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S.R.O. Crowd Sees Justin Bonsignore Land In Victory Lane
At Riverhead Raceway In Last Minute Decision
by Bob FInan
On his way home from a 4th place finish in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race in Bristol, TN. last Wednesday Justin Bonsignore of West Islip decided to stop off in North Carolina to visit his parents and some other friends over the weekend. Suddenly while out to dinner Justin's car owner sent him a text telling him to get on a plane as the M3 Technologies Team, wanted to run Saturday night at Riverhead Raceway where they won the 2011 NASCAR Modified championship. Bonsignore turned that late decision in to victory in the Donaldson's VW-Subaru night 35-lap feature event in front of a standing room only crowd.
In pre-race qualifying John Beatty Jr. of Merrick not only set fast time but pulled off an almost impossible fete when he timed an 11.804 for both his qualifying laps, however in the redraw John drew 6th while John Fortin and point leader Shawn Solomito drew the front row. At the throw of the green Fortin, a former three-time track champion bolted out to the early race lead with Solomito, seeking his first career title, in tow for the first lap. Lap 2 saw Bonsignore work his way by Shawn for second and quickly zeroed in on race leader Fortin. After following John for the next 9-laps Justin sensed his only chance to win the race would be on a double file restart after a yellow flag waved on lap 10 for a minor spin.
After the cars took the green to start the 11th lap Bonsignore on the outside stayed even with Fortin through the first and second corner but it would be entering the third turn where Justin would take the lead as he drove his car deep into turn three passing John for the lead. Moments later Fortin would spin off turn four moving Howie Brode who came to the race second in points to second in the race with Shawn Solomito now third. A 14th lap double file restart saw Solomito work his way back to second getting around Brode, with Ted Christopher making his way to third.
Over the second half of the race it mattered not to Justin Bonsignore who was running second as he opened a comfortable gap, one he'd enjoy for the remainder of the race to score his 8th career victory. After exiting his car Justin revealed how he found out about the late call to race, "my owner Ken Massa sent me a text while I was at dinner with Freddie Kraft and Megan where he told me the team wanted to race Saturday, did I want to drive" Bonsignore chuckled. "I have to thank Doug, my new Riverhead crew chief and my team they didn't finish the car until 4:30 am this morning and here we are".
Shawn Solomito of Islip was runner-up in the Acme Sanitary Service Chevy and with that now leads Howie Brode of East Islip by 24-points with two races remaining in 2012. Brode, who lost third on that 14th lap restart made a late race pass of Ted Christopher to reclaim and finish third in the Peter Clark Motorsports Chevy. Ted Christopher of Plainville, Ct and Timmy Solomito of Islip completed the top five.
The Late Models finally finished their August 11th feature after it was halted by rain with 3 of 25-laps complete with Peter "Buzzy" Eriksen of Baldwin scoring his 46th career win snapping a tie with Paul McElearney for second on the all-time win list. Kevin Metzger who paced the race before the rains came was on a long planned cruise and unable to return which put Peter Eriksen on the pole for the double file restart and the driver of the Harley Davidson of Nassau County Chevy wasted no time in taking the race lead. Chris LaSpisa, looking to make it two in a row, chased Eriksen at first but points leader Mike Bologna slipped under Chris in turn three to claim second on lap 8. With no caution flags the 22-laps clicked off fairly quickly and as the laps wore down Peter Eriksen built himself what would turn out to be an insurmountable lead to drive off to victory. When told he had just won his 46th race breaking the tie with McElearney a stunned Eriksen noted, "Wow, that's a lot of wins". Mike Bologna of Melville the defending LM champion was runner-up in the Russell Nill Roofing Chevy and with two races to go this year has a 10-point lead over Eriksen going into next week. Chris LaSpisa of Shirley placed third in the McBetts Racing Engines Chevy.
Defending Figure Eight champion Arne Pedersen of Mastic Beach was in the right place at the right time in their 15-lap feature winning his second race of the year and taking over the point lead in the process. Mike Mujsce and Ken Hyde Jr. were tied for the point lead coming into the race and it would be Mujsce taking the lead over Hyde in the feature event. The duo who have had a heated rivalry over the years went toe to toe for the lead in this race as well with Hyde trying lap after lap to size-up Mujsce for a pass. Every time Ken got a run on the leader, Mike was able to thwart the effort and remain out front. Things however got too close exiting turn four of the Figure Eight course on lap 12 as the leaders went into a tandem spin drawing a caution flag. Arne Pedersen who was racing with brother Scott for third suddenly found himself the new race leader and he was able to keep his BNR Home Improvement Dodge out front over the final three laps to post his 8th career win. Scott Pedersen of Shirley would cross the line second in the RPM Signs Chevy while Mike Mujsce of Westhampton Beach made a nice recovery for third in the STS Electric racer. With one race on September 8th left for the title Arne Pedersen has a two point lead over Mujsce, 368 to 366 putting Ken Hyde Jr. four back in third with 364 setting-up a wild last race for the class!
