RPW Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WAVERLY, RI – Sixty years ago in 1960 George Janoski, a local favorite, was the Friday night winner on the dirt at Stafford.
Dick Watson was the 25 lap Modified winner at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. Ray Moran was the non-Ford winner and Dick Dunn took the win in the Bombers. Seekonk was quiet.
Fifty five years ago in 1965 the Stafford Springs Speedway was quiet. Newt Palm won the 30 lap September Championship at the Waterford Speedbowl. Daring Dick Caso won in the Bombers and Bill Scrivner was the Late Model Daredevil winner. The Albany-Saratoga Speedway wound up their inaugural season with a 100 lapper which was won by Dick Dixon. Don Collins finished second followed by Frank Mathalia and Don Flynn. Billy Greco was crowned the track’s first Modified Champion.
Lou Lazzaro was the winner at Fonda and at Norwood Mario “Fats” Caruso was the Modified winner while Johnny Thompson was the Sportsman winner. Dan Stanton won the Modified 30 lapper at Seekonk. Hank Goff was the B division winner. At the Utica-Rome Speedway Richie Evans scored his first career Modified win over Sonny Seamon and Bernie Miller.
Fifty years ago in 1970, Jerry Cook was desperately trying to make up some lost ground on the national point ladder as he went to Martinsville where he won the Fall 100 over John Bryant and Melvin Puddin Swisher. Conspicuous by his absence was Ray Hendrick who went north to Oswego where he took a big win. Stafford ran their final event of the year, which saw Bugsy Stevens take the win over Ray Miller, Fred DeSarro who also wrapped up the 1970 NASCAR Modified Championship, Moose Hewitt and Bernie Miller. Ed Yerrington finished eighth and wrapped up the Stafford track championship.
Stafford track owner Jack Arute had a vision. After traveling to Martinsville and seeing the landscaping that had been done he decided that he wanted his track to look as good. Today you see the results of that vision as the Stafford Motor Speedway is landscaped with trees and bushes. Read all about it in the all new book “The Modified Years at Stafford which details season by season, race by race of all Modified races held at the Connecticut oval from 1969 to 1986. Books are available thru Amazon.com, Coastal181 877-907-8181 and soon to be at the Stafford Speedway Web site.
Sunday racing at Thompson and Waterford rained out. Johnny Tripp was the A division winner at Seekonk. Bob Astle was the B winner.
Forty five years ago in 1975, Richie Evans went two for three as he won at Fulton on Friday night over Sonney Seamon, Geoff Bodine and Fred DeSarro. On Sunday, Evans traveled to Islip where he led from pole to pole to win the All-Star 300.Charlie Jarzombek finished second and was followed by Bugsy Stevens and Maynard Troyer. In between all of that was the Oswego Modified 200 which saw Maynard Troyer take the win which was worth in excess of $15,000.Bodine finished second and was followed by Evans, Roger Treichler and Greme Bolia. Dick Dunn put a lid on the season at Waterford with a 100 lap win in the Al Gaudreau No. 3. Rain prevailed at Seekonk.
Forty years ago in 1980, it was Race of Champions weekend at Pocono. Close to 100 cars were on hand and when all was said and done, Richie Evans took the win over Geoff Bodine, Ronnie Bouchard, Greg Sacks and Bugsy Stevens. Evans passed Bouchard for the lead on lap 286 of the 300-lap event. The night before Pocono, Evans flew to Riverside where he won a 50 lapper over Bob Polverari. While Evans was in the north, Bodine was in the south where he won a 300-lap Late Model Sportsman (Busch Grandnational) event at South Boston. In Winston Cup action at North Wilkesboro, Bobby Allison took the win.
Thirty five years ago in 1985, Stan Gregger was the Saturday night winner at Riverside while at Waterford; Dickie Doo Ceravolo scored a win for the hometown crowd. Ceravolo beat out Bob Potter and Mark LaJunesse for the win. Art Moran Jr. was the Super Stock winner. The NASCAR modifieds were busy. They ran a 150 lapper at Shangri-La on Saturday night where George Kent took the win over Jan Leaty and Richie Evans. After an all night ride to Maine, they did it all over at Oxford Plains where Evans took the win over Brian Ross and Doug Hevron. In Winston Cup action at Martinsville, Dale Earnhardt took the win.
