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"EYE ON RIVERHEAD" by Bob Finan
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Before we start I'd like to salute Riverhead Raceway promoters Barbara & Jim Cromarty for staying the course and running Saturday evening's program in what was mildly put, less than ideal conditions. In fact 90% of the race tracks in the Northeast pulled the plug early due to the ominous forecast, but not Barbara & Jim, they knew there was a special race to be run with the 'Lil Jason Trinca Memorial on tap and that Saturday was to be the final points night for all divisions and so with that in mind they made the decision to go racing! Well with a slight adjustment to the start time and no victory lane interviews with the exception of the NASCAR Modifieds the entire show was completed with about three minutes to spare as the rain started falling right after the Legend Race Car feature.
Co-Chief Stewards Mike Cappiello and Steve Tooker wanted to thank all the NASCAR Officials, track crew members, tow truck operators and especially the race teams for pitching in and getting the show in, job well done by all!
Congratulations to 2011 Riverhead Raceway NASCAR Modified champion Justin Bonsignore for taking the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory Sunday at Thompson Speedway. Justin and his M3 Technologies team will be seeking their second straight win this Saturday when the WMT rolls into town for the Riverhead 200, a race they won in 2011. Justin and his team are hoping the momentum from the win Sunday will carry over to this week!
Speaking of this week and the Riverhead 200 NASCAR WMT race here are the schedule of events. 9:00 am the NASCAR WMT haulers enter the pit area and at 11:00 am the Riverhead Blunderbust and Legend Race Cars will enter the pits. The Blunderbusts and Legend Race Car practice will start at 1:00 pm and be followed by NASCAR WMT practice that runs 90 minutes from 2:00 pm until 3:30 pm. The time trials for the Blunderbusts will start at 3:45 pm and be followed by the Legend Race Car time trials at 4:15 pm. The time trial qualifying for the NASCAR WMT via time trials will commence at 5:00 pm, the 25-lap WMT Qualifying Race (if needed) will be at 6:30 pm. The Riverhead 200 WMT event is set to start at approx. 8:30 pm and be preceded by the Blunderbust and Legend Race Car feature both of which are 30-laps.
Riverhead Raceway regulars who have indicated as of Monday they will run the Riverhead 200 include Howie Brode, Tom Rogers Jr., Eddie Brunnhoelzl III and Frank Vigliarolo Jr.
For this edition of the Eye we will do something a little different as we will recap the top five in the 2012 points in each class and how they finished on Saturday and then highlight some other good performances in each division.
Shawn Solomito flying 'Lil Jason Trinca's colors and #48 Saturday clinched his first career NASCAR Modified title with a third place run in the SS Motorsports Chevy. If you would have told Shawn the night his #66 was virtually destroyed early in the season he would wind-up winning the title he might have given you a weird look. But his father Jerry and crew chief Butch Capuano with the help of Meade's Welding & Fabricating not only got the car back in shape in quick fashion but it seemed to be even faster upon its return! To make the title even sweeter was the fact he clinched the crown in the race run in memory of "'Lil Jay Trinca and his mom Keri. Right from practice day Shawn and his wife Kristy dedicated their season to the Trinca's and in the end delivered them a Riverhead Raceway NASCAR Modified championship.
Howie Brode #96 claimed runner-up in both the 50-lap finale and as well in the final championship standings in the Peter Clark Motorsports Chevy, Howie would end up losing the title by 10-points to Solomito. I for one sure did enjoy having Howie and his team run weekly in 2012 at Riverhead and knowing the 1998 champion he'll probably start the 2013 season off with his usual game plan which is run the first few weeks and see where we are in the standings. Before the Freightliner of Long Island team looks towards next year they are hard at work this week getting ready for the Riverhead 200 this Saturday. If you recall the 2011 race Howie had a hell of a run going before being ushered into the wall and maybe, just maybe this race owes Brode one.
With his 6th feature event win of the season Tom Rogers Jr. # will be scored third in the final NASCAR Modified standings. Tom set fast time and then drew the pill that started the field for the 'Lil Jay Trinca Memorial straight-up and then Rogers led all the way in his Relay Communications Chevy. Tom will also be in the field for the Riverhead 200 this week as he will pilot the #9 that he campaigned on the WMT in 2011. Tom and Ted Christopher #15 were actually tied for third with 418 points each, Tom gets the spot via the tie-breaker which is wins.
Ted Christopher places fourth in the 2012 drivers standings in Wayne Anderson's Eastport Feeds Chevy which was driven to a 4th place finish Saturday by Dan Jivanelli who brought the car to the front from 11th starting position. That earns the team the weekly "Tiger" Tom Baldwin Hard Charger of the Race Award by Fred Bobb and 5-gallons of Sunoco Race Fuel. With Christopher and Jivanelli combining for a total of 518 points Wayne Anderson is the 2012 Championship Car Owner. "TC" will wheel the East-West Marine entry this week with the car being re-numbered 3 for the WMT point purposes, which is kind of cool as Wayne won the 1994 WMT title driving for the late Lenny Boehler and his team!
