09/10/12 4:00pm
09/10/2012 4:00 PM

RIVERHEAD RACEWAY

With heavy rain closing in from the west, it was a race to the finish to get the entire NASCAR Whelen All-American Series show in at Riverhead Raceway on Saturday evening. They made it just in the nick of time.

Tom Rogers Jr. of Patchogue notched the NASCAR Modified victory in 50-lap race, but with his third-place finish in the race, Shawn Solomito of Islip put the wraps on his first career NASCAR Modified championship. Two minutes after the completion of all the racing, the heavens opened up with a huge downpour.

After crossing the finish line, Solomito was doused with champagne.

Rogers was happy to stay out front for all 50 laps.

Howie Brode of East Islip was second in both the race and the championship standings.

Dan Jivanelli of Hampton Bays charged his way to a fourth-place finish from an 11th starting position and Timmy Solomito of Islip completed the top five.

In other races:

Scott Kulesa of Georgetown, Mass., scored his second Late Model win of the season with a late-race pass of Arne Pedersen on Lap 19. With a fifth-place finish, Mike Bologna of Melville sewed up the Late Model title for the second year in a row. Once out front, Kulesa led the remaining six laps for the win. Arne Pedersen of Mastic Beach had a career best runner-up finish. Kevin Metzger of Massapequa was third.

Mike Mujsce of Westhampton Beach not only won the 15-lap Figure Eight feature event, but with that victory he also clinched his first career championship. Tom Ferrara of Patchogue was second in the race, and a disappointed Arne Pedersen crossed the line third.

With a fifth-place finish, Jeremy McDermott of Riverhead collected his first career Charger championship. Ray Minieri of Bay Shore led wire to wire in the non-stop 20-lap Charger feature to notch his 15th career win in the class and second of the season. Chris Turbush of Riverhead was second. Eric Zeh of Selden came in third.

After starting all the way back in the 18th spot, Tom Pickerell of Huntington drove to an eighth-place finish, good enough to win the Blunderbust championship. Sixteen-year-old Jack Handley Jr. of Medford scored his second Blunderbust win of the year when he won the 20-lap feature event. Rob Bader of Holtsville grabbed second and third went to Paul Parisi of Riverhead.

In the 20-lap Super Pro Truck feature, Lou Maestri of Deer Park won the battle but lost the war as far as the division championship was concerned. The good news for Maestri was that once he was out front, he never relinquished the lead, taking his division-leading 24th career win. The bad news for Maestri was that Roger Turbush of Riverhead finished second, good enough to give him his second Super Pro Truck championship in three years. Erin Dumicich of East Quogue was third.

Kyle Ellwood of Riverhead had already sewn up the Legend Race Car championship coming into Saturday’s 20-lapper, but he wanted to ice the cake and he did that with his fifth win of the season. Chris Young of Calverton, a five time feature event winner this season in his own right, took second place. Vinny Delaney of Holtsville turned in a solid run for third.

09/08/12 9:00am
09/08/2012 9:00 AM

AMY SPERO PHOTO | Vinny Delaney alongside his No. 17 Legends car.

Name: Vinny Delaney

Age: 23

Division: Legends

Top 3 Sponsors: None yet

Car Number: 17

A relative newcomer to the legends division at Riverhead Raceway, Vinny Delaney of Holtsville made an immediate impact at a young age. In 2011 he finished second in legends, which he described as his favorite racing memory so far.

Like most drivers he got his start in Go-Karts at age 9 before starting in the legends three years ago.

Delaney said racing at Riverhead is like an escape.

“Once you’re in the car that’s the only thing you’re focused on,” he said.

Outside of the racetrack Delaney also enjoys playing hockey. He said his biggest supporters in his career have been Amber and his father, Brian.

Previous Meet the Drivers profiles:

#66 Shawn Solomito

#17/#71 Kyle Ellwood

#5 Jeremy McDermott

#19 Robert Bader

#34 Eric Zeh

#8x Eddie Brunnhoelzl III

#19x Rob ‘The Racer’ McCormick

#81 Christopher “Bub” Turbush

#46 Chris “Short Round” Lescenski

#22 Jay Sendlewski

#09 Brad Van Houten

#49 Jack Handley Jr.

#65 Greg Harris

#14 John Beatty Jr.

#88 Roger Turbush

#74 Marisa Niederauer

#09 Kevin ‘KO’ Orlando

09/04/12 3:30pm
09/04/2012 3:30 PM

RIVERHEAD RACEWAY

After posting no less than six runner-up finishes, Ted Christopher of Plainville, Conn., finally hit victory lane on Saturday night at Riverhead Raceway. Christopher picked up his first NASCAR Whelen All-American Series victory of the season and fourth of his career, taking first in a 35-lap event.

