Riverhead, NY Aug. 16thBy Bob Finan
Photo: Michael Jaworecki/Myracenews
As hard as it is to imagine the final month of the 2019 NASCAR Whelen All American Series at Riverhead Raceway will kick off this Saturday night August 24th at the historic quarter mile speed plant. Highlighting the 7 for 1 program will be a 75-lap feature event for the NASCAR Modifieds and the second and final School Bus Demolition Derby of the season. The 2019 campaign at Riverhead will conclude with a doubleheader weekend Saturday September 28th NASCAR Champions night and a Sunday afternoon Enduro show Sunday September 29th.
Heading into the August 17th NASCAR Modified contest defending Riverhead Raceway NASCAR Modified champion Kyle Soper of Manorville enjoyed a commanding 80-point margin over his nearest rival Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead. Soper in 14 starts heading into the 17th has won 7 times and with his comfortable cushion he enjoys in the championship chase he and his team can focus on attempting to tie or surpass the single season NASCAR Modified win total of 10. That mark was set twice by the late “Charging” Charlie Jarzombek (1976 & 77) and once by Gary Winters (1962). Kyle is also the reining New York State NASCAR Whelen All American Series champion and there too he is a sure bet to repeat leading Rogers by 98 markers.
Aside from Soper seeking to capture the 75-lap affair Saturday Tom Rogers Jr. would like to get another win for car owners Denise & Ken Darch having won twice as of press time. John Beatty Jr. of Merrick is another driver winning twice in 2019 while John Fortin Sr. of Holtsville and Dave Brigati of Calverton have scored one victory each hoping for a return to victory lane at the conclusion of the 75-lap contest. Meanwhile several other drivers and teams are hoping to make their first visit to the winners circle Saturday including Dylan Slepian of Dix Hills, Chris Young of Calverton, CJ Lehmann of Shirley, David Schneider of Huntington and Eric Zeh of Selden. With the field to be set by time trials drivers who have run part time in 2019 might look to make another start Saturday including Dave Sapienza of Riverhead, Craig Lutz of Miller Place and Michael Rutkoski of Mattituck.
Late Models will go 25-laps Saturday with Jeremy McDermott of Riverhead dominating the winners circle in ’19 winning 8 of the 11 races to date. Yet McDermott only enjoys a 33-point bulge over two time winner Chris Turbush of Wading Riverhead as the class returns after a week off. Jarrod Hayes of Calverton became only the third different winner in the LM ranks on August 10th in his first start of the year. Also back after a week off are the Figure Eight daredevils with defending champion Tom Rogers Jr. dominating victory lane winning 6 of the 9 races run propelling him to a 36-point lead over teammate Eric Zeh who has yet to win this season and would love to do so Saturday. Only Ken Hyde Jr. of Yaphank (2) and Vinny Delaney of Holtsville (1) have broken Rogers stranglehold on victory lane.
The closest points race among the classes racing this week can be found in the Mini Stocks with former Figure Eight driver Chris Elixson of Riverhead leading 4-time winner Joe Warren Jr. of Ridge heading into the 20-lapper. Not only does Warren’s four wins lead the division for the season but it also ties him with Bryan Kelly and Mike Mujsce Jr. for the all time lead in victories in the new division. Warren will trail Elixson by 15 markers with third place Jamie Meyer of Riverhead just 21 back of the leader and defending champion Paul Wojcik of Centereach fourth 24 points back. Justin Squires of Flanders (-45) and Tom Puccia of Shirley (-47) are also still in the championship hunt.
After another wild 4/6-Cylinder Gut & Go Enduro will hit the track with most recent winner Woot Lawrence of Southampton leading the troops into battle. Looking to recover from his flip in the most recent race won by Woot will be defending champion Christian Conklin of Riverhead.
Once all the racing is in the books the 13-ton School Buses take to the track for another bus destroying Demolition Derby event. In July popular “Cheesebox” Michael Rommeney of Bohemia out slugged “The Punisher” Paul Fox of Riverhead for the win. Also expected to compete are “Irish” Mike O’Keefe of Manorville, “The Stalker” Scott Phillips of Bay Shore and “Mach Chicken” Rob Savoy of Medford.
Time trials for the NASCAR Modifieds kick off qualifying at 6:00 pm with heat.races to follow while opening ceremonies and feature racing to start at 7:00 pm. Adult admission is $30, kids 6-12 are $10, 5 & under free. Further information can be found by visiting www.riverheadraceway.com. E-mails reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org and the phone number remains 631-842-RACE.