Saturday night September 22nd the U.S Legend Cars step into the spotlight at Riverhead Raceway with the running of the 50-lap INEX National Qualifier, one of if not the most important race of the 2018 Legend Race Car season at the competitive quarter mile oval. The winner of this race will be assured of preferred starting status in all qualifying races leading up to the U.S Legend Cars Asphalt Nationals at The Bullring @ Las Vegas Motor Speedway October 25th through October 27th. A full program of NASCAR Whelen All American Series racing is also on tap Saturday night including the annual National Stock Demolition Derby championship.
Heading into the INEX National qualifier no clear cut favorite emerges for the race with 2018 championship leader Jim Sylvester of Massapequa leading the troops into battle. Sylvester has won three times in 2018 at Riverhead and took a 38-point lead into this past weekend over 2016 champion Vinny Delaney of Holtsville. Both drivers are tested tough short track veterans with Delaney still seeking his first win of 2018 as of press time.
Another driver to consider for the 50-lap victory is Mike Alcaro of Newton, N.J, one of the most successful INEX Legend Race Car drivers in the Northeast. Alcaro has only started three races at Riverhead in 2018 but has won two of those three and was runner-up in the third race. Alcaro won the Dan Jones Memorial on June 30th in his own entry while his second win came in a car fielded by Sylvester. “Big Money” Richie Davidowitz of East Moriches has a knack for winning big races but recently sold all his Legend Race Car equipment but recently drove to a runner-up finish at Riverhead on September 8th in the Paul Dodorico water cooled machine. Davidowitz is uncertain of he’ll team up with Dodorico for the 50-lapper but if they do he becomes an instant favorite for the win.
With 40 plus drivers earning Legend Race Car points for the season to date at Riverhead the weekly U.S. Legend Cars field is a tough and competitive one and anyone of the top drivers could take home the National Qualifier win. Among them are, George Tomko Jr. of Aquebogue, Ray Fitzgerald of Manorville, Eric Hersey of Commack, Ed Cheslak of Rocky Point, Jerry Curran of Calverton, Allan Pedersen of Center Moriches and Mike Benton of Springs.
Several drivers have run either a limited or part time slate of races in 2018 but still should be in the mix for the 50-lap victory including Brad Van Houten of Wading River, Jeff Otto Jr. of Deer Park, Artie Pedersen III of Center Moriches, Kyle Ellwood of Riverhead and Kevin Nowak of Medford.
Joining the Legend Race Cars on their special night are the Late Models, Eagle Auto Mall Crate Modifieds, Figure Eights, Blunderbusts, Super Pro Trucks, Vintage Cars of LIVARS and Mini Stocks. After all the racing is completed the 2018 National Stock Demo Champion will be determined in a bone jarring, car destroying Demolition Derby. Jamie “Killzone” Kilkenny of Howard Beach will defend his 2017 title against a star studded field including past champion Jason “Misery Machine” Savoy of Lake Panamoka among others.
Qualifying is tentatively set to start at 5:30 pm with opening ceremonies and the first feature event at approx. 6:30 pm. Further information can be viewed at www.riverheadraceway.com. Adults admission is $30, kids 6-11 $10 with 5 & under free. Questions can be sent in e-mail form to firstname.lastname@example.org
It was a busy night of NASCAR Whelen All American Series racing Saturday at Riverhead raceway with some 270-laps of feature event racing presented highlighted by the Whelen Engineering Night Twin 50’s for the NASCAR Modifieds. Kyle Soper of Manorville won the opening 50-lapper while John Beatty Jr. of Merrick topped the second 50-lap race. With a runner-up finish in the second race Soper will take a 11-point lead over defending NASCAR Modified champion Tom Rogers Jr. into the season finale September 29th.
Once again John Beatty Jr. set the standard in qualifying with a lap of 11.905 besting Chris Young of Calverton who posted a lap of 12.006. After a redraw in the pit area after qualifying it would be Kyle Soper who came into the first race trailing Tom Rogers Jr. by 3-points taking the early race lead over Dave Brigati. On lap 6 WMT regular Dave Sapienza steering the Joe Ambrose entry took a hard trip into the third turn exit gate ending his night with heavy damage. There was also a delay in order to shore up the damaged exit gate. When the race resumed starting the 7th lap Brigati would edge out in front of Soper to lead a lap before Kyle reclaimed the lead one lap later on the 8th circuit. Brigati ran second for two laps before he was passed by John Beatty Jr. for second on lap 10 on a double file restart. Beatty held second until lap 16 when he was passed by Tom Rogers Jr. to the inside off the fourth turn.
