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Ryan Preece Captures Evans NASCAR Hall Of Fame 100 Honors
Saturday At Riverhead Raceway
by Bob Finan
Popular Ryan Preece of Berlin, Ct. won another signature event at Riverhead Raceway as he topped the Evans NASCAR Hall of Fame 100 Saturday night for his 5th career win at the quarter mile oval. Among Ryan's wins in the past are two NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour wins including last year's race as well the 2012 Baldwin, Evans & Jarzombek 77 Memorial last July in Bill & Barbara Park's NASCAR Modified.
Shawn Solomito set fast time with a lap of 11.855 taking home $100 from Brigandi Brothers Automotive but that would be as good as the evening got for the defending champion as a broken rocker arm found him dropping out of the race early. Timmy Solomito drew the pole for the 100-lapper with Ryan Preece outside and over the first five laps of the race the two young lions went side by side for a five lap battle for the lead before an early caution waved for a Kevin Orlando spin. On the ensuing double file restart Preece again found himself outside of Solomito with Justin Bonsignore trying to tuck under Ryan for second. The top three eventually singled out with Solomito finding himself under heavy attack from Preece who was plotting his move.
On lap 18 Ryan found an opening underneath Timmy, who was looking to make it two in a row and raced his way by on the inside to the lead with Solomito now second and under pressure from third place Bonsignore. The top three settled into their positions over the next 50-laps as Preece would have some breathing room as Bonsignore was starting to turn up the heat on Timmy Solomito for second. Racing into the third turn on lap 74 Justin, the 2011 Riverhead champ got under Timmy and was able to take over second with still a quarter of the race remaining. A series of late race caution flags put Bonsignore on the rear bumper of leader Ryan Preece but each and every time the green light winked back on Preece was able to motor away in his East-West Marine Chevy as he drove off to victory. Bonsignore's late race pursuit of Preece was tamed somewhat by Ron Silk who moved to third when Bonsignore slipped under Solomito for second. Silk then stayed on Bonsignore's tail for the remainder of the race.
"What a great car Bill and Dave gave me tonight" Preece noted after Barbara & Jim Cromarty presented him with the Evans NASCAR HoF hardware. As for the side by side early race fight for the lead with Timmy Solomito the winner reflected, "we had quite a race going there, good and clean, I really enjoy racing here". Preece, the grandson of former car owner Bob Judkins didn't get forget the historical importance of the race, "It's really an honor to win the Evans NASCAR Hall of Fame race, anytime Riche's name is attached to something it makes really special".
Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville was runner-up in the M3 Technologies Chevy while Ron Silk of Norwalk, Ct placed third in the TS Haulers Chevy. The top three drivers, all WMT regulars now all look forward to the Hoosier Tire 200 WMT race June 29th at Riverhead Raceway. Completing the top five in the 100 were Tom Rogers Jr. of Patchogue and Howie Brode of E. Islip, who rallied from a 25th lap spin. Brode and Preece are knotted for the points lead with 136 but Preece has commitments over the next two weeks that will take him away from Long Island, Shawn Solomito is third with 112.
Eric Zeh of Selden won his 2nd Charger race of the season the old fashioned way, with a late race outside pass of John Baker with just two laps remaining in the race. Baker bolted into the early race lead in a race that would actually go flag to flag without a caution flag with Cory Midgett in tow for the first lap before CJ Lehmann made an inside move in turn three for second. Lehmann and Eric Zeh then would battle for second while Baker continued to lead and Zeh after having to work Lehmann over for a few laps made his way to second. First on Zeh's agenda was catching Baker for the lead and once that task was taken care of it was then time to try and find a way by. With the laps winding down Zeh who had been looking to make an inside pass exiting the turns changed his game plan with three laps to go jumping to the outside. As the duo raced into the third turn Zeh threw his car hard into the corner in a make or break type move and it stuck and Eric was the new race leader as the field got the two to go signal. From that point on Eric Zeh drove to victory in his Randy's Performance Chevy with John Baker of Brookhaven runner-up in the Sunrise Medical Labs Chevy. Newcomer Chad Churilla of Happauge made a late race move to finish third in the Angela's House Pontiac, his second consecutive third place tally.
The 30-lap Legend Race Car feature event carried lap money and "The Natural" Timmy Solomito of Islip made sure he would cash in as he led all the way to score the victory. Solomito's teammate Justin Strumpf set fast time in qualifying with a lap of 14.060 and drawing first in the redraw he'd pull the pole with Timmy to start second alongside. Just like in the 100-lap Modified race Timmy found himself in a torrid early race fight for the lead with Strumpf with Vinny Delaney watching on from third. Delaney would come to second early in the race but soon thereafter he was overtaken by Johnnie Gloor for second on lap 7. Once to second Gloor wasted no time in going to work on Solomito, with some double file restarts before the halfway mark aiding Gloor's efforts. However Timmy was equal to the task each and every time and he'd never give up the race lead as he drove the Monster's Recycling entry to victory lane. Aside from racking-up nearly $500 in lap money Timmy's car was voted Best Appearing by Freshie Trinca as part of the race's special awards. Johnnie Gloor IV of Flanders was runner-up in the One Stop Market machine with Brendon Bock of Franklin Square third in the A&S Bagels racer.
James Charrier of Shirley notched his first Grand Enduro win of 2013 in dominating fashion in their 50-lap main event. Brian McCormack and Charrier drew the front row as they entered the pit area and it would be McCormack taking the early race lead for the first three laps. Lap 4 Charrier made his move to pass McCormack for the race lead with an inside pass off the fourth turn and once out front James then turned up the wick. Before all was said and done James Charrier not only won in the Clear Beer Draft Chevy but lapped all but the top four cars in the race. Brian McCormack of Holbrook was runner-up in his sponsor wanted Chevy, while Jimmy "The Kid" White of Southampton crossed the line third in the Busy Bee Pest Control Chevy.
Evans NASCAR HoF 100 Modifieds:
1. Ryan Preece 2. Justin Bonsignore 3. Ron Silk 4. Tom Rogers Jr. 5. Howie Brode 6. Eddie Brunnhoelzl III 7. John Beatty Jr. 8. Vinny Biondolillo 9. David Roys 10. Dave Brigati 11. Jimmy Zacharias 12. Timmy Solomito 13. Jerry Solomito Jr. 14. Brad Van Houten 15. Frank Vigliarolo Jr. 16. Dave Sapienza 17. Kevin Orlando 18. Shawn Solomito
1. Eric Zeh 2. John Baker 3. Chad Churilla 4. CJ Lehmann 5. Chris Turbush 6. Rich Wilson 7. Daryn Miller 8. Cory Midgett 9. Tom Anderson 10. Jayson White 11. Ray Minieri 12. Doug Krapata
Legend Race Cars:
1. Timmy Solomito 2. Johnnie Gloor 3. Brendon Bock 4. Kyle Ellwood 5. Paul Dodorico 6. Vinny Delaney 7. Kyle Soper 8. Kevin Nowak 9. Shawn Wanat 10. Justin Strumpf 11. Artie Pedersen III 12. Bryan Kelly 13. George Baker Jr. 14. Eric Hersey 15. Brad Van Houten 16. Richie Coy 17. Anthony Marsh 18. Frank Scimeca Jr. 19. Dylan Slepian 20. Chris Rogers 21. Christian Conklin 22. Greg Harris 23. Alex Urbina 24. Bobby Jones 25. Vinny Colletti 26. Tom Sherman 27. Joe Sedotto
Grand Enduro (top five)
1. James Charrier 2. Brian McCormack 3. Jimmy White Jr. 4. Bob Engelfried 5. Tim Blank
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