“The Natural” Timmy Solomito of Islip was proof positive of the old adage that you can’t keep a good man or in this matter a good race team down as he swept the Evans Hall of Fame NASCAR Modified Twin 50’s Saturday night on Whelen Event night at Riverhead Raceway. It was the first wins of the 2014 Whelen All-American Series for Timmy and his car owners Wayne & Joette Anderson who suffered through a rough month of May at the historic oval.
Pre-race qualifying once again fell to Tom Rogers Jr of Riverhead who set fast time with a lap of 11.941 and in the redraw among the top 8 Tom would draw 3rd with Timmy Solomito and Jason Agugliaro drawing the front row. At the start of the first 50-lapper Solomito wasted no time in taking the race lead while Rogers quickly darted under teammate Agugliaro for second. Early on Rogers was able to pressure Solomito for the race lead but as the laps clicked off Timmy was able to start to distance himself away from his challenger.
At the conclusion of the first race Timmy Solomito flashed under the checker flag first in his Eastport Feeds Chevy while Tom Rogers Jr. was runner-up in the Ralph’s Italian Ices of Riverhead entry. Howie Brode of East Islip, Brad Van Houten of Wading River and Ryan Preece of Berlin, Ct, completed the top five.
Race two saw pretty much the same script play out as Timmy Solomito asserted himself as the race leader with Tom Rogers Jr. again second and point leader Howie Brode running third. Early on Rogers was able to stay close to Solomito but it became evident as the laps wore down he had nothing for the race leader. The final 10-15 laps of the second 50 saw cars slipping and sliding a bit as the tires started to wear with many drivers having their hands full.
The finishing order for race two was once again Solomito, Rogers, Brode and Van Houten with the fifth place money being taken by Eric Goodale of Riverhead.
“We needed this” Solomito offered in victory lane. “We had a rocky start to our season and I can’t thank Wayne & Joette along with Doug Corwin of Eastport Feeds for hanging in there” Solomito also thanked his guest spotter for the race Freddie Kraft who drove to Riverhead Raceway with Tommy Baldwin Jr. of TBR Racing from Pocono Raceway, “Freddie is great he just is a calming influence on me, wish he could be here every week” Timmy quipped. The wins were the 9th and 10th of Solomito’s budding career.
2011 Figure Eight champion Mike Mujsce of Quogue notched his 15th career Figure Eight win leading all but one lap of the 15-lap main event. After CJ Lehmann paced the first lap Mike Mujsce roared by to take command of the race with Lehmann yielding second on lap 3 to Kenny Hyde Jr. Once Hyde got to second his night turned sour two laps later as he suffered his first of two flat tires on the night forcing him to pit during a lap 5 caution. That moved Johnny Vullo to second but his stay in the position was short lived as Scott Pedersen passed Johnny for the spot during a lap 6 restart. All the slicing and dicing for second was just fine with Mike Mujsce as he drove the K Clement Landscaping entry to victory lane for a well deserved victory. Johnny Vullo of Farmingville would reclaim second on lap 11 where he would finish the race in his Teddy Bear Graphics Cadillac. Roger Maynor of Bay Shore was third in the Barrasso & Sons Mason Supplies Ford after starting the race 8th.
Chris Turbush of Wading River became the first repeat winner of 2014 in the Charger division as he dominated the 20-lap feature event for his 37th career win. Rookie drivers Greg Immerman and Scott Pedersen broke out front at the drop of the green but their stay there would not last too long as Chris Turbush who started the race 3rd moved to second on lap 3 passing Pedersen. Two laps later Chris would move his REMAX Realtors Chevy by Immerman for the lead on lap 5 and once in the lead the third generation driver checked out on the field. Scott Pedersen of Shirley used a lap 8 double file restart to move his Reliable Motors racer to second where he’d finish with Cory Midgett of East Hampton crossing the line third in the Mickey’s Carting Chevy.
