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Justin Bonsignore Makes A Triumphant Return To Riverhead
Raceway With Cromarty Cup 50 NASCAR Modified Victory
by Bob FInan
Reigning Riverhead Raceway NASCAR Modified champion Justin Bonsignore of West Islip made a triumphant return to his old stomping grounds Saturday when he topped the Cromarty Cup 50 on Miller Lite night holding off his close friend Shawn Solomito in the process. Earlier in the day Ron Silk of Norwalk, Ct. set a new track qualifying record when he tripped the clock with a lap of 11.529 breaking a 12-year old mark set by Chuck Steuer.
After Silk in his TS Haulers Chevy set the new record as the third to last car of twenty to take time he drew the #2 pill which meant the top six would redraw for the Cromarty Cup 50. While Silk drew 5th starting spot in the redraw Justin Bonsignore and Shawn Solomito picked the front row with Justin on the pole. When the race went green Bonsignore launched into the race lead with Solomito quickly moving to second in front of his younger brother Timmy who was third. The race was slowed early on when point leader Howie Brode tagged the wall in turn two doing enough damage to the right front suspension that dropped him from the race. Shawn Solomito who came to the race second to Brode in points didn't change his game plan however as on the ensuing restart he made a run for the lead off turn four before Bonsignore moved him up allowing him to keep the race lead and allowing third place Timmy Solomito to come to second for a few laps.
Shawn would later reclaim second from Timmy racing down the back stretch and once again he set sail for race leader Bonsignore, while Ryan Preece made his way to third. The race went, with the exception of Brode's crash, incident free which was good as bolts of lightning and rumbles of thunder could be seen and heard on the horizon. The long green flag run also allowed Bonsignore and Shawn Solomito to scamper away from third place Preece. Entering the turn Solomito would throw his car into the corners which allowed him to gain some ground on Bonsignore but Justin was better on exit and he got away each and every time his good friend got too close.
As the checkered flag waved accompanied by a few drops of rain it was the M3 Technologies Chevy of Justin Bonsignore collecting his 7th career victory and afterwards he reflected about some special friends he lost last fall, 'Lil' Jason Trinca rides with me every race with his go-kart number on my dash, I'm glad I can now join Timmy and Shawn Solomito in winning a race this year for the Trinca family" As for the initial start of the race where it appeared Justin and Shawn had a plan Bonsignore admitted, "we talked a lot this week at work about different situations but as you could tell on that early restart we both do want to win after all".
Shawn Solomito of Islip in the Meade's Welding & Fabricating Chevy might not have won his second straight Cromarty Cup but none the less his runner-up finish could be deemed a success as he's is now tied with Howie Brode for the point lead with 290 each. Ryan Preece of Berlin, Ct wound-up third in the JAD Carpet Showcase Chevy with Timmy Solomito of Islip and Ron Silk of Norwalk, Ct completing the top five.
The Miler Lite night 15-lap Figure Eight feature came down to another titanic battle between Roger Maynor of Bay Shore and defending champion Arne Pedersen of Mastic Beach with Maynor prevailing for his 106th career win. Arne Pedersen jumped to the early race advantage over Ken Hyde Jr. whose laps later were joined by Mike Mujsce and Roger Maynor. Hyde and Mujsce were fighting for second entering the third turn with Hyde in an effort to keep Mujsce at bay riding Mike up a bit. Maynor saw the opening to the inside and threw his car under the duo forcing Hyde into Mujsce drawing a yellow flag. On the restart it was Pedersen and Maynor going toe-to-toe and with two to go Maynor was able to work his way around the race leader. Once out front there was no catching the Barrasso & Sons Mason Supplies Ford of Roger Maynor who drove to victory. "Somebody was losing some water or oil" Maynor disclosed in victory lane, "my car seemed just a bit better than Arne's in the fluid and here we are". Arne Pedersen was runner-up in the BNR Home Improvements Dodge, and Ken Hyde Jr. of Medford rallied back to a third place finish in his Planet Speed racer.
One week after coming oh so close to his first career Charger win Eric Zeh of Selden was able to grab the brass ring this week in the Miller Lite night 20-lap main event. Early on CJ Lehmann and Cory Midgett went back and forth for the race lead with Lehmann leading the first lap and then reclaiming the lead from Midgett on lap 5 after Cory led laps 2 through 4. Hot on their heels were John Baker and Chris Turbush. With Midgett retaking the lead from Lehmann on lap 6 the race for second became very intense. Racing off turn four there was contact with Turbush becoming the odd-man out as he hit the wall under the starters stand and he didn't come to rest until turn two. On the ensuing restart Midgett remained the leader but he faced a new challenger in Eric Zeh who on lap 14 with an inside pass raced his way into the lead with Midgett now second. Over the final five laps Midgett did not fade away as he stayed right on the rear bumper but in the end it was Eric Zeh, a second generation driver scoring the popular victory in his Finishline Container Chevy. Rookie Cory Midgett of East Hampton was runner-up in his Mickey's Carting entry while veteran "Radiant" Ray Minieri of Bay Shore placed third in the F&S Race Fuels Dodge.
