Riverhead Raceway promoters Barbara and Jim Cromarty refused to give into Mother Nature this past Saturday afternoon as they waited out the old gal. Lo and behold, the rain stopped falling just after 2 p.m. and the sun broke through allowing for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program to be presented. In the headlining Sunoco Race Fuels Twin 30’s “The Natural” Timmy Solomito of Islip captured the first feature while points leader Howie Brode topped the field in the nightcap.
In pre-race qualifying 15-year-old Vinny Biondolillo set fast time in an upset of sorts with a lap of 11.850, besting Shawn Solomito’s 11.865 However in the redraw it would be Shawn’s younger brother Timmy who drew the pole with David Roys drawing the outside pole. Biondolillo drew fifth while Shawn Solomito drew third. At the throw of the green for the first 30-lap event, Timmy Solomito broke out front with his brother Shawn riding his back bumper to slip under Roys for second. As the pack started the second lap, Roys, who was hung on the outside lane, got loose going into the first turn bouncing off another car and hitting the wall in turn two ending his night. Eddie Brunnhoelzl III was caught up as well but would return laps down later in the first race. On the double-file restart that followed the yellow flag, Dave Sapienza muscled his way under Shawn Solomito for second and the race for the win was on. Sapienza would spend the following 28-laps trying to find a way by race leader Timmy Solomito, but for every challenge Roys threw at Timmy Solomito, the leader was equal to the task and he motored away every time his rival got a nose under him exiting the turns.
At the checkers, it was Timmy Solomito scoring his second win of the season in the Eastport Feeds Chevy, with Sapienza of Riverhead runner-up in the Frankie’s Towing Chevy. Brode of East Islip crossed the line third in his On Time Trucking Chevy while Dave Brigati of Calverton and Shawn Solomito of Islip completed the top five.
The second Sunoco Race Fuel 30 lap feature was lined up by the finishing order of the first race, and once again Timmy Solomito broke out front early with Brode sliding under Sapienza for second in a move that would actually be the winning move of the race. On lap 2, the yellow waved for a stalled Biondolillo in turn four and on the ensuing double-file restart Solomito missed a shift and was slow to get going off turn four, allowing Brode to take over the top spot, while Timmy made a quick recovery to remain second. Over the final 28-laps of the race, Timmy—instead of being the hunted as he was in the first 30-lapper—was now the hunter as he rode Brode’s back bumper for a good part of the remaining 28 laps of the race. However as the race hit the final 10 laps, Brode in the Peter Clark Motorsports Chevy distanced himself from Timmy Solomito who was runner-up in the L.I. Fuel Oil Associates Chevy. Shawn Solomito of Islip was third, racing for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, making a nice recovery after being shuffled back in the pack in the first race.
Kyle Ellwood of Riverhead turned in a stellar fourth place run with Jason Agugliaro of Islip completing the top five.
“I can’t thank Wayne and Joette Anderson along with Doug Corwin of Eastport Feeds for the opportunity they have given me,” Solomito said in victory lane. Looking back on the second race he admitted, “I missed a shift on that restart and that allowed Howie to get away. We lost our right rear and got really tight and in the end had nothing for him.”
Brode disclosed his game plan after taking the win in the second race. “We kind of played it cool in the first race and let things play out,” he said. “Then in the second race we had some luck fall our way.”
Cagey Late Model veteran Kevin Metzger of Massapequa went into Saturday’s 25-lap feature event having not won since May 22 of 2010, but that all changed when the checkered flag waved, giving the former two-time champion his 11th career win. Armed with the pole to start the race, Metzger quickly motored out front with Jeremy McDermott in tow. A quick yellow forced an early double-file restart where Shawn Patrick got by McDermott for second for two laps before McDermott reclaimed the position on lap 4. But while the duo fought for second, Metzger got away and built a comfortable lead. Lap after lap, McDermott chipped away at Metzger’s advantage and would finally catch him on lap 13. The tandem waged a torrid fight for the lead with McDermott trying Metzger high and low with Metzger thwarting the challenges. On lap 22 the race for the win got too close coming off turn two as contact was made. Metzger, who was trying to block an outside run by McDermott, made slight contact with the wall while McDermott’s fate was much worse as he got a flat tire. The casing of McDermott’s tire landed on the entrance of the third turn, drawing a yellow allowing McDermott to pit. With no ill effects from his brush with the wall, Metzger in the County Tire Chevy held off Ken Alfano of Southold and his Prestigious Motors in a green, white and checkered finish for the hard fought win. Roger Oxee of Peconic placed third in his Southold IGA Pontiac.
