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Riverhead 'Lil Jason Trinca Memorial To Tom Rogers Jr,
Shawn Solomito First Time NASCAR Modified Champion
by Bob FInan
Saturday evening at Riverhead Raceway promoters Barbara & Jim Cromarty and their NASCAR Whelen All-American Series officials were in a "two-minute" hurry up offense all program long. Heavy rain was closing in from the west and it was a race to the finish to get the entire show in. They made it just in the nick of time and Tom Rogers Jr. of Patchogue notched the NASCAR Modified victory in the 'Lil Jason Trinca Memorial 50. With his third place finish in the race Shawn Solomito of Islip, a dear friend of the Trinca family, put the wraps on his first career NASCAR Modified championship. A great spirit of cooperation from the promoters, NASCAR officials, track crew and the race teams combined for a successful completion of the show. Two minutes after the completion of all races, the heavens literally opened up with a huge downpour.
Tom Rogers Jr. set the standard in pre-race qualifying with a lap of 11.836 and when it came time for Tom to draw the pill to see if the race would start straight-up or be a redraw he chose the #1 pill signifying a straight-up start. Rogers was joined on the front row by title contender Howie Brode, with point leader Shawn Solomito lining-up third and when the race went green they'd run in that very same order. In fact during several double file restarts before the halfway point of the race Rogers would stay out front with Solomito giving Brode enough room to duck in front of him for second instead of trying to force his way under Howie for second. Solomito, who had his #66 undergo a new vinyl wrap during the week to match the EEKR Go-Kart of 'Lil Jay Trinca's right down to his #48, didn't want to force the issue with Brode and have something go wrong ending his title hopes.
That was just fine with race leader Tom Rogers Jr. who was happy to stay out front for all 50-laps and as the race wore on in its second half the former two-time champion was able to get away and open a comfortable lead over Brode and Solomito. That was especially important since the 'Lil Jay Trinca Lap 48 Leader Bonus was worth an extra $1,070 to Rogers and his car owner Joe Ambrose.
At the conclusion of the race it was indeed Tom Rogers Jr. crossing the line first earning a cool $2,560 for his sixth win of the year which included the Lap 48 Leader Bonus. "This win feels good." Tom noted afterward. "Jay Sr. and I went to school together and anytime we lose a member of our racing family, especially that young, we all try and pull together." As for his numerous victories he credited his car owner and team "can't say enough about Joe Ambrose and my team, we had a great year, if not for a worn hose going into our overflow that caused a leak and gave us two black flags we would have been right there with Shawn and Howie".
Howie Brode of East Islip was runner-up in both the race and championship standings in the Peter Clark Motorsports Chevy. Shawn Solomito crossed the line third in the SS Motorsports Chevy and after being doused with champagne he dedicated his championship season, "right from the first race of the year this effort was all about 'Lil Jay and Keri Trinca who we lost in that accident last year. We had two guardian angels with us and we overcame losing a car and other obstacles with them looking over us".
Dan Jivanelli of Hampton Bays charged his way to a 4th place finish from an 11th starting position and Timmy Solomito of Islip completed the top five.
Scott Kulesa of Georgetown, Ma scored his second Late Model win of the 2012 campaign with a late race pass of Arne Pedersen on lap 19. Pedersen, who just minutes prior to strapping into his Late Model, lost the 2012 Figure Eight title in a heartbreaker, was a man on a mission in the Chris LaSpisa back-up car. Arne took the lead over Dennis Krupski for the first two laps before being challenged by new second place driver Kevin Metzger on lap 3. Metzger quickly found himself fighting for that spot with Scott Kulesa who got by on lap 14 and once to second Scott wasted no time in reeling in leader Pedersen. Kulesa tried Pedersen several times before hitting pay dirt with an inside pass in turn two for the lead. Once out front the driver of the Eastport Feeds Pontiac would lead the remaining six laps for the win. Arne Pedersen of Mastic Beach had a career best runner-up finish in the McBetts Racing Engines Chevy while Kevin Metzger of Massapequa was third in the Long Island Fuel Oil Accessories Chevy.
