Tom Rogers Jr. Dominates Modified Feature At Riverhead Raceway

(Press Release from Riverhead Raceway)

Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead made a triumphant return to Riverhead Raceway victory lane Saturday when he topped a caution free 50-lap NASCAR Modified feature. The win was the 62nd of Tom’s NASCAR Modified career leaving him just one shy of “Charging” Charlie Jarzombek’s all-time mark of 63. What maybe more concerning for Tom’s competition came in a quick comment the five-time champion made post-race, “we made an adjustment, it’s good, but we can make it better”.

Armed with a pole starting berth Tom Rogers Jr. and his cousin Chris brought the field to green to start what turned out to be a fast paced 50-laps. Despite being related the Rogers boys went after each other pretty good early on with Tom holding the advantage. As the contest progressed dirt racing ace and inaugural Islip 300 winner Dillon Steuer was making his way towards the front with the likes of JR Bertuccio and Dylan Slepian. After making his way to second Steuer was then tasked with trying to erase the lead Tom Rogers Jr. was able to build, no easy task in a race with no interruptions. With 10 or so laps to go Steuer filled the mirror of leader Rogers but as mentioned on the Flo Racing stream, catching Tom would be one thing, passing him quite another. 

When the race concluded Tom Rogers Jr., who in the closing laps found another gear was back in the winner’s circle in the Stakey’s Pumpkin Farm Chevy of Denise & Ken Darch. “Great to be back here” Tom boasted looking down at the checker flag. “Can’t say enough about everyone who stuck by me, wasn’t sure we’d get here again or how many more I have left, who knows one or two more of these, we’ll see”. Tom won the first of his 62 NASCAR Modified features on May 8th, 2004. 

Dillon Steuer of Bohemia who sandwiched in his Riverhead visit in the midst of a dirt racing weekend at Bridgeport, NJ. Accord, NY and Lebanon Valley, NY finished runner-up in the Ken Matlach Motorsports Chevy. JR Bertuccio of Centereach had a good Gershow Recycling car early and claimed third at the finish. Dylan Slepian of Dix Hills and John Beatty Jr. of Merrick were fourth and fifth.

While the Modifieds went non-stop, the 25 lap Eagle Auto Mall Crate Modified feature resembled Memorial Day holiday traffic on the LIE. When the dust settled Kyle Ellwood of Riverhead earned his second career feature event win in the Kelco Construction Chevy. At the throw of the green pole sitter Kyle Ellwood showed the way but numerous caution flags would slow the event. On lap 11, the “big one” happened off turn two when Stephen Coleman went around towards the front of the field collecting and ending the night for himself, Chase Grennan, Sean Glennon, Dennis Krupski and Chevy Rommeney. While green Ellwood driving the Rat Pack Racing owned entry had things under control at the front for the win. Max Handley of Medford in the Hydro Action machine was runner-up with defending champion Owen Grennan of Glen Cove third in the Eastport Feeds Chevy.

The Late Models ran the first of their 3 race Miller Lite Triple Crown Series events, a scheduled 40-lap affair that was cut to 27-laps due to time constraints. No matter 27, 35 or 40-laps, opening night winner Jeremy McDermott of Riverhead took the lead at the drop of the green and never looked back. When the race got underway McDermott, steering the Eastport Feeds entry moved out front with Artie Pedersen III tucking into second. With multiple double file restarts during the course of the shortened race, a cone race due to the extra distance McDermott would choose the bottom as did challenger Pedersen, leaving the top open with Jimmy Rennick Jr. gladly moving to the outside pole. When the green reappeared McDermott and Pedersen remained one-two, while Rennick was in a tussle with the likes of Chris McGuire and defending champion Shawn Patrick for third. After a two-car incident on lap 27, the field was placed in the proper running order and the race deemed official with Jeremy McDermott the winner. Artie Pedersen III of Center Moriches was runner-up in the Shelby’s Kitchen entry while Jimmy Rennick Jr. of Howard Beach played the choose cone to his advantage for third in the Metropolitan Recycling Chevy. 

The INEX Legend Race Cars also kicked off their Miller Lite Triple Crown Series with a 30-lap tilt, a race like others that saw numerous cautions. However, in the case of the Legends, the many restarts provided plenty of excitement between three main players, Richie Davidowitz, Jeff Farruggia Jr. and Joey Braun. Every restart the trio of talented drivers went toe-to-toe jockeying for position, racing cleanly with little to no contact. Late in the contest Braun and Farruggia got after each other for second and at times that allowed leader Davidowitz slight breathing room. When all was aid and done Richie Davidowitz scored his third win in a row in 2023, 28th of his career in the Hampton Fleet Service mount. Joey Braun of Manorville with a late race pass finished second in the Uncle Carmine’s Hot Peppers entry while Jeff Farruggia of Riverhead continues to impress with a third in the AJ’S Painting machine.

Saturday in the 15-lap Bock Auto Bandolero Bandit feature, Reid Halpin of Wading River came full circle in his very young racing career scoring his first career win. In the summer of 2021, Reid visiting the Waterford Speedbowl on a Wednesday night was involved in a hard impact crash. On Saturday Reid, steering the MSM Elite Motorsports/East-West Management racer put that all behind him. Emmett Grattan broke to the early lead but was the victim of a no contact spin moving Reid Halpin to the lead. Once in the lead Halpin was able to get away from the field for a spell. However, as the laps clicked off Mason Goodale, in just his second start was on the move, but there would be no keeping Reid Halpin from victory lane and a jubilant celebration. Mason Goodale of Riverhead was runner-up in the Riverhead Building Supply racer while Emmett Grattan of Southold recovered from his early race spin for third in the Southold PBA machine.

