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"EYE ON RIVERHEAD" by Bob Finan
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
All the fine tuning and testing is now complete at Riverhead Raceway and it's time to kick-off the 63rd season of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing. This coming weekend, May 4th & May 5th, we'll be into high gear as Barbara & Jim Cromarty usher in another exciting season. Let's all have some fun this year; after all we truly deserve it after a tough off-season!
Reminder to all of our Saturday night teams that the pits will open an extra hour early this week at 11:00 am so that Mike Cappiello, Steve Tooker and our new handicapper Christi Jo Mortimer can get everyone situated with parking spaces and transponders. Remember Christi Jo will be stationed in a third window at our NASCAR Registration office with Christine Rickert and Pat Cappiello. Once past this weekend Steve Tooker told us the pit gates would open at 12 noon for regular Saturday night shows, the exception being the 2 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events June 29th and September 14th. Practice will start at 2:00 pm this week with NO extra practices.
A big thank you once again to Jim Wichert of Unique Golf who agreed today to continue as the victory lane trophy sponsor for the 2013 season, something he's been doing for a few seasons now on nights when there are no track or sponsor trophies. During the off-season Wichert also stepped up and sold two sets of laps for the 50-lap Late Model race on August 17th giving the drivers some extra loot to race for. He also will field the #4 Statewide Roofing LM for 2012 Charger champion Jeremy McDermott and continue to race himself in our 4/6-Cylinder Truck Enduros later this summer. Thank you again Jim!
We'll use the same format this week as we did last week for the Eye, a format we might just stay with weekly, let us know how you feel about it.
Roger Oxee #39 arrived at the track Saturday morning with an air of uncertainty as he and his right hand man Todd were concerned about low oil pressure on the Southold IGA Pontiac. Happily the engine's oil pressure was fine, just some of the equipment that reads it was off. RJ had a best lap 13.050 on the day; he was one of two Late Models that had a transponder for the day.
Christian Conklin #84 thrashed on his Legend Race Car to make it out for practice, as his car was minus front fenders. Christian did announce he has signed Cooper Pool Service to his team for 2013 as he'll seek his second career win and more this summer.
Nice to see the Shivers family working with Chris McGuire #89x during his sophomore NASCAR Modified season. Also working with the slimmed down "Furdog" is former Figure Eight driver Kenny Southard, Chris wants to welcome them all aboard and thank them for joining the M3 Technologies team.
What a good turnout of Figure Eight cars for the day as nine were on hand, the most for practice day in recent memory. Ken Hyde Jr. #58 in his K&K Towing entry and Brian Hansen did not make it onto the track but did get inspected for opening night.
Got an opportunity to catch up with NASCAR Modified driver Glenn Logan early on and he announced that FD Sage Global Media has signed on with his #44 team and also disclosed his car was painted by Red's Auto Body of Lindenhurst.
Welcome back to the car owner ranks to Dunkerly's Office Products Harold Wilson, who at the midnight hour prior to the season opener bought his son Rich a Charger car. Not just any Charger car but a former Kevin Orlando machine, the team will have to miss opening night as Harold's daughter gets married but other than that will run the full slate of races.
Two time and defending Late Model champion Mike Bologna #00 looked strong in the few laps he took in the Schlaugies Fuel Oil racer.
"Pistol" Paul Parisi #69x was quick right off the trailer in his Tidewater Dock Building Blunderbust which has been shod with a new body.
Shawn Patrick coming off a 3rd place finish in the Late Model championship chase last year had his sponsor wanted Dodge #88 out running strong.
David Roys #26 was spot on in his PRC Industries Inc. Chevy NASCAR Modified turning a 12.104 for his best of the day. David will be racing for Angela's House along with Charger teammate Chad Churilla #20 in the Krantz Motorsports camp this year.
CJ Lehmann going old school with his TJ Halpin's #1 Charger as the team has gone to a retro powder blue color run back in the day by CJ'S dad Scott when he drove for Timmy & Stephen Halpin. With a pink interior Timmy has dubbed the car the "cotton candy" express, we'll use that thank you.
Speaking of nick names we for the last 2 years have tried to come up with one for Jack Handley Jr. in his Sims Steel #49 Blunderbust. Of course we called his dad "Jumping" Jack, well how do you like "Jolting" Jack????
Nice too see Ellwood Hobbies has jumped onto the Alex Urbina #19 Legend Race Car team joining Cafe Amici, Staria Automotive and Mark Jones, Allstate Insurance. Sara Sylvester put the package together with Ellwood for the Urbina family.
Chris Turbush's best Charger lap of the day was 12.445 in his "sponsor wanted" Chevy. We hear Chris is a very cool, calm and collected spotter for his SPT driving nephew Mark Stewart!
