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"EYE ON RIVERHEAD" by Bob Finan
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Before we review the events of this past Saturday evening we do need to update the schedule for this weekend concerning the 8-Cylinder Enduro events. The 8-Cylinder Enduro set for Saturday night on Miller Lite night will now shift to Sunday afternoon and be the first race of the afternoon. Teams that were going to race Saturday should note that car number and starting spot will be for the first race Sunday. The Sunday number you were assigned for the first race will now be your car number and starting spot for race number two Sunday.
Also feature events for this Saturday evening have been moved up to 5:00 pm, time trials for the Late Models, Chargers, Blunderbusts and Super Pro Trucks will start at approx. 3:30 pm. In the event of rain, heaven forbid, Saturday only the National Demolition Derby Championship would be run on Sunday afternoon after the Enduros!
He waited until the final race of 2013 to finally grab the brass ring but grab it he did as Jason Agugliaro #69x topped the 50-lap NASCAR Modified feature event, a non-stop race by the way. Howie Brode almost stole Jason's thunder but the eventual race winner did all he could to stay out front of Brode to put the Tom O'Keefe & Sons Inc. Chevy into the winners circle. Congratulations to the entire team on their long awaited victory. How many of you know by the way that Jason had won a Demolition Derby some years ago? Not many I bet!
Final NASCAR Modified points: 1. Howie Brode, 471 2. Timmy Solomito, 370 3. Ryan Preece, 356 4. Dave Sapienza, 321 5. Tie-Tom Rogers Jr., & Dave Brigati, 298, tie breaker goes to Rogers with 4 wins to Brigati's 2 wins.
With his brother Bill awaiting a heart to become available for a transplant in New York City, Kevin Metzger #23 gave him a nice get well soon gift when he topped the 25-lap Late Model feature event. Metzger almost allowed Shawn Patrick to sneak by with a textbook crossover move but Kevin; a cagey veteran was able to ward off the challenge to score his second win of 2013 in his V&J Auto Body Chevy. All of us at Riverhead Raceway wish Bill Metzger, a former driving star at the Freeport Speedway a speedy recovery and good luck.
Final Late Model points: 1. Jeremy McDermott, 439 2. Roger Oxee, 428 3. Mike Bologna, 425 4. Shawn Patrick, 423 5. Scott Kulesa, 417
After enjoying the fruits of his years of labor in the Figure Eight class with the 2012 championship, it is safe to say that Mike Mujsce #13 suffered the worst championship hangover we've ever seen in 2013. Mike salvaged the tough season with a convincing win in the 15-lap Figure Eight feature in his Bill Beener Tree Service entry and afterwards gave the fans one of the better burnouts we had witnessed all summer long.
Final Figure Eight points: 1. Ken Hyde Jr., 454 2. Roger Maynor, 450 3. Arne Pedersen, 440 4. Scott Pedersen, 412 5. Mike Mujsce, 402
Eric Zeh #34 came to the final Charger point race 2 markers back of former four-time champion Chris Turbush Saturday and he knew if he could go out and grab the win there would be no doubt he'd win his first track championship. Both Eric and Chris came to the race with three wins each over the season and if he went out and won and Chris was second he would own the first tie breaker. Eric did a masterful job to work his way out front early in the race in his ILS Landscaping Chevy and would indeed drive to the victory and 2013 Charger championship. Among his joyous family and friends in victory lane was Eric's grandfather Carl Zeh, retired NASCAR Modified car owner for Don Howe, Carl was smiling ear to ear seeing his grandson a Riverhead Raceway champion.
Final Charger points: 1. Eric Zeh, 552 2. Chris Turbush, 548 3. Ray Minieri, 540 4. CJ Lehmann, 538 5. Chad Churilla, 510
Talk about role reversal then look no further than Blunderbust winner Bill Wegmann Jr. #76. On more than one occasion this season Bill was out front leading a feature event only to have something go wrong at the very last minute or in some cases the very last lap. Well this week it was Bill in his Crackerjack Auto Supplies Chevy who was in the right place at the right time when race leader Rob Bader broke an axle while leading the race. Wegmann was not going to let the good fortune pass him by as he finally took down a feature event win in 2013.
