Riverhead, NY Aug. 5th.
By Bob Finan
Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead notched his third NASCAR Whelen All American Series Modified win of 2017 Saturday night in the Elvis Night 50 and in the process took over the championship lead by 1 point over John Fortin Sr. of Holtsville 403 to 402. The triumph was the 46th of Tom’s NASCAR Modified career moving him to just 4 wins behind Jim Malone Sr. on the all time win list, Malone won 50 times at the historic quarter mile oval.
Dave Brigati of Calverton topped the charts in qualifying with a lap of 11.958, the only driver to break into the 11 second range. In the redraw Dave would pick 5th among the top six while Howie Brode of East Islip and Chris Young of Calverton drew the front row. At the throw of the green Brode would move from the pole to the race lead with Young in tow for the first lap however Tom Rogers Jr. who drew the third starting position moved under Young in turn to start the second lap. After spending 7 laps sizing up Brode for a pass Rogers would indeed make what would turn out to be the winning pass once again off the fourth turn when he made his way Brode for the lead as the duo started the 10th circuit. With Rogers firmly in the lead a battle for second would develop between early leader Howie Brode and soon to be 16-year old Dillon Steuer.
As the field took the halfway signal Steuer would make his way under Brode racing off the second turn on lap 20 to assume the challengers role. Once to second Dillon was able to reel in race leader Rogers who built a slight cushion over his foes while Steuer battled with Brode. Steuer was able to put his front bumper to the rear bumper of Rogers once to second and on more than one occasion would take a look the the inside as the lead tandem raced off the corners. However Rogers, one himself the up and coming young driving talent used his years of experience to his advantage protecting his lead at every turn of the way over the teenage driving star.
At the finish it was indeed Tom Rogers Jr steering the Stakey’s Pumpkin Farm Chevy to the winners circle noting after climbing from his car, “that was some fun racing tonight” Rogers boasted “both Howie and Dillon ran me real hard but real clean and that’s all you can ask for. I saw Howie getting tight and I knew I’d get an opening under him eventually” Tom then threw further praise Steuer’s way, “that kid is good and he’s going places, whether it is on asphalt or dirt remains to be seen but he’s the real deal”. Rogers also admitted a last minute change in set-up could have played a large role in his victory, “this morning we made some changes that we threw at the car Thursday night at the shop and they worked. We are always looking for that edge”.
Dillon Steuer of Bohemia was runner-up in the Northeastern Office Equipment Chevy while Howie Brode crossed the line third in the Petro Home Services Chevy. Chris Young and Dave Brigati were in the hunt all race long and rounded out the top five at the finish.
Late Model championship leader Kyle Soper of Manorville scored his 4th win of 2017 as he won the 25-lap feature event expanding his lead over defending champion Jeremy McDermott to nine, 445 to 436. Veteran driver Shawn Patrick seeking his second win of the year bolted out front when the race got underway with Ray Minieri in tow for the first 9 laps. Chris Turbush made his way by Minieri on lap 10 for second but just eight laps later Chris would have his night go south when he spun by himself in turn three while trying to track down leader Patrick. Turbush’s spin drew a caution flag and the ensuing restart would change the complexion of the race. When the field lined up it was Kyle Soper now second alongside race leader Patrick and as the green light came back on Soper was able to race his way around the outside of Patrick for the race lead. Once Soper in the Eastport Feeds Pontiac was out front he never looked back hitting his marks over the final 8 laps of the contest to score the win. Shawn Patrick of Brightwaters was runner-up in the Matlach Fabricating Chevy while Jeremy McDermott of Riverhead was third in his JDP Mechanical Chevy.
