Category Archives: Riverhead Raceway

RIVERHEAD RACEWAY REGULARS HOPING FOR NASCAR WHELEN MODIFIED TOUR GLORY IN MILLER LITE 200 SATURDAY

Riverhead, NY May7th
By Bob Finan Photo Michael Jaworecki/Myracenews

A strong contingent of Riverhead Raceway drivers who compete weekly in the Buzz Chew Chevrolet NASCAR Modified ranks have indicated to track officials that they’ll take on the stars of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Saturday in the Miller Lite 200. Leading the locals into action will be defending Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series champion Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead.

It has been 26 years since a full time Riverhead Raceway regular visited victory lane at the conclusion of a WMT race with Ed Brunnhoelzl Jr. turning the trick in the June 24th, 1995 Miller Genuine Draft 201. Brunnhoelzl held off series regulars Reggie Ruggiero and Tim Connolly for an extremely popular victory. While numerous Long Island based teams and drivers have won a WMT race at Riverhead since Brunnhoelzl’s triumph none have done so while racing weekly at the 71-year old facility.

Fast forward to 2021 and Saturday the Miller Lite 200 the first name that comes up to end the 26-year streak is that of five time Buzz Chew Chevrolet NASCAR Modified track champion Tom Rogers Jr. who’ll steer the Denise & Ken Darch owned License To Chill Chevy. Rogers enter the new race season is on the cusp of infamy at Riverhead having earned 60 career wins just three behind the all time leading winner and another five time track champion “Charging” Charlie Jarzombek. For Rogers, 42 adding a NASCAR WMT victory to his resume would surely be a highlight in his Hall of Fame career.

Former two-time track champion Kyle Soper of Manorville is also a driver to keep on eye on from the Riverhead roster as he steers the car owned by 1994 WMT champion Wayne Anderson, also a five time titlist at the quarter mile bullring. Soper, 25 will be seeking his 20th career Riverhead NASCAR Modified victory in the Eastport Feeds Chevy and his first on the WMT. Soper is also a former two-time Late Model champion at Riverhead having compiled nine LM wins along the way.

In June of 2019 John Beatty Jr. of Merrick came within feet of winning his first career WMT event in a wild last lap, last turn duel with eventual race winner Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville. The duo thrilled the fans with what many or calling the best finish of a WMT race at Riverhead in the 64 events contested. Beatty would love to win the one that got away two years ago and his Mark Mina owned MSM/Elite Motorsports team recently tuned-up for the Miller Lite 200 with an opening night victory at Riverhead on May 1st the 9th of John’s career.
Versatile racing veteran Dave Brigati of Calverton and desires on competing in the Miller Lite 200 and will do so if he and his Outlaw Inc./Coors Light team can get out of the May 8th Advanced Auto Parts Weekly Series 50-lapper unscathed. The 50-year old veteran through the years has won 51 races spread across five classes at Riverhead 11 of which came in the Buzz Chew Chevrolet NASCAR Modifieds.

Dylan Slepian of Dix Hills and car owner Rob Pelis took a path not often traveled in NASCAR Modified racing when they debuted in 2020 a car the team designed and built themselves.The results were instant for Slepian, 26 who won three times while placing second to Rogers in the 2020 championship chase. Dylan could be among the dark horse candidates for the win in his RP Fabricating built racer.
John Baker, 29 of Brookhaven is ready to make a bid for an upset win of his own in the Miller Lite 200 Saturday in a car owned by his father Daryl a former racer himself. Baker has won twice since moving to the Buzz Chew Chevrolet NASCAR Modifieds and he’ll be steering a new Staria Automotive Chevy in 2021 chasing the Riverhead Raceway title and seeking to add onto to his win total.

Kyle Ellwood of Riverhead will make his first start of 2021 on the NASCAR WMT or at Riverhead Raceway when he hits the track for the Miller Lite 200 in the Buzz Chew Chevrolet Camaro. After winning 19 INEX Legend Race Car at Riverhead Kyle, 26 made the move a few years back to the NASCAR Modifieds where he has competed on a part time basis in recent years. Ellwood has posted five Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series wins during that time. In 2019 Kyle teamed with the late Wade Cole on the WMT driving a back-up car out of Cole’s shops.

