Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead notched his second NASCAR Modified feature event win of the 2014 Whelen All American SeriesSaturday night at Riverhead Raceway before a standing room only crowd at Barbara & Jim Cromarty’s historic quarter mile oval. It was the second win for Tom in 2014 and 26th overall in his successful career.
Rogers would again set fast time in pre race qualifying with a lap of 11.925 and redraw 4th while Dave Brigati of Calverton and Vinny Biondolillo picked the front row. At the drop of the green it was Brigati getting the measure of Biondolillo while Tom Rogers made some quick moves to come to second before the first lap was completed. As the field began the second lap Rogers made yet another bold move sliding under Brigati for what seemed to be the race lead. When lap 3 began Jason Auguliaro got into the front stretch wall after he and Howie Brode made contact off turn four racing for third. Jason would not be able to return to the race. During that caution period NASCAR Officials put Tom Rogers Jr. back one spot for passing leader Dave Brigati under the yellow line putting Dave back out front with Tom lining up second on the ensuing double file restart.
Unfazed by the penalty dished out Tom Rogers Jr. rode the outside lane on the restart to take the race lead from Dave Brigati while Howie Brode watched from third place. Brode would in turn apply some pressure to Brigati for second which was just fine with Tom Rogers Jr. who was able to start building what would turn out to be an insurmountable lead in the 35-lap contest. Brigati and Brode raced away for runner-up money and were soon joined by Kyle Ellwood and Todd Szegedy as the quartet ran in a string.
When the race concluded Tom Rogers Jr. posted the victory and as only he can celebrated with some amazing doughnuts on the back stretch that in his Stakey’s Pumpkin Farm Chevy which found the large crowd giving him a standing ovation. “This is a great win for my team” Tom offered in victory lane afterwards. “The only key piece missing is Joe Ambrose, we missed last week while he takes some time off and we dusted off my own car for this week and I think we might have silenced some of the noise some folks have been making.” Tom then thought for a second and quickly came back with “probably not though”
Dave Brigati of Calverton was runner-up in the JDL Environmental Chevy while championship leader Howie Brode of East Islip was third in the RW Truck Equipment Chevy. Kyle Ellwood of Riverhead and Todd Szegedy of Ridgefield, Ct rounded out the top five.
The 15-lap Figure Eight feature event ended just in the nick of time for race winner Mike Mujsce of Quogue who captured his second win of 2014 and 16th overall in his career. The final lap of the race found Mike having to hold on for dear life as his right front tire went down and he was unable to take the traditional victory lap due to the flat tire. At the throw of the green Mike Mujsce broke out front over rookie driver Chris Elixson who ran second for the first lap before last week’s winner Scott Pedersen got by for the position. Pedersen chased Mujsce until the two to go signal when he was over taken by defending champion Ken Hyde Jr. A late race caution set up a green white & checker but as he was able to do all race long Mike Mujsce in the Bill Beener Tree Service would have the field covered as he drove off to victory. Ken Hyde Jr. of Medford was runner-up in the Kings Park Contracting Chevy while Scott Pedersen of Shirley placed third in the Reliable Motors entry.
Tim Mulqueen of Levittown would score his first Blunderbust win of 2014 over a hard charging Terry Stiles of Rocky Point. For Tim it was his second career win in the Hi-Grade Auto Body Chevy. Richie Hubbard raced his way to the early race lead but once again bad luck would strike the veteran driver as he was forced to pit during a lap 2 caution flag. That chain of events moved Tim Mulqueen who had come to second on lap 2 passing Ed Mistretta to the race lead with Tom Puccia now second. Puccia however was never able to make a move on Mulqueen for the race lead as he was hounded by Terry Stiles for second. Stiles indeed made a very low pass on Puccia for second on lap 7 and six laps later would do the same on Mulqueen for the race lead on lap 12. With no caution flag in sight NASCAR officials waved the yellow flag so they could move Stiles back the two spots he gained under the yellow line which moved Mulqueen back to the race lead and Stiles back to third. Given the second chance for the win Mulqueen indeed took full advantage as he raced off to victory lane. Terry Stiles of Rocky Point would rebound from the penalty for second place honors in the JTL Enterprises machine with points leader Jack Handley Jr. of Medford coming from 16th to finish third in the Relle Electric Chevy.
