Archive for the 'Riverhead' Category

2018 Schedule Announced for NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour

Season Opener Returns To Myrtle Beach; New Hampshire Extra-Distance Event On Tap

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will take the green flag on the 2018 season at South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach Speedway in March, and the schedule will feature 16 championship points races at nine different venues.

The champion will once again be crowned at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, as the .625-mile hosts the 56th Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing on Sunday, Oct. 14.

The calendar spotlight’s some of the northeast’s iconic short tracks, includes three fast southern venues and features the longest distance race in tour history as the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour takes center stage at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in September for a 250-lap showdown.

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Solomito Scores Crucial Win at Riverhead

Fourth Win of 2017 Keeps Him in Whelen Modified Title Hunt

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. – Timmy Solomito needed a win to keep pace in the frantic NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship race. He got it at his home track.

The 25-year-old from Islip, New York, powered by Doug Coby with four laps left to take the Miller Lite 200 checkered flag Saturday night at Riverhead Raceway.

Solomito, dominant for the first two-thirds of the event in the No. 16 Starrett Racing Ford, was outmaneuvered by Coby in lap traffic for the lead on Lap 155. The four-time tour titlists Coby was poised for his first career win at Riverhead, but Solomito recaptured the lead on the frontstretch on Lap 196 and drove to the checkers.

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QUALIFYING: Solomito Right at Home

Earns Top Spot for Tonight’s Miller Lite 200

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. – Timmy Solomito kept his Riverhead Raceway roll going Saturday evening in qualifying for the Miller Lite 200.

Solomito piloted his No. 16 Starrett Racing Ford to a fast lap of 12.017 seconds around the Long Island quarter-mile for his sixth career Coors Light Pole Award. It marked his third at Riverhead, his home track.

Rookie Kyle Soper – who paced afternoon practice – laid down a lap of 12.154 and will start alongside Solomito in the front row for tonight’s tussle, slated to go green at 8 p.m.
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NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour News & Notes: Riverhead

Bonsignore Looking To Gain Ground At Home Track

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — As Justin Bonsignore continues the search for his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship this season, Saturday’s Buzz Chew Chevrolet-Cadillac 200 at Riverhead Raceway has been circled on the calendar as the one track where he is one of the clear favorites to visit Victory Lane. Bonsignore has finished inside the top five in nine of his 12 career series starts at the quarter-mile, including winning four times and sweeping both races at the track back in 2015. 

In fact, Bonsignore has a current streak going of four consecutive top two finishes behind the wheel of his No. 51 Phoenix Communications Chevrolet at Riverhead.

In his career, Bonsignore has been out front for 580 laps, including leading 117 of the 200 laps in route to victory at the oval last August. He sits fifth in the championship standings, 29 points from the top. The home track advantage could help him close that gap. 

Bonsignore’s list of challengers heading into Riverhead is led by current series points leader Timmy Solomito, who is the defending winner of this event and already has two victories on this young season. Solomito finished second in last year’s August stop at Riverhead, coming up just short of completing the season sweep behind the wheel of his No. 16 Starrett Tools Ford. Solomito enters Saturday’s 200-lap main event leading the championship standings by a margin of just two points over Boehler Racing driver Rowan Pennink, while Eric Goodale, Max Zachem and Bonsignore complete the top five. 

Continue reading ‘NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour News & Notes: Riverhead’

Redemption for Bonsignore at Riverhead in NEMA’s IGA Cantor Memorial; J. Chambers Dominates Lites

Justin Bonsignore left Riverhead Raceway in 2016 feeling dejected and with a number of bumps & bruises, as he was potentially laps away from winning his first Northeastern Midget Association race in his first start, as leader Jim Chambers encountered a flat right front tire.  Instead, Bonsignore found his Bertrand Motorsports #74 destroyed against the outside wall, after hopping Chambers’ right rear tire.  On Saturday evening, in the 2nd Annual Allan Cantor Memorial, sponsored by the Reichert Group/IGA, it was again Bonsignore and Chambers putting on the show.  Chambers dominated the NEMA Lite race earlier in the evening, and after an epic battle in the NEMA feature, Bonsignore scored his first ever NEMA win. 

In the Lites feature, reigning Champion, Jim Chambers, would blast his way to the front in the early stages of the race.  Chambers, running lap times of 11.8 seconds, as fast as some of the NEMA competitors – would pull to nearly a half track lead over Chad Labastie, and Danny Cugini, by the halfway point. 

A red flag at the halfway point, for a big wreck involving Paul Scally, Ryan Bigelow, and Ryan Locke, bunched up the field once the race got underway again.  All of the drivers walked away from the wreck without injuries.  Cugini, looking strong, would take second from Labastie when the green flag flew again, but could not muster up a run on Chambers. 

Chambers would stretch out his lead again in the late stages of the race, to go on and take down his first win at Riverhead Raceway. Cugini would finish second followed by Chad Labastie, PJ Stergios, Ryan Locke, Christopher Vose, John Zych, Nikki Carol, Jim Cataldo and Randy Cabral.
Continue reading ‘Redemption for Bonsignore at Riverhead in NEMA’s IGA Cantor Memorial; J. Chambers Dominates Lites’

Race Two of 2017 Set for Riverhead Raceway

WALPOLE, N.H. – Coming off a rain-shortened season-opening event at Lee USA Speedway back on April 30, the Granite State Pro Stock Series is set to return to action this Saturday night, this time in New York. The quarter-mile Riverhead Raceway will play host to the series for a 100-lap feature event that will pay $2,000 to the driver that rolls into Victory Lane.

