Riverhead, NY Sept. 1st.
Defending NASCAR Modified champion Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead and his race team had to virtually rebuild their car after a hard crash on Wednesday August 22nd with the machine not finished up until 2:30 am Saturday morning. Later that night Rogers went out and rewarded his hard working group by sweeping the Twin 50 NASCAR Modified events at Riverhead Raceway Saturday evening. The victories were the 50th & 51st of Tom’s career moving him to second on the track’s all time win list that is lead by Charlie Jarzombek with 63 wins.
John Beatty Jr. of Merrick again led qualifying with a lap of 11.881 but would redraw third for the first 50 while the front row was drawn by Kyle Soper and John Fortin Sr. At the throw of the green Fortin and Soper would go toe to toe for the lead with Fortin leading the first three circuits of the contest. Tom Rogers Jr. who started the race from fourth quickly made his way into the fight for the lead passing Soper for second with an inside pass off turn four to start the 4th lap. This pit rivals Fortin and Rogers against each for the lead but with the duo having a pre race clear the air chat the ensuing fight for the top spot was intense but clean. With an inside pass off turn 2 on lap 8 Rogers made his way out front with Fortin settling into second.
Once out front Rogers steering what basically is a new car after a new front & rear clip were needed after the August crash was able to stay out front in his License To Chill Chevy and score career win number 50 tying him for the moment with Jim Malone Sr. for victories. Kyle Soper of Manorville made a pass for second on lap 36 stand up as he was runner-up in the Eastport Feeds Chevy while John Fortin Sr. of Holtsville was third in the Long Island Truck Parts Chevy. Eddie Brunnhoelzl III of Levittown and Dave Brigati of Calverton completed the top five.
While it was the inside groove that Tom Rogers Jr. utilized in his first race victory the second race would see Tom finding success on the topside of the track. With the top six inverted for the start of the second race CJ Lehmann and Dave Brigati bring the field to the green flag with Brigati leading the first lap before the due made contact slowing the race with neither car suffering too much damage. In fact when the race resumed it was Brigati back to the lead with John Fortin Sr. making his way to second. Meanwhile Tom Rogers Jr. was on the march from his 6th starting spot and before long made his way to third. As the field raced the 7th lap it was then when Rogers made one of the most impressive passed for the lead when he jumped to the outside down the backstretch behind Brigati and Fortin. Tom gained so much momentum on the outside entering three he passed both tested tough veterans for the race lead coming off the fourth turn to start the 8th lap.
Once to the lead there would be no stopping the Stakey’s Pumpkin Farm Chevy of Tom Rogers Jr. who drove to his 51st career win with what many were calling a “Jarzombek” like pass. When asked about the winning move of the second race Tom pointed out, “anyone who knows me knows that I like the outside better” However all Rogers wanted to talk about was the effort of his team and sponsors, “this car needed a ton of work, more than most know. But my team, my sponsors and my family all stepped up putting in long hours after we picked the car up from Tony & Matt Hirschamnn. I’d like to thank them all by name but that would just take too long”.
Kyle Soper was runner-up in the Atlantic Chevrolet entry while John Fortin Sr. third in the John’s Fuel Oil Chevy. Dylan Slepian of Dix Hills and John Fortin Jr. of Holtsville completed the top five.
After feeling as though he gave one away Wednesday night, Chris Turbush of Wading River came back on a mission to win the 25-lap Late Model feature event a milestone 10th of his career. Scott Kulesa brought the field down to the green flag but it would be Chris Turbush who’d take the race lead when the first lap was completed. Kulesa would pursue Turbush for the first five laps of the tilt before he was passed by Jeremy McDermott, a Wednesday night winner. With Turbush remaining out front Kyle Soper came along to challenge McDermott for second and made a pass for the position on lap 10. However Chris Turbush was not going to be denied this time as he drove off to his second victory of ’18 in his B&N Moving & Storage Chevy. Kyle Soper of Manorville was second in the Eastport Feeds entry while Jeremy McDermott of Riverhead placed third in the JDP Mechanical Pontiac.
