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Tom Rogers Jr. Continues Riverhead Raceway Hot Streak
Sweeping SUNOCO Race Fuels Twin 50's
by Bob Finan
Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead cut short a family vacation to be able to compete in the Sunoco Race Fuels Twin 50 NASCAR Modified features Saturday at Riverhead Raceway and when both races were completed his competition would rather have had Tom enjoying a few more days away as he swept both 50-lap features. The victories were his 4th and 5th of the season and he has now won four of the last five events at the demanding quarter mile moving his career win total to 29.
Ryan Preece of Berlin, Ct would set fast time for the evening with a lap of 11.918 and in the redraw his luck would change as the defending NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion drew the pole. Ryan's joy soon soured some when Rogers picked the outside pole. As Preece and Rogers brought the field down for the green flag it the talented tandem would go wheel to wheel into the first turn racing for the lead with Rogers taking the top spot racing down the back stretch with John Fortin, Howie Brode and Kyle Ellwood running third through fifth. Early on Preece parked himself right on Rogers rear spoiler looking to try an inside pass off the corners but Rogers was wise to that tactic and would motor away from his challenger exiting the corners.
As the race wore on Rogers was able to inch away from Preece who in turn was able to keep a couple of car lengths between he and third place John Fortin. In the first 50 the battle for position that would be the closest would be the Brode and Ellwood tussle for fourth. When the race concluded it would be Tom Rogers taking the win in his Royal Fence Chevy over Ryan Preece in the East West Marine Chevy. John Fortin of Holtsville was third in the SGS Stone Works entry while Howie Brode of East Islip and Kyle Ellwood of Riverhead completed the top five.
For the second 50-lap tilt the roles were reversed with Tom Rogers on the pole with Ryan Preece sitting alongside. Ryan knew if he was going to have a shot at winning the second race he'd have to get the measure of Tom on the initial green flag which was exactly whet he tried to do when the race went green. Preece drove his car deep into the first turn hoping he be able to motor away from Rogers off turn two but once again the race leader was equal to the task at hand and Ryan had to tuck back into second. Meanwhile back in third spot Brode and Fortin were side by side for position with some sparks flying early on in that battle before John settled into third once again.
With Rogers once again out front that did not mean Preece wasn't going down without giving it his all as lap after laps he'd drive his car into the corners real deep hoping to gain a run on the race leader but as was the case in the first race Tom would only allow Ryan to get close at times before he pulled away and went on to win his second race of the night. Second through fifth would again fall to Ryan Preece, John Fortin, Howie Brode and Kyle Ellwood.
After exiting his Stakey's Pumpkin Farm Chevy in victory lane Tom was asked if he was at time toying with Preece letting him get close at times in both races, "depends when you are talking about" the happy winner quipped but then he got serious noting, "I have to thank Ryan, he a class act he raced me hard early on in both races but never used me up especially in the first race he could have squeezed me but never did". As for winning four of five races since returning to his family car Rogers pointed to the lineage of the machine, "this is Frank Vigliarolo's old car that he won titles with, we miss Joe Ambrose and hope he comes back soon so we car driver his stuff again, time will tell".
The INEX Legend Race Cars competed in their INEX National Qualifier with an astounding 39 cars attempting to make the 27 car field. Richie Davidowitz of East Moriches led the way in qualifying with a lap of 13.833 earning $100 from Sonny's Collision Center. However in the redraw Richie drew 7th while Vinny Delaney and Brad Van Houten drew the front row for the prestigious race. At the throw of the green Delaney would pace the first two laps over Van Houten with defending track champion Brendon Bock looming in third. On lap 3 Delaney left the door open a tad too much on the inside as Van Houten quickly shot under him for the race lead with Bock and Kyle Ellwood also taking advantage of the opening to come to second and third. After five laps of following and sizing up Van Houten, Bock would make his bid for the race lead with an inside pass as the duo raced down the back stretch on lap 8. Four laps later Kyle Ellwood making his first Legend start of the year raced by his teammate Van Houten for second on the 12th circuit.
