Versatile Dave Brigati of Calverton pulled triple duty once again at Riverhead Raceway during the Donaldson’s VW-Subaru night NASCAR Whelen All American series program and in the process drove to his 10th career NASCAR Modified victory in their 40-lap main event. Prior to his win Brigati placed 5th in the 30-lap Super Pro Truck event and runner-up in the 25-lap Eagle Auto Mall Modified Crate race with a large crowd looking on.
Cory Midgett and John Baker brought the field to the green flag with Midgett breaking out to the early NASCAR Modified lead while John Fortin Jr. who started the race third slipped under Baker for second early on. As the leaders raced off the second turn on lap 3 Fortin powered his way under Midgett for the race lead. Just one lap later cagey veteran Dave Brigati threw his hat into the ring as he was able to race his way by both Fortin and Midgett for the race lead as the two young drivers both seeking their first career wins battled for second. As the race entered a long green flag run Brigati stayed out front with Fortin staying right in his tire tracks as the race hit the halfway mark.
By lap 25 Dillon Steuer made his way to Fortin’s back spoiler for second and would make his way by for the position on lap 27. Unfazed by being passed for position Fortin roared back to reclaim second from Steuer on lap 31 as the two young lions entertained the fans with veteran like racing. With all the jockeying for second going on behind him Dave Brigati wheeling the JDL Environmental Chevy was able to build a small yet comfortable lead that he’d carry to the conclusion of the race. Just as the checkers waved on the NASCAR Modified field a light rain as predicted by local forecasters began to fall.
“This is pretty awesome” Brigati boasted after exiting the winning car, “my guys headed up by the tireless efforts of Brian Schwarz work 50 hours a week on all our race cars and this one is for them”. As for seeing his mirror full of youthful talent behind him Dave noted, “the future of our sport is in some fine hands, those kids are good and it was nice to beat them tonight”. The NASCAR Modified win also gave Brigati a moment to reflect on the loss of his Dad during the off season, “he’d love this right now, he got me into this game when he sponsored Fred Harbach, I owe it all to him” the winner stated chocking back tears.
John Fortin Jr. of Holtsville was runner-up in the Suffolk Pro Cycles Chevy with teenage sensation Dillon Steuer of Bohemia third in the Northeastern Office Equipment Chevy. Eddie Brunnhoelzl III of Levittown and Kyle Soper of Manorville completed the top five
Ageless “Jumping” Jack Orlando of Calverton in just his third Eagle Auto Mall Modified Crate start won his first career race in the class, his 32nd overall at the track. Armed with an outside pole starting position Orlando got the measure of pole sitter Jay Hansen at the throw of the green. Hansen would have a fine early race run going before he spun from second on lap 7 setting up a double file restart with Orlando still out front. When the race went back green “Jumping” Jack stayed out front with perennial front runner Dylan Slepian moving to second. However Orlando the author of 24 Charger and 7 Late Model wins at the track he grew up at was not going to surrender the lead in this race as he drove the Prototype Fabrication Chevy under the checker flag first. Dylan Slepian of Dix Hills crossed the line second in his Eastport Feeds Chevy while CJ Lehmann of Center Moriches was third in the IGA Food Markets entry.
Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead once again was the winner of the 15-lap Figure Eight main event, his 31st career triumph leaving him one behind “Downtown” George Brown for third on the all time win list. For the second race in a row rookie Eric Zeh paced the race from the drop of the green and had built up a sizeable lead before a lap 5 yellow flag waved and bunched up the pack. On the ensuing restart Zeh was leading former champion Scott Pedersen when Tom Rogers Jr. once again made a bold move on the restart to race his way from third to the race lead. Once out front there would be no catching the Bays Bar & Grill of Hampton Bays Coupe as Rogers took down his fifth win in seven starts just as the rain intensified. With just tow laps left in the race Tom Ferrara of Patchogue made his way to a runner-up finish in the Extreme Auto Body Cadillac while Scott Pedersen of Shirley was third in the Reliable Auto Sales Chevy.
