Jason Agugliaro Returns To Riverhead Raceway NASCAR Modified Victory Lane Saturday After Six Year Absence

Entering the 2022 NASCAR Modified race season at Riverhead Raceway, Jason Agugliaro of Islip was working to put together his own race car but knew he’d get a very late start to his season. Enter car owner Joe Ambrose who had a seat available in his potent machine and Saturday night the new pairing found victory lane winning the 50-lap feature event. It was Jason’s first win since 2016, having stepped away from driving to focus on a sober lifestyle.

By Bob Finan

Chris Turbush and Jason Agugliaro made up the front row of the 17-car grid with Agugliaro leading the first two laps while Turbush rode the outside trying to build momentum for a pass. On lap 3 exiting the fourth cornet Turbush, who had endured a tough stretch of racing luck found that momentum and the race lead getting by Agugliaro. A minor incident on lap 9 drew a yellow flag and set up a double file restart. When the field was being called to order Turbush chose the outside groove for the restart feeling that’s where he got the lead and that would be where he’d keep it. As the field hit the go zone Turbush didn’t fire off well and Agugliaro on the inside reclaimed his earlier advantage.

As the race progressed Turbush stayed right in the tire tracks of Agugliaro hoping he’s get another restart opportunity. On lap 33 his wish came to be as Jack Handley drew a caution with a single car spin and Chris was now licking his chops. As the field lined up for the restart with 17 laps to go Aguglairo chose the top moving Turbush to the inside, a move some questioned at the time. However Jason Agugliaro knew exactly where he wanted to restart and when the race resumed Jason nailed another perfect restart to remain out front and drive to his 4th career win.


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“First off I have to thank God for another day of sobriety” Jason said upon exiting his Cesspool Pros Chevy, “I was a mess for awhile and it could have gone either way”. As for the opportunity to with Joe Ambrose Jason offered, “Joe has won a lot of races here with Tommy (Rogers), he chose me to drive his car, believed in me not just as a driver but as a person, I can’t thank him enough”. The happy winner concluded, “my wife Theresa and daughter GiGi have stood by me with all this racing stuff, between me and Gigi’s Bandolero, I know there are probably times my wife would rather be somewhere else, she is my rock”.

Runner-up Chris Turbush of Wading River Looked back on his race in the Mike Smith backed machine two ways, ” just finishing is like a win tonight and to come home second is great” Turbush admitted, “but I gotta work on my restarts” . Michael Rutkoski of Mattituck drove from a 8th starting berth to come home third in the Stakey’s Pumpkin Farm Chevy, “we got this car going good now, just in time for Kyle (Ellwood) to drive it next week in the Bubba 150, I have a wedding commitment” Rutkoski sheepishly admitted. Dylan Slepian of Dix Hills and John Beatty Jr. of Merrrick were fourth and fifth,

For the second 15-lap Figure Eight feature in a row the finish was one for the record books, this time however unlike August 3rd not for all the right reasons. Ryan Warren led Bob Dalke early in the going but Dalke spun on lap 2 drawing a caution. On the ensuing restart Cody Triola who was third got to the race lead and was tailed by Allan Pedersen. On lap 4 Pedersen moved to the front with Kenny Hyde Jr. coming to second from his 6th place starting berth. Hyde chased Pedersen until lap 8 when he moved by for the lead with Pedersen now in the challengers role. Traffic started to build at the intersection as the laps wound down and the leaders were timing the “X”. As he was trying to hold off Pedersen for his 12th career win Hyde’s night turned sour when he hit his sister Kim near the intersection, but all was not lost as Kenny’s car got sideways and Pedersen shoved him across the line for an apparent win. Upon exiting his car Keeny Hyde Jr. became enraged and tried to get to his sister, unfortunately in doing so showed a NASCAR official and was immediately stripped of the win. That wild Family Feud style turn of events gave Allan Pedersen of Center Moriches his second career win in the S&H Welding Chevy. Ryan Warren of Ridge was runner-up in the Sayville South Bay Auto Repair entry while brother Joe Warren Jr. of Ridge was third in the Gershow Recycling Chevy.

In the INEX Legend Race Car 20-lap feature Mike Benton of East Hampton had himself a night he’ll not soon forget winning his first career main event and then proposing in victory lane to his girlfriend Kim Daniel who finished 19th in the event. Early on the ever improving Jake Curran showed the way taking the lead at the throw of the green over Chase Van Houten. On lap 2 Benton, who started 3rd moved by Van Houten and gave chase to leader Curran until just prior to halfway. Curran, steering the oldest car in the field did all he could to keep Benton at bay but on lap 9 Mike ducked under Jake off the second corner to take the race lead. Soon thereafter Jeff Farruggia moved to second and he moved in on his off track friend Benton to challenge for the win. While racing to the outside of Benton, Farruggia was squeezed ever so slightly into the wall on the backstretch breaking his momentum and allowing Jason Castaldo, who came from the 12th starting spot to move to second. Also in the mix was all time leading Legend Race Car winner Richie Davidowitz, who on the final lap got by Castaldo for second but by then Mike Benton in the Quackenbush Cesspools racer was taking the checker flag and practicing his wedding proposal. Davidowitz of East Moriches was runner-up in the Freddie & Megan Karft backed entry while Castaldo of Shirley placed third in the East End Screen Printing coupe.

