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"EYE ON RIVERHEAD" by Bob Finan
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
It indeed was a busy and spectacular Labor Day weekend at Riverhead Raceway and we'll catch you up on some of the happenings but first Mike Cappiello & Steve Tooker would like to alert all teams that for the next two Saturday's there will not be any extra practice for divisions not already on the race card. This Saturday of course is Champion's Night featuring the 'Lil Jay Trinca Memorial 50 for the NASCAR Modifieds and with all seven classes in action, time will be limited, then the following Saturday September 15th it's the NASCAR WMT race with another tight schedule.
Ted Christopher finally shed himself of the "bridesmaid" role this past Saturday when he drove to victory in the Convoy Heavy Duty Truck 35 and as important as the win was for Teddy individually he was equally as happy to get Wayne & Joette Anderson and the Eastport Feeds team to victory lane. The author of 3 NASCAR WMT victories over the years this was Christopher's first NASCAR Whelen All-American Series win at Riverhead and his smile in victory lane spoke volumes of what it meant to him. With the NASCAR WMT time trials not going green until 5:00 pm this Saturday at Thompson, Teddy and the Anderson team don't know if he'll make it back for this week's finale but are hoping he might. Time will tell.
Howie Brode #96 had a successful night in the 2012 championship chase with his runner-up finish in the Peter Clark Motorsports Chevy cutting Shawn Solomito's advantage in half from 24 to 12 heading into the final race this week. Simply stated for Brode, the 1998 NASCAR Modified champion to nab his second career crown he'd have to finish 7 spots better than Solomito who holds the first tie-breaker with 2 wins to none for the challenger. Still a tough task for Howie but not as bad as it looked like it was going to be.
Justin Bonsignore #51 in his 5th and final Riverhead race of 2012 was 3rd in the M3 Technologies Chevy, Justin would love nothing more than to race in the 'Lil Jay Trinca Memorial 50 Saturday but like Christopher is a victim of some late WMT qualifying at Thompson.
Good run for Eddie Brunnhoelzl III with a 4th in the Senix Creek Inn Chevy, Eddie had some potential sponsors looking on and he felt as though they went home impressed which he hopes translates into a deal for 2013.
John Fortin Sr. #48 completed the top five in his Triangle Pub Chevy and despite missing four races in 2012 is knocking on a top five point finish this season.
John Beatty Jr. #14 had another good qualifying effort Saturday and he wound-up 6th in North Shore Recycling Chevy, John and his team will hit the road after running the 50-lapper this Saturday.
Frank Vigliarolo Jr. #38 continues to get ready for the Riverhead 200 in two weeks. He was 7th in the Frankie's Towing Chevy.
Point leader Shawn Solomito #66 set fast time once again in qualifying but that would be as good as it got as he survived in his Acme Sanitary Service Chevy for 8th. Needless to say this week's race with the title on the line and it being run in 'Lil Jay Trinca's honor will be the biggest of Shawn's young career.
John Fortin Jr. #34 was 9th in the John's Fuel Oil Chevy.
Dave Sapienza #36 rounded out the top ten in the Flemington Furs Chevy.
Third through fifth in points going into this week are Ted Christopher, 416, Tom Rogers Jr., 384 and Eddie Brunnhoelzl III, 350.
Grinding crash on the back stretch literally destroyed three cars with Ryan Preece in the Park #20 the worst among them. Ryan got shuffled into the wall and his car stopped suddenly and was collected by both Danny Watts #82 and Marisa Niederauer #74. I spoke with Bill Park after the races and he told me his car at least needed a rear clip and perhaps a front one as well. That's bad news for defending NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion George Brunnhoelzl III who was going to drive that car for the Riverhead 200, those plans are now down the drain.
Watts posted on his Facebook page Tuesday he was already at Northeast Race Cars in Rhode Island getting his chassis repaired, whether he's ready for this week remains to be seen.
Marisa Niederauer announced on her FB page that her car indeed was done for the year in the crash, one this low budget team could ill afford at anytime of a race season.
Tony Anello #29 would have become the 45th NASCAR Modified driver to compete in 2012 but he had clutch issues on his #29 in practice.
