Saturday afternoon new Riverhead Raceway owners Eddie & Connie Partridge and Tom Gatz out waited two rain storms to present the Mullet Madness 100 which featured Twin 50 events for the NASCAR Modifieds. One driver especially happy the new owners pushed forward with the program was NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour regular “The Natural” Timmy Solomito of Wading River who swept both ends of the doubleheader.
Vinny Biondolillo of Farmingville was quickest in qualifying with a lap of 12.019 with Timmy Solomito second with a lap of 12.024. A lucky fan drew the #1 pill after qualifying meaning the field would start straight up from time in the first 50 which was contested first on the race card. At the throw of the green flag Solomito on the outside would get the early race advantage moving out front on Biondolillo who ran second. A long green flag run allowed Timmy to open up a comfortable lead until a lap 29 caution for a Cory Midgett spin. With the field bunched up for the restart the race went back to green with Solomito picking up where he left off as the race leader and pulling away. Biondolillo meantime had Howie Brode breathing down his neck for second which further allowed the race leader to pull away. Brode would sneak by Biondolillo with an inside pass exiting turn four on the 39th lap.
At the checker the A.J. Painting entry of Timmy Solomito was a popular winner with Howie Brode of East Islip runner-up in the Petro Home Services Chevy and Vinny Biondolillo third in the Kennedy L.I. Realty Chevy. Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead and point leader Shawn Solomito of Center Moriches completed the top five. In victory lane Timmy drew the #6 pill meaning the top six from the first race would redraw for race number two. Once the first 50-lapper was in the books the NASCAR Modifieds were sent to their pit stalls while three other Whelen All American Series divisions were presented.
The second race found John Fortin Sr. on the pole with Timmy Solomito to the outside and when the race went green Solomito once again getting good bite off the corners was able to race his way out front with Fortin tucking into second. Like the first race Timmy was able to put some distance between himself and second place John Fortin who later in the race was under pressure from Shawn Solomito for second. On lap 19 Shawn was able to work his way by Fortin for second and was left with the task of reeling in his younger brother. Shawn’s efforts were aided by a lap 30 caution flag for a David Schneider spin in turn one. On the ensuing double file restart the Solomito boys lined-up side by side and when they hit the first and second turn Timmy drifted up the hill forcing Shawn to lift losing a few positions in the exchange. John Fortin Sr. was able to reclaim second in the shuffle but could only watch as Timmy Solomito drove off to victory.
After exiting his New England Gear Mustang in victory lane Timmy was quick to heap praise on his WMT race team, “all my Flamingo Motorsports guys are here setting this car up tonight and they hit it out of the park” the happy race winner boasted. As for the exchange with his brother Shawn in the second race Timmy admitted, “I don’t know if I got in too hot but unfortunately I used Shawn up a bit, hey that’s my brother and the last guy I want to do that to”. Concluding Timmy added, “I have to thank my Mom & Dad this is our family car and it’s brand new, they sacrifice so much so all three of us can race”.
John Fortin Sr. of Holtsville was runner-up in the second race in the John’s Fuel Oil Chevy while Shawn Solomito after falling back as far as sixth on the lap 30 restart roared back for third in his Eastport Feeds entry. Howie Brode and John Fortin Jr. of Holtsville rounded out the top five in the second 50.
Once the skies cleared up over the track only a quarter moon was visible above but in the 25-lap Late Model feature many checked twice to make sure it was not a full moon. In a wild affair that featured two major multi car pile ups Chris Turbush of Wading River collected his second win in three starts in 2016. The first major pile up found former champion Mike Bologna’s car submarined by Chris Lescenski when several cars got together in the third and fourth turn with Jack Orlando and Kevin Metzger also involved. The second melee occured just moments later when several cars got bunched up exiting turn four resulting in Shawn Patrick flipping at the start/finish line. Steve Mastro and David Roys were also involved. All drivers were okay. When the race was green it was a very competitive and exciting race with Brandon Turbush showing the way for the first 8 circuits. Kyle Ellwood moved out front on a lap 9 double file restart and he’d hold the lead until lap 14 when eventual race winner Chris Turbush was able to move out front. Ellwood’s car balked for a moment exiting the fourth turn on another double file restart allowing Turbush get by on the outside in the Eastern Fuel Oil entry. Following Turbush at the checkers were Kyle Ellwood of Riverhead in the Eastside Builders Chevy and Eric Zeh of Selden steering the Corwith’s Auto Body racer.
