A chance conversation started during the 2020 Islip 300 last November at Riverhead Raceway morphed into Shawn Solomito of Islip teaming up with Jimmy & Angela Rennick as the driver of their NASCAR Modified and in just their second start together Saturday night Shawn put the new combination into the winners circle at the conclusion of the 50-lap Buzz Chew Chevrolet NASCAR Modified event.
For Shawn a former two time track champion it was his 18th career NASCAR Modified win moving him into sole possession of 23rd on the all time win list. Despite a rain delay during qualifying the entire seven division program was completed.
With the three heat races scrubbed and the 21-car field set for the 50-lap feature by inverting the top 12 from the opening night event a week prior with the remaining nine cars set by points after the opener. Dave Brigati and Shawn Solomito sat at the front of the field coming to the green with Shawn getting the advantage on Dave who tucked into second. Like opening night an extended green flag run greeted the week two feature as the race ran until the 44th lap with Solomito leading the entire distance and building nearly a straight away lead until the first yellow flew on lap 44. Unfortunately it would be Dave Brigati the reason for the caution after a spin for which Michael Rutkoski was sent to the rear of the field for his role in the incident.
That turn of events moved defending champion Tom Rogers Jr. and Kyle Soper a former two time champion into second and third and when the field was called to order for the restart all eyes focused on leader Solomito to see if he’d choose the inside or outside for the restart. Shawn chose the inside forcing 60-time career winner Rogers to the outside and when the race resumed Solomito executed a perfect restart to remain the leader while Rogers fell into the clutches of Soper in a tussle for second. With just three laps left in the 50-lapper Soper was able to wrestle second away from Rogers but with three laps left in the race that would be as good as it would get for Soper.
At the checker it was Shawn Solomito crossing the line first in the Metropolitan Recycling Chevy accomplishing two goals he set for himself coming into the 2021 season, “I really wanted to give Jimmy & Angela Rennick their first NASCAR Modified win ever” Shawn noted, “it was Dennis Freese at the 300 last fall that told me I should go talk to Jimmy and I did and I’m glad I did” The other goal Shawn set for himself was more personal in nature, “I really wanted to get a victory lane picture with all three of my kids and wife, our daughter Gabby was born a week ago and I got our picture”.
Kyle Soper of Manorville was second in the Eastport Feeds Chevy while Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead third in the License To Chill entry, both drivers will be competing in the Miller Lite 200 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event at Riverhead this Saturday May 15th. Justin Brown of Manorville and Dylan Slepian of Dix Hills were fourth and fifth. Slepian will also enter the 200.
Chris Rogers of Patchogue topped the 25-lap Eagle Auto mall Crate Modified feature for his 5th career win in the class leading wire to wire. Starting from the pole Rogers was able to out gun Mike Albasini the outside pole sitter for the race lead at the drop of the green. Albasini was soon overtaken by AJ DeSantis for second on lap 3 who for the next 22 laps chased Rogers around the quarter mile. DeSantis was trying to reward his small team for all their work after a grinding practice day crash damaged the front clip of their car. Try as he might all the challenger could do is watch as Chris Rogers drove off to victory in his PJ Raceway Slot Car Racing entry. DeSantis of Yaphank was runner-up in the Strong Oil Chevy while Steve Ratti of Manorville completed the podium in third with his Rosemar backed machine.
Scott Pedersen of Shirley never quit in the 15-lap Figure Eight feature, not even when his and CJ Lehmann’s cars were were locked together early in the race drawing a caution. Pedersen was able to recover from that incident to record his first win of 2021. Joe Warren Jr. broke to the early race lead and would find himself being challenged by four different drivers in CJ Lehamnn, Allan Pedersen, Tom Ferrara and Bryan Quilliam along the way. It was the duel with Quilliam that was most intense as the two swapped the lead and traded paint. On lap 12 their fight got too close as they both spun from the first two positions. That allowed Scott Pedersen who worked his way back to third to take over the race lead and on a night when he thought he was done before the halfway mark of the race wound up being the race winner in his McBetts Racing Engines Camaro. Gary Fritz Jr. of Mastic Beach was second in his self funded ’57 Chevy while Joe Warren Jr. of Ridge rallied for third late in the race with his Alex Katz Exit Realty entry.
Second generation driver Brandon Hubbard of Mastic Beach realized the dream of a lifetime when he won his first career 20-lap Blunderbust feature. Right from the throw of the green “Hubcap” showed he was the driver to beat as he raced to the lead at the throw of the green over Alyssa Paprocky. On lap 3 exiting the fourth turn defending champion Tom Pickerell worked an inside pass on Paprocky for second but he soon was under attack from opening night winner Cody Triola. The fight for second got physical at times with Triola working his way by Pickerell on lap 9. With the event going green to checker with no interruptions Brandon Hubbard in the Lost Boys Racing machine drove off to a long awaited first win. Triola of Bay Shore was second in the PCFI mount while Pickerell of Huntington third in the Stargaze Outdoor Movie Chevy.
