OUTSIDE THE WALL:
THE MILLER LITE 100
by Ted Baxter
No, the title isnít a mistake. I am going to remember
it as the Miller Lite 100.
Iíll get into more on that later.
1st. All year Donny Lia has been FAST and now Donny Lia
has been LUCKY. Lia took advantage of some good old fashioned
testosterone racing in front of him when TC and Steffy basically took
each other out, and went on to win the race. The Garbarino 4 was good
all night, but not great. I think about 5 or 6 cars were better than the
4, including the 36 + 16, but a good time trial lap, and a good draw for
position put Donny in a great spot to be up front, and able to take
advantage of the situation when it arose.
2nd Bill Park has always been fast at Riverhead. Last night
was one of those nights when it all fell just about perfect for Park. He
drew the last position in the qualifying order, and then went out and
missed TCís fast time by .002 seconds. About the worst thing to happen
to him was picking 7th starting position. A better draw and he just
might have been one spot up on the podium.
3rd Ronnie Silk. What can you say about his run. My friend Chad
had the 1st pick out the hat in our pool, and drew Silk. He kinda made a
comment about not having a shot, but I explained to him how well he ran
at Twin State, and that I would not be surprised to see him go to the
front. Silk made a late pass on the 10 car in heat number 2 to move up 2
spots on the starting grid. After starting 15th Silk was up to 9th on
lap 53 after the 2nd caution of the day. He continued his steady climb
to 5th on Lap 87, and 4th on lap 97. The next to late restart found him
getting shuffled back on the outside, but he fought back up to Parks
bumper for 5th, and then ended up with a 3rd place podium finish when
the 36/16 had their misfortune. If this was another 20 laps or so, Silk
would have been in line for the win. Great run for the 19 car.
4th Justin Bonsignore. Ok, those not from Long Island are going
who? Justin has been a consistent for not flashy driver in the Mods at
Riverhead In 2007. Last night certainly was his best performance ever in
a modified. Justin took advantage of timing 27th out of the 34 cars on
hand and cut the 11th fastest time. That put Justin in 2nd starting spot
in the 2nd heat, which is where he finished to start 11th in the
feature. Justin consistently ran from 10th -12th place for almost the
entire race. He kept his nose clean and was in great position at the end
when many up front had problems. A well earned 4th place finish for the
23 car (Renumbered from 28). Great Job.
5th James Civali. Another good consistent run from the 28 team.
Time Trialed 9th, which started him from the pole in the 2nd heat. He
won it with no problem. He started the feature in 9th, and ran 9th or
10th about the whole race. Passed a few car on the track and thru
attrition, and lo and behold, scored a top 5 at the toughest top track
on the circuit. If Civali should win the 2007 WMT Championship, you can
look back to August 4th as a big race towards that goal.
6th Danny Sammons. Danny Came down not once, but twice to
get a handle on Riverhead in the weeks prior to the Tour Race. Both
times he impressed with his smoothness and lack or over aggressiveness
that many outsiders tend to bring to Riverhead. Danny timed 18th fastest
on his 1st lap, but was a little slower on his 2nd or maybe he may have
done even better. The 18th time meant heíd start 6th on the 2nd heat.
Danny was passed by Ryan Preece during the 25 laps and that meant heíd
start the feature in 21st starting position. Again, he stayed out of
trouble for the most part. Was up to 15th on Lap 53. 13th on Lap 87.
10th on Lap 97 and ended up with a nice 6th place finish that I am
pretty sure Team Sammons was pretty happy with.
7th Matt Hirschman. Matt wasnít as fast as usual at Riverhead.
Every place I have seen him run this year, he was fast. That was not the
case this weekend. Matt was very unlucky with the time trial draw as he
went out 3rd to qualify, which resulted in 28th fastest on the clock.
Matt, with a provisional in his pocket ran 2 laps and then parked it,
meaning heíd start24th on the field. I donít remember seeing him pass
anybody all day. He just ran a smooth trouble free type race, and again,
I am sure heís not too disappointed with his 7th place.
8th Howie Brode. Howie was very fast on Saturday. Howie was the
22nd car to time, and set fast time at that point of 11.819, which ended
up .004 seconds of the pole, and .002 seconds off of 2nd. If he had
timed after TC and Park, I am sure heíd have had the pole. Brode pick
5th in the draw for starting position. The 96 was mixing it up with the
20, 00, and 02 right before the 2nd caution. Unfortunately for Brode,
Howie was the 2nd caution after the typically clean Jerry Marquis got
into the 96 in turns 1+2, causing the 96 to spin. This put the 96 in
16th spot. He was back up to 12th 13 laps later, and 9th on lap 97.
Howie definitely had a top 5 car, and must be left wondering what might
9th Jamie Tomaino. Jamie was the 4th car to time trial, which
left him 29th fastest. And spent most of the heat racing with the 9 car
of Jake Marosz. Jamie got the 3rd provisional which put him 26th on the
starting field. Mostly through attrition, the Jet was up to 13th on lap
53, and like the rest of the top 10 kept it straight and clean for a 9th
place at the finish. A great top 10 for the long time Modified Tour top
runner and 1990 Champion.
10th Ryan Preece. Ryan Preece? Wow. Most drivers donít even
qualify the 1st time they race a tour race at Riverhead. Ryan scored a
top 10. This despite being the 1st car to time trial under the hottest
part of the day. 25th on the field in time put Preece in 9th starting
spot in his heat. Ryan moved up to 6th to qualify for the feature in
19th Starting Spot. He wasnít even in the top 20 when lap 53 clicked
off. And was 19th on lap 66. I had him in 17th on lap 97, so his last 47
laps must have been impressive, though I confess to have had my eyes
firmly locked on the battle at the front. The 40 team getting a top 10
must have felt like a win.
