So much for R&R! Bonsignore made quite the pass for the lead driving his car deep into the third corner to take the lead away from John Fortin #48 on lap 11 and once out front he never relinquished the top spot. Justin noted the team hopes to run again this week but this time he won't have to scramble to fly home!
Shawn Solomito #66 took another step towards the 2012 NASCAR Modified title by finishing second to Justin in his American Tent Chevy. With just two races to go Shawn enjoys a 24-point lead over Howie Brode #96, 448 to 424. The title will be decided by these two drivers as Ted Christopher #15 and Tom Rogers Jr. #6 are knotted for second with 378 are 70 markers back of Shawn and 60-back of Howie.
Howie made a bold late race pass of Teddy for third late in the going in his Peter Clark Motorsports #96. The duo went at it hard and heavy but yet treated each other with respect and it was surely fun to watch. Championship or not we know Howie would love to grab a win in these last two races.
Christopher would have to settle for 4th in the Eastport Feeds Chevy and like Brode he'd like to get Wayne & Joette Anderson to the winners circle before the NASCAR Modified season ends, especially with all those second place finishes he's accumulated.
Timmy Solomito #99 completed the top five in his James Becht Construction Corvette, Timmy who won opening night would also like to make one more visit to victory lane.
Ryan Preece #20 drove the Elite Towing Chevy across the line 6th which can be considered a quiet night for this talented wheelman.
After spinning off turn four John Fortin Sr. #48 tightened up the belts inside his SGS Stone Works Chevy and raced his way all the way back to 7th. Fortin had drawn the pole in the redraw and was hoping to score his 2nd win of the year before the spin; he did however put on a show with his rally. John despite missing four weeks is 6th in points with 310.
Eddie Brunnhoelzl III with numerous fans from his sponsor Senix Creek Inn on hand finished 8th in his #8x and he remains 5th in points with 316.
Gearing up for the September 15th Riverhead Raceway NASCAR WMT Riverhead 200 Frank Vigliarolo Jr. #38 was 9th in his Frankie's Towing Chevy.
For the third time this year sophomore driver Jason Agugliaro #69x won the "Tiger" Tom Baldwin Hard Charger of the Race by Fred Bobb award with his 10th place finish in the Tom O'Keefe & Sons Inc. Chevy.
The fate of Tom Rogers Jr. run at the 2012 NASCAR Modified crown was sealed with a left front flat on the Relay Communications Chevy, he did come back for an 11th place effort.
Great qualifying effort by John Beatty Jr. #14 in the North Shore Recycling Chevy as he set fast time with a lap of 11.804, in fact both his laps were 11.804, a racing rarity. Unfortunately John's night went away fast when he drew 6th starting spot in the redraw and it didn't get much better after that.
Frank Dumicich Jr. #3 made his first NASCAR Modified start in the Jessup Landscaping Chevy and was 16th.
Danny Watts #82 in his first start in over a decade was 19th in the 22-car field in the Danny's Cesspool racer.
Amber Fortin practiced her father's back-up car but did not take time or start the race.
Before we started the I Love America Night show the Late Models still had some unfinished business from Miller Lite night August 11th and Peter "Buzzy" Eriksen made short work in that event taking home his first win of 2012. Eriksen actually was running second when the race was halted by rain two weeks back however leader Kevin Metzger #23 was away and unable to finish the race which gave "Buzzy" the pole on the double file restart. That's all Eriksen needed in the Harley Davidson of Nassau County Chevy as he scored his 46th career Riverhead LM win, breaking a tie with Paul McElearney #60 on the all-time win list. Can't imagine what "Buzzy's" win total would be if you add Freeport and Islip wins in, does anyone have those stats?
Mike Bologna #00 added 2-points to his lead over Eriksen in the season long championship chase when he finished runner-up in his Russell H. Nill Roofing entry. Mike, the defending LM champion leads Eriksen by 10-points with two races to go, 370 to 360, while Shawn Patrick #88 sits third with 350.
Chris LaSpisa #7 was third in the race in his McBetts Racing Engines Chevy and he sits 4th in the current standings with 340 points. Weird how the top five spots are separated by 10-points a position! By the way Chris's daughter Emily working with Peter Milano doing interviews for Peter's site.
Fighting off illness, Shawn Patrick #88 toughed it out to finish 4th in the Steve Mehner Race Engines Dodge which was made worse by the fact his one regular crew member Eddie was at a wedding and not at the track.
Great run for Charger point leader Jeremy McDermott #4 as he drove Jimmy Wichert's Plesser Appliance Dodge to a 5th place showing. Jeremy was going after 4th, racing with Patrick when the race ended.
Greg Kleila #72 in his first RR start of 2012 was 6th in the Island Fabricating Pontiac.
"Hub Cap" Brandon Hubbard #33 started the race 3-laps down in the Barker Brothers racing S&K Speed entry getting some seat time in the car. Hubbard stayed on the track until the leaders were coming to lap him and was 12th.
Leader Kevin Metzger (cruise), Scott Kulesa #10 and Roger Oxee #39 were unable to restart the race.
