Auto Racing: An opening night sweep by Solomito


The 2014 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series got underway Saturday evening at Riverhead Raceway as 2012 NASCAR Modified champion Shawn Solomito of Islip swept both ends of the Twin 30 feature events. Over the past four opening nights, either Shawn or his younger brother Timmy has won a feature at the quarter-mile track.

The first of Shawn Solomito’s two wins on the night came over Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead and his brother Timmy Solomito of Islip, who was third.

In the second 30-lap main event, Shawn Solomito beat out runner-up Howie Brode of East Islip for first place. Dave Sapienza of Riverhead finished third after an intense battle with the 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion, Ryan Preece of Berlin, Ct.

“This is a nice way to start the season,” Shawn Solomito remarked after Jerry Cook of NASCAR presented him with his hardware in victory lane. Asked about racing his brother, the soft-spoken driver said, “It is not easy but yet again it’s not hard; we go after one another pretty hard.”

In other races:

Before Chris LaSpisa of Shirley could lay claim to his sixth career Late Model win over 25 laps, he had to dodge several bullets that included more than one attempt to get the race going, numerous restarts and no less than five different drivers who ran second and challenged for the lead win before the halfway mark.

LaSpisa had to ward off the likes of Scott Kulesa, Kevin Metzger, Mike Bologna, Ken Alfano and Shawn Patrick before claiming the victory. The defending Late Model champion, Jeremy McDermott of Riverhead, placed third.

John Vullo of Farmingville jolted the Figure Eight 15-lap feature, leading from flag to flag to capture the victory. Roger Maynor of Bay Shore was second, and Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead came in third.

Chris Turbush of Riverhead notched the 36th career Charger win of his illustrious career, and it might have been one of the hardest fought. At the finish he crossed the line first before Eric Zeh of Selden. The early race leader, Cory Midgett of East Hampton, was third.

Jack Handley Jr. was able to survive a green, white and checker finish to score a win in the Blunderbust 20-lap main event. Tom Pickerell of Huntington was second. John Cricchio of Ridge had a career-best, third-place tally.

Roger Turbush of Riverhead collected his 18th career Super Pro Truck feature event triumph, winning a 20-lap contest. Lou Maestri of Deer Park took second place. Dave Koenig of Freeport came back from an early-race tangle for third.

Veteran driver Kevin Nowak of Medford took opening night honors for the 20-lap Legend Race Car feature. Richie Davidowitz of East Moriches was second. Brad Van Houten of Wading River raced his way from eighth to place third.

CHARRIER BEGINS TITLE DEFENSE James Charrier of Shirley started his Grand Enduro title defense off in fine style Sunday afternoon as did 4/6-Cylinder Truck champion Greg Harris of Riverhead. Both drivers not only won their respective 50-lap feature events but did so in domination fashion. Rob McCormick of Calverton swept the two 8-Cylinder Enduro races while Peter Verwys Jr. of East Rockaway was declared the winner of the 4/6-Cylinder Car Enduro.