Hossfeld is happy about going back to Stafford this week.

“We ran well there last time.  I’m excited to go back.  I’m excited about the Stafford and Thompson races that we’ll be doing.  We’ll probably be pretty damn good.  We’ll try to put a string of good runs together.  We’ll just see what happens.  That’s all you can do.”

ANOTHER TOP 10 FOR ETHERIDGE

Since aligning himself with new crew chief Brian Schofield at Beech Ridge, Dave Etheridge has finished two out of three races in the top 10.  He ended up eighth at Riverhead.
We got through the mess tonight, I don’t know how.”

HOSSFELD LOOKS FORWARD TO HOMESTRETCH

Now that the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season has reached halfway, and several of the series bullrings are over with, Chuck Hossfeld is a happy man.  Currently, he sits solidly in the top five of the standings and he’s ready to improve that over the second half of the year.
racing, but unfortunately it seems like that’s the mode they’re in tonight.  It’s disappointing because the car felt so good those first couple of laps.”

TC SURPRISED BY TOP TEN FINISH

Ted Christopher won at Riverhead earlier this season, but the return trip there by the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour was not as kind to the current point leader. 
the wheels off it just to stay on the lead lap.  That pretty much killed the tires right there racing with Donny.  I’m sure that he took it easy on me and tried not to put me a lap down.  Then, we caught the back of the field and started passing cars.”

Beers and his #3 Boehler team did not give up though and came away with a top five finish.

“It’s just a testament to this team to get fifth.  These guys never quit and if they don’t quit, I won’t quit.”

The 200-lap race did take its toll on Beers though.  Racing hard isn’t easy.  In fact, it was even harder than winning last week at Seekonk for the driver of the “Ole’ Blue” #3.

“I’ll tell you what, I’m more worn out now that I was at Seekonk,” said Beers.  “On those 160 laps or so after the pit stop, we went full bore.  We weren’t saving nothing. 

STUCK OUTSIDE, AND INSIDE, THE GATES

Riverhead is a unique track.  Like many bullrings though, it leaves a little to be desired when it comes to pit road accommodations.
NASCAR WHELEN MOD LEFTOVERS: RIVERHEAD by Mike Twist
Ferrante Hanging it Up, Christophers Come Back Through Field, Bad Blewett Night and More
A GOOD GUY MIGHT SAY GOODBYE

One of the good guys of racing, Tony Ferrante, made it known at Riverhead Raceway that this season might be his last behind the wheel of a Modified.
“I’m 95-98% sure that this is going to be my last year,” said Ferrante.  “I’ve been doing this a long time with my Dad.  We’ve got a business that needs a lot of our attention, I’m getting older and it’s just the next chapter in life.  I loved this and I made a lot of great friends.  I’ll miss it, but it’s time to move on.”

Ferrante has been running a limited schedule on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

Riverhead was the home race for Ferrante and he started on the second row.  Unfortunately, he would drop out with collision damage just five laps into the race.

“It was lap four or five.  It was nothing [at that point in the race] and the car inside of me just came up and pinched us.  I don’t know why and I don’t know what happened.  It’s
“How ‘bout that?,” said Christopher after the race.  “Five laps into practice, a hose fell off and we got wadded into the fence.  We changed everything on the car.  {NASCAR Official} Bill Brice gave us a chance to go out for five laps and it was off.  The motor was off, but they changed a bunch of things and it came alive.

“It was a great night.  The guys worked their butts off and did one hell of a job.  They fixed all the tin, put it back together and found what was wrong with the motor.  Brice gave us some time to do all of that and it ended up being a great night.”
TC got caught in an early wreck, then had to abort a pit stop to stay on the lead lap when he came in and got stuck behind a tow truck.  After that, it was a see-saw kind of night.  TC went a lap down and got the lucky dog pass.  Then he repeated that cycle again.  Finally, near the finish, he fell a lap down and did not make it up.

Despite all of that drama, Christopher still finished tenth.  He was shocked to learn of this after the race.

“I don’t think so,” said Christopher.  “I think you’re off on that and I’d recheck that.”
Tony Ferrante (L) talks with Howie Brode before Riverhead qualifying.  (51 Photo)
But before that can happen, he had to survive Riverhead.  Hossfeld did more than survive though.  He came home with a fourth-place finish.

“We got spun around once and it was pretty eventful tonight,” said Hossfeld.  We wound up fourth.  That’s OK.  It’s not the win that we wanted, but if we can click off top fives, we’ll stay in the hunt at least.  It’s not a win obviously, but it’s a good finish.

“The guys on the team do a great job and the car was great.  We had a little bit of a brake issue at the end.  The brakes are doing weird things, so if we can get that adjusted, we’ll be all set.”
“The problem was that there weren’t enough cars out there to get a caution,” observed Coby.

Two drivers who were sidelined at that point and sitting in the infield with Coby were Kevin Goodale and Wayne Anderson.

“Did you guys have a card game or what?”  Haydt asked Coby.

“No, they were actually out of their cars.  I was crossing my fingers for a caution to get back to the race,” replied Coby.

Haydt was credited with 17th and Coby was 22nd in the final rundown.