Owen Grennan of Glen Cove topped the 35-lap Eagle Auto Mall Crate Modified feature in a non stop affair. When the green waved Chris Rogers and Dennis Krupski coming to the front of the field and they’d run 1-2 over the first five laps of the race. On lap 6 Owen Grennan who started the race 4th made an outside pass off Krupski for second. First task for Owen was to erase a small but comfortable lead Rogers had built up which he quickly accomplished. As the field race off turn two on lap 12 Grennan having caught Rogers made an inside pass stick to take the race lead from Rogers who’d run second until lap 15 when he was passed by Jack Orlando. By the time Orlando got to second however Grennan was out of reach and would go on to the win in his Merkenti Construction Chevy. Jack Orlando of Calverton crossed the line second in the Prototype Race Fabrication Chevy while Michael Rutkoski of Mattituck drove from a 7th starting spot to finish third in his Buzz Chew Auto Group Chevy.
While his car is still on the shelf from a mid-season crash Tom Ferrara of Patchogue was again offered the Charles Macwhinnie Figure Eight ride and “The Alter Boy” promptly went out and won the 15-lap feature event. Ferrara would take advantage of a rare pole starting spot to race to the early lead at the throw of the green with Vinny Delaney coming to second.The due pretty much had things under control until the second half of the race when Tom Rogers Jr. made his way to third after starting 7th. Rogers, winner of 7 out of 8 races run this year started to put heat on Delaney for second, music to the ears of leader Ferrara who went off to victory. The win was the 13th of Tom’s career tying him with Bill Steen for 11th on the all time list. Vinny Delaney of Holtsville was runner-up in the Northeastern Office Equipment mount while Tom Rogers Jr. was third in the United Exhaust Shop Chevy coupe.
Sometimes in racing it is all about being in the right place at the right time and such was the case for first time Blunderbust winner Cody Triola of Bay Shore. Jack Handley Jr. broke to the race lead at the start of the 20-lap tilt and appeared to be on his way to another 2018 victory. However on lap 6 Robert Ehrle making a rare start blew up in front of the race leader and Jack had nowhere to to but into the fluid and wall ending his race. When the race resumed Triola found himself the new race leader with Jim Laird Jr. and Tom Pickerell hot on his heels. Laird ran second for lap 7 with Pickerell passing Jim on lap 8. However moments after that pass Pickerell soon found himself on the infield with an overheating issue. That left Triola and Laird to battle it out for the win with Triola in his Cesspool Pros racer prevailing. Laird of Riverhead was runner-up in the My Country 96.1 FM Caprice with Timmy Mulqueen of Levittown third in the Saybrook Farms entry.
The Super Pro Truck 20 lap event was also a non stop affair with Mark Stewart of Riverhead scoring yet another win. Former champion Frank Dumicich Jr. showed the way for the first 5 laps of the race chased for the first three by Mike Albasini and then Dave Brigati. It would be Brigati, the defending champion of the class executing a crossover move on leader Dumicich to take the lead on lap 6 in the first and second turn. One lap later Dumicdich was overtaken by Stewart for second and the race was on for the win. Try as he might to keep the youthful Stewart at bay Brigati would surrender the lead as Mark made an inside pass off turn 4. Once out front there was no stopping Mark Stewart in his Lucharito’s Restaurant Chevy as he drove off to his 17th career win. Dave Brigati of Calverton was second in the Quest Machining Chevy while Lou Maestri of Deer park was third in the Gershow Recycling Chevy.
