Timmy Solomito of Islip really had no concrete plans on running the 73rd season opening night NASCAR Modified event Saturday at Riverhead Raceway, however with the recent announcement of Wayne Anderson’s retirement Timmy’s wheels started spinning.
After all it was Wayne & Joette Anderson who gave Timmy his first big break and so he wrapped his car in one of Anderson’s more popular colors and at the end of 50-laps tribute turned to triumph as Solomito pocketed his 21st career win. The thank you brought the 76-year old Anderson, who Solomito affectionately calls “Pops” to the winners circle one more time.
With a new handicap system in place for the 2023 Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series, Solomito who charged from the back of his qualifying heat to the front earned the pole position for the 19-car starting grid. The rest as the saying goes is history, although writing that history wasn’t as easy as it sounds. Early on Timmy Solomito had hard charging Chris Young, who went winless in 2022 hot on his heels. However as the race wore on Young had some suitors of his own who came calling allowing the leader to get away some during an extended green flag run that extended just past the halfway point. Over the second half of the race Young soon lost second to Kyle Ellwood who himself was out to score his first NASCAR Modified win in quite some time. Over the final stretch run Ellwood stayed in the rearview mirror of leader Solomito, trying to gain a run to the inside exiting the corners of the tight 1/4-mile bullring. However as it if were the 1980’s at Islip Speedway, New Egypt Speedway or Riverhead Raceway the light blue colors of Wayne Anderson sat in victory lane as Timmy Solomito scored the story book victory.
After exiting his wining machine Timmy offered, “my family and I had no real plans on running here tonight, we had a few penciled for later in the season. But it was Wayne & Joette who gave me my first break not only here but on the WMT, without them, well who knows”. Timmy, who owns Natural Design Concept & Designs and wrapped the winning car continued, “Big shout out to Doug & Maura Corwin of Eastport Feeds, they were behind this 100% and of course my family for always having my back. We’ll do some of the time trial shows later in the season”. The win moved Solomito into a three way tie on the all-time win list at 21 with Fred Harbach & Dan Jivanelli.
Kyle Ellwood of Riverhead was runner-up in the Buzz Chew Chevrolet entry while the returning Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead came home third in the Precision Water Works racer. Dylan Slepian of Dix Hills came from deep in the field to finish fourth while John Beatty Jr. of Merrick was fifth.
After a year away from racing to start a family, Jeremy McDermott returned to the Late Model wars with a win Saturday in the Rob Pelis owned Eastport Feeds Chevy. Early in the contest Artie Pedersen III looked to have the field covered driving for a new team and owner Jennifer Joann. As the 25-lap race moved along it looked as if Pedersen was going to pocket his first career LM win, as long as the race went caution free. As fate would have it on lap 13 the race was slowed for a multi car incident lining McDermott, who just made his way to second alongside Pedersen for the double file restart. When the green lights came back on Jeremy McDermott pounced taking the lead and leading the remainder of the race for his 26th career win, good for fifth on the all-time win list. Artie Pedersen III of Center Moriches was runner-up in the NY Bernedoodles Chevy while Chris McGuire of Miller Place, who ran second early settled for third in the RTI Inc. machine.
When the checker flag waved on the 25-lap Eagle Auto Mall Crate Modified event it appeared as if Kyle Ellwood has scored a win for Rat Pack Racing after holding off the efforts of a hard charging Chase Grennan of Glen Cove. However in post-race teach the winning car was disqualified for an issue in the exhaust/header category of the rules and the win went to Chase Grennan, the third of his career in the Black Forest Auto Chevy. Alex Colasanto of Selden was second in the Vanguard Fire Protection Chevy while Sean Glennon of Northport was third in the LTE Drainage mount.
When the Figure Eights ran a doubleheader weekend to close out the 2022 season last September, Allan Pedersen of Center Moriches swept the weekend. On Saturday he got the new season off the same as he ended last year, with a win in the 15-lap feature event. In fact the Pedersen family controlled the majority of the opener as at one point Scott Pedersen, defending champion in the class led nephews Allan & Artie. Scott, driving for new car owner Kathy Kraft seemed to be on his way to a win for his new team but Allan was having none of it taking the lead in the Top Notch Performance Chevy late in the race and his fourth career win. Scott Pedersen of Shirley in the Couch Racer Cadillac was runner-up while Ken Hyde Jr. of Medford came home third in the Brigandi Brothers Automotive Chevy breaking up the Pedersen family reunion on the podium.
Two-time and defending Blunderbust champion Cody Triola of Bay Shore started the quest for his third straight title with a victory in a non-stop 20-lap feature. Starting from the pole, Triola at the wheel of the Cesspool Pros entry left little doubt as to who was going to win the race driving off to his 9th career win. Brandon Hubbard of Medford was second at the finish in his United Exhaust machine while Jim Laird Jr. of Islip Terrace was third with his Stakey’s Pumpkin Farm Caprice.
