Category Archives: Riverhead Raceway

2020 RIVERHEAD RACEWAY CHAMPIONS HONORED PRIOR TO ISLIP 300, TOM ROGERS JR. FETED FOR FIFTH NASCAR MODIFIED TITLE

Riverhead, NY Nov. 26th
By Bob Finan

Prior to the recent Islip 300 by East West Marine Supply Riverhead Raceway owners Eddie & Connie Partridge and Tom Gatz honored their 7 champions from the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Racing Series along with the Street Stock & Mini Stock champions during a track side ceremony. Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead led the 2020 “parade of champions” after earning a record tying fifth NASCAR Modified championship.

The 2020 track champions lined up by the winners circle for the pre-race festivities with Eddie & Connie Partridge and Tom Gatz presenting all nine titlists with their championship plaque. Additionally the NASCAR Modified, Late Model, Crate Modified, Figure Eight, Blunderbust, Super Pro Truck and INEX Legend Race Car champions were all presented with the traditional championship ring as well their 2020 point fund check.

Tom Rogers Jr. when he clinched that fifth NASCAR Modified title on the final night of racing steering the Denise & Ken Darch owned entry stepped into impressive company tying the late “Charging” Charlie Jarzombek, Don Howe and Wayne Anderson as the only four drivers to capture five titles. Rogers who started his career in the Figure Eights at the urging of “Downtown” George Brown has earned an amazing 12 Riverhead Raceway championships along the way. Rogers is a six time Figure Eight kingpin and also has a Late Model title to his credit.

After getting out of the gate in Late Model competition with four straight wins Jeremy McDermott of Riverhead for the second year in a row won the track championship. For car owner Rob Pelis it was his fourth consecutive LM title having won the 2017 & 2018 championships with Kyle Soper of Manorville. McDermott entered the 2020 campaign as a four time Late Model champion tied with legendary Peter “Buzzy” Eriksen for the most LM crowns all time. Jeremy with his fifth LM championship now stands alone.

After winning the 2019 INEX Legend Race Car championship “Big Money” Richie Davidowitz of East Moriches stepped into the Stan Morabito owned Crate Modified for 2020 and success was instant for the soft spoken Davidowitz who despite a last race scare won the 2020 championship and Rookie of the Year honors. Richie edged out Owen Grennan of Glen Cove by a mere four points after early race incidents in the season finale wiped out a 20 plus point lead Davidowitz enjoyed going into the final race. The all time leading INEX Legend Race Car winner (25) soldered on to secure the 2020 title for he and the Morabito family.


Sophomore jinx, what sophomore jinx is what 2020 Figure Eight champion Joe Warren Jr. of Ridge might just be asking in the weeks after winning the championship one year removed from being named the 2019 Rookie of the Year. After having to borrow a car for the opening night race on August 1st due to engine failure in his primary car Warren driving for Kathy & Tom Kraft strung together a consistent string of top three finishes along the way to win the title. Warren had won the 2019 Mini Stock championship.


Tom Pickerell of Huntington became a 7-time Blunderbust champion when he won the the final race of the season. Pickerell the 2019 champion of the class entered the final main event of the season just one point back of Cody Triola of Bay Shore in his Dimi Pickerell owned Chevy. Tom knew the only way to win the 2020 title and not worry about Triiola was to go out and win the final race which is exactly what the seasoned veteran did.

Early in the off season between the 2019 & 2020 seasons former multi time Blunderbust champion Jack Handley Jr. was tabbed to drive the Andre & Amy Vega Super Pro Truck that was driven to two consecutive titles by Mark Stewart of Riverhead in 2018 & 2019. With Stewart signing with the US Air Force during the off season Handley was tabbed to steer the championship track. Jack was able to thwart a late season change by eventual runner-up Sean Glennon of Northport to secure the third straight SPT championship for the Vega family.


