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Jason Agugliaro Scores First Career
Riverhead Raceway NASCAR Modified Victory
by Bob Finan
After having led races and finished second prior to the 50-lap Track Champions Night NASCAR Modified feature event at Riverhead Raceway Saturday, Jason Agugliaro of Islip scored his first career NASCAR Modified feature event win of his career after reclaiming the lead of the race with 12 laps left in a wild contest. Agugliaro had to ward off a last lap, last turn challenge by 2013 NASCAR Modified champion Howie Brode of E. Islip to claim the popular win in a non-stop affair.
David Roys of Coram set fast time in pre-race qualifying with a lap of 11.842 but his luck would sour in the redraw among the top 8 from time when he drew 8th. Jason Agugliaro and Vinny Biondolillo drew the front row with Jason breaking out front at the throw of the green with Vinny running second for the first lap. Lap 2 found Howie Brode ducking under Biondolillo for second. behind Agugliaro while the likes of Tom Rogers Jr., Timmy Solomito and Dave Brigati quickly came to third through fifth. While dicing for third Rogers looped in the third and fourth corner moving up Solomito and Brigati one spot each, Rogers never stopped moving and the upset driver rejoined the field nearly a lap down and would later play a role in the outcome of the race.
On lap 32 "The Natural" Timmy Solomito who was dogging both Agugliaro and Brode from third made one bold and swift move to come to the race lead when the field started the 33rd lap and it looked as though he'd waltz off to victory. However on lap 37 while Timmy was attempting to lap an angry Tom Rogers Jr. the latter slowed in front of the race leader allowing both Agugliaro and Brode to reclaim the top two spots in the race. Over the final 13-laps Brode rode the rear spoiler of Agugliaro and it would be the white flag lap where the intensity would pick up once again. Going into the first turn Jason seemed to slow a bit more than previous laps and Brode who had been peeking to the inside prior went high trying to steal the win on the final lap. The duo raced side by side up the backstretch and into turn three. Exiting turn four Jason Agugliaro pinched Howie Brode up against the wall slowing his challenger enough to grab the heart stopping victory in his Tom O'Keefe & Sons Inc Chevy.
"I know Howie is upset right now" Jason admitted in victory lane after the race, "I told my team I'd do whatever it would take to get a win before the season ended and I was able to keep that promise". The happy winner also added, "I can't thank Tom O'Keefe enough, we lost a motor early last year and thought we might be done with the Modifieds but he ponied up the money needed to keep us going and this win is for him, my crew-chief Fred, all my guys and especially my wife who allows me to spend silly money to do this".
Dave Brigati of Calverton would make a late race pass on Howie Brode to claim runner-up money in the WPW Growers Chevy while Brode placed third in his Petro Fuel Oil entry. As for his last lap move for the win Howie said in his champions interview, "it's racing I guess, the kid wanted that first win and we got together". Dave Sapienza of Riverhead and Timmy Solomito of Islip completed the top five.
Kevin Metzger of Massapequa scored his second Late Model win of 2013 when he toped their 25-lap main event after a thrilling battle with Shawn Patrick. Kevin Orlando paced them field for the first lap of the race before Kevin Metzger got by on lap to take the lead, a lead he'd never surrender although he did come close to losing the top spot once. With the laps winding down Shawn Patrick executed a picture perfect crossover move looking outside going into turn one before ducking to the inside exiting turn two. Shawn had a good run under Kevin going into the third and fourth turn but Metzger, a former two time champion was able to throw the block to keep his lead. At the checker it was Kevin Metzger taking the win in his V&J Auto Body Chevy over the Matlach Fabricating Dodge of Shawn Patrick of Brightwaters. Third went to defending LM champion Mike Bologna of Melville in his Schlaugies Fuel Oil Chevy. With a 4th place finish Jeremy McDermott in the Jim Wichert owned SDS Telecommunications Dodge clinched the 2013 championship, McDermott won the 2012 Charger title making it back to back championships in two separate classes.
