Justin Bonsignore Leads the Long Island Gang Home to Riverhead and the Buzz Chew Auto Group 200

By Michael Jaworecki Myracenews

The NASCAR Whelen Modified tour makes its way to Long Island for the first of two  2018  trips to Riverhead Raceway. Last weekend there were fireworks in the sky this weekend there will be fireworks on the tight 1/4 mile oval with a solid 31 car entry list for this weekends Buzz Chew Auto Group 200.

With 6 races in the books Justin Bonsignore in the Phoenix

Point leader Justin Bonsignore after his Seekonk Speedway win June 2nd 2018 Michael Jaworecki Myracenews

Communications  Ken Massa owned #51 from Holtsville NY leads the Long Island gang home and leads the point standings with 3 wins and  a very solid 23 point lead over young Chase Dowling.

Justin told me that he always looks forward to going home to Riverhead. He believes half the battle is going into these races with a positive outlook. He also believes that his new crew chief Ryan Stone will bring him another great car with a shot at a 4th win this year.

I asked Justin if it brings him satisfaction that he is a favorite each race. Justin humbly replied that he doesn’t feel that way yet but is confident he will be in contention each race. Justin says the WMT is still a very tough division.

Chase Dowling at Seekonk Speedway June 2nd 2018 Michael Jaworecki Myracenews.

Chase Dowling comes to Riverhead in second place in the point standing and has opened some eyes with 5 top 10 finishes. Last year Chase only ran partial schedule. this year in the Rob Fuller #15 he will complete the entire schedule. Chase  is a full time LFR employee has only been to Riverhead 4 times finishing as high as 3rd in a family owned car.   Chase said “With as well as this year is going he has expectations to not only be competitive but have a chance to win every week.” Chase is an up and coming short track racer that races weekly at Stafford Speedway in addition to running  full time on the NASCAR WMT. He believes that having Justin in an LFR car helps both teams and with Justin and Chase currently first and second in points he could be correct. Chase told me ” I love short track racing and tracks like Riverhead.”

Timmy Solomito is another top WMT  runner from Long Island and looks

Third place in points Timmy Solomito . Michael Jaworeckli Myracenews

to visit to his home track to pick up  his first win of the season. A win needed to help close the point gap between he and Justin. While not the start to the 2018 season that he had in 2017 I asked Timmy about this weekends race. ” Last year we had about a  20 point lead around this time. I know I have to go out there and give it all I have and let the chips fall where they may. Justin is good at Riverhead being he grew up there as well. Chase has been strong pretty much every race too and will be tough. A lot of good cars and teams will be there and it should be exciting.”

NASCAR Xfinty and Whelen WMT driver Ryan Preece Michael Jaworecki Myracenews.

Ryan Preece will make an appearance at Riverhead after his Xfinity Coca-Cola  Firecracker 250 start Friday July 7th at Daytona International Speedway. Ryan will be at one of the largest tracks on the  NASCAR Xfinity Series circuit Friday  and the smallest NASCAR WMT track  on Saturday. Ryan  will have a great shot at winning both races showcasing his racing talent. Ryan picked up a big $7,000 check several weeks ago at Riverhead in the Islip 300 so he will have to be considered one of the favorites at Riverhead.

The rest of the NASCAR field will have a real Long Island feel to it with over half the field being based on Long Island, current or  former Riverhead Raceway regulars.

Eric Goodale lives only a few miles from the track and has won at Riverhead before, you can never could Eric out. Craig Lutz looks like he has taken the next step with 4 top 10’s this year and 4th place in the standings. Craig looks to rebound from the last place finish at Thompson in the previous race. Dave Sapienza has turned many laps at Riverhead and can not be counted out.

With many of the Riverhead regulars running the Islip 300 last month they will not be at as big a disadvantage in a 200 lap feature as in previous years. We could return the first Riverhead regular to win a tour race in decades. 2017 track champion  Tom Rogers Jr will be running the event in the Danny Watts #82 normally driven by Woody Pitkat. The father son team of John Fortin and John G Fortin have entered and with this being John’s last season it would be a very satisfying win.

The field will also have several teams who  have not visited many times or making their first visit to Riverhead Raceway.  Burt Myers the current Modified point leader at Bowman Gray  Stadium, 8 time Bowman Gray Champion, 2 time Southern NASCAR WMT champion and star of the TV show Madhouse will be making his first trip to Riverhead  Burt will be in the Ed Harvey owned  Citrusafe / Dunleavy Truck & Trailer sponsored  #1 Modified.

