Tom Rogers Jr. Makes Riverhead History With 63rd Modified Victory; Ties Charlie Jarzombek On All-Time Win List

(Press Release from Riverhead Raceway)

On a night where Riverhead Raceway celebrated it’s 73rd birthday and saluted a racing icon Fred Harbach with a 73-lap NASCAR Modified event, Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead reached icon status of his own. Rogers took his 63rd career victory tying him with the late “Charging” Charlie Jarzombek at the top of the all-time win list. 

The restored 1983 Islip Speedway championship X-90 Pinto of “The Flying Dutchman” Fred Harbach paced the field before getting down to business. When it was time to go to work Tom Rogers Jr. wasted little time getting after it. Starting third on the grid Rogers snuck under Justin Brown, who set fast time earlier in the day for the race lead after Brown chose to start outside the front row. Matt Brode who started inside Brown led the first two laps before Rogers came calling to the inside in turn three and four., When the field started the 3rd lap Rogers was the new race leader. Brode ran second until a lap 11 restart when John Beatty Jr. was able to make the pass putting him second to Rogers.

The race hit a long green flag run with Rogers leading Beatty but a series of late race cautions would jumble things up. On lap 60 Brown passed Beatty for second but Justin’s time in the challengers spot lasted just five laps. On lap 66 a multi car minor incident in turn one forced another restart, Rogers was able to remain out front. Behind him Kyle Ellwood, who marched his way from mid-pack with a series of outside passes was able to get by Brown for second. Once there Ellwood was able to pull to the back bumper of leader Rogers but the latter started to back up the corners breaking Ellwood’s momentum.

When the checker flag waved history was made with Tom Rogers Jr. who won his first Modified race May 8th, 2004 notched career win 63 in the Stakey’s Pumpkin Farm Chevy. “I don’t care if I win another race being up there with Charlie now” Rogers commented. Tom pulled his winning car up just short of the winner’s circle, he explained, “I did that because legends like Charlie and Freddy belong there”. Rogers and car owners Denise & Kenny Darch earned a $900 bonus from the Harbach family.

Kyle Ellwood of Riverhead pocketed $600 in bonus money for his second place tally in the Buzz Chew Chevrolet entry, while Matt Brode in the Steven’s 112 Ford machine was third earning $300 in bonus dollars. Justin Brown of Manorville and John Beatty Jr. of Merrick were fourth and fifth. Rookie talent Allan Pedersen of Center Moriches was gifted with a 9th place $180 bonus from long time X-90 crew members Jenine & George Venth.

Right before his uncle went out and made NASCAR Modified history, Michael Berner of Patchogue topped the 25-lap Eagle Auto Mall Crate Modified feature. Max Handley bolted to the early race lead chased early by Owen Grennan and Kyle Ellwood. However it was Michael Berner the driver on the move in this one as he raced his way to third on lap 7. An 8th lap restart allowed Berner to now close in on second behind Handley and three laps later another restart would work to Michael’s advantage. During the lap 11 restart Berner put the hammer down taking the race lead for good in his Clear River Environmental Chevy. The win was the 6th of Berner’s career giving him sole possession of fifth on the all-time win list. Max Handley of Medford was runner-up in his Hydro-Action machine while Chase Grennan of Glen Cove made a late race charge payoff with third place money in the Dillner Precast Chevy.

Another milestone victory was scored in the 20-lap Figure Eight main event as Ken Hyde Jr. of Medford notched his 12th career victory tying him with his late father Ken Sr. for 13th all-time. Ryan Warren paced the race over the first three circuits before Ken Hyde Jr. came calling on a restart. Artie Pedersen III followed Hyde to second and on lap 15 took the lead on lap 15 after loosening the leader up off turn two. When a yellow waved on lap 16 race control moved Pedersen back to second and Hyde to the lead to correct the earlier contact. When the race resumed Hyde wasn’t going to lose the lead again and rove to victory in the East Side Builders Chevy. Artie Pedersen III was second in the North Fork Welding Supply Mustang while younger brother Allan recovered from a lap 3 spin to finish third in the Top Notch Performance Camaro.

After scoring numerous podium finishes in May & June, “Blankets” Joey Braun of Manorville finally broke into INEX Legend Race Car victory lane in a 20-lap affair. Braun and opening night winner Kevin Nowak brought the 26-car field to green with Joey taking the lead early with Nowak chasing. They ran in that order until a late race restart when Nowak moved up the track in turn two allowing 2021 champion George Tomko Jr. to move to second. Tomko closed in on the race leader but that would be as good as it got. At the finish Joey Braun in the Miller & Caggiano Attorney At Law machine took home his first win of the season, the 11th of his career ranking him 6th on the win list. George Tomko Jr. of Aquebogue making his first start of the season was runner-up in the Montauk Distilling racer with Richie Davidowitz of East Moriches third in the Hampton Fleet Service mount. Nowak faded to fourth in the end. 