MC AND TEAM WORK HARD FOR SEVENTH

Mike Christopher and his #79 Hillbilly team really earned their $2,050 for finishing seventh at Riverhead. They recovered from a wreck in practice to come back and run strong all night long.
During green flag racing, competitors cannot enter or exit the pit area.  For safety reasons, the metal gates to the outside pit area are latched and locked.  A long run of green flag racing, left Doug Coby stuck in the infield with a flat tire and the repaired car of Tyler Haydt sitting just outside of turn four.  Both drivers were waiting for a caution to resume their efforts.  Both drivers also caught up with each other and compared notes after the race.

“I was sitting in the infield and he was in the outfield,” Coby observed.  “I was getting dizzy watching the cars go around.”

“I was getting dizzy watching the race through a little slice of the gate,” replied Haydt.  “I could just see the cars barely go by and I was trying to figure out what was going on.” 
This brought a few ideas of how to accelerate a caution to the minds of both drivers.

“My tire was about to fall off, so I was thinking about rolling the car back and forth and hope that it rolled out onto the track,” said Coby.

“I wanted to get out and throw something on the track,” said Haydt.
Tyler Haydt  (51 Photo)
Mike Christopher puts his #79 under the #96 of Howie Brode.  (Howie Hodge Photo)
Dave Etheridge gets through one of many skirmishes at Riverhead.  (Howie Hodge Photo)
Beers gets a little sideways in his #3. (Howie Hodge Photo)
We looked at our list, uh…rundown, and checked it twice.  TC did indeed finish in the 10th spot.

Before getting caught up in trouble, TC was moving steadily up from his 18th starting spot.

“We worked out the way to the front and got to the top six.  They tangled and we got hit from behind.”

BEERS HAS STRONG COMEBACK AT RIVERHEAD

Eric Beers also got caught up in trouble early.  He came back up to finish fifth after what could be described as the hardest drive of the evening.

When cars stacked up early in the race is when Beers’ night turned interesting.
TC comes in for work on his #13.  (51 Photo)
“It started it the turn ahead of me,” said Beers.  “I was behind it and I locked it down and hit the pile.  The car shut off and I got it fired.  Then I got whacked from behind.  The clutch was gone then.  It must have knocked the linkage off the clutch.  I had no clutch from about lap 35 or 40.  So when those guys were going real slow, it made it tough.”

That wasn’t all though.  There was more adversity ahead of Beers before the race was even half finished.

“We got a flat.  I went to turn down and there were cars coming.  I thought that I was going to get run over.  We came in and got out just in front of the leaders.  I drove
“It’s taken a load of my shoulders,” said Etheridge.  “Now I just sit in the car and drive.  Brian makes all of the decisions and changes.  I told him that he can do whatever he wants.  I can just drive and have fun.  That’s what we’ve been doing and this is what the results are.”

Finishes in the top 10 wasn’t easy though at a rough and tumble short track.

“We got the toe knocked in early, so we drove as hard as we could and still tried to save something.  We kept all four tires on the car and kept going and we got an eighth-place finish.”
STEFANIK COMES HOME AND RUNS STRONG

Last season, Mike Stefanik used his free time away from the NASCAR Busch North Series to run the #16 Flamingo Motorsports Modified.  This year, Chris Kopec took overt the ride and Stefanik drove a few races here and there for Joe Brady.

But when Kopec stepped out of the ride to assume team manager duties after recurring medical problems from a 2003 wreck, Stefanik was a natural choice to return to the ride.
And return with style is what he did at Riverhead.  Steffy ran in the top five all night long until two laps to go, when a tire went down, dropping him one lap down and to the ninth finishing position.

“I guess that I must have run something over,” said Stefanik.  “They said that there was a piece of metal on the track.  A few guys ran it over.  I had no bite and then I went into the corner sideways.  It’s hard to put this much effort in and come away with so little with one lap to go, but that’s the racing game.”

Stefanik was also second in time trials.  He didn’t have a perfect car either.

“We struggled in practice and changed the car around towards the end of practice.  I never got to do a long run to get comfortable in it.  We swung a set-up at it and it worked.  We probably should have come home fourth, maybe fifth at the worst, but we got a flat and that was the end of that.”

Now that he’s back with the #16, Stefanik is happy.

“It’s kid of like going home.  These guys are a good group of guys with excellent equipment.  I’m happy [to be here].”

MYSTIC MISSILE LANDS IN TOP FIVE AGAIN

Jerry Marquis and Bob Garbarino's Mystic Missile team started out the year with a strong of bad luck.  Lately though, they’ve been on a roll with some very impressive finishes, including third at Riverhead.
“We’ve got to keep racking them up just like this here and keep going.  It’s building the teams’ confidence, it’s building morale and it’s building up the points structure for us.  It’s just nice to have some decent finishes.  Now I’ve got to get that monkey off my back at Stafford.  We’ll get them.”

The difference in finishes is something that the #4 team is thrilled about.  They love top threes and wins.  Heck, they would have been happy with just shaking the monkey off their back.

