Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead raced to his 45th career win on Saturday in the annual Baldwin Evans & Jarzombek 77 at Riverhead Raceway as he closes in on the second most wins all-time at the track. That distinction currently belongs to Jim Malone Sr. with 50.
Prior to the night’s racing, three men were inducted onto the Cromarty Wall of Champions, which track owners Eddie and Connie Partridge and their nephew Tom Gatz debuted Saturday. The wall is housed at the turn three entrance gate. The honorees were Ed Brunnhoelzl Jr. of Levittown, a 22-time NASCAR Modified winner at Riverhead; Tom Kraft of Mastic Beach, who won 29 times; and Danny McNamara of Water Mill, the leading all-time Legend race car winner.
To start Saturday’s modified race, 15-year-old Dillon Steuer of Bohemia set the standard in qualifying while defending champion Shawn Solomito of Center Moriches was second. At the start of the race, Chris Young moved out in front followed by Steuer and Solomito. On Lap 4, Solomito passed Steuer and then took the lead on Lap 7. Steuer found himself in a battle for second a third of the way through the race with Rogers, who had started the race in sixth.
Rogers made his move to pass to Steuer on Lap 34 and then turned his attention toward the race leader, Solomito. Rogers made a bid for the top spot as raced his way under Solomito entering the third turn on Lap 48. Just laps later Solomito’s race ended with a spin off turn two because of a broken wheel.
Eddie Brunnhoelzl moved into the second position and appeared ready to make a run at Rogers in the lead. But as the race neared the finish, he needed to instead hold off John Fortin Sr. to maintain second. With five laps remaining, Fortin moved into the second spot, where he finished. Brunnhoelzl settled for third and Brendon Bock of Franklin Square and Dave Brigati of Calverton completed the top five.
In other races, Eric Zeh of Selden survived the 25-lap Late Model feature that was a caution-marred race. He picked up his second win of the season. Jeremy McDermott of Riverhead the runner-up and Kyle Soper of Manorville placed third.
In the blunderbust race, Jim Laird of Riverhead scored his first win of the season in the 20-lap main event. Tom Pickerell of Huntington was the runner-up and Eric Zeh of Selden was third.
In the Legend race, Brendon Bock of Franklin Square won his third straight race in the 20-lap main event. Kevin Nowak of Medford was the runner-up while John Beatty Jr. of Merrick was third.
In the 40-lap Truck Enduro, Gene Burbol of Brookhaven was the winner — for a moment. A post-race tech inspection revealed an unapproved exhaust. Burbol contended that the exhaust pipe broke during the race. Track officials, however, declared Don Nelson Jr. of Rocky Point as the winner. Hank Hallock of Riverhead was second.