Riverhead, NY July 23rd.
It was a hot & sultry summer night at Riverhead Raceway Saturday and with the NASCAR Modifieds off for the evening the Eagle Auto Mall Modified Crate drivers took center stage for a 40-lap main event with Dylan Slepian of Dix Hills scoring his second win of 2016. Slepian the 2015 INEX Legend Race Car champion went wire to wire for the NASCAR Whelen All American Series triumph.
With a $1,000 carrot dangling for the quickest time in qualifying thanks to the efforts of Wayne Okula, Dillon Steuer of Bohemia not only won the cash prize with his lap of 12.702 but also two Hoosier Tires among other prizes. Since this was the first time the class has qualified via time trials Steuer’s lap becomes the track record. Dillon drew the number four pill after qualifying signifying the top four cars would redraw for the main event with Steuer drawing the outside pole while Dylan Slepian second quick in time drew the pole.
When the green flag waved for the 40-lap feature Dylan Slepian got the jump on the 14-year old Dillon Steuer for the race lead with CJ Lehmann and Dave Brigati in tow from third and fourth. During the race which was slowed by just one caution flag Slepian was able to get away from his rivals thanks in part to Lehmann attempting to challenge Steuer for second. This also allowed Brigati running fourth to take a peek at working his way around Lehmannn for third. With all that going on behind him Slepian was able to hit his marks and get into a rhythm at the front of the pack. Meanwhile Lehmann was still trying to figure a way around Steuer who was equal to all challenges thrown his way.
When the checker flag waved it was the Hurricane Grill & Wings Chevy of Dylan Slepian taking the win and afterwards he revealed it was no easy win. “I can’t thank Kenny Darch enough, he had the transmission out of this car twice tonight despite his dislocated elbow”. Oddly enough Slepian and Darch would again have to remove the transmission a third time in post race tech as the top three cars were mandated to do so by NASCAR Technical Inspectors. All three cars were deemed legal.
Dillon Steuer despite finishing second enjoyed a $1,325 payday including his fast time bonus in the Northeastern Office Equipment Chevy with CJ Lehmann of Shirley third in the IGA Food Markets entry. Championship leader Dave Brigati of Calverton and Peter Bertuccio of Bohemia completed the top five.
Defending Figure Eight champion Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead had been sidelined from racing since May for health reasons made a triumphant return to action Saturday winning his 25th career feature event in the 15-lap main event. Rogers started the race scratch on the field (12th) as he subbed for the vacationing Tom Ferrara in the Northeastern Office Equipment machine. After Tom Kraft Jr. led the first two laps of the race Scott Pedersen moved out front on the third lap. However once again Pedersen’s luck would turn sour while out front as he was the victim of contact from a lapped car. That turn of events moved Mike Mujsce Sr. into the race lead on lap 7 and the former champion would show the way until he was passed by Ken Hyde Jr. on lap 12. In the meantime Rogers was busy barn storming his way towards the front and with just two laps remaining in the contest Tom would make his way around Hyde for the race lead and eventual victory. Ken Hyde Jr. of Mastic Beach would have to settle for second in the SGS Stone Works racer with championship leader Roger Maynor of Bay Shore third in the Barrasso & Sons Mason Supplies Ford.
Defending Blunderbust champion “Slick Pick” Tom Pickerell of Huntington overcame his disqualification from the previous week in true racing form as he went out and won the 20-lap feature event for the 17th time in his career. That moves Tom into a three way tie for third on the all time win list with the still active Scott Maliszewski and retired Mark Tooker. Joshua Creel set the pace of the race for the first three circuits with Pickerell in pursuit. As the tandem exited the fourth turn to start the fourth lap Pickerell made his way to the outside to overtake Creel for the race lead. Creel would run second until just prior to the halfway mark when he was passed by championship leader Jack Handley Jr. on the 9th lap. Once to second Jack started to reel in the leader and in fact got to Pickerell’s rear bumper but that would be as good as it got for the four time feature event winner. At the finish it was indeed the USIC Utility Locating Chevy of Tom Pickerell earning his second win of 2016. Jack Handley Jr. of Medford was runner-up in the Relle Electric Chevy while “The Wildchild” Tommy Walkowiak of Ridge was third in the Blaze Fuel Oil entry.
