Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead became the first Riverhead Raceway driver since Buzzy Hedges of Wainscott in 1959 to win two stock car titles in the same year at Riverhead Raceway Saturday night celebrating in style with wins in both the 50-lap NASCAR Modifieds and 15-lap Figure Eight main events. The NASCAR Modified triumph was the 40th of Tom’s illustrious career while the Figure Eight win was his 24th with both championships making him a three time champion in both classes.
Starting from the pole in the NASCAR Modified event Rogers survived an early race challenge from Jason Agugliaro over the first 24 laps of the contest with Jason throwing all he could at the eventual winner. After Ryan Preece took the lead on lap 24 on a double file restart it was Ryan’s turn to find out if he had anything for the 2015 champion. While keeping pace with Rogers at first Preece soon realized second was as good as it was going to get in this race and in fact later in the contest had to ward off 2015 Rookie of the Year Kyle Soper for runner-up money.
At the finish it was the Stakey’s Pumpkin Farm Chevy of Tom Rogers Jr. capturing his 9th win of 2015, just one win shy of tying the single season record of 10 wins in a year set by Gary Winters (1962) and “Charging” Charlie Jarzombek (1976 & 1977) The 2015 title joins Tommy’s 2004 & 2010 championship seasons but was the first championship for veteran car owner Joe Ambrose.
Ryan Preece of Berlin, Ct raced his way from 8th to runner-up money in an effort to secure a win for retiring car owners Bill & Barbara Park who just an hour after the races watched as their East West Marine Chevy was loaded into the hauler of Dave Brigati who purchased the potent racer. Kyle Soper of Manorville capped off a successful rookie year with a third place finish in the Installations by Gemini Chevy. Shawn Solomito of East Moriches and Dave Sapienza of Riverhead completed the top five.
Racing out front on a lap 2 restart was all Tommy Rogers Jr. needed to drive off to his 4th Figure Eight win of 2015 and start his 3rd career championship celebration. CJ Lehmann led the first lap before Rogers made one clean sweep on lap 2 to come from third to the race lead. Once out front Rogers wheeling the Keith Repp owned United Exhaust Shop Plymouth Coupe remained out front despite heavy pressure from Roger Maynor over the remaining laps of the race. Once out front Tommy kept the Keith Repp owned mount in the lead securing the win and 2015 championship, the first for Repp as either a driver or owner. Roger Maynor of Bay Shore was runner up in the Barrasso & Sons mason Supplies Toyota with Scott Pedersen of Shirley third in the Reliable Auto Chevy.
Coming into the 50-lap Late Model finale former champion (2013) Jeremy McDermott of Riverhead came in with the game plan of winning the race and letting the chips fall where they might. Jeremy entered the race 10-points back of defending champion Mike Bologna and inherited the lead on lap 14 during a caution period when race leader Jarrod Hayes pitted with a right front flat. Once in the lead all Jeremy could do was hope championship leader Mike Bologna would finish six spots back of him. Mike on the other hand had one of the worst nights of his career pitting twice and being sent to the rear of the field for rough riding. When the race was called at lap 26 due to the time limit Jeremy McDermott was not only declared the race winner but also the 2015 champion in the Statewide Roofing entry. Chris Lescenski of Riverhead was second in the Flemington Furs Chevy with Jarrod Hayes of Calverton roaring back from his lap 14 trip to the pits to claim third in the Chuck Deon Race Engines machine.
John Baker of Brookhaven like McDermott knew he had to win the 30-lap Charger race for any chance to win the 2015 championship knowing he owned the first tie breaker in races won (4) entering the race. Baker who started the race 7th did just that when he took the lead after a classic short track duel with Jimmy White Jr. who earlier won the Blunderbust race. Baker muscled his way out front with less than five laps to go in his Clean Burn Energy Systems Camaro and while taking his victory lap waited while track officials sorted out the points between him and Eric Zeh who came to the race with a 14-point bulge over Baker. Both drivers earned 612 points during the 14-race season with Baker declared the 2015 champion with five wins to Zeh’s one victory, Eric was 8th in the final race. Jimmy White Jr. of Southampton was runner-up in the Hometown Taxi Chevy with Chris Turbush of Wading River third in the Chris Mohr Landscaping entry.
Jimmy White Jr scored his second win of the 2015 campaign when he topped the 20-lap Blunderbust feature. White, who missed the first three months of racing due to shoulder surgery, took full advantage of a rare pole starting position to lead Bill Wegmann Sr. early in the race. Scott Maliszewski worked his way under Wegmann for second entering the first turn on lap 4 but would wind up never getting to the eventual race winners back bumper. At the finish Jimmy White Jr. in the Busy Bee Pest Control Cadillac was the race winner over Scott Maliszewski of Deer Park in the FB Transmission Caprice. Tim Mulqueen of Levittown placed third in the Hy-Grade Auto Body entry. Tom Pickerell of Huntington with his fourth place tally notched his second championship in a row and fourth overall in his successful driving career.