“Radiant” Ray Minieri of Bay Shore visited Charger victory lane for the third time this season when he topped the 20-lap main event for his 18th career win overall. Rookie talent Chad Churilla set fast time with a lap of 13.282 but could only muster a sixth place starting berth in the re-draw. Minieri and Tom Anderson drew the front row and when the green light winked on it was Minieri breaking out into the lead, a lead he’d never surrender.
All the action was taking place in Minieri’s mirror as Anderson was passed for second on lap 2 by another talented rookie, “Rocking” Rich Wilson. It didn’t take long though for the cream to rise to the front of the field as Eric Zeh, the current points leader, came to second on lap 4. Zeh kept step with Minieri, but at the finish it was Minieri scoring the victory in his Sunrise Chiropractic & Wellness Dodge. Afterwards he dedicated the race to a fallen friend.
“I’d like to dedicate this race to Fred Bobb, who for many years was the Sunoco Race Fuels distributor at the track, since it’s Sunoco Race Fuels night,” he said after the race.
Zeh of Selden was runner-up in the Randy’s Performance Chevy while Churilla of Hauppauge continues to impress in his Angela’s House Pontiac as he was third.
It’s been an up and down Blunderbust season for 17-year old Jack Handley Jr. of Medford, but this past Saturday it was all up as he won his third feature event of 2013 in a 20-lap contest.
Just one week ago “The Jack Attack” was riding along in the main event when the rear end assembly in his car broke in half, but this week no demons were to be found anywhere as Handley started on the pole and led wire to wire.
“The Racing Grandfather” Bill Wegmann Sr. would run second to Handley for the first 11-laps of the race with Handley building up quite a commanding lead in the process. On lap 12 “The Wildchild” Tommy Walkowiak of Ridge, who has yet to win this year, passed Wegmann for second. However, the lead that Handley built up in his Goodfellas Auto Repair entry would prove to be insurmountable as he raced off to victory. Walkowiak was runner-up in the Blaze Fuel Oil Chevy with Wegmann Sr. of North Bellmore placing third in the Crackerjack Auto Stores Oldsmobile.
Mark Stewart of Riverhead, a 15-year-old newcomer to the Super Pro Truck class, turned heads once again this week as he won his second consecutive 20-lap main event. Brian McElearney motored out front at the start of the race with Rob Bader in tow for the first circuit before he was overtaken by Stewart on lap two. All seemed to be going according to plan for race leader McElearney when disaster struck as he started the seventh lap of the race and his transmission blew, forcing him to the infield. That turn of events moved Bader back to second behind new race leader Stewart for laps seven and eight, before Bader was passed by Frank Dumicich Jr. on lap nine. Dumicich almost got by race leader Stewart in one clean sweep but the yellow waved, moving him back to second. Over the final 11 laps of the race Dumicich, who came to the race as the points leader, would test the youngster but he’d soon be challenged himself by “Dangerous” Dave Koenig who also happens to be Stewart’s truck owner. At the finish it was Stewart taking another popular win in the Angela’s House Chevy with Dumicich Jr. of East Quogue runner-up in the East End Transmission Chevy. Dave Koenig of Freeport placed third in the Nelson’s Auto Salvage Chevy.
Joe Warren Jr. of Rocky Point is enjoying a breakout season in the 4/6-Cylinder Car Enduro division as he won for the fourth time in five races this season. The 75-lap race that started 38 cars was a barn burner right from the start as Warren quickly moved out front chased at first by Brandon Esposito and then by George Davis who came to second from fifth. Over nearly the entire distance of the race, Warren and Davis swapped the lead numerous times while darting through lapped traffic and on more than one occasion they went three and four wide in doing so. When the dust settled late in the race Warren took control of the race over the final 10 laps or so and drove his tribute car to Jason Trinca Jr. to victory. George Davis of Patchogue was second in the Sign Design Saturn with James McCarthy of Bellmore turning in an astounding performance as he raced his way from 38th to a third place finish in the Pitbull Motors entry.