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
Before a large holiday crowd gathered at Riverhead Raceway the headline NASCAR Modifieds of the Whelen All American Series staged a competitive 68-lap feature event that saw championship leader Kyle Soper of Manorville outlast defending champion Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead for the win. The race featured six lead changes, five of which came between laps 13 through 60. For Soper it was his second win of 2018 and the seventh of his career.
John Beatty Jr of Merrick would pace
qualifying with a lap of 11.819 besting John Fortin Sr. who was second at 11.861. Beatty and Fortin would bring the 18 car field to the green with the the pole sitter breaking out front. With Fortin stuck on the outside Tom Rogers Jr. who qualified third made a quick move to the inside to come to second with Fortin third. Rogers content for the first dozen laps of the race to sit second to the race leader Beatty saw an opening entering turn three on lap 12 and ducked under to take the race lead as the field started the 13th circuit. Beatty settled into second but his night would only get worse when he spun racing off the second corner to draw a yellow flag.
On the ensuing double file restart Kyle Soper who moved to second when Beatty spun got the jump to the outside of leader Tom Rogers to take over the top spot on lap 22. The exciting duel for the lead between the two hard charging drivers saw Rogers take the lead back with an outside pass on the front stretch on lap 31 with Soper roaring back out front two laps later on the 33rd lap. It would be a 36th lap restart that almost ruined Soper’s night. On that restart Soper tried to play possum with Rogers quickly hitting the throttle and then backing off in attempt to make Rogers look as though he jumped the start. Officials were having none of it and Rogers raced to the lead
with Fortin coming back to second and Soper fading to third.
It is often said there is no better race car driver than an angry one and Soper proved that point in the final portion of the race. In nine laps Kyle made his way back to and past Fortin for second on lap 45 then setting his sights on Rogers. Once again riding the outside lane Soper made his way by Rogers for good on lap 61 and drove off in his Eastport Feeds Chevy for the hard fought comeback win. “Man we had to work for that one” a hot Soper said in victory lane, “they say I laid back that restart, I don’t think I did but it is what it is”. Kyle also took time to thank those who support his efforts, “can’t thank Wayne & Joette Anderson enough for this opportunity and my Dad, he went back to some basics for tonight and it paid off. Doug Corwin of Eastport Feeds, Atlantic Chevrolet and Dr Martha Baker, the racers dentist all stand behind me”,
Tom Rogers Jr. was runner-up in the License To Chill Chevy while veteran Dave Brigati of Calverton had a solid outing with a third place tally in the JDL Environmental Chevy. Hoiwe Brode of East Islip and John Fortin Jr. of Holtsville completed the top five. John Fortin Sr. faded to 9th in the closing laps of the race.
Sophomore jinx, what sophomore jinx? That is exactly what Eagle Auto Mall Crate Modified race winner Michael Rutkoski of Mattituck might be asking after he posted his third win of 2018 in their 25-lap feature event. AJ Desantis led the first lap of the contest before giving way to Artie Pedersen III on lap two. With Pedersen opening up the inside lane veteran Peter Bertuccio also slid under DeSantis to come to second. While Pedersen led the race Bertuccio was busy trying to ward off newcomer Owen Grennen for second when things went bad for the former Late Model champion on lap 16. After contact Bertuccio got into the wall off turn four setting up a double file restart. With Grennan also going to the rear of the filed Pedersen would be joined on the front row by Micahel Rutskoski who started the race in 8th. When the green flew Rutkoski got the measure of Pedersen who was fighting a balky clutch. With Rutkoski the new race leader opening night winner Justin Brown made his way to second on lap18 leaving the two young guns to race it out over the final seven laps. In the end the Buzz Chew Chevrolet machine of Rutkoski would prevail with Brown of Manorville having to be content for runner-up money in his SEDHI Inc. Chevy. Tested tough veteran “Jumping” Jack Orlando of Calverton was third in the Prototype Fabricating entry. Pedersen with his slipping clutch fell to
In a thrilling 15-lap Figure Eight feature event Tom Rogers Jr. made a last lap pass of Vinny Delaney of Holtsville to claim his fourth win in five start this season. At the throw of the green Delaney broke to the early advantage over Johnny Vullo Jr.. Ken Hyde Jr. who started the race from fourth made his way by Vullo for second on lap 2 and would spend the following eight laps trying to figure a way by leader Delaney. After spending the first ten laps of the race making his way from his 8th place starting spot Rogers made his presence known on lap 10 when he passed Hyde for second. Over the final five laps of the race Rogers put the heat on Delaney for the win and after taking the white flag he made his way as the tandem entered the right hand turn. From there Rogers drive the Keith Repp owned Chevy Coupe to his 39th career win. Delaney in the South Bay Sayville Auto Repair Chevy was runner-up with Ken Hyde Jr. of Mastic Beach third in the KPC Contracting entry.