Just four years ago almost to the day, Jimmy "The Kid" White Jr. of Southampton was flown over Riverhead Raceway in a medivac helicopter after suffering burns in a Demolition Derby at the track and on Saturday he completed the amazing comeback with a hard fought victory in the Miller Lite night Blunderbust 20-lapper. Jessica Cohan paced the field for the first three laps of the race challenged for the first two laps by Bryan Quilliam but then Rob Bader took the lead on lap 4 with an inside pass in turn three. Cohan's night came crashing to an end with a trip into the fourth turn wall drawing a caution on lap 6, she was okay. On the restart Jimmy White moved in behind Bader who was fighting an overheating issue and just two laps later on another restart he moved by Rob for the lead on lap 9. Little did White know at the time getting the lead would be the easy part as once he was out front Tommy Walkowiak and Tom Pickerell quickly raced their way to second and third. The trio ran the entire second half of the race in very tight quarters with Pickerell trying Walkowiak for second while "The Wildchild" was testing White hard for the lead. Despite the constant pressure and a green, white and checker, Jimmy White would complete his comeback from his injuries of July 2008 and drove his Busy Bee Pest Control racer to his first career win which indeed was a very popular one. Tommy Walkowiak of Ridge was second in the Blaze Fuel Oil Caprice while White's teammate, "Krazy" Ed Mistretta of New Hyde Park, made a few late race moves of his own to finish third in the Bam's Auto Body Chevy.
The Miller Lite night 20-lap Legend Race car feature was a battle of old school versus new school and in the end youth was served as Brendon Bock of Franklin Square notched his second win of the season over Paul Dodorico of Miller Place. Bock set fast time in qualifying with a lap of 14.019 but he drew the #2 pill afterwards signifying a top six redraw in which he drew the outside pole while Dodorico picked the pole. Paul quickly moved his Dr. Martha Baker machine to the race lead with Brendon in tow and over the next 14-laps the tandem played a high speed game of chess with Bock looking to the outside entering the corner but then crossing over for an inside bid upon exit. Every time Bock made the move Dodorico was equal to the task until a 14th lap single file restart. Bock was able to gain a run on Dodorico and this time there were no crossover maneuvers attempted as Brendon Bock simply powered his way to the race lead on lap 15 and Dodorico found himself the challenger over the final five laps. When the race concluded it was Brendon Bock, a former National Quarter Midget champion taking down the win in his sponsor wanted racer while Paul Dodorico had to settle for second. Defending champion Chris Young of Calverton finished third in his Ray the Plumber Coupe after a spirited duel with Kyle Ellwood that was every bit as intense as the race up front.
Andrew Fowler of Wantagh took home the win in the 4-Cylinder Demolition Derby in his Timmy's Towing machine. The event which ran in part during a quick shower saw Jason Savoy turn on his side but recover from that adventure to challenge Fowler for the win with Andrew prevailing. Savoy of Lake Panamoka in his Monster's Recycling back car was Judge's Choice while Tim Mulqueen of Levittown was Fan's Choice.
The evening ended with a beautiful fireworks show staged by Bay Fireworks which was preceded by nature's own fireworks in the form of a huge lightning display just off to the distance. The surprise of the evening was Barbara Cromarty's special tribute to her husband Jim's 80th birthday in the form of a beautiful "birthday cake" of fireworks which was driven around the racetrack before being set off. Commemorative tee shirts were also distributed to the crowd which capped off a very special night of racing.
Cromarty Cup 50 NASCAR Modifieds:
1. Justin Bonsignore 2. Shawn Solomito 3. Ryan Preece 4. Timmy Solomito 5. Ron Silk 6. Tom Rogers Jr. 7. Ted Christopher 8. John Beatty Jr. 9. Dave Sapienza 10. Jason Agugliaro 11. Rich Pallai Jr. 12. Ken Darch 13. Chris McGuire 14. Vinny Biondolillo 15. Brad Van Houten 16. Eric Goodale 17. Jerry Solomito Jr. 18. Howie Brode 19. Eddie Brunnhoelzl III 20. Marisa Niederauer
1. Roger Maynor 2. Arne Pedersen 3. Ken Hyde Jr. 4. Scott Pedersen 5. Tom Ferrara 6. Mike Mujsce 7. George Seus 8. Tim Mulqueen 9. Tim Farrell 10. Mike Smith
1. Eric Zeh 2. Cory Midgett 3. Ray Minieri 4. Jeremy McDermott 5. John Baker 6. CJ Lehmann 7. Rusty Turbush 8. Brian Doyle 9. Daryn Miller 10. Jayson White 11. Dennis Cunningham 12. Chris Turbush
1. Jimmy White Jr. 2. Tommy Walkowiak 3. Ed Mistretta 4. Tom Pickerell 5. Tim Mulqueen 6. Scott Maliszewski 7. Paul Parisi 8. Bill Wegmann 9. Fred Nolan 10. Jack Handley Jr. 11. Rob Bader 12. Bryan Quilliam 13. Joe Seeger 14. Thomas Puccia Jr. 15. Scott Sepe 16. Bob Muller 17. Justin Wahl 18. Richie Hubbard 19. Tom Sullivan 20. Mike Accordino 21. Frankie LaPocca Jr. 22. Charlie Zukowski 23. Jessica Cohan
Legend Race Cars:
1. Brendon Bock 2. Paul Dodorico 3. Chris Young 4. Kyle Ellwood 5. Richie Davidowitz 6. Kevin Nowak 7. Vinny Delaney 8. Kyle Soper 9. Chris Rogers 10. Alex Urbina 11. Frank Scimeca Jr. 12. Christian Conklin 13. Shawn Wanat 14. Jay Sendlewski 15. Bryan Kelly 16. Jeffery Goodale 17. Anthony Cacioppo 18. Jim Sylvester 19. Joe Scibelli 20. Brad Van Houten 21. Tom Marsh 22. Greg Harris 23. Tommy Walkowiak 24. Artie Pedersen III 25. Jim Byrne 26. Kevin Rommeney 27. Dan McNamara
4-Cylinder Demolition Derby:
Winner- Andrew Fowler
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