Riverhead, NY Sept. 18th
By Bob Finan
Prior to the Miller Lite 200 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event Saturday at Riverhead Raceway four Advance Auto Parts Weekly series races were contested with Owen Grennan of Glen Cove (Crate Modifieds), Anthony Marsh of Riverhead (Legend Race Cars), Brian Brown of Riverhead (Street Stocks) and Andrew Farnham of Baldwin (Mini Stocks) all scoring victories. Both Grennan and Marsh earned their wins the old fashioned way with both drivers starting 12th in their respective features.
Two weeks ago Owen Grennan left the track a disappointed and angry driver but Saturday he channeled those emotions and despite having to start 12th in the 22 car field made his way to the front. The race unfolded with newcomer Rich Gerbe moving to the race lead on lap 1 but a quick yellow for Steve Ratti’s fourth turn crash on that first lap set up a restart. When the green reappeared rookie driver Mark Wolf got the measure of Gerbe to take the lead and the Enduro graduate would impress leading the following 10-laps with Terry Stiles coming to second on lap 3 and pressuring Wolf. On lap four Michael Berner raced to third and the top lead trio ran in a string. On lap 11 caution would wave and set up another restart, a restart that third place Berner would capitalize on. At the choose cone Wolf chose the inside with Stiles going outside, however third place Berner took the top outside row two. When the green dropped Berner was on the button as with second place Stiles spinning the tires and Wolf not off to a fast start Michael on the outside came from third to the race lead.
Stiles did gather his car back up to tuck into second and soon began to challenge Berner for the race lead with Owen Grennan now watching from third. As the race wound down Stiles was making some noise for the race lead and on lap 19 he and Berner made contact with Stiles drawing a caution flag and Berner sent to the rear of the field for his role in the incident. On the ensuing restart Grennan found himself the new race leader with Alex Colasanto now second. As the race resumed to complete the final six circuits Owen Grennan was not going to be denied and drove his Dillner Precast Chevy to victory. The win was Grennan’s second of 2021 and the ninth of his career tying him with Michael Rutkoski for second on the all time win list. Alex ColAsanto of Selden was second in the Vanguard Fire Protection Chevy while Chris Rogers of Patchogue took third place honors in the Captain Ralph’s Seafood Safari entry.
Anthony Marsh of Riverhead holds the hot hand in INEX Legend Race Car competition winning his third race in six starts since his first career triumph on August 14th. Early on Michael Benton would again pace the race early chased for the first two laps by Jake Curran before he was overtaken by Jeff Farruggia with an outside pass on lap 3. However a quick yellow would re-rack the field with Benton staying out front when the race resumed with Jason Castaldo moving by Farruggia for second. After three laps of sizing Benton up, Castaldo made his move for the lead ducking under the leader entering the third turn to take command on lap 8. After a hard hit a week ago, Castaldo was hoping to give his hard working team a victory but it was not meant to be. After leading five laps it all unraveled for Castaldo on a 13th lap restart. Castaldo and Anthony Marsh who made his way to second on lap 9 were lined up side by side for the resumption of the race. When the green waved the two front row cars made incidental contact setting off a multi car melee. Involved were Castaldo, Colin Volpe, who got airborne, Michael Benton and Eric Hersey while Marsh escaped damage. All drivers were uninjured. When the line-up was reset Marsh was the new race leader with Ray Fitzgerald seeking his fourth win of ’21 now running second. While Fitzgerald kept pace with the new race leader, Anthony Marsh in the Riverhead Trailer entry would lead the remainder of the race to score the victory. Fitzgerald of Manorville was runner-up in the Benimax Trucking mount, with championship leader George Tomko Jr. third in the Montauk Distilling racer. Afterwards Marsh was apologetic, “I have to apologize to the Castaldo family, I don’t race that way and I’m not sure what happened” Marsh admitted.