Thirty years ago in 1990, Bill Zacharis won a 150 lapper at Shangri-La and sewed up the track championship. Andy Romano finished second with Lee Sherwood, third. At Lancaster, Doug Hevron won the season ending 200 over Mike McLaughlin and Siege Fidenza. Waterford ran a 200 lapper on Sunday, which saw Bob Potter take the win. David Gada finished second and sewed up the track championship.
Twenty five years ago in 1995, Jim Broderick won the Race of Champions qualifier at Waterford as he out ran Tucker Reynolds Jr., Scott Spaulding and Mike Gada. The NASCAR Featherlite Modifieds were at Loudon. Steve Park took the win as a mad scramble occurred behind him. Satch Worley attempted to go under Mike Stefanik on the last lap when they touched and triggered a pileup. Jan Leaty, who was running eighth, moved into second spot at the finish. Ed Kennedy finished third and was followed by Tom Cravenho and was followed by Mike Ewanitsko. Joe Bessey was the Busch North Series winner over Robbie Crouch and Jeff Barry and Steve Kinser won his 400th main event in World of Outlaws competition. In Winston Cup action at Martinsville, Dale Earnhardt took the win.
Twenty years ago, in 1990, it was Winston Cup weekend at Loudon. Included were the Modifieds who again put on the best show of the weekend. Mike Ewanitsko took the 100 lap win with six laps to go when Ted Christopher’s motor went to skipping and losing power. Reggie Ruggiero finished second and was followed by John Blewett III, Rick Fuller and Dan Avery. Christopher sputtered home in sixth spot. Andy Santarre won the Busch North Series event and in Winston Cup action, Jeff Burton led all 300 laps in one of the most boring Winston Cup events ever run as NASCAR really blew it when they mandated restrictor plates in hopes of making the race safer in the wake of two deaths, those of Kenny Irwin and Adam Petty. Rob Janovic won at Waterford on Saturday night. Ron Silk finished second with Tom Fox, third. During the evenings events it was announced that track operator Terry Eames had purchased the property where the Speedbowl was located for $1.85 million. It was also this week that Wally Saleeba passed away. Wally had been a close friend and confidant of D. Anthony Venditti for many years.
Fifteen years ago in 2005 the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour series took the weekend off before the beginning its final three race stretch drive which would see the Fall Final at Stafford on October 2, the rescheduled twin bill Busch North-Whelen Modified event at the Thompson Speedway on Saturday, October 8 and the season ending World Series at the Thompson Speedway on October 16. Ted Christopher, who was riding a three win in a row streak, began the stretch drive with a 31 point lead over Tony Hirschman. Both had done extremely well at both Thompson and Stafford. Jerry Marquis, 143 points back, and Chuck Hossfeld, 157 points back, had an outside shot. Despite having a poor finish at the season opener at Thompson when he wrecked and got injured, plus missing the Spring Sizzler, Eric Beers had clawed his way into fifth spot, 225 points in arrears. Beers’ determination plus the bullet proof reliability of Mike Boehler’s Ole Blu has put Beers in contention. Don Lia, Doug Coby, Rick Fuller, Zack Sylvester and Mike Christopher rounded out the top ten. With 15 events in the record book a total of 78 different drivers had entered into Whelen Modified Tour Series competition.
Kerry Malone finally got the monkey off his back as he took the win in the Sunoco Modified division at the Thompson Speedway on Thursday night. Bert Marvin put the pressure on during the closing moments of the 30 lap feature but Malone never wavered. Keith Rocco turned in another strong run as he finished third ahead of Jimmy Blewett and Jeff Malave. Marc Palmisano took the Late Model feature and Mike O’Sullivan took top honors in the Pro Stocks. Larry Barnett won his sixth of the year in the Limited Sportsman and Chad Gaudiosi was the Thompson Modified winner. Randy Jurcik took the Mini Stocks.
Although the nights were getting cooler the action at the Waterford Speedbowl continued to be hot and heavy. Ron Yuhas jr. had more than his share of the bump and grind at the shoreline oval. In spite of it all he remained in the point race and last week moved into the lead by a scant four points over Rob Summers as he on the feature for the SK Modifieds. Ron Silk finished second with Dennis Gada, third. Rob Summers who previously led the points finished fourth with Tommy Fox rounding out the top five. Other Saturday night winners at Waterford were Allen Coates took his eighth win in the Late Models, Dan Darnstaedt in the Sportsman, Ken Cassidy in the Mini-Stocks and Curtis D’Addario in the X-Cars. Speaking of the X-Cars, the Speedbowl ran a mechanics race on Wednesday night that was won by former Modified Champion Dickie Doo Ceravolo.