Eddie Brunnhoelzl III #8x completes the top five in NASCAR Modified points in his Senix Creek Inn Chevy. Eddie after a few pit stops to try and adjust on his car was 9th in the 50-lapper but he already has his sights set on the Riverhead 200 this week. Eddie will drive for noted WMT car owner Ralph Solhem in his #0 and we wish the combination well.
NASCAR Modified notes: Timmy Solomito #99 was 5th in the feature Saturday wheeling his James Becht Construction Corvette, Mother Nature gave "The Natural" a new hair style after the races or was that the champagne Jay Trinca unloaded on his brother in victory lane...Jason Agugliaro #69 had a solid time trial effort and run for 6th in his Tom O'Keefe & Sons Chevy...Dave Sapienza #36 recovered nicely from a spin, not of his own doing for 7th in the Buncee Inc. entry...The Hard Luck driver of 2012 Brad Van Houten #09 rallied back from a late race pit stop for 8th in the Van Houten Trucking Camaro...14-year old Vincent Biondolillo #06 completed the top ten in his Kennedy Realty Chevy and his freshman season in my mind can be termed a success.
For the second straight year Mike Bologna is your Late Model champion as he clinched the 2012 crown when he started the 25-lap main event. Mike would bring the Schlaugies Fuel Oil machine home for a 5th place finish as he took a conservative approach to the race. Mike did give me one interesting tidbit during warm-ups that if all goes to plan he will not be in the #00 come the LM 50-lap event on September 22nd. Bologna told me it's possible that "The Mac Attack" Paul McElearney would be in the car!!! It would be some fun to see the 45-time feature winner go toe-to-toe with the likes of Oxee, Eriksen and Metzger one more time, let's hope all the plans come together!
Peter "Buzzy" Eriksen #68 moved to 2nd in the final 2012 Late Model standings via a tie-breaker with Shawn Patrick as Eriksen and his Harley Davidson of Nassau County team scored one win this year while Patrick was shut out of victory lane. "Buzzy" was 7th in the 25-lap finale and one has to wonder if not for a flat tire the race before ,coupled with this week's 7th place, what could have been for the 46-time feature event winner.
Shawn Patrick will take home 3rd place in the final LM rankings after finishing 8th Saturday. Patrick, who is literally a one man band at the race shop and at the track made slight contact with the wall early in the race and his Steve Mehner Race Engines Dodge wasn't the same after that.
Chris LaSpisa #7 will finish 4th in LM points and he too had a rough outing Saturday. His car suffered heavy front end damage early in the race and many on hand, I included thought he was done for the night. Well Chris and his McBetts Racing Engines team didn't give up and he salvaged a 9th place finish after winning two features this year. Chris is looking forward to the 50-lap tilt on the 22nd.
Scott Kulesa #10 would take home the 25-lap win Saturday, his second of the year in the Eastport Feeds Pontiac which finds him placing 5th in the point standings. Scott didn't return for the completion of the August 11th Lm race when it was finally finished on August 25th which hurt his rank. Scott did a masterful job applying the pressure to race leader Arne Pedersen to take the lead with six lap to go Saturday.
Late Model notes: Great run for Arne Pedersen #11 as he nearly won his first career LM feature, this just moments after losing the Figure Eight championship in a heartbreaker. Arne was runner-up in the McBetts Racing Engines...Kevin Metzger #23 was third in his Long Island Fuel Oil Accessories Chevy and places 6th in the LM standings, he too didn't return for the completion of the Aug. 11th race...Jeremy McDermott #4 was 4th in the Statewide Roofing Dodge of Jim Wichert, in 4 starts this year the 2012 Charger champion averaged a 5th place finish...Greg Kleila #72 was 6th in the Island Fabrications Pontiac.
Mike Mujsce #13 not only won the final points paying Figure Eight race Saturday but with that triumph he also won his first career Figure Eight championship. Mike was in a real jam with two laps to go with teammate Tom Ferrara #14 leading the race and Mike running second and Arne Pedersen #34 third. If they finished that way Pedersen would win the crown in a tie-breaker having won one race while Mujsce had not won. However knowing the situation or being advised of it, Tom veered to the side and let Mujsce by for the win and the title in the Bill Beener Tree Service machine. Congratulations to Mike and his team on a job well done!
Arne Pedersen for the second time in three years found himself losing the title on the final night of racing but none the less the BNR Home Improvement team can keep their heads held high. If the loss of the championship affected Arne one could not tell by the way he nearly went out and almost won the Late Model race minutes later!
