Riverhead, NY Dec. 20th
By Bob Finan
Breaking from tradition, Riverhead Raceway recently announced their 2022 Rookie of the Year drivers for the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series in advance of the upcoming Champions Award Banquet that is set for Friday January 6th at Giorgio’s Baiting Hollow. Seven drivers will receive Rookie of the Year plaques during the ceremony that will honor the fourteen 2022 track champions led by NASCAR Modified champion Kyle Soper of Manorville.
Chris Rogers of Patchogue has been named the 2022 NASCAR Modified Rookie of the Year. Rogers, a five-time winner in the Crate Modified class was tabbed by Dave Brigati’s Outlaw Inc. to drive a second Coors Light entry in 2022. The pairing yielded an 8th place tally in the overall 2022 championship rankings. Car owner Dave Brigati placed fourth in the final standings for the team led by veteran crew chief Brian Schwarz.
To say Jimmy Rennick Jr. of Howard Beach had an adventurous freshman season in the Late Models would be an understatement. After winning his first Late Model feature in just his second start on July 9th, Rennick put himself in position entering the final race of the season to win the track championship. An early race crash for the Metropolitan Recycling Chevy thwarted those hopes with the title going to Shawn Patrick of Brightwaters. Jimmy’s runner-up in the 2022 championship earned him the 2022 Rookie of the Year honors, he also won the Miller Lite Triple Crown Series Late Model championship.
Second generation racer Max Handley of Medford has been named 2022 Crate Modified Rookie of the Year. During the season “Mad” Max scored two Crate Modified victories, June 25th and again two months later on August 24th. Handley, who started his career in the Blunderbusts where he was a 7-time career winner wound up 10th in the final standings with his Hollis Court Collision Chevy.
Ryan Warren of Ridge battled engine issues all season long in his Sayville South Bay Auto Repair Cadillac owned by Kathy Kraft, but perseverance would pay off with a 5th place showing in the final point standings and has been named 2022 Figure Eight Rookie of the Year. Warren was a mere two points better than Cody Triola for the RoY award. Steve Neenan of Ronkonkoma ran the bare minimum of 50% of the Blunderbust races required to be eligible for Rookie of the Year honors which he won after placing 11th in the final championship rankings.
Like Ryan Warren in the Figure Eights, Super Pro Truck freshman driver Rob Corwin of Greenport was beset by engine woes during the season, but he and his team pressed on to win the 2022 Rookie of the Year honors after finishing 9th in the championship chase. Third generation wheelman Chase Van Houten of Wading River had a stellar 2022 campaign winning a career first feature on July 30th leading the driver of the Terra Vite North Fork Vineyards & Winery entry to 2022 Rookie of the Year honors as well 10th place showing in the championship.
Aside from Kyle Soper in the NASCAR Modifieds, 2022 champions receiving championship plaques January 6th are Shawn Patrick (Late Models), Owen Grennan of Glen Cove (Crate Modifieds), Scott Pedersen of Shirley (Figure Eights), Cody Triola of Bay Shore (Blunderbusts), Sean Glennon of Northport (Super Pro Trucks), Eric Hersey of Commack (Legends), Dave Antos of Lindenhurst (Street Stocks), Andrew Farnham of Baldwin (Mini Stocks), Ben Morabito (Bandolero Bandit) and Chevy Rommeney (Bandolero Outlaw). GM John Ellwood also disclosed Woot Lawrence of Southampton (Truck Enduro), Pat Collins of Southampton (8-Cylinder Enduro) and John Palmeri of Lindenhurst (Gut & Go Enduro) will be recognized at the Champions Awards Banquet.
The 2022 Riverhead Raceway Champions Award Banquet will feature a cocktail hour from 7-8 pm followed by reception and awards from 8:00 pm through midnight. An open bar will be available for five hours complimented by a full course, sit down dinner during the affair. Coffee and dessert will also be served. Tickets are $105 per person and available only through the track web page at www.riverheadraceway.com, click on the Events link for the ticket order form. Online purchase of tickets is available through December 28th at 4:00 pm, there will be no will call pick up of tickets.
E-mails reach the track at [email protected], the phone number remains 631-842-RACE.