In the Bock Auto Bandolero Outlaw 15-lap feature Will Sipala of Manorville made a bold and daring move at the start of the race to come to the race lead. Like Halpin before him in the Bandits, Sipala drove to a comfortable lead and hoped for no caution flags. No were waved and it seemed Will had scored his first career win. Unfortunately, in post-race tech Will’s entry did not pass muster and the win would not stand. That turn of events moved the 860 Motorsports Northeast machine of 2022 Bandits champion Ben Morabito of Miller Place into victory lane for the second time in as many races this year. Gavin Romano of Riverhead was second in the Mil-Aero Solutions racer while Cillian Tennant of Riverhead was third in the Miller & Caggiano Attorney At Law entry.

The race of the night hands down was contested in the 40-lap Truck Enduro where Mariah Lawrence of Southampton, 2021 champion of the division thwarted off the late race challenges of Phil LaManna of Smithtown and Bobby Pease of Medford. Lawrence, wheeling her sponsor wanted General Lee saw a comfortable lead evaporate in the final 10-lap segment of the contest with LaManna and Pease hunting her down. Over the final five circuits lapped traffic was thick but Mariah was equal to the task scoring her first win of 2023. LaManna in the EP Milling & Sweeping Chevy was second with Pease in the Fit Spot Gym third. 

NASCAR Modifieds: 1. Tom Rogers Jr. 2. Dillon Steuer 3. JR Bertuccio 4. Dylan Slepian 5. John Beatty Jr. 6. Chris Rogers 7. Jack Handley Jr. 8. Owen Grennan 9. Michael Rutkoski 10. Chris Young 11. Chris Turbush 12. Eddie Brunnhoelzl III 13. Matt Brode 14. Allan Pedersen 15. Dave Brigati 16. Kyle Ellwood DNS- Howie Brode

Late Models: 1. Jeremy McDermott 2. Artie Pedersen III 3. Jimmy Rennick Jr. 4. Shawn Patrick 5. Ray Minieri 6. Ed Cheslak 7. Frank Dumicich Jr. 8. Gerard Giordano 9. Kevin Metzger 10. Jesse St. Clair 11. Keith Rotzi 12. Alyssa Paprocky 13. Jenn Krpata 14. Pat Brown 15. Brian Doyle 16. Brandon Turbush 17. Paul Cummings DNS- Dave Brigati

Eagle Auto Mall Crate Modifieds:  1. Kyle Ellwood 2. Max Handley 3. Owen Grennan 4. Michael Berner 5. Eric Hersey 6. Vinny Delaney 7. Rich Gerbe 8. Eddie Schutze 9. Terry Stiles 10. Alex Colasanto 11. AJ DeSantis 12. Mike Albasini 13. Stephen Coleman 14. Chase Grennan 15. Sean Glennon 16. Chevy Rommeney 17. Dennis Krupski

Legend Race Cars: 1. Richie Davidowitz 2. Joey Braun 3. Jeff Farruggia Jr. 4. Riely O’Keefe 5. Jason Castaldo 6. Eric Hersey 7. Christopher Coleman 8. Ryan Lutz 9. Charlie Hodge 10. Ray Fitzgerald 11. Chris Sinatro 12. Tyler VanDoren 13. Jim Sylvester 14. Kevin Ohrnberger 15. Kendall Van Houten 16. Michael Metcalf 17. Donald Doran 18. Kim Daniel 19. Steve Woytysiak 20. Mike Van Hoiten Jr. 21. Rodney Dowless Jr. 22. Jayden Glennerster 23. Peter Fallon 24. Ray Stulz 25. Colin Volpe 26. Pat Moore

Bock Auto Bandolero Bandits: 1. Reid Halpin 2. Mason Goodale 3. Emmett Grattan 4. Layla Quilliam 5. Blake Grattan 6. Antonio D’Alonzo 7. Aria Ligon 8. Kix Bock 9. Brook Meyer

Bock Auto Bandolero Outlaws: 1. Ben Morabito 2. Gavin Romano 3. Cillian Tennant 4. Tucker Bock 5. Jayden Owens-Bader 6. Phillip Alaimo 7. Nick Hodge 8. Giavanna Agugliaro 9. Nick Denis DQ-Will Sipala

Truck Enduro: 1. Mariah Lawrence 2. Phil LaManna 3. Bobby Pease 4. Gary Voight 5. Emily Hubbard 6. Justin        McGrady 7. Don Nelson 8. Kerry Botts 9. Whitney Williams 10. Brandon LaManna 11. Bobby Pease Jr. 12. Ryan Warren 13. Jackie Germuth 14. Chloe Phillips 15. Eoughan Heyward 16. Danielle Cohen 17. William Kennedy 18. Dusty Cole 19. James Kelly 20. John Schultz 21. Steve Reisert 22. Kayla Kelly 23. Halle Campo 24. Chris Grover 25. Nikki Giordano

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