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"EYE ON RIVERHEAD" by Bob Finan
April 22, 2014
What a wonderful day greeted Riverhead Raceway's first of two practice days this past Saturday morning dare I say the nicest day of 2014 no less. Spirits were high among competitors and fans alike and oh how great it was to see our NASCAR stock cars and Enduro machines getting after it on the quarter mile oval!
Sadly though I must first write about the untimely passing of Kenny Hyde Sr. Tom Kraft was the one who broke the news to me at work Monday morning and to say I was stunned would be an understatement as my blood went cold. Kenny won some 12 Figure Eight feature events during his Riverhead career, the last coming in August 2008. Soon thereafter he hung up his helmet to advance the career of his son Kenny Jr. We should all take some solace in the fact that Kenny at least got to see his son win the 2013 Figure Eight. He beamed with pride when speaking about that accomplishment as well his daughter Kimberly's upcoming graduation from college with a Criminal Justice degree. To his twins Kenny & Kimberly all of us at Riverhead Raceway send our prayers to you. Viewing will take place this Thursday April 24th at the McManus-Lorey Funeral Home on Horseblock Road in Medford. Calling hours will be 2-4 pm and 7-9 pm.
Now for some random news & thoughts about our first practice day:
Plenty of Legend Race Cars on hand Saturday and among them were the Pedersen brothers Artie III and Allan. Proud papa Artie Jr announced that Fastenal would be joining the two car team for action in 2014 for their Riverhead efforts as well some traveling the team will do when off. Last year Artie III was runner-up and Allan 4th in their respective INEX State championship points.
Loving the new look on Eddie Brunnhoelzl Jr.'s all-new machine for 2014 which feature a strong purple accent. Basics Landscaping of Bay Shore & Vanguard Funding have signed on with the #8x for this season joining long time backers Senix Creek Inn and Hagerman Systems. Eddie never did hit the track with the new Troyer Engineering built chassis as he got inspected but then had to leave for a family wedding.
We all endured a very difficult winter but nothing can compare to the off-season that Super Pro Truck driver Rich Campo #38 suffered through. First off his Mom has ben ill for awhile and has been hospitalized for nearly nine months. Then during the Christmas holidays Rich was the victim of a house fire. When I spoke with Rich by his NY Auto Giant Chevy he was just happy to be back at the track with a McBetts power plant under the hood which he hopes solves the season long engine issues he had in 2013.
Vincent Biondolillo did double duty Saturday shaking down his WRS Environmental NASCAR Modified and his brand new John's Tree Service Figure Eight car which are both numbered 06. He looked good in both machines.
No less than five Legend Race Car newcomers were getting some seat time Saturday. Mike Rutkoski was learning the ropes in the Buzz Chew Chevrolet/Cadillac #88, we understand he is the grandson of the famed Southampton car dealer. Kurt Krieger was looking impressive as well in his Cassidy, Romano & Love Attorney's At Law #22. Eric Henschel was zipping around in the brightly numbered #44, he told me earlier in the day he toiled in the SK ranks at Waterford a decade or so ago. Former Enduro standout Ray Fitzgerald was piloting the Blue Point Auto Body #24 for Dan Jones. Last but not least was Kevin Chew in the Goodie Motorsports #82, his day did not go quite as well as the other as he hit the wall hard in turn 4. Kevin was okay.
Figure Eight rookie Bryan Quilliam #84 never hot the track as the Rick's Buy & Sell team was having an issue with the fuel on and off switch and later a battery so they just called it a day.
One of the sharpest graphic jobs we've ever seen can be found on Jimmy "The Kid" White's #32 Busy Bee Pest Control Blunderbust. It is a work of art by Wild Child Design who also do the vinyl for the Riverhead Raceway pace cars. By the way former Super Pro Truck champion Bryan Sescila will join White on the Busy Bee team in the #27 entry.
Great to see 2013 NASCAR WMT champion Ryan Preece on hand shaking down the East-West Marine #20 of Bill & Barbara Park. The team was glad the weather worked out nicely for Saturday as Ryan will be unavailable for this Saturday.
Vinny Delaney #17 debuted a new car to his Joe Sole Motorsports Legend Race Car effort Saturday and also announced two new sponsors in the process. Cleary's By The Water of Freeport and Sci-Unison Fitness have joined the two time feature event winner form 2013 for this season!
With 2013 Blunderbust champion Scott Maliszewski looking over his two nephews Ian and Devon took turns driving the Tom Stock Attorney At Law #22 Saturday. Now I couldn't tell which one was driving the car during the day but no matter both looked to be doing okay. Scott meanwhile was making noise about going Super Pro Truck racing at some point in 2014 or 2015, time will tell.
John Fortin #84 was on hand with the NASCAR Modified he purchased from Jimmy Blewett. When I spoke with the former 3-time track champion he said the car was pretty much spot on and they might tweak the SGS Stone Works entry some. Daughter Amber looked strong in her #04 all afternoon long as well.
Hats off to second year Legend Race Car driver Ed Cheslak #89 who will race for the JDRF in 2014. JDRF is "improving lives by curing Type 1 Diabetes" Way to go Ed!
The Monsters Recycling Legend team of "The Natural" Timmy Solomito #48 and Justin Strumpf #15 were fast all day when they drove their own cars or the #61 that car owner Kevin Strumpf had on hand as well.
Ken Darch #03 took his first laps in his all-new Troyer Engineering built NASCAR Modified and afterwards told me he was somewhat satisfied with his day. Precision Waterworks Lawn Sprinklers is back as his sponsor for 2014 and I for one love the graphics on this machine too!
Vinny Colletti #26 has an all new Legend Race Car for 2014 underneath him and hopes to put the Team 510 Racing entry in the winner's circle this year.
Until next time - BF
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