07/01/13 4:00pm
07/01/2013 4:00 PM

Riverhead Raceway, Route 58, Riverhead Toyota

Ryan Preece of Berlin, Conn., won his third consecutive NASCAR Whelen Modified tour race Saturday night with a victory in the Hoosier Tire 200 at Riverhead Raceway. Preece won a thrilling race in come-from-behind fashion.

Preece drove into first in Lap 43, passing Ron Silk of Norwalk, Conn. Preece remained the race leader after feeling some heat from Donny Lia, who rode up the left body panel of Preece’s car. Lia’s car spun out and Preece sustained some body damage to his car’s left rear, but continued on.

In Lap 93, Preece’s front right tire went flat, creating havoc on the outside lane. When the field reset, John Beatty Jr, a Riverhead Raceway regular, took the lead with Timmy and Shawn Solomito behind him. Timmy’s night came to an end shortly after when his car overheated.

Ted Christopher rode into second and wasted little time closing ground on Beatty. After several laps side-by-side, Christopher snagged the lead on Lap 136. Meanwhile, Preece came roaring through the pack with a new tire. He closed to third late in the race but still faced a significant distance to reach the leaders.

Christopher and Todd Szegedy were battling for first when Szegedy pushed against the wall exiting a turn as he tried to make an outside pass. The ensuing caution allowed Preece an opportunity to make up ground.

On the Lap 193 restart, Christopher spun his wheels, sending him into a spin and striking the caution car. Preece capitalized by grabbing first place.

Eric Goodale of Riverhead was the runner-up while Beatty placed third in what was a career race for him. Defending Riverhead Raceway champion Shawn Solomito finished fourth and Mike Stefanik of Coventry, R.I., was fifth.

The win was worth about $7,700 to Preece.

“What a roll we’re on right now,” Preece said after the race.

Preece also won the Riverhead 200 last September.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will make its second and final stop at Riverhead Raceway Sept. 14 for the Green Earth Technologies 200.

06/17/13 2:32pm
06/17/2013 2:32 PM

RIVERHEAD RACEWAY

After winning six times in 2012, NASCAR Modified veteran Tom Rogers Jr. didn’t take long to register his first of 2013. The Patchogue driver triumphed in a 35-lap race on Saturday night at Riverhead Raceway. It was his 21st career triumph at the demanding quarter mile oval.

Rogers took the lead when Timmy Solomito’s car broke a pinion in the rear end, forcing him to the infield and handing the lead of the race over to Rogers early in the race.

In the end, though, there was no catching Rogers, who drove to victory on his birthday, the first time he had done so in 12 years, he said.

When reminded that at one point in the race on a double-file restart he was third, surrounded by three Solomito brothers, Rogers said: “I’ve raced with all three before. They run clean as I try to run them clean, too, so it was no issue.”

Shawn Solomito of Islip was second. Eddie Brunnhoelzl of Levittown salvaged his night with a third-place tally. Jerry Solomito Jr. of Islip finished fourth and Howie Brode of East Islip gained sole possession of the points lead with his fifth-place effort.

In other races:

For the 109th time in his career, Roger Maynor of Bay Shore took a win, claiming a 15-lap Figure Eight feature event. Maynor executed a textbook crossover move that propelled him to the race lead on Lap 8. Mike Mujsce of Quogue came in second, and Arne Pedersen of Mastic Beach had to settle for third.

Over the first three Charger races of the season, Ray Minieri of Bay Shore had not had the best of luck. That all changed Saturday when he was in the right spot at the right time to win the 30-lap feature event for the class.

Minieri took the lead on the 14th lap after Chris Turbush was forced to the pits because of a peeled back right front fender. Despite being chased by C. J. Lehmann of Mastic Beach for the entire second half of the race, Minieri drove his Dodge to the winner’s circle for the 16th time in his career. Lehmann was second. Chad Churilla of Hauppauge took a third for the third consecutive race.

The Blunderbust class once again thrilled fans with some late-race excitement as Brian Brown of Baiting Hollow notched his first career win as a result of some wild happenings.

