Category Archives: NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Racing series

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

Full Field of Talent Set For Islip 300 at Riverhead

BY: Kyle Souza / PHOTO: Michael Jaworecki/My Race News

The top talent is heading to Long Island this weekend for one of the most historic Modified races of the Northeast season.

The 4th annual Islip 300 will take place at Riverhead Raceway on Saturday, November 14. The 300-lap Modified race, which pays $7,000 to the winner, is drawing quite the list of drivers ranging from a NASCAR Cup Series star, to the current NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion, invading challengers and local-track favorites. The Islip 300, which is a flashback to the old All-Star 300s at the Islip Speedway, is Riverhead’s top Modified race of the year and COVID-19 isn’t going to slow that down.

Ryan Preece, current NASCAR Cup Series driver for JTG Daugherty Racing, will wheel the No. 6 TS Haulers Modified for Ed and Connie Partridge. The 2013 Whelen Modified Tour champion, who just completed his second full-time year at the Cup level, is a New England favorite and expected to be a major challenger. Preece won the 2018 Islip 300 and is no stranger to Riverhead.

Reigning and two-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Justin Bonsignore, who has plenty of wins at the quarter-mile, is taking the Ken Massa Motorsports No. 51 to the prestigious event. Bonsignore won both Whelen Modified Tour races at Riverhead last year and has eight career NWMT wins there. He sealed his second Whelen Modified Tour championship at Thompson Speedway in October. Jon McKennedy, who finished behind Bonsignore in the standings, will bring the Tommy Baldwin No. 7NY back to Long Island to try and get his first Riverhead Raceway win.

From the short-track community, two drivers from Stafford Motor Speedway are heading to Long Island. Keith Rocco, who sealed his fourth SK Modified championship at Stafford this season, also captured his 18th NASCAR Division I track championship in New England, the most all-time. He is bringing his Open Modified to try and steal the $7,000 cash. Ronnie Williams, a two-time Stafford SK Modified champion (2018, 2019), who also runs part-time on the Whelen Modified Tour, will drive the Skowyra No. 50 Modified in the 300.

Dillon Steuer, who shocked the Modified community to win the inaugural event in 2017 at just 15-years-old, will be back to defend his former crown. NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour regulars Craig Lutz, Dave Sapienza, Eric Goodale and JB Fortin are also scheduled to compete.

Then comes the list of local track favorites. Tom Rogers Jr., who recently sealed his fifth track title in 2020, is looking to capture the prize. Names like John Beatty Jr., Dylan Slepian, Roger Turbush, CJ Lehmann, Michael Rutkoski and more are expected.

Kyle Soper a former track champion and track regular, is the defending winner of the race and coming back looking to make it two-for-two.

The Crate Modifieds (50 laps) and INEX Legends Cars (50 laps) are also slated to compete on Saturday. Time trials will begin for all divisions at 1:00 p.m., followed by three feature events. Each division will have pole awards, $300 for the Tour Mods, and $150 each to the Crate Modifieds and INEX Legends.

Pit passes are $40 with a license, $60 without, and the pit gates will open for all at 8 a.m. General admission tickets are $35 for adults, with those children 6-12 just $15 and anyone under five free. General admission tickets will have access only through the turn three gate.

The race will also be available via Pay-Per-View (PPV) broadcast on RiverheadRaceway.TV for $35, for those who can’t make it to the track.

A current entry list can be found below. More entries are possible prior to the race.

Updated Islip 300 Entry List 11/13/2020

  1. 01 Artie Pedersen Iii
  2. 03 Tom Rogers Jr. 
  3. John Beatty
  4. 6 Ryan Preece 
  5. 7NY Jon McKennedy
  6. 8x Eddie Brunnoelzl III 
  7. 10 Dylan Slepian
  8. 11x Dillon Steuer
  9. 20 Max Zachem
  10. 24 Justin Brown
  11. 33 CJ Lehmann
  12. 34 JB Fortin 
  13. 36 Dave Sapienza
  14. 46 Craig Lutz
  15. 49 Chris Young
  16. 50 Ronnie Williams 
  17. 51 Justin Bonsignore
  18. 51a Anthony Bello
  19. 57 Keith Rocco 
  20. 58 Eric Goodale 
  21. 59 Matt Galko 
  22. 76 Brian Weber
  23. 77 Jimmy Rennick Jr
  24. 84 John Fortin Sr.
  25. 88 Roger Turbush
  26. 88NY Michael Rutkoski
  27. 89 Kyle Soper
  28. 98 Dave Brigati

Lucas Leone Clinches R.A.D. Auto Machine Limited Late Model Rookie of the Year Honors at Stafford Speedway

(Stafford Springs, CT)—In what was a common theme for the majority of rookie drivers at Stafford in 2020 across all 5 weekly divisions, Lucas Leone came to the Limited Late Model division with no prior racing experience at Stafford.  The 17 year old Southington, CT native and driver of the #1 RSMPCO.com Chevrolet made the transition from racing in the Exit Realty Pro Truck Series to the Limited Late Model division and he outscored fellow rookie drivers Jay Clement and Damian Palardy to clinch the rookie title with one race left in the 2020 season. 

“It’s definitely awesome,” said Leone.  “Any first season you have in a division the goal is to be the top rookie driver and I can confidently say we’ve been the top rookie driver this season.  My goal was to get solid, consistent finishes every week and to get better, which I feel like we did this season.  We were able to improve a lot and we got to where we wanted to be so we’re pretty happy with this season.  I can’t do any of this without my Dad and my crew.  My Dad is what makes the car good, I just drive the car.  Running for Jason Derwin and RSMPCO.com this season, I wanted to do well for Jason and his whole crew.  I have to give a big thanks to Jason and RSMPCO.com for giving me the car to run and funding everything this season, nothing would have been possible without him. Unfortunately we lost Jason a few weeks back. He was a great guy and we’re thankful for his support, he will certainly be missed in the racing community.”

Leone has enjoyed a consistent 2020 at Stafford with 9 top-5 and 13 top-10 finishes in 13 starts.  Leone’s best finish of the season has been third place, which he accomplished twice on Sept. 11 and Sept. 18 and he has been the highest finishing rookie in all 13 races run during the 2020 season.

“With this being my first season, I’m definitely content with third place finish being our best finish,” said Leone.  “There’s been some weeks where the car was probably better than a third place car but it’s all about being in the right place at the right time.  I’d say the season has gone pretty well.  I have a great group of guys on the crew and they’ve all been working their hardest to do what we can.  We haven’t had many bad moments fortunately so it’s been good.  I also want to thank my Dad, Kenny, Kyle, my Mom, and Dennis who are the people who are in the shop every week.  I couldn’t do this without their help so a huge shout out to them.”

Leone wrapped up his rookie season with a fourth place finish and he accomplished his goal of not getting in the way of the championship contenders.

“I don’t have any complaints about this season,” said Leone.  “At the beginning of the year it was a slow start learning things and now I’m at the point where I can almost forget about the learning what to do stage and just go for it.  From the beginning of the season I’d say I’ve made a major improvement as a driver.  We tried our hardest in the last race to see what we could get and I didn’t ruin anything for either Andrew [Durand] or Alexandra [Fearn] racing for the championship.”

For more information, visit www.staffordspeedway.com, checkout Stafford Speedway on Facebook or Twitter, or contact the track office at 860-684-2783.