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Riverhead Raceway Opening Night Twin 30 NASCAR
Modified Features Swept By Shawn Solomito
by Bob Finan
The 2014 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series got underway this past Saturday evening at Riverhead Raceway under ideal conditions as 2012 NASCAR Modified champion Shawn Solomito of Islip would sweep both ends of the Twin 30 feature events. Over the past four opening nights either Shawn or his younger brother Timmy have won a feature on opening night at the demanding quarter mile.
Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead set fast time with a lap of 12.399 but in the redraw among the 8 would pick 5th while 16-year old Vinny Biondolillo drew the pole with Shawn Solomito alongside for the first 30 lap tilt. When the first green flag of 2014 waved it would be Solomito leading the first lap by a nose on the outside but lap 2 saw Biondolillo starting his 3rd full season in the powerful NASCAR Modifieds motoring out front. After the youngster led laps 2 through 4 Shawn Solomito reasserted himself as the race leader on lap 5 with Biondolillo second and now finding himself under attack for the spot by Eric Goodale. While Biondolillo and Goodale diced Shawn Solomito was able to pull away to nearly a half lap lead.
Goodale was able to slip by Biondolillo on lap 13 for second but after all the work he put in for the position he'd be passed by Tom Rogers Jr. one lap later on the 14th circuit. Once to second Rogers would spend the remainder of the trying to reel in leader Solomito.
At the checker it was Shawn Solomito racing for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation scoring the first of his two wins on the night over Tom Rogers Jr. and his brother Timmy Solomito of Islip in the Eastport Feeds Chevy who was third at the line.
With the second 30-lap main event lined up by the finish of the first race Shawn Solomito broke out front while Rogers and Timmy Solomito began an intense battle for second. That race for position got too close on lap 3 when the duo made contact ending Timmy's race, with Rogers having to go to the rear after the contact and ensuing yellow flag. When the race resumes Solomito found yet another family member to contend with as his cousin Eric Goodale was lined-up second on the restart with defending NASCAR Modified champion Howie Brode third.
Once again Shawn was a master of the restarts as he stayed out front with Goodale and Brode racing for second with Howie passing Eric for the position on lap 4. Once to second Brode was able to keep in step with the race leader and at times was able to pull up to his rear bumper but that would be as close as he got over the final half of the race.
Once again at the checkers it was Shawn Solomito taking the victory over Howie Brode of E. Islip in his Petro Fuel Oil Chevy. Dave Sapienza of Riverhead was third in his Louis Sapienza Masonry entry after an intense battle with 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Ryan Preece of Berlin, Ct.
"This is a nice way to start the season" Shawn noted after Jerry Cook of NASCAR presented him with his hardware in victory lane. When quizzed about racing his brother as well his cousin up front the soft spoken talent commented, "it not easy but yet again it's not hard, we go after one another pretty hard" As to the car lacking sponsors names the race winner admitted, "these cars are expensive to run and even more so if you tear one up. We need some sponsors no doubt otherwise we are week to week".
Before Chris LaSpisa of Shirley could lay claim to his 6th career Late Model win in their 25-lap feature he'd after to dodge several bullets which included more than one attempt to get the race going, numerous restarts and no less than five different drivers that ran second and challenged for the race win before halfway. Over the first 9 laps of the race Chris had to ward off the likes of Scott Kulesa, Kevin Metzger, Mike Bologna, Ken Alfano and Shawn Patrick. The toughest foe would prove to be Patrick for the race leader as over the final 15-laps of the contest Shawn was able to make some bids for the lead, all of which Chris LaSpisa was able to fend off. When the rough and tumble race came to an end it was Chris LaSpisa in his McBetts Racing Engines Chevy crossing the line ahead of Shawn Patrick of Brightwaters in his Matlach Fabricating Dodge. Defending LM champion Jeremy McDermott of Riverhead placed third SDS Telecom entry after he himself was able to miss some close calls.
