Tag Archives: Buzz Chew Auto Group



    RIVERHEAD, NY- Saturday night will be race number 69 for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at Riverhead Raceway, when an expected field of 28 drivers takes the green flag for the “Buzz Chew 200”. While things are always changing to a degree over time, since the first NWMT event at Riverhead in 1985 was won by Jimmy Spencer, the clash between tour regulars from other parts of the country, versus the Long Island drivers remains.

    It is what makes this event special. No other tour race can compare in that respect, with half the field made up of local drivers. The success of Long Island racers through the years is well documented. From 2015-19, tour events were won by Island racers. However, the past four races have been won by invaders, as Doug Coby and Patrick Emerling have learned to love the quarter-mile bullring.

    Emerling says that he used to dread seeing the George Washington Bridge, but now Riverhead might just be his best track. For Coby, Riverhead was the site of one of his worst crashes, when a stuck throttle sent him full bore into the turn one wall in 2013. After some years with top five finishes, he has now won three of the last four events.

    Three Long Island drivers are ready to give their hopes of victory on Saturday their best efforts. All three finished in the top ten when the tour last visited on May 14.

    “There’s always stuff that you can take away from the last race that you ran,” said fifth place finisher Timmy Solomito, who led laps and raced among the top three for most of that event. “My dad always says you’re only as good as the last couple of laps that you raced. Definitely learned a lot. I think we’re in a better spot for this race.

    “We showed up there, put it on the pole and led laps. We had the car to beat. Hopefully we’ve got the car back to where it needs to be and go out there and do it again. With the higher temperatures the track will probably be a little bit more greasy.

    “They’ve been putting some traction compound down on it lately, so we’ll see what the temperatures bring, and what the setup does. I typically don’t change too much from week-to-week there, so hopefully we’ll be good and can hit the pre-race adjustments really good and be up front.”

    Speaking of hot temperatures, the forecasted hot sunny afternoon, leading into a warm night for racing, seems to result in tempers flaring much easier than on cooler or wetter nights, like we have had way too often in recent years. Will that happen again? Very likely that there are plenty of race fans, which will fill Riverhead Raceway on Saturday night, who wouldn’t mind that one bit.

    “I don’t think it matters what the temperature is outside,” Riverhead native Eric Goodale countered. “All it takes is for something to happen on the track to rub you the wrong way. It could be 20 degrees at the Icebreaker or 100 degrees at Riverhead. I don’t think the temperature matters.”

    For Goodale, this is another opportunity to return to victory lane at his home track, as he did in 2014, and with a season that has him second in the season standings, with five top ten finishes in six races, he too has hopes of returning to victory lane on Saturday.

    “I double-dipped on that one,” Goodale said of his Riverhead tour win. “To win at my home track, and for it to be my first tour win was pretty meaningful. We’re having a pretty good season so far. To tag one on at the home track would be pretty sweet. I look forward to racing here. Makes traveling very much easier, but just being home and having my wife and kids there certainly helps that feeling.”

    It seems that for outsiders to win at Riverhead they first have to take their lumps and stick with it. Drivers like Coby and Emerling are just two who have conquered Riverhead from the outside. Ryan Preece, Jimmy Blewett and Ted Christopher are a few others that have done the same. Newcomers like Austin Beers, Tommy Catalano and Ronnie Williams are on the list of outsiders who have the potential to one day conquer Riverhead.

    For the Long Island drivers, it is a bit easier, because they get to hone their craft in weekly Modified events, and the highest finishing driver from Long Island in May was Dylan Slepian, a relative newcomer to Modified racing. 

Two Long Islanders, WMT regular Dave Sapienza #36 and Riverhead Raceway regular Dylan Slepian #10 Riverhead Raceway May 14th, 2022. Michael Jaworecki/Myracenews

    In four NWMT Riverhead starts, the 27-year-old from Dix Hills, NY has not finished worse than 11th, and his most recent fourth place run gives him a different feel coming into Saturday.

    “One hundred percent,” he said when asked if this event feels different than coming into the May event. “When you get some positive momentum behind you it’s huge. We learned a lot of stuff in Florida and we’re just building a bigger playbook for these tour events. We carry our heads just a little bit higher this time, and we have that much more data for big events like this.

    We are really excited coming into Saturday. We have high hopes. At the same time, there are a lot of variables in a Riverhead tour race. I sat and talked with my crew chief Brian Magee and car owner Rob Pelis. Last time was so good, because you have to have a perfect day on the tour to finish well. That is what we are focused on this time.