Defending Super Pro Truck champion Dave Brigati earned his first win of 2018 in their 20-lap main event. Eddie Schutze and Jimmy Rennick Jr. made up the front row and when the green flag dropped Rennick hit the throttle and came away with the race lead from the outside pole. Brigati who started fourth made his way by Schutze for second on lap 2 with an outside pass off turn four. Rennick drove as hard as he could in an attempt to win his first career race but Brigati had other ideas. On lap 13 the caution Rennick never wanted to see waved and on the double file restart that followed Dave was able to ride the outside groove by Rennick for the lead as they started the 14th lap. Once out front Brigati hit his marks over the final six laps to score the win in his Quest Machining Chevy, the 13th of his career which ties him for 5th on the all time win list with Frank Dumicich Jr. Jimmy Rennick Jr. of Howard Beach was runner-up in the Metropolitan Recycling Chevy while Mark Stewart of Riverhead posted a third place finish in the Flemington Furs truck after starting 8th.
In a very special Dan Jones Memorial 30 for the INEX Legend Race Cars invading Mike Alacro of Newton, NJ would score a clean sweep of the $1,000 to win race. Alcaro led the way in qualifying with a lap of 13.791 followed by Richie Davidowitz 13.840 and Allan Pedersen 13.904. It would this trio of drivers who’d occupy the top three spots of the race for all 30 circuits. When the green light came on Alacro jumped out to the race lead, a lead the driver of the Metjoe’s Race Shop would never relinquish. While Alcaro paced the race a torrid battle for second would develop between Davidowitz and Pedersen who swapped the position no less than four times mainly during restarts between laps 4 through 24. That of course played right into the hands of Mike Alacro who on each restart would keep a comfortable lead right up until the checker flag waved earning a handsome payday. “I never met or knew Dan Jones” the happy winner noted afterwards, “but I can tell he was a special guy and it’s an honor to win his race”. With a lap 24 pass Allan Pedersen of Center Moriches would win the duel for second in his TJ Heros machine while Richie Davidowitz of East Moriches settled for third in his Zero 630 Beard
In the 20-lap Street Stock contest former multi-time Grand Enduro champion David Antos of Lindenhurst took home the win. Former Blunderbust talent Chris Busick broke to the early race lead from the pole while Antos came to second at the start sneaking under Chris Lescenski who started from the outside of the front row. After sizing Busick up for the first six laps of the tilt Antos made his way to the inside of Busick off turn two to take the lead on lap 6. Busick in turn applied the pressure to Antos from second. However Antos in his CR Customs Chevy was not going to be denied and drove off to victory. Busick of Ronkonkoma pocketed runner-up money in his sponsor wanted entry while Gerard Lawrence of Miller Place was third in the Fairway Golf Car Chevy.
Former 8-Cylinder Enduro champion Brian Halsey of Southampton was a highly motivated driver in their 40-lap event having lost his father who they called “Hot Rod” halsey earlier in the month. Steering the P&C Repair machine Halsey broke out to the early lead and never looked back as he won one for Dad. Ironically chasing Brian for a majority of the race and finishing second would be his son Jared Halsey of Southampton in the Sabrosa Mexican Grill Chevy. Sean Fitzpatrick of West Babylon was third in the Lakewood Used Auto Parts mount.
In a hard hitting 4-Cylinder Demolition Derby second generation driver John Palmeri of Lindenhurst scored his first career win besting among others his brother Joey Jr. In the end the contest boiled down to the Palmeri Brothers, “The Stalker” Scott Phillips of Ozone Park and “The Z-Man” Ryan Zurkowski of Riverhead. In the end John would win out in his J&J Towing machine. Phillips in his Express Tires entry was named Judge’s Choice while the driver of the Bolla Market car Charles Astacio of Mastic Beach was voted Fan’s Choice.
