Auto Racing: Bonsignore finds opening to victory lane

06/20/2011 2:25 PM |

Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville saw an opening under Tom Rogers Jr. with just over 10 laps remaining in the NASCAR Modified feature Saturday night and he took full advantage of it to win in the 35-lap event at Riverhead Raceway. It was Bonsignore’s fourth career win.

Tom Rogers Jr. of Patchogue was second while Shawn Solomito of Islip, fresh off an 11th-place finish at Thompson Speedway in a Modified Racing Series event, was third. Dave Brigati of Calverton was fourth and the points leader, John Fortin of Holtsville, was fifth.

The 15-lap Figure Eight main event was a matter of survival, and the driver who survived best was Tom Ferrara of Holbrook. Ferrara drove to his fourth career win. Tim Farrell of Mastic turned in a career-best second-place finish, with 2010 Rookie of the Year Dennis Scott third.

Three-time defending champion Chris Turbush of Riverhead was in the right place at the right time to post his second win of the year and the 27th of his career. With five laps to go, Brian Doyle and Ray Minieri touched while exiting a turn, sending them into a semi-spin. Turbush, who ranks third on the all-time win list for the class, seized the moment and drove his Pontiac into the lead and the eventual win. Minieri of Bay Shore made a nice recovery for second place. The points leader, Chris McGuire of Shirley, took third.

Tom Pickerell of Huntington did something Saturday that not many have done before: He passed Tommy Walkowiak for the race lead and victory in a 30-lap Blunderbust feature event. It was his seventh career trip to victory lane. Walkowiak of Ridge, who set a new track record in the time trials with a circuit of 14.968 seconds, was second. Scott Maliszewski of Deer Park finished third.

Teenage driver Kyle Ellwood gave his father, John, a former Charger champion at Riverhead Raceway, an early Father’s Day gift when he topped the Legend Race Car main event in a race that was shortened from 20 to 16 laps because of a time limit. “It was a great Father’s Day gift,” said John Ellwood. Mike Malone of Mastic Beach was second, and the points leader, Justin Strumpf of Selden, was third.

When the 50-lap Grand Enduro concluded it appeared that newcomer Steve Mastro had won his first career race in just his third start, but upon further review, that was not the case. After two audits of the score cards, it was determined that Mastro did not make a stunning recovery from an earlier spin with Ray Fitzgerald while racing for the lead, but instead was the third-place car. David Antos, a hard-working driver from Lindenhurst, posted the win, having waited three years to do so. Veteran Phil LaManna of Smithtown was second.

Former World and National Demolition Derby champion Bob Benison outlasted the field for the win in a hard-hitting eight-cylinder Demolition Derby. Benison eliminated Jason Savoy of Lake Panamoka to post the win.