The old saying goes "timing is everything' and indeed those words would ring true for NASCAR Modified veteran Dave Brigati of Calverton who won his first race of 2019 Saturday when he captured the annual Baldwin, Evans & Jarzombek 77 at Riverhead Raceway. The win was the 11th of Brigati's career and in another twist of irony ties him with the late "Tiger" Tom Baldwin on the all time win list. Just an hour or so before his NASCAR Modified triumph Dave also won the 25-lap Crate Modified race.
Timmy Solomito steering the Tommy Baldwin Racing 7NY took the pole with a lap of 11.615 earning the $100 fats time award from Brigandi Brothers Automotive of Nesconset, Jason Agugliaro of Islip was second quick at 11.632. With the top six from time inverted Dylan Slepian and championship leader Kyle Soper brought the field to green with Slepian gaining the early advantage over Soper. Lap 6 found Timmy Solomito roar from his sixth starting spot to pass Soper for second with his car working well on the outside. However as the race ran a long green flag period Timmy's car began to free up allowing Dave Brigati who started fourth to make his way by the WMT regular for second on lap 24 while Slepian continued to show the way.
A caution flag on lap 25 would change the complexion of the race up front as on the double file restart Dave Brigati raced his way by Slepian for the race lead bringing John Beatty Jr. to second with him. However just two laps later on the 27th circuit Solomito was able to find a second life in his car passing Beatty for second. While all this was transpiring Kyle Soper was laying in the weeds running either third, fourth of fifth in the middle position of the race. Lap 51 saw Soper make his way by Solomtio for second and once he completed that pass he closed right in on leader Brigati.
Over the final third of the race Soper drew close to Brigati and in fact at times rode the leader's back bumper. On a few other occasions Soper looked to make a run to the inside of Brigati exiting the corners but each time the cagey veteran was equal to the task fending off the defending NASCAR Modified champion and when the checkers waved Dave Brigati enjoyed his first win of 2019. "To win anything with Tommy's, Richie's and Charlie's name on it is very special" Brigati noted in victory lane. "I can't say enough about Rob Fuller of LFR and of course my guys led by Brian Schwarz on this JDL Environmental Team, heck we won two races tonight". the happy winner concluded.
Kyle Soper of Manorville was second in the Eastport Feeds Chevy reflecting afterwards, "congrats to Dave and his guys, we had a good car and we'll take second tonight" John Beatty Jr. of Merrick was third in his MSM Elite Motorsports Chevy while Timmy Solomito and John Fortin Sr. of Holtsville completed the top five.
Chris Turbush of Wading River derailed the Jeremy McDermott express in the 25-lap Late Model event taking his second win of 2019 having also won on opening night back in May. In the early stages of the race "Radiant" Ray Minieri led Shawn Patrick and Chris Turbush for the first few laps before things got too close for Minieri and Patrick on lap 4 as the came together. That turn of events propelled Turbush to the race lead with teammates McDermott and Dylan Slepian now second and third. Unlike the past seven races McDermott while staying with Turbush for the remainder of the race would have nothing for Chris who steered his Chris Mohr Landscaping Chevy to his 14th career LM victory. McDermott of Riverhead and Slepian of Dix Hills were second and third in their Eastport Feeds team cars.
In a competitive 25-lap Crate Modified event former two-time champion Dave Brigati scored his division leading 11th career win, his first of 2019. Jason Hansen who impressed winning his heat race led the early going chased at first by Brigati. On lap 3 however Hansen went up the hill in turn four breaking the momentum of Brigati for a moment which allowed Terry Stiles to race his way from third to the race lead as the field started the fourth lap. Peter Bertuccio chased Stiles for three laps before he was passed by Briagti to the inside entering the first turn on lap 9. After tracking Stiles for 8 laps Brigati would make his move for the race lead again executing an inside pass as he worked to the low side of Stiles exiting the second turn on lap 18. Once out front Brigati put the Quest Machining & Fabricating Chevy on cruise control taking home the popular win. Terry Stiles of Rocky Point had a solid race finishing second in the T&S Auto Clinic Chevy while Peter Bertuccio of Bohemia placed third in the Gershow Recycling Chevy.
Reining Blunderbust champion Jack Handley Jr. of Medford made just his fifth start of 2019 in the 20-lap main event Saturday and when the checker flag flew Jack was enjoying his third win of his part time campaign. Ageless Bill Wegmann Sr. paced the race early leading the first seven laps before he was passed by Tom Pickerell to the inside exiting the fourth turn to start the eight lap. One lap later Handley made his way by Wegmann for second and chased Pickerell for the lead and the win for three laps. On lap 13 while racing up the backstretch Hanldey made his way under Pickerell for the lead bringing Cody Triola to second with him. Triola was having another solid race before disaster struck on lap 17 when he clipped the wall on his own exiting the fourth turn drawing a late race caution. That lined rivals Handley and Picerell alongside each other for the restart and when the green waved Handley was able to stay out front in his Licciardi Builder Caprice to nail down his 32nd career victory. Pickerell of Huntington was runner-up in the Encore Rentals Chevy with early leaser Wegmann of N. Bellmore third in the Crackerjack Auto Stores Olds.
