OUTSIDE THE WALL: RIVERHEAD
by Ted Baxter
Outside the Wall Turns Bookmaker for a day.
OK, 1 day away from Long Islandís only Official National Holiday, the Whelen
Modified Tours appearance at Riverhead Raceway. I donít know about you, but
the excitement is building up inside me. I may just explode. Anyways, I hope
everybody has a safe trip to the track. I canít wait to see everybody at the
meet and greet.
This year, I have decided to do a preview for the race. While not officially
taking bets on the matter, here are my Oddsmaker Ted Baxter, or as I call
it, the OTB numbers. OTB, kinda catchy, I should patent that.
Donny Lia 5-2 Donny has to be the big favorite. Heís won at Riverhead 3
times on the Tour, and with how the 4 car is performing this year, there is
no reason to believe he canít make it 4. Donny is a great time trialer, and
that will be key is getting an up front starting position.
Mike Stefanik 5-1 Mike has won 6 times at Riverhead, including his 1st ever
tour win back in 1986. Steffy looked like the car to beat at Twin State, and
the momentum may carry over to Riverhead.
Ted Christopher 5-1 A 3 time winner at Riverhead, TC has all the tools to
make it to Victory Lane.
Tommy Rogers. 6-1 Not sure if Tommy will be there. Tommy is 2nd in points at
Riverhead despite missing one week for his vacation. The 6 car has been FAST
every time I have been to Riverhead this year, and Iíll put him as the Long
Island Favorite to break the 12 year losing streak by Long Island Regulars.
James Civali + Matt Hirschman. 8-1 Neither of these young guns proved to be
worthy in their 2006 race at Riverhead, but I have learned to not count them
out. It wouldnít surprise me if 1, or both were in the top 3 at Races End.
Jimmy Blewett 8-1 Jimmy has the track knowledge and the car to win. If all
falls into the right place, watch for the 12 car to come to the front.
JR Bertuccio 10-1. JR certainly knows Riverhead as well as anybody. There
have been times when he has had the car to beat in Tour Races, but he wasnít
the driver to beat. If he has a good car this weekend AND can control his
emotions all evening, he will be a force.
Bill Park.10-1 Bill is owed one from the 1986 race that Mike Stefanik won.
Bill is great at saving his equipment, and if he has the set up underneath
him, he has a good chance.
Jerry Marquis 10-1 Jerry has won at Riverhead, and is great on the short
tracks, that alone makes him a threat.
Ronnie Silk 15-1 Ronnie has surprised me a few time this year. Riverhead
might just fit his style. If it does, watch out for the 19.
Todd Szegedy 15-1 Todd has never been a dominant car at Riverhead, but there
is always a chance the 2 car will hit it right.
Chuck Steuer 15-1 Chuck won the TB Memorial just 2 weeks ago from the pole.
If Chuck, who always seems to time well at Riverhead can start on the pole,
he could make it very tough for somebody to pass him.
John Fortin 15-1 Not sure if he is even entering, but John has the perfect
combination of patience/aggressiveness you need to win a 140 lap race at
Ed Flemke Jr 20-1 Ed has done well at Riverhead in the past, but just
doesnít seem to have the consistency he has had the last few years. If it
all clicks, he could be a contender.
Howie Brode. 25-1 See John Fortinís Comments.
Dave Brigati. 25-1 For those of you off Long Island, donít be shocked if
Dave runs up front this weekend. Heís been running well all year long. I
just havenít seen him do it in a Long Distance Race is all that keeps this
car from being 10-1
Chris Young. 28-1 Chris has run well in the past at Riverhead, but he always
seemed to be the rabbit when he did. What I mean by that is he would look
great for 50-75 laps, and then fade. With a shorter race this time, that
only helps his chances. Chris needs to time trial well to have a shot.
Bobby Santos 30-1 Again, not sure about being there, but never count this
kid out. Someday Cup fans will learn that.
Dan Jivanelli 30-1 Dan time trials well, and has won a tour race here I
believe in 1989, so he has a punchers chance.
Jamie Tomaino 32-1 Man I would love to see Jamie pull in to Victory Lane.
Every now and then, the Jet puts on a great performance at the tight 1/4
mile track, I am hoping this is one of them.
Eric Beers 35-1 Eric is a poor mans TC. He will run every modified race he
can, and his versatility on different race tracks may help him if he hits it
on the setup.
Wayne Anderson 36-1 I have been watching Wayne race for 30+ years. There are
nights when the 15 car just doesnít have it, and there are nights when it
looks like 1992 again. Trouble is, the 1992 nights are becoming fewer and
far between. 3 or 4 years ago, he did have the fastest car at the track and
went from the back to the front, so Wayne gets the benefit of the doubt on
Don Howe. 500-1 Don Howe? Are you drunk Ted? Nope, Don keeps saying that Joe
B keeps asking him to run his back up car, and I know I have bugged him
enough in the last 14 months to know he has thought about it. These odds are
based upon both entering and winning. Its really 50 to 1 that he enters, but
if he does enter, its 10-1 that he wins.