Defending NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Justin Bonsignore will lead the troops into action carrying a personal 4-race WMT win streak into the Miller Lite 200 with current championship leader Eric Goodale of Riverhead looking to continue his early season hot streak in 2021.
WMT qualifying is set for 6 pm while the Miller Lite 200 is scheduled to take the green flag at 8:00 pm with a live stream of the race being available on NBC Sports Gold Track Pass. The Riverhead Raceway Eagle Auto Mall Crate Modifieds, INEX Legend Race Cars, Street Stocks and Mini Stocks will join the Miller Lite 200 program.
For further information please visit www.riverheadraceway.com, our phone number remains 631-842-RACE.

ERIC GOODALE HEADS TO MILLER LITE 200 AT RIVERHEAD RACEWAY WITH EARLY SEASON NASCAR WHELEN MODIFIED TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD AFTER HOT START

Riverhead, NY May 6th.
By Bob Finan

Photo Noah Watts/Myracenews

In the previous 64 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races contested at Riverhead Raceway there was perhaps no more a popular winner then Eric Goodale of Riverhead when he topped the late Ted Christopher for the win June 28th, 2014. Eric who grew up roughly three miles from the historic quarter mile bullring was swarmed by family and friends after his first career WMT triumph. Saturday May 15th the 35-year old Goodale will come to the Miller Lite 200 at Riverhead as the early season WMT championship leader and is hopeful to repeat the scene from June of 2014.

For Eric Riverhead Raceway will always hold a special place in his heart as it is the track where he began his driving career in the tracks former Charger division. Then one Sunday afternoon prior to an Enduro race program Eric hopped into brother Kevin’s NASCAR WMT for some test laps and as they old saying goes, the rest is history. Eric not only started racing at the local NASCAR Home Track but he is heavily entrenched in the Riverhead community through the family business Riverhead Building Supply and also recently started coaching his son’s little league team.

After racing and prepping for 2021 at the annual World Series of Racing at the New Smyrna Speedway in February, Goodale and the Jason Sheppard led GAF Roofing team were ready for the new WMT season to get underway at the iconic Martinsville Speedway in April. What transpired in the WMT opener not even Eric could have dreamed about as a youth at the Riley Avenue Elementary school but indeed he and his father Edgar who has carefully steered and supported his driving career where coming back to Long island with a Grandfather Clock symbolic of a win at Martinsville.

Goodale backed up his opening race victory with a runner-up finish April 30th at the 2021 NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler at Stafford Motor Speedway to race winner Patrick Emerling of Orchard Park, NY. Emerling trails Goodale by just six markers coming into the Miller Lite 200 Saturday. With his fast start in 2021 coupled with his vast experience at Riverhead Raceway Goodale is instantly among the odds on favorites to win the Miller Lite 200 virtually in his backyard.

Defending NASCAR WMT champion Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville may have something to say about Eric’s early season success though as Justin carries a four race WMT win streak at Riverhead into the Miller Lite 200 and he too will be heavily favored for the win at the track where he was the 2011 Advance Auto parts Weekly Series NASCAR Modified champion.

With a Miller Lite 200 entry list yet to be released it is not known who among the early season top ten in the WMT rankings will venture to Long Island. Young upstart talent Tommy Catalano of Ontario, NY along with Kyle Bonsignore a Bay Shore native who now call North Carolina look to build upon their collective good start to 2021 on the WMT. Jon McKennedy of Chelmsford, Ma will drive the Tommy Baldwin Racing entry while former 6-time WMT champion Doug Coby of Milford, Ct hopes to finally break into victory lane at Riverhead in the Miller Lite 200. Fellow Nutmeg state residents Ronnie Williams of Ellington and Woddy Pitkat of Stafford hope for their first Long island victory.
As always a heavy presence of teams from or with a connection to Long Island will be aiming for Miller Lite 200 success including Craig Lutz of Miller Place,  JB Fortin of Holtsville, Riverhead based Danny Watts Racing and driver Anthony Nocella of Woburn, Ma., Dave Sapienza of Riverhead, Timmy Solomito of Islip and Gary McDonald of Ronkonkoma. The Miller Lite 200 status of Ken Heagy of Riverhead remains questionable after a grinding crash at Stafford.