“I really love racing here at Riverhead,” Christopher said. “It’s a fun place.”

Howie Brode of East Islip trimmed 12 points off Shawn Solomito’s division lead with his runner-up finish. Going into the final race of the year, Brode sits 12 points behind Solomito. Justin Bonsignore of West Islip, who won a week earlier, was third. Eddie Brunnhoelzl III of Levittown and John Fortin Sr. of Holtsville completed the top five. Shawn Solomito of Islip was eighth.

In other races:

Mike Bologna, the defending Late Model champion, scored his ninth career win and in the process virtually clinched the 2012 championship. Bologna, who started the race seventh, holds a 30-point lead over the No. 2 driver, Shawn Patrick, going into the last race of the season. Scott Kulesa of Georgetown, Mass., was second and Chris LaSpisa of Shirley took third.

Taking full advantage of her pole starting position, Erin Dumicich of East Quogue rebounded from some recent motor issues to score her second Super Pro Truck win of 2012. Dumicich notched her third career win while Chris Turbush of Riverhead came in second. His brother, Roger Turbush of Riverhead, was third. Division leader Chris Turbush leads Roger Turbush by two points going into the points finale.

With one points race to go, Kyle Ellwood of Riverhead, with his fourth-place finish, clinched the Legend Race Car championship. It is the 17-year-old driver’s first career championship.

For the second week in a row, Chris Young of Calverton left his dorm room at Purdue University in Indiana to catch a flight home for the 20-lap Legend Race Car feature, and once again he prevailed, scoring his fifth win of the year. It was Young’s 10th win over the past two seasons. Paul Dodorico of Miller Place was second. Kevin Nowak of Medford placed third.

The Four-Cylinder Demolition Derby boiled down to a duel between father and son. Andrew Fowler of Wantagh outlasted his father, Rich, to score the victory and clinch the division championship.

ZALESKI, NELSON ROLL Greg Zaleski of Jamesport scored his second Grand Enduro win of the year on Sunday afternoon. Don Nelson of Rocky Point topped the Four/Six-Cylinder Truck Enduro for his first win of 2012.

Zaleski passed into the lead on the ninth lap of the 50-lap race before pulling away from the field for a comfortable victory. James Charrier of Shirley was second, with Steve Mastro of Port Jefferson third.

The 50-lap Four/Six-Cylinder Truck Enduro saw Nelson take the lead on Lap 5 and make his way around lapped trucks for the victory. Robin Vollmoeller of Riverhead made a late-race move to claim second place. Third went to Ben Gregor of Bridgehampton.

Two Eight-Cylinder Enduro races were contested. The first, a 75-lap affair, went to veteran Dominic Ranieri of Northport, who moved one step closer to the championship. The second one went 50 laps, with Dege Russell of Rocky Point overtaking Anthony Pizzo of Lake Ronkonkoma for the win.

Steve Trimboli of Freeport crossed the line first in a hotly contested Four/Six-Cylinder Car Enduro, but was later found to have unapproved rear suspension parts/adjustments. Following a lengthy discussion, Trimboli was disqualified, and Ed Fontana of Wading River was declared the race winner.

09/01/12 8:00am
09/01/2012 8:00 AM

AMY SPERO PHOTO | Kevin Orlando alongside his No. 09 modified car.

Name: Kevin Orlando

Age: 24

Division: Modified

Top 3 Sponsors: Mom and Dad, RP Landscaping, Prototype Race Fab.

Car Number: 09

Kevin Orlando will never forget his first win. It came in 2005 at Riverhead Raceway in what was only his sixth race. “Your first win is always the best win,” Orlando said.

Orlando got his start at Riverhead 14 years ago when he raced Go-Karts. In 2005 he raced in his first adult race and placed eighth while racing in his father’s charger car. He now races in the modified division, where he’s 22nd in the point standings.

Orlando said Riverhead Raceway is a challenging track.

“If you can race at Riverhead, you can race anywhere,” he said.

When he’s not racing Orlando enjoys working on cars and hanging with his friends. His parents and girlfriend Christina have been the biggest supporters in his career, he said.

Previous Meet the Drivers profiles:

#66 Shawn Solomito

#17/#71 Kyle Ellwood

#5 Jeremy McDermott

#19 Robert Bader

#34 Eric Zeh

#8x Eddie Brunnhoelzl III

#19x Rob ‘The Racer’ McCormick

#81 Christopher “Bub” Turbush

#46 Chris “Short Round” Lescenski

#22 Jay Sendlewski

#09 Brad Van Houten

#49 Jack Handley Jr.

#65 Greg Harris

#14 John Beatty Jr.

