Category Archives: Riverhead Raceway

NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour 2020 Schedule Announced


Photo Michael Jaworecki/Myracenews

New Venues, Traditional Dates For 2020

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The debut of a new showcase track, the highly-anticipated return to an Virginia venue, and a strong slate of premier northeast short tracks make the 2020 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour schedule one of the most anticipated in recent years. 

Three new tracks will be on the schedule: 

The tour will make its furthest trip west with the debut of Iowa Speedway. The “Fastest Short Track on the Planet” will host NASCAR’s only open-wheel division on Friday, July 31. The Whelen Modified Tour slate will also add returns to Martinsville Speedway and Jennerstown Speedway. 

“The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour is coming off an exciting year in which we saw Doug Coby continue his historic championship run and we saw the level of competition and number of competitors increase,” said Brandon Thompson, NASCAR managing director, touring series. “We are excited about the mix of high-profile national series tracks that will showcase the great racing on the Modified tour, and the strong short tracks that have been the backbone of Modified racing.” 

Martinsville, Virginia’s famous half-mile, is steeped in NASCAR Modified history. The modified division first raced at Martinsville in 1960 and was part of the original tour schedule in 1985. The Maxpro Window Films 200 will run on Friday, May 8 as part of the spring Cup Series weekend. 

Jennerstown, a .522-mile oval in western Pennsylvania, will feature the tour on Saturday May 23. The track has held 14 tour races over the years, with the late Ted Christopher being the last to visit Victory Lane in 2006.  

The Whelen Modified Tour will open the season with a return trip to Virginia’s South Boston Speedway on Saturday, March 21. Connecticut will serve as the traditional opening of racing in New England with the 46th Annual Icebreaker weekend at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on Sunday, April 5, followed by the NAPA Spring Sizzler weekend at Stafford Motor Speedway on Sunday, April 26. 

The season will conclude with the 48th annual NAPA Fall Final weekend at Stafford on Sunday, Sept. 27, and the 58th annual Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing at Thompson on Sunday, Oct. 11. 

New Hampshire Motor Speedway will again feature a 100-lap showcase on Saturday, July 18. The Whelen Modified Tour will also return with the 200-lap main event for the track’s Full Throttle Fall Weekend on Saturday, Sept. 12. 

Other schedule highlights include:  

  • In addition to Jennerstown, the tour will make the trip to western New York to be part of Oswego Speedway’s 64th Annual Budweiser International Classic on Saturday, Sept. 5. 
  • Riverhead Raceway, a staple of the Whelen Modified Tour, will host two events. The first will be on Saturday, June 20, with a return trip to Long Island on Saturday, Sept. 19. 
  • A pair of bullrings will factor into the championship picture: Massachusetts’ Seekonk Speedway will bring the tour to town on Saturday, June 6, while New Jersey’s Wall Stadium Speedway will run on Saturday, July 11. 

The complete NBCSN schedule, including broadcast times, will be released at a later date. 

2020 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Schedule  

Saturday, March 21 South Boston Speedway South Boston, Va. 
Sunday, April 5 Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park Thompson, Conn. 
Sunday, April 26 Stafford Motor Speedway Stafford, Conn. 
Friday, May 8 Martinsville Speedway Martinsville, Va. 
Saturday, May 23 Jennerstown Speedway Jennerstown, Pa. 
Saturday, June 6 Seekonk Speedway Seekonk, Mass. 
Saturday, June 20 Riverhead Raceway Riverhead, N.Y. 
Saturday, July 11 Wall Stadium Speedway Wall, N.J. 
Saturday, July 18 New Hampshire Motor Speedway Loudon, N.H. 
Friday, July 31 Iowa Speedway Newton, Iowa 
Friday, Aug. 7 Stafford Motor Speedway Stafford, Conn. 
Wednesday, Aug. 19 Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park Thompson. Conn. 
Saturday, Sept. 5 Oswego Speedway Oswego, N.Y. 
Saturday, Sept. 12 New Hampshire Motor Speedway Loudon, N.H. 
Saturday, Sept. 19 Riverhead Raceway Riverhead, N.Y. 
Sunday, Sept. 27 Stafford Motor Speedway Stafford, Conn. 
Sunday, Oct. 11 Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park Thompson. Conn. 


By Bob Finan
Friday evening December 13th the twelve champions of the just completed 2019 race season at Riverhead Raceway will be honored for their championship season at the 2019 Awards Ceremony hosted by track owners Eddie & Connie Partridge and Tom Gatz at Giorgio’s of Baiting Hollow. Aside from their 2019 championship plaques the seven champions of the NASCAR Whelen All American Series will receive Riverhead Raceway championship rings with Kyle Soper of the Manorville leading the 2019 “parade of champions” after securing his second straight NASCAR Modified championship for car owners Wayne & Joette Anderson. The top five drivers in the seven NASCAR & INEX classes will also receive point fund checks along with a plaque.