Ryan Newman tied a NASCAR Busch Series record by winning in his fourth consecutive start of the season, a dominant performance in a wreck-filled race Saturday at Dover International Speedway. Newman was far ahead of the cars involved in two multicar accidents in the opening laps. The Dover 200 was a rout, with Newman leading all but seven laps, setting a record on The Monster Mile. Darrell Waltrip led 167 laps in 1985. Jimmie Johnson won Sunday’s MBNA RacePoints 400 at Dover International Speedway, holding onto his lead during a two-lap overtime period despite heavy pressure on his back bumper from Busch, his teammate at Hendrick Motorsports.
Ten years ago in 2010, Thursday night Thunder Racing at the Thompson Speedway continued to be some of the best competition to be seen as Danny Cates went from the outhouse to the penthouse in the Sunoco (SK type) Modifieds at the high banked, lightning fast oval. Cates, who has been extremely fast and smooth all year had only one victory on the season going into the night’s racing program. Cates powered his second win of the season despite having to start last in the 18 car starting field. Ted Christopher who has dominated the division with ten wins was never a factor as his night ended on the tail end of a wrecker. Christopher was all done by the third lap when John Catania hit the wall going into the third turn, drifted down, and hit Christopher’s car, severely damaging the right-side suspension.
Following Cates and Woody Pitkat at the finish was Silk, Rocco and Preece. Christopher who currently leads Pitkat by 56 points finished 15th.
In other action at Thompson, Larry Gelinas dominated in Super Late Models to score his fourth victory of the 2010 season. Spirits were riding high as Mike Scorzelli and Chad Baxter of scored career firsts in the Late Models and Mini Stocks respectively. Joe Coates was tops in the Limited Sportsman division while Brian Tagg wired the field for the TIS Modified victory.
After a week off, the Stafford Speedway was back in action on Friday, September 10th with the Inaugural Shark Cycle 100. It was a banner night for Stafford’s own Woody Pitkat, who bagged a double by winning both the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, and the 30-lap Late Model feature. The SK Modified® victory was the third of 2010 for Pitkat and the Late Model win was his second consecutive and seventh overall win of 2010. Other feature winners were Tommy Barrett, Jr., who scored his ninth win of 2010 in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, George Nocera, Jr., who won his second feature of 2010 in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Andrew Hayes scored his third win of the 2010 season in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.
In the SK Modified feature Ryan Preece finished second. Rounding out the top five was JeffMalave, Dan Avery and Josh Sylvester. Keith Rocco’s 9th place finish was enough to clinch the 2010 Stafford Motor Speedway SK Modified® track championship.
In action on the Connecticut shoreline at the Waterford Speedbowl Todd Ceravolo made it two in a row in SK Modified competition. Keith Rocco was second with Rob Janovic finishing third. Ron Yuhas and Doug Coby ran side-by-side to the checkered flag for fourth, with Yuhas taking that spot by a bumper.
In other action at the Speedbowl, Vin Esposito won his second Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model feature on the year. Ed Puleo went pole to pole to win his fifth Street Stock race of 2010, while Mark Panaroni checkered the Norwich Bulletin Mini Stock race, his first of the season. Russ Stoehr won a 35-lap NEMA Midget memorial race and Jesse State of New Hyde Park, NY was the victor in the NEMA Lite event.
The Modified Racing Series made its inaugural visit to the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night. Ted Christopher put the Joe Brady #00 in victory lane. Starting third, Christopher took the lead from Ron Silk on lap two and never looked back. It was Christopher’s 110th win at Stafford. Silk finished second and was followed by Rowan Pennink, Jeff Malave and Chris Pasteryak. Sixth through tenth were Mike Stefanik, Bryon Chew, Eric Goodale, Richard Savory and Bobby Santos III.
Eighteen of the 28 starters were on the lead lap at the finish. There were 38 cars on hand for the inaugural event which appeared to be well received by fans and track management alike.
Justin Bonsignore the leading rookie driver on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour enjoyed some home cooking Saturday night when he topped the 35-lap NASCAR Modified feature event at Riverhead Raceway posting the $1,425 victory. With a 5th place finish Tom Rogers Jr. of Patchogue sewed up the 2010 NASCAR Modified championship giving him two titles in the class with his first coming in 2004.
