Riverhead, NY Sept. 28th
By Bob Finan
Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead scored his 5th NASCAR Modified victory of the 2019 season Saturday night at Riverhead Raceway in a season ending 50-lap contest. The win was the 57th of Tom’s career moving him to just six wins behind all time track leader the late “Charging” Charlie Jarzombek. Rogers also won his 10th Figure Eight event of 2019 tying him with the late Joe Biondolillo Jr. for second on that all time win list with 53 tallies each. After a rough 2018 season weather wise that saw Riverhead Raceway rained out eight times the 2019 Saturday night NASCAR Whelen All American Series ran straight through from May until Saturday night without a rain out. The only blemish during the summer was two Wednesday night washouts in August.
Eric Zeh jumped to the early race lead and would pace the race for the first 15 laps with John Baker in tow. Baker who finished runner up five times in 2019 made his move to the race lead on lap 16 passing Zeh. Baker would lead up until lap 23 when he was overtaken by Chris Young for the top spot but Baker would roar back on lap 27 to reclaim the lead. Meanwhile Tom Rogers Jr. who started the race 7th was making his way towards the front with another veteran Dave Brigati who started from 9th in tow. On a double file restart just after the halfway mark of the race Rogers and Brigati would flex the years of experience with Rogers moving out to the race lead with Brigati now second.
Over the final 20-laps of the contest Tom Rogers Jr. in the Ken & Denise Darch owned Stakey’s Pumpkin Farm Chevy led the remainder of the race and afterwards reflected on the historic significance entering the 2020 season, “it would be nice to tie Charlie, he was such an iconic figure in our sport” Rogers admitted.
Dave Brigati of Calverton was runner-up in his JDL Environmental Chevy while Chris Young of Calverton wrapped up an impressive season with a third place finish in the Riverhead Building Supply Chevy. Dylan Slepain of Dix Hills and John Baker of Brookhaven completed the top five.
Jarrod Hayes of Calverton may have only started four Late Model races in 2019 but the cagey veteran won two of those four starts for a .500 batting average winning their 25-lap finale. Starting the race from the 4th spot Hayes made his way into the race lead on lap 15 but one lap later was passed by championship contender Chris Turbush. Turbush trying to overhaul Jeremy McDermott for the 2019 crown led until the two to go signal when Hayes came calling for the race lead once again in his My Guy NAPA Auto parts entry. Once back out front Hayes never looked back taking the checker flag. Chris Turbush of Wading River was runner-up in his Polywada Beverage Chevy but fell 4 point shy of passing Jeremy McDermott of Riverhead for the 2019 LM title. McDermott in his Eastport Feeds Pontiac owned by Rob Pelis sewed up the championship on the strength of 8 wins most of which came in the first half of the season.
“The King of Queens” Mike Albasini of Flushing roared to his second Crate Modified victory of the season Saturday night in a 25-lap affair. Albasini starting from the pole led all 25-laps of the race but had several challengers along the way. Matt Brode, Dennis Krupski, Gerard Lawrence and Sean Glennon at one time or another ran second to Albasini during the tilt. Glennon among all those challengers had the most on the line as he was trying to erase a 20-plus point advantage Dave Brigati brought to the track for the 2019 championship. When the dust settled Mike Albasini in his Hollis Court Collision earned his second career win in the former TS Haulers machine. Sean Glennon of Northport was runner-up in in the R&R Brothers Electric Chevy while Justin Brown of Manorville with a point to prove Saturday did so with his third place tally in the Motorcycle Mike Attorney At Law Chevy. For the third time in the four year existence of the Crate Modifieds Dave Brigati of Calverton clinched the championship in his Quest Machining & Fabricating Chevy beating out Sean Glennon by 13 markers.
For the 10th time in 13 Figurre Eight races in 2019 Tom Rogers Jr sat in victory lane at the conclusion of the race. The 10 wins in a single season ties two drivers Roger Maynor and Joe Biondolillo Jr. who both won 10 races in a single season twice in their illustrious careers. Bryan Quilliam took the early race lead as he had done numerous other times this season when the green flag waved. Quilliam this time however looked like if the race could go green to checker would have a chance at winning his first career feature. However it was not to be as a caution slowed the race with less than five laps to gowhich allowed Tom Rogers Jr. in his United Exhaust Shops Chevy Coupe to take the race lead on lap 12. With Rogers out front Quilliam and Ken Hyde, who was Bryan’s best man at his recent wedding tussled for second while Rogers took the checker flag. Ken Hyde of Yaphank was runner-up in his Kings Park Contracting entry while Bryan Quilliam of Manorville came home a very impressive third in his Vecchio Cesspools Chevy. Rogers won his third consecutive track championship for car owner Keith Repp.
Ever since stepping into the Blunderbust ranks Cody Triola of Bay Shore has shown it was just a matter of time before he’d find his way to victory lane, Saturday night was that night in their 20-lap main event. Alyssa Paprocky jumped to the race lead at the throw of the green with Bill Wegmann Sr. in tow for the first three laps. Lap 4 saw Max Handley move to second behind Paprocky and the recent UNOH graduate was eyeing a run at the lead while trying to ward off third place Eddie Diaz. That battle for second got too close on lap 6 when Handley went around with Diaz sent to the rear for contact. On the ensuing restart Paprocky held her lead with Bill Wegmann Jr. now in the challengers role. However lurking in third was Cody Triola and just as the pack took the halfway signal Triola used the inside lane to make his was bu the leading tandem to take the race lead on lap 10 passing Paprocky on the backstretch. Over the final half of the race Cody triola hit his marks in the Cesspool Pros entry driving off to a well deserved and long awaited first career win. Alyssa Paprocky of Coram was runner-up in the Polar Bear Air Chevy while “Mad” Max Handley of Medford recovered from his lap 6 spin to claim third in the Relle Electric Caprice. Tom Pickerell of Huntington and his Encore Rentals team took home the 2019 Blunderbust championship, the fifth of Tom’s career.