Mike Ewanitsko Even Money If Mike even enters the Grandstand area this week,
that is enough to make him the favorite. 11 wins in I believe 39 races at
Riverhead. What driver on any track has a better win percentage than that
against the finest modified drivers in the world? Seriously though, it was
great seeing Mike and Linda over in turn 2 a few weeks back, and hopefully
heíll come visit his crazy fans over in turn 2 more often in the future.
The Field 100-1 It would take a major upset for anybody else to win. I am
not saying that they canít run well. If wouldnít surprise me at all if
somebody not mentioned finished in the top 10, but the winners list at
Riverhead is the Cream of the Crop of drivers on the Modified Circuit. You
donít luck into a win at Riverhead.
Those are the OFFICIAL OTB odds as I see them.
What to look for. The track regulars have often timed well at the tour
races, and that should continue this week. If 35 cars show up, 7 will make
it thru time.
The Over Under on Long Island Regulars making it thru time is 2.
The Heats. My Friends and I drove all the way to Twin State just because of
the format with heat races. The heats ended up being meaningless, and were
not nearly as exciting as the feature. Here at Riverhead, the heats will
have meaning, and should be rather exciting. I hope the drivers use their
heads, and donít make the heats mini demo derbies.25 laps at Riverhead will
take about 5 minutes at 12 seconds a lap. That doesnít give a lot of time
for setups to come in, or cars to come from the back. I really think the
original format of 60 lap heats would have been better. It would get the
drivers more time to be patient and get to a transfer spot, but it is what
Over under cars showing up. 35.
If say 35 cars do show up, and 7 have made it through time trials, that
would mean 2 14 car heats with 8 drivers making it to the feature. Cutting a
good lap in time trials and starting towards the front of the heat will
certainly help the drivers qualifying effort. There will also be I believe 5
provisionals to round out the field. This should provide a little patience
for the 5 drivers guaranteed to make it if they donít finish in the top 8.
The fact that some of the top 30 in points, especially on the Owners Points
side are not expected to race(77, 66, 48, 14) , may just help provide a
"cushion" for somebody who may be in the oh, say, 15th-25th place in points.
I hope the provisional rule has been changed from years past as Iíd hate to
see Wayne Anderson get the PC Provisional over Jamie Tomaino should they
both failed to qualify.
Over Under On Total Cautions in both heat races combined. 5
Over Under for Total Cautions in the Feature. 8
Riverhead is very tight, and therefore produces a lot of cautions.
Unfortunately many of these are brought out intentionally by somebody who
needs to pit. I hate when drivers do this. I believe if you intentionally
bring out a caution, you car should sit in the pits, and not be able to be
worked on until the next caution comes out. This would bring no advantage to
a car to bring out a caution on purpose, and could put an end to this
Over Under for Beers Consumed in turn 2. ---250
Over Under on beers spilled in turn 2. ó1.5
Over Under for Memorial Teeshirts being unsold. ----1
Over Under for side by side finishes during the One On One Spectator Drags.
Over Under for pictures of me taken by RGee. ----6
Over Under for time of completion of the Modified Event. -----9:19 pm.
Over Under for Temperature at beginning of time trials. -----86 degrees
Over Under on Walt Newcombs Sweat Beads on forehead at Beginning of Time
Over Under for 1st 10 cars to time trial and make it in top 7. -----1 car
Over Under for cars not in the top 8 at beginning of heat races making the
top 8 by the end of heats races. ----- 3
Over Under for bulbs not working on track scoreboard. -----127.
Over Under on Pace Cars during the National Anthem ----4
Over Under on total OTB over under categories -----34
Over Under on Ice Cream Cones Consumed by Ted Baxter -----1. (Vanilla with
Over Under on Winners starting position ----4
Over Under on "Flat Tire Cautions" ------2
Over Under on people in victory lane for the Charger Race ----74
Over Under on People left in the grandstand for victory lane if the 81 car
wins the charger race ----74
Over Under for attendance. Hopefully 4000+, lets have 2 races in 2008.
Over Under for Cars on the lead lap at the end of the WMT race. 13.
Over Under for Cars still on the track at the end of the WMT Race 20
Over Under for Lead Changes in the WMT Race -----------2
Over Under for Most Cars passed in the race by one driver. -----12
Over Under for Bob Finan Jokes about the Starter, Smokey Bokin------5
Over Under for Joe Gibbs Racing Employees in Attendance. -------3
Over Under longest caution lap period----------12
Over Under on people who actually read this far down --------3.5
Thats a rap. 24 hours to go to the greatest spectacle in Auto Racing. The
WMT event at Riverhead. See ya There.
Baxter/Outside The Wall
August 3, 2007