Category Archives: Riverhead Raceway

NASCAR WHELEN MODIFIED TOUR TRADITION TO CONTINUE AT RIVERHEAD RACEWAY WITH TWO RACES IN 2016

Riverhead, NY Jan. 7th.

When NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour officials recently announced their 2016 schedule Long Island’s Riverhead Raceway will once again be part of the popular series with two race dates June 25th and August 27th set by new track owners Eddie & Connie Partridge & Tom Gatz. Riverhead, along with the Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park in Connecticut are the only two venues to host at least one NASCAR WMT race since the inception of the WMT in 1985.

In that first season some 32 years ago Jimmy Spencer of Berwick, Pa. won twice while the late great NASCAR Hall of Fame member Richie Evans of Rome, NY won the WMT finale at the demanding quarter mile facility. Ever since that first season a virtual who’s who of NASCAR Modified racing has graced WMT victory lane at Riverhead while the races themselves have always been competitive and exciting. For the fans of the WMT the two Riverhead Raceway visits have become “events’ with numerous fans camping out and tailgating at the Route 58 oval prior to and after the WMT races.

IMG_1389 (2)2011 Riverhead Raceway NASCAR Modified champion Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville swept the two 2015 races at his home track winning the Hoosier Tire 200 as well the Riverhead 200 in August. After the August win Justin noted “it’s pretty awesome to win both races at the track I’ve been coming to since I was five years old”. Bonsignore and his Ken Massa owned team hope to keep the momentum going in 2016 and one can bet Justin has circled the two Riverhead dates on his calendar.

The loyal race teams and fans who follow the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will be greeted by a vastly improved Riverhead Raceway when the arrive. Since the conclusion of the 2015 season, Eddie & Connie Partridge and Tom Gatz started on a rigorous capital improvement program at the facility with track GM John Ellwood overseeing the work. The mild fall and early winter weather has aided the efforts of Ellwood and his staff.

This past week new race director and multi talented Scott Tapley created and introduced along with track management a new logo which can be viewed by visiting www.riverheadraceway.com. Marketing and sponsorship opportunities are now available for the 200-lap NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races on June 25th and August 27th as well as all races on the 2016 Riverhead Raceway schedule. The track also boasts a comprehensive Billboard program and further marketing information can be obtained by sending an e-mail to info@riverheadraceway.com or dialing 631-842-RACE.

While the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour has been a fixture at Riverhead Raceway, three new race series will make their debut at the historic oval in 2016. The New England Midget Association teams will visit on Saturday May 28th for the Allan Cantor Memorial with the New England Truck Series debuting Saturday night July 9th. On Saturday July 30th the Granite State Pro Stocks will do battle in a 100-lap event.

The complete 2016 Riverhead Raceway schedule can be viewed by visiting www.riverheadraceway.com. The 2016 season will start Sunday May 1st with a complete Enduro program presented while the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series will open Saturday night May 7th.
Two pre-season practice days are set for Saturday afternoon April 23rd and April 30th.

GSPSS Release’s The 2016 Schedule

The Granite State Pro Stock Series (GSPSS) has announced an 11-race schedule for the 2016 season. The schedule includes stops at Riverhead Raceway and Wiscasset Speedway for the first time in series history, along with eight races in the state of New Hampshire and one in Connecticut.

The season will start on Friday May 13, when the Pro Stocks travel to Claremont Speedway in Claremont, New Hampshire. In August of 2011, Chris Wilk scored the victory at Claremont, while in April of 2015, eventual series champion Derek Griffith took down the checkered flag.

After a two week break for driver’s to get their rides ready, the 1/4 mile Monadnock Speedway will play host to the series on Saturday May 28, closing out the month of May with a battle on the high-banked oval. Matt Frahm and Barry Gray took victories when the Pro Stocks visited in 2014.

A quick turnaround will see the driver’s compete at Lee USA Speedway on June 3, before taking a month off from action for an early season break. GSPSS will celebrate Independence Day weekend at Speedway 51 for the second straight year with a stop on Saturday July 2.

An inaugural event at the 1/4 mile bullring Riverhead Raceway on July 30 will test the talents of GSPSS drivers when they travel the Long Island Sound for the furthest trip ever in series history.

Return stops at Monadnock Speedway (Aug. 13) and Claremont Speedway (Aug. 19) will close out the month of August and send the Pro Stocks into an intense championship stretch.

An inaugural race at Wiscasset Speedway on Sept. 3-4 will be followed by the annual Star Classic 100 at Star Speedway on Sept. 10. The month will conclude with a race at White Mountain Motorsports Park on Sept. 24, before the series heads for the championship deciding event.

For the second straight season, the champion will be crowned as part of the New London-Waterford Speedbowl “Bemer’s Big Show,” on Oct. 22 with a 100 lap feature to close out the season.

“We are very happy with the schedule we have put in place for 2016,” Mike Parks, President of the Granite State Pro Stock Series said.

“As we build the schedule our goal is always to host 10 to 14 events and at this point we have 11 in place for this year. Building our schedule is one of the hardest things we have to do and we really try not to have back-to-back races so there is time between events. All and all, we are very pleased as to how it all worked out,” Parks said.

With the addition of two new tracks to the schedule for this season, the series is happy to be branching out into different states and giving more drivers a chance to showcase their talents.

