At Riverhead Raceway on July 16, it was a night for veterans to show youngsters that they could still get the job done. Defending Blunderbust Division Champion Tommy “ The Wild Child” Walkowiak of Ridge started dead last in the field, using the combination of a series of wrecks and just plain masterful driving to capture the checkered flag.
The Super Pro Truck Division was won by Chris Turbush, whose family has probably driven anything on wheels to victory at Riverhead Raceway (and Islip Speedway) over the years. As it is, Turbush took the lead from brother Roger, who experienced mechanical problems. “ This should have been my brother’s win,” Chris acknowledged in Victory Lane as he accepted the trophy from Unique Golf of Babylon Village.
Defending Charger Champion and Division Point Leader Chris Maguire also started deep in the field and made his way to first by the time the Checkered Flag flew. Eric Zeh looked for much of the event like he would garner the win, but McGuire, with a combination of guile and patience, showed the way.
Rodger Oxee almost got wins number 60 and 61 in consecutive weeks, but had to settle for second when Mike Bologna of Melville won the Late Model Main Event.
”I made a few mistakes tonight...I should have had this win…we’ll get ’em next week,” said the ultra competitive Oxee, who drives the IGA Supermarkets sponsored #39.
However, the most emotional and pleasing victory had to be scored by Don Howe of Watermill in the Modified Division. Howe was a multiple-time Track Champion at both Islip Speedway and Riverhead Raceway in the 1980s and ’90s then retired to spend more time with his family. In 2011, Howe is back behind the wheel, driving the #2 Gershow Recycling/Long Island Truck Parts Modified for the Bertuccio family.
To this point, the car has not performed as anyone would have liked. However, on this night, the “bugs” were gone. The veteran started on the front row and cruised to victory on Safelite Auto Glass Night, for his first win in 15 years.
From the Pits: We heard from Michelle Pearsall Bennett this week. The racing exploits of her dad, Bobby Pearsall, was chronicled in these pages by yours truly many years ago at Islip Speedway and Riverhead Raceway. Michelle reports that the driver of the #87 modified is now a car owner at Bowman- Gray Stadium in North Carolina.
Readers can reach Mike Perricone at email@example.com.