Jack Handley Jr., who started 11th in the 19-car field, carefully picked his way through traffic before setting his sights on the leader, Bill Wegmann Jr., on Lap 15. Just moments after receiving the two-to-go signal, Handley looked to the inside of Wegmann on the first turn. Wegmann, however, tried to thwart the effort and contact was made off turn two. While neither driver ever spun, they did have to step off the gas, and that opened the door for Brown to take the lead. For the last lap and a half, Jimmy White Jr. was glued to Brown’s rear bumper, but Brown remained poised at the wheel and secured the win in thrilling fashion. White of Southampton was second. The defending champion, Tom Pickerell of Huntington, took third after moving up from 16th starting position.

The defending Super Pro Truck champion, Roger Turbush of Riverhead, notched his 15th career win in the class, taking first in a 20-lap main event.

Dave Koenig of Baldwin kept close to Turbush over the distance of the race, finishing second. Lou Maestri of Deer Park came in third.

The race concluded literally in a ball of fire as Erin Dumicich-Solomito, who was running among the top five, blew the engine after taking the white flag with a flash fire engulfing her truck for a moment. After taking in some oxygen she was “O.K.,” according to a raceway statement.

Mike Smith of Kings Park scored the win in the hard-hitting 8-Cylinder Demolition Derby.

06/10/13 12:40pm
06/10/2013 12:40 PM

Ryan Preece of Berlin, Conn., won another signature event at Riverhead Raceway on Saturday night. He earned his fifth career win at the track, taking first place in the Evans Nascar Hall of Fame 100.

Among Preece’s wins in the past are two Nascar Whelen Modified Tours, including last year’s race, as well as the 2012 Baldwin, Evans & Jarzombek 77 Memorial last July in Nascar Modified.

Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville, the 2011 Riverhead champion, was second. Ron Silk of Norwalk, Conn., placed third, Tom Rogers Jr. of Patchogue was fourth and Howie Brode of East Islip rallied from a 25th-lap spin for fifth.

Brode and Preece are knotted for the points lead with 136, but Preece has commitments over the next two weeks that will take him away from Long Island, Shawn Solomito is third with 112.

In other races:

Eric Zeh of Selden won his second Charger race of the season the old-fashioned way, with an outside pass of John Baker with just two laps remaining in the race. The race, which did not involve a single caution flag, saw John Baker of Brookhaven come in second. Newcomer Chad Churilla of Hauppauge made a late-race move for his second consecutive third-place tally.

Timmy Solomito of Islip cashed in on a 30-lap Legend Race Car feature event, leading all the way to score the victory. He was followed by second-place Johnnie Gloor IV of Flanders and third-place Brendon Bock of Franklin Square.

James Charrier of Shirley notched his first Grand Enduro win of 2013 in dominating fashion in a 50-lap main event. Brian McCormack of Holbrook was the runner-up. Jimmy White of Southampton crossed the finish line third.

06/03/13 4:49pm
06/03/2013 4:49 PM

RIVERHEAD RACEWAY

When it was announced in late February that Timmy Solomito of Islip would drive five time Riverhead Raceway champion Wayne Anderson’s NASCAR Modified in 2013, Solomito was quick to say, “We are going to try and win some races and perhaps the track title.”

It took Solomito all of three races to attain one of those goals. He swept the Twin 30s for the NASCAR Modifieds Saturday night, earning his eighth career win.

“I can’t say enough about this team,” Solomito said after exiting the car and getting a bear hug from his car owner, Anderson.

Howie Brode of East Islip was the runner-up, with Shawn Solomito of Islip third. Eric Goodale of Riverhead drove from 14th to finish fourth with Tom Rogers Jr. of Patchogue credited with fifth after NASCAR officials deemed a late-race pass by Ryan Preece of Berlin, Conn., was too low on the track, moving Preece back a spot to sixth.

Shawn Solomito leads Brode in the division points, 110 to 108, with Preece third at 100.