With a 5th place finish Mike Bologna of Melville for the second year in a row sewed-up the 2012 Late Model title in his Schlaugies Fuel Oil Chevy.
Mike Mujsce of Westhampton Beach not only won the 15-lap Figure Eight feature event but with that victory he also clinched his first career championship. Over the years especially in Formula 1 Racing "team orders" have come into play and Saturday at Riverhead Raceway they came into play with just one lap left in the Figure Eight race. Tom Ferrara in a car owned by Mike Mujsce had led the entire distance of the race chased early on by Mike Smith before Mujsce settled to second on lap 4. However when Arne Pedersen who had a two point lead over Mujsce going into the race came to third late in the race that meant Pedersen and Mujsce would be tied for the title, with Arne holding the tie-breaker. Suddenly after taking the white flag Ferrara slid over to make room for Mike Mujsce who took the lead, the eventual win and the 2012 Figure Eight championship by 2 points in his Bill Beener Tree Service Chevy. Tom Ferrara of Patchogue was runner-up in the K. Clement Landscaping entry while a disappointed Arne Pedersen crossed the line third in the BNR Home Improvement Dodge.
"Radiant" Ray Minieri of Bay Shore led wire to wire in a non-stop 20-lap Charger feature to notch his 15th career win in the class. Minieri took advantage of his pole starting berth to take control of the race at the throw of the green with four-time champion Chris Turbush running second. Chris was able to keep Ray a couple of car lengths in front of him but never did muster up a run at Minieri for the lead. At the finish it was the Sunrise Chiropractic & Wellness Center Dodge of Ray Minieri collecting his second win of the season over Chris Turbush of Riverhead who was runner-up in the Citywide Sewage & Drain Pontiac. Eric Zeh of Selden was third in the ILS Landscaping Chevy.
With a 5th place finish in the JDP Mechanical Chevy, Jeremy McDermott of Riverhead collected his first career Charger championship but there was little time for celebrating as McDermott still had to run the Late Model feature where he finished a solid 4th.
16-year old Jack Handley Jr. of Medford scored his second Blunderbust win of 2012 when he won their 20-lap feature event. The race right from the start was a wild one with Scott Sepe leading the first two laps before being passed by Rob Bader on lap 3. Jack Handley Jr. came to second when Bader took the lead and right away the duo fought for the lead while racing through some thick lapped traffic. Side by side off turn four Handley got shoved into the infield by a lapped car but he never lifted throwing his car into the first corner. Racing under Bader some contact was made as the tandem started the 6th lap with Handley coming away with the race lead with Bader now second. Jack Handley Jr. would negotiate the lapped cars over the final 14-laps of the race masterfully to take home the win in his Relle Electric Chevy. Rob Bader of Holtsville was runner-up in the TDC Family Plan Chevy, while "The Pistol" Paul Parisi of Riverhead was third in the Tide Water Dock Builders entry.
After starting all the way back in 18th, "Slick Pick" Tom Pickerell of Huntington drove to an 8th place finish good enough to win the 2012 Blunderbust championship in his Premier Utility Service Chevy. Tom admitted afterwards he had some trying moments coming through the field but it all worked out in the end.
In the 20-lap Super Pro Truck feature Lou Maestri of Deer Park won the battle but lost the war where the 2012 championship was concerned. Erin Dumicich seeking her second straight win broke out to the early lead over Rich Campo, with Lou Maestri quickly coming to second on lap 3. While racing on the 4th lap Maestri knew he had to finish multiple spots ahead of both Turbush brothers, Chris and Roger, in order to win the title and made an inside pass of Erin going into turn three to take the lead. The good news for Lou Maestri in his IGA of Fort Salonga Chevy was once he was out front he never relinquished that lead taking his division leading 24th career win. The bad news for Lou was that 2012 Super Pro Truck champion Roger Turbush of Riverhead came to second on lap 12 which is where he'd finish in the Rheem Air Conditioning Chevy, good enough to give him his second SPT championship in three years. Erin Dumicich of East Quogue was third in the Sea-Level Construction Dodge continuing her late season hot streak.
