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"EYE ON RIVERHEAD" by Bob Finan
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Two words can be used to describe this past Saturday afternoon's first pre-season practice session at Riverhead Raceway, successful and energetic. We'll have some random thoughts and updates on some race teams below but first have to take care of some business.
All of us are very happy to hear Shirley Densieski is home and on the mend after having some stents installed last week at St. Francis Hospital. Her hubby Sonny told us that Shirley wasn't feeling too well during their ride back to Long Island from their winter home in North Carolina. The trooper she is, Shirley wanted to get back home before she went to the doctor which she eventually did and had the procedure performed.
This Saturday April 27th is round two of the pre-season testing at Riverhead Raceway with FREE grandstand admission; cars will hit the track at 12 noon with the pit area and safety tech starting at 9:00 am. Speaking of tech, Mike Cappiello and Steve Tooker want to thank Walter Bonczyk and his staff of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series inspectors for a job well done this past week. Walter, Terry, Robin and newcomer Dale kept the inspection line moving along.
For opening night May 4th only the pit gates will open at 11:00 am with practice going green at 2:00 pm. No extra practices will be allowed for anyone that afternoon with seven classes on the card.
Now, in no particular order, some items from practice day:
To nobody's surprise the Legend Race Cars had nearly a full field of cars on hand for practice. Perhaps the biggest surprise came when Richie Coy #21 pulled out onto the track. Coy, who calls Haskell, NJ home has been a regular recently at Bethel Speedway but noted he'll be making several trips to Riverhead in 2013, especially when there are time trial races. Richie is the grandson of one of the most legendary names in auto racing, the late great Midget star Johnny Coy.
Welcome back to Tom Anderson #23 in the Charger class. Tom after missing the past two seasons has teamed up with Joe Paprocky for a full time effort this season in the Robert's Asphalt/JRock Construction Chevy.
Another welcome back goes to Legend driver Joe Sedotto #56 who is also back after a few years away in his Titan Global Security entry. Joe, as he did in the past will once again race for the Wounded Warrior Project.
Justin Wahl who won his first career Blunderbust feature in 2012 announced Saturday that Darling Electric will serve as his sponsor on the #61.
Defending NASCAR Modified track champion Shawn Solomito #66 had been tight lipped about his 2013 plans over the off season. Saturday the driver of the Acme Sanitary Service entry noted his season will go as far as his budget can take him as he really needs a sponsor or two to step-up and take some of the financial burden off his shoulders.
2011 Figure Eight champion Arne Pedersen was on hand shaking down his BNR Home Improvement racer. Over the winter Arne rebuilt the front end of the car in an effort to improve the geometry, while at it Pedersen outfitted the car with a new body. Arne also saw track time in the McBetts Racing Engines #11 Late Model of Chris LaSpisa that he'll again steer this season. Chris actually took some laps in the final Figure Eight session and when he got out of the car noted, "Thatís crazy"
One week after going up in a ball of flames at the Waterford Speedbowl, defending Legend Race Car champion Kyle Ellwood #71x was back on track in the Riverhead Building Supply mount. Kyle's dad John told us a faulty oil filter was the culprit of the fire.
Veteran Dave Sapienza #36 caught many an eye with his new copper color paint scheme on his Flemington Furs Chevy NASCAR Modified. The car looked great with no graphics, can you imagine how great it will look with vinyl!
Kevin Metzger #23 looked sharp in the L.I. Fuel Oil Accessories Late Model as per usual.
Third year driver Tom Puccia #51 was out in his Tattoo Lou's Blunderbust dialing the car in for opening night May 4th.
"Downtown" George Brown turned some fine laps in the Keith Repp owned #43 coupe and then later in the day had Ken Hyde Jr. take the car out. Why? George wanted to see how the car was acting on the track from the other side of the fence.
Brendon Bock #33 came into last weekend as the INEX Legend Race Car national point leader for the Pro Division, after testing his machine out at Riverhead Saturday he raced at Mountain Speedway Sunday and was runner-up.
"The Natural" Timmy Solomito #15 took his first laps in the Eastport Feeds Chevy of Wayne & Joette Anderson, both parties were happy with the result. Long time Anderson team crew chief Kenny Lechner actually missed practice as he was under the weather.
Jeremy McDermott, the 2012 Charger champion and a newlywed to boot toured the track in the Statewide Roofing #4 owned by Unique Golf's Jimmy Wichert. The Charger car was not in the pits.
Rob Bader #19 looked very impressive in his Super Pro Truck debut steering the Coram Country Lanes Chevy.