Arne Pedersen #34 was running third late in the Figure Eight race thinking that would be as good as it got when all of a sudden the flood gates parted and he quickly found himself as the race leader. When Mike Mujsce and Ken Hyde Jr. got together off turn 4 of the Figure Eight course it not only allowed Pedersen in his BNR Home Improvement Dodge to win the race but also to take over the points lead! Pedersen who would have lost some ground if the late race tangle didn't occur now has a very narrow lead over Mike Mujsce #13, 368 to 366, with Ken Hyde Jr. #58 third just four back of Arne with 364. Needless to say the final points race September 8th is going to be shall we say interesting!
2010 champion Scott Pedersen #19 grabbed a fine runner-up finish in the Benny Vecchio owned RPM Signs Camaro.
Mike Mujsce #13 did a good job to salvage his night with a 3rd place showing in the STS Electric racer.
Ditto Ken Hyde #58 in his All Out Fire Protection machine as he finished 4th.
Roger Maynor #28 rounded out the top five in his Barrasso & Sons Mason Supplies Ford, Roger will finish 5th in points as he will miss the September 8th race and 6th place Timmy Mulqueen #77 is too far back to pass him.
On the heels of his 5th place LM finish, Jeremy McDermott topped the 20-lap Charger main event and in the process extends his points lead to 16-over Eric Zeh #34 in the process. Jeremy, who recently moved back to Riverhead from Pennsylvania worked his way by early leader Ray Minieri #43 to take the lead and never looked back in his JDP Mechanical racer. One race remains for the class on September 8th and for Zeh to take the title away from McDermott he'd have to finish 9 positions better.
CJ Lehmann #1 drove the Your Floor Store Chevy home for a runner-up finish and he sits solidly 5th in points with 466.
Four time and defending Charger champion Chris Turbush #81 was third in his Flash Dink Pontiac and is 34-points back of McDermott in the championship chase. Unless nearly a full field (20) of cars turns out on September 8th his "drive for five" will come to an end.
John Baker #07 placed 4th in his Sunrise Medical Labs Chevy after starting 7th in the race. John sits third in points with 478, 26 out of first and he too would need a big field for the 8th.
Most recent Charger winner going into Saturday Cory Midgett #14 completed the top five in his R. Bono & Sons Plumbing mount.
Wild scene when "Radiant" Ray Minieri #43 was sent spinning going into the first turn. For a fleeting moment it looked like the entire body was going to lift off the car like he was at a Superspeedway! It didn't come off and Eric Zeh #34 who made contact with Ray was sent to the rear but both drivers came back for a 7th and 8th place finish.
Chad Churilla #20 did a nice job with the graphics wrap on his PRC (Product Remanufacturing Centers) Pontiac. Chad in his first ever start had a minor spin during hot laps doing slight damage to the car tapping the wall but he never quit and was 10th at the finish!
Another driver who had to commute to take home a feature event win Saturday was defending Legend Race Car champion Chris Young who notched his 4th win of the year. Young got his day going at 4:30 am in Indiana flying home after his first week of classes at Purdue University, Chris arrived at the track just as pre-race practice was ending but it didn't deter him from driving to victory in his Ray The Plumber #49. Like Justin Bonsignore later in the night, Young drove his car into the third turn very deep to make an outside pass of Vinny Delaney #17 to take the win. Although not mathematically eliminated with 2 Legend events to go the chances of a repeat for Young remain slim as he is 82-points back of leader Kyle Ellwood.
Vinny Delaney who so badly wants to win his first career race #17 had to settle for runner-up money in his Joe Sole owned machine. Still after taking a wild ride back on August 11th which saw him flip towards turn 3 before coming to rest against the wall it was a satisfying result for Vinny and his team who had much work to do after the crash. Vinny is currently 5th in points with 434.
Kevin Nowak #53 backed his Aug. 11th victory up with a third place tally in the Tropical Smoothies Cafe Sedan; you know Kevin is eyeing the INEX Legend National Qualifier on September 15th.
Points leader Kyle Ellwood #71x was 4th with a quiet performance in his Riverhead Building Supply machine. Kyle has the widest margin of all championship chases at the track with a 42-point bulge on Brendon Bock #33, 608 to 566. Later in the program Ellwood was 17th in his TS Haulers #17x NASCAR Modified in his first start of the season.
Super showing for the Camp Sunshine #9 of Frank Scimeca Jr. who completed the top five after winning the first heat race. Frank did a nice job and it was good to see him up front.
Brendon Bock grabbed a 6th place finish in his #33.
Tough night for third place point man Kyle Soper in his Billy's Eastport Deli #12 as he was 14th and with that is 30-points behind Bock for second in the ranking, 566 to 536 and is 72-back of leader Ellwood.
Bryan Kelly #01 had a 7th place showing in his Roadhouse Pizza of Riverhead racer.
Only fitting that Paul Fox nephew to the late Don "Don Don" Fox would win the Full Size School Bus Demo for his fallen uncle. What was shocking was this was his first time ever in a demo of any kind and we are sure that his uncle is very proud of Paul with his win over Kevin Rommeney.
Like to take a moment to recognize Gershow recycling and Joe Bertuccio for providing the School Buses for these events and also give a big shout out to Ken Darch and Dennis Scott who put in a ton of man hours getting them race ready, Thank you to all!
Until next time - BF
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