The Miller Lite 200 will be complimented by four divisions of racing from the Riverhead Raceway Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series with the Eagle Auto Mall Crate Modifieds, INEX Legend Race Cars, Street Stocks and Mini Stocks in action. The Miller Lite 200 will be streamed live on NBC Sports Gold Track Pass and is scheduled to start at 8:00 pm May 15th.
Campers are welcome and are asked to park in the area to the rear of the pits along the wooded area, there are no hook-ups or a fee to camp. Additional information can be found at www.riverheadraceway.com, the track phone number remains 631-842-RACE. 

BRIAN BROWN DELIVERS EMOTIONAL STREET STOCK MAY MELTDOWN WIN FOR CAR OWNER ROB BADER SUNDAY AT RIVERHEAD RACEWAY

Riverhead, NY May 2nd.
By Bob Finan

During the off season former Blunderbust driver Rob Bader wanted to return grassroots racing in 2021 and during the winter went out and got a Street Stock for competition at Riverhead Raceway. Among the goals Rob set was for the car to be a tribute to his late Uncle Jay Hulse former Charger driver. Then unexpected wrist surgery put Rob on injured list but undaunted he tabbed good friend Brian Brown of Riverhead to steer the car in Sunday’s May Meltdown event and in a storybook finish Brown delivered an emotional win for Bader and his family.

With the starting grid for the 15 car event set by heat race results the two qualifying winners Brian Brown and defending champion Dave Antos brought the field to green with Brown edging out front over Antos who immediately fell into the clutches of Chris Lescenski who started the race third. On lap 4 Lescenski was able to work his way by Antos and set his radar for race leader Brown. Over the final 16 laps the two good off track friends went toe to toe with the challenger turning up the heat as the laps clicked off. Lescenski was draped all over Brown in the final five laps of the 20-lap main event however it would be Brian Brown in the Robert’s Express Oil Chevy scoring the emotional win.

“Chris and I are good friends and I was kidding him before the race he got me in a race last year but I wasn’t gonna let that happen this year” quipped Brown after earning his 5th career SS win. “This means so much to Rob Bader for whom I am filling in for until his wrist gets better, once we get her all painted up it will look like one of Jay’s Charger cars from back in the day”. Car owner Bader could be seen by the start finish line with a mixed bag of emotions as Brown took the checker, pumping his fist in the air but all the while with tears in his eyes, “this is for Uncle Jay” is all Rob could muster.

Chris Lesecenski of Riverhead was second in his Eastport Feeds Chevy while Dave Antos of Lindehurst started off his title defense with a third place tally in the EP Milling & Sweeping Chevy.

Mike Mujsce Jr. of Mastic Beach made a triumphant return to the Mini Stock wars when he topped the 20-lap Mini Stock feature event. During this event a very light drizzle started to fall but never got heavy enough to curtail the racing. Early on Chris Elixson and Tom Puccia diced for the lead before a double file restart allowed Justin Squires to move by Puccia on lap 3. Later on things started to happen in a hurry with Squires taking the lead from Puccia but soon a lap 12 caution would change the complexion of the race for good. During the caution Puccia was forced to the pits to repair a dragging front bumper cover ending his hopes for victory. When the race resumed that is when things got hairy as Squires just didn’t seem to fire off good which allowed Mike Mujsce Jr. who started the race from the 8th position to take the lead with Squires recovering for second. Once out front it would be Mike Mujsce leading the remainder of the race to post his 5th career Mini Stock victory in the Mike’s Auto Service of Quogue entry. Justin Squires of Flanders survived a late race battle with “Tree Trunk” Tony Collinsworth of Calverton to claim runner-up honors in his CRC Video Surveillance Honda with Collinsworth settling for third in the Suffolk Tree Works Chevy.

To say there were many twists and turns to the 40-lap Truck Enduro would be a understatement but when the dust settled on the thriller it was Justin McGrady of Stony Brook the defending champion of the class scoring his first career victory. Kerry Botts, Mariah Lawrence and Phil LaManna al took turns at the front of the field during the race. Lawrence had the most disappointing of circumstances remove her from the lead when a couple of lapped trucks got together in front of her in turn three while she enjoyed nearly a half a lap lead. By the time the involved trucks cleared and Mariah got back going the damage was done. Phil LaManna also had heartbreak while leading when his truck suddenly went south on him ending his hopes for the win. In the end Justin McGrady who started the race 7th was the happy first time winner in his HP Landscaping Chevy. Mariah Lawrence of Southampton recovered to finish second in her sponsor wanted truck while Gary Voight of Medford completed the podium in third with the A Voight Towing machine.

