Tom Rogers Jr. of Patchogue became the first repeat winner in the NASCAR Modifieds at Riverhead Raceway when he topped the Rapid Recovery Towing Night 35-lap feature on Saturday night.
For Rogers, a six-time winner in 2012, it was his 22nd career win, which ties him for 13th on the all-time win list with Joe Krukowski and Ed Brunnhoelzl Jr.
Rogers set the fast time in qualifying, with a lap of 11.806 seconds, and redrew third, while Dave Brigati and David Roys picked the front row. Right from the start of the race the battle was on, as Brigati motored out front, with Roys trying to hang tough on the outside, and Rogers staying low with the race leader.
After a few laps of good side-by-side action, Rogers was able to take sole possession of second, and he went right to work on race leader Brigati as Roys watched from third. On lap 11, that battle got a tad too close, as the duo made contact, with Brigati spinning and Rogers losing spots as he gathered his car back up. Luckily for the duo, Kevin Orlando spun out in turn three, which drew a caution. With Orlando being the reason for the yellow, Brigati and Rogers got their positions back—and the fight for the lead was back on.
On the ensuing restart, Tom Rogers Jr. knew it was “go” time and raced past Brigati for the lead, with Roys still third and hoping the lead tandem would get together again. However, once he got out front, Rogers was able to put a car length or two between himself and Brigati, who now took on the role of challenger, with Roys drawing closer to the second-place car. Over the final half of the race, Rogers was able to hit his marks and drive his Joe Ambrose-owned Jessup Landscaping Chevy to victory lane.
“The incident with Dave off turn four was my fault,” Rogers admitted in victory lane. “Luckily, the yellow came out for another spin right away, and we were able to race for the lead once again. Dave and I race well together, and it was fun to do so.”
Quizzed if he and his Ambrose race team would take on the WMT regulars in the Hoosier Tire 200 this Saturday, June 29, at Riverhead Raceway, Tom’s response raised some eyebrows: “I won’t be in this car, but I have somewhat of an offer for another ride—but we’ll see.”
After a week of burning midnight oil to repair a front clip on his WPW Growers Chevy, Brigati, of Calverton, rewarded his hard-working crew, headed up by Brian Schwarz, with a runner-up finish, with Roys of Coram bringing the Angela’s House entry home third. Dave Sapienza of Riverhead and “The Natural” Timmy Solomito of Islip completed the top five.
Late ModelsSo far, all-time leading Late Model winner Roger Oxee of Peconic is liking the 2013 season, as he swept the Twin 15s for his second win in four starts this season.
Oxee got the night off literally on the right foot, as he set fast time with a lap of 12.588 seconds, and then promptly drew the pole in the redraw.
Indeed, 2013 is Oxee’s kind of year. Armed with a rare front-row starting spot, Oxee wasted no time in putting his Southold IGA Pontiac out front in the first 15-lap contest, with Scott Kulesa, who drew the outside pole, tucking into second, and Jeremy McDermott sitting third. With just four laps left in the first 15-lapper, Shawn Patrick made his presence known, as he made a bold first-turn move that found him moving from fourth to second, getting by both Kulesa and McDermott.
Oxee would win the first 15-lap segment and led all 15 laps of the second segment to earn his 63rd career win in the class—to which he noted, “At 61, I’m still having fun.”
Early on the double-file restart to start the second segment, Kulesa, of Georgetown, Massachusetts, was able to slip under Patrick for second and would finish in the runner-up spot in his Eastport Feeds Pontiac, with Peter “Buzzy” Eriksen of Baldwin driving his Harley Davidson of Nassau Chevy to a fine third-place showing.
Figure EightsIt was a very emotional first career victory in the 15-lap Figure Eight feature for John Vullo of Farmingville, as he drove his number 66 Teddy Bear Graphics Cadillac to victory. Vullo is the nephew of the late Joe Biondolillo Jr., who last drove the number 66 to victory lane in September 1997. Some years later, Joey lost a battle with cancer.