Baseball had a Mr. October, Riverhead Raceway has Mr. Opening Night in the person of 20-lap Super Pro Truck feature winner Jack Handley Jr. of Medford. Between his days as a Blunderbust racer and now in the Super Pro Truck ranks Jack, a St. John’s University graduate wins more often than not over the last decade on opening night. Like Triola earlier, Handley steering the East End Builders owned truck left little doubt as to who was going to win the opener. When Handley took the checker flag it marked his 17th career win tying him for 5th on the all-time win list with Frank Dumicich Sr. Lou Maestri of Deer Park, who tops the all-time win list came home second in the Hunter Business School racer while Matt Triola of Bay Shore completed the podium in his Cesspool Pros Chevy.
Former champion and tested tough INEX Legend Race Car talent Kevin Nowak of Medford scored a milestone 20th career win Saturday when he triumphed in their 20-lap opener. Racing against competitors who were not even born when he started racing, Nowak used that experience during several early race restarts to take the lead of the race and soon was joined by a fellow veteran and former champion Richie Davidowitz at the front of the field. The duo, who used to travel together to out of state events went toe to toe for the win over the final half of the event. In the end Nowak would prevail in his HVAC Unlimited racer while Davidowitz of East Moriches was a close second in the Green Ride Medical Transport machine. 2022 Rookie of the Year Chase Van Houten of Wading River was third in the Terra Vite Vineyards entry.
NASCAR Modifieds: 1. Timmy Solomito 2. Kyle Ellwood 3. Tom Rogers Jr. 4. Dylan Slepian 5. John Beatty Jr. 6. Michael Rutkoski 7. JR Bertuccio 8. Eddie Brunnhoelzl III 9. Roger Turbush 10. Allan Pedersen 11. Jack Handley Jr. 12. Dave Brigati 13. Chris Young 14. Chris Rogers 15. Chris Turbush 16. Dillon Steuer 17. Matt Brode 18. Jason Agugliaro 19. Wes Gilbert DNS-Artie Pedersen III
Late Models: 1. Jeremy McDermott 2. Artie Pedersen III 3. Chris McGuire 4. Gerard Giordano 5. Jesse St. Clair 6. Kevin Metzger 7. Keith Rotzi 8. Alyssa Paprocky 9. Brian Doyle 10. Mark Stewart 11. Pat Brown 12. Ray Minieri 13. Paul Cummings 14. Dave Brigati 15. Ed Chesalk 16. Brandon Turbush DQ-Jimmy Rennick Jr.
Eagle Auto Mall Crate Modifieds: 1. Chase Grennan 2. Alex Colasanto 3. Sean Glennon 4. Max Handley 5. Chris Young 6. Owen Grennan 7. Eddie Schutze 8. Terry Stiles 9. Stephen Coleman 10. DJ Doyle 11. Eric Hersey 12. Michael Berner 13. Chris Sinatro 14. Vinny Delaney 15. Dennis Krupski 16. Mike Albasini 17. Chevy Rommeney 18. Mark Wolf 19. AJ DeSantis 20. Lou Maestri DQ-Kyle Ellwood
Figure Eights: 1. Allan Pedersen 2. Scott Pedersen 3. Ken Hyde Jr. 4. Cody Triola 5. Artie Pedersen III 6. Bryan Quilliam 7. Bob Dalke 8. Kim Hyde 9. Paulo Miquel 10. Gary Fritz Jr. 11. Ryan Warren 12. Joe Warren Jr.
Blunderbusts: 1. Cody Triola 2. Brandon Hubbard 3. Jim Laird Jr. 4. Bill Wegmann Sr. 5. Eddie Diaz 6. Gary Caldwell 7. Bill Wegmann Jr. 8. Tom Sullivan 9. Michael Accordino 10. Joe Densieski
Super Pro Trucks: 1. Jack Handley 2. Lou Maestri 3. Matt Triola 4. Joe Cerabino 5. Frank Dumicich Sr. 6. Chris Lescenski 7. Erin Solomito 8. Liam Patrick 9. Gerard Giordano 10. Rob Corwin
Legend Race Cars: 1. Kevin Nowak 2. Richie Davidowitz 3. Chase Van Houten 4. Jeffrey Farruggia Jr. 5. Christopher Coleman 6. Eric Hersey 7. Jason Castaldo 8. Jim Sylvester 9. Pat Moore 10. Ryan Lutz 11. Chris Sinatro 12. Charles Hodge III 13. Jayden Glennerster 14. Ray Fitzgerald 15. Michael Metcalf 16. Rodney Dowless Jr. 17. Mike Van Houten Jr. 18. Kevin Ohrnberger 19. Rodney Dowless Sr. 20. Brad Van Houten 21. Nick Morabito 22. Riely O’Keefe 23. Donald Doran 24. Peter Fallon 25. Michael Benton 26. Alex Halinar
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