With just a two INEX Legend Race Cars races remaining for the championship Kevin Nowak of Medford thought his hopes for a second career title were slim to none as he trailed point leader George Tomko Jr. of Aquebogue by well over 20-markers. In the second to last race Tomko was the victim of a incident not of his own doing and low and behold going into the championship finale on Halloween night Nowak had renewed hope. As the duo hot the track for the final race Tomko had a slim 5-point lead over Nowak and like Pickerell in the Blunderbusts Kevin knew the sure way to cement the title with no worries was to win which he did. For Kevin and his girlfriend Jenn Vasell it is their first Riverhead championship since 2010.


For the second time in three years Dave Antos of Lindenhurst in his self owned Monte Carlo won the Street Stock championship. For Antos it is his fourth overall Riverhead Raceway title having won two Grand Enduro championships before that class morphed into the Street Stocks.

CJ Zukowski of Riverhead was the hired gun for Joe Warren Motorsports in Mini Stock competition in 2020 after Joe won the 2019 championship honors. Zukowski literally grew-up at Riverhead Raceway with his father Charlie the long time director of maintenance at the track before he took a position with the Riverhead School District.


As is customary Riverhead Raceway will also present the second through fifth place drivers plaques for their 2020 efforts with those plaques on hand at the track. Plans on how to safely distribute those plaques during a new recent surge of Covid-19 will be disclosed after the New Year rings in.

Through the efforts of Eric Germuth points were kept for three Enduro classes independent of the track with Jimmy & Angela Rennick of JCR Motorsports providing their championship trophies that were handed out at the final Enduro show Sunday November 1st.
Justin McGrady of Stony Brook was the model of consistency winning his first career Truck Enduro championship during the final race of 2020 after championship leader Woot Lawrence of Southampton had early race contact. McGrady was able to steer clear of trouble and earn the title.

Brian Halsey of Southampton for the second time in his career won the 8-Cylinder Enduro title just one year after his son Jared took home the honors.
Energetic newcomer Franky Abbatiello of East Islip would earn the 2020 4/6-Cylinder Gut & Go championship that was aided by his first career win early in the year.


Rob Bader of Short Track Racers Razzle has presented the second through fifth place drivers in the three Enduro classes with handsome plaques.


With the delayed and at times strange 2020 race season now in the rear view mirror Riverhead Raceway is hopeful of returning to a normal format for the 2021 Advance Auto Parts Weekly Racing & Enduro Series. Please stay tuned to www.riverheadraceway.com for our 2021 schedule or breaking news.

RYAN PREECE ENJOYS SUCCESSFUL HOMECOMING WITH ISLIP 300 VICTORY SATURDAY EVENING AT RIVERHEAD RACEWAY

Riverhead, NY Nov. 14th.
By Bob Finan

Islip 300 winner Ryan Preece Michael Jaworecki/Myracenews

Saturday Ryan Preece of Berlin, Ct. enjoyed two Long island homecomings on a picture perfect fall day. His first is when he strolled through the pit gate at Riverhead Raceway where many were waiting to greet the NASCAR Cup Series star. His second homecoming came at the conclusion of the Islip 300 by East West Marine Supply when he parked his TS Haulers Tour Type Modified in the winners circle becoming the first repeat winner of the 300.

Pole sitter with fast time for the Islip 300 Kyle Soper Michael Jaworecki/Myracenews

Twenty nine cars registered for the 4th annual Islip 300 and with the race been advertised as starting 25 cars Riverhead Raceway owners Eddie & Connie Partridge & Tom Gatz in a show of gratitude decided to start all 29 cars entrants. Qualifying saw 2019 Islip 300 winner Kyle Soper of Manorville win the $300 Brigandi Brothers Automotive Pole Award with a lap of 11.416 with Jon McKennedey of Chelmsford, Ma second quick at 11.427.

When the green flags waved on the Islip 300 by East West Marine Supply it was Kyle Soper breaking out to the early advantage over Jon McKenndey. Soper running a special tribute pain scheme to his racing Grandfather would pace McKennedy over the first 19 circuits. As the field raced off the fourth corner to start the 20th lap Craig Lutz slipped under McKennedy for second. Earl on Soper was able to get away from Lutz and rivals by setting a fairly quick pace with lap time in the 11.6 to 11.7 range. Kyle was hoping to put as many cars as he could a lap down but with such a large field that task would no be easy.