Kevin Harvick passed Brad Keselowski for the lead with just over 50 laps to go Friday night and won the NASCAR Nationwide Series race for his third victory of the season and 37th overall.
In NASCAR Sprint Cup action Denny Hamlin scored a dominating win at the Richmond International Raceway. It came a week after he had the car to beat in Atlanta until an engine failure dropped him to a last-place finish, and the Richmond win pushed him into the points lead for the first time in his career.
Five years ago in 2015, The Stafford Motor Speedway closed out their summer season with The Final Friday Night Shoot-Out, the final Friday night event before the season ending NAPA Fall Final next weekend on October 3-4. Taking down NASCAR Whelen All-American Series weekly feature wins on the night were Eric Berndt for the first time this season in the SK Modified® feature, Tom Fearn was disqualified from a win in the Late Model feature due to a technical infraction which moved Michael Wray up for the win and making him a first time winner, Joey Ferrigno scored his fifth win of 2015 in the SK Light feature, Paul Arute took down his very first career victory in the Limited Late Model feature, Trace Beyer scored his third win of 2015 in the DARE Stock feature, and Mikey Flynn scored his second win of 2015 in the Legend Cars feature.
Berndt made his move to the inside of Dan Avery to take over the lead with a pass in turn 4 on lap-13. Berndt cruised to his first victory of the 2015 season with Mike Gervais, Avery, Todd Owen, and Ryan Preece rounding out the top-5. In the Late Model event, Tom Fearn led Wray to the checkered flag to pick up his 11th win of the 2015 season. Following the checkered flag, Fearn’s car was found to have an unapproved tire on his car and his team failed to execute technical inspection with the #92 car and he was disqualified from the race, making Michael Wray a first time winner in the Late Model ranks.
The New London-Waterford Speedbowl continues to wind down it’s season with one more Saturday night, Champions night, to go. Keith Rocco, despite missing two events at the shoreline oval, was the point leader until bad luck reared it’s ugly head and took him out of the running in the early going which placed him in 14th finishing position. Ted Christopher used the classic “Chrome Horn” to shake up Tyler Chadwick with three laps to go as he went on to record his eighth win of the year at the Speedbowl. Chadwick, who hung on to finish second, took the point lead by four over Rocco. New York state invader Jimmy Zacharias finished third with Joe Gada and Ed Puleo rounding out the top five. Rocco, who knows how quick ones luck can change in racing stated that he will go home, re-group and come back for more this coming week. Both Rocco and Christopher will have to hustle a bit as they are entered in team cars for the Whelen Modified Tour Series at Loudon which is slated to run Saturday afternoon.
Other Saturday night winners were Al Stone who recorded his fifth win of the year and Anthony Flannery in the Late Models. Stone wrapped up the Limited Sportsman championship and Jason Palmer wrapped up the Late Model title. Palmer finished third and actually received a gift when Keith Rocco’s car owner Scott Fearn sold Rocco’s championship leading car. Ken Cassidy was the Mini Stock winner and Joe Ferrigno backed up his Friday night win at Stafford with a win in the SK Lights on Saturday. David Gargano was the X-car winner and David Yardley was the Super X winner.
The Riverhead Raceway closed out their regular season. A journey that began in 1977 at Islip Speedway and turned into one of the longest and most successful tenures in short track racing came to a conclusion Saturday evening September 19th at Riverhead Raceway when Barbara & Jim Cromarty presented their final NASCAR Whelen All American Series program.
Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead became the first Riverhead Raceway driver since Buzzy Hedges of Wainscott in 1959 to win two stock car titles in the same year at Riverhead Raceway Saturday night celebrating in style with wins in both the 50-lap NASCAR Modifieds and 15-lap Figure Eight main events. The NASCAR Modified triumph was the 40th of Tom’s illustrious career while the Figure Eight win was his 24th with both championships making him a three time champion in both classes.
Starting from the pole in the NASCAR Modified event Rogers survived an early race challenge from Jason Agugliaro over the first 24 laps of the contest with Jason throwing all he could at the eventual winner. After Ryan Preece took the lead on lap 24 on a double file restart it was Ryan’s turn to find out if he had anything for the 2015 champion. While keeping pace with Rogers at first Preece soon realized second was as good as it was going to get in this race and in fact later in the contest had to ward off 2015 Rookie of the Year Kyle Soper for runner-up money.
