Auto Racing: Solomito rolls to first win in Cromarty Cup 50

Shawn Solomito of Islip picked a fine night to win his first career NASCAR Modified feature event. Solomito won the Cromarty Cup 50 over a star-studded, 24-car field on Saturday night at Riverhead Raceway before a large crowd that gathered for the track’s annual fireworks show.

The final 10 laps of the race, which saw only one caution flag, proved to be the most challenging for both Solomito and Howie Brode as they periodically encountered packs of lapped cars. But Solomito made his way to the finish line first, joining his father Jerry (two) and younger brother Timmy (five) on the raceway’s all-time win list.

The win propelled Solomito into third place in the 2011 NASCAR Modified championship chase behind Justin Bonsignore and John Fortin.

Brode of East Islip had to settle for second place. Bonsignore of Holtsville made a bold late-race charge to third, Ronnie Silk of Norwalk, Conn., was fourth and John Fortin of Holtsville fifth.

In other races:

Ray Minieri of Bay Shore made his return to the Charger division at Riverhead Raceway complete Saturday when he won a 20-lap feature event for his first victory since 2001. Minieri, the 1999 champion in the class, spent some time racing at another track before returning to Riverhead late in 2010. Minieri drove to his 13th career victory. Brian Doyle of Ronkonkoma crossed the line second, and Chris Turbush of Riverhead roared from the 12th starting spot to place third.

Tom Ferrara of Holbrook made it two straight in Figure Eight competition by winning a 15-lap main event. Defending champion Scott Pedersen jumped to the early race lead, but dropped out of the race on Lap 9 with a blown engine. Defending champion Scott Pedersen jumped to the early race lead and for the first two laps was chased by Dennis Scott. With a bold move Ferrara raced his way from fifth to second on lap 3 and he then set his sights on leader Pedersen. On lap 9 things went from good to really bad for the race leader when Scott slowed suddenly and dropped out of the race with what later was found to be a blown engine. That moved Ferrara into the race lead, which he held to the end, withstanding a challenge from his car owner and teammate Mike Mujsce of Westhampton Beach, who finished second. Third place went to Arne Pedersen of Mastic Beach, who tested Mujsce for second in the closing laps.

In one of the most emotionally charged races, Paul Parisi of Riverhead made it Christmas in July for his late wife Traci when he won a 20-lap Blunderbust feature event. With his car all decked out in a Christmas theme that he is running in memory of his late wife in 2011 for her love of the Christmas season, Parisi drove into victory lane.

Tears of both sadness and joy flowed as Parisi celebrated Traci’s life with family and friends after his third career win. Rob Bader of Holtsville drove to perhaps the most important runner-up finish of his fine career while 15-year-old Jack Handley Jr. of Medford came in third.

History was nearly made in the Four-Cylinder Demolition Derby as Amber Galiano of Rocky Point almost became the first female driver in 62 years of racing at Riverhead Raceway to win a Demolition Derby event. However, Jamie Kilkenny had other ideas. The contest came down to four remaining cars with Jason Savoy and Joey Palmeri slugging it out with Kilkenny and Galiano. A hard hit by Palmeri sent Savoy’s car upside down and both drivers, who were O.K., were done for the event. That left Galiano and Kilkenny to smash it out for the win, which Kilkenny took.

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