The Street Stocks ran their second of three Miller Lite Triple Crown Series events on the season and defending champion Dave Antos of Lindenhurst sat in the winners circle at the conclusion of 30-laps. Gerard Lawrence of Miller Place set the qualifying standard with a lap of 14.152, with Antos second fastest at 14.213. The race would turn out to be a non stop affair with Lawrence leading over the first 11 circuits of the tilt. Antos chased the leader right from the outset and made his bid for the race lead a successful one on lap 12 passing Lawrence to the inside off turn 2. Once out front Antos, the all time leading winner in the Street Stock class padded that status with his 12th career win in the JTEC Electric racer. Gerard Lawrence of Miller Place was runner-up in the Elsasser Race Engines Chevy, having to shut his car off on the final lap coasting to the checker. Kyle Curtis of Hampton Bays was third in the Wilson Distributors Chevy.

Over the off season Chris Olivari and his father David built a Mini Stock to go along with their two Gut & Go 4/6-Cylinder Enduro cars. Saturday Chris Olivari led all 20-laps of a non stop event to claim his first career Mini Stock win. After dominating his qualifying race Olivari started from the pole and quickly moved to the race lead at the throw of the green. Andrew Farnham gave chase over the first 8 laps of the contest before he was passed by Joe Cooke Jr. on lap 9. Like Farnham before him all Cooke could do from second was watch Chris Olivari, an emergency room technician at Peconic Bay Medical Center drive to victory in the G-Force Collision entry. Cooke of Shrley was runner-up in his Island Technology Honda while Farnham of Baldwin came home third in his unsponsored Honda.

Greg Harris of Riverhead started 15th in the 27-car 8-Cylinder Enduro, worked his way towards the front and took the lead with just over five laps to go the win their 50-lap feature. Kevin Feeney looked to have things in hand leading a majority of the race but heavy lapped traffic would get in his way allowing several challengers, including Harris to close in on him. On lap 45 Harris in the SGS Stone Works Chevy read the traffic the best and moved out to the race lead and eventual win. Richie Carman of Port Jefferson was second in the Creative Seamless Gutters Chevy, while Woot Lawrence of Southampton placed third in the Travers Tools entry. Feeney wound up falling out of the race late.

Joey Palmeri Jr. of Lindenhurst outlasted all comers to win the 4/6-Cylinder Demolition Derby is his Kidder Glass machine.

NASCAR Modifieds: 1. Jason Aguglairo 2. Chris Turbush 3. Michael Rutkoski 4. Dylan Slepian 5. John Beatty Jr. 6. Kyle Soper 7. Justin Brown 8. Kyle Ellwood 9. Chris Young 10. Dave Brigati 11. Owen Grennan 12. Ken Heagy 13. Chris Rogers 14. Artie Pedersen III 15. Jack Handley Jr. 16. Brian Brown 17. Jeff Goodale

Figure Eights: 1. Allan Pedersen 2. Ryan Warren 3. Joe Warren Jr. 4. Scott Pedersen 5. Cody Triola 6. Bob Dalke 7. Bryan Quilliam 8. Vinny Delaney 9. Kim Hyde 10. Gary Fritz Jr. DQ-Ken Hyde Jr,

Legend Race Cars: 1. Mike Benton 2. Richie Davidowitz 3. Jason Castaldo 4. Anthony Marsh 5. Jeff Farruggia Jr. 6. Eric Hersey 7. Chase Van Houten 8. Jake Curran 9. Jim Sylvester 10. Christopher Coleman 11. Joe Costello 12. Mike Van Houten Jr. 13. Ray Fitzgerald 14. Jayden Glennerster 15. Michael Metcalf 16. Ray Stulz 17. Pat Moore 18. Ed Stadtlander 19. Kim Daniel 20. Riely O’Keefe 21. Donald Doran 22. Rich Braun 23. Marc Godnick 24. Brad Van Houten 25. Jerry Curran 26. Chris Sinatro

Street Stocks: 1. Dave Antos 2. Gerard Lawrence 3. Kyle Curtis 4. Jarrod Hayes 5. Rhett Fogg 6. Alyssa Paprocky 7. Jay Henschel 8. Brian McCormack 9. Greg Zaleski 10. Dennis Kurras 11. Jamie Curtis 12. Chris Lescenski 13. Kyle Halpin 14. Danny Pizzo 15. Luke Foerster 16. Henry Custa 17. Greg Harris

Mini Stocks: 1. Chris Olivari 2. Joe Cooke Jr. 3. Andrew Farnham 4. Paul Wojcik 5. CJ Zukowski 6. Tony Collinsworth 7. Chris Elixson 8. Jesse St. Clair 9. Mike Mujsce III 10. Scott Phillips 11. Charles Astacio DNS- Mike Mujsce Jr., Justin Squires, Joe Warren Jr.

8-Cylinder Enduro: 1. Greg Harris 2. Richie Carman 3. Woot Lawrence 4. Pat Collins 5. Carmine Ragusa 6. Kevin Coyle 7. Joe Boccia 8. Christian Kalbfleisch 9. Brandon Hubbard 10. Roger Tramm 11. Ricky Carman 12. Kris Dane 13. Steve Jones 14. Kale Buckley 15. Kevin Feeney 16. Donny Oliver 17. Pat Collins Jr. 18. Will Ebert 19. David Cohen 20. Ed Graeff 21. Moody Enaya 22. Andy Denninger 23. Anthony Capobianco 24. David Verbeeck 25. Robert Eggers 26. Jody Fickeissen 27. Ralph Caggiano

Demolition Derby: Winner- Joey Palmeri Jr.

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