October 31, 2020
CHRIS YOUNG POWERS WAY TO SECOND NASCAR MODIFIED VICTORY OF SEASON AT RIVERHEAD RACEWAY, TOM ROGERS JR. SEWS UP 5TH TITLE
Bob Finan PR
With temperatures hovering in the mid-30's on Halloween night at Riverhead Raceway the annual Champion's Night program was conducted crowing seven NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Racing Series track champions. In the headlining 50-lap NASCAR Modified feature event second generation talent Chris Young of Calverton led wire to wire to post his second win of the season. Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead sewed up his 5th career NASCAR Modified title with a 4th place finish in the 50-lapper.
Jeremy McDermott and Chris Young brought the 18-car NASCAR Modified grid down to the green flag with Young vaulting out to the lead with McDermott tucking into second for the first five laps. On lap 6 two time defending NASCAR Modified champion Kyle Soper roared by McDermott for second and set his sights on Young for the lead. Soper's pursuit was aided by a lap 9 caution flag for Michael Rutkoski who hit the wall entering the third turn before coming to rest in the fourth corner. With a double file restart in the offering it would be the perfect time for Soper to make his move on Young for the lead. However Chris had other ideas first in a rare move choosing the inside lane for the restart but the choice allowed him to reclaim his stake in the leadership of the race while Soper stayed hot on his heels. As the race wore on it appeared Young's new LFR car got better and better as the laps clicked off and indeed he increased his lead as the race wore down. Soper meanwhile had Dylan Slepian to contend with as they now ran in close quarter for second.
At the finish it was an elated Chris Young with his Riverhead Building Supply Chevy standing in the winners circle boasting the praises of his new car builder, "Rob Fuller and LFR builds one great piece" Chris noted, "we can call him and pick his brain anytime and I'm happy he was here tonight". As for his rare choice of taking the inside for the lap 9 double file restart Young disclosed with a wry smile, "sometimes you have to make you choice by the company that surrounds you"
Kyle Soper of Manorville was runner-up in the Eastport Feeds Chevy while Dylan Slepian of Dix Hills third in the RP Fabricating Chevy. Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead by virtue of his 4th place finish won the 2020 NASCAR Modified championship by 25 over Slepian. Tom's 5th championship lands him in some impressive company as he ties "Charging" Charlie Jarzombek, Wayne Anderson & Don Howe for the most NASCAR Modified championships. "This is a testament to the team that Denise & Ken Darch and myself have built, we are more like a family now and it shows" Tom stated afterwards, "perfect example, we hurt a motor two weeks ago, we could have used my car for the least two races but Kenny wasn't having it. He went out and bought a engine from Gary Cretty, need I say more". John Baker of Brookhaven was 5th.
In the 25-lap Late Model finale Dylan Slepian scored his first career victory and became the latest driver to have won in four different classes at Riverehad having already won in the INEX Legends, Crate Modifieds and NASCAR Modifieds. Shawn Patrick shot into the early race lead over Slepian when the race went green. Slepian chased Patrick until the start of the fourth lap off turn four when he was able to pass to the outside for the race lead. Unfortunately on that very same lap Patrick and 2020 Late Model champion Jeremy McDermott got together and a violent crash ensued with McDermott's car destroyed in the incident. Jeremy was okay but a long clean-up ensued. When the race resumed Slepian had Ray Mineiri to contend with before Ray was passed for position on lap 6 by Jarrod Hayes who was seeking his third win in a row. However there was no stopping the Eastport Feeds Chevy of Dylan Slepian from claiming that first career win. Hayes of Calverton was second in his HRP Racing Chevy while former two time champion Kevin Metzger of Massapequa was third in the Complete Well & Pump racer. With the 2020 Late Model title now his Jeremy McDermott became the all time leading winner of championships in the class with five and was able to gather himself up for a post race interview, "all the credit goes to owner Rob Pelis, heck this is his 4th LM championship in a row, what a team, what a great bunch of guy" McDermott said shaking out the cobwebs on Halloween night.
