Auto Racing: Howe’s return is a triumphant one

Don Howe is back.

The Water Mill driver, a five-time Riverhead Raceway NASCAR Modified champion, marked his return to auto racing after a decade and a half in retirement with a victory Saturday night when he won the 35-lap feature event. It was the 28th career win for Howe, tying with J. R. Bertuccio for ninth on the track’s all-time win list.

Howe and his team debuted a new truck-arm rear suspension racer for the 2011 season and at first struggled early on. In Howe’s opinion, it was the constant hard work of his crew that won Saturday’s race. “We had a difficult time at first, but this team just kept thrashing away, and this is the result,” he said.

John Beatty Jr. of Merrick wheeled over the line second. Dave Brigati of Calverton placed third, Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville drove from 12th to a fourth-place finish, and Shawn Solomito of Islip took fifth.

In other races:

Mike Bologna of Melville scored his second Late Model win of the season when he topped a 25-lap main event. Bologna steered his way to his seventh career Late Model win while Roger Oxee of Peconic had to settle for second place. Just two days after the birth of his first child, Jarrod Hayes of Calverton made a late-race charge to third.

Chris McGuire of Shirley was one of three drivers who scored their third win of 2011 when the Chargers points leader won a 20-lap event. It was his 14th career win. Jeremy McDermott of East Stroudsburg, Pa., was second and Chris Turbush of Riverhead third.

In order to win his third Blunderbust feature of the season and the 46th of his career, Tommy Walkowiak of Ridge had to move from dead last — 19th in the field — to accomplish the feat. Paul Parisi of Riverhead made a nice charge to a second-place finish. Ed Mistretta of New Hyde Park placed third. Jack Handley Jr. of Medford had actually crossed the finish line second, but was disqualified following a postrace weigh-in.

Chris Turbush notched his third Super Pro Truck victory of the year. He took first in a 20-lap race for his sixth career Super Pro Truck victory. Mike Albasini of Flushing came in second, with Brian McElearney of North Babylon third.

Later this fall, Michael Rommeney will marry his fiancé, Cindy Scott, but he had to contend with his future father-in-law, Dennis Scott, in a Full-Size School Bus Demolition Derby on Saturday when their buses were the last two standing. After the likes of Brandon Hubbard, Donny Fox, Ken Darch, Chris Van Cott and Billy Faas were eliminated, the event boiled down to Rommeney and Scott, who duked it out for quite sometime before Rommeney made the last hit to score the win.

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