“We are thrilled to add both Riverhead Raceway and Wiscasset Speedway, going to both tracks shows the strength we have in this series. Riverhead will be tough, it is a tight little bullring and the local teams will be tough to compete against. Going to Wiscasset will be our first event in the state of Maine and we are excited about that. We have talked to Richard and Vanessa Jordan since they purchased the facility and the timing just wasn’t right. However, with a couple of years under their belt, we feel the time is right to bring our drivers there,” Parks continued.

With the announcement of the schedule also comes the opening of car registration for the season. Teams can register their car number by completing the forms online and making a payment via Pay/Pal or credit card. If they wish, teams can use the alternative option to the online payment and mail a completed form with a check. The series will hold car numbers from the 2015 season until February 13.

For more information on the Granite State Pro Stock Series, fans should visit www.gspss.net

 

 

2016 Granite State Pro Stock Series Schedule:

 

Date — Venue – Location

 

May 13 — Claremont Speedway — Claremont, N.H.

May 28 — Monadnock Speedway — Winchester, N.H.

June 3 — Lee USA Speedway — Lee, N.H.

July 2 — Speedway 51 — Groveton, N.H.

July 30 — Riverhead Raceway — Riverhead, N.Y.

Aug. 13 — Monadnock Speedway — Winchester, N.H.

Aug. 19 — Claremont Speedway — Claremont, N.H.

Sept. 3-4 — Wiscasset Speedway — Wiscasset, Maine

Sept. 10 — Star Speedway — Epping, N.H.

Sept. 24 — White Mountain Motorsports Park — North Woodstock, N.H.

Oct. 22 — New London-Waterford Speedbowl — Waterford, Conn.

ROGER OXEE’S (FINAL) FAREWELL SEASON

Roger Oxee in his #39 Baretta back in the mid 90s, a car similar to one in
appearance that he will be bringing out in 2016. (photo courtesy of Roger Oxee)

by Mike Fields
December 31, 2015, Long Beach, NY— its New Year Eve, and I’ve just gotten off the phone with Roger ‘RJ’ Oxee, where we talked a bit about his team, accomplishments, and the state of Riverhead Raceway’s Late Model division.

 
RJ started (and ended) racing back in ’79 at Riverhead. That was back in the day when the track combined a Grand Am and Bomber division, which he described as a bit of a mess. For one thing, RJ, didn’t like the finish that he had, didn’t like the car he had, cut up the car after the race, and got rid of it. And that was the end of his abbreviated racing career. But then again, maybe not.

 
In 1980, after sitting around for a year, he started building another car, which he ran starting in ’81. It took until ’85 to take down his first checker, which led him to his current total of 64 wins. He’s had some good years and some lean years, including a dry spell for the last couple. In the coming final 2016 season, he would like to make every show at Riverhead, and drive off-island to Evergreen and New London-Waterford, then he’ll have the car up for sale. If it hasn’t sold by then, he’ll make the annual pilgrimage up to Thompson for the finale. The one thing left on his bucket list (well, his racing bucket list) is to win a race off of Long Island, which is the one thing on his resume that is missing.

 

Still, he sees a positive future for the division from the days when the division’s car counts were down to 7 or 8 in the mid 90’s to how it has picked up over the past few years to about 14 or so. “We’ll get more cars into the division as it’s more stable. Plus there are rising payoffs. Lately, you could win every race each week, and still come out on the losing end, because it didn’t cover the cost of tires and fuel. I think it’s a strong division.”

 
However, one thing that you won’t find at Riverhead in 2017 on any night the Late Models are scheduled, is Oxee hanging around the grandstands or in the pits. He admittedly wouldn’t be happy at all about seeing Late Models on the track without him being in on it himself. Maybe he’ll be out on his boat instead.

 
We’ll miss seeing the immaculate looking #39 both on the track and in the pits after next season. One thing that drivers, fans, and officials have noted over the years is the pristine condition of his equipment, and the fact that just about every blank space on the car has a sponsor listed, which is what most drivers try (and oft times fail) to accomplish.

 
“Appearance means a lot without duct tape,” he commented. “I try to do things so I don’t just take the money and run. I like to do it up as big and bold as you can. Some of them listed don’t give me money and I just put them on for sentimental reasons.” And how to keep a sponsor? “I try to do things right,” RJ stated. “A photo, a team sweatshirt, a plaque at the end of the season, appearances on a night off where we bring the car. I try to do my best for my sponsors.”

 
Regardless, he is insisting (once again) that this will be his final season. He has made this announcement numerous times before, and after the first one when he was still driving, many people got a little bit silly about it (including me). I’m just wondering if this season, we’ll see new sponsorship on his car from AARP, Doan’s Pills, Geritol, or Depend. Well, it just gives us all something to ponder.

 
“Me and the crew are getting older, and it’s not getting any easier,” he told me. “It’s an older division, although there’s a handful of talented younger guys. But it’s strong.” I mentioned that as of the other night when I looked at Riverhead’s website, there were 23 numbers registered to drivers. “That doesn’t mean anything,” he informed me. “Some of those guys will not come out. Some want to reserve their numbers for whenever they do come out. Some just want to see their name up on the roster.”

 
“I’d like to win again in 2016. I’d like to walk away a champion.” Whether or not he takes a checker of a championship his final year, he’ll already have walking away being a champion covered.

 
Comments, questions, and complaints will always reach us at liracenews@hotmail.com.