As the race moved along Soper in his Eastport Feeds Chevy had the field covered driving off to his 9th career win and in the process moved to one point behind Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead who was runner-up in the first 50 in his Stakey’s Pumpkin Farm Chevy. “This win is for my Grandmother who we lost last week” a tearful Soper noted in a emotional victory lane ceremony. John Beatty Jr. of Merrick was third in his MSM Elite Motorsports Chevy. Kyle Ellwood of Riverhead and John Fortin Jr. of Holtsville completed the top five.
With the top six inverted for the start of the second 50 Roger Turbush led the field to the green flag as he raced his way out front at the throw of the green with Kyle Ellwood making his way to second. Turbush, a 30 time Super Pro Truck winner gave a good showing leading Ellwood for the first half of the race. Ellwood making his first start for car owner Steven Booker chased Turbush until the 25th lap when he was overtaken by Tom Rogers Jr. It has always been Rogers motto that he races to win races and lets the points fall where they may. Rogers pestered Turbush for the top spot over the following 19 laps as he stayed glued to the rookie driver’s rear bumper. Suddenly on lap 44 Rogers got perhaps a better run than he intended on Turbush getting into and sending the race leader into a spin. Rogers was moved to the back of the field for contact and the sudden loss of positions had huge championship implications when the race concluded.
That turn of events moved third place John Beatty Jr. out front for a six lap dash for the cash with Chris Young lined up alongside for the restart. Beatty not one to look a gift horse in the mouth moved to the race lead, a lead he’d not surrender over the final half dozen laps of the race. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’d rather be lucky than good any day” Beatty proclaimed after exiting his winning car. With three laps left in the contest Kyle Soper moved by Young for second and that finish combined with Rogers crossing the line 8th gives Soper a 11-point lead (622-611) going into the last NASCAR Modified race of 2018 September 29th. Chris Young of Calverton had his best outing of the season with a third place tally in his Ray The Plumber Chevy. John Fortin Sr. of Holtsville and Dylan Slepian of Dix Hills rounded out the top five.
Chris Turbush of Wading River is on a hot streak in Late Model
competition as he won his second race in a month when he topped the night’s 25-lap feature. Early on it was a Charger division reunion as Chris McGuire and Chris Turbush diced for the early race lead. After McGuire led the first lap Turbush made an inside pass payoff as he took the lead on lap 2. Once out front Turbush never looked back in his Chris Mohr Landscaping Chevy as he drove off to his 11th career win. The win ties Chris with Gary LaMountain, Dan Jivanelli, Sean Egan and Glenn Tyler for 11th on the all time LM win list. Jeremy McDermott of Riverhead made his way to second where he would finish in the Staria Automotive Chevy with championship leader Kyle Soper third in his RP Landscaping entry. Two races remain in the 2018 LM campaign with Soper leading McDermott by 34 points (551-517).
While his NASCAR Modified racing didn’t go as he planned Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead drove to his 7th win in 9 races winning the 15-lap Figure Eight feature. Former champion Scott Pedersen showed the way over the first six laps but like all others in the class in 2018 he’d give way to Rogers on lap 6. After surrendering the lead Pedersen chased Rogers for two laps before he was passed by Eric Zeh on a lap 9 double file restart. Over the final five laps of the tilt Rogers lead his United Exhaust Shop teammate Zeh of Selden to the finish. The win was Tom’s 42nd career triumph. Most recent winner Tom Ferrara of Patchogue was third in the Northeastern Office Equipment Cadillac. Rogers leads Zeh by 34 points (430-396) going into the final two races of the season.
Defending Blunderbust champion Tom Pickerell of Huntington
scored his second win of the season when he won their 20-lap main event for his 22nd career victory. Veteran Tim Mulqueen got the measure of Alyssa Paprocky on the start of the race as he led the newcomer over the first three laps. Paprocky would be passed by Russ Jansen for second on lap 4 but his stay in that position was a short one as Pickerell made his way by on lap 7. Once to second Pickerell set sail for leader Mulqueen. Just after taking the halfway signal disaster struck for Mulqueen as a lapped car played havoc with him allowing Pickerell to race by for the race lead. One lap later Jim Laird Jr. made his way to second and would pressure the multi-time champion for the win over the second half of the race. In the end though it would be the Makely Enterprises Chevy of Tom Pickerell coming out on top. Laird of Riverhead was runner-up in the My Country 96.1 FM Chevy while championship leader Jack Handley Jr. of Medford was third in his Relle Electric Chevy. Handley leads Pickerell by 36 points and Laird by 38 markers (594-558-556) with two race remaining.
