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Riverhead Raceway: Race night doubly sweet for Rogers

Whatever ailed defending Riverhead Raceway NASCAR Modified and Figure Eight champion Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead earlier in the season is now just a distant memory.

Rogers won both a 40-lap NASCAR Modified race, which he backed up minutes later with a victory in a 15-lap Figure Eight main event Saturday at Riverhead Raceway.

In a 30-lap INEX Legend Race Cars national qualifier, championship leader Vinny Delaney of Holtsville scored the biggest win of his career.

Following his 43rd career win in the Modified race, Rogers said: “The car wasn’t quite where we’d like it to be. I sure didn’t want to see all those double-file restarts, but we were able to hang on.”

Later, Rogers’ thoughts about his car proved to be spot on when car owner Joe Ambrose pointed to a misplaced right rear brake caliper as well damaged rear suspension. When asked at what point of the race he thought the damage occurred, Rogers simply shrugged his shoulders and said, “ I really don’t know.”

Rogers is 20 wins behind Riverhead Raceway’s all-time Modified leader, Charlie Jarzombek.

Dave Brigati of Calverton finished second while championship leader Shawn Solomito of Center Moriches recovered from early-race contact with the wall to race his way back to a third-place tally. Eddie Brunnhoelzl III of Levittown and John Fortin Jr. of Holtsville completed the top five.

Shortly after his Modified triumph, Rogers had to go right back to work in the Figure Eight feature, picking up his 26th career win in that class, ranking him fifth on the all-time win list. Scott Pedersen of Shirley was second and Tom Ferrara of Patchogue third.

It was a big night for the INEX Legend Race Cars with their annual national qualifier. Following Delaney at the finish was second-place Richie Davidowitz of East Moriches and third-place John Beatty Jr. of Merrick. With one points race left, Delaney enjoys a 21-point lead over Beatty for the championship.

Eric Zeh of Selden might have picked up some battle scars along the way, but that didn’t upset him as he won his second Late Model feature of the year, a 50-lap victory. Kevin Metzger of Massapequa was second and Chris Turbush of Wading River made a strong comeback for third.

Defending Blunderbust champion Tom Pickerell of Huntington raced his third win of the season (and 18th of his career) in a 20-lapper. The next two spots went to Tim Mulqueen of Levittown and Zeh.

The never-say-quit attitude of multiple Super Pro Truck champion Roger Turbush of Riverhead propelled the current championship leader to his 26th career win in a 20-lap event. Owen Grennan of Glen Cove was second, with Brigati third.

Brigati Closes in on Title. Dave Brigati of Calverton took a giant step toward the first Modified Crate championship when he won a 40-lapper Sunday afternoon. With one points race left, Brigati’s 25-point lead over Dylan Slepian of Dix Hills, coupled with an average car count of 10 in the division, virtually wraps up the title for Brigati. The only fly in the ointment for Brigati would be a field of 13 or better for the points finale Sept. 17.

Brigati, who prevailed for his fourth win of the season, held off runner-up Dillon Steuer of Bohemia. Dennis Krupski of Calverton wheeled in third.