After enjoying his fist career INEX Legend Race Car victory back on July 6th veteran Ray Fitzgerald ended the month the same way he started it with another 20-lap feature event win. George Tomko Jr. who has endured a rough 2019 season to date broke to the early lead chased at first by defending champion Jim Sylvester for the first four laps. On lap 5 Fitzgerald made his way by Sylvester for second setting sail for leader Tomko. However on lap 11 a high flying Kevin Nowak looped around Fitzgerald for second and quickly closed in on leader Tomko. Unfortunately on lap 13 racing into the third turn Nowak got into the back bumper of leader Tomko sending the young talent into a spin drawing a caution flag. During the caution period track officials invited Nowak to the rear of the field for the contact. That turn of events moved third place Ray Fitzgerald into the race lead with Allan Pedersen now second when the race resumed to start the 14th lap. Over the final 6 laps of the tilt Pedersen stayed right on the heels of Fitzgerald but in the end Ray in his Benimax Trucking entry scored the win. Pedersen of Center Moriches was second in the Rico's Clothing machine while Eric Hersey of Commack completed the podium in third with his Luau of Long Island racer.
The 15-lap Vintage All Stars event saw a very special guest driver in a very special car team up for the win as Timmy Solomito drove the "Charging" Charlie Jarzombek #1 Chevette owned by Ricky Jarzombek to victory. Tony Ferrante Jr show the way early in the X-3 chased early on by Frank Saladino. However after starting scratch of the field Solomito was flying through the field and on lap 7 made an outside pass of Ferrante entering the first turn.Once Timmy had the AG Schmidt Paving #1 out front he would lead the remainder of the way. Ferrante of New Hyde Park was runner-up in the Nuzzi Auto Body Chevy while Jimmy Reed of central Islip was third in the JR Fuel Oil Cavalier.
Phil LaManna of Smithtown has quickly become the driver to beat in Truck Enduro racing as he not only won but dominated their 40-lap affair. LaManna raced the EP Milling & Sweeping entry out front early in the race after starting third via luck of the draw. Gary Voight and Bobby Pease Sr, tried staying close to LaManna but as the event wore on Phil simply ran away and hid. Voight of Medford was runner-up in the United Exhaust Shop racer while Pease also from Medford was third in the Fit Spot Gym Chevy.
Baldwin, Evans & Jarzombek 77: 1, Dave Brigati 2. Kyle Soper 3. John Beatty Jr. 4. Timmy Solomito 5. John Fortin Sr. 6. Dylan Slepian 7. Chris Young 8. John Baker 9. CJ Lehmann 10. Tom Rogers Jr. 11. Artie Pedersen III 12. David Schneider 13. Cory Midgett 14. Jason Agugliaro 15. Roger Turbush 16. Craig Lutz
Late Models: 1. Chris Turbush 2. Jeremy McDermott 3. Dylan Slepian 4. Shawn Patrick 5. Ray Minieri 6. Kevin Metzger 7. Darren McCabe 8. Frank Dumicich Jr. 9. Steve Mastro 10. Jerry Giordano Jr.
Crate Modifieds: 1. Dave Brigati 2. Terry Stiles 3. Peter Bertuccio 4. Dennis Krupski 5. Justin Brown 6. Charlie Mcwhinnie 7. Carey Rogers 8. Jason Hansen 9. Alex Colasanto 10. Mike Albasini 11. Sean Glennon 12. Matthew Brode 13. AJ DeSantis
Blunderbusts: 1. Jack Handley Jr. 2. Tom Pickerell 3. Bill Wegmann Sr. 4. Russ Jansen 5. Jarrett Campbell 6. Alyssa Paprocky 7. Kyle Halpin 8. Cody Triola 9. Jim Laird Jr. DNS- Cassandra Denis
Legend Race Cars: 1. Ray Fitzgerald 2. Allan Pedersen 3. Eric Hersey 4. Jim Sylvester 5. Joseph Braun 6. Colin Hoeffner 7. Jeff Otto Jr. 8. Richie Davidowitz 9. Vinny Delaney 10. Mike Van Houten Jr. 11. Jason Castaldo 12. Riely O'Keefe 13. Jeff Castaldo 14. Patrick Moore 15. Kevin Nowak 16. Jeff Farruggia Jr. 17. Joseph Costello 18. Nick Morabito 19. Colin Volpe 20. David Strohmeyer 21. Scott Cheslak 22. Rcih Braun 23. George Tomko Jr. 24. Chris Sinatro 25. Alex Halinar 26. Ed Cheslak
Vintage All Stars: 1. Timmy Solomto 2. Tony Ferrante Jr. 3. Jimmy Reed 4. Frank Saladino 5. Don Conradis 6. Ken Southard 7. Bill Meyer 8. Mike Ciroco
Truck Enduro: 1. Phil LaManna 2. Gary Voight 3. Bobby Pease Sr. 4. Justin McGrady 5. Jarrett Campbell 6. Bobby Pease Jr. 7. Mariah Lawrence 8. Dustin Cole 9. Doug Tittle 10. Joe Brodman 11. Danielle Cohen 12. John Schultze 13. Kerry Botts 14. Emily Hubbard 15. Kenny King
-Riverhead Raceway Press Release
-Photo credit: Michael Jaworecki