"Johnny Electric" John Vullo of Farmingville jolted the Figure Eight 15-lap feature as he led from flag to flag to capture the victory. By no stretch of the imagination was it an easy win for Vullo who himself had to ward off four different drivers for the win. At the outset Vullo and Gary Fritz Jr. went toe to toe trading paint for the lead before Fritz spun just after the intersection. Next up for Vullo was defending champion Ken Hyde Jr. who spent laps 3 & 4 chasing the leader before he was overtaken by Scott Pedersen. As was the case earlier the race the Vullo and Pedersen battle saw some paint being swapped over the seven laps the races for the lead with Roger Maynor close by in third. With two laps to go Maynor got by Pedersen for second . Once to second Roger wasted no time in applying the pressure for the race win but in the end it would be John Vullo in his Teddy Bear Graphics Cadillac the race winner. Roger Maynor of Bay Shore was runner-up in the Barrasso & Sons Mason Supplies Ford while Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead was third in the sponsor wanted coupe.
Chris Turbush of Riverhead notched the 36th career Charger win of his illustrious career Saturday and of all those triumphs it perhaps was one of the hardest fought. Cory Midgett paced the race over the first six laps over defending champion Eric Zeh before Zeh took the top spot on lap 7. Chris Turbush one lap later came to second and thus set-up a fantastic fight to the finish. As the laps wore down Zeh was doing all he could to keep Turbush at bay and with about five or so laps remaining the challenger got into the leader going into the first turn. Chris backed off the throttle to allow Eric to correct but he went right back to work on setting up a pass. On the white flag lap Chris again got into Eric and this time there was no backing down as he was able to slip by Eric who was trying to gather up his car. At the finish it was Chris Turbush in the Eastern Fuel Chevy crossing the line first over Eric Zeh of Selden in his S&P Sanitation Chevy. Early race leader Cory Midgett of East Hampton was third in his R. Bono Plumbing racer.
Jack Handley Jr. was able to survive a green, white & checker finish to score the popular win in the Blunderbust 20-lap main event. Paul Parisi and Tom Puccia would race side by side early on in the race for the lead in an entertaining battle up front but that would all come to an end after 7 laps as they got together sending Puccia into a spin in the back stretch. On the ensuing restart Jack Handley Jr who lined up alongside Parisi was able to get the measure of the race leader going into turn one to take control of the race building a comfortable lead. That lead was erased with a let race yellow when defending Scott Maliszewski spun late drawing the yellow and setting up the green, white & checker. Tom Pickerell, a tested tough veteran and former champion in the class was now on Handley's rear bumper but the teenage talent was not rattled at all as he was able to move away in his Relle Electric Chevy for the victory. Tom Pickerell of Huntington was second in the Premier Utility Chevy while John Cricchio of Ridge had a career best third place tally in his sponsor wanted machine.
Roger Turbush of Riverhead collected his 18th career Super Pro Truck feature event triumph as he scored the win in a 20-lap contest. Frank Dumicich Sr. paced the first laps of the race chased on lap 1 by Rich Campo and then Turbush. A lap 4 caution would be the demise of Dumicich as Roger Turbush was able to power around the outside to take the lead on the restart, a lead he'd never surrender. Just prior to the halfway mark Lou Maestri came to second and was trying to reel leader Turbush in but it became obvious for him to do so he'd need a caution. The only scare Turbush would encounter would be a miss his truck picked up in the second half of the race but he was able to overcome that and drive his Allied Heating & AC Chevy to victory lane. Lou Maestri of Deer park was second in his IGA of Fort Solonga machine with "Dangerous" Dave Koenig of Freeport making a great comeback from an early race tangle for third in the Nelson's Auto Salvage mount.
Veteran wheelman Kevin Nowak of Medford took opening night honors for the 20-lap Legend Race Car feature with a solid field of 34 cars showing up trying to make the 27-car field. Brad Van Houten of Wading River led the way in qualifying with a lap of 13.672 but in the redraw drew the worst possible spot 8th. Kevin Nowak was not going to let a front row draw get away from him as he took the race lead at the throw of the green. Numerous minor spins and incidents slowed the race early with Nowak leading Kyle Soper over the first four laps. It would be a lap six restart and in fact the final double file restart that saw Richie Davidowitz slip under Soper for second behind Nowak. Richie seeking his second career win dogged Nowak for the lead the remainder of the way but in the end Kevin Nowak would prevail for the win. Davidowitz of East Moriches was runner-up in his Thriftway Auto Body racer while Brad Van Houten raced his way from 8th to place third in the Lighthouse Market entry.
