If you were looking for something that has been hotter than the recent heat wave in the Northeast, look no further than NASCAR Modified standout Ryan Preece of Berlin, Connecticut.
Preece captured the victory in the Cromarty Cup 50 on Miller Lite night Saturday at Riverhead Raceway. It was Preece’s third consecutive win in his last three starts at the popular quarter-mile oval, as he won the Evans NASCAR Hall of Fame 100 and Hoosier Tire 200 NASCAR WMT races in June. Just the night before, he scored his second straight SK Modified win at the Stafford Motor Speedway. Preece will also take a three-race winning streak on the NASCAR WMT into the event this week at the New Hampshire Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire.
Preece set fast time in qualifying with a lap of 11.925 in the Bill & Barbara Park Chevy, but when it came time to re-draw, Preece drew sixth while “The Natural” Timmy Solomito and David Roys drew the front row. When the green flag waved to start the Cromarty Cup 50 it was Solomito breaking to the lead with point leader Howie Brode quickly making his way to second under Roys on lap one. Solomito and Brode ran one-two for the first 13 laps of the race when a double-file restart was needed after a caution for a minor spin slowed the race. On the ensuing re-start, leader Solomito missed a shift and that miscue would cost him two positions as Brode took the lead on the outside with Preece, who had come to fourth from sixth moving into second.
Over the following 10 laps, Brode and Preece played a high speed game of cat and mouse as Preece looked high and then low for the race lead but the former track champion was equal to the task. With Brode’s car getting tight upon exit of the corners, Preece knew the move would be to the inside, and on lap 24 as the duo raced off turn two and into the third corner, Preece launched his car under Brode’s for the race lead. Third place Solomito quickly followed the new race leader’s lead and he too ducked under Brode for second in the third and fourth turn as the field took the halfway signal.
Over the final half of the race, Preece would hit his marks and lead the rest of the way driving the East-West Chevrolet to his seventh career Riverhead Raceway win. After Barbara and Jim Cromarty presented him with the Cromarty Cup in honor of Jim’s 81st Birthday, Ryan was quick to point out who deserves the credit for the win.
“Every time I come here, Bill and Dave [Wheeler, crew chief] make sure the car is just right and it was perfect again,” Preece said, “I want to thank the fans for coming out tonight and now I’m going to go enjoy some fireworks with them,” the 22-year-old rising start noted.
Solomito of Islip would bring the Eastport Feeds Chevy home for runner-up honors while Brode of East Islip crossed the line third in the Peter Clark Motorsports Chevy, increasing his point lead over Tom Rogers Jr. to 12, 202 to 190. Completing the top five in the Cromarty Cup 50 were Justin Bonsignore of West Islip and Roys of Coram.
John Vullo of Farmingville has his own winning streak going as he won his second straight 15-lap Figure Eight race Saturday. Vullo quickly put his Teddy Bear Graphics Cadillac out front when the green flag waved with Scott Pedersen in tow for the first lap before he gave way to Roger Maynor on lap 2. Once to second Maynor, a 109-time winner in Figure Eight action at the track, threw all he could at race leader Vullo who was seeking his second career win. Vullo thwarted the advances of Maynor by slowing up off the exit of the turns, backing Maynor up and breaking the momentum he was hoping to gain down the straightaways. Aside from that tactic, Vullo also mastered the re-starts that took place during the race, and in the end the strategy led to victory for the driver they call “Johnny Electric,” because he is an electrician by trade. Maynor of Bay Shore was second over the line in his Barrasso & Sons Ford, with Arne Pedersen of Mastic Beach third in the Seatuck Fish Dodge. Pedersen had the catbird seat for the race-long duel between Vullo and Maynor and was in position to pounce in case they got tangled up.
Chris Turbush of Riverhead—for the 35th time in a Charger career that has also seen him win four championships—won the 20-lap Charger feature event, his second win of 2013. John Baker took the early race lead and paced the field for the first 8 laps of the race with Turbush running second. Racing off the fourth turn to start the ninth lap was where Turbush drove under Baker for the race lead with Chad Churilla coming to second with him. Churilla was making a move on Turbush for the race lead when the race was slowed by a yellow for Baker, who cut a right front tire down. With the yellow waving for Baker, Churilla made contact with Turbush and he too got a flat while Turbush, undaunted, drove away. With the yellow for Baker, Turbush remained the race leader with veteran “Radiant” Ray Minieri now second. Over the remaining laps of the race, Turbush stayed out front in his Carpet Express Chevy for the victory that now puts him 17 behind his father, “Dynamite” Dan Turbush, who leads the all-time win list with 52. Ray Minieri of Bay Shore was runner-up in the Sunrise Chiropractic & Wellness Center Dodge while Eric Zeh of Selden placed third in the ILS Landscaping entry.
Just one week after having a victory taken away due to an oversized camshaft, “The Jack Attack” Jack Handley Jr. of Medford redeemed himself with victory in the 20-lap Blunderbust main event. “The Pistol,” Paul Parisi, returning after a vicious crash from last week, would lead the first five laps of the race before giving way to Justin Wahl on lap six. While in the lead, Wahl would face three separate challengers in Bill Wegmann Jr., Ron Langdon and lastly Handley Jr. who would make his way by Bonsignore for the lead on lap 17 with an inside pass. Once to the lead, Handley Jr. who started 12th in the Kudrick’s Auto Body Chevy, would drive off to victory. Afterwards he was asked if the win felt extra special after the DQ from the week prior. “Yeah I’m happy but we take full responsibility for last week, we should have known what was in there and we didn’t,” the 17-year-old stated.
“The Wildchild” Tommy Walkowiak of Ridge made a late-race charge to finish second in his Blaze Fuel Oil Caprice after he started the race 13th.
Scott Maliszewski of Deer Park was third in the Thomas J. Stock Attorney At Law Chevy.
Johnnie Gloor IV of Flanders made his way back to Legend Race Car victory lane after a three-year absence after surviving a race long battle with Justin Strumpf to do so. The two former East End Kart Racing standouts thrilled the fans with their fight for the lead that started right at the throw of the green flag. For the third Legend race in a row, Strumpf found himself in familiar territory as the challenger and once again the recent high school graduate did all he could do to try and move out front. However Gloor, who landed a ride with Barton/Visconti Motorsports for 2013, reviving his driving career, was having none of it and as the laps wore down the soft spoken driver could sense victory was in his grasp. Strumpf would take a run to the inside on several occasions but could see he’d be under the yellow line and was forced to back out allowing Gloor to drive off from time to time. At the checkers it was Johnnie Gloor IV in the Precision Auto Center of Brooklyn entry taking the win over Justin Strumpf of Selden in the Monster’s Recycling mount. Brendon Bock of Franklin Square was third in the A&S Bagels machine driving from ninth to earn his podium finish.
Defending National Demolition Derby champion Jason Savoy of Lake Panamoka scored the win in the 4-Cylinder Demolition Derby, his first of 2013, and in the process took over the championship lead in the point standings. The event came down to Savoy in his Monster’s Recycling Misery Machine and Richard Fowler of Wantagh. After a late event hit Fowler waved his arm out the window signaling he was through for the night and Jason Savoy was the winner. Fowler in his Timmy’s Towing entry was named Judge’s Choice while Larry Guyette of Riverhead was named Fan’s Choice by the crowd’s applause.