Earlier this year, Vullo thought he had won a race but was set back a spot for striking a cone. But Saturday night, there would be no cone contact or mechanical failure to get in John’s way. At the throw of the green, Vullo marched into the lead, with Scott Pedersen in tow for the first two laps, before Roger Maynor, a 109-time race winner, rose to second. Shortly thereafter, Ken Hyde Jr. made his way to third and, on lap six, he got by Maynor for second for five laps, before Roger reclaimed the spot back on lap 11.
All that racing for second indeed played right into the hands of the leader Vullo, as he was able to build ever so slightly on his advantage—one he’d take right to the winner’s circle.
“This win is for the greatest Figure Eight driver ever, Joe Biondolillo Jr.,” Vullo proclaimed after pounding on the roof of his winning car. Hyde Jr. of Medford, with a late-race pass of Maynor, took runner-up money in his Kings Park Contracting Chevy. Maynor, of Bay Shore, placed third in the Barrasso & Sons Mason Supplies Ford.
Blunderbusts“The Jack Attack” Jack Handley Jr. of Medford triumphed in the 20-lap Blunderbust main event driving his Relle Electric machine from 12th.
Paul Parisi jumped to the early race lead and then led the first five circuits of the race over opening night winner Justin Wahl, who was applying the pressure to Parisi. Suddenly, in exiting turn four to start the sixth lap, Wahl’s car threw its left rear tire, drawing a yellow. During that yellow, leader Parisi was summoned by NASCAR officials to check on smoke that was coming from his car. It turned out to be a transmission leak, and Paul was sent to the pits for repairs.
That gave the lead over to Bill Wegmann Jr., who first had to ward off the advances of Ed Mistretta, who chased him until lap 16, when he would be passed by Handley Jr. for second. Once to second, Handley and race leader Wegmann found themselves right back to where they were a week ago, racing for the win. This week, though, there would be no contact and near spin, as Jack made a clean inside pass of Bill exiting turn two to take the lead and the eventual popular win.
When asked about his progress from 12th to the race win, the 17-year-old talent noted, “You just have to go and go quick.” Wegmann Jr. of Patchogue was second in the Cracker Jack Auto Stores Chevy, while defending champion Tom Pickerell of Huntington made some moves of his own to finish third after starting 14th in the Premier Utilities Chevy.
LegendsAfter seven years of trying to secure his first career win in several different classes of racing, soft-spoken Frank Scimeca Jr. of Bay Shore scored the 20-lap Legend Race Car victory.
By virtue of his win in the first heat race, Scimeca Jr. would start on the pole, with the second heat race winner, Bryan Kelly, alongside. The duo raced one-two for the first three laps of the race, before an early race yellow set up a double-file restart, and on that restart Justin Strumpf was able to get under Kelly for second.
For the remainder of the race, Strumpf, who graduated from Newfield High School earlier in the day, was looking high and low for a way past Scimeca for the lead, and, as any good race leader would do, Frank was looking for a way to thwart those challenges. The race for the lead was as entertaining as it was intense, and in the late stages of the contest, Timmy Solomito, Strumpf’s teammate, entered and raced his way from 11th to third. However, it mattered not to Scimeca Jr., who was running second or third. He just knew he was within laps of grabbing that elusive first career win—and he wasn’t going to let anyone or anything get in his way.
Frank would drive under the checkered flag first, and when asked what the difference was between this race and others, Scimeca quickly pointed out, “Set-ups by J-Rod, Jarrod Hayes. He got the car right. We won our heat, and I’m just so thrilled right now.”
Strumpf of Selden and Solomito of Islip were second and third, respectively, in the Monster’s Recycling team cars.
EndurosFor the third time in four starts, Greg Harris of Riverhead took down the win in the 4/6-Cylinder Truck Enduro 40-lap main event. Once again, the race became a duel between Harris and his father-in-law, Robin Vollmoeller, for the win, with Harris in the SGS Stone Works scoring the victory for his ailing mother. Robin Vollmoeller of Riverhead was second in the Spit’s Speed Shop Chevy, with Don Nelson Jr. of Rocky Point third in the Nelson Brothers Farms entry.