14-year old Dillon Steuer of Bohemia, son of former NASCAR Modified champion Chuck made an outside pass with ten laps to go for the race lead and his first career win in the Eagle Auto Mall Modified Crates. When the race got underway Terry Stiles moved his way out front edging out Peter Bertuccio for the early advantage. Lap 4 saw Bertuccio overtaken by Dillon Steuer and for the following 10 laps Steuer sized up Stiles for a potential pass for the lead. On lap 14 Steuer moved to the outside of Stiles going into the first and second turn and by the time they hit the backstretch Steuer was the new race leader. Over the final ten laps of the contest Dillon his his marks in the Northeastern Office Equipment Chevy taking the checkered flag and a very popular first career Riverhead Raceway win. Terry Stiles of Rocky Point was runner-up in the T&S Auto Clinic entry with Bobby Gardner of Westbury third in the Abco Peerless Sprinklers Chevy.
Tom Ferrara of Patchogue made it back to back Figure Eight wins as he topped their 15-lap main event executing a late race restart to perfection. Artie Pedersen III led the way early with Gary Fritz Jr. in tow. Lap 3 saw Fritz make his way out front with Pedersen soon to be passed by Roger Maynor for second on lap 5. Try as he might Maynor just could not find a way by Fritz for the lead but a restart with just five laps to go would change the complexion of this race. With Fritz and Maynor in the front row Tom Ferrara restarting the race in 4th in one clean sweep passed the two leaders as well the third place car of Pedersen to take the race lead. Once out front Ferrara wheeling the Northeastern Office Equipment machine drove off to victory. Roger Maynor of Bay Shore was runner-up in the Barrasso & Sons Mason Supplies Ford with Artie Pedersen III of Center Moriches a solid third in the Reliable Auto Sales Camaro.
Tested tough INEX Legend Race Car veteran Kevin Nowak of Medford made a late race pass of another veteran driver Jim Sylvester of Massapequa to win the 20-lap feature event. Sylvester broke to the race lead when the green flag waved chased at first by some talented young lions of the Legend division. Allan Pedersen chased Jim for the first four laps before George Tomko Jr. took his turn from lap 5 until the 9th lap. That is when Kevin Nowak made his presence known in the race passing Tomko for second. Once Kevin got to Sylvester the duo ran nose to tail with Sylvester able to power off the corners well keeping Nowak at bay. The on lap 15 Sylvester left the door open a tad racing through the third and fourth turn allowing Nowak to slip underneath for the race lead as they started the 16th lap. From that point on Kevin Nowak would lead the rest of the way in his J-Tech Electric car which is painted up like Herbee The Love Bug from the Disney movies. Jim Sylvester had a solid second place showing in the Johnny Mica Custom Kitchens racer with Bryan Kelly of Aquebogue third in the Titan Global LLC machine.
Mike D’Orta of Deer Park a relative newcomer to the 8-Cylinder Enduro game topped the 40-lap event under the lights for the class. Mike in his Mustang Magic Chevy who started the race from the 18th position moved out front late in the race to score his first career victory. Dale Doherty of Jamesport made a late race charge of his own to claim second in the Jamesport Auto Chevy with most recent winner Sean Fitzpatrick of West Babylon third in the Lakewood Used Auto Parts mount, Doherty started the race from 19th while Fitzpatrick came from the 17th starting berth.
“Fabulous” Brian Fass of Holbrook outlasted a talented field of Demolition Derby drivers to notch his second career win at the track. “Pistol” Pete Mikos of Ronkonkoma was named Judge’s Choice while popular “Cheesebox” Michael Rommeney of Bohemia was voted Fan’s Choice.
Chase Brown of Deer Park won the first ever Big Wheel race besting the 10 bike field. Chase is the son of Fred Brown of FB Transmissions and a regular in the Eastern Long Island Racing go karts that race at Riverhead.
Former Figure Eight and Blunderbust driver Neal “The Wheel” Feola of Riverhead won the Best Mullet Contest.
-Riverhead Raceway Press Release
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com