Mike Bologna #00 might have lost two holiday party invitations on his way to the Late Model win in the Repo Joe 25 but all but clinched his second LM title none the less. Mike took no prisoners in the Schlaugies Fuel Oil entry and he will take a 30-point margin over Shawn Patrick #88 into this week's final points race which means Shawn would first need 17 or more cars to race and he'd have to finish 16-spots better than Bologna. Translation Mike will sew-up the title when the green flag waves.
Scott Kulesa #10 was runner-up in the primary Eastport Feeds Pontiac, while Kevin Orlando #18 was in Scott's back-up car for a start and park role. Scott, who did not return for the remainder of the August 11th race on the 25th is ranked 5th in points with 366.
Chris LaSpisa #7 crossed the line third in the McBetts Racing Engines Chevy, he goes into the final points race 4th in the standings with 386.
Jeremy McDermott #4 gave Jim Wichert's Statewide Roofing Dodge another good run as the soon to be Charger champion was 4th.
Kevin Metzger #23 did a masterful job in holding onto his Long Island Fuel Oil Accessories entry after contact while racing for the lead off turn two, not only did the former two-time champion hold onto the car but he finished 5th.
Tough night for title contenders Peter "Buzzy" Eriksen #68 who fell from the event with a flat in the Harley-Davidson of Nassau County machine, dropping him to 3rd in points two back of Shawn Patrick in second, 390 to 388. Patrick recovered from an early race spin after contact to finish 6th in the Matlach Fabrications Dodge.
Arne Pedersen #11 looked good in coming home 7th in Chris LaSpisa's back-up McBetts Racing Engines entry.
Erin Dumicich #95 earned her second Super Pro Truck feature event win in the Convoy Heavy Duty truck 20 and, folks, earned is the operative word! Erin was cruising along with a comfortable lead when of all people her brother Frank drew a mid-race caution flag. That erased the cushion Erin had built up in her Sea Level Construction Dodge and put two heavy hitters, Mike Albasini and Chris Turbush right on her rear spoiler. Well lo and behold as Mike and Chris got to racing for second Erin just pulled away once again to score her third career win which was every bit as popular as her first two.
Chris Turbush #81 would work his way to second in the US Merchants Chevy and in the process takes a two point lead over younger brother Roger #88 into this week, 446 to 444.
Roger was 3rd in his Allied Air Conditioning Chevy and the good news for him is he holds the tie breaker over Chris as well as third place point man Lou Maestri #1 with his four wins this season.
Lou Maestri #1 was 4th in the feature Saturday and sits third in points with 436, his road to the 2012 SPT is indeed tricky. He'd have to finish 6 spots better than Chris Turbush and then be 5 spots better than Roger. Lou and his wife Tracy will award the winning Crew Chief of the Miller Lite night September 22nd SPT non-points race a $100 cash award and a trophy in the memory of Joe Degangi, their former close friend and crew chief.
Mike Albasini #66 got loose late in the race during his fight for second but held on for 5th in the Hollis Court Collision Chevy, he's 4th in points with 426.
Chris Young #49 is not only building up the frequent flyer miles the last two weeks in commuting back to Riverhead Raceway from college but he's also two-for-two since starting the process! Young, in the Ray The Plumber entry once again got up very early in the AM to fly back to Long Island and like he did the week before,rode the outside lane to victory, his 5th of 2012. As Stephen Halpin noted in victory lane Chris now has 10 wins in the past two seasons and the Legends have three races to go yet!
Paul Dodorico #55 seems to be able to keep up with the 2012 youth movement in the class as he drove the Dr. Martha Baker "The Racers Dentist" #55 home for runner-up money.
Kevin Nowak #53 drove from an 8th place starting berth to finish 3rd in the Tropical Smoothies Cafe machine and he sits 5th in points with 472.
Kyle Ellwood #71x became the first official 2012 Riverhead Raceway champion when he crossed the line 4th in the Riverhead Building Supply mount. Ellwood, 17 is entering his senior year at Riverhead High School and what a way to go back to class on Wednesday! His dad John of course was the 2007 Charger champion. Congratulations to Kyle and his car owners Russell & Cathy Goodale on their first title.
