Sophomore NASCAR Modified talent Kyle Soper of Manorville rewarded his hard working team with a win Saturday night at Riverhead Raceway winning the 66th Year Celebration 66-lap feature for his second straight Whelen All American Series triumph. Soper and crew burned the midnight all week long after a late race crash robbed them of a top ten finish in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour 200 the week prior.
Soper set the standard in qualifying with a lap of 11.990 and in the redraw among the top six Kyle would pick the pole with Vinny Biondolillo drawing the outside pole. When the race went green Kyle Soper wasted no time in asserting himself as the car to beat taking the early race lead over Vinny Biondolillo. The two young lions ran one-two for the first half of the race before Shawn Solomito made his way around Biondolillo for second. Once Shawn got to second he began the task of trying to reel in Soper who had gotten away from the field and that effort would later be aided by a couple of late race caution flags for minor spins.
With just laps remaining the championship leader Solomito lined-up alongside Soper on the double file restarts with Kyle able to keep his machine out front of Shawn on both occasions. Hovering around in third during those late race restarts was Dave Brigati who was ready to pounce if the two leaders got together on the restarts. Solomito threw all he could at Soper but to no avail as Kyle raced off to his second consecutive win in his Jack Anthony Pools Chevy.
Once the happy winner emerged from his car Kyle Soper was quick to point out this win was indeed a team win, “First off I can’t thank my parents enough, we had two bad crashes leading up to our two wins and I told my Dad I’d understand if we took a week off. He was having none of that” Kyle shared with the large crowd on hand. “All of our sponsors stepped up as well, Atlantic Chevrolet, Dr. Martha Baker, Touch Adjust Clip, Eastport Manor Deli,Jack Anthony Pools and Jack Anthony Pools plus my crew, we were in the shop past 11:00 PM every night this week but it paid off” Kyle concluded.
Shawn Solomito of East Moriches was runner-up in the Eastport Feeds Chevy noting afterwards, “this is our tour car, we were just a tick off but hats off to Kyle he earned it”. Dave Brigati of Calverton was third in the JDL Environmental Chevy with John Fortin Jr. of Holtsville and Howie Brode of East Islip completing the top five.
Before he could lay claim to his 22nd career Late Model win Scott Kulesa of Georgetown, Ma. would have to survive an intense late race side by side duel with Shawn Patrick of Brightwaters. Over the first 16-laps there would be no less than seven changes for position among the top two along. “Radiant” Ray Minieri showed the way over the first 12 laps with Shawn Patrick, Mike Bologna and Roger Oxee all running second at one time or another. Bologna would actually take the lead for a lap on the 13th circuit before Minieri roared back to lead lap 14. Bologna would roar back out front on lap 15 bringing championship leader David Roys to second with him. One lap later Roys got into Bologna sending the leader spinning and Roys to the rear of the field for rough riding. That moved Scott Kulesa and Shawn Patrick to the front row for the late race restart and over the final 9 laps of the race then tandem ran door handle to door handle in a very intense and exciting duel for the lead. When the checker flag waved both both driver powering off turn two side by side Scott Kulesa in the Eastport Feeds entry was the happy winner. “What a race” proclaimed Kulesa in the winners circle, “Shawn and i were side by side for that last run and never once did we touch, that’s racing”. Shawn Patrick would have to settle for runner-up money in his Rick’s Auto Body Chevy while defending champion Jeremy McDermott of Riverhead was third in the JDP Mechanical racer.
Taking the lead just two laps from the conclusion of the 15-lap Figure Eight feature Ken Hyde Jr. of Mastic Beach scored his second victory of the young 2016 season. Mike Mujsce Jr. led the first lap of the race before being over taken by Tom Ferrara and Scott Pedersen who ran second until misfortune struck him on lap 6. Ken Hyde Jr. moved into second behind Ferrara on lap 7 and spent the next half dozen laps challenging for the lead. With the laps winding down Hyde kept pressuring for the lead and on lap 13 made his way by Ferrara who just moments later found misfortune of his own with a broken left front suspension drawing a yellow flag. On the ensuing double file restart Hyde and rival Roger Maynor lined up side by side and when the green light came back on for the final two laps of the race Ken Hyde kept his SGS Stone Works racer out front for the win. Roger Maynor of Bay Shore was runner-up in the Barrasso & Sons Mason Supplies Ford after holding off a late race challenge by Mike Mujsce Sr. of Quogue who was third in his Mike’s Auto Service mount.