Ken Hyde Jr. #58 finished third in the 2012 standings which was highlighted by his win in the Cromarty Cup 20 in May in his Maples Bar & Grill machine. Ken in my eyes has over the 2012 season matured as a driver and the proof in that statement came when he realized he had no chance at catching Ferrara and Mujsce in the race and Mujsce in the standings he gave Pedersen plenty of room to see if he had anything for the teammates.
Tom "The Alter Boy" Ferrara #14 finishes 4th in the 2012 Figure Eight points after his runner-up finish in the K. Clement Landscaping mount. Had to be somewhat of a tough pill for Tom to swallow to give up the lead to Mujsce but after all that's what teammates are for. Ferrara went winless this season which probably didn't make it any easier.
Roger Maynor #28 completes the top five in the 2012 standings; Maynor was not on hand Saturday as he ventured to the Indianapolis Speedrome for the 3-Hour World Figure Eight Championship. No word as of press time as to how he fared.
Figure Eight notes" "Downtown" George Brown was 5th in the feature with his United Exhaust Shop Coupe...Chuck Hlatky #3 was in the George Sues Chevy and after not having been in a car for almost 20-years was 6th...Tim Mulqueen's hard luck continued when he lost an axle on the first lap in his Timmy's Towing #77.
Jeremy McDermott #5 put the wraps on his first career Charger championship Saturday night with a conservative 5th place finish in a none-stop 20-lap Charger feature event. If the old adage in sports holds true that you have to lose the big one before you win the big one then McDermott is living proof. Last year while in the hunt for the Charger title he not only lost those hopes in a hard crash but he also lost a race car. Well over the off-season the JDP Mechanical team dug deep and got their lunch buckets out and all that hard work paid off with a championship for the team. Job well done indeed.
Eric Zeh #34 who also lost a car in that same crash with McDermott last year will be runner-up in the Chargers standings in his ILS Landscaping Chevy. Eric was third in the 20-lapper Saturday and what many of you might not know is that he and McDermott are very good friends off the race track. Zeh raced the past two weeks hobbled by a leg injury he suffered at work that might even require surgery.
Four time Charger champion Chris Turbush #81 fell short in his "drive for five" but he remains tied with his father "Dynamite" Dan for the most championships in the class. Chris was runner--up Saturday in his Citywide Sewage Pontiac to race winner "Radiant" Ray Minieri #43. Chris with his three wins in 2012 also now sits second to his father in all-time wins, 52 to 32.
John Baker #07 after winning the opening night Charger event on May 5th places 4th in the 2012 final standings in his Sunrise Medical Laboratories Chevy, John was 7th in the feature Saturday.
CJ Lehmann #1 completes the top five for 2012 in his Your Floor Store Chevy, CJ made some bold moves Saturday to pocket a 4th place finish. Lehmann took home two feature event wins this year.
"Radiant" Ray Minieri #43 nabbed his second win of the year when he led wire-to-wire in his Sunrise Chiropractic & Wellness Center Dodge, the former Chris McGuire machine. Ray also won twice in 2012 and was 6th in points.
Charger notes: Newcomer Chad Churilla #20 looked good with an 8th place finish, noted set-up guru Davis Roys has been working with this second generation driver...Jayson White #45 completed the top ten in his Gardner Specialty Auto racer...Garret Frabizio #44 was hoping to make his first start of the year, however a blown engine ended that effort in practice.
Eight years after winning his first Blunderbust championship Tom Pickerell is once again king of the hill in his Premier Utility Service Chevy. "Slick Pick" had to survive starting 18th in the 26-car field to carefully move his way to an 8th place finish which was good enough to seal the deal on the 2012 crown. Along the way Tom and his fun loving and hard working crew will celebrate with a big party on September 23rd and by watching them after the races this year there will be plenty of good food!
Tommy "The Wildchild" Walkowiak #00 finishes second in the BB standings some 14 back of Tom Pickerell. Tommy came from a 16th starting position in his Blaze Fuel Oil Caprice to finish fifth in the 20-lapper. Walkowiak was disappointed to find out that due to the weather the victory lane race winner and champion interviews were shelved as he wanted to congratulate Pickerell in public.
Race winner Jack Handley Jr. #49 locked-up a 3rd place finish in the final standings in his Relle Electric Chevy. Handley made a nice recovery from nearly being sent into the infield by a lapped car to taking the lead going into turn one just yards later. Handley took home two wins this year and looked very impressive driving the F&S Race Fuels Charger car over the second half of the year as well.