NASCAR Modifieds: 1. Kyle Soper 2. Tom Rogers Jr. 3. Dave Brigati 4. Howie Brode 5. John Fortin Jr. 6. Eddie Brunnhoelzl III 7. John Beatty Jr. 8. Roger Turbush 9. John Fortin Sr. 10. Eric Zeh 11. David Schneider 12. Sal Accardi Jr. 13. Chris Young 14. Brad Van Houten 15. John Baker 16. CJ Lehmann 17. Dylan Slepian 18. Kyle Ellwood
Crate Modifieds: 1, Michael Rutkoski 2. Justin Brown 3. Jack Orlando 4. Artie Pedersen III 5. Dennis Krupski 6. Jason Hansen 7. Chris Rogers 8. AJ DeSantis 9. Scott Pedersen 10. Owen Grennan 11. Michael Rommeney 12. Peter Bertuccio
Figure Eights: 1. Tom Rogers Jr. 2. Vinny Delaney 3. Ken Hyde Jr. 4. Scott Pedersen 5. Tom Ferrara 6. Eric Zeh 7. Charles Macwhinnie 8. Bob Dalke 9. Johnny Vullo 10. Rick Swanson 11. Brian Hansen 12. Paul Cummings
Super Pro Trucks: 1. Dave Brigati 2. Jimmy Rennick Jr. 3. Mark Stewart 4. Lou Maestri 5. Mike Albasini 6. Sean Glennon 7. Frank Dumicich Sr. 8. Eddie Schutze 9. Tom Sullivan 10. Frank Dumicich Jr.
Legend Race Cars: 1. Mike Alcaro 2. Allan Pedersen 3. Richie Davidowitz 4. George Tomko Jr. 5. Kevin Nowak 6. Ray Fitzgerald 7. Brad Van Houten 8. Ed Cheslak 9. Jerry Curran 10. Jim Sylvester 11. Glen Korner 12. Vinny Delaney 13. Eric Hersey 14. Mike Van Houten Jr. 15. Matt Brode 16. Mike Benton 17. Riely O’Keefe 18. Scott Cheslak 19. Stephen Coleman 20. Jeff Farruggia Jr. 21. Paul Dodorico 22. Noah Korner 23. Joey Villatoro 24. Jonathan Parsons 25. Jeff Otto Jr.
Street Stocks: 1. David Antos 2. Chris Busick 3. Gerard Lawrence 4. Greg Harris 5. Chris Lescenski 6. Anthony Pizzo 7. Rhett Fogg 8. Brian Brown 9. Eric Zeh 10. Phil LaManna 11. Dale Doherty 12. Wesley Sammon 13. Joe Boccia 14. Greg Zaleski 15. Sal Sinatro 16. Justin Ferreri 17. Ed Fontana 18. Brian McCormack
8-Cylinder Enduro: 1. Brian Halsey 2. Jared Halsey 3. Sean Fitzpatrick 4. Dominic Ranieri 5. Kevin Coyle 6. Stacy Halsey 7. Dennis Jones 8. Christian Kalbfleisch 9. David Verbeek 10. Eric Germuth 11. Dwayne Sipila 12. Will Quinn 13. Dillon Varstan 14. Amber Weiss 15. Kevin Schultz 16. Drew Scalfani 17. William Ebert 18. Brandon Hubbard 19. Pat Collins 20. James Muench 21. Steven Marchese 22. Mark Wolf 23. Michael Asdahl 24. Big Ragu Deredita 25. Steve Fried 26. Dale Doherty
Demolition Derby: Winner- John Palmeri Judge’s Choice- Scott Phillips Fan’s Choice- Charles Astacio
Timmy Solomito of Islip notched his third NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory of 2017 as he captured the Riverhead 200 Saturday night on Buzz Chew Chevrolet-Cadillac night at Riverhead Raceway. In order to clinch his 18th career win at his home track Solomito had to outlast Ryan Preece of Berlin, Ct. early in the race as well a green, white, checker finish with eventual runner-up Dave Sapienza of Riverhead.
Coors Light Pole qualifying found Timmy Solomito in his Starrett Tools entry turning in the fastest lap at 12.56 earning him the pole for the 26-car field. Timmy, who started his racing days at Riverhead Raceway in the Eastern Kart Racing Association knows his way around the historic oval and when the race went green Solomito would jump to the early race lead with Ronnie Williams in tow. Williams in the Gershow Recycling Chevy would run second for the first eight circuits of the contest as he was passed on lap 9 by Ryan Preece who quickly turned his attention to race leader Solomito. On lap 31 entering the first turn Preece would seize the moment as he was able to take the lead from Solomito while the duo were in the process of lapping Ted Christiopher. Later in the race Christopher would get his lap back during a caution flag period.