Final Blunderbust points: 1. Scott Maliszewski, 596 2. Tom Pickerell, 572 3. Tommy Walkowiak, 556 4. Jimmy White Jr., 524 5. Brian Brown, 520
There is no bigger roller coaster ride in the world bigger than the one 2012 Super Pro Truck champion Roger Turbush rode at Riverhead Raceway this season as the driver of the Allied Air Conditioning #88 took his third win of the year in dominating fashion. The old racing adage, checker or wrecker kind of applies to Roger's season as a blown engine and other mechanical woes found him with more "did not" finishes than he probably had in his entire career.
Final Super Pro Truck points: 1. Frank Dumicich Jr., 482 2. Mike Albasini, 468 3. Lou Maestri, 456 4. Dave Koenig, 440 5. Mark Stewart, 434
Timmy Solomito #48 provided the last lap excitement for the night when he made a white flag lap pass of Kevin Nowak #53 to collect the Legend Race Car victory in the Monster's Recycling entry. The two drivers put on a whale of a show racing for the lead before Timmy made the inside pass going into the first turn to grab his third win of the season in the Kevin Strumpf owned, Chris Busick wrenched machine.
Final Legend Race Car points: 1. Brendon Bock, 642 2. Timmy Solomito, 638 3. Kyle Soper, 592 4. Kyle Ellwood, 560 5. Justin Strumpf, 558
Hats off to the Super Pro Trucks for clicking off a non-stop feature event and doing what racers should do to decide championships. race!
Fresh off his 2012 Charger championship season Jeremy McDermott moved into the Late Model ranks this year driving for Jim Wichert in the SDS Telecommunications #4 and the result would be his second straight championship season in a row. The team did have to sweat out a fender rub on the right front tire, which by the way waited until after the checker flag to go flat! We kidded both driver and owner after the championship was locked up that if Jeremy follows the natural progression of his championship ladder they'll have a NASCAR Modified next year. Both were quick to say no to that idea! Congratulations to them on their title that they earned with a 4th place finish.
Ken Hyde Jr. #58 got hot at the right time of the season coming into the final point race for the Figure Eights riding a two race win streak. Saturday the 21-year old talent took what the race gave him, a third place finish in the Northeastern Office Equipment racer which was good enough for the 2013 Riverhead Raceway and Suffolk Association of Figure Eight Racing championships! Hyde admitted the championship run started during the off season when he and his father Ken did more off season preparation than they had done since he started driving at 16-years of age and the hard work paid dividends. Congratulations Ken, job well done.
Coming to the final Blunderbust race of the year Scott Maliszewski #22 trailed point leader Tommy "The Wildchild" Walkowiak #00 by eight points and for him to wrestle the title away would be a long shot, well the long shot came in Saturday. Scott avoided all the mayhem and drove the Thomas J. Stock Attorney At law Chevy to a runner-up finish. When the race was checkered a lap shy of the 20-lap distance and Walkowiak was disqualified from the race for his actions during the final caution flag period, the title would indeed go to the soft spoken driver. Scott told us that soon he will turn the car over to one of his nephews and that this would more than likely be his last championship and we congratulate him on it.
Make no mistake about it, Frank Dumicich Jr. #42 is a racer and he proved that Saturday night as he was leading the championship chase going into the final race by 10 over Mike Albasini #66. Frank quickly made his way to third and was comfortably ahead of Mike, so settle in for third right? Not Frank he was making bids for second and was actually hoping for a caution so he could go for the win! Well, his plan worked out in the end when he finished third in his Sea-Level Construction Chevy and clinched his first career championship joining his father as a Super Pro truck champion. Nice job Frank.
Brendon Bock #33 secured his first career Legend Race Car championship by virtue of his 3rd place finish in the 20-lap main event for the class and he too was very racy for awhile in his A&S Bagels machine. Brendon is a very unassuming and soft spoken young man and took his first title in stride after the races signing autographs by his team hauler. So what did the team do to celebrate their championship, why load up and go to the Mountain Speedway Sunday afternoon where they won their 9th race of the year! By the way Brendon won the Riverhead crown without a win and we salute Brendon, Paul, Glenn and of course his father George on their accomplishment!
One week after scoring his best ever Blunderbust finish Bryan Quilliam #84 upped that fete by one Saturday as he was 10th in the Lou's Towing entry.
When race winner Jason Agugliaro #69x and Howie Brode #96 got together off turn four, "The Fancy" Farmer Dave Brigati #98x split the duo to finish second in his WPW Growers Chevy. It was good to have Dave and his team back in our pit area this year and hope they return in 2014.
