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Riverhead, NY 11901
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"EYE ON RIVERHEAD" by Bob Finan
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
This Friday afternoon September 28th Riverhead Raceway promoters will be part of a very special ceremony at the Town of Riverhead Animal Shelter. At that time some of 100 trees that the track received through NASCAR'S Clean Air Planting Program will be planted. The ceremony will be at 3:00 pm at the Animal Shelter which is at 532 Young Avenue in Calverton, please stop by if you can. For more details please click onto the Press Release section of this site.
On Saturday December 1st I will be once again hosting the Long Island Automotive Swap Shop a virtual race car flea market in the pit area of Riverhead Raceway with the event starting at 10:00 am and running until 4:00 pm. Vendor admission will again be just $20 per spot, with a $5 general admission. We'll have some further details in the weeks to come but it's a great way to turn in your unwanted racing inventory into some cold hard cash either for next season or the upcoming Holiday season.
Jarrod Hayes may have only started two Late Model events in 2012 but he sure did make the most of those infrequent starts as he went two for two with his win Saturday in the Miller Lite 50. As he remarked in the winner's circle he is very content running a very limited slate as he is busy with his newly formed Set-Ups by J-Rod business he started and with his client list growing indicated his 2013 schedule might be the same. Hayes with his Chuck Deon Race Engine under the hood set fast time 12.515, which is just over four tenths off the track record of Ed Densieski 12.19, which was set back in 1992 on new pavement.
Fighting off flu-like symptoms Roger Oxee #39 led early and looked for awhile as though he might end the 2012 campaign with his 62nd career win but it was not to be as the driver of the Southold IGA Pontiac would finish second. Before the races RJ shook his head when we spoke feeling that all the hoopla over him missing a race at Riverhead late in the season was way overblown.
Jeremy McDermott #4 continued his impressive showings in the Statewide Roofing Dodge of Jim Wichert as he raced his way to a solid third place finish. I for one hope this team will carry over into the 2013 season as if they run the full schedule will be among the title contenders. Looks as though Wichert who owns Unique Golf might have just hit a hole in one with his choice of McDermott as his driver.
Another driver riding a late season string of good finishes was 4th place Arne Pedersen #11 as he backed up his runner-up finish from September 8th with a 4th place tally this week in the McBetts Racing Engines Chevy. Car owner Chris LaSpisa revealed before the races he is now in possession of the #42 LM that Frank Dumicich Jr. drove earlier this year and if all goes right he'll put Jack Handley Jr. in the car for 2013 joining him and Pedersen on the growing team! Chris had a rough night and was out after early contact.
2012 LM champion Mike Bologna #00 completed the top five with his 5th place finish in the RH Nill Roofing Chevy. The plan to have Paul McElearney drive the car for this 50-lapper fell apart late in the week when McElearney found out he'd have to work Saturday among other things. Mike and his team were feted in victory lane for their second straight championship.
Couple of new faces in the LM field as Charger driver Derek Stacheki purchased the #17 from Rob "The Racer" McCormick and in his maiden run was 9th at the finish.
Tim "Lightening" Mullqueen converted his Figure Eight car to a LM for the 50-lap tilt; he's the brother-in-law of Chris LaSpisa and was 10th in the final rundown.
Arne Pedersen #34 completed his busy night of racing with a victory in the Miller Lite night 20-lap Figure Eight feature. Arne set fast time of 14.065 and won the Suffolk Association of Figure Eight Racing Pole Award before going out and leading all 20-laps of the race for the convincing win.
"Downtown" George Brown #43 wheeled the United Exhaust Shop Chevy Coupe home for runner-up money and after the races told me if he can work it out would like to buy a car for son Eddie to drive next season.
"The Alter Boy" Tom Ferrara was 3rd in the K. Clement Landscaping #14.
Scott Pedersen #19 brought the RPM Signs & Graphics Camaro home for 4th place money.
Despite being forced out of the race early with a broken tie-rod, 2012 Figure Eight champion Mike Mujsce #13 was 5th in the Bill Beener Tree Service entry, he too enjoyed a championship interview in honor of his title.
Scary moment when Ken Hyde Jr. was a sitting duck after a lap one spin and Chuck Hlatky #3 had nowhere to go. Heavy contact was made with Hyde's No Chem Paint Stripping #58 which was also heavily damaged. Both drivers were done for the night.
Four time Charger champion Chris Turbush #81 treated himself to the victory in the class's 30-lap feature. Turbush in the CWC Motorsports Pontiac drew the outside pole in the redraw and out gunned pole sitter Scott Lehmann to turn one and then proceeded to lead all 30 circuits. After climbing from his car after his victory lap he quickly jogged over to 2012 Jeremy McDermott #5 to congratulate him on his first career title.
McDermott made some late race moves to come to second in his JDP Mechanical #5 but by the time he got there the laps left were very few and he finished second just moments before his first career track championship interview. Between his season long success in the Chargers and his late season runs in the Late Models I'd call 2012 a career season for this likeable young man. Jeremy set fast time in the pre-race qualifying with a lap of 13.274.
"Radiant" Ray Minieri #43 was 3rd in the Sunrise Chiropractic & Wellness Center Dodge; by the way I'd like to thank Ray for the kind compliments before the races. Of course Ray along with sponsor F&S Race Fuels gave Jack Handley Jr. a Charger ride for the second half of the year as they saw the talent this 16-year old wheelman has.
Scott Lehmann #1 was tabbed the driver of the Your Floor Store Chevy by his son and its usual driver CJ. Scotty would bring her home in one piece in 4th!
Great finish to his rookie season for Jayson White in the Gardner Specialty Auto #45 as he collected his first career top five with a 5th place showing.
