The month of June will come in like a lion at Riverhead Raceway Saturday June 5th as track owners Eddie & Connie Partridge and Tom Gatz have lined up a nine event NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series program highlighted by the Jim Kelly Memorial 22 for the Vintage All Stars. Over 200 laps of feature event racing will unfold with the Buzz Chew Chevrolet NASCAR Modifieds set to go to battle in a 50-lap affair. The season’s first Demolition Derby will put a bow on the night.
After enjoying a driving career in both Figure Eights and NASCAR Modified on Long Island the Jim Kelly stepped away from the game as a driver to focus and family and career. You could still find Jim at the track in the pits catching up with friends and over the years his desire to drive a race car never waned. Enter the growing Vintage Race Car interest in the Northeast and soon Kelly a retired phone company worker found his way back into the seat. Cars had always been a passion for Jim whether it was a stock car or a classic street rod if hit had a motor and four wheel Jim loved it and approached with a love and passion second to none. Aside from his #22 Vintage NASCAR Modified Kelly boasted a large collection of classic street rods and cars at his East Moriches residence, cars that he and his wife Debbie loved to cruise in.
Once the Vintage All Stars became a attraction at Riverhead Raceway on a part time basis Jim took the imitative and formed the Long Island Vintage Auto Racing Series (LIVARS) a group to share information, safety procedures and general ideas. When not in action at Riverhead it was not uncommon to find the LIVARS group traveling to Bethel Motor Speedway, Stafford Motor Speedway or the Waterford Speedbowl. Sadly in mid-November of 2020 after a long hard and courageous fight against the Covid-19 virus Jim Kelly passed away.
Saturday night Riverhead Raceway will pay tribute and celebrate Jim Kelly with the 22-lap Jim Kelly Memorial the first of four events for the Vintage All Stars in 2021 and undoubtedly their biggest race of the year with Jim’s name on the winning trophy. Don Howe of Water Mill, Jimmy Reed of Central Islip, Frank Saladino of Farmingville, Tony Ferrante Jr. of New Hyde Park and Mark Miller of Hauppauge are just a few of the Vintage All Star teams that will compete in this very special event.
Aside from the 50-lap Buzz Chew Chevrolet NASCAR Modified feature on the June 5th race card the Super Pro Trucks, INEX Legend Race Cars, Street Stocks and Mini Stocks will go to post in 20-lap main events while the INEX Bandoleros contest a 15-lap feature. The program also includes a 4/6-Cylinder Gut & Go Enduro with a bone jarring, car destroying 4/6-Cylinder Demolition Derby closing out the night in smashing fashion.
Qualifying Saturday June 5th will go green at 5:00 pm with spectator gates opening at 4:00 pm. Admission is $30 for adults, kids 6-12 $10 with 5 & under free. Tickets are available only at the track on race day. The action packed show will also be live streamed on Riverheadraceway.Tv that goes live at 4:45 pm.