On the strength of a late race charge Brian Borwn of Riverhead scored his fourth Street Stock win of 2021. Pole sitter Roger Oxee broke out front at the throw of the green chased by Chris Lescenski over the first seven laps. On that seventh lap exiting the fourth corner Lescenski shot under Oxee for the lead to start the 8th lap.Oxee ran second until lap 10 when Brian McCormack raced by for position. McCormack’s stay in second would be short lived as Brian Brown, who started 7th took made his way by for second. Brown would then chase his good friend Lescenski for the next five laps trying to figure a way around for the win. On lap 18 entering the first turn a lapped car was to the inside, when Lescenski went to the outside of that car he left too much room in the middle. Exiting turn two Brown threaded the needle and by the time the lead duo exited the fourth turn for the white flag Brown was now out front where he stayed in the Hulse Farms Chevy. The win is the 8th of Brown’s SS career tying him with Dave Antos for second on the all time win list. The duo trials Eric Zeh by one on that list. Chris Lescenski of Riverhead was runner-up in the TB Motorsports Chevy with Dave Antos of Lindenhurst third in the EP Milling & Sweeping Monte Carlo.
After struggling nearly the entire season with his Mini Stock, Andrew Farnham of Baldwin scored a clean sweep of the night, setting fast time, leading all 30-lap to win his first event of the year. Entering qualifying for the final race of the Miller Lite Triple Crown Series Farnham went a 14.780 to win the pole while Tony Collinsworth of Calverton was second quick at 14.880. Right from the throw of the green Andrew Farnham showed he was not going to be beaten in the race as he took the lead over Collinsworth. On lap 4 two time winner Ryan Warren raced by Collinsworth for second but leader Farnham was pulling away in his Honda. In the closing laps Warren had teammate and defending champion CJ Zukowski challenge him for second, allowing Farnham to get away even further. At the finish it was a relieved Andrew Farnham sitting in the winners circle noting, ” It’s really just me and my Dad, we have no sponsors but I’m glad we figured this thing out”. CJ Zukowski of Riverhead made a last lap pass for second in the MSM Motorsports Cavalier and in the process won the 2021 Miller Lite Triple Crown Series. Ryan Warren of Ridge was third in the Schmidt’s Produce Market Chevy.
Crate Modifieds: 1. Owen Grennan 2. Alex Colasanto 3. Chris Rogers 4. Max Handley 5. AJ DeSantis 6. Eric Hersey 7. Matt Brode 8. Vinny Delaney 9. Richie Davidowitz 10. Rich Gerbe 11. Lou Maestri 12. Mark Wolf 13. Chase Grennan 14. Charles Macwhinnie 15. Michael Berner 16. Terry Stiles 17. Stephen Coleman 18. Dennis Krupski 19. Mark Stewart 20. Eddie Schutze 21. Mike Albasini 22. Steve Ratti
Legend Race Cars: 1. Anthony Marsh 2. Ray Fitzgerald 3. George Tomko Jr. 4. Allan Pedersen 5. Nick Morabito 6. Jim Sylvester 7. Jeff Farruggia Jr. 8. Artie Pedersen III 9. Riely O’Keefe 10. Jason Agugliaro 11. Jerry Curran 12. Charlie Hodge 13. Christopher Coleman 14. Jake Curran 15. Chris Sinatro 16. Rob Henninger 17. Sean McElearney 18. Mike Van Houten Jr. 19. Kevin Ohrnberger 20. Peter Fallon 21. Pat Moore 22. Dave Strohmeyer 23. Jason Castaldo 24. Michael Benton 25. Eric Hersey 26. Colin Volpe
Street Stocks: 1. Brian Brown 2. Chris Lescenski 3. Dave Antos 4. Brian McCormack 5. Gerard Lawrence 6. Roger Oxee 7. Rhett Fogg 8. Jay Henschel 9. Alyssa Paprocky 10. Carmine Ragusa 11. Justin Ferreri 12. Darren McCabe 13. Robbie Blackmore 14. Chris Mancz 15. Luke Foerster 16. Danny Pizzo
Mini Stocks: 1. Andrew Farnham 2. CJ Zukowski 3. Ryan Warren 4. Tony Collinsworth 5. Tom Puccia 6. Ryan Zukowski 7. Joe Cooke Jr. 8. Justin Squires 9. James O’Connell 10. Scott Phillips 11. Martin O’Connell 12. Paul Wojcik