At the finish it was the Stakey’s Pumpkin Farm Chevy of Tom Rogers Jr. capturing his 9th win of 2015, just one win shy of tying the single season record of 10 wins in a year set by Gary Winters (1962) and “Charging” Charlie Jarzombek (1976 & 1977) The 2015 title joins Tommy’s 2004 & 2010 championship seasons but was the first championship for veteran car owner Joe Ambrose.
Ryan Preece of Berlin, Ct raced his way from 8th to runner-up money in an effort to secure a win for retiring car owners Bill & Barbara Park who just an hour after the races watched as their East West Marine Chevy was loaded into the hauler of Dave Brigati who purchased the potent racer. Kyle Soper of Manorville capped off a successful rookie year with a third place finish in the Installations by Gemini Chevy. Shawn Solomito of East Moriches and Dave Sapienza of Riverhead completed the top five.
The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour Series was at the South Boston Speedway in Virginia on Saturday night. Andy Seuss took a big step toward successfully defending his NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour championship in capturing the South Boston 150 at the South Boston Speedway. It was the third win of the season and 21st of his career for the Hampstead, New Hampshire, driver. Seuss’ No. 11 Northeast Race Cars/Ideal Financial Chevrolet was out front for a race-high 142 laps for his third win on the .400-mile oval.
Four-time tour champion George Brunnhoelzl III followed Seuss across the line in second and moved into championship contention. Second-year driver Bobby Measmer Jr., who won his first career Coors Light Pole Award earlier in the day, finished a career-best third. Frank Fleming and Jeremy Gerstner rounded out the top five. Burt Myers was sixth, followed by Jason Myers, Kyle Ebersole, rookie Trey Hutchens and James Civali.
Seuss cleared Brunnhoelzl on the final restart on Lap 119 and slowly pulled away for the win.He entered the event trailing Jason Myers by one point for the tour lead, but left South Boston with a 10-point lead over Burt and Jason Myers with two races remaining. Brunnhoelzl is now just three points behind the Myers brothers.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series heads for Loudon New Hampshire for a 100 lapper Saturday. Ryan Preece currently leads Woody Pitkat by one point. Preece has won four events this year while Pitkat has one plus five runner-ups. Defending series champion Doug Coby is 24 points back in the third spot with four wins to his credit. Todd Szegedy, with one win, sits in fourth with Eric Goodale rounding out the top five.
The race will run as part of a tripleheader with the NASCAR Camping World Trucks Series and the Bond Auto Parts ACT Invitational.
In celebration of New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s 25th Anniversary of NASCAR racing in New England, the Racing History Preservation Group will have a ground breaking ceremony the North East Motor Sports Museum during the SYLVANIA 300 race weekend.
In NASCAR Sprint Cup action, Denny Hamlin started 29th in Sunday’s MyAFibRisk.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, spun out after two laps and fell a lap down. And yet, he was in victory lane at the end of the day. Carl Edwards rebounded from an early pit-road speeding penalty to finish second and clinch a 1-2 finish for Joe Gibbs Racing. Kurt Busch, who was the leader when the final yellow flag flew, wound up third. Kyle Busch held off a determined Matt Kenseth to win Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series Furious 7 300 at Chicagoland Speedway.
Last year, 2019, On a very sad note, seven-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion and short track racing legend Mike Stefanik was killed in a plane crash Sunday, Sept. 15 in Sterling, CT. Stefanik, 61, crashed while piloting a single engine, single seat Aero Ultra- Light plane The crash took place took place in Sterling, CT near the Rhode Island border. The plane had taken off from the RICONN Airport in Coventry, R.I.
Stefanik, who last raced on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in 2014, is the division’s all-time winningest driver with 74 career victories in 453 starts 1985 to 2014. In addition to his seven Whelen Modified Tour titles (1989, ’91, ’97, ’98, 2001, ’02, ’06), Stefanik also won championships on the former Busch North Series (now K&N Pro Series East) in 1997 and 1998. He was also the last weekly Modified Champion at the Stafford Motor Speedway in 1986. He has 34 career wins at the Connecticut oval. In 2018 he was inducted to the NEAR Hall of Fame along with the late Ted Christopher who also lost his life in a plane crash.
Mike leaves behind his wife Julie and daughters Christine and Nicole. He also leaves his in-laws, Henriette and John “Sonny” Koszela.
