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"EYE ON RIVERHEAD" by Bob Finan
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
What a Labor Day weekend we enjoyed at Riverhead Raceway. We saw many story lines unfold so we'll get right to it. After that with the 2013 season winding down and the track championships to be decided we'll focus more on that this week than our usual format, hope you enjoy it and it is informative for you.
Saturday night in the 35-lap NASCAR Modified feature event Tom Rogers Jr. #0 suddenly found himself the race leader in his Relay Communications Chevy with five laps to go after having run third for quite a spell. That was all he needed to collect his fourth win of 2013. Rogers admitted after the race that he got into Dave Sapienza while the duo were fighting for third after he bounced off the wall and his feet got messed-up on the pedals in the car going into turn three and was quick to apologize to "Sap" in victory lane. With six wins in 2012 and 4 to date this year Tom has strung together two great seasons for car owner Joe Ambrose and if not for some late season mechanical ills last season and Tom's five race suspension this year one can only imagine what could have been.
NASCAR Modified points: 1. Howie Brode, 424 2. Ryan Preece, 327 (-97) 3. Timmy Solomito, 320 (-124) 4. Shawn Solomito, 284 (-140) 5. Dave Sapienza, 277 (-147)
After his potent Eastport Feeds #10 Late Model was damaged significantly earlier in the month Scott Kulesa roared back with a convincing win in the non-stop 25-lap Late Model feature event. The soft spoken former champion told me later in the night if were not for the Corwin family of Eastport Feeds and his longtime veteran crew who maintain his two car fleet while he resides in Georgetown, Mass. he simply would not be racing. With just one point race remaining Scott is 12-markers out of the lead and his title chances are slim at best but that doesn't mean Scott won't be going for it September 21st!
Late Model points: 1. Jeremy McDermott, 395 2. Roger Oxee, 386 (-9) 3. Scott Kulesa, 383 (-12) 4. Mike Bologna, 379 (-16) 5. Chris LaSpisa 377 (-18)
Going to go out on a limb here and state that 15-year old Mark Stewart #8 might just be the most talented member of the four generations of the Turbush racing family. Wait just a minute Bob, "Dynamite" Dan and Chris have nearly 100 Charger wins between them and Roger is a two-time Super Pro Truck champion! I get all of that. Here is my point, none of that trio were permitted to race at 15, well, maybe Danny fibbed a bit but Mark in his freshman year has three wins in nine starts. My math tells me that is 33.3% of his starts in his Angela's House Chevy and that, my friends, translates into a bright future for the driver who won the 20-lap Super Pro Truck feature Saturday.
Super Pro Truck points: 1. tie- Lou Maestri & Frank Dumicich, 390 3. Mike Albasini, 382 (-8) 4. Frank Dumicich Sr., 360 (-30) 5. Erin Dumicich-Solomito 358 (-32)
The week leading up to Brad Van Houten's first career Legend Race Car win was a trying one to say the least. Seven days prior Brad had the pole for the Legend feature but was deemed to have jumped the start of the race and was sent to the rear where he proceeded to drive through the field for a 11th place finish. During the week he and his wife Laura were enjoying some vacation time which was cut short when she suffered a foot injury that found her hobbling around on crutches at the track Saturday. However this past Saturday Brad, who last won here in a Charger car on May 27th, 2006 changed his and his family's fortunes around with a hard fought victory in the 20-lap main event. It was no easy win as Van Houten had "The Natural" Timmy Solomito draped all over him for a good portion of the race with Timmy racing him real hard for the lead but always treating Brad like a gentleman. With four generations of his family rooting him on Van Houten nailed down what indeed was a very popular win in the Riverhead Building Supply #09.
Legend Race Car points: 1. Brendon Bock, 554 2. Timmy Solomito, 544 (-10) 3. Kyle Soper, 508 (-508) 4. Kyle Ellwood, 496 (-58) 5. Justin Strumpf, 484 (-70)
Matt "The Maniac" Mulqueen #81 made it two for two in the Demolition Derby events he has entered in 2013 as he took down the 4-Cylinder win this past Saturday in his Timmy's Towing entry. Matt topped teammate Rich Fowler #6 for the win.