Shawn Patrick of Brightwaters stole the show in the 25-lap Late Model main event, leading from wire to wire in a non-stop race to post his sixth career win. Roger Oxee of Peconic was second and Mike Bologna of Melville was third.

Jimmy White Jr. of Southampton notched his fourth career Blunderbust victory when he won a 20-lap feature event after taking the lead just prior to the halfway mark of the race. Jack Handley Jr. of Medford took second. Brandon Hubbard enjoyed a solid race, coming in third.

After an early race scare, Lou Maestri of Deer Park made it two wins in a row in Super Pro Truck action as he won a 30-lap main event for his 26th career triumph. Following Maestri, the all-time leading winner in the class, was second-place Erin Dumicich-Solomito of East Quogue and third-place Frank Dumicich Sr.

The Legend Race Car season is quickly starting to look like the 2012 campaign. Kyle Ellwood of Riverhead won his second straight race, a 20-lapper. Richie Davidowitz of East Moriches was second, with Kyle Soper of Manorville third. After the race it was disclosed that a sample of Ellwood’s tires was being sent to a facility for testing.

Starting dead last in the 28-car field didn’t deter Christian Conklin of Flanders from taking the win in the 60-lap 4/6-Cylinder Car Enduro. Jeff Dotzel of Kingwood, W. Va., was second. George Davis of Patchogue claimed third.

Matt Mulqueen of Levittown outlasted his two teammates, the father and son combination of Richard and Andrew Fowler of Wantagh, to take the win in a hard hitting 4-Cylinder Demolition Derby.

05/19/13 12:25pm
05/19/2013 12:25 PM

RIVERHEAD RACEWAY ROUNDUP

Howie  Brode of East Islip snapped a nearly three-year winless spell when he swept the Twin 30 NASCAR Modified feature events at Riverhead Raceway on Saturday night.

Threatening skies forced the features to be moved up in the track’s running order because of  unexpected rain showers all around the facility. That didn’t seem to bother Brode, though, as he collected his 12th career win at Riverhead and his first since July 17, 2010, when he was triumphant in the Baldwin, Evans & Jarzombek 77 Memorial.

“That was some good racing and I sure am glad to be back here” Brode said from victory lane. “Just some good hard and clean racing.”

Ryan Preece of Berlin, Conn., was the runner-up, and defending champion Shawn Solomito of Islip drove in third. Ron Silk of Norwalk, Conn.,  and Tom Rogers Jr. of Patchogue completed the top five.

In other races:

Roger Oxee of Peconic celebrated his 61st birthday with his 62nd career Late Model victory when he topped that 25-lap feature event. Afterward, Oxee expressed sympathy for Shawn Patrick, who spun off a turn on Lap 7, enabling Oxee to go in front.

“I know I’d be upset if that happened to me,” Oxee said. “I’m really sorry for Shawn.”

Scott Kulesa of Georgetown, Mass., was second at the finish line, with Chris LaSpisa of Shirley third.

The annual Cromarty Cup 20 for the Figure Eight division drew a 12-car field for the event. When it was over, Arne Pedersen of Mastic Beach hoisted the cup while celebrating his 10th career win. Johnny Vullo, making his first start in a couple of years, clipped three cones that are placed to keep drivers from cutting corners on Lap 14. That moved Pedersen’s second-place car into the lead, which he held over the final five laps. Ken Hyde Jr. of Medford came in second, and the opening-night winner, Tom Ferrara of Patchogue, took third.

Eric Zeh of Selden topped the 20-lap Charger main event to earn his second career feature event win. Chris Turbush of Riverhead was second. Chad Churilla of Hauppauge turned some heads with his solid third-place finish.

Talk about ending a dry spell. That is just what Blunderbust driver Tom Sullivan of Massapequa did as he won a 20-lap main event for his first win since August of 2005. Sullivan did a masterful job of thwarting challenges made by Scott Maliszewski of Deer Park. Sullivan was victorious for the third time in his career. Maliszewski held on for second while Tom Pickerell of Huntington was third.

