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Five First Time Champions Earn Titles At Riverhead Raceway
In 2013 While Three Collect Second Career Championships
by Bob Finan
Without question the 2013 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series at Barbara & Jim Cromarty's Riverhead Raceway will be looked back upon fondly for many different reasons but the one common thread that can be taken away from the just completed season is 2013 was the year of the first career championship for five out of the eight championship drivers. 2013 NASCAR Modified champion Howie Brode of East Islip will lead the 2013 Parade of Champions when the Champions Luncheon is presented during the off season, with the last Sunday in January being the tentative luncheon date.
For the second consecutive year in 2013 Howie Brode and his Peter Clark Motorsports team returned to running a full time schedule at the popular quarter mile oval and after a runner-up finish in the 2012 championship chase Brode grabbed the brass ring in convincing fashion. Howie on the strength of obtaining most victories, five and best weekly average finish, 3.7 won his second career NASCAR Modified championship some fifteen years after his first title in 1998. Between championships Brode had either run a part time schedule at Riverhead or had competed on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour before his return to weekly racing. Howie indicated during his championship interview in late September that his team would return in 2014 to defend their crown.
Timmy Solomito of Islip, Ryan Preece of Berlin, Ct., Dave Sapienza of Riverhead and Tom Rogers Jr. of Patchogue completed the top five in NASCAR Modified points.
For Jeremy McDermott of Riverhead the past two seasons at Riverhead Raceway have produced two consecutive championships, the 2012 Charger title and this year he captured the Late Model championship. Late last season while fighting others for the Charger crown, Jeremy McDermott was tabbed to drive Jim Wichert's SDS Telecommunications Late Model and little did either party know one year later it would lead to the LM championship. Going into the final points race a month ago McDermott was able to keep all-time leading Late Model winner Roger Oxee behind him earning his first career championship and admitted afterwards, " we thought and talked about the championship but really we didn't truly think we'd win it but we did". Both car owner and driver stated recently they'd be back as a team for 2014.
Second through fifth in LM points were, Roger Oxee of Peconic, Mike Bologna of Melville, Shawn Patrick of Brightwaters and Scott Kulesa of Georgetown, Ma.
Having raced in the rough and tumble Figure Eight ranks since he was 16-years old, Ken Hyde Jr. of Medford now 21 earned his first career championship by staying close enough to his nearest championship rival in the final points race, Roger Maynor of Bay Shore, a former eight time champion in the class. Hyde's dream season began during the snow covered winter of 2012/2013 as he and his Northeastern Office Equipment team did more off season prep work than ever before in his young career. Their labor bore fruit just one week after Ken's 21st birthday. Hyde aided his championship run by winning two straight races going into the final points race September 21st moving him from third to first in points.
Roger Maynor, Arne Pedersen of Mastic Beach, Scott Pedersen of Shirley and Mike Mujsce of Quogue rounded out the top five in Figure Eight points.
Eric Zeh of Selden cemented his first career Charger championship in grand fashion on September 21st when he went out and won the 20-lap main event in his Randy's Performance Chevy which was good enough to give him the championship over Chris Turbush of Riverhead by four points. Late in 2012 Zeh began to come into his own in the class and 2013 saw the soft spoken Go-Kart graduate step up his game even further, winning four point paying features en route to the title. The Zeh family are no strangers to Riverhead Raceway championships as Eric's grandfather Carl Zeh won numerous NASCAR Modified titles at both Riverhead as well as Islip Speedway with driver Don Howe.
Completing the top five in Charger points behind Zeh and Turbush were, Ray Minieri of Bay Shore, CJ Lehmann of Mastic Beach and Chad Churilla of Hauppauge.
Leave no doubt that the wildest conclusion to a 2013 Riverhead Raceway championship belonged to the Blunderbust division where veteran Scott Maliszewski of Deer Park won his second career title, his first came five seasons ago in 2008. Scott and longtime friendly rival Tommy Walkowiak of Ridge came to the race as the two main contenders for the championship and in a wild final 20-lap race Maliszewski in his Thomas J. Stock Attorney At Law Caprice would win the title in what can best be described as a wild set of circumstances. After celebrating with a few sodas Scott wasn't too sure about his plans for next season, he admits his #22 will be there but it might just be time perhaps to turn the wheel over to one of his nephews who serve as his race day team.
Tom Pickerell of Huntington, Tommy Walkowiak of Ridge, Jimmy White Jr. of Southampton and Brian Brown of Baiting Hollow were second though fifth in points.
Frank Dumicich Jr. of E. Quogue came to the 2013 Super Pro Truck season not even sure if he was going to race at all, a part time or full time schedule after a busy off season after the 2012 campaign saw him get married to his wife Melanie and then totally rebuild their new home. Well, race he did and after getting off to a fine start in the first few races of the year Dumicich and his Teddy Bear Graphics team could smell championship as the spring turned into summer. Going into the last points race he and Mike Albasini of Flushing were the last two standing with Frank taking the title in a race that found the Super Pro Trucks running a classy affair, a non stop 20-lapper! As was the case coming to the 2013 season, Frank who also made some Figure Eight starts in 2013 wasn't sure about his plans but then again the same could be said about last year and look where it landed the second generation driver and champion.
Mike Albasini, Lou Maestri of Deer Park, Dave Koenig of Freeport and Mark Stewart of Riverhead completed the top five in SPT points.
Brendon Bock of Franklin Square would earn his first career Legend Race Car championship at Riverhead Raceway using a formula of consistent finishes in all 16 races contested in 2013 and yes the record book will show the 16-year old Chaminade High School student didn't win a race but in the end it mattered not. Bock and Timmy Solomito of Islip were the two main contenders for the title going into the last race despite the fact that Timmy had one less start this season than Bock. Brendon did what he needed to do in his A&S Bagels #33 to secure the title in that final race making his father, former NASCAR Modified driver George, one proud papa. Aside from his Riverhead title, Bock also won the INEX New York State Pro Division championship as well as the Mountain Speedway title where he won 9 races.
Chasing Bock and Solomito in the final standings were Kyle Soper of Manorville, Kyle Ellwood of Riverhead and Justin Strumpf of Selden.
Jason Savoy of Lake Panamoka easily scored his second career Demolition Derby track championship, having clinched the crown going into the National Demolition Derby Championship won by his brother Brian. For Jason and his Monster's Recycling "Misery Machine" it is his second career championship having won back in 2010.
Rich Fowler of Wantagh, Matt Mulqueen of Levittown, George Astacio of Shirley and Andrew Fowler of Wantagh completed the top five.
The location of the 2013 Riverhead Raceway Champions Luncheon will be announced in the weeks to come as event organizer Bob Finan hopes to find a larger venue if possible.
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