The Super Pro Trucks ran their first Miller Lite Triple Crown Series event a 30-lap affair with “Mad” Max Handley of Medford scoring his first career win. “The Bullet” Ethan Brown of Floral Park set fast time in qualifying with a lap of 13.510 earning the pole for the race in his Foos Fire Chevy. Brown wasted no time taking the race lead when the green waved and the youngster would lead the first 18 circuits before Max Handley made an inside pass for the lead off turn four to start the 19th lap. Brown held second until ten to go when Matt Triola was able to get by for the challengers spot. However Max Handley steering the Hollis Court Collision Chevy would not be denied on this night and nailed down the victory. Triola of Bay Shore in the ADC Construction entry was second with Jimmy Rennick Jr. of Howard Beach coming from last to finish third in the Sonny’s Collision Specialists.
During the 2020 season INEX Legend Race Car driver Jason Castaldo of Shirley made great strives in his racing career thanks in part to winning a potent car in a raffle once raced by Kevin Nowak. On Saturday it all came together for the driver of the M3 technology machine as he won his first career 20-lap main event. Tested tough veteran Brad Van Houten paced the first three laps of the race before Castaldo took over with an inside pass on the front stretch on lap 4. With Van Houten struggling ever so slightly with the handling of his car Castaldo was able to open up a very comfortable lead, a lead he’d keep until the finish. Van Houten of Wading River brought the Mike Van Houten Trucking racer home second while Eric Hersey of Ronkonkoma was third in his Silver Fox Racing entry.
The first ever 15-lap INEX Bandolero race was first up on the night and when the event concluded Darren Krantz Jr. of Huntington made history as the first ever winner in the new division. Krantz was chased over the first four circuits by pole sitter Rodney Dowless Jr. before he was passed by Chevy Rommeney on lap 5. Rommeney had his night go south with a spin on lap 9 moving Dowless back to second. In the end it was all Darren Krantz Jr in the Pinktie.org machine crossing under the checkers first. Rodeny Dowless Jr. of Dix Hills was second in the Jackson Coffee backed car while Reid Halpin of Wading River turned plenty of heads with his last to third place performance in his Goodie Racing entry.
Buzz Chew Chevrolet NASCAR Modifieds: 1. Shawn Solomito 2. Kyle Soper 3. Tom Rogers Jr. 4. Justin Brown 5. Dylan Slepian 6. John Beatty Jr. 7. Chris Young 8. CJ Lehmann 9. Eddie Brunnhoelzl III 10. Howie Brode 11. Jack Handley Jr. 12. Dave Brigati 13. Roger Turbush 14. Michael Rutkoski 15. Jarrod Hayes 16. Jeremy McDermott 17. Eric Zeh 18. John Baker 19. JB Fortin 20. John Fortin Sr. 21. Anthony Nocella
Eagle Auto Mall Crate Modifieds: 1. Chris Rogers 2. AJ DeSantis 3. Steve Ratti 4. Michael Berner 5. Sean Glennon 6. Owen Grennan 7. Eric Hersey 8. Mike Albasini 9. Richie Davidowitz 10. Matt Brode 11. Terry Stiles 12. Mark Stewart 13. Eddie Schutze 14. Alex Colasanto 15. Chase Grennan 16. Charles Macwhinnie 17. Mark Wolf 18. Dennis Krupski 19. Kenny Southard 20. Ken Massa III 21. Vinny Delaney
Figure Eights: 1. Scott Pedersen 2. Gary Fritz Jr. 3. Joe Warren Jr. 4. Tom Ferrara 5. Kim Hyde 6. Bryan Quilliam 7. Ryan Warren 8. Paulo Miquel 9. CJ Lehmann 10. Paul Cummings 11. Allan Pedersen 12. Brian Hansen
Blunderbusts: 1. Brandon Hubbard 2. Cody Triola 3. Tom Pickerell 4. Tom Sullivan 5. Bill Wegmann Jr. 6. Jim Laird Jr. 7. Alyssa Paprocky 8. CJ Lehmann 9. Kyle Halpin 10. Bill Wegmann Sr.
Super Pro Trucks: 1. Max Handley 2. Matt Triola 3. Jimmy Rennick Jr. 4. Jack Handley Jr. 5. Ethan Brown 6. Lou Maestri 7. Joe Cerabino 8. Frank Dumicich Sr. 9. Erin Solomito
Legend Race Cars: 1. Jason Castaldo 2. Brad Van Houten 3. Eric Hersey 4. Joey Braun 5. George Tomko Jr. 6. Allan Pedersen 7. Ray Fitzgerald 8. Anthony Marsh 9. Riely O’Keefe 10. Jeff Farruggia Jr. 11. Devin Deshaires 12. Sean McElearney 13. Mike Van Houten Jr. 14. Scott Cheslak 15. Frank Hodge 16. Jake Curran 17. Tanner Jones 18. Charlie Hodge 19. Eugene Drew 20. Jeff Ottos Jr. 21. Mike Benton 22. Steve Woytsiak 23. Rob Henninger III 24. Pat Moore 25. Kevin Nowak 26. Chris Sinatro
Bandoleros: 1. Darren Krantz Jr. 2. Rodney Dowless Jr. 3. Reid Halpin 4. Jayden Owens-Bader 5. Chevy Rommeney 6. Gavin Romano 7. Tucker Bock 8. Brandon Booker 9. Nick Hodge 10. James Penny 11. Matthew Vescovi Jr. 12. Chris Mancz Jr.