After winning the 2012 Figure Eight title veteran Figure Eight wheelman Mike Mujsce of E. Quogue has endured a championship hangover season in 2013 but that all changed Saturday when he won the 15-lap Figure Eight feature for his first win of the year. When the green light winked on Mujsce quickly took advantage of his pole starting spot breaking out front over CJ Lehmann. A quick yellow forced a restart going into lap 2 where Roger Maynor was bale to race his way by Lehmann for second. Maynor was hoping to put enough cars between he and fellow title contenders Ken Hyde Jr. and Arne Pedersen for his 9th championship was able to stay with Mike Mujsce but never make that winning pass. Meanwhile Pedersen's title hopes went south on lap 11 with a flat tire forcing him to pit which actually also turned out to be bad news for Maynor as it put point leader Hyde one spot back of Roger. All the championship implications didn't matter to Mike Mujsce who stormed off to the win in his Bill Beener Tree Service entry. Roger Maynor of Bay Shore was runner-up in the Barrasso & Sons Mason Supplies Ford while Ken Hyde Jr. of Medford not only placed third in his Northeastern Office Equipment machine but also clinched the 2013 Figure Eight championship at just 21 years of age.
Eric Zeh of Selden knew that there was only one way he could avoid all the possible tie breakers for the 2013 Charger championship with former four time champion Chris Turbush of Riverhead and that formula was a simple one, win the race. With the first tie breaker going all the way down to 7th place finishes, which would have gone to Turbush, Zeh knew winning his 4th race of the year would be the way to go and that is just what the driver of the Finishline Carting Chevy did. Trailing Turbush by a mere two points coming into the race Zeh wasted little time making his way to the front as he passed rookie "Rocking" Rich Wilson on lap 2 for the lead. Meanwhile Turbush was having a rough go of it as he was sent to the rear of the field for rough riding early in the race and later had to pit with a flat tire. That was music to the ears of Eric Zeh but by no means was the race leader and eventual winner having an easy time up front as "Radiant" Ray Minieri was all over him for the lead in a heated battle. However in the end Eric Zeh, grandson of former championship NASCAR Modified car owner Carl Zeh would wrap-up his championship season with a win leading to a popular victory lane celebration. Ray Minieri of bay Shore was second in the Sunrise Chiropractic & Wellness Center Dodge with CJ Lehmann of Shirley rebounding nicely from a early race spin to claim third in the TJ Halpin's Chevy.
Without question the wildest championship battle belonged to the Blunderbust class with Bill Wegmann Jr. of Patchogue claiming his first win of 2013 after having come so very close on numerous occasions earlier this year. Rob Bader broke out front when the race got underway for the 22 car field and for awhile it looked as though the driver who left the class in 2013 to run Super Pro Trucks was going to nab a victory in his third start for car owner Jim White Sr. However on lap 15 coming off turn four the axle snapped on Bader's entry throwing him into a spin and drawing a yellow. So many time in the season Bill Wegmann Jr. had led a race into the closing laps to have misfortune strike him, now he would benefit from what he later called "racing karma". Once out front Bill Wegmann Jr. in his Crackerjack Auto Supplies Chevy would keep the lead and take home the win. Scott Maliszewski of Deer Park, who came to the race 8 points back of championship leader Tommy Walkowiak, was runner-up in his Tom Stock Attorney At Law Chevy and would clinch the 2013 title. Walkowiak had a very rough go of it having no friends on the track and "The Wildchild" imploded during the races final caution on lap 19 and was disqualified from the race for his actions. Brain Brown of Baiting Hollow was third in the Chet Mitrani Plastering LLC racer.
The Super Pro Truck 20-lap feature would go non-stop and defending champion Roger Turbush of Riverhead took full advantage of a rare pole starting position to not only lead all the way to the checker but he did so pulling away. Roger's 2013 campaign was full of blown engines and other mechanical breakdowns and just some plain misfortune but the third generation driver took his frustrations out on his fellow competitors in this race. Brian McElearney ran second to Turbush for the first 8 laps of the race before he gave way to "Dangerous" Dave Koenig on lap 9. By the time Koenig had reached second Roger Turbush was long gone in his Allied Air Conditioning Chevy notching his third win of 2013. Dave Koenig of Freeport was runner-up in the Nelson's Auto Salvage Chevy while Frank Dumicich Jr. of E. Quogue was third in the Sea-Level Construction Chevy. With that podium finish Frank became the 2013 Super Pro Truck champion for the first time in his career, his father Frank Sr. is a past champion in the class.