Mark Stewart of Riverhead continues his successful Super Pro truck season winning his 5th race of the year in a 30-lap event. Stewart got his night off on the right foot, literally when he set fast time with a lap of 13.366. When the race got underway Stewart in his East Side Building Chevy jumped to the lead with defending champion Dave Brigati in tow when the race took the green flag. Brigati chased Stewart for the first two laps before he was passed by Jimmy Rennick Jr. on the third lap. Rennick still seeking his first career chased Stewart until Mark’s Grandfather “Dynamite” Dan Turbush made his way by Rennick for second. Brigati moved back by Rennick to watch the family feud from third. However youth would again be served as Mark Stewart drove off to his 18th career win which ranks him 4th on the all time win list. Dan Turbush of Riverhead showcasing the truck owned by Tommy Walkowiak was second and off that run Walkowiak was able to sell the truck in the pits after the races. Dave Brigati of Calverton was third in the Quest Machining entry. Stewart leads Brigati by 32-points (508-476) with Rennick third (473) 35 point back of Mark with two races to go.
“Big Money” Richie Davidowitz of East Moriches made INEX Legend
Race Car history in the Paul Dodorico owned car when he won the 20-lap main event. While the win ties Davidowitz with Danny McNamara and Kyle Ellwood for the all time lead in win with 19 this victory was the first for a water cooled U.S Legend Cars machine on Long Island. Young lions Stephen Coleman and Matt Brode brought the field to green with Coleman leading the first lap over Brode who unfortunately spun on lap 2. Veteran drivers Eric Hersey and Artie Pedersen III made their way to the top two spots on lap 2 during the double file restart after the Brode spin. Hersey would pace Pedersen until lap 6 when championship leader Jim Sylvester made his way under Pedersen for second. Sylvester held second until the 11th lap where he was passed by Richie Davidowitz. After spending two laps chasing and sizing leader Hersey up for a pass Davidowitz made his move with an inside pass going into the first turn on lap 14. Once out front there was no stopping Richie Davidowitz in the Dr, Martha Baker “The Racers Dentist” machine from taking the milestone win. Eric Hersey of Coomack was runner-up in the Luau of Long island mount with Artie Pedersen III of Center Moriches third in the TJ’S Hero’s racer. With two races remaining Jim Sylvester has a healthy 53-point lead over Vinny Delaney (582-529).
In the 20-lap First Responders race for the third year in a row former Rocky Point VFD Chief Dege Russell took home the win in his Kelly Russell Realty entry. Russell started 5th in the 20-car field and was in the lead before five laps were in the books. Stephen Elliston of the North Sea Fire Department was second while Nick Kochanasz of the East Hampton Fire Department was third.
Jared Halsey of Southampton made it two in a row as he won the 40-lap 8-Cylinder Enduro in his Sabrosa Mexican Grill Chevy. Jared won the Labor Day weekend race earlier in the month with the win his third overall in his career. Christian Kalbfleisch of Ridge had another solid outing for second in the P.P.H Mechanical Chevy while Michael Asdahl of East Meadow was third in his sponsor wanted Monte Carlo.
