John Fortin Sr. Earns Hard Fought 35th Career Nascar Modified Victory At Riverhead Raceway Saturday Night

It certainly didn’t come easy for former three-time Buzz Chew Chevrolet NASCAR Modified champion John Fortin Sr. of Holtsville Saturday night at Riverhead Raceway but when all was said and done at the conclusion of 50-laps the 57-year-old elder statesman of the division earned his 35th career victory. Afterwards in victory lane Fortin briefly hinted the victory might also be his very last race noting “I want to go out on top, I have to really think about it I’d like to see a young kid in this car”

Roger Turbush who has been struggling with a new car in 2021 went back to his old reliable car that his brother Chris races at Evergreen Raceway Park for the night and started the race from the pole with John Fortin alongside. Roger seeking his 2nd career triumph looked strong over the first 31 laps as he motored out front with John giving chase but fortunes would change quickly when Dave Brigati spun on lap 32 drawing a caution flag. With it being a Cone Race night the entire field chose their restart lane with Turbush choosing the inside. When the race resumed Fortin quickly made his move passing Roger for the lead and bringing John Baker who started from the 6th spot to second.

From lap 33 through lap 46 Fortin and Baker would go side by side for the race lead in what quickly turned into a short track classic. Fortin led the 33rd lap but another quick yellow set the stage for another restart with Fortin choosing the inside lane. When the green waved Baker broke to the lead leading the 34th through 36th lap before Fortin was able to find his way by again on lap 37. Baker hung his car to the outside lap after lap trying to make his milestone 30th birthday a memorable one however Fortin was out to spoil the party. On lap 46 Baker caught some cement exiting the fourth turn forcing him out of the gas momentarily allowing Howie Brode to slip by for second and Fortin to break away slightly.

At the finish John Fortin flashed under the checker flag first and he soon turned emotional after hinting this could have been his final race. “We are racing all over the place this year” John shared, “JB is running the full NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, all the Stafford Open Modified shows and here at Riverhead when there are no conflicts. Plus we have Amber back racing in the Evergreen Tour Type Modified shows so we are busy. Oh and yeah we own and operate John’s Fuel Oil and John’s Tree Removal so my plate is full, really full”.

Howie Brode of East Islip was runner-up in the Petro Home Services Chevy while John Baker of Brookhaven finished third in the Staria Automotive entry noting on social media later in the night, “well if that doesn’t get your blood pumping I don’t know what to tell you”. Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead and Roger Turbush also of Riverhead were fourth and fifth.

The Eagle Auto Mall Crate Modifieds ran their first race in the Miller Lite Triple Crown Series with a 40-lap main event which was won by Sean Glennon of Northport scoring his first win of 2021 and the second of his career. The night would turn out to be a clean sweep for Glennon who also set fast time in qualifying with a lap of 12.460 earning the pole for the feature. At the throw of the green Glennon quickly moved to the race lead with defending champion Richie Davidowitz in tow while Michael Berner and Owen Grennan soon tussled for third. The only blemish on Sean’s night came on a 23rd lap restart when Davidowitz was able to lead lap 24 before Glennon reclaimed the top spot one lap later. Eric Hersey who started fifth made his way to third at the halfway point and he watched and waited while Glennon and Davidowitz raced for the lead. There would be no stopping Sean Glennon on the night as he led the remainder of the race for the victory in his R&R Brothers Electric Chevy. Richie Davidowitz of East Moriches was runner-up in the Benimax Trucking machine while Eric Hersey of Ronkonkoma placed third in the Epic Tools racer.

Scott Pedersen of Shirley made it two in a row in Figure Eight action as he won the first leg of their Miller Lite Triple Crown Series in a 20-lap tilt. Like Glennon it was a clean sweep for Pedersen who set a new track record in qualifying on the Figure Eight course with a lap of 16.877. Pedersen wasted no time racing out front at the start of the race with his nephew Allan Pedersen coming to second just hours after graduating from Arcadia College. After leading the first dozen laps Scott Pedersen suddenly over cooked the entry to the first turn losing not only the lead to his nephew but second to opening night winner Tom Ferrara. Allan would lead up until a lap 16 caution where it was noticed his right rear wheel was flopping around due to a broken rear suspension and was sent to the pits from the lead. When the race resumed Ferrara took the lead over Scott Pedersen and many thought the race might be over but Scott had other ideas making a late race pass for the lead and the win in his McBetts Racing Engines Camaro. Tom Ferrara of Patchogue was second in the Beach Auto Collision Cadillac while Gary Fritz Jr. of Mastic Beach was third in his self funded car.

“Mad” Max Handley of Medford scored his first Blunderbust win of 2021 when he topped their 20-lap feature event. Ageless Bill Wegmann Sr. led the first lap of the contest before he was passed by Eddie Diaz and Alyssa Paprocky on lap 2. Diaz seeking his second career win would lead up until a 7th lap restart changed the look of the race. On that restart Max Handley timed it perfectly racing his way by both Diaz and Paprocky in one clean sweep. Once out front there was no looking back for Max Handley who drove the Licciardi Builders Caprice to victory lane. Eddie Diaz of Centereach was second in the Notorious Tattoo racer while Tom Sullivan of Massapequa was third in the Action Auto Wreckers Chevy.

Ray Fitzgerald of Manorville is batting .500 in INEX Legend Race Car action winning his second race of 2021 in four starts having also won on opening night May 1st. Jeff Farruggia Jr, broke to the early race lead on the first lap before being passed on the second circuit by former champion Jim Sylvester who started alongside Jeffrey in the front row. Farruggia chased Sylvester until lap 3 when he was overtaken by Allan Pedersen but two laps later he’d be passed by Ray Fitzgerald on lap 7 after starting 7th. Over the following seven laps Sylvester and Fitzgerald both sponsored by Benimax Trucking diced for the lead before Ray took it from Jim for good on lap 15 with an inside pass off turn two. Sylvester of Massapequa was runner-up with steady George Tomko Jr. of Aquebogue third in the Montauk Distillery machine.