Kyle Soper of Manorville scored his second Legend Race Car win of 2014 as he withstood heavy pressure from Richie Davidowitz of East Moriches before he could lay claim to the Joseph M Troffa Landscape & Mason Supplies 20-lap victory. Bryan Kelly paced the race for the first two laps before he was passed by both Kyle Soper and Richie Davidowitz to the inside racing off turn two on lap 3. Once out front Soper and Davidowitz would have at it for pretty much the remainder of the race as the challenger looked inside and outside for a way by the race leader. The defining moment came late in the closing laps of the contest when Davidowitz seemed to have gained a run on Soper off the fourth turn. However Kyle pinched up into Richie who tapped the wall with his right rear wheel and that would affect his car’s performance for the rest of the race as he was never able to get back to the leaders rear bumper. At the finish it was Kyle Soper standing in the winner’s circle in his Fidge Factor Web Design entry. Richie Davidowitz was able to nurse his car home for runner-up money in the Thriftway Auto Body machine while Bryan Kelly of Riverhead had a stellar race finishing third in the Gregor Well Drilling mount.
On opening day for the 4/6-Cylinder Truck Enduro division back in May former champion Don Nelson Jr. of Rocky Point blew his engine and at that moment thought his 2014 season was over before it even started. Well it wasn’t as Don came back with a vengeance as he not only won the 40-lap feature but he dominated the race as well. Nelson drew the pole for the race and he quickly put the Nelson Brothers Chevy into the race lead. “Handsome” Hank Hallock chased Nelson to no avail for the first 15 laps of the race before he was passed be defending champion Greg Harris as well Robin Vollmoeller. Try as they might Harris and Vollmoeller could not make up the half lap advantage Don Nelson had built up as Don drove off to the popular and much needed win. Greg Harris of Riverhead was second in the SGS Stone Works Chevy S-10 with Robin Vollmoeller of Riverhead third in the Spit’s Speed Shop Chevy.
History was made in the School Bus Demolition Derby as the talented field of daredevils went toe to toe for nearly 45 minutes before Michael “Cheesebox” Rommeney of Maspeth was the last bus standing and the winner of the event. It all boiled down to Rommeney, John “JYD” Denniston of Westbury and “Irish” Mike O’Keefe of Islip. The trio made some hard strategic hits along the way while avoiding others as well and in fact the only reason O’Keefe fell out of the competition was his bus ran out of gas! That left Rommeney and Denniston to slug it out with the ultra popular “Cheesebox” scoring the popular win in his Gershow Recycling entry. John Denniston was runner-up in the Hagerman Systems bus.
NASCAR Modifieds: 1. Tom Rogers Jr. 2. Dave Brigati 3. Howie Brode 4. Kyle Ellwood 5. Todd Szegedy 6. Vinny Biondolillo 7. Jeffrey Goodale 8. Ed Brunnhoelzl III 9. Ken Darch 10. Russell Savoy 11. Dave Sapienza 12. Brad Van Houten 13. Jason Agugliaro 14. Jerry Solomito Jr.
Figure Eights: 1. Mike Mujsce 2. Ken Hyde Jr. 3. Scott Pedersen 4. Vinny Biondolillo 5. CJ Lehmann 6. Roger Maynor 7. Gary Fritz Jr. 8. Chris Elixson 9. Tom Rogers Jr. 10. Bryan Quilliam 11. Frank Dumicich Jr.
Blunderbusts: 1. Tim Mulqueen 2. Terry Stiles 3. Jack Handley Jr. 4. Tom Puccia 5. Tom Pickerell 6. Tom Sullivan 7. Bill Wegmann Sr. 8. Jimmy White Jr. 9. Joe Warren 10. Ed Mistretta 11. Bill Wegmann Jr. 12. Ray Shannon 13. Bryan Sescila 14. Dennis Scott 15. Brian Brown 16. Ian Maliszewski 17. Jessica Cohan 18. Richie Hubbard 19. Tommy Walkowiak 20. CJ Zukowski DNS- Bryan Quilliam
Legend Race Cars: 1. Kyle Soper 2. Richie Davidowitz 3. Bryan Kelly 4. Artie Pedersen III 5. Dylan Slepian 6. Ray Fitzgerald 7. Bard Van Houten 8. Anthony Marsh 9. Paul Dodorico 10. Allan Pedersen 11. Jim Sylvester 12. George Tomko Jr. 13. Vinny Delaney 14. Eric Hersey 15. Mike Van Houten 16. John Harley 17. Kevin Chew 18. Joe Oliver 19. Ed Cheslak 20. Greg Harris 21. Kurt Krieger 22. Eric Henschel 23. Wally Davidowitz 24. Steve Hersey
Truck Enduro (top five) 1. Don Nelson Jr. 2. Greg Harris 3. Robin Vollmoeller 4. Hank Hallock 5. Max Handley
School Bus Demolition Derby: Winner- Michael Rommeney
-Riverhead Raceway Press Release. Photo Credit: Speed51.com