Jon McKennedy # taking the lead over Kyle Soper #89 Michael Jaworecki/Myracenews

On lap 96 McKennedy came roaring by Lutz for second executing his own inside pass for the spot off turn four. McKenndey was able to reel in Soper with the aide of some well placed cautions and a fast car and on lap 115 exiting the fourth turn Jon made a power move to the outside to take over the race lead. Soper soon fell further back in the top five when he was passed by Ryan Preece for second on lap 119. The next 12 laps found Ryan reeling in and then pressuring McKennedy for the race lead which he took with an inside pass entering the third turn on lap 131.

McKenndey ran second until a lap 152 restart when 2020 NASCAR WMT champion Justin Bosignore not only passed Jon for second but also worked his way by Preece for the race lead on lap 153. Bonsignore was among a handful of drivers who had not yet pitted for either their 3 change tires or adjustments when he took over the race lead. As the race hit the 200-lap mark Kyle Soper who did pit for changes to his Eastport Feeds Chevy was back in the mix and on lap 207 during a restart made his way Bonsignore for the race lead. Soon thereafter another caution flag would wave and that is when Bonsignore and several other teams made their way to the pits for tires and adjustments.

With Soper having pitted earlier than other contenders the two time track NASCAR Modified champion led the race but knew there were some fast cars with fresher tires zeroing in on his race lead. On lap 228 Preece was in the picture once again making his way to second during a restart and just one lap later Ryan powered his way by Soper for the race lead. Once passed by Preece for the lead Soper would soon have to contend with former three time track champion John Fortin who was among the teams making a later pit stop during the 300.

On lap 258 Fortin a 34-time winner at Riverhead made his way by Soper for second and those in attendance wondered if the 57-year old talent would be able to race his way up to Preece to contend for the rich win and take the biggest win of his career. However as the race hit a green flag run Craig Lutz who pitted at the same time Bonsignore and Fortin did was also on the move and on lap 264 made his way by Fortin for second.

With 35-laps left in the 300 Craig Lutz could only watch from a dozen car lengths back as the TS Haulers Chevy of Ryan Preece raced off to victory and his second Islip 300 by East West Marine Supply trophy. ‘Man this is great, we had a rough, rough year and to come here and win this race is special” Preece noted in the winners circle as he was greeted by his team. “This car was hurt pretty bad at Stafford but my father just kept thrashing away at it, this win is for him. It’s his birthday so Happy Birthday Dad!” As for the race and day Ryan offered, “we unloaded and I just didn’t like the way the car was but it’s funny I texted my wife Heather and she wrote back that when I’m unhappy early on race day the race usually goes our way and sure enough it did”

Ryan Preece roars under the crossed checkered flags for his second Islip 300 victory Michael Jaworecki/Myracenews

Craig Lutz of Miller Place was runner-up and reflected afterwards not so much on the race but his overall 2020 season, “we had a good run today, would have been nice to win in our Riverhead Building Supply team’s backyard but I can’t say enough about Russell Goodale and this team. We had a good year and to cap it off with second is nice”.

Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville was third and the driver of the Phoenix Communications Chevy offered his post race thoughts “first off congratulations to Ryan and his team, great to see him back winning with the Modifieds”. As for his race Justin looked back, “we tried to out tire them so to speak pitting as late as we could for new rubber but it may have been too late, plus that long caution for the oil clean-up took some laps away but all in all a good day”.

Kyle Soper of Manorville and Tom Rogers Jr. completed the top five while the remainder of the top ten were, John Fortin Sr. of Holtsville, Roger Turbush of Riverhead, John Beatty Jr. of Merrick, Keith Rocco of Berlin, Ct and Matt Galko of Meriden, Ct.