All Sean Fitzpatrick of West Babylon knows how to do in the 8-Cylinder Enduros is win and he did just that for the 11th time in his career Sunday in a 50-lap affair. Unfazed by a 14th place starting berth Fitzpatrick put the Tire Express Chevy out front on the 4th lap after early leader Richie Carman spun in turn four and never looked back. Roger Tramm of Yaphank had a fast car during the race and was able to claim runner-up money in the United Exhaust Shops entry while Kevin Feeney of Hicksville was third in the Ham Racing entry.

Zach Tyler of Cutchogue, the nephew of former Riverhead Raceway Late Model standout Glenn Tyler notched his first career win in the 60-lap 4/6-Cylinder Gut & Go Enduro. After starting 6th in the field Tyler looked on early as Franky Abbabtiello and Frank Raynor took turns leading the early stages of the race. Tyler was able to take the lead from Raynor and then proceeded to open a huge lead over the field. John Palmeri came to second after the halfway mark and went to work on reeling in leader Tyler who at one point had half a track lead. Palmeri got the lead down to 1.7 second but there’d be no catching or passing Zach Tyler in his Miller & Caggiano Attorneys At Law machine. Palmeri of Lindenhurst was runner-up in the J&J Towing racer while veteran Bob Haeger of hampton Bays was third in the 27 Dollar band entry.

May Meltdown Results May2nd 2021

Street Stocks: 1. Brian Brown 2. Chris Lescenski 3. Dave Antos 4. Jimmy White Jr. 5. Brian McCormack 6. Alyssa Paprocky 7. Justin Ferreri 8. Ed Fontana 9. Danny Pizzo 10. James Dipietro 11. Robbie Blackmore 12. Bill Brown 13. Gerard Lawrence 14. Rhett Fogg 15. Roger Oxee

Mini Stocks: 1. Mike Mujsce Jr. 2. Justin Squires 3. Tony Collinsworth 4. Chris Elixson 5. Scott Phillips 6. James O’Connell 7. Martin O’Connell 8. Nick Kocis 9. Andrew Farnham 10. Paul Wojcik 11. Tom Puccia 12. Ryan Warren 13. Joe Cooke Jr. 14. CL Zukowski

Truck Enduro: 1. Justin McGrady 2. Mariah Lawrence 3. Gary Voight 4. Don Nelson 5. Phil LaManna 6. Kerry Botts 7. Brian Dean 8. Amber Weiss 9. Joe Brodman 10. Doug Tittle 11. Chris Olsen 12. Whitney Williams 13. Danielle Cohen 14. Jackie Germuth 15. Kelsey Squires 16. Tom Sullivan 17. Woot Lawrence 18. Gene Burbol

8-Cylinder Enduro: 1. Sean Fitzpatrick 2. Roger Tramm 3. Kevin Feeney 4. Richie Carman 5. Joe Boccia 6. Kevin Coyle 7. Eric Germuth 8. Pat Collins 9. Michael Asdahl 10. Dale Doherty 11. Preston Prydatko 12. Tony Capobianco 13. Kale Buckley 14. Tom Talbot 15. Robert Savoy 16. Blake Drinkwater 17. Steve Jones 18. Carmine Ragusa 19. Greg Harris 20. Robert Eggers 21. David Cohen 22. Dennis Jones 23. James Muench 24. David Verbeeck 25. Ricky Carman

4/6-Cylinder Gut & Go Enduro: 1. Zach Tyler 2. John Palmeri 3. Bob Haeger 4. Joey Palmeri 5. Frank Raynor 6. Michael Serpa 7. Joshua Flynn 8. Franky Abbatiello 9. Patrick Collins 10. David Olivari 11. Chris Olivari 12. Jody Fickissen 13. Chris Constantine 14. Jack Tessa 15. Jenn Krpata 16. Mariah Lawrence 17. Gary Voight 18. Chris Grover 19. Rich Boulch 20. Charles Astacio 21. Jeremy Rand 22. Vincent Abbatiello 23. Michael Bianco 24. Anthony Paretta 25. Chole Phillips 26. Vincent Abbatiello Sr. 27. Mark Raynor 28. Robert Lindner 29. Peter Verwys Jr.