"The Natural" Timmy Solomito of Islip on the strength of a last lap pass scored the Legend Race Car victory in his Monster's Recycling racer. For the third race in a row Kyle Soper and Brad Van Houten found themselves racing for the race win with Soper leading Van Houten for the first five laps. Lap 6 found Brad executing a successful crossover move off turn four for the race lead but later that lap Soper got into Van Houten who spun as a result. Soper was sent to the rear of the field for rough riding which in turn handed the race lead over to Kevin Nowak. The tested tough veteran Nowak was a man on a mission to prove a point from the week prior and it looked as though he'd complete that mission. However Timmy Solomito had other ideas as he was all over the race leader in the waning laps of the contest. Going into the third and fourth turn on the white flag lap Solomito snuck under Nowak and by the time the duo raced off turn four Timmy had the lead and the race win by less than a car length. Kevin Nowak of Medford was second in his Sunoco 112 entry while 16-year old Brendon Bock of Franklin Square clinched the 2013 Legend Race Car championship with his third place finish in the A&S Bagels machine.
1. Jason Agugliaro 2. Dave Brigati 3. Howie Brode 4. Dave Sapienza 5. Timmy Solomito 6. David Roys 7. Vinny Biondolillo 8. Brad Van Houten 9. Ken Darch 10. Tom Rogers Jr. 11. Jeff Andrade
1. Kevin Metzger 2. Shawn Patrick 3. Mike Bologna 4. Jeremy McDermott 5. Roger Oxee 6. Ken Alfano 7. Peter Eriksen 8. Dave Brigati 9. Scott Kulesa 10. Chris LaSpisa 11. Kevin Orlando 12. Chris Mangles 12. Scott Lehmann DNS- Jarrod Hayes
1. Mike Mujsce 2. Roger Maynor 3. Ken Hyde Jr. 4. Scott Pedersen 5. CJ Lehmann 6. John Vullo 7. Arne Pedersen 8. Gary Fritz Jr. 9. Brian Hansen 10. Tom Ferrara
1. Eric Zeh 2. Ray Minieri 3. CJ Lehmann 4. Chris Turbush 5. John Baker 6. Rich Wilson 7. Cory Midgett 8. Jayson White 9. Chad Churilla 10. Jay Henschel 11. Brad Van Houten 11. Derek Stachecki
1. Bill Wegmann Jr. 2. Scott Maliszewski 3. Brian Brown 4. Tom Sullivan 5. Tom Pickerell 6. Justin Wahl 7. Johnny Cricchio 8. Tim Mulqueen 9. Gary Caldwell 10. Bryan Quilliam 11. Bob Muller 12. Jimmy White Jr. 13. Jessica Cohan 14. Robert Duffus Jr. 15. Michael Rommeney 16. Tom Puccia 17. Rob Bader 18. Bill Wegmann Sr. 19. Paul Parisi 20. Jack Handley Jr. 21. Rich Hubbard DQ- Tommy Walkowiak
Super Pro Trucks:
1. Roger Turbush 2. Dave Koenig 3. Frank Dumicich Jr. 4. Brian McElearney 5. Mike Albasini 6. Erin Dumicich-Solomito 7. Mark Stewart 8. Bobby Gardner 9. Lou Maestri 10. Frank Dumicich Sr. 11. Rich Campo 12. Amanda Anderson 13. Rob Bader
Legend Race Cars:
1. Timmy Solomito 2. Kevin Nowak 3. Brendon Bock 4. Vinny Delaney 5. Dylan Slepian 6. Justin Strumpf 7. Brad Van Houten 8. Artie Pedersen III 9. Kyle Soper 10. Vinny Colletti 11. George Tomko Jr. 12. Eric Hersey 13. Kyle Ellwood 14. Jeffrey Goodale 15. Shawn Wanat 16. Jim Sylvester 17. Mike Van Houten 18. Steve Smith 19. Steve Hersey 20. Allan Pedersen 21. Richie Davidowitz 22. Christian Conklin 23. Bryan Kelly 24. Ed Cheslak 25. Anthony Marsh 26. Greg Harris 27. Nick Harnage
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