Tag Archives: Riverhead Raceway


It may have come three months later then it was suppose to due to Covid-19 but opening night Saturday night found anticipation and excitement in the air at Riverhead Raceway. When the checker flag waved on the 50-lap NASCAR Modified feature a familiar face would sit in victory lane as Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead made an early race pass to lay claim to his 58th career triumph. Tom now sits just five back of “Charging” Charlie Jarzombek’s 63 wins for the top spot on the all time win list.

By virtue of their heat race victories Howie Brode and Tom Rogers Jr. made up the front row for the feature with Brode executing a picture perfect start to take the early race lead over Rogers. The two former multi-time track champion diced for the lead as they have so many times before with Rogers right on the rear bumper of Brode. As the field raced down the backstretch on lap 3 Rogers was able to slip under Brode as they hit the third turn. By the time the tandem was exiting the fourth turn to start the fourth lap Rogers had edged out to the race lead with Brode now tucking into second.

Meanwhile behind Rogers and Brode a heated battle started to brew for third as the race without any cautions nearly the entire distance. Roger Turbush sat third but was feeling the heat from both two time and defending NASCAR Modified champion Kyle Soper and John Beatty Jr. as the became the best battle on track. With the extended green flag run Rogers pulled away from the field while Brode trailed by a few car lengths. On lap 46 the only caution flag of the race flew for a Glen Steger spin off the fourth turn.

That turn of events gave Brode one more shot at reclaiming the race lead from Rogers but when the green flag flew Tom was on the button and would keep the Denise & Ken Darch owned Chevy out front for the remainder of the race. Afterwards as he so often does Tom felt the car might even have more to offer, “this is a totally new set-up we threw at the car this off season, new to me for sure but it is not quite where we want it to be” Rogers noted with a wry smile. “Can’t thank Denis & Ken for giving us everything we need, Gino at Evolution Race Engines and our sponsors Licensed To Chill, Precision Water Works, Stakey’s Pumpkin Farm, Peter Clark Motorsports, Tuscany Gourmet Market and new to our team Dean’s Auto Repair in Deer Park” the happy winner concluded.

Howie Brode of East Islip scored the runner-up finish in his Petro Home Services Chevy while Kyle Soper of Manorville crossed the line third in the Eastport Feeds Chevy. Roger Turbush of Riverhead and Dylan Slepian of Dix Hills completed the top five.

As was the case in 2019 on opening night Jeremy McDermott of Riverhead and Chris Turbush of Wading River served notice they’d be the two drivers to beat in the Late Model class in 2020.In a non stop 25-lap main event Chris Turbush raced out front at the throw of the green with Jeremy McDermott in tow. The two drivers who utilize crate motors in their machines were able to motor away from the small field at the outset. After chasing and sizing up Turbush for the first 11 laps of the contest McDermott pounced ducking to the inside of Chris entering the first turn on lap 12. The move paid dividends as McDermott came away with the race lead although Turbush did try an immediate crossover move looking to reclaim the lead but to no avail. Once out front the Eastport Feeds Pontiac with Jeremy McDermott aboard pulled away allowing Jeremy to claim his 18th career win in the class. Chris Turbush of Wading River in the Spider Webb Racing Chevy was second while Jarrod Hayes of Calverton brought the MSM/Elite Motorsports entry home third.

Ever since he was 5 years old AJ DeSantis of Yaphank wanted to be just like his grandfather the late Tom Tillotson and drive a Modified at Riverhead Raceway. With the evolution of the Crate Modified class a few years back AJ and his grandpa Tom were all in since the NASCAR Modifieds where Tom raced were financially out of the question. Sadly Tom passed last year but that just made AJ more determined than ever to score his first career win. Saturday night he did just that in a 25-lap event. DeSantis jumped to the early advantage with rookie driver Gerard Lawrence giving chase for the first two laps before he was passed by Matt Brode for the spot. DeSantis and Brode would run one-two up until a lap 21 caution flag changed the running order at the front. While under caution Brode was summoned by NASCAR officials to check on a possible water leak which was confirmed and Matt was sent to the pits for repairs. That moved Lou Maestri to second alongside DeSantis for the restart with just four laps remaining in the tilt. When the race resumed DeSantis turned in a perfect restart and he indeed realize his dreams since he was 5 years old winning in a Modified type car at Riverhead Raceway as he pulled the Strong Oil Chevy into the winners circle. Lou Maestri of Deer Park was runner-up in the Hunter Business School Chevy while Terry Stiles of Rocky Point was third in the T&S Auto Clinic entry.