“We were just dreaming of getting something going.  This is a great road that we are now and it’s a hell of a
ride.  I’ve got to thank Bob and all of the guys.  Things started coming together before Loudon, but after Loudon, we really got things rocking.  They are working out well.  The guys did an awesome job and I can’t thank them enough.

MEANINGFUL VICTORY FOR LIA

Winning his third straight August race at Riverhead meant a lot of things to Donny Lia.  First, it helped to put the breaks on a mini-slump that his team was undergoing.  That is if you can consider an 11th at Beech Ridge and 10th at Seekonk a slump.
“We struggled the last few weeks,” said Lia.  The whole crew hung in there.  They’ve given me cars that are reliable and comfortable and we came back tonight.”

Also important is the fact the Lia is from Long Island and Riverhead is his hometrack.

“This means a lot,” said Lia. “Especially tonight, because I had a lot of family here.  Normally, I have a lot of family here, but tonight I had more family here than I had ever had at a racetrack.  It was pretty cool.”

Lia currently sits fifth in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour point standings.
BAD NIGHT FOR JOHN BLEWETT

It didn’t take long for a good night to go bad for John Blewett, III.  He set fast time in qualifying, redrew the sixth starting position and then got stuck in a logjam in the opening laps which damaged his #00 and dropped him out of the event.
“Guys were racing close at the beginning and it looked like that the [leaders] #96 [Howie Brodie] got into the #18 [Donny Lia] right under the flagstand,” said Blewett.  “Everybody checked up and I just caught the left front wheel on Tony Hirschman’s right rear nerf bar.  It was just enough to break the heim on the steering.  We aren’t racing for points, so it didn’t make any sense to go back out there and put ourselves in a position to get the car wrecked for no reason, so we just decided to park it.”

Riverhead was the third race that Blewett has been with the #00 team.  At Beech Ridge, they were fast and had a flat and at Seekonk they finished second.  It seems like the team has had instant chemistry.  Then again, it’s not really so instant either.

GGG
“I’ve gone with Joe [Brady] twice to Florida and racing down there is like a whole season.  When you find a place to go where you fit in well, it means a lot.  We’ll see what the rest of the season brings.”

And what does the rest of the season bring?  Blewett won’t be in the #00 this week at Stafford, but after that who knows?

“I’ll be at Stafford with my own car and then we’ll play it by year,” said Blewett.

SAME LUCK FOR ANOTHER BLEWETT

The other member of the Blewett family, Riverhead regular Jimmy, had a little bit of a better night.  But it was still pretty much the same story.  Fast car + talented driver +bad luck = bad finish.
Jimmy Blewett ended up 18th.

“We broke the left front tie-rod end.  It was just a racing incident early on and it took us some time to fix.  We came back out and had fresher tires and the car was decent enough that it was fast.  That was good and now we know what the car will do on long runs.”

Blewett could have given up early in the race when he had to pit to get his car repaired, but he elected to go back out and solider on to the finish.
“We wanted to go back out after the car was bent and see how it would handle under a long run situation.  That’s all that we really went back out there for.  We made up a lap and a half.  We learned some stuff with this car for next time.”

Blewett’s TS Haulers team is entered for this Friday night’s race at Stafford Motor Speedway.

“We’re going to try and run Stafford,” said Blewett.  “We don’t have our good motors back, but we’re going to go anyways because we need the experience.”

ZACH FINISHES SIXTH AT RIVERHEAD

Zach Sylvester ended up sixth at Riverhead.  He had plenty of entertainment on his way to that finish.

“It was survival.  I dodged anything and everything.  We dodged left and dodged right.  I did everything that I possibly could just to get some track position.

“Those last 20 laps, the tires were junk and I was hanging on for dear life.  The first caution there, I wanted to see.  That last caution, I didn’t want to see because the heat cycles on the tires were making it bad.”

Sylvester did not know what he had under him, going into the race.

“We made some huge, huge changes to the car and it was a shot in the dark.  We figured before the feature that we had nothing to lose and a lot to gain and we gained.”

Now that the bullrings of the 2005 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour are done with, Sylvester looks ahead to a stretch of racing heavy with events at Stafford Motor Speedway (CT) and Thompson Speedway (CT).  He has second place finishes at both tracks earlier this season.

“This was a make-it or break-it point for us with the points.  Hopefully, from here out it will be a lot smoother.”

HIRSCHMAN TAKES SECOND PLACE

Tony Hirschman wasn’t satisfied that he didn’t win at Riverhead, but he was happy to get out of there without any major damage and holding the second-place trophy.

“It’s not too bad.  Second at Riverhead is pretty good.  It would be nice to win here once.  We’ll see if we ever get a chance again.  That’s the best we ran here for a long time.  We came out of here in one piece, we gained some points.  That’s good.”




Chuck Hossfeld and team look over their car before the race.  (51 Photo)
There was a new name over the door of the #16 this week.  (51 Photo)
Jerry Marquis' #4 Mystic Missile.  (H. Hodge Photo)
Donny Lia.  (51 Photo)
John Blewett, III (L) talks with Mike Stefanik  (R) before the race.  (51 Photo)
Jimym Blewett's #12 pits at Riverhead.  (51 Photo)