The event will showcase the top GSPSS talent up against some of the Riverhead Late Model weekly competitors.

Last season, GSPSS drivers headed south to Riverhead in July and completed the inspection process along with a few rounds of practice, but then Mother Nature took control of the night. The race was cancelled and was not rescheduled, meaning this season’s stop will be the inaugural 100-lap event for the series at the bullring.

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NBCSN to Broadcast Championship Stretch Runs

Showcase for NASCAR K&N Pro East and West and NASCAR Whelen Modified Titles

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 27, 2017) – NASCAR fans are watching Kyle Larson, Joey Logano and Chase Elliott battle in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series week in and week out, and NBCSN will again be the showcase of the next crop of drivers following in their path.

NBC and NASCAR announced today the remainder of the 2017 broadcast schedule, which will capture the championship races for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West, as well as the newly unified NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

The next NBCSN broadcast will be Thursday, April 27, and will showcase Harrison Burton’s first NASCAR K&N Pro Series East win at Bristol Motor Speedway from this past Saturday. Burton is the son of former NASCAR driver and current NBC Sports analyst Jeff Burton, and is a member of the current NASCAR Next class.

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Ellwood Hopes to Sustain Momentum

Kyle Ellwood rallied from a cut tire on the first lap of the Performance Plus 150 to finish 15th. The inaugural NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at Myrtle Beach (SC) Speedway was his third top 15 finish.

“It was a fun place to drive on and you really had to be able to figure out your limits there rather quick because if you didn’t you burned your car up,” Ellwood said. “So, it took a lot of thought. It wasn’t just to go out there and hammer down. So, my thoughts on the whole race was it was pretty good.”

The Riverhead, NY driver felt confident in his car even though he was off the lead lap. Seven cars were eliminated in a pair of late restarts.

“In the middle of the race, I picked off as many cars as I could. I damn near felt like we passed probably 20 cars out there. I seen a lot of cars but at the end, I just let ’em all have at it. I didn’t want to tear our car up since we want to have a good opportunity going into this Thompson show.”

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Hinckley Teams with Barry for MTS Races

Les Hinckley, III will be driving for Spearpoint Racing for the inaugural  Exit Realty Modified Touring Series (MTS) season. Hall of Famer car owner Art Barry called to ask about Hinckley’s plans. The opportunity came through a voicemail from Barry Thursday and the deal came together during the follow-up call.

“The guy’s absolutely a legend in racing,” Hinckley said. “The racing community and racing in general has been lucky to have a man like that to have him for as long as we have because he just lives and dies for racing.  … For him to call me and ask me to drive his racecar and to be excited about it the way he is is just its humbling. The list of names that have been in his car for me to be one of ’em it really puts me in check. This is bigger than me and I can’t thank Art enough for thinking highly enough about me to be worthy to drive his race car.”

Barry wants to win one more race before he retires. Barry competed last season on the Northeast Race Cars & Parts Tri-Track Open Modified Series (TTOMS) with Justin Bonsignore.

“I think he’s really good,” Barry said. “He’s a gentleman. He talks to you and he’s very, very good about reasoning things out, working together, and he’s really good on equipment that’s for sure. I’m kind of looking forward to it.”

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Balancing Act for Lutz

Ryan Lutz of Miller Place, NY plans to run 5 Legends Car races at Riverhead (NY) Raceway and defend his win from last year.

“(I am) incredibly thankful for the parents I have that let me pursue my dream I have in life,” Lutz said. “… My dad and Renee, they sacrifice a lot for me and let me do what I love and I cannot thank them enough.”

Lutz also thanked his brother Craig, Kyle Ellwood, 600 Racing, and engine builder Chad Honeycut.

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Solomito Scores Second Title at Riverhead

Helps Whelen Modified Legend Score First Title as Owner

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Shawn Solomito helped a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour legend complete his bucket list in 2016 at New York’s Riverhead Raceway.

Solomito, who turns 28 this week, captured his second track championship at Riverhead in the modified division and in doing so helped 1994 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Wayne Anderson claim his first Riverhead track championship as a car owner at the quarter-mile speed plant.

“We had one of those seasons that was like a dream season,” said Solomito, who also won the Riverhead track title in 2012 driving a family-owned car. “We won five features, we hardly tore up any equipment and I think we finished top three every night except for like three nights last year.”

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First Annual New England Short Track Showdown at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Headlines 11-Race Schedule for Granite State Pro Stock Series in 2017

WALPOLE, N.H. — The Granite State Pro Stock Series (GSPSS) announced an exciting 11-race schedule for the 2017 season on Saturday. The schedule includes events in four different states across a total of 10 different race tracks, giving plenty of variety for both drivers and fans.

Headlining the schedule will be the first annual New England Short Track Showdown at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July.

The season will begin with a stop at Lee USA Speedway on Sunday, April 30, a three-eighths mile flat track in Lee, N.H. In 2016, championship runner-up D.J. Shaw scored the victory at Lee, holding off Derek Griffith and Bryan Kruzcek in the final stages to take the checkered flag.

The GSPSS will attempt the inaugural event at the quarter-mile Riverhead Raceway for a second time in 2017, this time on Saturday night May 20. In 2016, drivers practiced for the event but rain forced the cancellation and there was no reschedule date.