With a return to classes at St. John’s University looming Jack Handley Jr. his the racing books Saturday night when he topped the 30-lap Super Pro Truck feature event. Dave Brigati set the tone in qualifying with a lap of 13.445 and wind up on the pole for the final tune up before the Mr. Rooter New England Truck Series 75 this Saturday night August 20th. Brigati would make his way to the race lead at the throw of the green with teenage talent Owen Grennan in pursuit. As the race wore on and hit the final 10 laps the race for the lead intensified and on lap 23 Brigati and Grennan made slight contact allowing Mike Albasini to race his way from third to the lead. Brigati recovered to run second for the 24th lap before rival Grennan made his way by for the position on lap 25. Once again Grennan finding himself in the challengers role turned up the heat on leader Albasini and contact would be made on lap 27 with Mike going around and Owen moved to the rear of the field for the restart by track officials. The late race turn of event propelled Jack Handley Jr. in the Hollis Court Collision Chevy to the race lead with early leader Dave Brigati now back to second. In the final three lap dash for the cash Jack Handley Jr. would show the way with Dave Brigati runner-up in the Quest Machining & Fabricating racer. Former multi time champion Lou Maestri of Deer Park placed third in the Hunter Business School Chevy.
The 20-lap INEX Legend Race Car feature saw young Jeff Otto Jr. of Deer Park realize his lifelong dream of taking home a Saturday night win at Riverhead Raceway. Otto would jump to the early race lead when things got underway chased at first by Jerry Curran before Ed Cheslak came calling on lap 3 passing Curran for second to the inside off turn four. After sizing up Otto for five laps Cheslak made his way to the race lead on lap 8 again using the inside lane off the final turn to execute the pass. Cheslak would show the way until the halfway mark when veteran Paul Dodorico made his way by. However a lap 11 crash involving Jim Sylvester and Eric Hersey slowed the race and set up a double file restart. When the race resumed Jeff Otto Jr. had the restart of his young racing career as he powered his way out front in the Designs For Vision machine. Once out front life didn’t get easier for Otto in his quest for career win #1 as he had to hold off veterans Bryan Kelly and Vinny Delaney before laying claim to the victory. Defending champion Vinny Delaney of Holtsville was runner up in the Stakey’s Pumpkin Farm racer while “Blackjack” Bryan Kelly of Aquebogue was third in the John’s Tree Removal mount.
In a hard hitting Demolition Derby for the 8-Cylinder cars run in the rain Frank Phillips of Ozone Park made a triumphant return to the Demo wars winning the event in his Tire Express backed car. Danny Zasowski of Holbrook was named Judge’s Choice and Jason Savoy of Lake Panamoka was voted Fan’s Choice.
Due to the rain the Mini Stock, Gut & Go Enduro as well the I Love American Night Fireworks display were all shelved for the night. The Fireworks show will be made up Saturday night September 2nd over the Labor Day holiday weekend.
1. Dave Brigati 2. John Fortin Jr. 3. Dillon Steuer 4. Eddie Brunnhoelzl III 5. Kyle Soper 6. John Baker 7. Joe Hartmann 8. Ryan Preece 9. Tom Rogers Jr. 10. Cory Midgett 11. Roger Turbush 12. Vinny Biondolillo 13. Howie Brode 14. Chris Young 15. John Fortin Sr.
1. Jack orlando 2. Dylan Slepian 3. CJ Lehmann 4. Dennis Krupski 5. Dave Brigati 6. AJ DeSantis 7. Peter Bertuccio 8. Jay Hansen 9. Michael Rommeney 10. Tony Vecchio 11. Michael Rutkoski 12. Cary Rogers 13. Justin Brown 14. Scott Pedersen
1. Tom Rogers Jr. 2. Tom Ferrara 3. Scott Pedersen 4. Gary Fritz Jr. 5. Bob Dalke 6. Eric Zeh 7. Vinny Delaney 8. Brian Hansen 9. Johnny Vullo 10. Greg Harris 11. Tom Kraft Jr. 12. Charles Macwhinne
Super Pro Trucks:
1. Jack Handley Jr. 2. Dave Brigati 3. Lou Maestri 4. Sean Glennon 5. Jimmy Rennick Jr. 6. Frank Dumicich Jr. 7. Mike Albasini 8. Owen Grennan 9. Eddie Schutze 10. Mark Stewart
Legend Race Cars:
1. Jeff Otto Jr. 2. Vinny Delaney 3. Bryan Kelly 4. John Beatty Jr. 5. Artie Pedersen III 6. Ray Fitzgerald 7. Mike Van Houten Jr. 8. Silas Hiscock 9. Mike Benton 10. Jerry Curran 11. Riley O’Keefe 12. Jason Castaldo 13. Paul Dodorico 14. Ed Cheslak 15. Jim Sylvester 16. Eric Hersey 17. Chris Rogers 18. Steve Boland 19. Mike Mortimer 20. Kevin Nowak 21. George Tomko Jr. 22. John Mackie DNS- Richie Davidowitz DNS- Matt Brode DNS Bobby Jones
Winner: Frank Phillips