Demolition Derby points: 1. Jason Savoy, 500* 2. Rich Fowler, 270 3. Matt Mulqueen, 200 4. tie-Andrew Fowler& George Astacio, 150 *clinched 2013 Championship
With just two points paying races left for the NASCAR Modifieds (9-7 & 9-21) Howie Brode #96 and his Peter Clark Motorsports teams have pretty much locked up the 2013 NASCAR Modified championship, his second career title. His first came some 15-years ago in 1998. With a 97-point lead over Ryan Preece #20 and the track points for the Twin 30's split in half this week Preece needs a very large field of cars to show up and that is not likely. Prior to the 2012 campaign Brode and his car owner Peter Clark ran a part-time schedule for several years and after falling short to Shawn Solomito last year, this 2013 championship indeed is a very rewarding one for the Petro Fuel Oil team.
NASCAR Modified Teams should note the September 21st 50-lapper will be for track points only as the window for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series championship points will have closed as of midnight Monday September 16th.
With just one Late Model points race left on the 2013 schedule (9-21) Jeremy McDermott has what can best be described as a decent lead over Roger Oxee #39 with a 9-point cushion. For Oxee to wrestle the title away from the driver of the SDS Telecommunications #4 "RJ" would have to be five spots better. Sitting third is Scott Kulesa 12 back of McDermott and for him to make a charge from third to the title he'd have to place 7 positions better than McDermott, while also finishing two spots better than Oxee. Two time defending champion Mike Bologna #00 is 16 out of first and with field of a dozen or so cars his chance at a three-peat have gone away.
All divisions running the Miller Lite night National Demolition Derby program Saturday September 28th should note that there will be no track points on the line as all points end with our seven division Track Champion Night on Saturday September 21st.
With just two Super Pro Truck points paying races remaining this season (9-7 & 9-21) this indeed is the most intense championship tussle. Lou Maestri in his Gershow recycling Chevy and Frank Dumicich Jr. #42 in his Crossfit Chevy are tied going into this Saturday with 390 each. Maestri currently holds the tie-breaker with 2 wins to Dumicich's 1. Just eight points back is the "King of Queens" Mike Albasini #66 in his Gardner Specialty Auto Chevy. With fourth place Frank Dumicich Sr. #5 some 30-points out of the lead it will be a three truck fight to the finish.
Over in the Legend Race Car pit area it is pretty much between Brendon Bock #33 in the A&S Bagels racer and Timmy Solomito in the Monsters Recycling #48 as they are separated by 10-points with 2 points races to go (9-14 & 9-21). The interesting fact here is Timmy didn't start driving the Strumpf Motorsports entry until the second race of the season and is one start behind Bock on the season. Meanwhile Bock and his team had planned since the off-season to compete at the INEX Nationals on September 14th but with them now two races away from a Riverhead Raceway title those plans have been scrubbed. Kyle Soper #4 is third in points and is 46 back of Bock and with a field of 27 cars quite possible for the two races left, he is not out of the title fight. Soper also has started 13 of the 14 Legends races this year, taking a week off early in the season.
The Figure Eights return this week for a 15-lap main event and they too have just 2 point races left on the year (9-7 & 9-21). Arne Pedersen in his BNR Home Improvement #34 will have a slim 4-point advantage over Roger Maynor in his Barrasso & Sons Mason Supplies Ford #28 going into this Saturday, 366 to 362. Just eight off the lead is the most recent winner Ken Hyde Jr. #58 and his All-Out Fire Protection team with 358. The championship appears as though it will be decided among this trio of drivers with Hyde seeking his first ever title.
Chargers return this week as well and here also is another tight battle for the crown. Eric Zeh and his Finishline Carting & Demolition Chevy #34 team will take a 4-point lead over former four time champion Chris Turbush #81 and his Carpet Express team into this week, 466 to 462. "Radiant" Ray Minieri $3 and his Sunrise Chiropractic & Wellness Office team sit third 20-points back of Zeh and for Ray to have any chance he'll need more cars to show up for the final two point races. Like Hyde in the Figure Eights, Zeh is gunning for his first career Riverhead title.
