A jam packed pit area along with a large enthusiastic crowd turned out Sunday afternoon as new Riverhead Raceway owners Eddie & Connie Partridge and Tom Gatz presented the Fall Frenzy Legend Race Car and Enduro program. Brad Van Houten of Wading Riverhead came away with his biggest Legend Race Car victory of his career when he topped the 40-lap Cone race earning a cool $1,000 in the process. Four of the seven Fall Frenzy feature event winners enjoyed their first career victories making the afternoon even more special.
By virtue of winning the first qualifying heat Brad Van Houten sat on the pole of the 22 car field for the start of the feature quickly taking the lead when the race went green with Paul Dodorico in pursuit. The first of several caution flags waved on lap 5 for a minor spin and once the field was reset the “Cone” was placed at the start finish line with leader Van Houten having the choice of the inside or outside lane. Brad on this occasion as well the entire race chose the inside and remained the race leader when the race resumed. Dodorico lost second on the first restart when he picked the inside lane with Van Houten as Kevin Nowak moved to second. Kevin on more than one restart tried to use the crossover maneuver on Van Houten entering the first turn with Brad able to thwart every time.
Nowak chased Van Houten up until the 35th lap when he got caught up in a tangle off turn 2 drawing a yellow flag and moving Bryan Kelly into second. Kelly like Nowak before him tried to make a move for the lead on Van Houten during two late race restarts but again Brad was equal to the challenge each and every time.
At the checker flag it would be the Riverhead Building Supply entry of Brad Van Houten scoring the much needed win. Brad an his team worked late in the week to install a new engine in the winning mount after losing a motor a week prior at the New London Waterford Speedbowl. “I have to thank 600 Racing, I ordered the motor Tuesday and Thursday it was delivered to my house: Brad revealed. “From that point on my Dad (Mike) broke his back getting the motor in the car making this win possible” Van Houten added. Aside from the $1,000 payday Brad now also earned a starting position for the Legend Race Car event during the Turkey Derby weekend at Wall Stadium over Thanksgiving weekend.
“Blackjack” Bryan Kelly of Aquebogue was runner-up in the Gregor Well Drilling machine after starting the race 7th with Artie Pedersen III of Center Moriches placing third in the Fastenal racer coming from 11th for the podium finish. Ray Fitzgerald of Manorville and Kyle Ellwood of Riverhead completed the top five.
Greg Zaleski of Jamesport broke out to the lead of the 50-lap Grand Enduro on lap 7 and had to withstand a late race charge by Jimmy “The Kid” White Jr. of Southampton before he could claim the win. Zaleski made an inside pass of early leader Cody Triola off turn two moving him to the lead on lap 7. Over the balance of the race Greg was challenged by Triola, Brian McCormack and Jimmy White who moved to second on lap 17. Jimmy’s first task was erasing a comfortable lead Zaelski built up which he did and with five laps to go White was all over Greg’s bumper. With two to go White got into Zaleski i=off turn four but Greg was able to hold onto the Blue Point Auto Body Chevy and drive to the hard fought win. Jimmy White was runner-up in the Busy Bee Pest Control Chevy while David Antos of Lindenhurst placed third in the GR Performance Chevy.
Rob “The Racer” McCormick of Calverton made his first Truck Enduro start in quite sometime a successful one as he dominated the 50-lap race. Rob started the race from the outside pole and when the green flag waved drove to the race lead, a lead he’d never relinquish in the TJ Hero’s entry. Don Nelson Jr. chased McCormick over the first 17 circuits of the contest before he was passed by Ben Gregor of Bridgehampton on lap 18. Gregor was able to take a chunk out of a large lead McCormick had built but in the end would settle for runner up money in the Gregor Well Drilling Chevy. Don Nelson Jr. of Rocky Point was third in the Nelson Brothers Farms mount.
Second year 8-Cylinder Enduro talent Mike D’Orta of Deer park enjoyed the thrill of victory for the first time in his career when he topped the 75-lap 8-Cylinder race. D’Orta burst upon the scene during the 2014 season and had strung together numerous top five finishes before scoring the Fall Frenzy victory in his Mustang Magic racer Sunday after taking the lead in the late stages of the race. Sean Fitzpatrick of West Babylon was runner-up with Mark Wolf of Shirley third in the Shirley Feed Chevy.
Also enjoying his first career 8-Cylinder Enduro triumph in the 50-lap nightcap for the class was Jarred Halsey of Southampton in his Sabrosa Mexican Grill. Halsey, a third generation drive started the race from the 11th spot and took the race lead from veteran Rhett Fogg with just a few laps remaining. Father Brian Halsey was runner up while Fogg of Westhampton crossed the line third.
Despite winning the 2015 4/6-Cylinder Car Enduro title Paul Wojcik of Centereach had yet to visit victory lane at Riverhead Raceway but that all changed in their 75-lap Fall Frenzy event. With the laps winding down Wojcik was running second to Steve Fuller who led a majority of the race. Suddenly as the field came down for the two laps to go signal Fuller found himself passed by the Fisher Signs & Shirts machine of Paul Wojcik who then scored that all important and memorable first career win. Fuller of Holbrook was runner-up while Paul Pimpinella of Centereach was third.
In the true spirit of the newly formed Gut & Go Enduro Brandon Petricek of Shoreham bought the car he would drive to victory Sunday on Thursday, gutted and prepared it Friday and Saturday and then drove to the 50-lap win. Mike Biddlecomb of Islip and Tommy “The Wildchild” Walkowiak of Ridge were second and third.
During the afternoon a special Trick Or Treat session was held for children in the grandstand area hosted by Eddie & Connie Partridge and Tom Gatz with the kids getting candy from some favorite Halloween charecters. Many of the race teams in the pit area hosted a second such session for the youngsters after racing was complete.
Legend Race Cars: 1. Brad Van Houten 2. Bryan Kelly 3. Artie Pedersen III 4. Ray Fitzgerald 5. Kyle Ellwood 6. Allan Pedersen 7. Kevin Nowak 8. Vinny Delaney 9. Jerry Curran 10. John Fortin Jr. 11. Ed Cheslak 12. Brandon Remson 13. Jeff Otto Jr. 14. Dennis Kurras 15. Steve DeFriest 16. Bill Fitzgerald 17. Kenny Southard 18. Kyle Kwasna 19. Paul Dodorico 20. Michael Rommeney 21. Johnnie Gloor 22. Mike Van Houten
Grand Enduro (top five) 1. Greg Zaleski 2. Jimmy White Jr. 3. David Antos 4. Brian McCormack 5. Jeff Otto Jr.
Truck Enduro (top five) 1. Rob McCormick 2. Ben Gregor 3. Don Nelson Jr. 4. RJ Gage 5. Rich Galante
1st 8-Cylinder Enduro (top five) 1. Mike D’Orta 2. Sean Fitzpatrick 3. Mark Wolf 4. Brian Halsey 5. Kevin Coyle
2nd 8-Cylinder Enduro (top five) 1. Jarred Halsey 2. Brian Halsey 3. Rhett Fogg 4. Jimmy White Jr. 5. Bob Baker
4/6-Cylinder Car Enduro (top five) 1. Paul Wojcik 2. Steve Fuller 3. Paul Pimpinella 4. Robert Strobel 5. George Davis
Gut & Go Enduro (top five) 1. Brandon Petricek 2. Mike Biddlecomb 3. Tommy Walkowiak 4. Bill Quinn 5. Richard Gray