The remaining 18 laps of the race would find Ellwood trying to figure out a way to make a move on Bock for the race lead as Kyle threw his car deep into the turns and get close to Brendon in the center before the leader was able to pull away exiting the turns, a scene that was played out right up until the races conclusion. At the checker it would be Brendon Bock in the Pro Systems Brake entry scoring his second win of 2014, this one worth a cool $500 with lap and bonus money added in. Kyle Ellwood was runner-up in the Riverhead Building Supply machine with Kyle Soper of Manorville third in the Atlantic Chevrolet-Cadillac entry.
Completing the top ten were, Richie Davidowitz, Brad Van Houten of Wading River, Vinny Delaney of Holtsville, Devin O'Connell of Charlotte, NC, Kevin Nowak of Medford, John Beatty Jr. of Merrick and Artie Pedersen III of Center Moriches.
Roger Maynor of Bay Shore scored his 112th career Figure Eight win in what for him was an unusual way inheriting the race lead when another driver was sent to the rear of the field. Second year driver Gary Fritz Jr. broke out front when the race went green with former champion Mike Mujsce giving chase over the first six laps. As the field started the 7th lap Mujsce got into the back bumper of Fritz right in front of the NASCAR Officials and when Fritz spun drawing the caution Mike was sent to the rear for his role in the spin. That turn of events moved Roger Maynor who raced his way from 7th to 3rd in quick fashion into the race lead with Tommy Rogers Jr, second. Right away everybody on hand flashed back to the Cromarty Cup race in May when these two went toe to toe but that close battle never materialized as Roger Maynor had the race covered in his Barrasso & Sons Mason Supplies Ford for his second win of 2014. Tom Rogers was runner-up in the PCFI Plymouth Coupe while Scott Pedersen of Shirley was third in the Reliable Motors entry.
"Radiant" Ray Minieri of Bay Shore posted his third win of 2014 when he topped the 20-lap Charger feature for his 21st career win. Rookie driver Greg Immerman once again took the early race lead chased at first by Cory Midgett and Scott Pedersen. Lap 7 found Minieri who started the race 7th making his way to second and his first order of business was to erase the lead Immerman had built up. With the aid of a caution flag Ray was able to execute an inside pass of Greg on lap 14 as the race into the first turn with CJ Lehmann trying to race under Immerman for second as well. Minieri would get the lead but Immerman was able to block the effort of Lehmann to remain second in the race. At the finish it was Ray Minieri the race winner in his Sunrise Chiropractic & Wellness Dodge with Greg Immerman of Southampton runner-up in the Hometown Taxi Pontiac while defending champion Eric Zeh of Selden was third in the S&P Carting Chevy.
It had been since June 9th of 2001 that veteran driver Richie Hubbard of Mastic Beach had won a Blunderbust feature and the timing of his victory Saturday night could not have been better. Earlier in the week Richie and his family mourned the loss of his sister and on race day Hubbard was truly a man on a mission. All season long Hubbard had been having an issue keeping belts on his Buick, an issue he hoped would not return as he started on the pole for the 20-lap main event. Right from the get go Richie Hubbard served notice he was the man to beat taking the early race lead chased at first by Brian Brown then Joe Warren as well Tim Mulqueen. It would be Mulqueen that might be the biggest threat to the race leader but Tim suddenly saw his car veer to the right in the first turn hitting the wall on lap 17 shortly after he came to second. That turn of events moved newcomer Joe Warren back to second for the green, white and checker finish. It mattered not to Richie Hubbard who was running second as he was able to drive off over those final laps to score the win in his Defend Tattoo Buick, a car it should be mentioned that dates back some three decades as well. Joe Warren Jr. of Ridge was runner-up in the TS Haulers Chevy while Brian Brown of Baiting Hollow was third in the Mitrani Plastering entry.
"The Real Deal" Mark Stewart of Riverhead captured his third Super Pro Truck win of 2014 as he topped their 20-lap feature. Frank Dumicich Sr. showed the way early on with "Dangerous" Dave Koenig second for the first two laps. As the tandem raced off turn four to start the third laps Koenig slammed the wall ending his race setting up a double file restart between Dumicich and Mark Stewart who started the race fourth. On the ensuing restart Stewart got the measure of Dumicich to lead laps three and four before Dumicich rallied back to lead laps five and six.