Continue reading ‘First Annual New England Short Track Showdown at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Headlines 11-Race Schedule for Granite State Pro Stock Series in 2017’

NEMA Tentative 2017 Schedule of Events

April 2017
1st Thompson – Icebreaker – Lites only

May 2017
6th Waterford – Lites only
7th Waterford – NEMA Midgets only
20th Wiscasset

June 2017
3rd Riverhead – Alan Cantor Memorial
14th Thompson – Lites
17th Star
28th Seekonk – Boston Louie Memorial
Continue reading ‘NEMA Tentative 2017 Schedule of Events’

NASCAR Announces 2017 Schedule for Unified Whelen Modified Tour

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 6, 2016) – From South Carolina to Connecticut, the 2017 schedule announced today for the unified NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will test the best Modified drivers over 17 points races and two special events at some of East Coast’s most historic venues.

The new era will kick off on Saturday, March 18, with the season opener at Myrtle Beach Speedway. South Carolina’s semi-banked half-mile oval held its first NASCAR event in 1958. The champion will be crowned at Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, as the .625-mile hosts the 55th Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing on Sunday, Oct. 15.

The schedule includes 17 championship points races across seven states, including companion events with NASCAR’s national series at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July and September, and Bristol Motor Speedway in August. The summer weekend at New Hampshire will also be highlighted by the invitational, non-points All-Star Shootout, and the fall will feature a non-points special event on the quarter-mile at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

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GSPSS Stop at Riverhead Will Not Be Rescheduled

WALPOLE, N.H. — Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, the Granite State Pro Stock Series (GSPSS) stop at Riverhead Raceway originally scheduled for Saturday July 30 will not be rescheduled.

The series stopped at the 1/4 mile bullring this past Saturday night July 30 and even though weather forecasts called for no rain throughout the entire week, Mother Nature hit hard with rain falling and forcing the cancellation of the nights action.

Though originally the series was going to return, the track and series officials decided it would be best to not — but also decided that the race will become an annual event for the future.

“The speedway and the GSPSS both wanted to do the same thing but it was a business decision for the long-term future of the event,” series President Mike Parks said. “We race this Friday and next Saturday, so we were concerned about the teams having three of four races right in a row. We felt it was the best business decision — we scraped it for this year and will reschedule for next year and make it work for the future.”
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GSPSS Announces 2016 Race Schedule

The Granite State Pro Stock Series (GSPSS) has announced an 11-race schedule for the 2016 season. The schedule includes stops at Riverhead Raceway and Wiscasset Speedway for the first time in series history, along with eight races in the state of New Hampshire and one in Connecticut.

The season will start on Friday, May 13, when the Pro Stocks travel to Claremont Speedway in Claremont, New Hampshire. In August of 2011, Chris Wilk scored the victory at Claremont, while, in April of 2015, eventual series champion Derek Griffith took down the checkered flag.

After a two week break for driver’s to get their rides ready, the 1/4 mile Monadnock Speedway will play host to the series on Saturday, May 28, closing out the month of May with a battle on the high-banked oval. Matt Frahm and Barry Gray took victories when the Pro Stocks visited in 2014.

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Riverhead Raceway Names Scott Tapley New Race Director

Eddie & Connie Partridge and Tom Gatz the new owners of Riverhead Raceway have begun the process of putting a staff together for the 2016 race season and on Tuesday afternoon they announced that veteran race official Scott Tapley of Poland Spring, Maine has agreed to come on board in the capacity of Race Director at popular quarter-mile oval.

“We have heard good things about Scott from the racers and owners that have raced at tracks or on a series where he was the race director” Eddie & Connie Partridge stated while making the announcement, “we feel he is the right fit,” Tom Gatz added, “Scott is a no-nonsense official and that is what we need at Riverhead moving forward.” Tom also noted, “Scott is making a huge commitment to us as he’ll be traveling weekly from Maine. We are very excited to have Scott on our team and what he can bring to the future success of Riverhead Raceway. We feel he will immediately have a positive impact at the track.”

The energetic Tapley who currently serves as the Race Director at the Lee USA Speedway in New Hampshire as well the Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park is looking forward to his new challenge on Long Island. “I’m very excited as well thankful for the opportunity Eddie, Connie & Tom have presented me and I look forward to keep the racing at Riverhead Raceway moving in a positive direction.” Tapley will officiate the weekly NASCAR Whelen All-American Series events from the scoring tower and be responsible overseeing all on track racing and activity. As to his weekly commute to Riverhead “I love what I do, it’s a labor of love and yes I rack up the miles on my car.”

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2016 Riverhead Rules Announced

Preece Set for NASCAR Sprint Cup Debut

LOUDON, NH — Ryan Preece of Berlin, CT will make his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut in today’s Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Preece is driving the No. 98x Mohawk Northeast/East West Marine Chevrolet for Tommy Baldwin Racing.

“It’s exciting,” Preece said. “Obviously, you’re on NASCAR’s biggest stage right here with everybody else. So just want to have a good clean day and have a good run so we got 300 laps to do that.”

Preece races regularly in New England. The 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion has won championships at Stafford (CT) Motor Speedway and Thompson (CT) Speedway Motorsports Park. Preece has won 83 Modified races and once in TQ Midgets.

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Bonsignore Earns Third Win at Home

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. – Justin Bonsignore joined elite company Saturday night when he drove to a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season sweep of events at Riverhead Raceway.

Bonsignore grabbed the lead from Doug Coby on Lap 115 and held on through six caution restarts to take down a third career victory at his home track, and second in two tries in 2015.

A 12th and final caution came out on Lap 199 just after Bonsignore had taken the white flag in his No. 51 M3 Technology Chevrolet, and he came around to a yellow-checkered. It was the eighth career victory overall for the Holtsville, New York native.

