Avid go-kart racer Jason Trinca and his mother Keri Trinca, 30, would spend their weekends at Riverhead Raceway, where the 7-year-old was a part of its go-kart club.
But everything changed on Oct. 8, 2011 while on their way to the racetrack. Keri Trinca’s car was broadsided by a van near their Manorville home at the intersection of Route 111 and Montauk Avenue, killing both mother and son and critically injuring his two siblings.
Since that morning, their racing family at Riverhead Raceway has tried to keep their memory alive, said Linda Solomito, secretary of the East End Kart Racing club.
On Saturday, East End Kart Racing will hold the third annual Jason Trinca Memorial Race, sponsored by East West Marine. Jason’s father, Jay Trinca, and his surviving siblings Marialena, 4, and Christopher, 2, are expected to attend the event to sell Trinca Memorial T-shirts.
Solomito, who also helped organize the event, said her family had been close to the Trinca family for years, spending holidays with them and seeing them at the racetrack.
“We are doing this to never forget Jason and Keri,” said Solomito, 52, of Islip. “We still feel the loss to this day. Last September, my son Shawn dedicated his win at the 2012 NASCAR Modified Championship at Riverhead Raceway to the mother and son.”
The raceway pit gates open at 7 a.m., with the qualifying race at noon, followed by preliminary junior and senior races leading up to the 48-lap memorial race at 2 p.m. The memorial race will be run in three segments on the historic quarter-mile oval, with the winner pocketing $1,500.
Drivers and teams pay an entry fee and general admission is $10. In its first year, the memorial race raised funds to financially assist Jason’s father and siblings, but in subsequent years the fee has gone to the racetrack.
“Jason was a good racer,” Solomito said, adding that he won the 2010 Kid Champ Kart Championship for his age group. “He would have gone far. It’s a shame he was taken from us. I remember Jason cheering on my son. We were all so close.”
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour standout Justin Bonsignore has worked behind the scenes organizing the memorial race since its inception and will serve as race director.
“I’d see his family at the track all the time,” said Bonsignore, 25, of West Islip. “Jason was talented at anything he ever did including racing and contact sports. He was a talented racer for his age. He was always upbeat, funny and the center of attention.”
Bonsignore also competes in other local racing circuits and drives for the M3 Technology Racing Team. He said since the tragedy, the racing community has been working hard to remember Jason and Keri through fundraisers, and he tries to win on the track in their names.
“He rides with me every race,” Bonsignore said. “I always have two angels riding with me.”