NASCAR Modifieds 1st Twin 50: 1. Kyle Soper 2. Tom Rogers Jr. 3. John Beatty Jr. 4. Kyle Ellwood 5. John Fortin Jr. 6. Roger Turbush 7. John Fortin Sr. 8. David Schneider 9. CJ Lehmann 10. Chris Young 11. Dylan Slepian 12. Brad Van Houten 13. Dave Brigati 14. John Baker 15. Eddie Brunnhoelzl III 16. Dave Sapienza 17. Sal Accardi 18. Dan Jivanelli
NASCAR Modifieds 2nd Twin 50: 1. John Beatty Jr. 2. Kyle Soper 3. Chris Young 4. John Fortin Sr. 5. Dylan Slepian 6. Dan Jivanelli 7. CJ Lehmann 8. Tom Rogers Jr. 9. John Baker 10 Brad Van Houten 11. Roger Turbush 12. Kyle Ellwood 13. David Schneider 14. Sal Accardi Jr. 15. Eddie Brunnhoelzl III 16. Dave Brigati DQ-John Fortin Jr. DNS-Dave Sapienza
Late Models: 1. Chris Turbush 2. Jeremy McDermott 3. Kyle Soper 4. Chris McGuire 5. Kevin Metzger 6. Frank Dumicich Jr. 7. Ray Minieri DNS- Dylan Slepian
Figure Eights: 1. Tom Rogers Jr. 2. Eric Zeh 3. Tom Ferrara 4. Vinny Delaney 5. Scott Pedersen 6. Ken Hyde Jr. 7. Joe Warren Jr. 8. Chris Rogers 9. Mike Mujsce Jr. 10. Mike Mujsce Sr. 11. Charles Macwhinnie 12. Brian Hansen
Blunderbusts: 1. Tom Pickerell 2. Jim Laird Jr. 3. Jack Handley Jr. 4. Cody Triola 5. Russ Jansen 6. Alyssa Paprocky 7. Bill Wegmann Sr. 8. Tommy Walkowiak 9. Jarrett Campbell 10. Tim Mulqueen 11. Eddie Diaz
Super Pro Trucks: 1. Mark Stewart 2. Danny Turbush 3. Dave Brigati 4. Jimmy Rennick Jr. 5. Sean Glennon 6. Jerry Solomito Jr. 7. Darren McCabe 8. Tom Sullivan 9. Lou Maestri 10. Frank Dumicich Jr. 11. Eddie Schutze
Legend Race Cars: 1. Richie Davidowitz 2. Eric Hersey 3. Artie Pedersen III 4. Jimmy Sylvester 5. Ray Fitzgearld 6. George Tomko Jr. 7. Jerry Curran 8. Mike Benton 9. Ed Cheslak 10. Riely O’Keefe 11. Vinny Delaney 12. Scott Cheslak 13. Stephen Coleman 14. Matt Brode 15. Steve Woytysiak 16. Pat Moore 17. Anthony Marsh 18. Silas Hiscock Sr. 19. Jeffery Farruggia Jr. 20. Rich Bruan 21. Eric Zeh 22. Jonathan Parsons 23. Jeff Otto Jr. DNS- Mike Van Houten, Ken Massa
First Responders race: 1. Dege Russell 2. Stephen Elliston 3. Nick Kochanasz 4. Zach Tyler 5. Austin Elliston 6. Mike Benton 7. John Coyle 8. Jesse St. Clair 9. Ryan Blanis 10. Katherine Styler 11. Fred Grover 12. Patrick Walsh 13. Patrick Donlon 14. Amanda Anderson 15. Rich Baulch 16. Eddie Diaz 17. Jonathan Parsons 18. Jim Denis
8-Cyliner Enduro: 1. Jared Halsey 2. Christian Kalbfleisch 3. Michael Asdahl 4. Mark Wolf 5. Brian Halsey 6. Kevin Coyle 7. Pat Collins 8. Stacy Halsey 9. Dennis Jones 10. Eric Germuth 11. James Muench 12. Drew Scalfani 13. Carmine Ragusa 14. Kevin Schultz 15. Steve Fried 16. Jay Conklin 17. Robert Eggers 18. Jarrett Campbell 19. Sean Fitzpatrick 20. Donny Oliver 21. David Verbeeck 22. Steve Marchese
In a race season that has been dominated by weather at Riverhead Raceway more of the same was in store for Saturday night’s Miller Lite 200 program. During the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour practice light rain started to fall on and off and what followed was a five hour plus rain delay before racing could resume. For the four NASCAR Whelen All American Series divisions on hand in support of the Miller Lite 200 that meant starting their feature events based upon the championship standings after qualifying was washed out. After a tremendous job by Riverhead Raceway track officials & staff the entire program was completed.
In the 30-lap Eagle Auto Mall Crate Modified race Justin Brown of Manorville and Michael Rutkoski of Mattituck, two good friends off the track would bring the field down for the green flag. Rutkoski who came to the race trailing Brown by a mere point in the standings was able to roll the top to take the race lead at the start of the race. Brown quickly tucked into second and the race was on not only for the win but who’d lead the point standings at the conclusion of the 30-lap tilt. With so much on the line the two buddies went toe to toe during the race including a testy restart along the way. At the finish however it would be the 2016 Rookie of the Year Michael Rutkoski steering his Buzz Chew Auto Group Chevy to a divisions leading 5th win of 2018, the 7th of his two year career. The win give Rutksoki a one point advantage (669-668) heading into the next race for the Crate Modifieds September 22nd. Justin Brown was runner-up in his SEDHI Inc. Chevy while Jack Orlando of Calverton crossed the line third in his Prototype Race Fabrication Chevy.
