Over 20 Modifieds filled the pit area of Riverhead Raceway on a beautiful Long Island day as the historic bullring opened its gates for the first time in 2015, its 65th season of operation.  All believed that they could possibly have a chance at taking the checkered flag in at least one of the two 30-lap features.  However, Tom Rogers Jr. spoiled those plans for everyone by sweeping the twin-30s on opening night.


Rogers was fast all day long, and he proved that by setting fast time in time-trials and then quickly making his way to the front of the field from his sixth-place starting position.


Rogers crosses under the checkered flag to take the opening night win (Michael Jaworecki photo).

Rogers crosses under the checkered flag to take the opening night win (Michael Jaworecki photo).

Timmy Solomito took the lead on the first lap from polesitter, John Beatty Jr., but he wasn’t able to hold off Rogers for long who took the lead from Solomito on an early restart.  Solomito had the inside lane with Rogers to his outside, but Solomito spun his tires which allowed Rogers to get by off turn four.


Ryan Preece slipped on the initial start of the race, but was able to rebound and made his way back to the front of the field.  Preece got to second by lap 15 and started to gain ground on Rogers.  He made one attempt at a pass, but Rogers held him off and started to drive away again.


Rogers was able to hold Preece off after the first 30 laps by about four car-lengths.  Kyle Soper, Beatty and Dave Sapienza completed the top five in the first feature.


The second feature’s starting lineup is determined by the finish of the first race, so Rogers restarted on the inside with Preece to his outside.


On the third restart of the race, Preece powered by Rogers on the outside to take the lead.  Preece started to drive away, but then he got loose in turn four.  That allowed Rogers to get back underneath Preece going into turn one.  Rogers cleared Preece and took the lead back off turn two.


“I knew he was good,” said Rogers.  “I didn’t think I was going to be able to run him back down.  But my hat’s off to everybody that works on this thing and makes it so fast.”


From there all Rogers had to do was nail his restarts as the rest of the race was full of cautions.  After a while, track officials decided to switch to single-file restarts for the rest of the race.  Rogers had great restarts from there to the end and took the win in convincing fashion.


Preece, Jason Agugliaro, George Brunnhoelzl III, and Dave Brigati completed the top five for the second race.


“I think we put a show on for a little while,” said Preece.  “We’re trying to get a handle on this new car over a long run.  We’re definitely getting there.  It has a ton of speed and anybody who was here and watching saw that over the first 30 laps.”


Rogers, competing full-time on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour this year, was the runner-up in the hunt for the track championship last year with seven wins, but this year he doesn’t plan to hit more than just a few Riverhead races.


“I’m going to do some work on my house and take some time off,” Rogers said.  “I’ll do some family stuff on the days I’m not here.  I’ve been doing this a long time.”


-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Northeast Editor -Twitter: @RobBlount

-Photo Credit: Michael Jaworecki


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

Rogers Gets Out The Broom And Sweeps Up Riverhead