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QUALS: Rogers Records Riverhead Sweep

Track’s Weekly Leader On Point For Tour Race

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. – It’s a Riverhead Raceway sweep for Tom Rogers Jr. in 2015.

Rogers, of nearby Patchogue, New York, laid down a fast lap of 11.971 seconds (75.182 mph) for his second-consecutive NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Coors Light Pole Award at Riverhead.

The veteran – who is the track’s current NASCAR Whelen All-American Series modified division points leader – also earned the pole in the tour’s first visit this year to the Long Island quarter-mile in June. He finished seventh in that race.

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Timmy Solomito Set for Bristol Return

Timmy Solomito of Islip, NY has top 10 finishes in 46% of his 30 starts. The sophomore driver is seventh in NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour points with one top five and six top tens. He has 4 finishes outside the top 10 in his first season with Flamingo Motorsports. Since the DNF at Monadnock, Solomito had top tens at Stafford and Thompson.

“We’re not really setting the world on fire yet, but just still kind of learning each other, and learning the tracks pretty much,” Solomito said. “It’s been a long road, but little by little I feel like we’re getting there, and we’re getting the cars a little better each time, and I’m getting a little better each time with my experience level. So there’s a good 15-20 cars that can win on any given race, and I feel like we’ve been in that stretch. We just gotta kind of tie it all together.”

“Our points aren’t too bad for considering we had a few pretty bad races. We had Monadnock we got knocked out of. We struggled the first race at Thompson with some issues with tires, and whatnot, and then at Waterford we ended up getting taken out there with a lapped car. But (if) we didn’t have those three bad finishes, I think we’d be in the top five right now in points, but it’s all a part of racing … you move on and go to the next race. We try and run as strong as possible.”

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Tom Rogers Jr. Double Dips With Riverhead Raceway NASCAR Modified And Cromarty Cup Figure Eight Victories Saturday

RIVERHEAD, NY — While six NASCAR Whelen All American Series events were run Saturday night at Riverhead Raceway the biggest race if the evening would be the one promoters Barbara & Jim Cromarty waged with mother nature as they attempted to beat the impending rain. It would be a race they’d win and Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead was sure glad they did as he topped both the 35-lap NASCAR Modified feature as well the annual Cromarty Cup 20 for the Figure Eights.

Tom Rogers Jr. topped the charts in NASCAR Modified qualifying with a lap of 11.902 and this time lady luck would shine on him when he drew the pole for the race with Ryan Preece picking the outside pole. At the throw of the green Rogers and Preece would go side by side for a lap or two before Tom edged out front with Ryan making his first start for Bill & Barbara Park tucking into second. While Preece was able to keep in step with Rogers over the remainder of the race and draw close at times the former NASCAR WMT champion was never really able to mount a serious challenge for the lead over the remainder of the race. Defending champion Howie Brode made his way to third at the start of the race and was hoping for some fireworks between the leaders but those fireworks never did materialize.

At the checker flag it was Tom Rogers Jr. scoring his 34th career NASCAR Modified win moving him into sole possession of third place on the all-time Riverhead Raceway win list behind Charlie Jarzombek (63) and Jim Malone Sr. (50). “The guys gave me a great car tonight” Rogers offered “there are no easy wins here and having Ryan to beat was a challenge but we got the job done”. Rogers had stated before the season started he’d only run the Modified when the Figure Eights ran due to his WMT schedule among other things. When pressed about next Saturday when the Figure Eights are off Tom admitted to a change of plans ” yeah we’ll be here with this car next week and we’ll test our WMT ride too”.

Continue reading ‘Tom Rogers Jr. Double Dips With Riverhead Raceway NASCAR Modified And Cromarty Cup Figure Eight Victories Saturday’

Shawn Solomito Sweeps Twin 30 NASCAR Modified Features at Riverhead Raceway

RIVERHEAD, NY — Week two of the 2015 NASCAR Whelen All American Series at Riverhead Raceway once again featured Twin 30 NASCAR Modified main events and when the checker flag waved on both events it was Shawn Solomito of East Moriches steering the famed Wayne Anderson entry earning the victory in both races. Shawn took over the seat in Anderson’s machine during the off season when younger brother Timmy left for the Flamingo Motorsports ride on the NASCAR WMT.

Tom Rogers Jr of Riverhead again set fast time with a lap of 11.942 but in the redraw could only muster a 7th starting position while the front row was drawn by Vinny Biondolillo and John Fortin. When the green flag dropped it was Fortin edging ever so slightly out front on Biondolillo for the first three laps before Vinny made his way to the lead on lap 4 with Shawn Solomito working by Fortin for second at the same time. Once to second Solomito wasted little time making his way under Biondolillo to the inside for the lead on lap 5 and took control of the race at that point. Biondolillo remained second up until the 20th circuit when Tom Rogers Jr. made his way by for the position to the inside. Rogers was able to draw close to leader Solomito over the final 10-laps of the first 30 but close would be as good as it would get.

When the checkers waved Shawn Solomtio in the Eastport Feeds Chevy was first underneath them with Tom Rogers Jr. runner-up in the Jessup Landscaping entry. Ron Silk of Norwalk, Ct. was third in the East West Marine Chevy of Bill Park. Vinny Biondolillo of Farmingville and John Fortin of Holtsville completed the top five.