Jeremy McDermott of Riverhead made sure nobody was going to chip away at his point lead in the Chargers as he won their 20-lap feature event for his second win of 2012. "Radiant" Ray Minieri and CJ Lehmann moved to the front of the field at the drop of the green with Jeremy McDermott third. Jeremy was able to start making his move towards the front as he passed Lehmann for second on lap 4 with an inside move through the third and fourth corner. McDermott then spent the following 11-laps of the race tailing leader Minieri who was looking to end a recent run of bad luck. McDermott made his way to the race lead with six laps to go as he passed Minieri to the inside exiting the fourth corner and once he got by he began to pull away while Minieri was busy racing Eric Zeh for second. That battle got too close as Minieri would spin on lap 16 drawing a caution with Zeh being sent to the rear for rough riding. That moved CJ Lehmann back to second for the final 3-laps but Jeremy McDermott in his Suffolk Precast entry had them all covered as he drove off to his 6th career win. With one point race to go September 8th McDermott has a 16-point lead over Eric Zeh. CJ Lehmann was runner-up in the Your Floor Store Chevy, while four-time defending champion Chris Turbush of Riverhead was third in the Flash Dink machine.
Chris Young of Calverton got up at 4:00 am at Perdue University in Indiana to catch a plane to compete in the 20-lap Legend Race Car feature event after his first week of college and he made that trip worth while as took home his fourth win of 2012. Frank Scimeca Jr. paced the first lap of the race before giving way to Vinny Delaney on lap 2. Delaney who had flipped down the back stretch into turn three in the last Legends event was hoping to turn his season around with a win but behind him were two tested tough multiple time winners in Kevin Nowak and Chris Young. Nowak ran second to Delaney until lap 5 when Chris Young slid under Kevin in turns 3 & 4 to take over second. After testing leader Delaney over the next two laps Young decided to go for broke on lap 8. Going into the third turn Young drove his car very deep on the outside of Delaney and by the time the duo exited turn 4 Chris was indeed the new race leader. Delaney and Kevin Nowak would then race for second, which allowed Young to pull away as the race wore on. At the checkers it was defending Legends champion Chris Young in the Ray The Plumber entry taking home the win after a very long day. Vinny Delaney of Holtsville was runner-up in the Joe Sole Motorsports machine, with Kevin Nowak of Medford third in the Tropical Smoothies Cafe Sedan.
Early in the summer popular School Bus racer Don "Don Don" Fox of Riverhead passed away after a serious car accident and on Saturday his nephew Paul Fox in his first ever School Bus Demolition Derby paid tribute to his fallen uncle by winning a hard hitting affair. Fox in the FU Trucking Bus outlasted Kevin "Ralph Kramden" Rommeney of Maspeth in masterful fashion to score the emotional win in front of family and friends. Rommeney who won the first Bus Demo back in the spring was runner-up.
A beautiful fireworks demonstration in honor of Riverhead Raceway's annual "I Love America Night" rounded out the exciting and action-filled evening.
1. Justin Bonsignore 2. Shawn Solomito 3. Howie Brode 4. Ted Christopher 5. Timmy Solomito 6. Ryan Preece 7. John Fortin Sr. 8. Eddie Brunnhoelzl III 9. Frank Vigliarolo Jr. 10. Jason Agugliaro 11. Tom Rogers Jr. 12. Brad Van Houten 13. Vinny Biondolillo 14. John Fortin Jr. 15. Chris McGuire 16. Frank Dumicich Jr. 17. Kyle Ellwood 18. Dave Sapienza 19. Danny Watts 20. Ken Darch 21. John Beatty Jr. 22. Marisa Niederauer DNS-Amber Fortin
Late Models (held over from 8-11-12)
1. Peter Eriksen 2. Mike Bologna 3. Chris LaSpisa 4. Shawn Patrick 5. Jeremy McDermott 6. Greg Kleila 7. Dennis Krupski 8. Arne Pedersen 9. Frank Dumicich Jr. 10. Ken Alfano 11. Artie Pedersen III 12. Brandon Hubbard 13. Kevin Metzger 14. Scott Kulesa 15. Roger Oxee
1. Arne Pedersen 2. Scott Pedersen 3. Mike Mujsce 4. Ken Hyde Jr. 5. Roger Maynor 6. George Brown 7. Tim Mulqueen 8. George Sues 9. Tim Ferrara
1. Jeremy McDermott 2. CJ Lehmann 3. Chris Turbush 4. John Baker 5. Cory Midgett 6. Jack Handley Jr. 7. Eric Zeh 8. Ray Minieri 9. Jayson White 10. Chad Churilla 11. Tom Sullivan 12. Dennis Cunningham 13. Rob Visconti
Legend Race Cars:
1. Chris Young 2. Vinny Delaney 3. Kevin Nowak 4. Kyle Ellwood 5. Frank Scimeca Jr. 6. Brendon Bock 7. Bryan Kelly 8. Chris Rogers 9. Brad Van Houten 10. Shawn Wanat 11. Dylan Slepian 12. Alex Urbina 13. Christian Conklin 14. Kyle Soper 15. Jim Sylvester 16. Michael Rommeney 17. Greg Harris 18. Richie Davidowitz 19. Eric Hershey 20. Silas Hiscock Sr. 21. Jay Sendlewski 22. Bill Hiscock 23. Joe Scibelli 24. Anthony Marsh 25. Jim Byrne 26. Tommy Walkowiak 27. Paul Dodorico
Full Size School Bus Demolition Derby:
Winner - Paul Fox
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