Jeffrey Goodale #46, teammate to Kyle sealed the deal by completing the top five in his Buckley's Irish Pub entry.
Dylan Slepian #63 had a fine run with a 6th place showing, ditto young Anthony Marsh who was 7th in his #11, a career best after winning his heat race!
The ride of the night was Bryan Kelly in his Roadhouse Pizza entry who came from 20th to finish 8th, nice job for the driver who had a run of tough mid-season luck!
Second through fourth in Legend points are Chris Young, 576, Brendon Bock, 568 and Kyle Soper, 566.
2012 Figure Eight title will come down to this week's final point race in a 15-lap main event. Arne Pedersen #34 leads Mike Mujsce #13 by two, 368 to 366, with Ken Hyde Jr. third just four back of Pedersen at 364.
Jeremy McDermott #5 will take a 16-point lead over Eric Zeh #34 into the final Charger points race, 504 to 488, with John Baker third at 478. For Zeh to overtake McDermott he'd have to finish 9 positions better.
"Slick Pick" Tom Pickerell #4 will enjoy a healthy 20-point lead over defending Blunderbust champion Tommy "The Wildchild" Walkowiak #00 going into the BB points finale, 394 to 374. Walkowiak who holds the tie-breaker with 4 wins would have to be 10 spots better for a tie or 11 to win the crown outright.
By the way Sunday at the track Adam St. Lawrence was on hand practicing his #82 Blunderbust that last ran in 2005 and it didn't look bad. In fact it still had Hoosier Comanche tires on it! Adam will try and run the final three races of 2012 from what he told me!
Andrew Fowler #15 clinched the 2012 Demolition Derby title with a win over his father Rich in the 4-Cylinder Demolition Derby, both drove Timmy's Towing sponsored cars and both are favorites to win the big Miller Lite night National Demolition Derby Championship here September 22nd. The event pays a very handsome $1,500 to win.
Sunday afternoon Greg Zaleski #18 gave himself a going back to school present as he won his second Grand Enduro of 2012 in his Peconic Sign Co. Chevy. Greg not only is a Phys. Ed Teacher at Bayport High School but a Soccer coach as well and he's about to get real busy!
James Charrier #36 in the Clear Beer Draft Chevy and Steve Mastro in the NY Auto Giant entry were second and third.
David Antos #73 in the CR Customs Chevy and Kevin McCarthy in his K-Mac Electric Chevy were 4th and 5th.
The Repo Joe Chevy of Don Nelson Jr. #38 scored the win in the 4/6-Cylinder Truck Enduro as Don mastered lapped traffic on his way to victory.
Robin Vollmoeller #2 in his Spit's Speed Shop entry and Ben Gregor in the Gregor Well Drilling Chevy S-10 were second and third.
"Kid Cool" Dale Owen #99 with a career best 4th in the Pitbull Motors machine, while Greg Harris #65 was 5th in the SGS Stone Works Chevy.
Dominic Ranieri took one step closer to the 2012 8-Cylinder Enduro title with his 75-lap win in the Westhampton Auto Salvage Chevy. Ranieri told Billy Finan that the sponsor he hoped would take him Grand Enduro racing has fallen through and was hoping to find a replacement for 2013.
In the 50-lap nightcap Dege Russell and Anthony Pizzo went toe-to-toe with Russell in the Kelly Russell Realty Chevy prevailing.
Jess Martines and Kevin McCarthy chased Ranieri in the first 8-Cylinder tilt, while Pizzo and Donald "Woot" Lawrence were 2nd and 3rd to Russell in the nightcap.
Ed Fontana had thought he finished 2nd in the 4/6-Cylinder Car Enduro but when Steve "The Pitbull" Trimboli was found with an un-approved rear suspension parts/adjustment Fontana was declared the winner. I'm sure a good party took place at Ed's sponsor's pub, CB'S Bar & Grill of Hampton Bays afterwards.
Mike Mujsce #8 and George Davis were 2nd and 3rd to Fontana.
Until next time - BF
2012 Eye On Riverhead Archive
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