Continue reading ‘Shawn Solomito Sweeps Twin 30 NASCAR Modified Features at Riverhead Raceway’

Riverhead Raceway Kicks Off 30th Year Of Enduro Racing, Zaleski, Nelson, Pizzo & Mujsce Score Opening Day Wins

RIVERHEAD, NY — The curtain went up on the 30th consecutive season of Enduro racing this past Sunday at Barbara & Jim Cromarty’s Riverhead Raceway on a sun splashed afternoon with Greg Zaleski of Jamesport, Don Nelson of Rocky Point, Anthony Pizzo of Lake Ronkonkoma and Mike Mujsce Jr. of Hampton Bays all scoring victories. Pizzo actually won twice, sweeping the days two 8-Cylinder Enduro events.

School teacher Greg Zaleski would take the field in the 50-lap Grand Enduro event to class as he broke out to the lead on lap 4 passing Tom Talbot Sr. who was making his first start in the division. Once out front in his Willow Hill Automotive backed racer Zaleski who also coaches soccer in the Bayport school district ran away and hid from his competition and afterwards made a stunning admission. “My team is really just me and my Dad and honestly we really didn’t do too much to the car in the off season” Greg offered. That nugget of news surely must have been a surprise to his fellow drivers who could only watch as Greg dominated the race. Jess Martines of Shirley was runner-up in the RP Distinctive Landscaping Chevy while former champion David Antos of Lindenhurst placed third in the G&R Performance Monte Carlo.

One year ago in the opening day Truck Enduro Don Nelson sat dejectedly by his Nelson Brothers Farms machine that had blown a motor fearing his 2014 season was over. However as the old saying goes what a difference a year makes, a saying Nelson is celebrating. Gene Burbol who over the years won numerous 4-Cylinder races made his return to racing in the Truck Enduro and drew the pole for the race. Gene quickly took the race lead and seemed to be in a zone even with Don Nelson, another former champion within striking distance in second. Suddenly on lap 26 a lapped truck broke into Burbol’s path with Gene having to hit the brakes for a split second which allowed Nelson to race on by for the race lead and eventual win. Burbol of Brookhaven was runner-up in his Gene’s 112 Service Center entry with 68-year young “Handsome” Hank Hallock of Riverhead third in the Westhampton Auto Salvage Chevy.

All race car drivers dream of starting their season off with a win so Sunday must have been double dreamy for Anthony Pizzo of Lake Ronkonkoma who swept the wins in both 8-Cylinder Enduro races. In the first race, a 75-lap affair Pizzo and second year driver swapped the lead during the second half of the race. Lap 41 found Anthony spinning in oil from Jarred Halsey’s blown engine handing the lead over to D’Orta. Pizzo who never stopped his car went right back to work in tracking down D’Orta and on lap 51 reclaimed the lead for good in the United Exhaust Shop Caprice. Mike D’Orta of Deer Park was second in his Mustang Magic racer while Jeff Otto Jr. of Deer Park place third in the Designs For Vision machine.

In the 40-lap nightcap Pizzo would again have to work hard to earn first place money as he raced with Ed Brown Jr. The duo swapped the lead some four times just past the halfway mark of the contest. Pizzo would take the lead for good on the 32nd circuit to score the victory with Ed Brown Jr. of Mastic Beach runner-up in the Lyly’s Auto Body Supply Chevy. Mike D’Orta was third.

Coming into the 2015 Enduro season Mike Mujsce Jr. announced he would dedicate his racing efforts to his late cousin Eleanor Geier and on Sunday in the 75-lap 4/6-Cylinder Enduro his emotional motivation turned into one of the most dominating performances in the class. Mujsce broke out front at the drop of the green in his Premier Pest Control entry and not only did he never look back he nearly lapped the entire 35 car field twice! Ed Fontana of Wading River was second in the Good Wood Shop machine while Paul Wojcik of Centereach crossed the line third. George Davis gave his fellow competitors and fans alike a scare when he flipped into the first turn after contact and fortunately Davis after exiting the car was okay, his car was totaled.

Grand Enduro (top 5)
1. Greg Zaleski 2. Jess Martines 3. David Antos 4. Brian McCormack 5. Erick Zegel

Truck Enduro (top 5)
1. Don Nelson Jr. 2. Gene Burbol 3. Hank Hallock 4. Peter Rabaglia 5. Richard Galante

1st 8-Cylinder Enduro (top 5)
1. Anthony Pizzo 2. Mike D’Orta 3. Jeff Otto Jr. 4. Michael Sorrentino 5. Donald Lawrence

2nd 8-Cylinder Enduro (top 5)
1. Anthony Pizzo 2. Ed Brown Jr. 3. Mike D’Orta 4. Sean Fitzpatrick 5. Logan Fogg

4/6-Cylinder Enduro:
1. Mike Mujsce Jr. 2. Ed Fontana 3. Paul Wojcik 4. Steve Trimboli 5. Matt Wahl

Sources: Bob Finan/Riverhead Raceway PR

Tom Rogers Jr. Sweeps Riverhead Raceway Twin 30 NASCAR Modified Features On A Chilled Opening Night

The 65th anniversary season of racing got underway Saturday night at Riverhead Raceway on a clear but chilly evening which also turned out to be the eve of a full moon arriving on Sunday. The Twin 30 NASCAR Modified features lived up to the full moon theory with the second race in particular a marathon event. In the end Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead swept the Twin 30’s earning his 32nd & 33rd career NASCAR Whelen All American Series Modified victories.

In qualifying a mere 3/1000ths of a second would separate Tom Rogers Jr. and Ryan Preece with Tom having the edge 11.953 to 11.956 with Rogers picking 5th in the redraw and Preece 4th. John Beatty Jr. and rookie Kyle Soper picked the front row. When the 22 car field took the first green flag of 2015 pole sitter Beatty entering the first and second turn washed up the hill slightly opening the inside lane up and quickly jumping through the opening were both Timmy Solomito and Tom Rogers Jr. who came from their respective third and fifth starting berths to occupy first and second on lap 1. The duo who have a history ran in that order until a 9th lap restart changed the complexion of the race.