NASCAR Modifieds 1st Twin 30:
1. Shawn Solomito 2. Tom Rogers Jr. 3. Timmy Solomito 4. Eric Goodale 5. Ryan Preece 6. Howie Brode 7. Dave Sapienza 8. John Fortin Sr. 9. Jason Agugliaro 10. Eddie Brunnhoelzl III 11. Kyle Ellwood 12. Jerry Solomito Jr. 13. Vinny Biondolillo 14. John Fortin Jr. 15. Amber Fortin 16. Ken Darch 17 Jeffrey Goodale
NASCAR Modifieds 2nd Twin 30:
1. Shawn Solomito 2. Howie Brode 3. Dave Sapienza 4. Ryan Preece 5. Eric Goodale 6. Tom Rogers Jr. 7. Eddie Brunnhoelzl III 8. Jerry Solomito Jr. 9. Jason Agugliaro 10. Kyle Ellwood 11. Amber Fortin 12. John Fortin Jr. 13. Vinny Biondolillo 14. John Fortin Sr. 15. Timmy Solomito 16. Ken Darch 17. Jeffrey Goodale
1. Chris LaSpisa 2. Shawn Patrick 3. Jeremy McDermott 4. Ken Alfano 5. Scott Kulesa 6. Kevin Metzger 7. Chris Lescenski 8. Mike Bologna 9. Roger Oxee 10. Jarrod Hayes 11. Peter Eriksen
1. John Vullo 2. Roger Maynor 3. Tom Rogers Jr. 4. Scott Pedersen 5. Gary Fritz Jr. 6. Vinny Biondolillo 7. Ken Hyde Jr. 8. Mike Mujsce 9. CJ Lehmann 10. Bryan Quilliam
1. Roger Turbush 2. Eric Zeh 3. Cory Midgett 4. CJ Lehmann 5. Ray Minieri 6. Jayson White 7. Daryn Miller 8. Greg Immerman 9. Owen Grennan 10. Dan Lynch Jr.
1. Jack Handley Jr. 2. Tom Pickerell 3. Johnny Cricchio 4. Tom Sullivan 5. Bill Wegmann Sr. 6. Brian Brown 7. Gary Caldwell 8. Tommy Walkowiak 9. Bryan Sescila 10. Scott Maliszewski 11. Paul Parisi 12. Tom Puccia 13. Bob Muller 14. Brandon Hubbard 15. Tim Mulqueen 16. Jessica Cohan 17. Mike Rommeney 18. Frank Scimeca Jr. 19. Bill Wegmann Jr. 20. Terry Stiles DNS- Jimmy White Jr.
Super Pro Trucks:
1. Roger Turbush 2. Lou Maestri 3. Dave Koenig 4. Frank Dumicich Sr. 5. Erin Solomito 6. Mark Stewart 7. Mike Albasini 8. Frank Dumicich Jr. 9. Jimmy Rennick 10. Rich Campo 11. Kevin Scharfenberg 12. Amanda Anderson
Legend Race Cars:
1. Kevin Nowak 2. Richie Davidowitz 3. Brad Van Houten 4. Brendon Bock 5. Timmy Solomito 6. Kyle Soper 7. Bryan Kelly 8. Justin Strumpf 9. Chris Rogers 10. Mike Malone 11. Vinny Delaney 12. Allan Pedersen 13. Vinny Colletti 14. Greg Harris 15. Mike Van Houten 16. John Harley 17. Joe Sedotto 18. Eric Hersey 19. Dave Koenig 20. Johnny Gloor 21. Steve Hersey 22. Steve Smith 23. Paul Dodorico 24. Ray Fitzgerald 25. Shawn Wanat 26. Dylan Slepian 27. Anthony Marsh
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