Long Island's racing past will be in the forefront Saturday at Riverhead Raceway with the running of the 77-lap Baldwin, Evans, Jarzombek Memorial Modifieds, honoring three locally significant drivers who succumbed to racing-related injuries.
Baiting Hollow native Charlie Jarzombek began his racing career in 1962 and compiled a record 63 wins at Riverhead. A member of the Long Island Sports Hall of Fame and New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame, Jarzombek won 187 feature events during a 25-year career. He passed away in 1987 when his car hit a retaining wall at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
Four of Jarzombek's newly restored race cars will appear during the parade laps. The race cars were restored in the same barn where Charlie and his brother, Ricky, originally built them.
"It's to honor all three men," said Walter Newcomb, a friend of Ricky Jarzombek and one of the men who helped restore the cars. "There are many racers who brought joy to so many people at Riverhead and other tracks on Long Island. Those other tracks are no longer around, and Riverhead is a place where we can share the history."
East Patchogue's "Tiger" Tom Baldwin won 11 times at Riverhead and spent 20 seasons (1985-04) on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. He passed away after a 2004 accident at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway.
Richie Evans hailed from upstate Rome, but had some of his finest racing moments on Long Island. He won 17 races at Islip Speedway and two at Freeport Speedway. The last win of his career came at Riverhead in August 1985, two months before a fatal practice lap crash at Martinsville Speedway.
Earlier this year, Evans became the first primarily modified driver to be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
And for one night, three men with Long Island ties will be back in the racing spotlight.
"It will be great to bring back a little piece of history," Newcomb said.
1. Howie Brode, East Islip, 312
2. Shawn Solomito, Islip, 308
3. Tom Rogers Jr., Patchogue, 304
4. Ted Christopher, Conn., 246
5. John Beatty Jr., Merrick, 244
6. John Fortin, Holtsville, 232
7. Ed Brunnhoelzl III, Levittown, 228
8. Timmy Solomito, Islip, 204
9. Jason Agugliaro, Islip, 200
10. David Sapienza, Riverhead, 198
Saturday's schedule (races begin at 6:30 p.m.): NASCAR Whelen All-American Series 77-lap Baldwin, Evans, Jarzombek Memorial Modifieds (time trials), 20-lap figure 8's, chargers, super pro trucks (time trials).