Owen Grennan of Glen Cove continued a family tradition when he went out and won the 20-lap Super Pro Truck feature event. Owen’s father Danny won some 22 races as well two track championships (2002, 2003) in the division prior to hanging up his helmet to focus on his son and his racing career. Starting from the pole Grennan, 16 jumped right to the race lead at the throw of the green with both Jimmy Rennick and Mike Albasini in tow. As the race moved along the fight for second would grow intense between Rennick and Albasini who went side by side for the position. from the 4th lap up until lap 15 the duo swapped second no less than five times before Albasini claimed it on lap 15. All the the side by side racing for second was just fine with leader Grennan who was able to build a comfortable cushion over the field. Meanwhile Albasini would soon find himself in another battle for second with just laps remaining with Roger Turbush further allowing the leader breathing room. When the checker flag waved it would do so first over the hood of the Evergreen Fences & Estate Screening Chevy of Owen Grennan who now adds a Super Pro Truck along with his 2015 Charger win to his racing resume. Roger Turbush of Riverhead with a last lap pass claimed runner-up money in the Baldwin Automotive Chevy while Mike Albasini of Flushing settled for third in the Hollis Court Collision Chevy.
Just a week after a jarring crash that left his Elaine Vollmoeller owned INEX Legend Race Car heavily damaged Kyle Soper of Manorville won the 20-lap Legend Race Car feature. Aside from the typical burning of the midnight oil by Elaine and her husband former racer Robin a trip to North Carolina to have chassis repairs was also needed before Soper could race the car again. Starting from the pole Kyle wasted no time in moving out to the race lead with Brad Van Houten and John Beatty Jr. giving chase. Beatty would make his way around Van Houten on lap 3 for second and the race was now on between he and leader Kyle Soper. On more than one occasion Beatty tried to execute a crossover move exiting the corners with Soper equal to those challenges each and every time, With all the hard work and effort out in by his team during the week Kyle Soper was not going to deny them a chance to celebrate their hard work with a win in the sponsor less machine. John Beatty Jr. of Merrick was second in the Giella Electric entry while Kevin Nowak of Medford raced his way from a 9th place starting berth to finish a solid third in the JTEC Electric racer.
Charlie Guardino of Westbury is now two for two in 2016 as he won the Spectator Drags while Connor Walsh topped the Big Wheel Race for children. The program concluded with the KSR Motorsports Monster Trucks thrilling the crowd with Hurricane Force, Webslinger, Storm Damage and the Rislone Defender performing.
Eagle Auto Mall Modified Crates: 1. Dylan Slepian 2. Dillon Steuer 3. CJ Lehmann 4. Dave Brigati 5. Peter Bertuccio 6. Dennis Krupski 7. Bobby Gardner 8. Jason Hansen 9. AJ DeSantis 10. Terry Stiles
Figure Eights: 1. Tom Rogers Jr. 2. Ken Hyde Jr. 3. Roger Maynor 4. Scott Pedersen 5. Tom Kraft Jr. 6. Gary Fritz Jr. 7. Bob Dalke 8. Mike Musjce Sr. 9. Chris Elixson 10. Conner Aguirre 11. Dan Lynch 12. Brian Hansen
Blunderbusts: 1. Tom Pickerell 2. Jack Handley Jr. 3. Tommy Walkowiak 4. Joshua Creel 5. Jim Laird 6. Tom Puccia 7. Eric Zeh 8. Tim Mulqueen 9. Scott Maliszewski 10. Tom Sullivan 11. Bill Wegmann Sr. 12. Derek Wegmann 13. Cory Comiskey 14. Cassandra Denis 15. Bill Wegmann Jr. DNS- Alyssa Paprocky DNS- Chris LaSpisa
Super Pro Trucks: 1. Owen Grennan 2. Roger Turbush 3. Mike Albasini 4. Jack Handley Jr. 5. Jimmy Rennick Jr. 6. Dave Brigati 7. Lou Maestri 8. Sean Glennon 9. Frank Dumicich Jr. 10. Mark Stewart 11. Frank Dumicich Sr. 12. Amanda Anderson 13. Rob McCormick
INEX Legend Race Cars: 1. Kyle Soper 2. John Beatty Jr. 3. Kevin Nowak 4. Kyle Ellwood 5. Vinny Delaney 6. George Tomko Jr. 7. Ryan Lutz 8. Ray Fitzgerald 9. Greg Harris 10. Jim Sylvester 11. Dylan Slepian 12. Mike Van Houten Jr. 13. Jerry Curran 14. Joe Warren Jr. 15. Will Hiscock 16. Kyle Kwasna 17. Jeff Otto Jr. 18. Ed Cheslak 19. Paul Dodorico 20. Bryan Kelly 21. Eric Hersey 22. Brad Van Houten 23. Richie Davidowitz 24. Chris Rogers