Solomito would roar back to the race lead on a 63rd lap double file restart as he rolled his car perfectly to the outside of Preece to move back out front. Some 21 laps later the roles would be reversed with Preece riding the outside lane on Solomito to reclaim the race lead during a 81st lap restart. The high speed game of chess between two of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour’s young & talented drivers had the large crowd roaring with approval. The final pass for the lead would occur just past the halfway point of the race on a 105th lap restart where once again Solomito rolled the outside groove to take the lead from Preece. Shortly thereafter Ryan’s car would start to go away on him as he soon found himself fending off the likes of Justin Bonsignore, Doug Coby and Dave Sapienza for second.
In the second half of the race an extended green flag run would come into play allowing Timmy Solomito to check out on the remainder of the field. Justin Bonsignore made his way by Preece for second on lap 151 bringing Doug Coby to third with him. Bonsignore & Coby renewed their Riverhead rivalry and started trading paint as well the second position. Their intense battle led to Dave Sapienza in making his way to second on lap 173. By the time Dave got to second race leader Solomito was long gone and the only way Sapienza was going to catch the leader would be with a late race caution flag. Low and behold a Craig Lutz spin with barely five laps left in the race gave Sapienza his chance at a first career WMT win.
With the Riverhead 200 now in overtime, a green, white, checker finish awaited the contenders. When the green flag waved to start the 206th lap Solomito got the measure of Sapienza, who later admitted his was late shifting his car on that final restart. When the race concluded on lap 208 “The Natural” Timmy Solomito who won his first career NASCAR Modified race at Riverhead on June 27th, 2009 was once again a victor at the track he grew up at.
“I just can’t say enough about my Flamingo Motorsports/Starrett Tools team, they give me a car capable of winning every time out” Solomito boasted in victory lane. As to his early race duel with Ryan Preece the race winner reflected, “Ryan and I run each other really clean, he ran me hard, I ran him hard but we did it cleanly”. The happy winner also took time out to take note of the runner-up in the race, “congratulations to Dave Sapienza and his guys on their second place finish, they had a good car”.
Dave Sapienza of Riverhead would score a career best runner-up finish in an all new Troyer Engineering machine, “I was hesitant abut bringing a new car for this race but it worked out” Dave noted afterwards, “I can’t thank the Grosso brothers enough for all their efforts, I just wish I had that last restart to do over again”. Defending NASCAR WMT champion Doug Coby of Milford, Ct crossed the line third during the late race restart scramble in his Mayhew Tools entry. “I don’t know what I have to do to beat these Long Island drivers and cars” Coby joked & shook his head afterwards, “but we finished third and all the wheel are on her so we are happy”.
Ryan Preece was fourth in the TS Haulers Chevy while Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville was fifth in the Phoenix Communications Chevy despite his car balking on the final restart, “something broke and Tommy Rogers actually pushed me across the line” Bonsignore disclosed in the pits after the race.
Riverhead 200: 1. Timmy Solomito 2. Dave Sapeinza 3. Doug Coby 4. Ryan Preece 5. Justin Bonsignore 6. Eric Goodale 7. Rowan Pennink 8. Tom Rogers Jr. 9. Dillon Steuer 10. Max Zachem 11. Ted Christopher 12. Craig Lutz 13. Matt Swanson 14. Shawn Solomito 15. Jeff Rocco 16. Rob Summers 17. Woody Pitkat 18. CJ Lehmann 19. Calvin Carroll 20. Vinny Biondolillo 21. Ronnie Williams 22. Brendon Bock 23. Jerry Solomito Jr. 24. Melissa Fifield 25. Wade Cole 26. Gary McDonald
RIVERHEAD RACEWAY BUZZ CHEW NIGHT WINS TO DAVE BRIGATI, ERIC ZEH & BRENDON BOCK
Riverhead, NY June 24th
Three NASCAR Whelen All American Series feature events were contested prior to the Riverhead 200 WMT race on Buzz Chew Chevrolet-Cadillac night at Riverhead Raceway Saturday with Dave Brigati of Calverton scoring his fourth win in five starts in the 30-lap Eagle Auto Mall Modified Crate feature. Eric Zeh of Selden topped the 20-lap Blunderbust main event while Brendon Bock of Franklin Square was declared the winner of the INEX Legend Race Car feature.
