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"EYE ON RIVERHEAD" by Bob Finan
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Yes it indeed has been a long time between Eyes but we are back and with practice days April 20th and 27th just over six weeks away news is starting to develop.
This past Sunday Mike Cappiello and Steve Tooker met with their NASCAR Whelen All-American Series staff at the Eagle Auto Mall just east of the track on Route 58 and several key points came from that gathering.
A third window will now be open at the NASCAR Registration office where Christine Rickert and Pat Cappiello are stationed with new handicapper, Crisiti Jo Mortimer, manning that window. Teams will now go to that window to register for the night's racing, be assigned their parking spot and register their transponder number for the evening. It's hoped by Cappiello and Tooker that this will ease the traffic jam that used to occur under the old system.
All stock car divisions will have to use a transponder at Riverhead Raceway in 2013, this does not apply to Enduros.
Walter Bonzcyk noted that the 2013 INEX License Application can be found on the INEX and 600 Racing web sites. Walter also noted anyone who is going to drive a Legend Race Car at Riverhead this season will have to have an INEX License, even if you are just shaking a Legend down for somebody else, you'll need that license!
Walter Bonzcyk announced that there will be two pre-season technical inspection days at Riverhead Raceway, Saturday April 6th and April 13th starting at 9:00 am.
Mike Cappiello and Steve Tooker will host a NASCAR Modified drivers and owners meeting next Thursday March 14th at Waste Recycling Solutions, located at 17 Old Dock Road in Yaphank at 7:00 pm. They will go over among other things race procedures and tire procedures for the new season. Eddie Partridge of Hoosier Tires and Sunoco Race Fuels will be in attendance. A big thank you to Mike and Deborah Rodgers for the use of WRS for the meeting.
Due to the ever increasing population of enclosed trailers, open trailers or flatbeds will no longer be able to park on the west side of the pit area. Those parking on the west fence will be made to pull their rig or truck flush against the fence.
To everyone who came out to the annual Daytona 500 Party at TJ Halpin's a few weeks ago a heartfelt thank you from Stephen Halpin, his brother Tim and myself. No matter how long we've hosted the party it continues to get bigger by the year, kind of like my waistline! We did catch-up with some Riverhead drivers at the bash.
Miller Lite has signed on for the 29th consecutive season as a marketing partner for the NASCAR Modifieds, Figure Eights and Demolition Derby classes. Three Miller Lite nights dot the 2013 schedule and for complete information visit the Press Release link.
Howie Brode #96 reports his Peter Clark Motorsports NASCAR Modified is race ready and he's raring to go. Runner-up in the 2012 ranking Brode want to again make a run at the title but more than anything wants to win one of the two NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races, if not both!
David Roys was on hand along with his PRC Inc. team manager, Billy "Bear" Collichio. "Bear" flew in the night before from Speedweeks to be part of the party. Billy is putting together the Angela's House #26 for Roys as well as the #20 PRC Charger of Chad Churilla. Product Remanufacturing Corp. will sponsor both the NASCAR Modified and Charger classes at the track in 2013.
Of course the big NASCAR Modified news last month came from Wayne Anderson and his Eastport Feeds #15 team when they announced "The Natural" Timmy Solomito as their hired gun for 2013. Neither was at the party but the rumor turned into fact that afternoon.
Great Charger news during the afternoon came from Tom Anderson #23 who told us he'll be back full time this season in a car owned by Joe Paprocky, Tom feels this is a great shot in the arm not only to come back racing but also to make a run at the 2013 Charger championship.
Chris Busick noted that Jay Henschel would be returning to the class as well this season.
CJ Lehmann was on hand with his TJ Halpin's #1 Charger car perched at the entrance to the South Setauket eatery. Lehmann and his father Scott will again race for the championship in their Chevy.
Blunderbust drivers Justin Wahl #61 and Brandon Hubbard #58 were both on hand. Wahl won his first career feature last season in his R&B Quality Electric machine, while Hubbard hopes to do the same in 2013. Brandon's 2012 season was interrupted by health issues but he reports he feels great and is chomping at the bit to go racing.
Great job as always by the staff of TJ Halpin's for the 500 party. Also a tip of the hat to Tim Halpin and his mom Barbara for running some 8 pools for the race, "Papa" Noel was too busy signing autographs to pitch in!
Roger Turbush, a fixture at these parties, was unable to attend this year's due to an engagement party he had to attend but is already looking forward to the 2014 500 party!
Johnny Vullo will be back Figure Eight racing this season in an all new Murray built machine. "Johnny" Electric" was at Indy 3000 a few weeks ago with his work truck and showed us some pictures on his phone, it's going to be a great looking ride once completed. Johnny is seeking some sponsorship help as he hopes to run for the championship!
Word reaches us that former track official Gary Fritz Sr. has gotten the itch to go racing as a car owner in 2013 as he purchased the 1957 Chevy Figure Eight car from Mike Smith. Gary's son Gary Jr. will be the driver. "Mad" Mike is going back to his racing roots in 2013 concentrating on Demolition Derby action at Riverhead Raceway.
Bryan Sescila and brother Joe have put a rear clip on their Figure 8 machine, the former Tom Ferrara machine, which he drove for the Sergio family and they hope to make opening night.
The proposed strip mall on the east side of the track (behind the press box) is now fact. If you go by the track you'll notice the land has been cleared to make room for the mall which we hear will include a Buffalo Wild Wings.
Until next time - BF
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