11th Mike Stefanik. Mike for the 2nd race in a row was the fastest
car for most of the race. He timed 7th, and was the lucky recipient of
the pole position when the other 6 drivers didnít pick it. He was smooth
and clean, that is until TC passed him. I was watching some of the great
mid pack racing when TC got the lead from Steffy. I had 3 people tell me
the 36 car got airborne when he passed the 16 car in traffic. Whatever
happened there, it must have infuriated the normally cool and collect
Stefanik. At the point he was Well Bent on getting past the 36 car with
driving more typical of TC rather than Mike. TC wasnít helping as 2 or 3
time Stefanik had the outside lane, and TC drifted up to take the line
away. This back and forth went on for about 20 laps, and was by far the
most exciting tour racing I have seen at Riverhead in many a year. The
racing ended up going bad for both drivers as TC ended up backwards in
turn 2, and Mike had a right front flat, sending him to the pits. If was
great while it lasted.
12th Place Jimmy Blewett. Jimmy was fast, and may have had the car
to win. His 1st lap of 12.012 was only good for 18th fastest, which
started him 6th in the 1st heat. Blewett was truly Showtime in winning
that heat, putting him in 8th spot in the feature. He got off the ground
when he passed the 00 car. The 12 car was up to 4th place, and running
well. A flat tire ultimately put him to the back of the pack, ending his
run for the win.
14th Eddie Flemke Jr. The 10 car was running very well after
starting the feature in 17th, he was up to 6th at one point before
fading at the end, finishing 1 lap down.
15th Ted Christopher. Teddy was fast all night. He set fast time,
and drew the 4th pill in the prerace draw. He swapped got by Lia on a
restart, and then passed Steffy for the Lead. He tried everything in the
book to keep the 16 at bay. It even looked like he stopped once or twice
upon exiting turn 2. I guess TC got TCíd and his 15th place will really
hurt his points hopes.
18th JR Bertuccio. JR had an up and down evening. He started
13th, and looked really patient early on. I thought maybe tonight could
be his night. He was up to 7th on lap 66, but ultimately spun after a
caution came out sending him to the rear of the field, and he was never
a factor again.
21st Jerry Marquis. Jerry had a bad race. His contact with Howie
Brode and Tony Ferrante Jr caused them to spin. Riverhead is a very
tight place, and I know these were unintentional, but I donít think
Marquis will be getting invited to BBQís at the Brode or Ferrante
Household anytime soon.
25th Tony Ferrante Jr. Tony was fast. Very fast. Could he have won?
Who knows, but he really had a good car. He timed 5th fastest on his 1st
lap, spinning on his 2nd lap. He drew the outside pole, and looked
great, running in 3rd place on Lap 57 when contact from behind with the
00 sent him spinning to the infield. Tony is one of those guys that
everybody would love to see win, and it was sad to see his best chance
at Riverhead go up in the dust of the turn 2 infield.
by Ted Baxter
The Lucky Dog. It doesnít work at Riverhead. It took 5 laps
to get Dan Jivanelli his lap back when he was the lucky dog. None of the
cars who won the lucky dog were ever a factor again. Its only 140 lap
race, not a 400 or 500 lapper of Nextel Cup. Iím sick of people trying
to make the Modifieds into a Cup like division. We blow the Cup Series
Away, and we donít need the Lucky Dog Pass at Riverhead. It just isn't
big enough for a driver to make anything out of the gift, and it
probably robbed about 10-12 laps of what was a great race by getting
drivers their lap back. At the very least, the need to change how the
driver gets his lap back. Why canít they just have them fall to the
back, and add a lap to that drivers score sheet. Done. No laps lost.
Ed Cox said "put it out" way too many times on Saturday. When
Wayne Anderson spun, he was so far off the track it was laughable that
they through a caution. Then, when it takes about 10 laps to get
restarted after a simple spin, it enough to infuriate the most tried and
true Modified Fan. Maybe Mr. Cox wanted a 100 lap race like we had at
Twin State because he sure didnít seem concerned with the amount of
green flag laps run. We averaged over 9 laps per caution. One of the
faster cautions was for a big wreck on the start. The slowest seemed to
be for the spinouts. Ed Cox showed no urgency in getting the restart.
Watching lap after lap of caution click of was like watching my
Admission Fee drip away. Lets get our priorities together Mr. Cox.
Safety, Fairness, and Quality are the 3 things you are most responsible
for, and right now only 2 or those 3 are being satisfied.
Speaking of Twin State Speedway. The had a great caution rule
for their race. Cautions didnít count for the 1st half of the race. I
wish they had left that in place for Saturday. Especially the way the
caution laps just seemed to fly by. It would have left a little less bad
taste in the modified fans mouth.
The Light Fiasco was very frustrating. But at least the great race made
up for that.
We had a nice group for The Chrome Horn Meet and Greet before
Time Trials. With Chris, Shadow, Art11758 + son, Howie, The Chrome Horn,
RGee and daughter, and some lurkers too, it was a great way to kick off
As I have stated, the race was one of the best every. Thatís
100% thanks to the drivers who put on one heck of a show, that could
have even been better. Lets hope we can do this all again in 2008.
August 5, 2007