Qualifying for the Eagle Auto Mall Modified Crates saw Brigati set a new track record turning in a lap of 12.623 breaking Dillon Steuer’s mark of 12.702 set last July. In the redraw Briagti drew 4th while Dylan Slepian & Jay Hansen picked the front row. At the throw of the green Slepian, the only other driver aside from Brigati to win in 2017 took the early race lead. Michael Rutkowski quickly made his way from third to second on the first lap tucking in behind Slepian. A 3rd lap double file restart saw Rutkowski riding the outside lane to the race lead with Slepian now second. Brigati made his presence known as he slipped by Slepian on lap 5 racing down the back stretch. Try as he might Rutskowski, a rookie in the class could not fend off Brigati for long as Dave slipped under the freshman driver in turn three for the lead on lap 9. Once out front Dave Brigati, the defending champion in the class withstood pressure from Rutkowski to claim his 7th career win in his Quest Machining & Fabricating entry. Michael Rutkowski of Mattituck was runner-up in the Buzz Chew Chevrolet entry while Dylan Slepian of Dix Hills claimed third in the Eastport feeds Chevy.
Prior to the 20-lap Blunderbust feature Eric Zeh and his car owners Frank & Vicki Curtis announced a new sponsor in Best Built Construction and the team introduced their new marketing partner to the sport by winning the main event. 71-year young Bill Wegmann Sr. paced the race for the first lap before Zeh, who started third in the tilt made his way by for the lead with a bold pass to the inside off turn two. Once Zeh took the lead he never looked back opening a comfortable lead along the way. The race of the night would take place for second as Bill Wegmann Sr. was challenged for the spot by his grandson Derek Wegmann. In a battle that will be talked about by the Wegmann family at holiday dinners for years to come, Derek took second from Grandpa on lap 11. At the finish it was Eric Zeh taking the win over Derek Wegmann of Patchogue in the Cracker Jack Auto Parts Chevy, Bill Wegmann Sr. of N. Bellmore also backed by Cracker Jack was third.
When the checker flag flew on the 20-lap INEX Legend Race Car feature it appeared that Richie Davidowitz had claimed his 14th career Riverhead Raceway win but the joy soon turned to sorrow in post race tech. Track officials discovered that Davidwoitz along with Ray Fitzgerald ran the race with “unapproved” tires and were set to the final two positions in the race finish. That turn of events handed the win to Brendon Bock of Franklin Square, his second straight win in the Sylvetser Racing entry. Bock made his way by Fitzgerald for second with just 7 laps remaining in the race. The victory was the 6th of Bock’s INEX Legend career with his car owner Jim Sylvester of Massapequa runner-up in the Oval Speed mount. Kevin Nowak of Medford was third in his sponsor wanted machine.
Modified Crates: 1. Dave Brigati 2. Michael Rutkowski 3. Dylan Slepian 4. Peter Bertuccio 5. Jay Hansen 6. Dennis Krupski 7. Michael Rommeney 8. Tony Vecchio 9. Justin Brown 10. AJ DeSantis 11. Cary Rogers 12. Kurt Kreiger 13 CJ Lehamnn
Blunderbusts: 1. Eric Zeh 2. Derek Wegmann 3. Bill Wegmann Sr. 4. Tommy Walkowiak 5. Tim Mulqueen 6. Tom Pickerell 7. Max Handley 8. Jim Laird 9. Wayne Meyer 10. Tom Puccia 11. Tom Sullivan 12. Gary Caldwell 13. Joshua Creel 14. Alyssa Paprocky
Legend Race Cars: 1. Brendon Bock 2. Jim Sylvester 3. Kevin Nowak 4. John Beatty Jr. 5. Paul Dodorico 6. Eric Hersey 7. Chris Rogers 8. Jeff Otto Jr. 9. Vinny Delaney 10. Mike Van Houten Jr. 11. George Tomko Jr. 12. Ed Cheslak 13. Jerry Curran 14. Mike Benton 15. Dennis Kurras 16. Bryan Kelly 17. Matt Brode 18. Jason Castaldo 19. Mike Mortimer 20. Wally Davidowitz 21. Brad Van Houten 22. Silas Hiscock Sr. 23. Ray Fitzgerald 24. Richie Davidowitz