In a last minute decision Jay Henschel of Levittown was tabbed by car owner and driver Sal Sinatro to drive his Street Stock in the 20-lap feature event and the choice pay immediate dividends with Henschel making a late race pass to score the win. All time leading Late Model winner Roger Oxee paced the race for the first six laps before giving way to Gerard Lawrence with passed Oxee to the inside on the front stretch Oxee, Rhett Foff and Brian Brown all took turns running in second before Henschel burst onto the scene late in the race. After making his way to second Jay was able to work his way around Lawrence with two laps remaining in the race to give car owner Sinatro his first ever win. The win was Jay’s third career triumph. Gerard Lawrence of Miller Place was second in the EP Milling & Sweeping Chevy while Brian Brown of Riverhead was third in the Robert’s Express Oil Chevy.

Veteran Enduro driver Bob Haeger of Hampton Bays broke out to an early lead and never looked back in dominating and winning the 40-lap 4/6-Cylinder Gut & Go Enduro. Haeger who on weekends he’s not racing is a musician in the 27 Dollar Band enjoyed a 8.5 second lead on runner-up Chris Olivari of Coram with Frank Raynor of North Sea third.

Buzz Chew Chevrolet NASCAR Modifieds: 1. John Fortin Sr. 2. Howie Brode 3. John Baker 4. Tom Rogers Jr. 5. Roger Turbush 6. Justin Brown 7. Chris Young 8. Dylan Slepian 9. Shawn Solomito 10. CJ Lehmann 11. John Beatty Jr. 12. Jack Handley Jr 13. JB Fortin 14. Eric Zeh 15. Dave Brigati 16. Kyle Soper 17. Michael Rutkoski 18. Eddie Brunnhoelzl III DNS- Jarrod Hayes

Crate Modifeds: 1. Sean Glennon 2. Richie Davidowitz 3. Eric Hersey 4. Chris Rogers 5. AJ DeSantis 6. Terry Stiles 7. Mark Stewart 8. Owen Grennan 9. Alex Colasanto 10. Stephen Coleman 11. Ken Massa III 12. Rich Gerbe 13. Vinny Delaney 14. Steve Ratti 15. Matt Brode 16. Charlie Macwhinnie 17. Mike Albasini 18. Eddie Schutze 19. Michael Berner 20. Dennis Krupski 21. Eric Zeh 22. Chase Grennan 23. Ken Southard

Figure Eights: 1. Scott Pedersen 2. Tom Ferrara 3. Gary Fritz Jr. 4. Joe Warren Jr. 5. Kim Hyde 6. Ryan Zukowski 7. Brian Hansen 8. Bryan Quilliam 9. Paulo Miguel 10. Allan Pedersen 11. Johnny Vullo 12. CJ Lehmann

Blunderbusts: 1. Max Handley 2. Eddie Diaz 3. Tom Sullivan 4. Bill Wegmann Sr. 5. Cody Triola 6. Bill Wegmann Jr. 7. Alyssa Paprocky 8. CJ Lehmann 9. Jim Laird Jr. 10. Tom Pickerell 11. Brandon Hubbard DNS-Kyle Halpin

Legend Race Cars: 1. Ray Fitzgerald 2. Jim Sylvester 3. George Tomko Jr. 4. Eric Hersey 5. Joey Braun 6. Kevin Nowak 7. Brad Van Houten 8. Allan Pedersen 9. Jason Castaldo 10. Jeff Farruggia Jr. 11. Anthony Marsh 12. Nick Morabito 13. Riely O’Keefe 14. Jeff Otto Jr 15. Mike Benton 16. Pat Moore 17. Chris Sinatro 18. Mike Van Houten Jr. 19. Charlie Hodge 20. Steven Woytsiak 21. Jake Curran 22. Ray Stulz 23. Ed Cheslak 24. Scott Cheslak 25. Sean McElearney 26. Frank Hodge

Street Stocks: 1. Jay Henschel 2. Gerard Lawrence 3. Brian Brown 4. Brian McCormack 5. Alyssa Paprocky 6. Rhett Fogg 7. Chris Lescenski 8. Jimmy White Jr. 9. Danny Pizzo 10. Vinny Delaney 11. Justin Ferreri 12. Chris Mancz 13. Roger Oxee 14. Dave Antos 15. James DiPietro 16. Bill Brown

4/6-Cylinder Gut & Go Enduro: 1. Bob Haeger 2. Chris olivari 3. Frank Raynor 4. David Olivari 5. Russ Jansen 6. Zach Tyler 7. John Palmeri 8. Joey Palmeri 9. Patrick Collins 10. Chris Grover 11. Kevin Coyle 12. Jenn Krpata 13. Michael Bianco 14. Jack Tessa 15. Steven Reisart 16. Ed LaSpina 17. Will Raynor 18. Vincent Abbatiello Sr. 19. Charles Astacio 20. Robert Jett 21. Rocko Fox 22. Jeremy Rand 23. Justin Rienke 24. Mark Raynor 25. Andrew Cuesta 26. David Duran 27. Ryan Warren 28. Vincent Abbatiello 29. Franky Abbatiello 30. Michael Asdahl 31. Scott Tuffarella 32. Anthony Paretta 33. Henry Cuesta 34. Hunter Cummings 35. Michael Brincat 36. Chris Constantine 37. Patrick McGay 38 Joe Warren Jr. 39. Chris Jaeckel 40. Chloe Phillips 41. Mariah Lawrence 42. Michael Serpa

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