In just his 5th Blunderbust start “Mad” Max Handley of Medford scored the 20-lap Blunderbust victory steering the car that took his older brother Jack to the 2016 championship in the class as well 21 career wins. Popular Tom Sullivan took the early race lead at the throw of the green chased for the first lap but the “Racing Great Grandpa” Bill Wegmann. Lap 2 found Handley making his way from his 4th starting position to second on a double file restart racing under Wegmann for the spot. After chasing Sullivan for two laps Handley made his move for the lead as the duo raced off the fourth turn to start the 5th lap passing the early race leader to the inside. Sullivan would in turn run second to Handley over the following 12 laps before he was overtaken by championship leader Tom Pickerell on lap 18. With just two laps remaining in the race left Pickerell no time to make a run at the eventual race winner Max Handley in the Liccardi Builders Chevy who took the checkered flag. Pickerell of Huntington was runner-up in the Makely Enterprises Chevy while Tom Sullivan of Massapequa was third in the Action Auto Wreckers & Used Auto parts racer.
It would be both a milestone & bittersweet 30th career Super Pro Truck win for Roger Turbush of Riverhead who topped the 20-lap main event in what could very well have been his last race in the class. Just minutes after taking the win Roger turned the winning truck over to it’s new owner who as of press time remains unidentified. Turbush next week will embark on a new racing venture as he’ll debut in the NASCAR Modifieds with owner/sponsor Kennedy L.I. Realty of Bay Shore. 2016 Rookie of the Year Sean Glennon again paced the race at the outset leading Lou Maestri for the first lap and then Roger Turbush from laps 2 through 8. As Glennon and Turbush raced towards turn three on lap 8 Roger was able to slip under Sean for the race lead and eventual win in the Rheem Air Conditioning Chevy. From his first win on August 8th, 2009 Turbush enjoyed a successful run with the “tailgate brigade”. Sean Glennon of Northport was second in the R&R Brothers Electric entry while Jimmy Rennick Jr. of Howard Beach enjoyed a fine third place run in his Metropolitan Recycling Chevy.
Much like Roger Turbush in the Super Pro Trucks the 17th career INEX Legend Race Car victory for Kyle Ellwood of Riverhead could very well be his last as his SGS Stone Works team sold the winning car to Go Kart standout Jeffrey Farruggia and his family who took post race delivery of the car in the pits after the races. Starting 6th in the 26-car grid Kyle Ellwood was determined to make his way towards the front knowing this might be his last race in INEX Legend Race Car competition. Eric Hersey paced the race for the first two laps before the hard charging Kyle Ellwood was able to race his way under the race leader entering the third turn, Hersey would now run second to Ellwood. On lap 8 a Steve Boland spin would pit Ellwood and Hersey side by side for a double file restart and when the race went green Ellwood was bale to keep his lead over Hersey who was now under attack from third place John Beatty Jr. Beattty, the championship leader going into the race indeed raced his way under Hersey for second on lap 9. Over the final half of the 20-lap main event Beatty stayed in the tire tracks of leader Kyle Ellwood but close would be as good as it would get for John Beatty Jr. of Merrick who’d settle for second in the Giella Electric machine while Kyle Ellwood took home the bittersweet win. Eric Hersey of Commack had a solid third place finish in his Luau of Long Island racer.
Kevin Coyle of East Meadow scored a career first 8-Cylinder Enduro win as he won their 40-lap main event. After starting 6th on the gird Coyle just prior to the halfway mark of the race moved his way out front and from there on out he never looked back on his way to victory lane. Dennis Jones of Calverton was runner-up while last weeks winner Dominick Ranieri of East Northport was third.
Brandon Espositio of Farmingville didn’t let a 40th starting position in a 43 car Gut & Go Enduro field deter him as he raced his way through thick and thin to take the 50-lap victory. After scoring the hard fought win over Christian Conklin of Flanders and CJ Zurkowski of Riverhead who finished second and third Esposito dedicated the win to his late grandfather Joe Biondolillo Sr., a former Islip Speedway and Riverhead Raceway Figure Eight racer who passed away earlier in the summer.