Recovering for a first lap, first turn spin Tony Ferrante Jr. of New Hyde Park won the 15-lap Eddie Partridge All Star Vintage feature. Ferrante was alongside pole sitter Mike Siraco for the start when incidental contact was made send Tony into a spin. On the second attempt to start the race Sal Accardi Jr. moved out front leading Don Howe while Ferrante was making his way back to the front. On lap 4 with Accardi and Howe dicing for the lead Tony made a two for one pass taking the lead for good un the Tony Ferrante & Son Inc Cavalier. Howe of Water Mill was second in the Corwith’s Auto Body entry with Accardi of Deer Park third in the Calabrese Trucks Cavalier. 

Tested tough Enduro veteran Bobby Pease of Medford topped the 20-lap Truck Enduro for his first win of 2023 in the Fit Spot Gym Chevy. Mariah Lawrence of Southampton was runner-up in her sponsor wanted General Lee, while her brother Woot, defending Truck Enduro champion was third in the Gregor Well Drilling grocery getter.

NASCAR Modifieds: 1. Tom Rogers Jr. 2. Kyle Ellwood 3. Matt Brode 4. Justin Brown 5. John Beatty Jr. 6. Dylan Slepian 7. JR Bertuccio 8. Chris Young 9. Allan Pedersen 10. Michael Rutkoski 11. Mike Christopher Jr. 12. Chris Rogers 13. Roger Turbush 14. Chris Turbush 15. Jack Handley Jr. 16. Dave Brigati

Crate Modifieds: 1. Michael Berner 2. Max Handley 3. Chase Grennan 4. AJ DeSantis 5. Owen Grennan 6. Sean Glennon 7. Eric Hersey 8. Eddie Schutze 9. Charles Macwhinnie 10. Kyle Ellwood 11. Mike Albasini 12. Ken Massa 13. Vinny Delaney 14. Dennis Krupski 15. Michael Rutkoski 16. Chevy Rommeney 17. Rich Gerbe 18. Terry Stiles

Figure Eights: 1. Ken Hyde Jr. 2. Artie Pedersen III 3. Allan Pedersen 4. Bryan Quilliam 5. Cody Triola 6. Cody Triola 7. Joe Warren Jr. 8. Gary Fritz Jr. 9. Ryan Warren 10. Bob Dalke 11. Paul Miguel 12. Kim Hyde 13. Brian Ayala

Legend Race Cars: 1. Joey Braun 2. George Tomko Jr. 3. Rcihie Davidowitz 4. Kevin Nowak 5. Riely O;Keefe 6. Nick Morabito 7. Jason Castaldo 8. Mike Van Houten Jr. 9. Jim Sylvester 10. Joe Warren Jr. 11. Rodney Dowless Jr. 12. Ryan Lutz 13. Christopher Coleman 14. Eric Hersey 15. Jayden Glennerster 16. Pat Moore 17. Ben Morabito 18. Ryan Barbieri 19. Jeff Farruggia Jr. 20. Chris Sinatro 21. Alex Halinar 22. Brad Van Houten 23. Mike Benton 24. Kim Daniel 25. Robert Henninger III 26. Charlie Hodge

Vintage All-Stars: 1. Tony Ferrante Jr. 2. Don Howe 3. Sal Accardi Jr. 4. Mark Miller 5. Frank Saladino 6. Cody Triola 7. Mike Siraco 8. Jimmy Reed Jr. 

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


  1. A couple weeks ago I wrote off Christopher’s season and since then he’s won a feature in the SK’s and turned in a good run at Riverhead against a brutal field of regulars. Bullrings not Christopher’s strength in my view but there he is going toe to toe with the hard cases on Long Island. Not the ideal finish but very competitive with some high points. All the credit in the world to expanding his resume racing in a place that is not friendly to his natural strength. The move on Blewett that gave him a win in the SK’s may very well have come from what he learned at Riverhead. Reminiscent of what drivers learned at Riveside Park when they raced at Stafford and Thompson.
    Christopher the race for me. Rogers dominated at that front. Good for him, not the most exciting race.
    Then the Figure 8’s. If you don’t know the drivers in a race then the Figure 8’s are the perfect division to keep you completely engaged. Diapers mandatory.

  2. Just makes me wonder what Charlie J. and Richie Evans would have accomplished had they been able to finish out their careers to a nice retirement age. Those guys had plenty of years left.

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