Riverhead, NY – Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead was doubly triumphant Saturday night at Riverhead Raceway as he topped both the 35 lap NASCAR Modified and 15-lap Figure Eight feature events before a near capacity crowd. The NASCAR Modified triumph was the 35th of Tom’s career while it was win number 22 in the Figure Eight ranks.
Qualifying found Jason Agugliaro of Islip the quickest with a lap of 11.933 and he then drew the outside pole while Jerry Solomito Jr. picked the pole. At the throw of the green Solomito had a slight advantage over Agugliaro as the challenger tried to hang his car on the outside in hopes of taking the lead. Lap 2 saw Kyle Soper who started the race third attempt to tuck under Agugliaro and the duo made contact with Jason suffering a flat tire drawing a caution flag and a trip to the pits. On the restart Kyle Soper tried his hand at running outside of Solomito for the lead but suddenly going into turn one the leader spun after receiving contact from behind. NASCAR Officials would send point leader John Fortin to the rear of the field for the contact that forced Solomtio to spin.
When the field was reset it was Kyle Soper the new race leader with Tom Rogers Jr. now alongside and when the race resumed Rogers would try his hand on the outside for several laps with Soper making life uncomfortable for Tom. After several laps of riding the outside line Tom quickly changed strategy entering the first turn as he backed off and executed a textbook crossover move on Kyle for the race lead off turn two. Rogers laid on the gas going into one and then went from the high side of the track to the inside lane as the duo raced off turn two taking the race lead.
Once Tom had the Jessup Landscaping Chevy out front there was no looking back as he not only took the win but also the NASCAR Modified point lead by five over John Fortin, 218 to 213. “Kyle ran a good race, when I was outside of him he’d run me up a bit, which is okay but my car got too tight out there” Rogers reflected in victory lane. “We’ve been losing too many members of our extended family lately” Tom added referring to the passing of former Figure Eight and Modified standout Chris Young Saturday morning, “it’s just a very emotional time right now thinking about those we lost in and out of racing”.
Two young lions of NASCAR Modified racing completed the podium finish behind Rogers as Kyle Soper of Manorville in his Dr. Martha Baker, DDS Chevy and Vinny Biondolillo of Farmingville in the Premier Utility Service entry were second and third. Howie Brode of East Islip and John Fortin of Holtsville rounded out the top five.
As for his Figure Eight win Tom Rogers Jr. would race his way by Ken “Hollywood” Hyde Jr. on lap 3 for the race lead and would keep his United Exhaust Shop Plymouth Coupe out front the rest of the way for the victory. One key to the win for Rogers was Hyde would find himself in a three way battle for second during the race with rival Roger Maynor and Tom Ferrara, with Ferrara seeking his third win in a row. While the trio fought for second Rogers was able to open a comfortable lead. The race for second would turn out to be the most intense of the race with the three combatants running in close quarters. When the race ended Ken Hyde Jr. of Mastic Beach would prevail and finish second in the Long Island Truck & Equipment Chevy while Roger Maynor of Bay Shore was third in the Barrasso & Sons Mason Supplies entry. Ferrara’s quest for the “hat trick” ended with a fourth place finish.
With his second straight Charger win Saturday night in a 20-lap affair Cory Midgett of East Hampton is starting to see his early season misfortunes getting smaller and smaller in the rear view mirror. Greg Immerman and Chris Turbush were slated to bring the field to the green flag but during the customary hot laps prior to the race they made contact in turn one forcing both to pit. That moved Jason Hansen and Cory Midgett to the front row and when the race got underway Midgett was able to ride the outside line to the race lead. Hansen settled into second but was quickly under attack from David Roys for the position. After several laps of testing Hansen for second Roys dove under the rookie driver going into turn 3 on lap 9 for the spot. Once to second Roys’ first task was to reel in race leader Midgett which he did to a degree getting within three car lengths. Sensing time was running out late in the race David drove his car deep into the first and third turns and he’d gain some ground on Cory entering the corners only to fall back exiting the turns. That was just fine with Cory Midgett who drove off to his third career win in the Keith Grimes Excavating Chevy. David Roys of Coram was runner-up in the Robert’s Asphalt racer while “Radiant” Ray Minieri of Bay Shore was third in the Sunrise Chiropractic entry.