In weekly racing at the Stafford Motor Speedway, the Stafford Speedway wound up its NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing action on Friday, September 13 with the First Responders Friday / Final Friday Night Shoot-Out program that paid tribute to Ambulance, EMS, Fire, Police, and all First Responder personnel. Scoring feature wins on the night were Stephen Kopcik in the SK Modified® feature, Cliff Saunders in the Late Model feature, Teddy Hodgdon in the SK Light feature, Jeremy Lavoie in the Limited Late Model feature, and Dave Secore in the Street Stock feature. Tom Fearn was officially crowned as the 2019 Late Model track champion. on Friday night.
In the 40 lap SK Modified feature Steven Kopcik led Todd Owen to the checkered flag to pick up his second win of the 2019 season. Ron Williams finished third with Keith Rocco and Michael Gervais rounding out the top-5. Owen, Williams and Rocco will slug it out for the championship at the season finale on Sept. 29 at the NAPA Fall Final, In the SK Lights, Teddy Hodgdon led Jonathan Puleo to the checkered flag to pick up his fourth win of the 2019 season. Chris Matthews finished third with Mark Bakaj and Alexander Pearl rounding out the top-5. Bryan Narducci got collected in a two car spin and had no where to go & got caught up in the resulting wreck and was eliminated. Narducci did wrap up the NASCAR Home Tracks Division III championship. Other winners were Cliff Saunders in the Late Models, Jeremy Lavoie in the Limited Late Models and Dave Secore in the Street Stocks.
Matt Hirschman won the 30th annual Tommy Druar/Tony Jankowiak Memorial 110 for the Race of Champions Modified Series on Friday night at Lancaster Speedway @ New York International Raceway Park.
The 110-lap race originally started on August 17, but was halted after six laps after a crash by Karl Hehr damaged the catch fence on the front straightaway. The race resumed on Friday night to kick off the 31st annual U.S. Open weekend at Lancaster. One final caution with five laps to go was all that separated Matt Hirschman from his fourth career win in the Tommy/Tony 110. He pulled away in the final circuits to secure his first RoC Modified Series win of 2019. Emerling had to settle for second, but he managed to cut Andy Jankowiak’s series points lead to just 12. Beers finished third with Kevin Miller and Tommy Catalano rounded out the top five.
Hirschman had entered the Tri Track Modified Series 100 lapper that had been scheduled to be run at the Monadnock Speedway on Saturday night and then return to Lancaster Speedway for their US Open on Sunday. When Monadnock cancelled because of rain Hirschman opted to compete at Lancaster rather than at Monadnock.
In the 31st annual US Open at Lancaster Hirschman had to settle for fourth behind Patrick Emerling, Andy Jankowiak and Mike Leaty.
Chuck Hossfeld. won the Joe Reilly Crown Royal Classic 54 Race of Champion Sportsman Modified event on Saturday at Lancaster Speedway @ New York International Raceway Park as part of the 31st annual U.S. Open Weekend.
The Tri-Track Modified Series event at the Monadnock Speedway drew 31 cars. The event was run on Sunday after being rescheduled. Chase Dowling took the win over Richard Savory. A big At-A-Boy to young Jacob Perry who scored an impressive third place finish. Mike Galko and Kirk Alexander rounded out the top five.
While the hot August nights have evolved into cooler September evenings Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead remains hot at Riverhead Raceway as he again scored double victories Saturday night winning the Whelen First Responder Night 100 NASCAR Modified event and just moments later the 15-lap Figure Eight feature. The 100-lap win was Rogers 4th of the season and 56th of his career while the Figure Eight triumph was his 9th of 2019 and 52nd of his career.
As Kyle Soper made his way to second, many on hand were anticipating a fierce battle for the lead and the win between Rogers and Soper but that battle never did develop as Rogers was spot on for the entire 100- lap distance. Soper in the later stages of the race had his mirror fill up with former three- time track champion John Fortin who peppered the current championship leader for the remainder of the race.
As the checkers flew it was Tom Rogers Jr. sitting in victory lane now just seven wins behind “Charging” Charlie Jarzombek for the all- time lead in NASCAR Modified wins at the track, Kyle Soper was runner-up in Wayne & Joette Anderson’s Chevy noting afterwards, “there was no sense in me pushing the envelope tonight I think we pretty much wrapped up out second championship in a row tonight”. Indeed, with two races left Soper enjoys a 69-point bulge over Rogers with Tommy needing full 20 car fields to show up for the final two races of 2019 which is highly unlikely. John Fortin Sr. was third while John Baker and Chris Young rounded out the top five.