Perhaps the closest championship fight going into this Saturday resides in the Blunderbust division where four points separate first through third! "The Wildchild" Tommy Walkowiak in his Blaze Fuel Oil #00 leads defending champion "Slick Pick" Tom Pickerell #4 and his Premier Utility Service team by two markers, 460 to 458, while Scott Maliszewski in his Tom Stock Attorney-At-Law #22 are third with 456. The Blunderbusts also have three point paying races left in their championship fight which means fourth place Jimmy "The Kid" White Jr. and his Busy Bee Pest Control #32 who sit fourth with 432 are still in the hunt but have work to do!
Greg Zaleski #18 gave himself a nice go back to work present Sunday afternoon when he topped the 50-lap Grand Enduro in his Blue Point Auto Body Chevy, it was Greg's second win of the season. Greg now returns to work as a Phys. Ed teacher as well as a Soccer coach in the Bayport School district.
Greg Harris has been dominating the 4/6-Cylinder Truck class in wins this year and he continued that hot streak with a win this past Sunday but this one was no gimmie. Ben Gregor #45 in his Gregor Well Drilling racer was all over the SGS Stone Works entry as they raced off turn four for the checker with Harris barely prevailing.
Rob "The Racer" McCormick #9 did indeed dominate the first 8-Cylinder Enduro, a 75-lap affair but not after a long night of work in the shop. Rob and his Pete's Landscaping team came out Saturday to shake their car down and it was a good thing they did. They discovered bad fuel that they purchased at an out of state track a few weeks back. That meant a long night for crew chief Scott Denis as he had to drop the fuel tank, drain all the water logged fuel out and also change the carburetor. Well as you can see all that hard work until 3 in the morning paid off with a win.
If you ask Anthony Pizzo if he would like a nightcap he'll surely respond yes!! No I'm not talking about an adult beverage but rather the second 8-Cylinder Enduro that is presented only with stand alone Enduro cards. Seems Anthony and his United Exhaust Shops team excel at them as he took another victory this past week.
I was caught off guard when 4/6-Cylinder Car Enduro winner Ed Fontana #14 told me afterwards that his win in their 50-lapper was his first career win but indeed it was. Ed, armed with his new sponsor for the season Miller Place Auto Upholstery, survived a battle with veteran Jim McCarthy #12 to post the all important first time triumph!
Weekend notes: Ron Silk & his TS Haulers team made repairs to their #6 after the Saturday night show so they could practice Sunday and practice they did. The Grosso Brothers team must have logged nearly 100-laps...Two Super Pro Truck starts for "The Skunk" Bobby Gardner #68 results in two fifth places finishes for the driver of the HCC Chevy...Chris LaSpisa with a solid second place finish in his Sprinkler's Galore Irrigation #7 LM...Mike Mujsce's daughter Amanda Anderson made her SPT debut Saturday logging laps in the Mike's Auto Service Chevy. She was on hand Sunday as well as gaining more valuable seat time...Odd to see the likes of Ryan Preece, Justin Bonsignore, Ron Silk & Dave Brigati off in time trials but one thing the quartet had in common is that they had a late draw in tire selection...Former Grand Enduro champion Dave Antos in his CR Customs Chevy with a solid runner-up finish Sunday..."KO" on the move Saturday in the NASCAR Modified feature as he roared to a stellar 4th place finish in the RP Landscaping Chevy...Jeff Andrade and his Starlite Auto Body #78 team made his first start in quite sometime placing 15th after a 22nd place start in the Modified event...Prior to his fine showing in the Mods, Kevin Orlando ran the Daryl Baker owned Staria Automotive Late Model #07 but first night bugs forced them to the infield...Joe Warren Jr. #18 who has controlled the 4/6-Cylinder Car Enduro action this year raced his way to a second place finish despite a flat rear tire late in the going...Good to see Kyle Ellwood escape a fire in his Riverhead Building Supply #71x that was started due to an oil line failure, it was his second such incident this year as he also had one at the Waterford Speedbowl in the spring...Blunderbust standout Jack Handley Jr. took some laps in the Gadzinski Insurance SK Modified of Dennis Krupski Sunday afternoon and looked very impressive!...Kevin Nowak wheeled the Erick Zegel Grand Enduro Sunday and drove it to a fine 4th place finish.
Until next week - BF
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