Emily Kwasna Photo
Riverhead, NY Apr. 28th.
Another perfect spring day greeted race teams and fans alike this Saturday afternoon as Riverhead Raceway hosted the second pre-season practice day for all classes. With all the testing and tuning completed attention turns to the 2018 opening weekend at the historic quarter mile speed plant featuring the Cinco de Mayo NASCAR Whelen All American Series opener Saturday evening May 5th and the Sunday Series opening day the next afternoon Sunday May 6th. Race fans are reminded that both race programs carry special adult pricing at $20 per ticket.
John Beatty Jr. of Merrick turned his first laps of 2018 in his immaculate NASCAR Modified and would set the tone for the day with a lap of 11.923 in the fourth of five sessions run. Scott Kulesa of Georgetown, Ma. for the second week in a row was the quickest Late Model with a lap of 12.809 in the very first session of the day. Sophomore wheelman Michael Rutkoski of Mattituck was tops in the Eagle Auto Mall Modified Crates with a lap of 12.560 in the final round, which if this was an official event would be a new track record. Defending Figure Eight champion Tom Rogers Jr. was first in class with a circuit of 17.010 in session four while Blunderbust newcomer Cody Triola of Bay Shore found his line right away with a lap of 14.951 in the third session. “Big” Money” Richie Davidowitz of East Moriches topped the INEX Legend Race Cars with a fourth session lap of 13.796. Wes Sammon of Hampton Bays was the top Street Stock with a lap of 14.877 while Andrew Farnham of Baldwin was the top Mini Stock with a lap of 15.079. Madison Burbol of Brookhaven was quickest in the Trucks at 16.149.
Attention now turns to the Cinco de Mayo NASCAR opening night program with 180 laps of feature event racing scheduled among the eight divisions running. The NASCAR Modifieds will kick off their 2018 championship chase with a 40-lap tilt while both the Late Models and Eagle Auto Mall Modified Crate classes go 25-laps in their main events. 20 lap features are planned for the Blunderbusts, Super Pro Trucks and INEX Legend Race Cars while the Figure Eights and the Long Island Vintage Auto Racing Series (LIVARS) vintage cars will compete for 15-laps each.
With a very ambitious slate of events for Saturday Riverhead Raceway race director Scott Tapley announced that qualifying heat races will commence at 4:00 pm with feature event racing to go green at approximately 6:00 pm. The complete event schedule for Saturday can be viewed at www.riverheadraceway.com.
Six of the seven 2017 champions will be back to defend their titles led by Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead (NASCAR Modifieds & Figure Eights), Kyle Soper of Manorville (Late Models), Dave Brigati of Calverton (Modified Crates & Super Pro Trucks) and Tom Pickerell of Huntington (Blunderbusts). With John Beatty Jr. moving back to the NASCAR Modifieds in ’18 the INEX Legend Race Car championship will be undefended.
Sunday afternoon the Riverhead Raceway Sunday Series will kick-off with the May Meltdown program being presented starting at 12:30 pm. Greg Harris of Riverhead will defend his Street Stock championship from last season and the class is expected to have a banner year car count wise so Greg will have to be at the top of his games. Other Enduro champions defending their 2017 titles are Don Nelson Jr. of Rocky Point (Trucks), Dominic Ranieri of East Northport (8-Cylinders), Kevin Augustine of Bay Shore (Gut & Go) and Brandon Esposito of Farmingville (Mini 8). Mike Mujsce Jr. of Hampton Bays the 2017 Mini Stock champion has indicated on social media he’ll vacate the title in 2018 to spend more time with his family.
Pit gates will open Sunday May 6th at 10:00 am and Saturday night teams are reminded that practice and valuable seat time are available to them prior to all Sunday Series race cards.
While visiting www.riverheadraceway.com everyone is encouraged to like the new official Facebook page of the track. Our phone number remains 631-842-RACE.