AJ DeSants being interviewed by Bob Finanafter his first Crate Modified win at Riverhead Raceway August 1st 2020 Photo Michael Jaworecki/Myracenews

Scott Pedersen of Shirley ended a two year dry spell as he led all 15-laps of the Figure Eight main event to score the opening night win. The first attempt at starting the race went awry in a hurry as Paul Cummings, Bob Dalke and Bryan Quilliam got together coming to the green. Only Cummings would continue. The second attempt at starting the race was more successful with Scott Pedersen and Tom Ferrara breaking out front. The two seasoned veterans diced for the race lead with Ferrara eyeing a pass to the inside of Pedersen entering the corners. However Scott was equal to the challenges and soon Ferrara had third place CJ Lehmann making some noise on his rear bumper. In the end it would be Scott Pedersen in the Vecchio Motorsports entry scoring the win over Tom Ferrara of Patchogue in the Brandan Group Cadillac and CJ Lehmann of Shirley in the Blue Collar Bar Chevy.

Cody Triola of Bay Shore made it two Blunderbusts wins in a row in their 20-lap non stop main event. Triola who waited until the final race of 2019 to win his first career race wasted zero time in claiming his second Saturday night. Triola and Jim Laird Jr. went side by side for the lead when the race began with “Mad” Max Handley sitting third. Triola was able to get out front on Laird who was now concerned with third place Handley. Exiting the fourth turn to start the 4th lap Handley ducked under Laird for the position and set sail for leader Triola. However as the race wore on Cody Triola in his PCFI entry was able to scamper away from Handley who was now under attack from the ageless “Racing Grandfather” Bill Wegmann Sr. with the 70 plus year old Wegmann passing Handley on the white flag lap. At the conclusion it was Cody Triola scoring the win over Bill Wegmann Sr. of North Bellmore in the Crackerjack Auto Stores Olds Cutlass with Max Handley third in the Licciardi Builders Caprice.

Blunderbust winner Cody Triola at Riverhead Raceway August 1st 2020 Photo Michael Jaworecki/Myracenews

Just refer to Jack Handley Jr. of Medford as “Mr Opening Night” from here on in. Over recent years Jack whether it is the Blunderbusts or Super Pro Trucks manages to find his way to victory lane which he did during Saturday ‘s opener in a non stop 20-lap Super Pro Truck feature. Coming into the 2020 season Handley takes over the championship truck driven formerly by Mark Stewart. Handley raced out to the early race lead over Sean Glennon and Lou Maestri. Try as he might to keep pace with the race leader Handley the only shot Glennon might have had at Jack would have been on a double file restart but none were forthcoming. When the checker flag waved it was the East Side Building Chevy of Jack Handley Jr. crossing under it first for his 8th career win. Sean Glennon of Northport was runner-up in the Rittenhouse Properties entry while Lou Maestri of Deer Park was third in the Gershow Recycling Chevy.

The most eventful race of the night belonged to the INEX Legend Race Cars with their 20-lap main event featuring some hotly contested laps and a flip. When the dust settled Jim Sylvester of Massapequa notched his 8th career win. Early on things were relatively clam with Ray Fitzgerald moving to the race lead at the drop of the green with Kevin Nowak coming to second. Nowak wasted no time in challenging Fitzgerald for the race lead. After a lap 5 restart “Blankets” Joey Braun joined in on the fun for the race following the Fitzgerald-Nowak battle closely. During a 10th lap restart when the field resumed racing exiting the second turn the two main combatants for the lead Fitzgerald and Nowak spun drawing another quick yellow. When the race restarted it was now Joey Braun the new leader with George Tomko Jr. now second.