Pits open at noon, gates open at 3;00, practice runs from 3:15-430, time trials at 6:00 and the 200 lap Buzz Chew Auto Group 200 goes green after the local divisions complete  their features.  Approximately 8:00/8:30.

Riverhead Raceway: 1797 Old Country Rd, Riverhead, NY 11901

Entry list for this race:
Nbr Driver Owner Car Crew Chief Sponsor
1 01   Melissa Fifield   Kenneth Fifield Chevrolet   Chad Dow   Crowells Towing
2 1   Burt Myers   Eddie Harvey Chevrolet   Eddie Harvey   Citrusafe / Dunleavy Truck & Trailer
3 2   Doug Coby   Mike Smeriglio III Chevrolet   Phil Moran   Mayhew Tools
4 3   Rowan Pennink   Jan Boehler Chevrolet   Greg Fournier   Cape Cod Copper / USNE Inc.
5 04   TBA   Brian Midgett Sr. Chevrolet   TBA   TBA
6 5   TBA   Mark Mina Chevrolet   TBA   MSM / Elite Motorsports
7 6   Ryan Preece   Ed Partridge Chevrolet   Jeff Preece   TS Hauler
8 14   Blake Barney   Richard Barney Chevrolet   Robert Barney   Atlantic Sprinkler
9 15   Chase Dowling   Rob Fuller Chevrolet   Steven Kopuk   15-40 Connection
10 16   Timmy Solomito   Eric Sanderson Ford   Stanley Szaban   Starrett
11 17   Kyle Ellwood   John Ellwood Chevrolet   TBA   LWood Landscaping
12 18   Ken Heagy   Robert Pollifrone Chevrolet   Desmond Gorman   Buoy One Seafood
13 21   Ronnie Williams   Joseph Bertuccio Chevrolet   Michael Bologna   Empower Financial Advisory
14 23   Joe DeGracia   Paul Degracia Chevrolet   Jimmy Zacharias   PJ DeGracia Contracting
15 25   Calvin Carroll   Joe Carroll Chevrolet   Stash Butova   Power With Prestige / Cruising With Betty
16 26   Gary McDonald   Sean McDonald Chevrolet   Chad McDonald   Lakeland Landscaping Supply / TRC Electric
17 33   Wade Cole   Wade Cole Chevrolet   Richard Rodenbaugh   Performance Engines / Kendal Oil
18 34   J.B. Fortin   Nicole Fortin Chevrolet   TBA   Suffolk Cycling / Golden Jalepenos
19 36   Dave Sapienza   Judy Thilberg Chevrolet   Tommy Grasso   Sapienza Enterprises
20 38   TBA   Linda Rodebaugh Chevrolet   TBA   Performance Engines / Kendal Oil
21 46   Craig Lutz   Russell Goodale Chevrolet   Douglas Ogiejko   Riverhead Building Supply
22 51   Justin Bonsignore   Kenneth Massa Chevrolet   Ryan Stone   Phoenix Communications Inc.
23 54   Tommy Catalano   Amy Catalano Chevrolet   Dave Catalano   Catalano Motorsports
24 58   Eric Goodale   Edgar Goodale Chevrolet   Jason Shephard   GAF Roofing
25 64   Rob Summers   Mike Murphy Chevrolet   Steve Lemay   Hoosier Tire East / FastTrack Electrical
26 75   Chris Pasteryak   Charles Pasteryak Chevrolet   Cam McDermott   Dawley’s Auto
27 78   Walter Sutcliffe, Jr.   Steven Sutcliffe Chevrolet   Kevin Anderson   Close Enuff Racing
28 82   Tom Rogers, Jr.   Pamla Hulse Chevrolet   Jarod Zeltmann   Horton Ave. Materials LLC
29 84   John Fortin   Nicole Fortin Chevrolet   TBA   John’s Tree Removal / John’s Fuel Oil
30 88   Roger Turbush   Pat Kennedy Chevrolet   Raymond Bouchard   Kennedy LI Realty
31 95   Kyle Soper   Wayne Anderson Chevrolet   Tom Soper   Eastport Feeds
Vehicles withdrawn from the event are highlighted in green.

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