Riverhead Raceway: Late models take center stage

It was a night off for the NASCAR modifieds Saturday at Riverhead Raceway, setting the stage for the late models to steal the show. The night was dubbed “Late Model Thunder” Saturday.

Defending champion Mike Bologna of Melville scored his second straight late model victory to earn a $1,000 first-place prize. Bologna started the race third and quickly shot into the lead by ducking under Peter Eriksen on Lap 2. With Bologna comfortably in the lead, attention turned to Jarrod Hayes of Calverton and Jeremy McDermott of Riverhead as they battled for second. On Lap 41, Hayes slipped by McDermott for second with nine laps remaining.

Hayes made a push toward Bologna, but ultimately couldn’t pass the leader. Bologna finished off the race to pick up his 15th career victory.

The victory came at a crucial time for Bologna, who noted afterward that he may not be able to race full time in 2016 without a marketing partner to help offset costs.

Hayes ended up taking second place and McDermott finished third. Roger Oxee of Peconic and Eriksen completed the top-five.

In figure eights, Mike Mujsce of Quogue topped the 15-lap main event for his first win of the season and 18th for his career. Roger Maynor of Bay Shore took second and Tom Rogers of Riverhead placed third.
Mujsce drove out front on Lap 2 and was quickly joined by Maynor and Rogers. The trio ran in a single formation at first, but no one could get past Mujsce.

In the 20-lap charger feature, Cory Midgett of East Hampton raced to victory to increase his win streak to three. The race was ultimately cut short to 14 laps due to a time limit. Ray Minieri of Bay Shore finished second and defending champion and point leader Eric Zeh of Centereach placed third.

In the 20-lap blunderbust feature, Tommy Walkowiak of Ridge took advantage of a rare pole starting position to win the race. Terry Stiles and Jim Laird rounded out the top three.

Modified standout Dave Brigati shined in a different event Saturday: the super pro truck. Brigati dominated the 20-lap feature as he quickly raced into the lead from the pole. Jimmy Rennick Jr. of Howard Beach passed Brian McElearney of North Babylon on Lap 18 to seize second place. McElearney settled for third.

Vinny Delaney of Holtsville raced to victory in the legends 20-lap race. Richie Davidowitz of East Moriches finished second and Kyle Ellwood of Riverhead finished third.

Finally, in the 8-cylinder enduro race, Anthony Pizzo of Lake Ronkonkoma came back just 20 days after his car sustained heavy damage to win the 75-lap main event for the class. Bryan Kelly of Aquebogue was the runner-up and Donald Lawrence of Southampton was third.