Auto Racing: On night of legends, Rogers moves closer to becoming one


With Old Timers Night featuring the annual Wall of Fame induction ceremony, it was an evening to recall the driving legends that have passed through the pit gate at Riverhead Raceway. Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead showed why he is on the path toward becoming a driving legend in his own right, sweeping the Twin 30 NASCAR Modified features on Saturday night.

The wins were Rogers’ sixth and seventh of the year, giving him a career total of 31, tying him with Tommy Washburn and Jackie Reinhard for sixth on the all-time win list.

“It’s pretty cool being among the great names like Park, Anderson, Young, Washburn and Reinhard,” said Rogers.

At the pace he is currently on, Rogers could surpass Chris Young (33) for third on the all-time win list before the season is over.

Midway through the race card, the track honored Paul McElearney, Dan Turbush and Peggy Smith as the trio was enshrined on the Wall of Fame that greets guests of the track by the turn three entrance gate. The highlight of the ceremony was when Turbush took Smith, who is battling cancer, for a victory lap around the track in a golf cart complete with a checker flag. The duo received a standing ovation.

Rogers scored a convincing win in the first 30-lap race, with Jason Agugliaro of Islip second, Howie Brode of East Islip third, Ryan Preece fourth and John Fortin of Holtsville fifth.

Ryan Preece of Berlin, Conn., was runner-up in the second race. The division leader, Brode, was third. Kyle Ellwood of Riverhead was fourth and Fortin fifth.

Brode saw Rogers trim 4 points off his points lead. Rogers is now 17 points back with five point races remaining in the season.

In other races:

Mike Bologna of Melville notched his second straight Late Model win and third of the year, triumphing in a 30-lap event. It was 12th career win. Jarrod Hayes of Calverton was a close second. Scott Kulesa of Georgetown, Mass., was the third to cross the finish line.

Suffice it to say that Blunderbust driver Jimmy White Jr. of Southampton loves 30-lap races. He won all extra distance events last year, and on Saturday he took first in another 30-lap contest for his third win of the year. Tom Pickerell of Huntington was second and Johnny Cricchio of Ridge took third.

After burning the midnight oil all week long to repair a wrecked race truck, Dave Koenig of Freeport rewarded his loyal team with a wire-to-wire win in a 30-lap Super Pro Truck feature. “This truck was junk,” Koenig said after his second win of the season, “but my guys and gals never stopped working. This is a sweet win.”

Roger Turbush of Riverhead was second and third went to Mike Albasini of Flushing, who started the race ninth.