#88 Roger Turbush

#74 Marisa Niederauer

08/27/12 10:00pm
08/27/2012 10:00 PM

RIVERHEAD RACEWAY

Justin Bonsignore of West Islip was on his way home from a fourth-place finish in a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race in Bristol, Tenn., last Wednesday when he decided to stop off in North Carolina to visit his parents and some friends over the weekend. Then, while he was having dinner, Bonsignore’s car owner, Ken Massa, sent him a text message, asking him to get on a plane and drive Saturday night at Riverhead Raceway where he had won the 2011 NASCAR Modified championship. Bonsignore turned that late decision into a victory in a 35-lap feature event in front of a standing-room-only crowd.

Shawn Solomito of Islip was the runner-up, and with that now leads Howie Brode of East Islip by 24 points with two races remaining in the season. Brode, who lost the third spot on a 14th-lap restart, made a late-race pass of Ted Christopher of Plainville, Conn., to reclaim and finish third. Christopher and Timmy Solomito of Islip completed the top five.

In other races:

The Late Models finally finished their Aug. 11 feature, which had been interrupted by rain with three of 25 laps complete. Peter Eriksen of Baldwin scored his 46th career win, snapping a tie with Paul McElearney for second on the all-time win list. When told he had just won his 46th race, a stunned Eriksen said, “Wow, that’s a lot of wins.” Mike Bologna of Melville, the defending champion, was second. With two races to go in the season, Bologna holds a 10-point lead atop the division over Eriksen. Chris LaSpisa of Shirley placed third.

The defending Figure Eight champion, Arne Pedersen of Mastic Beach, was in the right place at the right time in a 15-lap feature, winning his second race of the year and taking over the points lead in the process. Mike Mujsce and Ken Hyde Jr. were tied for the division lead coming into the race and in the lead before they got too close to each other exiting turn four and spun out, drawing a caution flag.

Pedersen, who was racing with brother Scott for third, suddenly found himself the new race leader and he was able to keep his place out front over the final three laps to post his eighth career win. Scott Pedersen of Shirley crossed the line second, Mujsce of Westhampton Beach made a nice recovery for third. With one race on Sept. 8 left for the title, Arne Pedersen has a two-point lead over Mujsce.

Jeremy McDermott of Riverhead made sure nobody was going to chip away at his points lead in the Chargers. He won a 20-lap feature event for his second win of 2012 and sixth of his career. C. J. Lehmann of Mastic Beach was second. Four-time defending champion Chris Turbush of Riverhead was third. With one point race to go on Sept. 8, McDermott has a 16-point lead over Eric Zeh of Selden.

Chris Young of Calverton got up at 4 a.m. at Purdue University in Indiana to catch a plane at Indianapolis International Airport so he could compete in the 20-lap Legend Race Car feature event after his first week of college. He made that trip worthwhile, taking home his fourth win of the year. Young managed to get to the track on time and had less than 10 laps of practice before starting sixth in the race. He made his move past Vinny Delaney of Holtsville for the lead on Lap 8. Delaney drove in second, with Kevin Nowak of Medford third.

Early in the summer, popular school bus racer Don Fox of Riverhead passed away after a serious car accident. On Saturday his nephew, Paul Fox, in his first ever School Bus Demolition Derby, paid tribute to his fallen uncle by winning a hard-hitting affair. Fox outlasted Kevin Rommeney of Maspeth to score the emotional win in front of family and friends. Rommeney, who won the first School Bus Demolition Derby this past spring, was second.

08/25/12 8:00am
08/25/2012 8:00 AM

AMY SPERO PHOTO | Marisa Niederauer alonside her No. 74 modified car.

Name: Marisa Niederauer

Age: 26

Division: Modified

Top Sponsor: Xray Precision Utility

Car Number: 74

One of only a handful of women drivers at Riverhead Raceway, 26-year-old Marisa Niederauer began her racing career in Go-Karts at 8-years-old. She’s spent the last couple of years at Riverhead and began with modifieds at 18.

Her favorite racing memory came when she won a race — and didn’t realize it. Racing with her dad, she lapped the field, crossed first and soon after found out she won. She said it was her first lesson on winning.

The local fans at Riverhead keep her motivated, she said. When she’s not racing she remains active whether it be snowboarding or surfing. She also enjoys spending time with friends and family, she said.

The biggest supporters in her career have been her mother Elsie, sister Breana and Vinny Petrosini.