Scariest moment of the season came in the Legends feature when Greg Harris got upside down tearing the bodywork off the Wine Country Caterers #65. Greg seemed fine upon exiting the car but after awhile in the pits thought he better go to Peconic Bay Medical Center for an additional check-up which came back with a good result. Greg hopes to continue his domination of the 4/6-Cylinder Truck Enduro this Sunday afternoon!
Jay Henschel has replaced Mike Coll in the Paw Fect Pet Den of Greenlawn #54 Charger, seems Mike has a new job that limits his racing and Jay has been tabbed to wheel the car. Jay was 10th.
Justin Wahl did some wheeling in the Blunderbust feature as he drove the Darling Electric #61 from 22nd to 6th after arriving at the track late Saturday.
Hard to imagine two time defending Late Model champion Mike Bologna #00 winless in 2013 during the points season but indeed he was. Mike hopes to correct that this week in his Gershow Recycling Chevy.
Chris Turbush #81 championship leader coming into the final Charger point race of the year had a rough go of it, first getting sent to the rear of the field for rough riding and then later having to pit with a right front flat. The Eastern Fuel Oil driver still managed to drive his tail off for a 4th place finish.
Brad Van Houten did triple duty Saturday night with his best finish in the Legends where he rallied the Riverhead Building Supply #09 to a 7th place finish after getting spun from the lead. His Charger effort in the Robert's Asphalt #23 was cut short and he wound-up 11th while in his Van Houten Trucking #09 NASCAR Modified he was 8th.
One driver happy to see the championship chase in the Figure Eight ranks come to an end was Arne Pedersen in his BNR Home Improvement Dodge. The car was wrecked pretty badly twice and he had some other issues and damage along the way but remained in the championship hunt coming into Saturday. A trip to the pits for a flat ended those hopes and Arne was 7th at the finish.
Shawn Patrick #88 nearly executed one of the best crossover moves of the year when he nearly passed Kevin Metzger for the LM win before settling for runner-up money. Shawn told us during the afternoon he is seeking a paint sponsor for 2014 as that is the one thing he can't do in his race car garage at home.
Hands down the hard luck driver of the year is Blunderbust driver Paul Parisi #69 in his Tide Water Dock Building entry. Put it this way, if you see storm clouds brewing and you're standing with Paul move and move quick!
Dylan Slepian #63 with a stellar 5th place finish in the Candescent Health Care of Southampton Hospital Legend Race Car. Hands down Dylan has the best hair in the pits as his hair doesn't budge even after he takes his racing helmet off. Maybe a career as a TV anchor or weatherman is in the future!
Blunderbusts for sale: #65 Robert Duffus had his Ford Thunderbird for sale for $3,000, this is the former Troy Ferdinando and Sean Byrne racer...Tommy Walkowiak has the #99 for sale for $6,000, the car has won 6 Riverhead titles and some 50 features, Ray Dominguez won the first championship with the car.
Great night for CJ Lehmann as first he was third in the Your Floor Store #1 Charger and then later a solid fifth in the Reliable Auto of Deposit NY #19 Figure Eight car.
Great return run for the Sunrise Medical Labs #07 Charger of John Baker with a fine fifth place after pitting for early race damage. Kevin Orlando drove the Staria Automotive Late Model for the team and was 11th after an early race incident.
Vinny Colletti #26 a fine 10th in the Legend Race Car feature.
Kyle Ellwood blew the engine in his FX Speedworld #71x racer in practice and thought he was done for the night but enter Shawn Wanat who turned his Spit's Speed Shop #02 over to the 2012 champ. Kyle was 13th and wanted to thank Shawn for the gesture.
I'm guessing that "Dangerous" Dave Koenig #29 has the most runner-up finishes in the Super Pro Trucks as that is where the Nelson's Auto Salvage machine finished Saturday.
Lou & Tracy Maestri announced Saturday that they will again offer $100 and a trophy for the winner of the Golden Auto Body night Super Pro Truck feature this week in memory of the late Joe DeGangi.
I can't bear to look! That is what Late Model driver and owner Chris LaSpisa must have been saying to himself when both his team cars of Scott Lehmann #11 and Chris Mangels #18 got together off turn two ending their night. Chris didn't exactly have a good race himself losing a power steering pump on the Sprinklers Galore Irrigation #7.
Until next week - BF
2013 Eye On Riverhead Archive
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