Things got very wild on a lap 13 restart when Braun got into the wall just before the starters stand and with the entire field bearing down on him all heck broke loose. Caught up in the mess and going upside down would be Allan Pedersen whose barreling car also caught Eric Hersey just past the start-finish line. All drivers were okay with Tomko sent to the rear for his role in the incident. When the race resumed Jim Sylvester found himself the new leader being chased by Colin Hoeffner when the race resumed on lap 14. Both Sylvester and Hoeffner had already won races in 2020 at Bethel Motor Speedway. Over the final half dozen laps Hoeffner stayed glued to Sylvester’s rear bumper but in the end it would be the former champion Jim Sylvester scoring the win in his 860 Racing machine. Hoeffner of Hauppauge was runner-up in the MetJoe’s Race Shop entry while an impressive Jason Castaldo of Shirley was third in the M3 Technologies mount.

NASCAR Modifieds: 1. Tom Rogers Jr. 2. Howie Brode 3. Kyle Soper 4. Roger Turbush 5. Dylan Slepian 6. Dave Brigati 7. Michael Rutkoski 8. John Beatty Jr. 9. Cory Midgett 10. CJ Lehmann 11. Glen Steger 12. Justin Brown 13. Vinny Delaney 14. Chris Young 15. John Baker DNS- Artie Pedersen III

Late Models: 1. Jeremy McDermott 2. Chris Turbush 3. Jarrod Hayes 4. Kevin Metzger 5. Chris McGuire 6. Shawn Patrick 7. Ray Minieri 8. Ryan Zurkowski

Crate Modifieds: 1. AJ DeSantis 2. Lou Maestri 3. Terry Stiles 4. Sean Glennon 5. Eddie Schutze 6. Eric Hersey 7. Charlie Macwhinnie 8. Peter Bertuccio 9. Gerard Lawrence 10. Richie Davidowitz 11. Jason Hansen 12. Dennis Krupski 13. Matt Brode 14. Steve Ratti 15. Michael Albasini 16. Owen Grennan 17. Justin Brown 18. Michael Berner DNS- Alex Colasanto

Figure Eights: 1. Scott Pedersen 2. Tom Ferrara 3. CJ Lehmann 4. Joe Warren Jr. 5. Paul Cummings 6. David White 7. Bob Dalke 8. Bryan Quilliam DNS- Chris Elliott, Rick Swanson

Blunderbusts: 1. Cody Triola 2. Bill Wegmann Sr. 3. Max Handley 4. Tom Pickerell 5. Tom Sullivan 6. Eddie Diaz 7. Jim Laird Jr. 8. Alyssa Paprocky 9. Kyle Halpin 10. Gary Caldwell DNS- Bill Wegmann Jr.

Super Pro Trucks: 1. Jack Handley Jr. 2. Sean Glennon 3. Lou Maestri 4. Ethan Brown 5. Frank Dumicich Jr. 6. Mark Stewart 7. Joe Cerabino 8. Frank Dumicich Sr. 9. Daniel Creegan 10. Jimmy Rennick Jr.

INEX Legend Race Cars: 1. Jim Sylvester 2. Colin Hoeffner 3. Jason Castaldo 4. Kevin Nowak 5. Nick Morabito 6. Mike Van Houten Jr. 7. Mike Benton 8. Shawn Wanat 9. George Tomko Jr. 10. Chase Grennan 11. Anthony Colandro 12. Chris Sinatro 13. Charlie Hodge 14. David Strohmeyer 15. Robert Henninger III 16. AJ Vasseur 17. Frank Hodge 18. Ed Cheslak 19. Michael Metcalf 20. Joey Braun 21. Allan Pedersen 22. Eric Hersey 23. Jeff Farruggia Jr. 24. Scott Cheslak 25. Rich Braun 26. Ray Fitzgerald


Riverhead, NY Jun. 18th.
By Bob Finan

The longest off season in the history of Long Island stock car racing is scheduled to come to an end Saturday night August 1st at Riverhead Raceway when track owners Eddie & Connie Partridge and Tom Gatz open the 2020 NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Racing Series with a seven division race card featuring a 50-lap event for the NASCAR Modifieds. The revamped 2020 race schedule finds racing extending into November with approval of such a schedule granted by the Town of Riverhead during a vote on Tuesday June 16th. After ten months of inactivity Riverhead Raceway will come out of the gate strong for it’s 70th anniversary season with seven race dates scheduled in August.