With Timmy Solomito to the inside and Rogers outside the leaders car seemed to falter off the fourth corner when the green waved and that allowed Rogers to bolt back into the lead with John Beatty Jr. now second while Solomito headed pit side to repair his car. Ryan Preece ran third behind the leaders and as the field took the halfway signal he made an inside move enter turn 1 to pass Beatty for second and set his sights on leader Tom Rogers Jr. Although he drew close at times there was no stopping Tom Rogers Jr. in the Stakey’s Pumpkin Farm Chevy as he scored the win. Ryan Preece in the TS Haulers entry was runner up while rookie Kyle Soper of Manorville made a late race pass on Beatty for third in the Installations by Gemini machine. John Beatty Jr. of Merrick and Dave Sapienza of Riverhead filled out the top five.

Race two was indeed more dicey in both the fight for the lead but unfortunately also in caution flags and damaged race cars. Ryan Preece was able to break out front at the throw of the green on the outside with Rogers now in tow. Sadly in this race making a house call would be the full moon theory as this race had the “big one”. Exiting turn 2 George Brunnhoelzl III and John Fortin made contact while fighting for position in the top five and both had to check-up which stacked the field behind them. Among the cars involved and damaged in the melee were Howie Brode, both Shawn & Timmy Solomito, Brendon Bock, John Fortin Sr. & Jr. and Ken Darch. Brunnhoelzl was able to keep his forward progress and never lost a spot.

With his outside pass at the start of the second 30-lapper the chilled fans on hand figured Preece would split the doubleheader with Rogers but somebody forgot to give Tom that memo. On lap 11 as Preece worked through the fourth turn his car seemed to jump out on him which allowed Rogers to swoop in and make the pass to make it a clean sweep for the Jessup Landscaping team. Preece was runner-up once again in the East West Marine Chevy while Jason Agugliaro of Islip turned in a stellar performance for third in the Northeastern Bus Rebuilders entry. George Brunnhoelzl III of Mooresville, NC and Dave Brigati of Calverton rounded out the top five.

Former Late Model champion Jeremy McDermott of Riverhead topped the 25-lap Late Model field that boasted a 15-car field for opening night. 2014 Rookie of the Year Chris Lescenski broke out front at the start of the race with Kevin Metzger in hot pursuit. However Kevin’s run for the lead would hit a snag on lap 5 when he and Scott Kulesa got caught up with a lapped car drawing a yellow and sending both to the pits for repairs. On the ensuing restart Lescenski held serve at the front of the field with Jeremy McDermott, his close friend and somewhat of a teammate now second. On lap 8 McDermott cast friendship aside and made an inside pass off turn four to take the lead from Lescenski who one lap later lost second to Roger Oxee. Once out front Jeremy McDermott put the SDS Telecommunications machine on cruise control and drove off to victory. Roger Oxee of Peconic in the Sophie’s Restaurant Pontiac was rune-up while Chris Lescenski of Riverhead drove a solid race for third in the M Spero Motorsports Chevy.

Gary Fritz Jr. of Mastic Beach scored his first career Figure Eight win as he was leading the scheduled 15-lap Figure Eight feature when the time limit ran out on lap 8 during a caution. The class took to the track as the final race of the card and late in the night. Fritz, the 2013 Rookie of the Year raced his way out front when the green light came on with Mike Mujsce on his bumper. Right in line with Mujsce were the likes of Ken Hyde Jr., Roger Maynor and Tom Rogers Jr.. At one point or another all four posted a challenge to Gary who was equal to the task every time and many on hand felt even if the race went 15-laps he’d do the same. When the time limit ran out it was an elated Northeastern Office Equipment team that greeted their driver Gary Fritz Jr. in victory lane. Tom Rogers Jr. in the United Exhaust Shop Plymouth Coupe was runner-up and Ken Hyde Jr. in the Long Island Truck & Equipment racer were second and third.

Timing is everything in many sports and in the 20-lap Charger feature John Baker of Brookhaven proved it as he stunned race leader Eric Zeh of Selden on a late race restart to post his third career win. Sophomore driver Greg Immerman showed the way over the first 7 laps of the race before CJ Lehmann executed an inside pass off turn 4 for the lead coming to start the 8th lap. Lehmann quickly found defending champion Eric Zeh filling his mirror and on lap 11 Zeh worked his way by for the lead. Baker would soon then wrestle second away from Lehmann setting the stage for the exciting finish. A late race caution on lap 18 set up the single file restart, Zeh went into the third and fourth corner in the middle to the high side of the track and when the green waved Baker quickly went down under the race leader stunning not just the race leader but all those looking on as well. That move would indeed be the winning one for John Baker and his Staria Automotive race team. Eric Zeh would have to settle for runner-up money in the S&P Carting Chevy with CJ Lehmann of Shirley third in the Shore Mechanical Monte Carlo.

