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"EYE ON RIVERHEAD" by Bob Finan
August 5, 2014
For awhile Saturday it looked as though the light annoying rain would never leave Riverhead Raceway but promoters Barbara & Jim Cromarty were not going to give in to the wet stuff and the entire NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program was completed. It was barely an artistic success but over their 38-years in race promotion the Cromarty's understand that days like this happen from time to time and they rolled with the punches. They did want to thank all the race teams and fans who came out and those who did brave the elements were treated to a good night of racing.
This week (8-9-14) the INEX Legend Race Cars will compete in their National Qualifier with Twin 50's on the menu for the NASCAR Modifieds, Figure Eights, Chargers, Blunderbusts and Super Pro Trucks on Sunoco Race Fuels night. A 8-Cylinder Demolition Derby will conclude this very busy night.
To say that Jason Agugliaro #69x has ridden the roller coaster of racing highs and lows this season would be an understatement. First in week two his brand new engine came up with water in the oil and a lengthy repair was in order. Luckily for Jason, Tom Rogers Jr. and car owner Joe Ambrose agreed to let him drive their back-up car for a night, a deal that would last nearly half the season. A few weeks back Agugliaro got his own engine back and Saturday his roller coaster season came full circle when he won the 35-lap NASCAR Modified feature. Actually the weekend got off to a great start for Jason as he and his fiancé Theresa were married on Friday and the win was just the icing on the cake! Oh and by the way all Agugliaro had to do to earn the win was ward off an 11-lap attack from Tom Rogers Jr. #9 to post his second career win. The race for the lead was a classic for sure.
Rogers in the Jessup Landscaping #9 would have to be content with second, not from a lack of trying mind you and with that finish is now some 27 points back of championship leader Howie Brode who was fourth in the On Time Trucking Chevy.
Nobody has ever accused Late Model winner Mike Bologna #00 of being timid in his driving style but what he was this past Saturday was just plain fast and smooth. Mike wheeling the Gershow Recycling Chevy finessed his way from a 7th starting spot to the race lead on lap 19 to post the 11th triumph of his career. In my estimation it was perhaps his finest effort and in the process now finds him with a handsome 26-point lead over defending champion Jeremy McDermott #4, 354 to 328
Defending Charger champion Eric Zeh #34 notched his third win of the 2014 campaign racing his way from 4th starting spot to victory lane. Eric had a very close call early on in the race when his right front fender was peeled back after contact, the fender would finally fall of the S&P Carting Chevy and Eric drove off to the winner circle. The win coupled with Chris Turbush #81 in the REMAX Realtors #81 finds the duo separated by just two points in the championship chase with Chris leading Eric, 470 to 468.
The other race winner doing some work Saturday would be Super Pro Truck victor Roger Turbush #88. After starting 5th in the field Roger took advantage of a lap 9 double file restart to grab the lead from Frank Dumicich Sr. #5 with a handsome outside pass. Once Rog was out front he wheeled his rig into victory lane for the 20th time in his career and we congratulate him on the milestone win.
Erin Solomito #95 and Lou Maestri #1 are now knotted at the top of the SPT standings with each driver having 398 points as well one feature event win each. Maestri in the Star Car Collision Center Chevy was 5th in the 20-lap feature Saturday while Erin was on his tailgate in 6th with her Sea-Level Construction Dodge.
Greg Zaleski #18 figured late in the 50-lap Grand Enduro the pass he made on Steve Mastro #45 was probably for third position but a wild turn of events made that pass the winning move of the race. Zaleski, a Physical Education teacher by trade took the lead on lap 44 when the early race leader and his challenger had a difference of opinion on some close quarters racing on lap 30. Zaleski in the Peconic Sign Company quickly found himself the race leader while all the feuding was going on and he drove off to victory lane.
David Roys and his Charger car owners Joe Paprocky & Debbie Nicola want to thank Chris Turbush and his entire team for the loan of a rear end assembly. Roys broke his rear in the JJJ Rindos Excavating Chevy during warm-up and the change was made. Wish we could tell you the story has a happy ending but unfortunately it does not as the gearing was off and David had to sit out the feature. Without the Turbush team the night would have had no hope at all and again they thank Chris and his team.
J-Rod Jarrod Hayes was in the Kevin Metzger back up Late Model #09 for the night. The deal came together so Kevin can showcase the car which is for sale and Hayes raced it to 6th place finish! J-Rod was also steering the Hagerman Systems #2x Super Pro Truck of John Denniston earlier in the night.
Great to see Chris LaSpisa #7 with a runner-up finish in the LM main event. Like Agugliaro he has ridden the emotional roller coaster this season winning the opening night 25-lap feature only to discover he hurt his McBetts Racing Engine in the process. For awhile it looked as though Chris would win his second race of the year that is until Bologna came a calling.
Nice to see John Baker #07 claim 4th in the Charger event in his Sunrise Medical Labs Camaro. Baker stated the car is still too loose but hopes to gain on that issue this week when the class returns for another 20-lapper.
"The King of Queens" Mike Albasini #66 is picking off the podium finishes this year in the KJ Farrell's Pub & Grill Chevy however the big guy won't be satisfied until he wins his 10th career race which he hopes is this year!
Hats off to Grand Enduro newcomer Cody Triola and his Performance Carburetor & Fuel Injection #4 team as he crossed the line third for his career best finish. The race prior Triola was 5th so if he is going to pick-up two spots per race can a win be in the offering August 23rd? Time will tell.
Leading LM rookie Chris Lescenski #46 had a stellar run in his Frankie's Towing entry with a 5th place showing.
Ray Minieri #43 in the Chargers (13.239) and Tom Rogers Jr. in the NASCAR Modifieds (11.945) set fast time in their respective classes but in the redraw, well that didn't go so well as Ray picked 6th and Tom 5th. Minieri rallied for a 3rd place finish in his race in the L.I. Performance machine and of course as well told you earlier Tom was runner-up.
Want to wish Dave Sapienza a speedy recovery as he is on the mend from a broken wrist suffered in the Baldwin, Evans & Jarzombek 77.
Owen Grennan pocketed a 6th place finish in the Charger feature in the Tom Jensen Motorsports entry.
Amanda Anderson did double duty Saturday first racing her Mike's Auto Service #13 Super Pro Truck. Then just five minutes before the Late Model race was to go off she was tabbed to drive the #11 machine at the request of Chris LaSpisa and his daughter Emily. Get this she was 10th in the LM never having sat in the car before!
Brian McCormack #54 with a nice run in the Grand Enduro placing 5th in the Big Mack Towing Chevy.
Chris McGuire and his immaculate Wise Choice Fuel Oil #89x LM were 7th Saturday night.
"Mighty" Mike Mortimer was strapped into the Scott Kulesa Eastport Feeds back-up car and placed 9th! Scott rebounded from an early race trip to the pits for a dragging run rail to finish 4th.
Good weekend for Ryan Preece #20 as he won Wednesday night at the Thompson Speedway, runner-up Friday at Stafford and third in the East West Marine Team Park Chevy.
If not for bad luck Charger driver Jay Henschel in the Monetary Recovery Systems #54 would have none, this week it was a flat tire the culprit.
Until next time - BF
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