    “A lot of it is unloading a really fast car, and being fast right off the bat in the first couple minutes of practice. That kind of sets the tone for the whole day. You get a good qualifying draw and can have good confidence all day long. Confidence is really one of the biggest variables of all.”

    Slepian’s accomplishment in May was with a home-built car. Having success in this fashion is a rarity in today’s Modified racing. His team can ask others for advice, but does it do them any good, or are they on an Island in more ways than one this Saturday?

    “Some of the most fun that I have had in racing is working on this deal because you just have to think about everything,” he explained. “A Modified is a Modified in a lot of respects. They react similar to the store bought cars, but when you ask for help from somebody that is used to working on an LFR or Fury car, they’re going to give you notes and numbers that are only relevant to that type of car.

    “Even with things like control arm links, and camber spacers, and really nitty gritty stuff. You just have to really take a step back and look at it from kind of a 10-foot view. It is really refreshing, and it makes everything that we accomplish a lot more exciting.”

    Saturday night it will all play out once again. The locals versus the traveling teams. Will Coby win again? Or maybe Ron Silk breaks through for a first Riverhead win after seven previous top five finishes? Will Ronnie Williams, Tommy Catalano or Jon McKennedy finally conquer Riverhead?

    Will Justin Bonsignore ride the Monadnock wave to another hometown victory, or maybe top local drivers from the May race in Slepian, Solomito, John Barker, Kyle Soper, Goodale or John Beatty Jr. reach glory at their local track?

    When the sun sets on Saturday, with track temperatures some 30 degrees cooler than when cars were on the track for practice, we will find out who hits the right setup and drives that perfect race to take the 69th NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour checkered in the long history of an ultimate challenge. A challenge created because of the locals versus traveling teams setting that is Riverhead Racewa


Riverhead, NY June12th
By Bob Finan Photo Michael Jaworecki/Myracenews

Just one week after racing on the shores of Lake Ontario at the Oswego, NY Speedway the stars of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will be southbound this Saturday June 19th for the Buzz Chew Chevrolet Cadillac 200 at Riverhead Raceway on the shores of Long Island Sound. The race will mark the second of three stops at Riverhead in ’21 with Doug Coby of Milford, Ct. winner of the Miller Lite 200 in May looking to go back to back at the demanding quarter mile facility.

After surrendering the lead to eventual Miller Lite 200 winner Coby with 25-laps remaining Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville will be seeking to exact revenge on his friendly foe this Saturday. The defending NASCAR WMT champion leads active WMT drivers in events won with eight victories putting Justin just three back of the iconic Mike Ewanitsko (11).

Meanwhile Doug Coby returns to the WMT fold after bypassing the Oswego event to participate in the inaugural SRX at Stafford Motor Speedway.  Aside from Coby and Bonsignore another driver who turned heads in May was Patrick Emerling of Orchard Park, NY wrestling second away from Bonsignore late in the Miller Lite 200. Emerling with crew chief Jan Leaty have been chipping away at Riverhead and perhaps will breakthrough  with a win in the Buzz Chew Chevrolet Cadillac 200 Saturday. Kyle Bonsignore a Bay Shore, L.I. native had an impressive fourth place tally in the first race and looks to build upon that finish Saturday as does popular Woody Pitkat of Stafford, Ct. the fifth place finisher in May.

A week after a solid 8th place finish in the WMT Jennerstown Salutes 150 second generation talent JB Fortin drove his Kenny Lechner Sr. prepared race car to the winner’s circle at Riverhead Raceway in the June 5th 50-lap Buzz Chew Chevrolet NASCAR Modified event. JB hopes to build on his recent momentum Saturday. Chuck Hossfeld of Ransomville NY was on the move in the Miller Lite 200 running in the top five before settling for a 6th place tally. Like Coby, Norwalk, Ct. resident Ron Silk has yet to win a NASCAR WMT race at Riverhead despite winning previously in the Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series a few years back could Ron turn that around Saturday.

Early season winner Eric Goodale of Riverhead looks forward to returning to the track that produced his first career WMT race in 2014 as does local businessman and resident Dave Sapienza of Riverhead. “Sap” will be returning to the WMT after taking the Oswego race off. Goodale was 8th, Sapienza 10th in the Miller Lite 200. Sandwiched between was Riverhead Raceway regular Dylan Slepian of Dix Hills who finished 9th. After the May race the 2020 championship runner-up at Riverhead noted if he and his Rob Pelis owned team figure out the WMT Hoosier Tire they may be able to make some noise Saturday.