Richie Davidowitz of East Moriches atoned for last week’s disqualification by winning the 20-lap Legend Race Car main event. By virtue of a win in the second heat race Richie lined up on the outside pole alongside George Tomko Jr. for the feature event. When the green flag waved Davidowitz wasted little time in taking command of the race beating Tomko to the first turn and then stretching out to a comfortable margin as the race progressed. By the time the race concluded Richie Davidowitz had his third win of the season in the IGA Food Markets entry while George Tomko Jr. of Aquebogue was runner-up in the D&D Auto Body racer. Points leader Dylan Slepian of Dix Hills was third in the Hurricane Grill & Wings mount.
Joe Warren Jr. of Ridge scored a dominating win in the 4/6-Cylinder Car Enduro topping the 75-lap race for his second win in a row. George Davis of Patchogue stepped out to the early race lead and led up until the 21st lap when he was overtaken by Joe Warren Jr. Once out in the lead Warren, the 2013 champion in the class drove off to a convincing win in his ZZZ Glass & Radiator entry. The Gene’s 112 Service Center machine of Brandon Esposito of Farmingville was second while George Davis in the Sign Design racer placed third.
The School Bus Demolition Derby suddenly turned into a version of Family Feud as the Rommeney brothers were the last two buses standing for the win. Veteran Michael “Cheesebox” Rommeney of Bohemia would outlast younger brother Kevin in one of the hardest hitting and entertaining events of its kind. Kevin, who drives a bus for the New York City MTA in Brooklyn was runner-up while “Mad” Mike Smith was third.
NASCAR Modifieds: 1. Tom Rogers Jr. 2. Kyle Soper 3. Vinny Biondolillo 4. Howie Brode 5. John Fortin 6. Ken Darch 7. Jason Agugliaro 8. Jerry Solomito Jr. 9. Ken Vogel Jr. 10. John Fortin Jr. 11. Danny Watts 12. Amber Fortin
Figure Eights: 1. Tom Rogers Jr. 2. Ken Hyde Jr. 3. Roger Maynor 4. Tom Ferrara 5. Scott Pedersen 6. Mike Mujsce 7. Gary Fritz Jr. 8. CJ Lehmann 9. Mike Herbst 10. John Fortin 11. Bryan Quilliam 12. Brian Hansen DNS- Tom Kraft Jr.
Chargers: 1. Cory Midgett 2. David Roys 3. Ray Minieri 4. John Baker 5. Eric Zeh 6. CJ Lehmann 7. Jason Hansen 8. Brandon Turbush 9. Owen Grennan 10. Greg Immerman 11. Brian Midgett 12. Steve Mastro 13. Chris Turbush 14. Rich Wilson
Legend Race Cars: 1. Richie Davidowitz 2. George Tomko Jr. 3. Dylan Slepian 4. Vinny Delaney 5. Kevin Nowak 6. Ray Fitzgerald 7. Brad Van Houten 8. Greg Harris 9. Kyle Ellwood 10. Eric Hersey 11. Shawn Wanat 12. Chris Rogers 13. Paul Dodorico 14. Mike Van Houten Jr. 15. Bill Fitzgerald 16. Steve Hersey 17. Bobby Jones DNS- Wally Davidowitz
4/6-Cylinder Enduro (top five): 1. Joe Warren Jr. 2. Brandon Esposito 3. George Davis 4. Matt Wahl 5. Paul Wojcik
School Bus Demo: 1. Michael Rommeney 2. Kevin Rommeney 3. Mike Smith
-Riverhead Raceway Press Release. Photo credit: Speed51.com