Owen Grennan of Glen Cove wrapped up a career season when he won his 4th Eagle Auto Mall Crate Modified feature. Owen came to the 2020 season with four career wins and with Saturday night's triumph double that total to eight. Once again impressive newcomer Alex Colasanto led a majority of the 25-lap main event fending off the likes of Steve Ratti, Matt Brode and Owen Grennan over the first 19 laps. However with Grennan behind him as the started the 20th lap Colasanto left a bit too much room to the inside and not only Grennan but also Brode were able to sneak under to him dropping Alex to third. Over the final 5 laps of the tilt Owen Grennan steering the Dillner Precast Chevy stayed out front for the victory with Matt Brode of East Islip second in the Milro Environmental Chevy with early leader Alex Colasanto of Selden third in the Panorama Signs Chevy. While it may not have been easy Richie Davidowitz of East Moriches who came to the race with 34 point lead over Grennan survived early race contact, twice to nurse his damaged Benimax Trucking home 16th earning him enough points to win the 2020 Crate Modified championship as a rookie driver. As for how he stayed in survival mode Richie pointed to his team manager and spotter Greg Kleila "after the second contact the car wouldn't steer at all, but Greg just kept saying finish the race, just finish the race. I'm just so thankful and happy for the Morabito family who gave me this opportunity".
Tom Ferrara of Patchogue won the battle in the final 15-lap Figure Eight race of 2020 winning his third race of the year and 17th of his career. However coming to the last race 10-points back of Sayville South Bay Auto Repair teammate Joe "Bam Bam" Warren of Ridge and just nine cars in the field Ferrara would lose the war as Warren, the 2019 Rookie of the Year in the class became the 2020 champion. Brian Hansen led the first lap of the contest but the race got off to an auspicious start when right behind Hansen the cars of Chris Elliott and Bryan Quilliam got together. Once the race resumed Ferrara who started 7th was able to race his way by Hansen for the lead, a lead he'd never surrender in the Beach Auto Collision Cadillac. On lap 3 Joe Warren worked his way to Ryan Zukowski for second and was happy to ride along in that position for the remainder of the race realizing he'd be the 2020 Figure Eight champion. "Have to thank Tom & Kathy Kraft for the chance to drive for them and Big's Sal's Race Engines and PD Carbs who were there for us all year long" the newly minted champion noted. Ryan Zukowski of Riverhead was third.
After the Blunderbust heats races were completed and the points for the qualifiers were paid out "Slick" Pick Tom Pickerell of Huntington hit the track for the final 20-lap feature event of the year 1-point behind upstart driver Cody Triola of Bay Shore for the 2020 title. Pickerell knew the best way for him to win a track leading 7th career Blunderbust championship would be to go out and win the race and that is exactly what he did to earn his second straight championship. Gary Caldwell paced the race for the first two laps before Jim Laird Jr. made his way to the lead on lap 3. "Mad" Max Handley made his way by Caldwell for second on lap 4 and set sail for Laird for the race lead. Laird who has been snake bitten in 2020 with bad luck would find more misfortune come his way on lap 13 when he spun for the race lead with Handley hot on his heels. When the race resumed Handley had Tom Pickerell alongside and when the green reappeared "Slick Pick" raced the Encore Rentals Chevy to the race lead while his championship rival Cody Triola was trying to find some solid footing in third behind Handley. When the race concluded Tom Pickerell on the strength of his 28th career win earned the 2020 Blunderbust crown by 3-points over Cody Triola who placed third in the Cesspool Pros entry. Max Handley of Medford was second in the race in his Licciardi Builders Caprice.
Every year all time leading Super Pro Truck winner Lou Maestri and his wife Tracy post a $100 bonus with a trophy for the winning crew chief of the final Super Pro Truck race of the season in the memory of their longtime CC and friend Joe DiGangi. Never in his 33 wins has Lou won that award that is until Saturday night. Frank Dumicich Sr, led the early going over Ethan Brown and then Lou Maestri with Maestri gaining a run to the inside of Dumicich for the race lead on lap 3 entering the first turn. Once out front Lou never looked back from the cockpit of his Hunter Business Schools Ford despite being chased by such front runners as Dumicich, Mark Stewart, championship contender Sean Glennon and finally Max Handley. Once he took the checker flag for his 34th career win Lou Maestri came over the radio congratulating his crew chief and noted fabricator John Matlach on winning the Joe DiGangi award. Handley of Medford was runner-up in the HCC Collision Chevy while Sean Glennon of Northport was third in the Mike Ryan Cesspools entry. Glennon came to the race 17 markers behind Jack Handley Jr. of Medford for the title and with Jack placing 4th he would clinch the 2020 Super Pro Truck championship in the Andre & Amy Vega owned, Hydro Action Chevy.
