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Riverhead, NY 11901
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"EYE ON RIVERHEAD" by Bob Finan
Tuesday, April 8, 2013
Okay, it seems we are finally done with old man winter and the nasty off-season we were all made to endure. We had Superstorm Sandy, a week later a Nor' Easter and, of course on my birthday no less, a historic blizzard, not to mention cold weather that lingered up until this past weekend. Ah but there is a light at the end of the long tunnel and it has arrived as we are now just a matter of days from the first pre-season practice session at Riverhead Raceway Saturday April 20th! Happy Spring everyone.
This past Saturday the first pre-season Safety Tech Inspection was staged and our John Ellwood reports the turnout was among the best in recent years and hopefully that bodes well for our opening weekend at Riverhead Raceway Saturday May 4th & Sunday May 5th!
The second Safety Tech Inspection will be this Saturday April 13th from 9:00 am until 3:00 pm and if you missed this past week you surely want to get to this one. Keep in mind no car can hit the race track until going through and passing Safety Tech, so try and get to the track this week to avoid the long practice day lines.
Here is your practice day schedule for Saturday April 20th and 27th. Pits will open at 9:00 both days with the Safety Tech Inspection starting at 9:00 am as well. Then at 12 noon the roar of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series stock cars and the aroma of Sunoco Race Fuel will fill the air with the first laps being taken for the new race season. The NASCAR stock cars will practice until between 4:00 & 5:00 pm before the Enduro cars and stars take over for their test & tune!
Looking forward to opening night May 4th for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. The pit gates will swing open at 11:00 am to allow ample time to get all seven divisions in the pits and situated before practice starts at 2:00 pm. Keep in mind that NO special practices will be held for divisions already racing and with all seven classes in action May 4th none will be needed! NASCAR Modified and Legend Race Car time trials will start at 5:00 pm, feature event racing at 5:30 pm or at the end of time trial qualifying. Spectator gates open at 3:00 pm.
The May 4th NWAAS lid-lifter will feature Twin 30's for the NASCAR Modifieds, Late Models, Figure Eights, Chargers, Blunderbusts, Super Pro Trucks and the Legend Race Cars. A fantastic race card put together by Barbara & Jim Cromarty to kick things off for 2013!
As for the second half of our 2013 Opening Weekend Sunday May 5th will find the pit gates opening at 10:00 am with racing at 12:30 pm. General admission gates will open at 12:00 noon for a full card of Grand Enduro, 4/6-Cylinder Truck, 8-Cylinder and 4/6-Cylinder Car Enduro racing!
Once again we remind all NASCAR race teams that run Saturday nights that Transponders are mandatory for 2013. For information on how you can purchase, rent for the season or rent a transponder by the week please call Dennis Freese of Oval Speed Unlimited, 516-541-7920 and he'll help you out.
Three Riverhead Raceway champions got their 2013 racing season off on the right foot this past weekend starting with former 4-time Charger champion Chris Turbush. Turbush hauled his East-West Marine #81 Super Pro truck to the Waterford Speedbowl Saturday to take part in a New England Truck Series race which he won after taking the lead on lap 10. Chris noted on his Facebook page that the winning truck is still for sale, $9,000 takes all and you could be in the Super Pro Truck field here at Riverhead opening night May 4th. Message Chris on that FB page for further information. Chris's brother and 2012 RR Super Pro Truck champion Roger was 6th after a mid-race tangle forced him to the pits for repairs before returning for the top ten finish
Sunday afternoon 2011 NASCAR Modified champion Justin Bonsignore visited the Poughkeepsie Go-Kart venue for what they call the Big Champ Kart Animal and the driver of the M-3 Technologies #51 walked off with the $1,000 first place prize money. Justin and car owner Ken Massa'a attention now turns to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour opener this coming weekend at the Thompson Speedway. During a recent visit to Indy 3000 Bonsignore indicated to yours truly he'll be racing at Riverhead as much as his WMT schedule allows.
Also on Sunday afternoon defending Legend Race Car champion Kyle Ellwood wheeled the Goodie Motorsports entry to victory lane in the INEX Legend Race Car opener at the Mountain Speedway. Kyle who was 7th the night before at Waterford in his #71 actually took the win in the Riverhead Building Supply #9 that Brad Van Houten will run full-time at Riverhead this season. Now I call that shaking a car down or as Kyle would put it "stout". By the way at Waterford Kyle's teammate Jeffrey Goodale was 6th while Brendon Bock #33 was 8th.
Also on Sunday afternoon the Suffolk Association of Figure Eight Racing staged its annual awards banquet where they crowned Mike Mujsce #13 as their 2012 champion. Mike was joined in the championship presentation by his fiancée Deborah Anderson, owner of the Bill Beener Tree Service/K Clement Landscaping machine that was also named Best Appearing SAFER Car for 2012. Deborah was named the Billy Webster 2012 SAFER Car Owner of the Year. Congrats on all the awards!
Our own Robin Merry was honored with a SAFER Achievement & Dedication Award by SAFER, a well deserved tribute to say the very least. Robin and her husband Don were on hand for the festivities and reports a good time was had by all!
"TK" Tommy Kraft was presented with a long overdue award as he was presented the SAFER Ultimate Sportsman Award for his lifelong dedication to Figure Eight racing. Anyone who knows "TK" knows how he works behind the scenes to try and keep the class afloat at Riverhead Raceway. His nephew Joe Larsen made the emotional presentation.
Nick Hannsman from Arne Pedersen's #34 BNR Home Improvement/Seatuck Fish team was voted the Billy Webster SAFER Crew Chief of the Year, another well deserved honor. Arne stopped by Indy 3000 late last week and informed us that he has re-done the entire front end of his machine hoping to improve the geometry on the car. He also has replaced the body on the car for 2013 and hopes to reclaim the Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Long Island SAFER Driver's Cup from Mike Mujsce this season.
The class of 2012 for the Ernie Maynor SAFER Hall of Fame all came from one very successful Figure Eight team, that of 2002 and 2003 Riverhead Raceway Figure Eight champion Tom Rogers Jr. Tom, along with his team, brother in law Mike Berner and Bryan Treutle were a dominating team in their #1 machine before moving onto the NASCAR Modified ranks in 2004 where they are also multi-time champions. Tom, who ranks near the top of the active drivers on the all-time NASCAR Modified win list has made no bones about the mission of his Joe Ambrose owned team this year - the 2013 Riverhead Raceway and New York State NASCAR Whelen All-American Series championships.
We'll return with our next Eye the week after the first practice.
Until then - BF
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