Silenced by the Covid-19 worldwide pandemic for the months of April, May and June Riverhead Raceway will roar back to life with two practice days Saturday July 18th and Saturday July 25th before going racing for keeps with a July 26th Super Sunday Enduro race program starting at 12:30 pm. By the time the track opens for the first test & tune session on July 18th Suffolk County will be in the final days of Phase 4 of the reopening plan coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic. Riverhead Raceway has conformed  and will continue to conform to all Covid-19 policies set forth by local and state officials. Eddie & Connie Partridge and Tom Gatz express their appreciation to the Town of Riverhead for expeditiously handling and approving the 2020 Riverhead Raceway schedule.

The NASCAR Modifieds will again headline the Advance Auto Parts Weekly Racing series programs and be joined by on a regular basis the Late Models, Crate Modifieds, Figure Eights, Blunderbusts, Super Pro Trucks and INEX Legend Race Cars. Special events for the NASCAR Modifieds include the annual Baldwin, Evans & Jarzombek 77 set for the Wall of Fame night Saturday October 3rd. They’ll also compete in two Twin 50 programs on July 29th and again October 24th.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will stop off at Riverhead Raceway twice in 2020 with WMT events set for Saturday September 19th and Saturday October 17th.

In addition to five schedules Saturday night NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Racing Series events in August two midweek specials are also planned. Wednesday evening August 12th  the NASCAR Modifieds will be joined by the Crate Modifieds, Figure Eights, Blunderbusts, INEX Legends and Street Stocks. Two weeks later a Monster Truck program will be complimented by Blunderbusts, Super Pro Trucks, INEX Legend Race Cars, Street Stocks and Mini Stocks.

Saturday evening September 12th has been set aside by track management as a Tribute To Heroes Night honoring all front line workers whose tireless efforts during both normal times and especially during the Covid-19 pandemic will be saluted. The annual First Responders Gut & Go race will be contested during that program which again will feature 50% off general admission tickets for all 1st Responders with valid ID. All seven NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Racing Series divisions will be in action with a 40-lap Late Model feature highlighting the card.

After the opening program on July 26th for the Super Sunday Enduro series three additional Sunday shows are scheduled for September 6th, October 4th and November 1st. On those race cards the Truck Enduro, 8-Cylinder Enduro and 4/6-Cylinder Gut & Go Enduro racers will join the Street Stocks and Mini Stocks. All five divisions will also see action on select Saturday nights.
The weekend of November 14th & 15th have been listed as TBA on the 2020 Riverhead Raceway schedule with track officials working on something special for that weekend.

To view the complete 2020 Riverhead Raceway schedule please visit www.riverheadraceway.com where you’ll also find the 2020 NASCAR license renewal link for those who have not yet secured their 2020 license. E-mail reach us at riverheadraceway1@gmail.com while the phone number remains 631-842-RACE.


Riverhead, NY June 1st.
By Bob Finan

Riverhead Raceway owners Eddie & Connie Partridge and Tom Gatz announced Monday morning that due to the continuing Covid-19 worldwide pandemic and subsequent federal and state restrictions put into place by local & state officials they are forced to cancel all racing events for the month of June. In losing events slated for June Riverhead Raceway will have lost 11 on track events to date in 2020.

On the bright side Suffolk County in which Riverhead Raceway is located entered Phase 1 of reopening this past Wednesday May 27th. If there are no setbacks Phase 4 should be attained in mid to late July offering a glimmer of hope for a 2020 race season on Long Island. Tom Gatz noted he is starting to piece together an amended 2020 schedule in the event all goes well during the various phases of reopening in Suffolk County. Track GM John Ellwood proclaimed the facility is ready for racing if and when the restrictions are lifted or Phase 4 of reopening is reached.

The official track statement reads, “Due to Federal and Local regulations regarding the Covid-19 virus, Riverhead Raceway regrets to announce that all events in the month of June have been canceled. We will continue to monitor regulations set forth by the state and we will be ready to race when those regulations change and allow us. All of us at Riverhead Raceway are hoping that you and yours are staying safe and home during this worldwide pandemic.”

Riverhead Raceway is located 77 miles east of New York City and was considered by many experts to be the epicenter of the Covid-19 outbreak in the United States.