In route to his second consecutive NASCAR Modified title 23-year old Kyle Soper got off to a fast start in 2019 winning a majority of his season total seven wins in the first two months of the campaign. Aside from his championship plaque and ring Soper will again be presented with the perpetual Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Long Island Driver’s Cup. Among Kyle’s 2019 triumphs was the $7,000 to win Islip 300 in June and for the second year in a row Soper and his Eastport Feeds team won the 2019 New York State championship in the NASCAR Whelen All American Series. Over the past three seasons at Riverhead Soper has won four championships. Aside from his 2018 and 2019 NASCAR Modified titles Soper won the 2017 & 2018 Late Model crown for car owner Rob Pelis.

The Rob Peiis streak as a championship Late Model car owner continued in fine fashion in 2019 with his driver Jeremy McDermott of Riverhead narrowly edging out Chris Turbush of Wading Riverhead by 4 markers. Much like Soper in the Modifieds, McDermott got off to a fast start in the Late Models winning most of his 8 races on the year prior to the 4th of July. The 2019 crown is the fourth of Jeremy’s career who with his eight wins on the year set a new standard for Late Model wins in a single season at the track. For the third time in four years “The Fancy Farmer” Dave Brigati of Calverton won the Crate Modified championship utilizing a formula of consistent finishes during the summer to capture the title. Dave won once during the championship run.
One driver who stayed hot throughout his 2019 championship run was Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead who for the third year in a row won the Figure Eight championship with car owner Keith Repp, Tom’s sixth career title in the class. Tom dominated the action winning 10 of 13 race contested and he will also be presented with the Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Long Island Figure Eight Driver’s Cup. Rogers is also a four time NASCAR Modified and one time Late Model champion at Riverhead Raceway. Another driver basking in the light of a sixth career track championship is 2019 Blunderbust kingpin “Slick Pick” Tom Pickerell of Huntington. Tom, a second generation driver tallied four victories in 2019. For the second year in a row Mark Stewart of Riverhead captured the Super Pro Truck championship for he and owner Andre Vega notching four wins along the way. “Big Money” Richie Davidowitz of East Moriches became the all time leading winner in the INEX Legend Race Car ranks during his 5 win season that produced the soft spoke driver’s first career track championship. Richie and his father Wally are a two man low budget effort that win more often than not.

Batting .500 during the 2019 Street Stock season Eric Zeh of Selden and his Frank Curtis Motorsports team captured the 2019 Street Stock championship on the strength of 5 wins in 10 races for his first career title in the three year old division. Having enjoyed success in various forms of Enduro racing in years prior Joe Warren Jr. of Ridge burst upon the Mini Stock scene in a big way winning 7 times to secure the 2019 championship. Warren is now also the all time leading winner in the class that started in 2017. Phil LaManna of Smithtown notched his first career Truck Enduro championship while Jared Halsey of Southampton won the 8-Cylinder Enduro crown for the second year in a row while Christian Conklin of Riverhead repeated his 2018 Gut & Go Enduro championship again in 2019.
In addition to the 2019 champions the top five drivers from each of the 12 racing divisions will be presented plaques for their accomplishments with the 2019 Rookie of the Year drivers names for the NASCAR Whelen All American Series and INEX classes. In the days to come the 2nd annual Most Popular Driver voting will begin at with the winners to be recognized at the 2019 Riverhead Raceway Awards Ceremony.

The 4th annual Riverhead Raceway Awards Ceremony will start with cocktail hour at 7:00 pm with an open bar continuing throughout the affair that concludes at midnight.. Once the staff of Giorgio’s have taken entree orders at 8:00 pm the awards ceremony and dinner will commence. The band Noiz will be back to provide the musical entertainment for your listening and dancing pleasure during the course of the festive night.
Tickets are $90 per person and are now available for purchase. To obtain tickets please make a check payable to Riverhead Raceway Inc. and forward it to PO Box 1743, Riverhead, NY 11901. Please note how many tickets you require and the race team or driver you are aligned with. Tickets can also be purchased in person Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm by visiting track GM John Ellwood at Riverhead Raceway.


Riverhead, NY Sept. 29th

By Bob Finan

Noah Watts Photo

Under crystal clear blue skies the 3rd annual Laura Zegel Memorial 55 for the Street Stocks was run Sunday afternoon as part of the Enduro Extravaganza at Riverhead Raceway with David Antos of Lindenhurst scoring his second straight win in the race a victory that was worth $555 to win plus lap and other bonus money. Antos picked up an additional $200 for setting the second quickest time in qualifying and also earned lap money leading 52 of the 55 laps.
In qualifying Eric Zeh of Selden winner of five of the nine SS races run in 2019 at the track showed the way with a lap of 14.350 earning a $100 bonus for McCormick Motorsports as well a plaque. The $200 awarded to Antos for second quick time was backed by Kyle & Trish Curtis. With the top six from qualifying inverting for the start of the 55-lap contest Jay Henscehl broke to the early race lead chased by Antos over the first three laps. Antos, the 2018 SS champion knew he would have to get around Henschel soon with Zeh making his way into the top three and the driver of the EP Milling & Sweeping Chevy did just that breaking to the lead on lap 4. Zeh’s march to the front was slowed when he and early leader Henschel went toe-to-toe for second which was just fine with race leader Antos. Zeh was able to move under Hanschel for second on lap 22 for second off turn four but just a few laps later Henschel and Zeh made slight contact when Jay was trying to race his way under Eric for second.