"Krazy" Ed Mistretta takes 4th place in the BB standings after he came from 15th to finish 6th Saturday night in his Hummel & Hummel Bakery #27. Mistretta along with the likes of Pickerell & Walkowiak I'm sure are very happy that the next two races, both 30-lap events are time trial races this week September 15th and the next September 22nd.
Teammate Jimmy "The Kid" White Jr. #32 completes the top five in points of his 15th place finish in the Busy Bee Pest Control machine. The highlight for Jimmy in 2012 was of course winning his first career BB feature on July 7th.
Blunderbust notes: Rob Bader #19 in the Tropical Smoothies Cafe Chevy was runner-up to Handley. Rob had his car re-numbered #92 for the race in honor of friend and former Grand Enduro winner "Jumbo" Jimmy Denis who has since reported to boot camp in the US Army..."The Pistol" Paul Parisi #69x was third in the feature in his East End Jet Ski Chevy, placing him, 6th in points...Great run for the "Racing Great Grandfather" Bill Wegmann Sr #79 who was 4th after starting 13th in the Cracker Jack Auto Stores Olds...Talk about peddling, Terry "Styles Files" Stiles #41 in his first start of the year roared from 25th to 10th!..Newcomer Mike Accordino #88 was 12th after starting 21st in the Pristine Pools entry.
Roger Turbush #88 for the second time in three years is your Super Pro Truck champion with his runner-up finish to Lou Maestri #1 Saturday night. Roger had come to the race two points back of brother Chris for the title with Lou third. Well Roger in his Rheem Air Conditioning Chevy was able to make his way towards the front without too much difficulty while brother Chris found himself being used as a pinball. Now one would think with a runner-up finish and the title that would go with it Roger would be content finishing second, oh no sir he is a racer after all and he did make some runs at Lou before finishing second.
Lou Maestri with that 24th career win will finish second in the 2012 SPT points; the win was Lou's third of 2012. Don't forget for the Golden Auto Body night SPT main event on September 22nd, a 30-lap time trial race Lou and his wife Tracy will present the winning crew chief with $100 and a trophy in the memory of Lou's long time crew chief and friend Joe DeGangi.
Chris Turbush #81 will finish third in the 2012 SPT points after a race he'd rather forget Saturday that saw him finish 7th after several incidents and subsequent trips to the pits in the MSC Builders Chevy. This truck by the way is for sale.
"The King of Queens" Mike Albasini #66 places 4th in points after he was 6th in the feature Saturday in his Gardner Specialty Auto Chevy.
Frank Dumicich Jr. #42 will claim 5th in points over his father Frank Sr. in a tie-breaker. Frank recovered from an early race tangle with Rich Campo to finish 5th in his Cross Fit of Long Island Chevy.
SPT notes: Erin Dumicich #95 was 3rd Saturday in her Sea-Level Construction Dodge...Papa Frank Dumicich Sr. was 4th in his Tonino's Pizza Ford...Peter Rotzi # was telling anyone who'd listen that this was his last race in the Sansone Auto Body racer, he was 9th but somehow I think he'll be back next year!
Kyle Ellwood #71x capped off his championship season in the Legend Race Cars in style as he won his 5th feature event of 2012 in the Riverhead Building Supply racer. Kyle wanted to thank Russell & Cathy Goodale for the opportunity to drive this car and thank him he sure did with the five wins and title. Kyle would love to cap off the season with a win this Saturday in the 30-lap INEX National Qualifier in front of all the WMT teams!
With his runner-up finish Saturday Chris Young #49, a five time feature event winner in his own right will finish 2nd in the Legend standings in the Ray The Plumber machine. Chris has logged many miles in the air over the last three races to compete and I'm sure he'll do the same for the 30-lapper this week.
Brendon Bock #33 will finish 3rd in the Legend standings this year claiming two feature events in the process. Talk about logging miles, Brendon's dad, former NASCAR Modified driver George Bock travels from Bangkok to watch his son race! Brendon was 5th Saturday.
Fourth place in 2012 for the Legends will go to Kyle Soper #12 in his Atlantic Chevy-Cadillac mount. Soper earned his first career win this season and was 7th Saturday night.
Jeffrey Goodale #46, teammate to Kyle Ellwood finishes fifth in the 2012 points, this despite missing one of the 15 races run this year. Goodale in the Buckley's Irish Pub machine was 6th Saturday night.
Legend notes: Vinny Delaney #17 with a very solid 3rd place finish in the Joe Sole owned car Saturday night...Newcomer Richie Davidowitz #25 brought the SAM Mechanical entry home for 4th place money...New daddy Shawn Wanat #02 was 10th in his Spit's Speed Shop racer...As many as 40 to 50 Legend Race Cars could be on hand this Saturday for the INEX Legend National Qualifier, it's a time trial qualifying procedure that will determine the starting grid.
Until next time - BF
2012 Eye On Riverhead Archive
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