“The Real Deal” Mark Stewart of Riverhead topped the 20-lap Golden Auto Body night Super Pro Truck feature while Lou Maestri of Deer Park secured his second championship in a row and fifth overall in the class. Stewart muscled his way out front when he moved Mike Albasini out of his way early in the race. Once in the lead Mark had to survive a tough challenge from Jimmy Rennick Jr. which he did to drive off to his 11th career win in the Flash Dink Chevy. Grandfather “Dynamite” Dan Turbush of Riverhead was runner-up in the NY Auto Giant Chevy with Dave Brigati of Calverton third in the JDL Environmental Chevy. With his 8th place finish coupled with Brigati’s third place tally Lou Maestri earned the 2015 title.
Kevin Nowak of Medford put “Herbie the Love Bug” in victory lane for the first time in 2015 in an ultra competitive 40-lap Legend Race Car feature. “Blackjack” Bryan Kelly led the way over the first 13 laps of the tilt before Kevin Nowak raced his way underneath in turn one for the race lead on lap 14. Once out front Nowak, a winner off Long Island in 2015 drove away in his J-Tech Electric while Kelly was left to tussle with Richie Davidowitz for second. That battle intensified to the point where Kelly was sent spinning on lap 37 allowing Richie Davidowitz of East Moriches to finish second in the IGA Food Markets entry. Allan Pedersen of Center Moriches capped off a stellar 2015 season with a third place tally in the Sherwin Williams Paints racer. Dylan Slepian of Dix Hill came to the race as the 2015 Legend Race Car champion on the strength of six wins and despite a subpar night celebrated his first career championship.
NASCAR Modifieds: 1. Tom Rogers Jr. 2. Ryan Preece 3. Kyle Soper 4. Shawn Solomito 5. Dave Sapienza 6. Craig Lutz 7. Ken Darch 8. Jason Agugliaro 9. John Fortin Sr. 10. John Fortin Jr. 11. John Beatty Jr. 12. Howie Brode 13. Artie Pedersen III 14. Vinny Biondolillo 15. Dennis Krupski 16. Rob McCormick 17. Amber Fortin
Late Models: 1. Jeremy McDermott 2. Chris Lescenski 3. Jarrod Hayes 4. Kenny Alfano 5. Chris LaSpisa 6. Kevin Metzger 7. Chris McGuire 8. Peter Eriksen Jr. 9. John Baker 10. Brandon Turbush 11. Mike Bologna 12. Scott Kulesa 13. Kaitlyn Schober 14. Roger Oxee 15. Shawn Patrick 16. Tom Rogers Jr. 17. Jack Orlando 18. Kyle Soper
Figure Eights: 1. Tom Rogers Jr. 2. Roger Maynor 3. Scott Pedersen 4. Artie Pedersen III 5. CJ Lehmann 6. Mike Mujsce 7. Brian Hansen 8. Gary Fritz Jr. 9. Ken Hyde Jr. 10. Tom Ferrara
Chargers: 1. John Baker 2. Jimmy White Jr. 3. Chris Turbush 4. Ray Minieri 5. CJ Lehmann 6. Rich Wilson 7. David Roys 8. Eric Zeh 9. Steve Mastro 10. Owen Grennan 11. Mark Stewart 12. Ron Langdon 13. Eric Lutz 14. Jason Hansen
Blunderbusts: 1. Jimmy White Jr. 2. Scott Maliszewski 3. Tim Mulqueen 4. Tom Pickerell 5. Bill Wegmann Sr. 6. Ed Mistretta 7. Tom Sullivan 8. Derek Wegmann 9. Jim Laird Jr. 10. Joe Warren 11. Dennis Scott 12. Tom Puccia 13. Robert Ehrle 14. Jessica Cohan 15. Tommy Walkowiak 16. Sean Byrne 17. Ryan Zukowski 18. Jack Handley Jr.
Super Pro Trucks: 1. Mark Stewart 2. Dan Turbush 3. Dave Brigati 4. Jimmy Rennick Jr. 5. Bobby Gardner 6. Mike Albasini 7. Jerry Giordano Jr. 8. Lou Maestri 9. Anthony Vecchio 10. Dave Koenig 11. Amanda Anderson 12. Sean Glennon 13. Brian McElearney 14. Ben Vecchio
Legend Race Cars: 1. Kevin Nowak 2. Richie Davidowitz 3. Allan Pedersen 4. Ray Fitzgerald 5. Dylan Slepian 6. Johnnie Gloor 7. Eric Hersey 8. George Tomko Jr. 9. Bryan Kelly 10. Greg Harris 11. Artie Pedersen III 12. Jerry Curran 13. Steve Hersey 14. Mike Van Houten Jr. 15. Bill Fitzgerald 16. Wally Davidowitz 17. Steve DeFriest 18. Dennis Kurras 19. Steve Boland 20. Ed Cheslak 21. John Fortin Jr. 22. Vinny Delaney 23. Ken Southard 24. Kyle Ellwood 25. Ryan Lutz DQ- Shawn Wanat DNS- Jim Sylvester, Chris Rogers, Mike Rutkoski & Richie Coy
-Riverhead Raceway Press Release. Photo Credit: Michael Jaworecki Photography