After a long winter Riverhead Raceway gets ready to open its gates for another season of NASCAR Whelen All American series racing May 4th.
After a week of dreary forecasts for this weekend the skies have brightened and the opening day card will take place with 7 divisions of NASCAR short racing.
Every year racers and fans circle opening day on the calendar and spend all off season preparing their cars and trucks for another spring and summer under the lights. This season looks to be another good one with many new and rebuilt race cars heading to the Rt 58 oval.
NASCAR Modifieds, Late Models, Crate Modifieds, Super Pro Trucks, INEX Legends, Blunderbusts and the Figure 8 stock cars will see action tonight. Sunday if weather permits the first Sunday Enduro show will see action.
The track has spent countless hours preparing the facility with the main improvement being a re-paved pit area and new asphalt in turns 3 and 4.
The Modifieds have added 10 laps to their feature and now go 50 laps each week. Kyle Soper will defend his Modified title against what looks like a really tough group this year. Tom Rogers Jr., John Fortin, Dave Schneider, Ed Brunnhoelzl, John Beatty, Roger Turbush and a host of others. Also dropping in this season for 6-8 shows will be NASCAR WMT champion Justin Bonsignore in the 03 Ken Darch owned machine.
Practice starts at 1:30, grandstand gates open at 4:00 and heat action starts at 4:30.
Veteran INEX Legend Race Car driver Silas Hiscock Sr. of Bridgehampton succumbed to injuries he suffered during practice day at Riverhead Raceway Saturday afternoon. Hiscock, 78 impacted the fourth turn wall heavily during one of the Legend Race Car test sessions. It is the first in-car fatality since 1994 when NASCAR Modified driver Bill Quilligan, 45 perished while racing off the second turn in a non-contact incident after suffering what was determined to be heart failure.
Silas Hiscock Sr. was racing his car through the third and fourth turn at the time of the crash with the exact circumstances that led up to the impact still not fully known. With the crash just feet away from the turn four entrance gate to the track and in close proximity to the ambulance EMT and other safety personnel were on scene immediately. Once removed from the car Hiscock was rushed to Peconic Bay Medical Center just east of the raceway wear he was treated and evaluated. Once stabilized it was determined by the attending doctors Hiscock was transferred to Stony Brook University Hospital, a Level 1 Trauma Center where he passed away Sunday night into Monday morning.
To call Silas Hiscock Sr. an old school racer would be accurate with Silas enjoying essentially two different racing careers. Back in the day Silas ran both Sportsman and Modifieds at Riverhead Raceway in the 50’s & 60’s where he earned his lone Modified win on July 8th, 1961. After stepping away from the game for awhile Silas heard about a new class coming to Riverhead Raceway that he thought would be able to return him to the game he loved, the INEX Legend Race Cars. The class wihich featured body styles of the coupes and sedans from his racing heyday were right up his racing alley and Silas went back racing. What made returning to racing more attractive to Silas this time around was the fact his sons Silas Jr. and Will joined him on the track often racing side by side.
In 2018 Silas, who owned and operated Hampton Gas Tank Services in Bridgehampton made nine starts in his #07 and placed 24th in the final point standings. The class ran 15 races in ’18. Will Hiscock was making a return to Legend racing and was also practicing his car Saturday but was not on the track at the time of the crash. Hiscock’s passing is the fourth overall at the track in the past 25 years. In 1999 Walt Edsall, the NASCAR Chief Steward at the track was stuck by a wheel that came off a NASCAR Modified during a heat race, Walt died a few weeks later at the hospital. In 2002 popular Blunderbust/Charger driver and track sponsor Larry “King” Costa was fatally injured after falling from a golf cart at the track, Costa died at the hospital hours later.
Track owners Eddie & Connie Partridge and Tom Gatz send their thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of Silas Hiscock Sr. on this very tragic loss. Funeral arrangements are pending.
Riverhead, NY Apr. 27th.By Bob Finan If Saturday’s practice day at Riverhead Raceway is any indication the 2019 season is going to be both a successful and busy one as each and every parking spot in the pit area was occupied for the test & tune session. With practice day in the books all signs point to opening weekend this week Saturday May 4th and Sunday May 5th. Saturday evening seven NASCAR Whelen All American Series divisions will go to post headlined by a NASCAR Modified 50-lap feature while Sunday afternoon the 34th season of Enduro racing will commence with five classes in action.
On track action was spirited throughout the afternoon with track officials getting in five rounds of practice for the NASCAR stock cars as well the Street Stocks and Mini Stocks. Kyle Soper of Manorville was putting the Wayne & Joette owned machine through it’s paces as the team readies to defend their 2018 title. Soper meanwhile has relinquished his seat in the Rob Pelis Late Model for whom he won two championships in a row but Rob hasn’t missed a beat as he was on hand with his new driver former multi-time LM kingpin Jeremy McDermott of Riverhead.
Reining Figure Eight champion Tom Rogers Jr. was on hand with his Keith Repp owned Chevy Coupe as was 2018 INEX Legend Race Car champ Jim Sylvester of Massapequa in his self owned mount. Last year’s Crate Modified champion Michael Rutkoski of Mattituck was busy this past saturday running a Keith Rocco SK Modified at Stafford Motor Speedway and was not at Saturday’s session but plenty of Crate Mods were on hand. With Jack Handley Jr. of Medford indicating he’ll not defend his Blunderbust title in 2019 that championship chase will be wide open and several BB teams were on hand gearing up for a run at the vacated title. 2018 Super Pro Truck champion Mark Stewart of Riverhead was missing as he attended his grandfather Dan’s wedding in the afternoon but he is expected to defend his SPT against a 2019 roster that will include several newcomers.
Two hard impacts during the course of the afternoon were the only blemish on the day. In the first Crate Modified session veteran and former LM champion Peter Bertuccio of Bohemia made hard contact with the first turn wall due to what appeared to be a stuck throttle. Peter after gathering his thoughts emerged from the heavily damaged car and rode off the track on a golf cart with NASCAR official Mike Cappiello shaken but otherwise okay. Later in the day veteran INEX Legend Race Car driver Silas Hiscock of Bridgehampton slammed the fourth turn wall at full throttle. Hiscock was extricated from his car and transported to Peconic Bay Hospital for evaluation & treatment. It was determined there Silas needed to be transported to Stony Brook University Hospital for additional evaluation and treatment.
Dave Antos of Lindenhurst the 2018 Street Stock champion and Jared Halsey of Southampton the 8-Cylinder Enduro champion were part of the practice day preparing for this Sunday’s opening day for the cars and stars of Enduro racing. 2019 will see the Enduro classes perform on Saturday night more than they have in the past as after the May 5th opener only one other stand alone Sunday show is scheduled for September 29th. Paul Wojick of Centereach was the 2018 Mini Stock champion while Don Nelson Jr. of Rocky Point topped the Truck points and Christian Conklin of Riverhead won his first career Gut & Go title last year, all three are also expected to defend their crowns in 2019.
Saturday evening will see the mighty NASCAR Modifieds going 50 laps on opening night and be joined by the Late Models (25), Crate Modifieds (25), Figure Eights (15), Blunderbusts (20), Super Pro Trucks (20) and INEX Legend Race Cars (20). Track officials will release start times for Saturday on the track web site early this week. On Sunday the Street Stocks, Mini Stocks, Trucks, 8-Cylinders and Gut & Go 4/6-Cylinder feature event distance will be as they have in the past determined by car counts. Sunday racing will start at 12:30 pm, pits will open at 10:00 am.