Auto Racing: Tempers rise with temperature at raceway

07/15/2013 2:29 PM |

RIVERHEAD RACEWAY ROUNDUP

Howie Brode of East Islip scored his second win of the 2013 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series at Riverhead Raceway on Saturday when he took first in a 35-lap Modified feature. It was his second win of the season and the 13th of his career.

With threatening, extremely hot and humid weather, competitors’ emotions ran high during the course of the program. It took numerous attempts to get the race underway, with minor spins and crashes, jumped restarts, passes under the yellow line and one incident that saw Tom Rogers Jr. disqualified from the race.

Asked if being out in front of the wild action behind him was the key to victory, Brode replied: “Any night you’re out front it’s a good thing but tonight for sure. I don’t know what was going on but I’m glad I wasn’t back there.”

Brode now finds himself atop the division with a commanding 42-point lead over Rogers.

Shawn Solomito of Islip earned his runner-up finish. Jason Agugliaro of Islip posted his best run of 2013 with a third-place tally. Eddie Brunnhoelzl III of Levittown was fourth and Jerry Solomito Jr. of Islip was fifth. It was Solomito’s second straight top-five showing in his last two starts.

Emotions were also high in the 25-lap Late Model race but for a different reason. Ken Alfano of Southold drove to his first Late Model win since the death of his wife, Julie, a couple of years ago. She had cancer.

Alfano led the final 21 laps of the race when his biggest challenge was keeping tears from blurring his vision. After the win he parked his car against a wall, exited the car and blew kisses to the sky.

Alfano’s teammate, Chris LaSpisa of Shirley, driving a car painted pink in honor of the late Julie Alfano and others battling cancer, was a happy runner-up. Scott Kulesa of Georgetown, Mass., took over the division points lead with his third-place finish.

The fourth generation of the famed Turbush racing family made his way to victory lane. Mark Stewart of Riverhead won a 20-lap Super Pro Truck contest. Stewart, the grandson of all-time leading Charger winner Dan Turbush and the nephew to brothers Chris and Roger Turbush, broke to the front at the throw of the green flag and stayed there the rest of the way. Dave Koenig of Freeport was second, and Roger Turbush of Riverhead won a battle for third.

Kyle Ellwood of Riverhead pocketed his third Legend Race Car win of the year in what was another dominating performance for the defending champion. Brendon Bock of Franklin Square was second, moving him to second place in points, trailing Ellwood by 54 markers. Kyle Soper of Manorville motored in third.

Anthony Pizzo of Lake Ronkonkoma continues to be the driver to beat when it comes to Eight-Cylinder Enduro events at Riverhead Raceway. He won yet again on Saturday. Rob McCormick of Calverton barely made it to the track in time after spotting for a driver in a race in New Hampshire. He nonetheless drove his car from 25th to second. Ed Brown Jr. of Mastic Beach led the race early and ended up third.