INEX Legend Race Car driver Ed Cheslak of Rocky Point realized the dream of a lifetime when he won his first career 20-lap feature event. Ed’s timing was prefect too as many family members who were in town for his sisters Friday wedding watched the first career win in person. Jonathan Parson paced the race for the first lap before teenage Riely O’Keefe took the lead on lap 2. The race was a rough one for sure with numerous caution flags and restarts unfolding which was how O’Keefe took the lead from Parsons. Jonathan ran second until lap 3 when Ed Cheslak made his way by and just two laps later again on a double file restart Cheslak would race his way by O’Keefe for the race lead. Once to the lead Cheslak would have to withstand and master several more double file restarts before he could lay claim to that elusive fiorst career win which he did driving the Aliano Realty machine to victory lane. Championship leader Jim Sylvester of Massapequa made his way to a second place finish in the 860 Racing machine while it was a career best third for Riely O’Keefe of Islip in his Mil-Aero Solutions coupe.
NASCAR Modifieds 1st Twin 50: 1. Tom Rogers Jr. 2. Kyle Soper 3. John Fortin Sr. 4. Eddie Brunnhoelzl III 5. Dave Brigati 6. CJ Lehmann 7. Dylan Slepian 8. Chris Young 9. John Fortin Jr. 10. Brad Van Houten 11. John Beatty Jr. 12. Roger Turbush 13. Eriz Zeh
NASCAR Modifieds 2nd Twin 50: 1. Tom Rogers Jr. 2. Kyle Soper 3. John Fortin Sr. 4. Dylan Slepian 5. John Fortin Jr. 6. Chris Young 7. CJ Lehmann 8. Eric Zeh 9. Dave Brigati 10. Brad Van Houten 11. Eddie Brunnhoelzl III 12. Roger Turbush 13. John Beatty Jr.
Late Models: 1. Chris Turbush 2. Kyle Soper 3. Jeremy McDermott 4. Scott Kulesa 5. Roger Oxee 6. Frank Dumicich Jr. 7. Ray Minieri 8. Charles Macwhinnie 9. Kevin Metzger 10. Chris McGuire
Crate Modifieds: 1. Dan Grennan 2. Jack Orlando 3. Michael Rutkoski 4. Justin Brown 5. Chris Rogers 6. Dennis Krupski 7. Artie Pedersen III 8. Peter Bertuccio 9. AJ DeSantis 10. George Tomko Jr. 11. Scott Pedersen
Figure Eights: 1. Tom Ferrara 2. Vinny Delaney 3. Tom Rogers Jr. 4. Gary Fritz Jr. 5. Eric Zeh 6. Scott Pedersen 7. Brian Hansen 8. Rick Swanson 9. Ken Hyde Jr. 10. Bob Dalke
Blunderbusts: 1. Cody Triolz 2. Jim Laird Jr. 3. Tim Mulqueen 4. Brandon Hubbard 5. CJ Zurkowski 6. Alyssa Paprocky 7. Tom Pickerell 8. Jack Handley Jr. 9. Robert Ehrle 10. Russ Jansen 11. Joshua Creel DNS- Tommy Walkowiak
Super Pro Trucks: 1. Mark Stewart 2. Dave Brigati 3. Lou Maestri 4. Jimmy Rennick Jr. 5. Frank Dumicich Jr. 6. Mike Albasini 7. Eddie Schutze 8. Frank Dumicich Sr. 9. Darren McCabe 10. Tom Sullivan
Legend Race Cars: 1. Ed Cheslak 2. Jim Sylvester 3. Riely O’Keefe 4. Jonathan Parsons 5. Vinny Delaney 6. Scott Cheslak 7. Artie Pedersen III 8. Anthony Marsh
9. Matt Brode 10. Jerry Curran 11. Pat Moore 12. Ray Fitzgerald 13. George Tomko Jr. 14. Mike Van Houten Jr. 15. Steve Woytysiak 16. Mike Benton 17. Jeffrey Farruggia Jr. 18. Jeff Otto Jr. 19. Steve Hersey 20. Silas Hiscock 21. Alex Halinar 22. Tom Ferrara 23. Brad Van Houten 24. Rich Braun 25. Eric Hersey 26. Stephen Coleman