A large holiday crowd turned out at Riverhead Raceway Saturday night and the large audience was treated to fireworks both on and above Barbara & Jim Cromarty’s historic oval. In the annual Cromarty Cup 50 for the NASCAR Modifieds Ryan Preece of Berlin, Ct. was able to avoid on track fireworks with three laps to go to win his second straight Cromarty Cup on Miller Lite night.
Preece would turn in the best lap in qualifying with a time of 11.979 but in the redraw found himself starting 6th while Jason Agugliaro and Shawn Solomito drew the front row. When the green flag was displayed Augugliaro was quick to move into the race lead with Timmy Solomito sliding under older brother Shawn for second on lap 1. Over the next 30 laps Agugliaro led Solomito and as the laps wore on the battle got more and more intense. Tom Rogers Jr. and Ryan Preece watched it all unfold from third and fourth positions. Solomito tried to slip up and under Agugliaro off the corners but Jason was able to thwart the effort one way or another until lap 31. Racing in turns one and two contact was made in the center of the corner with Jason going for a spin in turn two. NASCAR Officials conferred during the yellow and deemed the contact was accidental and Timmy Solomito would become the new race leader.
When the race resumed so was a two season rivalry between Timmy Solomito and Tom Rogers Jr., who was now second with Timmy now the hunted. Tommy quickly put the pressure on Timmy and things were fine, for the moment. With five laps to go Agugliaro who slowed suddenly in the closing laps seemingly wanting payback exact payback for his earlier spin was now in a position to be lapped by Solomito. Timmy knowing what was going on faked like he was going to pass Jason outside going into turn one suddenly slid to the inside to make the pass. However his momentum carried him up a groove off turn two opening the door for rival Rogers and the sparks were about to fly with third place Ryan Preece watching it all unfold from third. Indeed the leading duo were side by side going into and through turns three and four as they “leaned “on each other. That slid the leaders up the hill off turn four with Preece diving underneath to come from third to the race lead as Rogers spun and Solomito was caught-up as well drawing the caution flag.
With just four laps left in the race Ryan Preece would take the green as the race leader and led the remainder of the way in his East West Marine Chevy to capture his second win of the 2014 season. When quizzed as to whether or not he was laying back during the Solomito & Rogers race for the lead Ryan admitted, “Timmy and Tommy were going pretty hard I knew there was a chance something might happen”. However Preece really wanted to talk about his race team that worked every night after Todd Szegedy was caught up in a wreck the week prior in the Bill & Barbara Park owned car in the Hoosier Tire 200 WMT race. “Bill, Dave and this entire Team Park busted their butts all week long and it is nice to win the Cromarty Cup for them again. Now I’m going to go enjoy the Fireworks with the fans”.
Shawn Solomito of Islip had dropped as far back as 5th during the race and would indeed collect runner-up money in the Acme Sanitary Services Chevy while point leader Howie Brode of East Islip crossed the line third in the Long Island Freightliner entry. Vinny Biondolillo of Farmingville and Eddie Brunnhoelzl III of Levittown completed the top five. Tom Rogers would wind-up 8th and Timmy Solomito 11th.
For the 111th time in his illustrious career Roger Maynor of Bay Shore topped the 15-lap Figure Eight main event for his first win of 2014. Scott Pedersen would jump to the early race advantage leading Bryan Quilliam for the first lap with Mike Mujsce coming to second on lap 2 with Tommy Rogers Jr. moving to third. On lap 3 Mujsce and Rogers came together drawing a caution flag moving Roger Maynor into second. When the race went back green it did so for only a lap as the yellow flew after lap 4 was in the books and it was during that caution the Scott Pedersen would pit from the race lead. The culprit was a thrown belt that spiked his car’s temperature up to 270 degrees. That moved Roger Maynor into the race lead with defending champion Ken Hyde Jr. now sitting second and when the green flag waved Maynor was able to take the race lead, a lead he would not surrender in his Barrasso & Sons Mason Supplies Ford. Ken Hyde Jr. of Mastic Beach was second in the All Out Fire Protection Chevy while Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead was third in the Ralph’s Italian Ices Plymouth Coupe.
Chris Turbush of Wading River continued to dominate Charger victory lane as he won their 20-lap Miller Lite night feature event for his fourth win in eight events for the class in 2014. The win was also the 39th career triumph with his next victory indeed to be a milestone one. John Baker broke out front at the throw of the green with Scott Pedersen and Greg Immerman in tow. While Baker led early on Pedersen and Immerman got to racing for second and that race got too close on the second lap when the tandem made contact and wound up in the first turn wall. On the restart Baker would remain the race leader with Chris Turbush now running second and after a few laps of trying John for the lead Chris completed an inside pass entering the third turn to take the race lead on lap 8. Once out front there was no stopping the driver of the Coram Auto Glass Chevy as Chris Turbush drove off to another popular victory. The victory puts Chris just 13 wins back of his famed father “Dynamite” Dan Turbush on the all-time win list, 52-39. John Baker of Brookhaven had his best outing of the season as he was runner-up in the Sunrise Medical Labs Camaro while Eric Zeh of Selden crossed the line third in the Randy’s Performance Chevy.
