Late-race restarts don’t stop Park
Former four-time Riverhead Raceway NASCAR modified champion Bill Park of Manorville didn’t let two late-race, double-file restarts stand in his way Saturday night in a 35-lap race. Park took home his 31st career victory, landing him in a five-way tie for third on the track’s all-time win list. Park is now tied with Wayne Anderson, Chris Young, Jack Reinhard and Tommy Washburn in career wins.
Park, who rebounded from a crash the week before, said: “I have to thank my crew and family. After last week we worked Sunday and every night of the week to get this car back out and it paid off.”
Over the final five laps of the race John Fortin, the defending NASCAR Modified champion, stayed glued to Park, but with the laps slipping away was never able to mount a challenge to the eventual winner. Fortin finished second, Tom Rogers Jr. was third, Mike Andrews Jr. fourth and Justin Bonsignore fifth.
Roger Oxee of Peconic, the all-time leading winner in late model racing at Riverhead, added to that total Saturday when he led wire to wire in a 25-lap race to earn his 58th career win. Like Park in the modified race, Oxee also had to survive several double-file restarts to claim his first win since August of 2008. Shawn Patrick of Brightwaters crossed the line second. Kevin Metzger of Massapequa recovered from an early-race flat to claim third place.
Perhaps the most motivated driver in the pit area Saturday was Roger Turbush of Riverhead. He was called upon to drive his brother Chris’ potent charger car as Chris served a one-race suspension. Roger Turbush collected his first career charger victory. Frank Dumicich Jr. of East Quogue was the runner-up, and Jay Henschel of Levittown came in third.
It has been 10 and a half years since Bill Portney Sr. won a 20-lap blunderbusts main event at Riverhead Raceway. It has also been 10 and a half years since he nearly died of a heart attack at the track later that year. Well, the Ronkonkoma driver completed his comeback Saturday when he topped the blunderbust field for his first win since July 24, 1999.
After some early-race contact on the first attempt to start the race, Portney lost a hood pin on the first exchange, but was able to take the lead with the throw of the green flag, even with his hood on the right front of the car waving in the breeze. Portney finished ahead of Tom Pickerell, the second one to cross the finish line. Tim Mulqueen of Levittown placed third.
When the 20-lap super pro truck feature event was checkered, it appeared that Frank Scimeca Jr. of Bay Shore had won his first career main event while subbing for the truck owner, Bobby Jones. Scimeca led wire to wire in holding off former champion Frank Dumicich Sr. over the final 17 laps of the race. However, following a post-race technical inspection, Scimeca and the Jones team were informed that their distributor had an unapproved modification and they were disqualified. That moved Dumicich of East Quogue into victory lane for the 16th time in his super pro truck career. His daughter, Erin Dumicich, jumped into second. Dave Koenig of Freeport was third.