NASCAR Modifieds: 1. Tom Rogers Jr. 2. Dillon Steuer 3. Howie Brode 4. Chris Young 5. Dave Brigati 6. John Fortin Sr. 7. Kyle Soper 8. Vinny Biondolillo 9. John Fortin Jr. 10. Joe Hartmann 11. David Schneider 12. John Baker 13. Cory Midgett
Late Models: 1. Kyle Soper 2. Shawn Patrick 3. Jeremy McDermott 4. Kevin Metzger 5. Ray Minieri 6. Steven Mastro 7. Brandon Turbush 8. Chris Lescenski 9. Eric Zeh 10. Darren McCabe 11. Chris Turbush
Blunderbusts: 1. Max Handley 2. Tom Pickerell 3. Tom Sullivan 4. Wayne Meyer 5. Cassandra Denis 6. Derek Wegmann 7. Eric Zeh 8. Bill Wegmann Sr. 9. Alyssa Paprocky 10. Tom Puccia 11. Joshua Creel 12. Jim Laird Jr. 13. Tim Mulqueen 14. Kenny King DNS- Tommy Walkowiak
Super Pro Trucks: 1. Roger Turbush 2. Sean Glennon 3. Jimmy Rennick Jr. 4. Dave Brigati 5. Owen Grennan 6. Lou Maestri 7. Eddie Schutze 8. Jack Handley Jr. 9. Dennis Cunningham 10. Mike Albasini
Legend Race Cars: 1. Kyle Ellwood 2. John Beatty Jr. 3. Eric Hersey 4. Richie Davidowitz 5. Brad Van Houten 6. Vinny Delaney 7. George Tomko Jr. 8. Chris Rogers 9. Ed Cheslak 10. Jim Sylvester 11. Jeff Otto Jr. 12. Jerry Curran 13. Mike Van Houten Jr. 14. Ray Fitzgerald 15. John Mackie 16. Paul Dodorico 17. Silas Hiscock Sr. 18. Mike Mortimer 19. Jonathan Parsons 20. Jason Castaldo 21. Bobby Jones 22. Mike Benton 23. Steve Boland 24. Matt Brode 25. Kevin Nowak 26. Dennis Kurras
8-Cylinder Enduro: 1. Kevin Coyle 2. Dennis Jones 3. Dominick Ranieri 4. Brian Halsey 5. Michael Asdahl 6. Sean Fitzpatrick 7. Mark Wolf 8. David Verbeeck 9. Pat Collins 10. Wes Sammon 11. Tom Talbot 12. Stacey Halsey 13. Brian Brown 14. Thomas Roberts 15. James Muench 16. Kim Hyde 17. Kevin Augustine 18. Peter Hart 19. Drew Scalfani 20. Amber Weiss 21. William Ebert 22. Jarrod Halsey
Gut & Go Enduro: 1. Brandon Esposito 2. Christian Conklin 3. CJ Zurkowski 4. Joe Warren Jr. 5. Drew Fohrkolb 6. Preston Prydatko 7. Corey Beverly 8. Woot Lawrence 9. Kevin Augustine 10. Tony Collingsworth 11. Joey Palmeri Jr. 12. John Palmeri 13. Dan Augustine 14. Dan Dimodugno 15. James Johnson 16. Joe Palmeri Sr. 17. Phil Ebert 18. Shawn Wanat 19. Ryan Dupuis 20. Demitria Pickerell 21. Robert Savoy 22. Ryan Warren 23. Robert Thurau 24. Kris Dane 25. Tom Pickerell 26. Mike Farrell 27. Josh Ledig 28. Eric Germuth 29. Fred Grover 30. Bryan Moore 31. Charlie Astacio 32. Brad Bess 33. Doug Tittle 34. Steve Fuller 35. Don Laskey 36. Chris Ianuzzi 37. Tom Coyle 38. Alyssa Paprocky 39. John Zanduski 40. Robert Henninger 41. George Astacio 42. Jake Ruland 43. Joseph Giaimo