Also looking for success in the Buzz Chew Chevrolet Cadillac 200 Saturday are top flight WMT drivers Tommy Catalano of Ontario, NY, Timmy Solomito of Islip, Craig Lutz of Miller Place, Anthony Nocella of Woburn, Ma.,Tyler Rypkema of Owego, NY, Jon McKennedy of Chelmsford, Ma., Walter Sutcliffe of East Haven, Ct., Gary McDonald of Ronkonkoma and Melissa Fifield of Wakefield, NH.

Aside from Slepian the Riverhead Raceway drivers who competed in the Miller Lite 200 that are expected to run the Buzz Chew Chevrolet Cadillac 200 are, John Baker of Brookhaven, Kyle Ellwood of Riverhead, Kyle Soper of Manorville, Roger Turbush of Riverhead and defending track champion Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead.

Complementing the WMT event Saturday are the Eagle Auto Mall Crate Modifieds, Blunderbusts, INEX Legend Race Cars and Street Stocks. The Blunderbust event race will serve as the first of the three race Miller Lite Triple Crown Series and go 30-laps. The Crate Mods will race 25-laps while the Legends and Street Stocks go to post in 20-lap feature events.

Spectator gates will open at 3:00 pm Saturday with the NASCAR WMT final practice to run from 3:00-4:00 pm while qualifying for the Buzz Chew Chevrolet Cadillac 200 set for 6:00 pm. The Riverhead Raceway Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series divisions will practice and qualify prior to the WMT sessions. The Buzz Chew Chevrolet Cadillac 200 is scheduled to start at 8:00 pm and live streamed on NBC Sports Gold Track Pass. Riverheadraceway.Tv will carry all on track action starting at 3:00 pm prior to yielding to NBC Sports Gold for the 200.

Adult admission is $40, kids 6-12 $10 with 5 & under free. Campers are welcome at no charge and must utilize the SE corner of the parking lot adjacent to the end of the pit area, there are no hook-ups.

For additional information please visit www.riverheadraceway.com, while e-mails reach us at riverheadraceway1@gmail. The track phone number remains 631-842-RACE.


Riverhead, NY Apr. 29th
By Bob Finan

In what is one of the longest continuous marketing partnerships in short track racing across the country Riverhead Raceway management announced Saturday during the track’s second practice day that Buzz Chew Auto Group would return for the 2021 NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series. The return of the Southampton, L.I. based auto & truck dealership to the Riverhead fold marks the 37th consecutive season of marketing partnership between the two parties complete with a new twist for 2021.

Since 1985 when the track switched to Saturday night racing after being purchased by Barbara & Jim Cromarty, Buzz Chew Chevrolet has been involved as a marketing partner with the track receiving one or two pace vehicles for use during a race season. The Buzz Chew Auto Group involvement remained intact when the track was purchased late in the 2015 season by new owners Eddie & Connie Partridge with pace cars provided for the weekly racing action. However like any long standing relationship sometimes change is good and for 2021 change will indeed be part of the Buzz Chew Auto Group & Riverhead Raceway marketing relationship.

In a departure from tradition Tom Gatz of Riverhead Raceway announced last Saturday the headline division of the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series will be titled the Buzz Chew Chevrolet NASCAR Modifieds staring opening night Saturday May 1st. Aside from serving as title sponsor for the premier division at the track Buzz Chew Chevrolet will display a variety of cars & trucks from their vast Chevrolet, GMC Truck and Cadillac inventory from their County Road 39 dealership allowing  flexibility as to the vehicles presented to the Riverhead audience. 

The Buzz Chew #88 in action at Fulton Speedway during the DIRTCAR 2020 Octoberfast Rebecca Eisele/Myracenews

The Buzz Chew name remains very prominent in other racing ventures entering the 2021 race season with Buzz returning as team owner on the Super DIRTCar Series with drive Mat Williamson of St. Catherines, Ontario. That combination that won the 2019 Super DIRTCar Series championship. Keeping it in the family Buzz Chew Chevrolet will continue to oversee the driving career of Buzz’s grandson Michael Rutkoski of Mattituck the 2019 Rookie of the Year in the Buzz Chew Chevrolet NASCAR Modifieds at Riverhead. In 2021 Rutkoski will focus his efforts at Riverhead but at times will also venture off Long Island for some shows.

Mike Rutkoski in the #80 Buzz Chew Modified Michael Jaworecki/Myracenews

The complete 2021 Riverhead Raceway schedule of the events can be found at www.riverheadraceway.com with e-mails finding the track at Riverheadraceway1@gmail.com. For additional information on the Buzz Chew Auto Group visit them at www.buzzchewautogroup.net