Auto Racing: After three years, Brode breaks into victory lane


Howie  Brode of East Islip snapped a nearly three-year winless spell when he swept the Twin 30 NASCAR Modified feature events at Riverhead Raceway on Saturday night.

Threatening skies forced the features to be moved up in the track’s running order because of  unexpected rain showers all around the facility. That didn’t seem to bother Brode, though, as he collected his 12th career win at Riverhead and his first since July 17, 2010, when he was triumphant in the Baldwin, Evans & Jarzombek 77 Memorial.

“That was some good racing and I sure am glad to be back here” Brode said from victory lane. “Just some good hard and clean racing.”

Ryan Preece of Berlin, Conn., was the runner-up, and defending champion Shawn Solomito of Islip drove in third. Ron Silk of Norwalk, Conn.,  and Tom Rogers Jr. of Patchogue completed the top five.

In other races:

Roger Oxee of Peconic celebrated his 61st birthday with his 62nd career Late Model victory when he topped that 25-lap feature event. Afterward, Oxee expressed sympathy for Shawn Patrick, who spun off a turn on Lap 7, enabling Oxee to go in front.

“I know I’d be upset if that happened to me,” Oxee said. “I’m really sorry for Shawn.”

Scott Kulesa of Georgetown, Mass., was second at the finish line, with Chris LaSpisa of Shirley third.

The annual Cromarty Cup 20 for the Figure Eight division drew a 12-car field for the event. When it was over, Arne Pedersen of Mastic Beach hoisted the cup while celebrating his 10th career win. Johnny Vullo, making his first start in a couple of years, clipped three cones that are placed to keep drivers from cutting corners on Lap 14. That moved Pedersen’s second-place car into the lead, which he held over the final five laps. Ken Hyde Jr. of Medford came in second, and the opening-night winner, Tom Ferrara of Patchogue, took third.

Eric Zeh of Selden topped the 20-lap Charger main event to earn his second career feature event win. Chris Turbush of Riverhead was second. Chad Churilla of Hauppauge turned some heads with his solid third-place finish.

Talk about ending a dry spell. That is just what Blunderbust driver Tom Sullivan of Massapequa did as he won a 20-lap main event for his first win since August of 2005. Sullivan did a masterful job of thwarting challenges made by Scott Maliszewski of Deer Park. Sullivan was victorious for the third time in his career. Maliszewski held on for second while Tom Pickerell of Huntington was third.

Opening night found Lou Maestri with a heavily damaged Super Pro Truck sitting atop his open trailer, but those bad fortunes turned good Saturday as Maestri won the 20-lap feature event for his 25th career win. Frank Dumicich Jr. of East Quogue was second, and his sister, Erin Dumicich-Solomito of East Quogue, was third.

The defending Legend Race Car champion, Kyle Ellwood of Riverhead, scored the 20-lap main event win in dominating fashion. Outfitted in one of his father John’s old driving uniforms after his was damaged in a fire at the Waterford Speedbowl in Connecticut in April, Ellwood quickly jumped to the lead from the pole position. The race was slowed when Justin Strumpf hit into a wall before a lap was recorded. When the race resumed, it ran its 20-lap distance without another yellow flag. This aided Ellwood more than it did Vinny Delaney of Holtsville, who was second. Brendon Bock of Franklin Square was third.