As the 20-lap INEX Legend Race Car feature rolled to the track Kevin Nowak of Medford entered the fray 5 points back of championship leader George Tomko Jr. of Aquebogue. Nowak started the race 7th, Tomko 8th and the chase was on. Joey Braun and Pat Moore lead early with Braun leading lap 1 while Moore paced the second and third circuits. However Nowak seeking his second career track championship was indeed a man on a mission racing his way into contention early on. On lap 3 while racing down the back stretch Nowak dipped under both Moore and second place Jason Castaldo in one clean sweep to bring his JTEC Electric entry to the race lead. Meanwhile his nearest rival for the crown George Tomko Jr. was having a more difficult time trying to wave his way to the front. On lap 7 during a double file restart 2019 Legend race Car champion Richie Davidowitz made his way to second, a sight Nowak more than likely didn't want to see but in the end Kevin remained unnerved and drove off to his third win of 2020, 18th of his career and the INEX Legend Race Car championship. Davidowitz was second in the Wally Davidowitz Racing machine was second while Jason Castaldo of Shirley who enjoyed a breakout year in his M3 Technology entry was third. Tomko would end up 5th and lost the title by 3 points to Nowak.
NASCAR Modifieds: 1. Chris Young 2. Kyle Soper 3. Dylan Slepian 4. Tom Rogers Jr. 5. John Baker 6. Roger Turbush 7. Howie Brode 8. Justin Brown 9. CJ Lehmann 10. Jeremy McDermott 11. Artie Pedersen III 12. John Beatty Jr. 13. Jack Handley Jr. 14. Vinny Delaney 15. Jimmy Rennick Jr. 16. Michael Rutkoski 17. Dave Brigati DQ-Kyle Ellwood DNS- Dillon Steuer
Late Models: 1. Dylan Slepian 2. Jarrod Hayes 3. Kevin Metzger 4. Chris Turbush 5. Ray Minieri 6. Shawn Patrick 7. Jeremy McDermott DQ- Ryan Zukowski DNS- Ed Cheslak
Crate Modifieds: 1. Owen Grennan 2. Matt Brode 3. Alex Colasanto 4. Steve Ratti 5. Mike Albasini 6. Sean Glennon 7. Terry Stiles 8. Lou Maestri 9. Eric Hersey 10. Gerard Lawrence 11. Brian Brown 12. Eddie Schutze 13. Jason Hansen 14. Dennis Krupski 15. Kenny Southard 16. Richie Davidowitz 17. Chris Rogers 18. Stephen Coleman 19. Michael Berner DNS- AJ DeSantis
Figure Eights: 1. Tom Ferrara 2. Joe Warren Jr. 3. Ryan Zukowski 4. Chris Elliott 5. Brian Hansen 6. Bob Dalke 7. Scott Pedersen 8. Bryan Quilliam DNS- Paul Cummings
Blunderbusts: 1. Tom Pickerell 2. Max Handley 3. Cody Triola 4. Gary Caldwell 5. Tom Sullivan 6. Jim Laird Jr. 7. Bill Wegmann Sr. 8. Kory Comiskey 9. Kyle Halpin 10. Alyssa Paprocky 11. Bill Wegmann Jr.
Super Pro Trucks: 1. Lou Maestri 2. Max Handley 3. Sean Glennon 4. Jack Handley Jr. 5. Ethan Brown 6. Mark Stewart 7. Frank Dumicich Jr. 8. Jimmy Rennick Jr. 9. Frank Dumicich Sr. 10. Chad McDonald 11. Daniel Creegan 12. Keith Rotzi
Legend Race Cars: 1. Kevin Nowak 2. Richie Davidowitz 3. Jason Castaldo 4. Brad Van Houten 5. George Tomko Jr. 6. Allan Pedersen 7. Eric Hersey 8. Anthony Marsh 9. Ray Fitzgerald 10. Patrick Moore 11. Jerry Curran 12. Jim Sylvester 13. Chris Sinatro 14. Jeff Farruggia Jr. 15. Shawn Wanat 16. Mike Van Houten Jr. 17. Jake Curran 18. Colin Volpe 19. Darren McCabe 20. Robert Henninger III 21. Sean McElearney 22. Chase Grennan 23. Charlie Hodge 24. Scott Cheslak 25. Mike Benton 26. Joey Braun