Howie Brode had to leave the track one happy NASCAR Modified camper last week as he was the only driver with a transponder to crack the 11 second barrier with a lap of 11.969 in the Peter Clark Motorsports #96.
Kyle Ellwood #71x topped those in the Legend class with a transponder with a lap of 11.706 in the Goodie Motorsports entry.
Chris Young "The Young One' not at either practice session, we tried to reach out to the Purdue University freshman to see what his plans were this year to no avail.
Ken Alfano in his Bayport Auto Body #35 Late Model had a best lap of 12.233 on the day; Ken would love to run all the 2013 shows but will need sponsorship to do so!
Roger Maynor #28 had his season start off with a close call on the exit ramp of the LIE when a driver forced Rog to lock-up the brakes so as not to hit them. Needless to say the Barrasso & Sons Mason Supplies entry was race ready right out of the trailer.
Gary Fritz Jr. fried a clutch in the Northeastern Office Equipment '57 Chevy, team mentor Tommy Kraft said the team will be ready for this Saturday night. Gary told us "TK" has been having some "chalkboard" lessons with him but the young driver can't see the board with all the smoke!
Brothers Artie Pedersen III #51 and Alan #52 the younger of the duo have signed Above All Fence as a marketing partner with their team cars.
2012 Figure Eight champion Mike Mujsce #13 and teammate Tom Ferrara #14 looked strong during the day in their Bill Beener Tree Service machines, Mike actually then took some laps later in the day in Frank Dumicich Sr's Super Pro Truck. To return the favor Frank Dumicich Jr. was then strapped into Mike's F8 car in the final practice.
After an expensive off-season Bill Park rolled the East-West Marine #20 NASCAR Modified out of the trailer Saturday and as per usual it's a work of art! Ryan Preece, the 2012 NASCAR WMT Most Popular Driver will again steer the car part-time in 2013, Bill shook the car down this past week. By the way it's Bill's Birthday this Saturday, stop by and wish him a happy one, he loves that!
Brendon Bock toured the track with a lap of 13.768 for his best lap of the day in his Pro Systems Brakes Legend racer.
Jason Agugliaro #69x hoping to secure his first career NASCAR Modified win this year, his third season behind the wheel clocked in with a 12.204 in the Tom O'Keefe & Sons Chevy.
Richie Davidowitz made it out in his SAM Mechanical #25 Legend racer minus graphics and a transponder shaking down his mount.
WRS Environmental Services and Jewel Maintenance have joined Vincent Biondolillo on his #06 NASCAR Modified as sponsors in 2013. Vincent was a 12.110 for his best lap of the day.
Ken Darch #03 will miss the first few weeks if not more of NASCAR Modified racing due to sponsorship woes, his Raceworks chassis will be heading north this week for a clip.
Over the years I've watched brothers race against each other, father & son go side by side, heck even father, son and daughter battle each other. This year it will be husband and wife in the Legend Race Car action as Vincent Colletti and his wife Colleen will race in their respective #26 & #31 machines. Now this indeed could get interesting.
2012 opening night Charger winner John Baker #07 looking fast for the second week in a row in his Sunrise Medical Labs Chevy.
The "Fancy Farmer" Dave Brigati clocked in with a lap of 12.239 in his JDL Environmental Chevy; he borrowed future son-in law Roger Turbush's transponder to record the time.
Scott Pedersen #19 back in the Benny Vecchio Figure Eight ride for 2013 looked strong. Scott was trying to work the push out of the front end.
Anthony Marsh #11 looked good in his Country Scapes Legend Race Car over the two test & tune days.
Rumor has "Krazy" Eddie Mistretta coming to Figure Eight racing at some point this year; Eddie was last seen at Jay Z's 40/40 club getting ready for the new year.
Steve Mastro #45 working the bugs out of his NY Auto Giant Grand Enduro car, as was Kevin McCarthy in his K-Mac Electric #24.
"Handsome" Hank Hallock #08, who won his first career 4/6-Truck Enduro last year in the Westhampton Auto Salvage machine and Don Nelson #38 among the Enduro Trucks warming-up.
Thomas "Smokey" Roberts, a volunteer firefighter with the Central Islip FD was out in his 8-Cylinder racer as was Anthony Pizzo in his United Exhaust Shop of Bohemia entry. That's right United Exhaust Shop and its owner and fellow racer Richie Carman can now be found on Johnson Avenue in Bohemia.
"Mad" Mike Smith returned to his racing roots, fine tuning his All Island Towing 8-Cylinder Enduro, Mike will also be a regular in the 8-Cylinder Demolition Derby events.
Johnny "Drama" Chrichio was busy working out the kinks on his #31 4/6-Cylinder Truck.
Well all is now in readiness for this weekend, the weekend we've all been waiting for since last September, Opening Weekend 2013, see you there!
Until then - BF
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