Riverhead, NY Sept. 15th.
Photo Noah Watts/Myracenews
When NASCAR released the official entry list for Saturday night’s Miller Lite 200 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event at Riverhead Raceway on Tuesday it listed six teams that compete with the Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series have filed enteries. The last time a Riverhead regular upset the WMT apple cart was 26-years ago when Ed Brunnhoelzl Jr. was victorious in a 201-lap WMT race on June 24th, 1995
At the time of Ed Brunnhoelzl Jr.’s 1995 WMT victory a gallon of regular gas was going for $1.15, Bill Clinton was President of the United States and Jeff Gordon went on to win the Winston Cup. Reggie Ruggiero, Tim Connolly, Wayne Anderson and Steve Park followed Brunnhoelzl to the checkers. Chuck Steuer who won the pole finished 11th. Six hopeful Riverhead teams are working towards accomplishing what Brunnhoelzl did back in the day.
Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead the reigning Buzz Chew Chevrolet NASCAR Modified champion at Riverhead will try and check off another bucket win list in the Miller Lite 200 Saturday. Rogers has won all their is to win at the Long Island bullring, 61 career victories in the Modifieds alone with five track championships along the way. Rogers, 43 said recently he’d like to check a WMT off his racing bucket list and hopes to Saturday. Rogers and his Denise & Ken Darch owned team ran the May 15th Miller Lite 200 and were a disappointing 24th, the team sat out the June 20th WMT Riverhead event.
2021 Riverhead championship leader Kyle Soper of Manorville will be part of the Miller Lite 200 field Saturday steering 1994 WMT champion Wayne Anderson’s entry. Soper, 25 is on target to won his third Buzz Chew Chevrolet NASCAR Modified titles in four years has finished 7th in both events contested in 2021. To date Kyle has quickly achieved 21 career Riverhead Modified wins placing him in a three way tie for 16th on the all time win list with Fred Harbach & Dan Jivanelli.
This season Kyle Ellwood, a second generation driver from Riverhead has focused his energy on serving as crew chief for Michael Rutkoski. The pairing yielded a career first win for Rutkoski on July 10th. When the Buzz Chew owned Chevy rolls to the grid Kyle will make his second WMT start of 2021 after finishing 18th in the May event. With Rutkoski at the wheel in June the Buzz Chew team were an impressive 11th.
Dylan Slepian of Dix Hills the 2020 championship runner-up to Rogers is hoping to salvage what to date has been a frustrating season for his Rob Pelis owned team. After posting multiple wins in 2020, Slepian finds himself without a win this year but yet is ranked second in the track championship chase with one race remaining. The former INEX Legend Race Car champion comes to the Miller 200 with a pair of 9th place finishes in the May & June WMT events.
The exact opposite of what Slepian is enduring this season can be found in John Baker of Brookhaven. This past Saturday September 11th John won his third feature of the season after going without a win since 2017 when he won twice that year. Baker and his team who banked victories on June 12th & August 14th have consistently unloaded a fast race car all season long, hope to score a big upset win Saturday. John has placed 17th & 14th in the two previous WMT races.
If Riverhead Raceway still handed out a hard luck award hands down one of the contenders would be third generation driver Roger Turbush of Riverhead. There is no question Roger knows how to win, he did so 30 times in winning multiple Super Pro Truck titles. No matter how many times the Pat Kennedy owned team has been knocked down they brush themselves off and work that much harder. Turbush and his team are hoping to come out of the Miller Lite 200 with a good showing. In his two WMT Riverhead starts this year Rogers finished 21st and 15th.
Final NASCAR WMT practice for the Miller Lite 200 will run from 3:00 pm through 4:00 pm, spectator gates open at 3:00 pm. WMT qualifying is set for 6:00 pm while the Miller Lite 200 goes to post at approximately 8:00 pm. The Riverhead Raceway Crate Modifieds, INEX Legend Race Cars, Street Stocks and Mini Stocks compliment the race program. Qualifying for the Riverhead classes starts at 5:00 pm.
Admission is $40 for adults, kids 6-12 $10 with 5 & under free. Camping is free with no hook ups and is confined to the southeast corner of the property that runs adjacent to the back end of the pit area.
The Riverheadraceway.Tv live stream will carry all on track activity starting with WMT final practice at 3:00 pm. 8:00 pm NBC Sports Gold Trackpass begins their live stream of the Miller Lite 200.