Crate Modified winner Tom Rogers Jr. Michael Jaworecki/Myracenews

In the 50-lap Eagle Auto Mall Crate Modified race NASCAR Modified champion Tom Rogers Jr. subbed for his nephew Michael Berner for the race as Michael recovers from a recent wrist procedure with the end result finding Rogers taking down the victory. Owen Grennan of Glen Cove won the @Jlynnemortgages $150 pole award with a lap of 12.738 with Rogers second quick with a 12.753. At the throw of the green flag Grennan, a 4-time winner in 2020 broke to the lead over Rogers but the challenger wasn’t going anywhere as he stayed hot on the heels of the leader. After spending the first 20 circuits pressuring Grennan for the lead Rogers made a power move off the fourth turn and down the front stretch passing Owen for the lead to the outside to start lap 21.

The very next lap the duo were side by side for the race lead in a dead heat with Grennan having a slight edge on lap 23. One lap later Rogers still riding the outside lane worked his way by Grennan with another outside pass off the fourth corner. This time Tom Rogers Jr. was able to keep the M3 Technology Chevy out front despite heavy pressure from Owen Grennan who’d settle for second in his Dillner Precast Chevy. 2020 champion Richie Davidowitz of East Moriches was third at the line in his Benimax Trucking Chevy. Brian Brown of Riverhead won the $100 Tiger Tom Baldwin hard Charger Award racing his way from 18th to 11th.

INEX Legends winner Mike Alcaro Michael jaworecki/Myracenews

In the 40-lap INEX Legend Race Car main event it was invading Mike Alcaro of Newton, NJ scoring his third career Riverhead Raceway win driving for L.I. based car owner Paul Dodorico. Joseph Braun of Manorville was quickest in qualifying with a lap of 13.516 earning the $150 @Jlynnemortgages Pole Award. Bruan and former champion Dylan Slepian who was second quick in qualifying with a lap of 13.585 brought the field to green with Bruan breaking to the race lead. Brad Van Houten who started third moved under Slepian at the start to come to second where he ran for the first dozen laps.

On lap 13 Mike Alcaro who raced his way from 6th made a pass of van Houten for second. With Braun leading and seeking his third win of 2020 disaster struck on lap 14 when Joey threw his car into the infield with a broken axle surrendering the lead to Alcaro. Allan Pedersen made his way to second and was able to stay within striking distance of the race leader but that would be as good as it got for the Arcadia College student. At the conclusion it was Mike Alcaro sitting in victory lane with the Dr. Martha Baker, DDS entry while Allan Pedersen of Center Moriches was runner-up in The Boiler Guy racer. Brad Van Houten of Wading River was third in the Mike Van Houten Trucking machine. Charlie Hodge of Selden won the $100 Tiger Tom Baldwin Hard Charger Award starting 28th and finishing 14th. Nick Morabito of Manorville won the Finishline Demolition & Carting $100 Young Lion of the Race Award with his 16th place finish.

Riverhead Raceway Race Results 11/14/2020

Islip 300 Tour Type Modifieds: 1. Ryan Preece 2. Craig Lutz 3. Justin Bonsignore 4. Kyle Soper 5. Tom Rogers Jr. 6. John Fortin Sr. 7. Roger Turbush 8. John Beatty Jr. 9. Keith Rocco 10. Matt Galko 11. Max Zachem 12. Michael Rutkoski 13. Eddie Brunnhoelzl III 14. Jon McKennedy 15. Dave Sapienza 16. Artie Pedersen III 17. Justin Brown 18. Matt Brode 19. Dave Brigati 20. Chris Young 21. JB Fortin 22. CJ Lehmann 23. Dylan Slepian 24. Anthony Bello 25. Dillon Steuer 26. Ronnie Williams 27. Eric Goodale 28. Jimmy Rennick Jr. 29. Brian Weber

Crate Modifieds: 1. Tom Rogers Jr. 2. Owen Grennan 3. Richie Davidowitz 4. Eric Zeh 5. Matt Brode 6. Terry Stiles 7. Mark Stewart 8. Mike Albasini 9. Dennis Krupski 10. Steve Ratti 11. Brian Brown 12. Roger Tramm 13. Alex Colasanto 14. Max Handley 15. Frank Dumicich Jr. 16. Peter Bertuccio 17. Vinny Delaney 18. Eddie Schutze