That turn of events moved Brian Brown who was forced to start at the rear of the field (15th) after leaving the impound area after qualifying to second. However there would be no reeling in David Antos on the day as he drove off to the prestigious victory his 2nd of 2019 noting afterwards, “this is how I want to win the race, not like last year” referring back to the disqualification of the race winner. “Laura was a sweet lady, big part of our Enduro family, I’m honored to win her race and this year the right way” Antos concluded.

Brian Brown of Riverhead was runner-up in the Staria Automotive Chevy putting on a show charging from the rear of the field while Eric Zeh drove his Best Built Construction Chevy not only to a third place finish but also the 2019 Street Stock championship for car owner Frank Curtis Motorsports.

For the 7th time in 2019 Joe Warren Jr. of Ridge won the Mini Stock feature event with Sunday’s win coming in a 20-lap contest. With the win Warren wraps up the 2019 Mini Stock title despite missing one of the 12 races run early in the season due to a blown engine. Newcomer James O’Connell impressed as the early race leader leading over several challengers that included Joe Cooke Jr., Justin Squires and Jamie Meyer. On lap 7 Joe Warren Jr. came to second and after spending the 7th through 11th laps reeling in O’Connell he made his way to the race lead on lap 11. Two laps later O’Connell surrendered second to Tom Puccia a three time winner in 2019. As is custom with Warren once he had the Tire Express Cavalier out front there would be no catching the all time leading winner in the class. Puccia of Shirley was runner-up in the Roli Tires entry while early leader James O’Connell of Miller Place came home third in the Walls of Fame machine.

Despite damage from contact with a lapped truck early in the race Gary Voight of Medford won his 3rd Truck Enduro of the season. Dustin Cole broke to the early lead pacing Kerry Botts for the first two laps before Gary Voight came to second. After sizing up Cole for two laps Voight made his move payoff on lap 5 passing Cole to the outside off turn 2. From that point forward the only concern for Voight was some right front damage he’d sustain after getting too close while lapping a slower truck. That plus championship leader Phil LaManna now running second gave Gary some anxious moments until he took the checker flag in the United Exhaust Shops Chevy. LaManna of Smithtown, a four time winner in ’19 was runner-up in his EP Milling & Sweeping S-10 clinching the season long championship in the process. Bobby Pease Sr. of Medford in the Fit Spot Gym was third.

For the fourth time in 2019 Sean Fitzpatrick of West Babylon came home the winner of the 8-Cylinder Enduro in his Lakewood Used Auto Parts Chevy. Carmine Ragusa and David Verbeeck diced for the lead early but it wouldn’t be long before Sean Fitzpatrick raced his way towards the front after starting the race from 9th. Jared Halsey of Southampton who started deep in the field for the 50-lap race drove to a runner-up finish behind Fitzpatrick good enough for the driver of the Sabrosa Mexican Grill Chevy to win his second straight championship in the class. Jared’s father Brian Halsey of Southamptoin was third in the PC Truck Repairs Chevy.

Popular Donald “Woot” Lawrence of Southampton won the 75-lap 4/6-Cylinder Gut & Go Enduro for his third win of 2019 in the Gregor’s Well Drilling entry. Lawrence took the lead for good on lap 42 and was chased to the finish by runner-up Chris Olivari of Coram and Jack McKee of Riverhead.

Laura Zegel Memorial Street Stocks: 1. David Antos 2. Brian Brown 3. Eric Zeh 4. Phil LaManna 5. Wesley Sammon 6. Chris Lescenski 7. David White 8. Jay Henschel 9. Justin Ferreri 10. James Pape Jr. 11. Brian McCormack 12. Gerard Lawrence 13. Ed Fontana 14. Sal Sinatro 15. James DiPietro
Mini Stocks: 1. Joe Warren Jr. 2. Tom Puccia 3. James O’Connell 4. Justin Squires 5. Paul Wojcik 6. Chris Elixson 7. Jamie Meyer 8. Robert Dugre 9. Brad Bess 10. Joe Cooke Jr. 11. Matt Stawecki 12. Scott Phillips DNS- CJ Zurkowski, Martin O’Connell

Truck Enduro (top ten): 1. Gary Voight 2. Phil LaManna 3. Bobby Pease Sr. 4. Justin McGrady 5. Kerry Botts 6. Bobby Pease Jr. 7. Dustin Cole 8. Kim Daniel 9. Kevin McCartney 10. Mariah Lawrence
8-Cylinder Enduro (top ten): 1. Sean Fitzpatrick 2. Jared Halsey 3. Brian Halsey 4. Dale Doherty 5. Pat Collins 6. Dennis Jones 7. Michael Asdahl 8. Richie Hubbard 9. Ricky Carman 10. Justin McGrady

/6-Cylinder Enduro: 1. Woot Lawrence 2. Chris Olivari 3. Jack McKee 4. Austin Elliston 5. Christian Conklin 6. Bill Brown 7. David Olivari 8. Bob Haley 9. Jason Savoy 10. Ryan Warren