Riverhead Raceway like many short tracks in 2020 were forced into making numerous schedule changes due to the Covid 19 worldwide pandemic including a late start to the race season, canceling two NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events and moving the Islip 300 into mid-November. The only silver lining in ’20 shined brightly when the Islip 300 turned out to be an ultra-successful event on and off the track with a stellar field of 29 cars competing in the race. Thursday Eddie & Connie Partridge and Tom Gatz announced with the approval of the Town of Riverhead they will present the 5th annual Islip 300 on Saturday November 13th, 2021.
In their first work session of 2021 Thursday morning the Riverhead Town Board heard a request presented by Tom Gatz asking them to draft a resolution to the existing town code allowing for the Islip 300 to be run November 13th, 2021. A resolution was drafted and approved by the board along with two rain dates for the Islip 300 if needed on Sunday November 14th or Saturday November 20th, 2021. In 2020 the Town of Riverhead understanding the plight of the track which was forced to start it’s race season 3 months late on August 1st due to the pandemic drafted and approved a resolution permitting the track to operate through the month of October and into the first weeks of November.
“We want to express out appreciation to the Town of Riverhead and the board members for not only approving the November 13th, 2021 date for us but also working with us last season” Gatz noted, “these are indeed trying times and their willingness to work with us has been fantastic”. Heading into the 2021 season Eddie & Connie Partridge and Tom Gatz are entering their sixth season as owners and operators of Riverhead Raceway. As to the remainder of the 2021 race schedule Gatz offered, “we should have it out by early next week”. Tom did indicate the track will remain part of the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Racing Series.
Ryan Preece of Berlin, Ct. became the first repeat winner of the $7,000 to win Islip 300 by East West Marine Supply when he won the lucrative Tour Type Modified race on Saturday evening November 14th of 2020.With the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season ending on November 7th, 2021 in Phoenix it is expected Preece who drives the Partridge’s Tour Type Modified will be on hand to defend his 2020 race win.
Aside from the announcement of the 2021 Islip 300 date the schedule for the new season will find the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour making a scheduled three visits to Riverhead Raceway. The first WMT event will be on Saturday May 15th with events also slated for Saturday June 19th and Saturday September 18th. The May 15th date will be the earliest the WMT has visited Long Island since the inception of the tour in 1985 when the WMT visited Riverhead three times, all on Wednesday nights. Jimmy Spencer won two of the three races while NASCAR Hall of fame inductee the late Richie Evans won the August ’85 race.
For all off season news and procedures please visit www.riverheadraceway.com. Teams planning to compete at Riverhead Raceway in 2021 should register their desired car numbers by visiting our web page where they can also find the link for the 2021 NASCAR license renewals. E-mails reach the track @ Riverheadraceway1@gmail.com.
By Bob Finan