The lead was not the place to be early on in the 20-lap Legend Race Car feature which saw Richie Davidowitz of East Moriches race to his second feature win of 2014 becoming the first repeat winner in the class. Pole sitter Artie Pedersen III broke out to the early race lead at the throw of the green with defending champion Brendon Bock breathing down his neck. Bock would move out front with an inside pass of Pedersen on lap 3. One lap later Greg Harris for the second time in two years flipped his car in turns one & two drawing a red flag, Harris was okay. When the red waved Bock stopped as quickly as he could but Pedersen clipped his rear bumper knocking the leader’s bumper off one of its mounting brackets. When the yellow waved Bock was forced to the pits handing the lead back over to Pedersen. When the green waved Artie’s hood; popped up on the front of his car which was a result of his contact with Bock and he was black flagged on lap 8. This moved Richie Davidowitz, who set fast time in qualifying with a lap of 13.774 into the race lead. Once out front Richie in the Thriftway Auto Body machine led the remainder of race to collect his third career win. Kevin Nowak of Medford posted a challenge to the eventual race winner but got spun late in the race, ending his fine ride. Kyle Soper of Manorville was runner-up in the Monti’s Auto Works machine while Brad Van Houten of Wading River was third in the Lighthouse Market racer.
Tested tough Enduro veteran Jim McCarthy of Bellmore made a late race pass of Donald “Woot” Lawrence to score his first win of 2014 in the 75-lap 8-Cylinder Enduro. McCarthy, wheeling the Pit Bull Motors Chevy, caught Lawrence in lapped traffic to execute the winning pass. Lawrence of Southampton was runner-up with Jeffrey Otto Jr. of Deer Park scoring a career high third place finish.
Evans Hall of Fame 1st Twin 50: 1. Timmy Solomito 2. Tom Rogers Jr. 3. Howie Brode 4. Brad Van Houten 5. Ryan Preece 6. Eric Goodale 7. Dave Sapienza 8. Frank Vigliarolo Jr. 9. Ron Silk 10. Eddie Brunnhoelzl III 11. Vinny Biondolillo 12. Jeffrey Goodale 13. Ken Darch 14. EJ Heim 15. Jason Agugliaro 16. Kyle Ellwood 17. Jack Orlando
Evans Hall of Fame 2nd Twin 50: 1. Timmy Solomito 2. Tom Rogers Jr. 3. Howie Brode 4. Brad Van Houten 5. Eric Goodale 6. Ryan Preece 7. Jason Agugliaro 8. Frank Vigliarolo Jr. 9. Ron Silk 10. Eddie Brunnhoelzl III 11. Jeffrey Goodale 12. Vinny Biondolillo 13. Dave Sapienza 14. EJ Heim 15. Ken Darch 16. Kyle Ellwood 17. Jack Orlando
Figure Eights: 1. Mike Mujsce 2. John Vullo 3. Roger Maynor 4. Arne Pedersen 5. Tom Rogers Jr. 6. CJ Lehmann 7. Gary Fritz Jr. 8. Bryan Quilliam 9. Chris Ellison 10. Ken Hyde Jr. 11. Scott Pedersen DQ-Vinny Biondolillo
Chargers: 1. Chris Turbush 2. Scott Pedersen 3. Cory Midgett 4. CJ Lehmann 5. Ray Minieri 6. Eric Zeh 7. Greg Immerman 8. Tom Rogers Jr. 9. Dan Lynch 10. John Baker
Legend Race Cars: 1. Richie Davidowitz 2. Kyle Soper 3. Brad Van Houten 4. Dylan Slepian 5. John Beatty Jr. 6. Bryan Kelly 7. Justin Strumpf 8. Brendon Bock 9. Vinny Delaney 10. Paul Dodorico 11. Anthony Marsh 12. Chris Rogers 13. Michael Rutkoski 14. Joe Sedotto 15. Shawn Wanat 16. Eric Hersey 17. Ed Cheslak 18. Mike Van Houten 19. Artie Pedersen III 20. Kevin Nowak 21. Kurt Krieger
22. Jim Sylvester 23. Allan Pedersen 24. Steve Smith 25. Ray Fitzgerald 26. Greg Harris 27. Kevin Chew
8-Cylinder Enduro (top five): 1. Jim McCarthy 2. Donald Lawrence 3. Jeffrey Otto Jr. 4. Kris Dane 5. Ed Brown Jr.
– By Bob Finan, Riverhead Raceway. Photo credit: Rich Frost