Jack Handley Jr. of Medford for the second year in a row won the 20-lap Blunderbust opener after taking the lead on lap 6 and never looking back. The race was marred by a personal feud that boiled over from the past two years between Tommy Walkowiak of Ridge and Brian Brown of Baiting Hollow who decided after spinning each other out during the race to have a Demo Derby with their cars. Both were removed and disqualified from the race with future penalties to be announced. As for the actual race Tim Mulqueen moved out front at the start with Tom Sullivan in tow for the first lap before Jack Handley, who started 4th got by. Once to second Jack wasted no time in his Relle Electric Chevy taking the lead which he did for good on lap 6 utilizing a crossover move off turn four. With five laps to go Joe Warren Jr. of Ridge moved his TS Haulers entry to second and try as he might there was not catching the race leader and he settled for second. 70-year young Bill Wegmann Sr. of North Bellmore was third in the Crackerjack Auto Stores Oldsmobile.

Defending Super Pro Truck champion Lou Maestri of Deer Park started his title defense off in style with his 28th career victory. Brian McElearney broke to the race lead at the outset but would only lead the first lap as Mike Albasini worked his way by to move out front on lap 2. Lou Maetsri who started the race 4th moved by teammate McElearney for second on lap 4 with an inside pass and then set sail for leader Albasini. Mike who has been stuck on 9 career wins since 2013 was hoping to break into the double digit win column but Lou had other ideas as he saw an opening to the inside and took it for the race lead on lap 12. Once out front Lou Maestri would not surrender the lead and drove his IGA Food Market of Fort Salonga Chevy to victory lane. Mike Albasini of Flushing was third in the Hollis Court Collision Silverado with Jimmy Rennick Jr. of Howard Beach a solid third in the Mike’s Heavy Duty Recovery entry.

“Big Money” Richie Davidowitz of East Moriches topped the 28-car Legend Race Car field to win their 20-lap feature. Davidowitz set fast time with a lap of 13.726 but did not fare to well in the redraw while Vinny Delaney drew the pole and Ray Fitzgerald picked the outside pole. Delaney wasted no time taking command of the race early on as he moved out front at the drop of the green with Fitzgerald second. Davidowitz in the meantime was moving from his 4th row starting spot to the top three with all of his passes for position coming on the outside lane. Once to third Richie passed Fitzgerald to the outside off turn down for second on lap 9 and five laps later he’d use the same move to work his way by Delaney for the lead on lap 14. Once out front in his Thriftway Auto Body racer Richie Davidowitz, a five time winner in 2014 drove to victory in the 2015 opener. Vinny Delaney of Holtsville in the Wise Choice Fuel Oil machine was runner-up while Greg Harris of Riverhead drove from 7th to a podium finish with his third place tally in the SGS Stone Works mount.

1st NASCAR Modified Twin 30:
1. Tom Rogers Jr. 2. Ryan Preece 3. Kyle Soper 4. John Beatty Jr. 5. Dave Sapienza 6. Howie Brode 7. Jason Agugliaro 8. George Brunnhoelzl III 9. John Fortin Sr. 10 Vinny Biondolillo 11/ Brendon Bock 12. Ken Darch 13. Shawn Solomito 14. Eddie Brunnhoelzl Jr. 15. John Fortin Jr. 16. Dave Brigati 17. Fred Vordemeier Jr. 18. Jerry Solomito Jr. 19. Al Ermmarino 20. Kyle Ellwood 21. Ken Vogel Jr. 22. Timmy Solomito

2nd NASCAR Modified Twin 30:
1. Tom Rogers Jr. 2. Ryan Preece 3. Jason Agugliaro 4. George Brunnhoelzl III 5. Dave Brigati 6. Eddie Brunnhoelzl Jr. 7. Dave Sapienza 8. Kyle Ellwood 9. Kyle Soper 10. John Fortin Sr. 11. Ken Darch 12. John Fortin Jr. 13. Fred Vordemeier Jr. 14. Vinny Biondolillo 15. Shawn Solomito 16. Timmy Solomito 17. Howie Brode 18. Brendon Bock 19. Jerry Solomito Jr. 20. John Beatty Jr. 21. Al Ermmarino 22. Ken Vogel Jr.

Late Models:
1. Jeremy McDermott 2. Roger Oxee 3. Chris Lescenski 4. Chris McGuire 5. Shawn Patrick 6. Kyle Harvell 7. Kevin Metzger 8. Chris LaSpisa 9. Richie Davidowitz 10. Jack Orlando 11. Mike Bologna 12. Scott Kulesa 13. Timmy Solomito 14. Jarrod Hayes 15. Kaitlyn Schober

Figure Eights: 1. Gary Fritz Jr. 2. Tom Rogers Jr. 3. Ken Hyde Jr. 4. Mike Mujsce 5. Scott Pedersen 6. Tom Kraft Jr. 7. Roger Maynor 8. Brian Hansen 9. Bryan Quilliam 10. Tom Ferrara DNS- Mike Herbst

1. John Baker 2. Eric Zeh 3. CJ Lehmann 4. Owen Grennan 5. David Roys 6. Ray Minieri 7. Steve Mastro 8. Greg Immerman 9. Jason Hansen 10. Rich Wilson 11. Chris Turbush 12. Dennis Cunningham 13. Cory Midgett

1. Jack Handley Jr. 2. Joe Warren 3. Bill Wegmann Sr. 4. Tim Mulqueen 5. Terry Stiles 6. Jim Laird 7. Tom Pickerell 8. Ed Mistretta 9. Tom Sullivan 10. Tom Puccia 11. Derek Wegmann 12. Bill Wegmann Jr. 13. Robert Ehrle 14. Chris Van Cott 15. Scott Maliszewski  DQ- Tommy Walkowiak DQ- Brian Brown

Super Pro Trucks:
1. Lou Maestri 2. Mike Albasini 3. Jimmy Rennick Jr. 4. Mark Stewart 5. Dave Brigati 6. Kevin Scharfenberg 7. Amanda Anderson 8. Brian McElearney 9. Gerard Giordano