Kyle Ellwood of Riverhead had already sewn-up the 2012 Legend Race Car championship coming into Saturday's 20-lapper but he wanted to ice the cake and indeed he did with his 5th win of the season. Chris Young, a five time feature event winner this season in his own right, jumped out front early with Ellwood in tow. On lap 4 exiting turn four, Ellwood pinched his car hard under Young and by the time they started the 5th lap there was a new race leader. Interrupted by just one yellow flag once Kyle Ellwood had the lead there was no looking back for the driver of the Riverhead Building Supply machine as he drove off to victory. Chris Young of Calverton was runner-up in the Bridgehampton National Bank racer while Vinny Delaney of Holtsville turned in another solid run for third in the Joe Sole Motorsports entry.
1. Tom Rogers Jr. 2. Howie Brode 3. Shawn Solomito 4. Dan Jivanelli 5. Timmy Solomito 6. Jason Agugliaro 7. Dave Sapienza 8. Brad Van Houten 9. Eddie Brunnhoelzl III 10. Vinny Biondolillo 11. Chris McGuire 12. Ken Darch 13. Danny Watts 14. Kyle Ellwood 15. John Fortin 16. Frank Dumicich Jr. 17. Rob McCormick DNS- Jerry Solomito Jr., Tony Anello
1. Scott Kulesa 2. Arne Pedersen 3. Kevin Metzger 4. Jeremy McDermott 5. Mike Bologna 6. Greg Kleila 7. Peter Eriksen 8. Shawn Patrick 9. Chris LaSpisa 10. Dennis Krupski 11. Artie Pedersen Jr. 12. Frank Dumicich Jr.
1. Mike Mujsce 2. Tom Ferrara 3. Arne Pedersen 4. Ken Hyde Jr. 5. George Brown 6. Chuck Hlatky 7. Mike Smith 8. Scott Pedersen 9. Tim Mulqueen
1. Ray Minieri 2. Chris Turbush 3. Eric Zeh 4. CJ Lehmann 5. Jeremy McDermott 6. Cory Midgett 7. John Baker 8. Chad Churilla 9. Jack Handley Jr. 10 Jayson White DNS- Garret Frabizio
1. Jack Handley Jr. 2. Rob Bader 3. Paul Parisi 4. Bill Wegmann Sr. 5. Tommy Walkowiak 6. Ed Mistretta 7. Justin Wahl 8. Tom Pickerell 9. Bill Wegmann Jr. 10. Terry Stiles 11. Adam St. Lawrence 12. Mike Accordino 13. Scott Sepe 14. Tim Mulqueen 15. Jimmy White Jr. 16. Joe Seeger 17. CJ Zukowski 18. Fred Nolan 19. Bryan Quilliam 20. Tom Puccia 21. Robert Duffus 22. Jessica Cohan 23. Bob Muller 24. Scott Maliszewski 25. Rich Hubbard 26. Tom Sullivan
Super Pro Trucks:
1. Lou Maestri 2. Roger Turbush 3. Erin Dumicich 4. Frank Dumicich Sr. 5. Frank Dumicich Jr. 6. Mike Albasini 7. Chris Turbush 8. Kevin Scharfenberg 9. Peter Rotzi 10. Brian McElearney 11. Anthony Vecchio 12. Rich Campo 13. Keith Rotzi
Legend Race cars:
1. Kyle Ellwood 2. Chris Young 3. Vinny Delaney 4. Richie Davidowitz 5. Brendon Bock 6. Jeffery Goodale 7. Kyle Soper 8. Christian Conklin 9. Anthony Marsh 10. Shawn Wanat 11. Brad Van Houten 12. Jim Sylvester 13. Artie Pedersen III 14. Eric Hershey 15. Chris Rogers 16. Frank Scimeca Jr. 17. Tommy Walkowiak 18. Bill Hiscock 19. Alex Urbina 20. Michael Rommeney 21. Silas Hiscock Sr. 22. Kevin Rommeney 23. Joe Scibelli 24. Bryan Kelly 25. Jay Sendlewski 26. George Tomko Jr. 27. Justin Strumpf
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