Opening night found Lou Maestri with a heavily damaged Super Pro Truck sitting atop his open trailer, but those bad fortunes turned good Saturday as Maestri won the 20-lap feature event for his 25th career win. Frank Dumicich Jr. of East Quogue was second, and his sister, Erin Dumicich-Solomito of East Quogue, was third.

The defending Legend Race Car champion, Kyle Ellwood of Riverhead, scored the 20-lap main event win in dominating fashion. Outfitted in one of his father John’s old driving uniforms after his was damaged in a fire at the Waterford Speedbowl in Connecticut in April, Ellwood quickly jumped to the lead from the pole position. The race was slowed when Justin Strumpf hit into a wall before a lap was recorded. When the race resumed, it ran its 20-lap distance without another yellow flag. This aided Ellwood more than it did Vinny Delaney of Holtsville, who was second. Brendon Bock of Franklin Square was third.

05/07/13 4:00pm
05/07/2013 4:00 PM

Riverhead Raceway, Route 58, Riverhead Toyota

There is no better way for a racecar driver to start off a title defense than with a victory. That is exactly what Shawn Solomito of Islip did Saturday night at Riverhead Raceway. He swept the Twin 30 NASCAR Modified feature events on the opening night of the 2013 Whelen All American Series.

John Beatty Jr. of Merrick was second to Solomito in the first 30-lap segment. The second 30-lap tilt saw Solomito remain the race leader for his fourth career victory.

Beatty crossed the line second, but postrace technical inspection found unapproved carburetor barrels and he was disqualified. That turn of events moved Dave Brigati of Calverton to a runner-up finish, with Eric Goodale of Riverhead third, Ryan Preece of Berlin, Conn., fourth and Howie Brode of East Islip fifth.

The 2012 Charger champion, Jeremy McDermott, will not defend his championship in that class so that he can focus on driving a Late Model. That proved to be a wise choice on opening night as he drove from a 10th-place starting berth to his first career victory in a 25-lap feature. Peter Eriksen of Baldwin made a charge over the final half of the race to come back for a runner-up finish. Mike Bologna of Melville made a recovery himself, coming in third.

Tom Ferrara of Patchogue scored the opening night Figure Eight victory in a 15-lap main event as he led wire to wire. It was his sixth career win. Roger Maynor of Bay Shore was second and Arne Pedersen of Mastic Beach claimed third.

Chris Turbush of Riverhead scored his 34th career Charger victory in a 20-lap main event. Tom Anderson of Medford and Eric Zeh of Selden were second and third, respectively.

Controversy turned up in the 20-lap Blunderbust feature event. The win awarded to Justin Wahl of Centereach, his second career triumph.

The controversy arose on the final turn of the final lap. Both Scott Maliszewski and Jack Handley Jr. came off the turn out of shape after contact. Maliszewski spun while Handley managed to cross the line first. However, NASCAR officials deemed that Handley was “rough riding” and set him down to the last car on the lead lap, moving Wahl, who was racing in third when the lead duo got together, as the winner. Bill Wegmann Sr. of North Bellmore spun across the line for second place. Jimmy White Jr. of Southampton was third.

Frank Dumicich Jr. of East Quogue drove to victory in the 20-lap Super Pro Truck feature event as he bested his father, Frank Sr., in the process. He drove to his 13th career victory. The senior Dumicich was second, with Dave Koenig of Freeport third in his first start since winning the championship.

Kevin Nowak of Medford, who drew the coveted pole position, topped the Legend Race Car feature event, leading all the way in the 20-lap race. The next two places went to Paul Dodorico of Miller Place and the defending champion, Kyle Ellwood of Riverhead.

TWO GREGS COME UP WINNERS The 28th consecutive season of Enduro racing debuted Sunday afternoon at Riverhead Raceway. Greg Zaleski of Jamesport topped the 50-lap Grand Enduro while Greg Harris of Riverhead scored the victory in the 50-lap 4/6-Cylinder Truck Enduro.