Legend Race Cars: 1. Mike Alcaro 2. Allan Pedersen 3. Brad Van Houten 4. Kevin Nowak 5. Riely O’Keefe 6. George Tomko Jr. 7. Dylan Slepian 8. Jason Castaldo 9. Jerry Curran 10. Anthony Colandro 11. Ed Cheslak 12. Colin Volpe 13. Mike Van Houten Jr. 14. Charlie Hodge 15. Robert Henninger III 16. Nick Morabito 17. Jeff Farruggia Jr. 18. Patrick Moore 19. Tanner Jones 20. Jake Curran 21. Chris Sinatro 22. Mike Benton 23. Kyle Ellwood 24. Eugene Drew 25. Tristin Bruce 26. Joseph Braun 27. Jonathan Parsons 28. Sean McElearney 29. Michael Metcalf      

Man on a Mission: Preece Wins Islip 300 at Riverhead

By Kyle Souza / Photo: My Race News

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. — Ryan Preece drove to the front, pitted, then drove to the front again when it mattered most. 

The Berlin, Connecticut, native, who now lives down south competing in the NASCAR Cup Series for JTG Daughtery Racing, won the 4th annual Islip 300 at Riverhead Raceway on Saturday night. The win gave the driver of the No. 6 TS Haulers Modified a check of $7,000  — his second win in the prestigious event in just four years. He outran one of the most talented Modified fields Riverhead has seen in years — with a mix of track regulars, Whelen Modified Tour drivers, Connecticut SK Modified champions and more.

Preece has been running Modifieds part-time on top of his Cup schedule. He rode inside the top-five for the first 195 laps, before pitting for fresh tires under a caution — while leader Justin Bonsignore elected to stay out. Preece charged back through the field, took the lead back, and drove away from the field in the final laps.

The Islip 300, a race that stems from the old Islip Speedway history, has become the top Modified race of the season at the New York bullring. 

Craig Lutz finished second, while NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Bonsignore, Kyle Soper and track champion Tom Rogers Jr. rounded out the top-five.

Bonsignore and Lutz pitted for tires on lap 219, and a late flurry of cautions briefly slowed their chances to get back to the front. Lutz got through to second and was just five car lengths behind Preece, but lost ground in the final stages, and finished 1.95 seconds back. Rogers Jr. celebrated his fifth NASCAR Modified championship at Riverhead prior to the drop of the green flag.

Soper, the 2019 winner of the Islip 300, led the field to the green and led much of the first third of the race. Once he slid back, it was McKennedy, Preece and Bonsignore who paced most — dicing inside the top-five. Early exits from the race included Eric Goodale, Ronnie Williams and 2017 race winner Dillon Steuer. 

Bonsignore, who sealed his second Whelen Modified Tour title at Thompson in October, swept the two tour races at Riverhead last year — but the tour didn’t race at Riverhead due to COVID in 2020.

Track regulars John Fortin Sr., Roger Turbush and John Beatty finished sixth through eighth, while Keith Rocco and Matt Galko finished the top 10. Rocco, who earned his fourth career SK Modified championship at Stafford Motor Speedway this season, is now the NASCAR all-time leader for the most Division I track championships. 

Riverhead Raceway’s 2020 season has now concluded — two months later than a normal year due to COVID-19. The finale of the season aired live on RiverheadRaceway.TV.

RESULTS: Islip 300, Riverhead Raceway, November 14:

  1. Ryan Preece
  2. Craig Lutz
  3. Justin Bonsignore
  4. Kyle Soper
  5. Tom Rogers Jr.
  6. John Fortin Sr.
  7. Roger Turbush
  8. John Beatty
  9. Keith Rocco
  10. Matt Galko
  11. Max Zachem
  12. Michael Rutoski
  13. Ed Brunnhoelzl III
  14. Jon McKennedy
  15. Dave Sapienza
  16. Artie Pedersen III
  17. Justin Brown
  18. Matthew Brode
  19. Dave Brigati
  20. Chris Young
  21. John Fortin Jr.
  22. CJ Lehmann
  23. Dylan Slepian
  24. Anthony Bello
  25. Dillon Steuer
  26. Ronnie Williams
  27. Eric Goodale
  28. Jimmy Rennick Jr.
  29. Brian Webber