Silk Holds Off Szegedy to Win Baldwin, Evans & Jarzombek Memorial 77 at Riverhead
Tour Regulars Battle Up Front In WMT Tuneup
Riverhead Raceway PR
Ronnie Silk of Norwalk, Ct had to withstand a late race challenge from fellow NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour regular and current point leader Todd Szegedy Saturday night at Riverhead Raceway before he could lay claim to the victory in the annual Baldwin, Evans & Jarzombek 77 by Repo Joe. The $1,600 triumph was especially sweet for Silk's Calverton, L.I. based car owners Ed & Connie Partridge who were very close to "Charging" Charlie Jarzombek throughout his racing career.
"The Fancy Farmer" Dave Brigati set the fast time with a lap of 11.754 earning $100 from Brigandi Brothers Automotive but when Dave was the first to pull from the hat in the redraw among the top six from time, he drew sixth while Ronnie Silk and Tom Rogers Jr. drew the front row for the 28-car field. On the initial start Silk powered his TS Haulers Chevy into the early race lead while Rogers tried to make a run on the outside for the lead. The duo renewed acquaintances from their fantastic battle in the 2010 NASCAR HoF 100 at Riverhead and several early race caution flags set-up double file restarts. During those restarts Tom would try and power his way by Ronnie for the lead but would have to tuck in behind the leader eventually. With 13
laps in the books another restart was on the horizon and this time Howie Brode, the defending race winner of the 77, slipped under Rogers for second and he quickly set his sights on Silk for the lead. An extended green flag run allowed Silk a chance to pull away slightly over Brode and Rogers who were both under attack from Todd Szegedy who soon passed Rogers for third.
On lap 44 disaster struck second place Howie Brode when he was clipped suddenly by a car he was lapping sending him into a spin off turn four and drawing a yellow flag and resetting the top three with Ronnie Silk remaining the race leader while Todd Szegedy and Tom Rogers ran second and third. When the race resumed the two WMT regulars would indeed be the class of the field as they darted away from Rogers and fourth place Dave Brigati allowing them to settle the race lead and victory among themselves. Just moments after receiving the two to go signal, Szegedy who shadowed Silk, once he came to second made an attempt on the outside of the race leader exiting the second turn, hoping his move would stick on the outside entering turn three, but Silk was having none of it and warded off the challenge.
At the finish it was Ronnie Silk scoring his second career Riverhead Raceway win backing up his 2010 NASCAR HoF victory and more importantly will go into this Saturday night's Lighthouse Mission 200 by Baldwin Automotive 200 on a roll. "I have to thank Ed & Connie Partridge for the opportunity to drive
their car, I know this race was a special one for them being close with Charlie" Silk noted in victory lane as he was flanked by NASCAR's Jerry Cook and Barbara & Jim Cromarty. When asked if his team could learn anything for the 200 this week even though the track tire and WMT are different, Silk admitted, "not too much, but my crew chief Tommy Grasso and this team I'm sure took some notes that will get us back here in seven days".
Todd Szegedy of Ridgefield, Ct was runner-up in his Wisk Laundry Detergent Ford, while Tom Rogers Jr. of Patchogue rolled across the line third in his Jessup Landscaping Chevy. Dave Brigati of Calverton placed fourth in the 77 while the drive of the race could very well have been Howie Brode of East Islip who in the final 33-laps of the race charged his way back to a fifth place finish.