Former Charger driver Doug Krpata was in "Turbo" Tom Sullivanís #7 as Tom was under the weather from a late night team meeting at the White Whale in Seaford. Doug was 6th in the Custom Exteriors Chevy.
Thinking about a post race cookout, look no further than the Product Remanufacturing Corp. #20 Charger team of Chad Churilla who had the noted Pace's Steakhouse cater the post race party. PRC through Arthur Krantz will also go NASCAR Modified racing in 2013 with David Roys as their driver. The team bought the NASCAR Modified of Justin Strumpf #76, which originally was the #20 of Bill Park. The team will race for many charities including Angela's House which aides children with terminal illnesses.
Jimmy "The Kid" White Jr. is already talking about the 2013 Blunderbust season on his Facebook page and who could blame him as he won the final two features for the class, both 30-lappers no less. The three win season got going for the driver of the Busy Bee Pest Control #32 on July 7th and ended with his two race win streak going into the new year!
After setting fast time prior to the race with a lap of 15.112, Jack Handley Jr. #49 drove his ZZZ Glass & Radiator Chevy home for runner-up money and if all the plans we wrote about prior come together he's going to be one busy young man next season.
Rob Bader #92 was 3rd in his Tropical Smoothies Cafe Chevy, which by the way he has for sale still. Rob along with Frank Scimeca in the #9 Legend and Kevin Nowak in his #53 Legend raced for Camp Sunshine this year and we commend them for that.
"The Racing Great Grandfather" Bill Wegmann #79 was 4th in his Crackerjack Auto Stores Olds, which he built back in 1985, the first year Riverhead Raceway went to a Saturday night format!
The "Hard Charger" of the night in any division was without doubt Gary Caldwell #21 as he roared from a 22nd starting position to place 5th in the United Exhaust Shops racer. Nice job Gary and hopefully you'll be back full time in 2013!
Career best finish turned in by Bryan Quilliam #84 as he was 11th in the Rick's Buy & Sell Chevy.
One driver not at all upset to see the season end is Tommy "The Wildchild" Walkowiak who since July has had a dark cloud over his Blaze Fuel Oil Chevy, this past race he was done for the night after an early race tangle.
Clean sweep for Roger Turbush in the Golden Auto Body night 30-lap Super Pro Truck feature as he set fast time with a lap of 13.610 and then went out and won the feature. However it wasn't quite as easy as I made it sound as he and Mike Albasini #66 had another great side by side race for the lead before Roger utilizing the outside lane passed Mike for the lead and eventual win on lap 8. Roger and his entire Allied Air Conditioning Team were saluted for their 2012 SPT title in victory lane as well.
"The King of Queens' Mike Albasini #66 would settle for second in the Hollis Court Collision Chevy although he really did want to meet up with Queens Auto Body Shop rival Charlie Rizzo of Golden Auto Body once again in the winner's circle. The two are good friends.
Lou Maestri #1 was 3rd in the Fort Salonga IGA Chevy and after the race Lou and his wife Tracy presented race winner Turbush with a winning Crew Chief trophy which was accompanied by $100 in the name of the late Joe DeGangi. Thank you to the Maestri's for that effort.
Frank Dumicich Jr. borrowed his father's Arenz Heating & Air Conditioning #5 to finish 4th, his own #42 was too damaged from damage in the September 8th race.
John Denniston #2x was 5th in the Gershow Recycling Chevy which featured an all new body and paint job for the race.
James Charrier #36 continued his Grand Enduro winning ways as he topped the 50-lap feature event for his 4th win of the year in the Clear Beer Draft Chevy after starting 7th on the grid. Charrier will be looking to sew up the 2012 title this Saturday in our season ending twilight show that starts at 4:00 pm.
Steve Mastro #45, who led for 13-laps from the halfway point of the race until lap 38 would have to be content with runner-up money in the NY Auto Giant Chevy.
Walter Stroud was in the Phil LaManna #47 and he had a solid outing with a 3rd place finish in the K-Mac Electric Chevy.
Charrier's brother-in-law and teammate Bob Engelfried was 4th in his St. James Lumber #63.
Career best finish for the #11 Monte Carlo of Glenn Simonin with a 5th place showing, great job Glenn.
Before we recap the Miller Lite National Demolition Derby Championship event a big thank you goes out to Dennis Scott for all his work in making some rules modifications and as well as over seeing the event, which by all accounts was one of the best, old school Demolition Derby contests in many a year here at Riverhead Raceway. Thank you Dennis.
Jason Savoy #86 drove his "Misery Machine" to his first career National Demolition Derby Championship. Jason, who is employed by Bob Benison's Albin Avenue Auto Salvage has been a staple in these type events at Riverhead over the years and it was a well deserved win to say the least!
After an 8-year absence "Mad" Mike Smith nearly made the ultimate triumphant return by pulling off the win, however Savoy laid a hard hit on Mike's All-Island Towing entry and that was all she wrote. Mike was named Judge's Choice and he was so pumped-up after the event he announced he'll be going for the 2013 Riverhead Raceway Demolition Derby title next year as well as racing Figure Eights.
Another name from the past "Jumping" Joey Palmeri #144 was voted Fan's Choice for his usual hard hitting performance in the J&J Towing machine.
"Pistol" Pete Mikos #88 was among those doing battle, he was another driver who threw caution to the wind!
Thank you to Rich Predmore who towed his #44 all the way down from Super Modified country, Oswego, New York!
Interested onlooker was former World and National Demo champ Jimmy "Wildman Primmy" Hummel, he told me after the races if these new rules and enforcement of them are in place next year he'll be back!
2012 Riverhead Raceway Demo champion Andrew Fowler was an early casualty in his Timmy's Towing #15, but his father Rich #6 hung in there and was among the final five running late.
Until next time - BF
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