Previous Meet the Drivers profiles:

#66 Shawn Solomito

#17/#71 Kyle Ellwood

#5 Jeremy McDermott

#19 Robert Bader

#34 Eric Zeh

#8x Eddie Brunnhoelzl III

#19x Rob ‘The Racer’ McCormick

#81 Christopher “Bub” Turbush

#46 Chris “Short Round” Lescenski

#22 Jay Sendlewski

#09 Brad Van Houten

#49 Jack Handley Jr.

#65 Greg Harris

#14 John Beatty Jr.

#88 Roger Turbush

08/20/12 8:00pm
08/20/2012 8:00 PM

GIANNA VOLPE FILE PHOTO | Riverhead Raceway’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program had to be called off Saturday because of rain.

The defending Grand Enduro champion, David Antos of Lindenhurst, scored his first win of the year in a 50-lap Grand Enduro on Sunday afternoon at Riverhead Raceway. Greg Harris of Riverhead notched his first career win at his home track in a 50-lap Four/Six-Cylinder Truck Enduro.

While Steve Mastro of Port Jefferson and James Charrier of Shirley battled for second place, Antos pulled away for his second career victory. Mastro was second, with Charrier third.

Harris had won an Enduro race off Long Island a couple of years ago but never collected a win at his home track until Sunday. Harris moved right out front at the throw of the green flag. Don Nelson Jr. of Rocky Point survived a late-race battle with Robin Vollmoeller of Riverhead to claim second, with Vollmoeller third.

Anthony Pizzo of Lake Ronkonkoma scored a clean sweep in the two Eight-Cylinder Enduro races, winning both. Pizzo won a 75-lap contest over Dege Russell of Rocky Point and Dominic Ranieri of East Northport. In the 40-lap nightcap, Pizzo bested Ranieri and Jess Martines of Shirley.

Steve Trimboli of Freeport won the 60-lap Four/Six-Cylinder Car Enduro in convincing fashion as he dominated the race. George Davis of Patchogue was second, and Greg Berkowitz of Merrick was third.

Saturday’s scheduled NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program was called off because of rain early Saturday afternoon.

08/13/12 4:00pm
08/13/2012 4:00 PM

RIVERHEAD RACEWAY

With rain showers dotting the East Coast and several race tracks calling off their scheduled shows early Saturday, Riverhead Raceway rolled the dice and ran its NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program. Shawn Solomito of Islip was sure glad it did because he won his second NASCAR Modified feature of the season. The win stretched Solomito’s points lead to 22 over his nearest rival, Howie Brode of East Islip, with four scheduled races remaining.

Regarding his lead in the championship standings and his strategy for the final four races, Solomito said, “Right now we’re going to just try and finish in the top five and see how it goes the rest of the way.”

Ryan Preece of Berlin, Conn., was the runner-up. Ted Christopher of Plainville, Conn., was third, Timmy Solomito of Islip fourth and Brode fifth.

The only casualty of the incoming inclement weather was the Late Models, the last feature of the night which was stopped after three laps with Kevin Metzger leading the way. Track officials will announce a plan for the completion of the race.

One week ago, Cory Midgett wasn’t sure if he wanted to race his Charger car after his brother, Brian Midgett Jr., was injured in a serious head-on collision in their hometown of East Hampton the Sunday before. Well, he did race on Saturday for his recovering brother and Brian watched from the wheelchair he is using while his legs heal.

Cory, in just his 10th career start in the class, went out and led all 20 laps to score an emotional win. John Baker of Brookhaven was second, and Eric Zeh of Selden took third. Both Baker and Zeh had won their first career races earlier in the year.

The mid-season portion of the Super Pro Truck season hadn’t been too kind to Mike Albasini of Flushing, but he changed all that Saturday with a win in a 20-lap main event. It was his eighth career win in the division.

Just six laps shy of scoring what would have been his first career win, Rich Campo, with both Albasini and Frank Dumicich Sr. breathing down his neck, spun out of the lead in the first corner, drawing a yellow flag. On the ensuing single-file restart, Albasini remained out front while father and son, Frank Dumicich Sr. and Jr., fought for second, which the younger Dumicich grabbed, leaving his father third.

The 2010 Legend Race Car champion, Kevin Nowak of Medford, topped a 20-lap feature event, using his experience to take the lead from Jeffrey Goodale on a Lap 6 double-file restart. Nowak, who gained his first win of the year, was immediately followed by two teenage drivers — Brendon Bock of Franklin Square and Jeffrey Goodale of Riverhead.

The Four-Cylinder Demolition Derby was run in a light rain shower, with Andrew Fowler of Wantagh topping the 17-car field. Fowler and first-time competitor Michael Suk of Patchogue were locking horns when one of the disabled cars that had been eliminated earlier caught fire and the red flag was displayed. After the fire was put out, Suk’s car would not re-fire and Fowler, the Demolition Derby points leader, took home the trophy.