Legend Race Cars:
1. Richie Davidowitz 2. Vinny Delaney 3. Greg Harris 4. Paul Dodorico 5. John Beatty Jr. 6. Dylan Slepian 7. George Tomko Jr. 8. Josh Williams 9. Chris Rogers 10. Michael Rutkoski 11. Eddie Fatscher 12. Allan Pedersen 13. Ray Fitzgerald 14. Brad Van Houten 15. Mike Van Houten Jr. 16. Shawn Wanat 17. Bryan Kelly 18. Kurt Krieger 19. Bobby Jones 20. Ed Cheslak 21. Steve Hersey 22. Eric Hersey 23. Jerry Curran 24. Bill Fitzgerald 25. Eric Henschel 26. Wally Davidowitz 27. Steve Smith 28. Artie Pedersen III

Sources: Bob Finan/Riverhead Raceway

2 Brunnhoelzls at Riverhead Opening Day

IMG_8917Bill Park stepped out of the driver’s seat of his always beautiful No. 20 NASCAR Modified, he has filled that seat with several talented drivers. Park will have a trio of drivers this year. Last year’s regular driver Ryan Preece will be back for 8 races and Ron Silk will be in the car for about 5 races plus the 2 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races.

A familiar face will drive the car on opening night at Riverhead (NY) Raceway. Former Long Islander George Brunnhoelzl, III will venture north from North Carolina to pilot the East West Marine/Elite Towing and Transport/Meade’s Welding & Fabricating car. He will be returning to Riverhead for the first time since 2011, when he drove a NASCAR WMT race.

I talked to George Monday about coming back to Riverhead, coming back to Long Island to drive for Bill Park and his season in general.

Continue reading ‘2 Brunnhoelzls at Riverhead Opening Day’

Schneider to Pursue VMRS, Riverhead Events

Dave Schneider is planning to compete on the Valenti Modified Racing Series (VMRS) full-time and the Tour-Type Modifieds at Riverhead (NY) Raceway as his schedule allows. Schneider acquired a brand new 2008 Troyer at the end of last year and will use it as his an VMRS car. His old car will be used at Riverhead.

He is also looking at the Northeast Auto Car and Parts Tri-Track Open Modified Series depending on how the season is going. “It’s a great series (Tri Track),” Schneider said. “They have a great selection of tracks and the promoters are awesome people.”

Schneider will also have a new paint scheme. The car will still be red, but have other colors added.

Schneider had a tough season last year. He blew a motor at Stafford (CT) Motor Speedway. He crashed in his first race back at New London-Waterford (CT) Speedbowl and clipped the car. Schneider came down with mono. He had his ups though at the end of year. A fifth at Seekonk (MA) Speedway, seventh at Lee (NH) USA Speedway and Thompson (CT) Speedway Motorsports Park were among his best finishes. “I’m looking to improve exponentially on that.”

Continue reading ‘Schneider to Pursue VMRS, Riverhead Events’

NBC Sports Adds Evernham, Sheheen for Whelen Modified Coverage

Legendary Crew Chief Teams with Veteran Motorsports Broadcaster for All 14 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour Events on NBCSN

STAMFORD, Conn. — April 15, 2015 — NBC Sports today welcomed three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion crew chief Ray Evernham and seasoned broadcaster Ralph Sheheen to its growing lineup of motorsports experts. Evernham and Sheheen will handle coverage of NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour Events on NBCSN. The announcement was made today by Jeff Behnke, Vice President of NASCAR Production for NBC Sports and NBCSN.

2015 marks the 30th Anniversary season for the northeast-based NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, which traces its roots back to the very first NASCAR-sanctioned race on the beach and road course at Daytona Beach, Fla. in 1948. Evernham, who began his remarkable career in motorsports working on short track race cars at age 15, will first team with Sheheen to cover the 41st running of the Icebreaker from Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park in Conn., airing on Saturday, April 18 at 12:30 a.m. ET (late Friday night). The complete NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour telecast schedule on NBCSN is listed below.

“We’re are thrilled to continue our 2015 NASCAR Touring Series with the knowledge and experience of Ray Evernham and Ralph Sheheen behind the microphone,” said Behnke. “This is a win for all race fans and the enthusiastic followers of the Whelen Modified Tours.”

Continue reading ‘NBC Sports Adds Evernham, Sheheen for Whelen Modified Coverage’

NWMT: Nocella to Compete for Sunoco ROY

Anthony Nocella of Woburn, MA will move to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour full-time in the KLM Motorsports No. 64. 

“(I) want to thank Mike Murphy and Ron both for offering me the ride and having the confidence in me,” Nocella said. “So hopefully we’ll run good with them and it’s definitely a big opportunity for me. … It’s something that we can go out and have some good strong runs and get top tens and fives and hopefully better than that. Maybe get the Rookie of the Year, which would be a big deal.”

“I was pretty excited when I got the call to be able to go and try to run that. Pretty tough competition I’d say and I was excited that they thought that I’d be able to do it and giving me the opportunity. … Mike Murphy there and Ron both seem pretty excited and I thought it was a real great opportunity to be able to go out try to run.”

Mike Murphy’s car has been driven by Ron Yuhas, Jr. recently. He was injured last September at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Yuhas posted on Facebook that he is still recovering from his injuries and thankful for the support. The Groton, CT driver has raced for Murphy since 2011 in the Fast Track Electric/Hughes Motors car.

Continue reading ‘NWMT: Nocella to Compete for Sunoco ROY’

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