Lap 7 would do the trick for Stewart as he raced his way into sole possession of the race lead in the REMAX Realtors Chevy. Once out front Mark Stewart would be able to drive away from the field at first but later in the race Mike Albasini who came to second on lap 8 after Dumicich faded and later dropped out of the race closed in. Albasini was able to close the gap on Stewart late in the contest. At the finish though it was Mark Stewart taking his 7th career win. Mike Albasini of Flushing was runner-up in the Hollis Court Collision Chevy while point leader Erin Solomito of Hampton Bays finished third in the Sea-Level Construction Chevy.
Jimmy "The Kid" White Jr. of Southampton topped the 8-Cylinder Demolition Derby competition.
NASCAR Modified Twin 50 #1:
1. Tom Rogers Jr. 2. Ryan Preece 3. John Fortin 4. Howie Brode 5. Kyle Ellwood 6. Dave Sapienza 7. Ed Brunnhoelzl III 8. Vinny Biondolillo 9. Jeffery Goodale 10. Jason Agugliaro 11. Ken Darch 12. Russell Savoy
NASCAR Modified Twin 50 #2:
1. Tom Rogers Jr. 2. Ryan Preece 3. John Fortin 4. Howie Brode 5. Kyle Ellwood 6. Jeffrey Goodale 7. Ed Brunnhoelzl III 8. Vinny Biondolillo 9. Russell Savoy 10. Jason Agugliaro 11. Ken Darch DNS-Dave Sapienza
1. Roger Maynor 2. Tom Rogers Jr, 3. Scott Pedersen 4. Mike Mujsce 5. Gary Fritz Jr. 6. Ken Hyde Jr. 7. CJ Lehmann 8. Chris Elixson 9. Tom Ferrara 10. Bryan Quilliam
1. Ray Minieri 2. Greg Immerman 3. Eric Zeh 4. Chris Turbush 5. Scott Pedersen 6. Cory Midgett 7. CJ Lehmann 8. John Baker 9. Owen Grennan 10. Jay Henschel 11. Dan Lynch 12. David Roys
1. Richie Hubbard 2. Joe Warren 3. Brian Brown 4. Johnny Cricchio 5. Ed Mistretta 6. Bill Wegmann Jr. 7. Terry Stiles 8. Tom Puccia 9. Jack Handley Jr. 10. Tom Sullivan 11. Bill Wegmann Sr. 12. Jimmy White Jr. 13. Bryan Quilliam 14. Ian Maliszewski 15. Bob Muller 16. Jessica Cohan 17. Tim Mulqueen 18. Tom Pickerell 19. Ray Shannon 20. CJ Zurkowski DNS- Bryan Sescila
Super Pro Trucks:
1. Mark Stewart 2. Mike Albasini 3. Erin Solomito 4. Lou Maestri 5. Frank Dumicich Jr. 6. Jarrod Hayes 7. Amanda Anderson 8. Roger Turbush 9. Jimmy Rennick Jr. 10. Frank Dumicich Sr. 11. Dave Koenig
Legend Race Cars:
1. Brendon Bock 2. Kyle Ellwood 3. Richie Davidowitz 4. Kyle Soper 5. Brad Van Houten 6. Vinny Delaney 7. Devin O'Connell 8. Kevin Nowak 9. John Beatty Jr. 10. Artie Pedersen III 11. Paul Dodorico 12. Tom Sherman 13. Matt Maring 14. Greg Harris 15. Jim Sylvester 16. Ray Fitzgerald 17. Anthony Marsh 18. Eric Hersey 19. Michael Rutkoski 20. Allan Pedersen 21. Kevin Chew 22. Joe Graff 23. Ed Cheslak 24. Steve Hersey 25. Dylan Slepian 26. Chris Rogers 27. Justin Strumpf Withdrew: Mike Alcaro DNQ- Mike Van Houten, George Tomko Jr., Christian Conklin, Joe Oliver, Kurt Krieger, Shawn Wanat, John Harley, Frank Scimeca Jr., Wally Davidowitz, Eric Henschel, Steve Boland
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