Mark Stewart of Riverhead clinched his second consecutive Super Pro Truck championship in grand style winning their 20-lap finale Saturday night for his fourth win of 2019. Former multi time SPT champion and all time win leader Lou Maestri broke to the early race lead at the start of the race with Stewart quickly coming to second. A lap 4 Sean Glennon spin slowed the race and also set up a game changing restart that found Mark Stewart, a fourth generation driver from the famed Tuirbush racing family taking the lead in his East End Building Chevy. Once out front there would be no looking back for Mark Stewart who drove off to his 24th career win, a win that could be his last one for awhile as Mark has indicated he’ll be joining the United States Air Force. Stewart’s crew chief was also presented the annual $100 Joe DiGangi Crew Cheif of the Race award from runner-up Lou Maestri and his wife Tracy of Deer Park and their Line-X Truck Bed Liners of L.I. team. Eddie Schutz of Oyster bay was third in his Patriot Group Chevy.
Right from practice day in April Joseph Braun of Manorville a INEX Legend Race Car rookie showed speed and promise and on Saturday he delivered with his first career win in a 20-lap feature event. Popular “V-Ride” Mike Van Houten took the race lead at the start leading the first two circuits of the event. On lap 3 “Blankets” Joseph Braun jumped to the outside of Van Houten to take the race lead with Van Houten second for the third lap before being passed again to the outside by defending champion Jim Sylvester for second. Despite having the reining class champion behind him Joseph Braun kept his poise clicking off the laps in his Miller & Caggiano Attorneys At law entry all the way to the checker flag for his first career win. Jim Sylvester of Maasapequa was runner-up in the 860 Motorsports machine while Ray Fitzgerald of Manorville was third in the Benimax Trucking entry. On the strength of his 8th place finish and five wins in 2019 “Big Money” Richie Davidowitz of East Moriches clinched his first career track championship in the Hampton Fleet Service #25.
NASCAR Modifieds: 1. Tom Rogers Jr. 2. Dave Brigati 3. Chris Young 4. Dylan Slepian 5. John Baker 6. CJ Lehmann 7. Jack Handley Jr. 8. Michael Rutkoski 9. Eric Zeh 10. Jimmy Rennick Jr. 11. Jason Agugliaro 12. Kyle Soper 13. Chris Turbush DQ- Vinny Delaney
Late Models: Jarrod Hayes 2. Chris Turbush 3. Jeremy McDermott 4. Dylan Slepian 5. Shawn Patrick 6. Jerry Giordano Jr. 7. Ray Minieri 8. Kevin Metzger 9. Johnny Vullo 10. Darren McCabe 11. Daryn Miller
Crate Modifieds: 1. Mike Albasini 2. Sean Glennon 3. Justin Brown 4. Chris Rogers 5. Gerard Lawrence 6. Terry Stiles 7. Matthew Brode 8. Dave Brigati 9. AJ DeSantis 10. Jason Hansen 11. Charles Macwhinnie 12. Peter Bertuccio 13. Dennis Krupski 14., Lou Maestri 15. Carey Rogers 16. Alex Calasanto
Figure Eights: 1. Tom Rogers Jr. 2. Ken Hyde Jr. 3., Bryan Quilliam 4. Scott Pedersen 5. Eric Zeh 6. CJ Lehmann 7. Joe Warren Jr. 8. Bob Dalke 9. Gary Fritz Jr. 10. Vinny Delaney 11. Paul Cummings
Blunderbusts: 1. Cody Triola 2. Alyssa Paprocky 3. Max Handley 4. Eddie Diaz 5. Bill Wegmann Jr. 6. Tom Pickerell 7. Gary Caldwell 8. Joshua Creel 9. Kyle Halpin 10. Bill Wegmann Sr. 11. Tim Mulqueen
Super Pro Trucks: 1. Mark Stewart 2. Lou Maestri 3. Eddie Schutze 4. Ethan Brown 5. Frank Dumicich Jr. 6. Sean Glennon 7. Joe Cerabino 8. Thomas Cocozza
Legend Race Cars: 1. Joseph Braun 2. Jim Sylvester 3. Ray Fitzgerald 4. Brad Van Hounten 5. Kevin Nowak 6. Allan Pedersen 7. Eric Hersey 8. Richie Davidowitz 9. Riely O’Keefe 10. Jerry Curran 11. Anthony Colandro 12. Ed Cheslak 13. Mike Van Houten Jr. 14. Stephen Coleman 15. Patrick Moore 16. Jeff Otto Jr. 17. Scott Cheslak 18. Art Marrero 19. Joseph Costello 20. Jeff Farruggia Jr. 21. Nick Morabito 22. Charlie Hodge 23. Mike Benton 24. Chris Sinatro 25. Jake Curran 26. Colin Volpe