The path to Terry Stiles Miller Lite night 20-lap Blunderbust win can be attributed to Facebook, the social media giant. With race day fast approaching and the 4th of July getaway in full swing Terry had a rocker arm stud issue he could not find anyone to help him with. Enter former NASCAR Modified driver Sal Accardi Jr., somebody Stiles had never met in person but was friends with on Facebook. Sal came to Terry’s Rocky Point home and spent half his 4th of July giving the eventual race winner a hand. As to the race itself Richie Hubbard took command of the race early on and led the first 8 laps of the race before Terry Stiles made an inside pass off turn four to take the race lead. Once out front Stiles wheeling the O’Brien & O’Brien Law firm Chevy never looked back and drove to his second win of the season with an assist to his Facebook friend Sal Accardi Jr. Tom Pickerell of Huntington was runner-up in the Northportpower.com Chevy with point leader Jack Handley Jr. of Medford third in the Relle Electric machine.
Brad Van Houten of Wading River scored his second win of the 2014 INEX Legend Race Car season as he topped the 20-lap Miller Lite night main event. Kevin Nowak by virtue of his win in the first heat race broke from the pole to lead lap one with Brad Van Houten charging his way to second. Entering turn three on the second lap Nowak left the bottom lane open and Van Houten was quick to pounce taking the lead entering turn three. With Van Houten out front Nowak then found himself in a battle with three time feature winner Richie Davidowitz for second. They touched on lap 5 sending Nowak hard into the first turn wall ending his night, while Davidowitz was forced to pit. When the dust settled and the race got back underway Van Houten was still out front with up and coming Artie Pedersen III now second. Artie, still seeking his first career win put the pressure on the veteran Van Houten for the remainder of the race which featured a green, white and checker. No problem for Brad Van Houten as he drove to the win in his TJ Halpin’s entry over Artie Pedersen III of Center Moriches in his Sherwin Williams Paints racer. Third place money went to Paul Dodorico of Miller Place in the Dr. Martha Baker, DDS mount.
Jimmy “The Kid” White Jr. of Southampton made it two in a row in Demolition Derby action as he won the event for 8-Cylinder cars. It all came down to White in his Busy Bee Pest Control wagon against “Jackpot” Jack Levix. The tandem went toe to toe before Levix could not go on as his car went into flames when he stepped on the gas pedal. That left White the last car running and the winner. Levix of Holbrook was named Judge’s Choice while “The 911” George Astacio of Shirley was voted Fan’s Choice in the Trade Auto Wreckers entry.
Cromarty Cup 50 Modifieds: 1. Ryan Preece 2. Shawn Solomito 3. Howie Brode 4. Vinny Biondolillo 5. Eddie Brunnhoelzl III 6. Jeffrey Goodale 7. Brad Van Houten 8. Tom Rogers Jr. 9. Ken Darch 10. Jerry Solomito Jr. 11. Timmy Solomito 12. Kyle Ellwood 13. Dave Sapienza 14. Jason Agugliaro 15. Mark Stewart
Figure Eights: 1. Roger Maynor 2. Ken Hyde Jr. 3. Tommy Rogers Jr. 4. CJ Lehmann 5. Gary Fritz Jr. 6. Chris Elixon 7. Bryan Quilliam 8. Mike Mujsce 9. Scott Pedersen
Chargers: 1. Chris Turbush 2. John Baker 3. Eric Zeh 4. CJ Lehmann 5. Cory Midgett 6. David Roys 7. Owen Grennan 8. Daryn Miller 9. Jimmy White Jr. 10. Jay Henschel 11. Dan Lynch 12. Ray Minieri 13. Scott Pedersen 14. Greg Immerman
Blunderbusts: 1. Terry Stiles 2. Tom Pickerell 3. Jack Handley Jr. 4. Brian Brown 5. Tom Puccia 6. Tom Sullivan 7. Jimmy White Jr. 8. Bill Wegmann Jr. 9. Joe Warren 10. Bill Wegmann Sr. 11. Ed Mistretta 12. Richie Hubbard 13. Tommy Walkowiak 14. Tim Mulqueen 15. Jessica Cohan 16. Ray Shannon 17. Bryan Sescila 18. Bryan Quilliam 19. Dennis Scott 20. Ian Maliszewski 21. Johnny Cricchio 22. Bob Muller
Legend Race Cars: 1. Brad Van Houten 2. Artie Pedersen III 3. Paul Dodorico 4. Greg Harris 5. Kyle Soper 6. Allan Pedersen 7. Michael Rutkoski 8. Vinny Delaney 9. George Tomko Jr. 10. Chris Rogers 11. John Harley 12. Bryan Kelly 13. Mike Van Houten 14. Ray Fitzgerald 15. Kevin Chew 16. Artie Pedersen Jr. 17. Steve Hersey 18. Richie Davidowitz 19. Keith Goodale 20. Eric Henschel 21. Ed Cheslak 22. Dylan Slepian 23. Kurt Krieger 24. Kevin Nowak 25. Vinny Colletti 26. Eric Hersey 27. Wally Davidowitz DQ-Anthony Marsh
Demolition Derby: Winner- Jimmy White Jr
-Riverhead Raceway Press Release. Photo Credit: John Dominic Santoro