Jack Handley Jr. as always was fast in the Kudrick's Auto Body #49 Blunderbust. Jack will wheel the third Chris LaSpisa Late Model this season once the engine for the car is readied.
Brian Brown will run the Blunderbust class this season and right off the trailer he was fast but then again he has Frank Curtis Jr. over seeing his team. Curtis won seven features in a two year period, 1992-93 and was a two time champion 1991-92.
Tom Rogers Jr. got everyone's attention later in the day during the NASCAR Modified sessions; let's just say Tom was fast right out of the trailer in his Jessup Landscaping machine. Marisa Niederauer was in the other car opposite Rogers all day long and she too was quick. Rogers and car owner Joe Ambrose have taken Marisa under their wing for 2013.
Artie Pedersen III #51 will be joined by his younger brother Allan #52 in Legend Race Car competition this year in the Sherwin Williams Paint entries; both are Long Island Karting Association champions.
Fourth generation wheelman Mark Stewart will run uncle Chris's Super Pro Truck in 2013 using his grandfather "Dynamite" Dan's fame number 8, Mark made a great save when he got caught-up in some oil dry later in the day.
The Monster's Recycling Legend Race Car team of owner Kevin Strumpf and driver/son Justin #15 are back in the class for 2013. They also unloaded a #55 machine for Paul Dodorico who won his first career race driving for the Strumpf family.
Gary Fritz Jr. #9 took some Figure Eight laps in the Northeastern Office Equipment 1957 Chevy under the watchful eye of his dad Gary, Tommy Kraft and Rick Swanson. A brake issue in the rear of the car plagued Gary and sent him into a few spins.
Erin Dumicich-Solomito #95 looked sharp in her Sea Level Construction Super Pro Truck
Tough break for Rich Campo late in the day with his Super Pro Truck as he lost an engine in the NY Auto Giant Chevy, he hopes to be ready for opening day May 4th.
Another tough break came earlier when Legend Race Car driver Michael Rommeney made contact with the 4th turn wall ending his day. Prior to practice I spoke with "The Cheesebox" who told me he has his Figure Eight car, the former George Sprague #10 for sale for just $5,000; it's a great bargain gang!
2012 NASCAR Modified points runner-up Howie Brode helping out his Peter Clark Motorsports teammate George Baker Jr. with his #96 Legend. Good to see Baker back after his hard crash last season.
The PRC Industries Inc/Angela's House #20 Charger of Chad Churilla caught some attention with its very bright green interior; Chad looked very strong as well.
Happy to see John Beatty Jr. #14 back at it in the North Shore Recycling of Freeport NASCAR Modified #14. The first session John was out for the car had a miss but as the day wore on that went away and John was wheeling.
Vincent Biondolillo #06 was shaking down his all new Troyer Engineering Kennedy Realty NASCAR Modified.
Colin Hoeffner #07 was getting his feet wet in the Legend Race Car class, his father Fred was a Mini-Modified driver back in the day and raced against Roger Campo who is Rich's dad from the Super Pro Trucks. Colin is a Bay Shore High School student.
"Radiant" Ray Minieri #43 had his always fast Sunrise Wellness Center #43 Charger on hand.
Defending Super Pro Truck champion Roger Turbush #88 on the money in his Rheem Air Conditioning Chevy.
By the way we see on Facebook that 2011 SPT champion "Dangerous" Dave Koenig is getting his Nelson's Auto Salvage racer ready for a return!
The "Racing Grandfather" Bill Wegmann #79 must have been really happy or really unhappy with his Crackerjack Auto Stores #79 Blunderbust! He was one of the first cars to leave the track early in the afternoon after taking some laps.
Kyle Soper has switched back to #4 on his Atlantic Chevrolet/Cadillac Legend, his dad Tom explained that News 12 is not returning this year with the team so they went back to the family number.
Eddie Brunnhoelzl III #8x was out in his Senix Creek Inn Chevy during the NASCAR Modified sessions. Mother's Day is just two weeks away; we recommend you make a reservation at the Senix Creek of Center Moriches.
Sophomore Charger talent Cory Midget #14 had his purple racer out for some laps minus vinyl.
Two time Blunderbust feature event winner in 2012, Jimmy "The Kid" White Jr. looked solid in his Busy Bee Pest Control racer. The team also had a brand spanking new Grand Enduro car on hand, what a great looking car!
Due to a family obligation I had to leave the track prior to Enduro practice so we'll try and catch up with those great racers next week!
Until then - BF
2013 Eye On Riverhead Archive
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