One, Greg had a convincing win, while the other had to work right up until the last turn to claim his win.

The Grand Enduro was a hotly contested race right from the drop of the green flag with seven position changes taking place for first and second over the first 27 laps of the contest. Following Zaleski to the line at the end were second-place James Charrier of Shirley and third-place Erick Zegel of Medford.

Harris didn’t allow anyone near him in his quest for the 4/6-Cylinder Truck victory as he quickly moved from his third-place starting berth to take the lead as the green flag waved. Don Nelson of Rocky Point was second and Robin Vollmoeller of Riverhead emerged from deep in the field to claim third.

Two 8-Cylinder Enduros were run. Ed Brown Jr. of Mastic Beach made a triumphant return to racing with a victory in the first 75-lap race after taking last season off. Brown took the lead for good on Lap 39. Kris Dane of Hicksville was second, and veteran Spiro Germanakos of Elmont took third.

Anthony Pizzo of Ronkonkoma drove to victory in the 40-lap nightcap for the 8-Cylinder class and was followed by Dominic Ranieri of East Northport and Bob Baker of Shirley.

Teenage driver Joe Warren realized the dream of a lifetime when he scored his first career win in a 50-lap 4/6-Cylinder Car Enduro. Jeff Dotzel of Kingwood, W.V., was second and third went to Peter Rabaglia of Bohemia.

05/04/13 10:00am
05/04/2013 10:00 AM
Riverhead Raceway, Route 58, Riverhead Toyota

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | The 2013 Riverhead Raceway season begins tonight.

The 2013 season at Riverhead Raceway begins tonight with a full slate of races beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Today’s races will feature twin 30′s modifieds (time trials) as well as figure 8′s, late models, chargers, blunderbusts, super pro trucks and legends (time trials).

General admission gates open at 3 p.m. and time trials start at 5 p.m.

Tickets are $22 for adults, $5 for children 6-12 and free for children 5 and under.

Shawn Solomito of Islip is the defending modified champion after tallying 504 points last year.

On Sunday general admission opens at noon for enduro racing and practice for all divisions. The racing starts at 12:30 p.m. and tickets are $20 for adults.

For more information, visit riverheadraceway.com.

01/30/13 7:00pm
01/30/2013 7:00 PM
AMY SPERO FILE PHOTO  |  Shawn Solomito of Islip was officially crowned the modified champion

AMY SPERO FILE PHOTO | Shawn Solomito of Islip was officially crowned the modified champion Sunday afternoon at the raceway’s annual luncheon.

Shawn Solomito of Islip received a standing ovation and was officially crowned Riverhead Raceway’s 2012 NASCAR Modified champion on Sunday afternoon during the raceway’s annual champions’ luncheon in Center Moriches. After being presented with the championship hardware from Riverhead Raceway, Solomito was then awarded the perpetual Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Long Island Driver’s Cup, becoming the 12th driver to be given the cup.

Going into the season, Solomito and his SS Motorsports team dedicated their season to two fallen friends, Keri and Jason Trinca, who died in October of 2011. Solomito’s racecar carried a tribute collage to the Trinca family all season long. “I know I had two angels riding with me all season long en route to this championship,” Solomito said, “and I know somewhere in heaven Keri and little Jay are smiling down on us.”

It is the first NASCAR Modified championship of Solomito’s career.

Race teams and fans turned out to salute all eight track champions. Joining Solomito in the 2012 “parade of champions” were: Mike Bologna of Melville (Late Model), Mike Mujsce of Westhampton Beach (Figure Eight), Jeremy McDermott of Riverhead (Charger), Tom Pickerell of Huntington (Blunderbust), Roger Turbush of Riverhead (Super Pro Truck), Kyle Ellwood of Riverhead (Legend Race Car) and Andrew Fowler of Wantagh (Demolition Derby).

Rookie of the Year awards were handed out to Chris McGuire of Shirley (NASCAR Modified), Jeremy McDermott (Late Model), George Seus of Ronkonkoma (Figure Eight) and Cory Midgett (Charger).