When the checker flag waved on the 20-lap Super Pro Truck feature event Jimmy Rennick Jr. appeared to have his first win in 33 years of racing across various classes at the track. Rennick had powered his truck out front with an inside pass of Sean Glennon off turn two on lap 6. Once out front Rennick and his Sonny’s Collision Center Chevy checked out on the field for what seemed to be a very popular win. Unfortunately post race inspection turned up unapproved valve seats in Jimmy’s engine disqualifying him from the win and race. That turn of events made Roger Turbush of Riverhead the new race winner in his Superior Systems Chevy, Roger was already home with his family when he got the news. Dave Brigati of Calverton was credited with runner-up money in his Coors Light Chevy with Mike Albasini of Flushing third in the Hollis Court Collision Chevy. Turbush’s pass of Albasini for second on lap 11 of the contest proved to be the winning pass of the race.
David Antos of Lindenhurst notched his second Grand Enduro win of 2016 in a 50-lap affair. Glenn Simonin of Holbrook broke out front at the start of the race and Glenn would pace the race over the first 14-laps. Antos who started the race from the 4th slot moved to second on lap 12 and two laps later made the winning pass of Simonin to the inside exiting the second turn. Once out front Dave Antos would lead the remainder of the race in his G&R Performance Monte Carlo. Veteran Greg Zaleski of Jamesport made a late race charge to finish second in the Peconic Sign Company Chevy while early leader Glenn Simonin of Holbrook placed third in his self funded car.
The “Captain Destructo” Brian Savoy tribute Demolition Derby would indeed produce a storybook ending with Brian’s brother Jason of Lake Panamoka scoring the emotional and popular win. Savoy in his Monster’s Recycling “Misery Machine” outlasted a star studded field to win the event in honor of his later brother. Michael “Cheesebox” Rommeney of Bohemia was named Judge’s Choice while Jamie “The Killa” Kilkenny of Howard Beach was voted Fan’s Choice.
NASCAR Modifieds: 1. Kyle Soper 2. Shawn Solomito 3. Dave Brigati 4. John Fortin Jr. 5. Howie Brode 6. Cory Midgett 7. John Baker 8. Vinny Biondolillo 9. Ken Darch 10. Christopher Young 11. Johnny Bush 12. Dillon Steuer 13. Ken Heagy 14. John Fortin Sr. DNS- Amber Fortin
Late Models: 1. Scott Kulesa 2. Shawn Patrick 3. Jeremy McDermott 4. Kevin Metzger 5. Mike Bologna 6. David Roys 7. Chris Turbush 8. Ray Minieri 9. Kyle Ellwood 10. Brandon Turbush 11. Chris Lescenski 12. Roger Oxee 13. Eric Zeh 14. Daryn Miller 15. Steve Mastro 16. Kyle Soper
Figure Eights: 1. Ken Hyde 2. Roger Maynor 3. Mike Mujsce Sr. 4. John Fortin Sr. 5. Mike Mujsce Jr. 6. Scott Pedersen 7. Bob Dalke 8. Brian Hansen 9. Tom Ferrara 10. Chris Elixson 11. Gary Fritz Jr.
Super Pro Trucks: 1. Roger Turbush 2. Dave Brigati 3. Mike Albasini 4. Jack Handley Jr. 5. Sean Glennon 6. Frank Dumicich Jr. 7. Dave Koenig 8. Lou Maestri 9. Rich Campo 10. Amanda Anderson
11. Rob McCormick 12. Frank Dumicich Sr. 13. Dan Turbush
Grand Enduro: 1. Davis Anots 2. Greg Zaleski 3. Glenn Simonin 4. Brian McCormack 5. Anthony PIzzo 6. Phil LaManna 7. Jimmy Denis 8. Jeff Otto Jr. 9. Ed Brown Jr. 10. Brandon Hubbard 11. Dale Doherty 12. Drew Forhkolb 13. Jess Martines 14. RJ Gage 15. Rhett Fogg 16. James White Jr. 17. Sal Sinatro
Demolition Derby: Winner- Jason Savoy Judge’s Choice- Michael Rommeney Fan’s Choice- Jamie Kilkenny
-Riverhead Raceway Press Release
-Photo Credit: Michael Jaworecki