Jack Handley Jr. of Medford continued his successful 2018 Blunderbust campaign winning his 6th feature of 2018 in a 20-lap affair. Armed with the pole for the race after the field was set by points Handley raced his way out front at the throw of the green flag with Jim Laird Jr. in tow. While able to keep pace with the race leader Laird would never really be able to get to Handley to make an attempt at the race lead. At the conclusion of the fast paced race Jack Handley Jr. in his Liccardi Builders Chevy was first under the checker flag scoring his 27th career triumph and in the process opening up a 39-point lead (544-505) in the point standings over Jim Laird Jr. of Riverhead. Laird was runner-up in his Poolsmith Inc. Chevy while defending champion Tom Pickerell of Huntington placed the third in his Sequel Group Chevy.
Jim Sylvester of Massapequa took another step towards the 2018 INEX Legend Race Car championship when he won the 20-lap main event for the class after starting from the pole. Collecting his third win of the season would prove to be no easy task for the veteran driver of the 860 Racing entry as two of the toughest drivers in the class tested Jim along the way. Over the first 16-laps of the contest 2016 champion Vinny Delaney ran second to Sylvester before he was overtaken by “Big Money” Richie Davidowitz for second on lap 17. Davidowitz steering one of the new water cooled INEX Legend Race Cars owned by Paul Dodorico was all over the back bumper of Sylvester for the win in the closing laps of the race. However Sylvester was equal to all challenges thrown his way and drove to his third win of the season increasing his point lead over Delaney to 38, 533 to 495. Davidowitz of East Moriches was runner-up in the Dr. Martha Baker, DDS racer while Delaney of Holtsville was third in the Wise Choice Fuel Oil machine.
Street Stock newcomer Wesley Sammon of Southampton scored his
first career win when he topped the 20-lap feature event run just prior to the Miller Lite 200 WMT race. Veteran Rhett Fogg and Sammon brought the field down to the green flag with Sammon moving out front. Chris Lescenski who started the race from 4th was able to follow in Sammon’s tire tracks at the start to come to second and he’d chase the race leader for the first 5 laps of the race. Pole sitter Rhett Fogg rebounded after losing two spots on the start to pass Lescenski for second on lap 6 with a inside pass off turn four. Fogg trailed Sammon until the 15th lap of the race before he was passed by David Antos on lap 15. Left with just five laps to catch and then pass the leader time ran out on Antos as Wesley Sammon in his Twin Fork Fuel Camaro took home an impressive win. David Antos of Lindenhurst was second in the EP Milling & Sweeping Monte Carlo while Gerard Lawrence of Miller Place was third in the Fairway Golf Car Chevy.
Crate Modifieds: 1. Michael Rutkoski 2. Justin Brown 3. Jack Orlando 4. Dave Brigati 5. Artie Pedersen III 6. Chris Rogers 7. Owen Grennan 8. Dennis Krupski 9. Mike Albasini 10. George Tomko Jr. 11. Peter Bertuccio 12. Scott Pedersen 13. AJ DeSantis DNS- Terry Stiles
Blunderbusts: 1., Jack Handley Jr. 2. Jim Laird Jr. 3. Tom Pickerell 4. Russ Jansen 5. Cody Triola 6. Alyssa Paprocky 7. Brandon Hubbard 8. Bill Wegmann Sr. 9. Tom Puccia 10. Eddie Diaz 11. Tommy Walkowiak DNS- Jarrett Campbell, Brian Midgett Jr.
INEX Legends 1. Jim Sylvester 2. Richie Davidowitz 3. Vinny Delaney 4. Ray Fitzgerald 5. Eric Hersey 6. Allan Pedersen 7. Brad Van Houten 8. George Tomko Jr. 9. Ed Cheslak 10. Riely O’Keefe 11. Jonathan Parsons 12. Jeff Otto Jr. 13. Matt Brode 14. Mike Benton 15. Stephen Coleman 16. Pat Moore 17. Steve Woytysiak 18. Steve Hersey 19. Mike Van Houten 20. Rich Braun 21. Jeff Farruggia Jr. 22. Jerry Curran 23. Scott Cheslak DNS- Kyle Ellwood, Anthony Marsh, Artie Pedersen III, Will Lambros, Dean Lambors
Street Stocks: 1. Wesley Sammon 2. David Antos 3. Gerard Lawrence 4. Anthony Pizzo 5. Brian McCormack 6. Rob Bader 7. Rhett Fogg 8. Mark Wolf 9. Greg Harris 10. Chris Lescenski 11. Brian Brown 12. Justin Ferreri DNS- Ed Fontana