Saturday night at Riverhead Raceway it was a night to remember a Late Model legend in Paul McElearney with a 60-lap Memorial race that saw defending champion Jeremy McDermott turn in a a dominating performance setting fast time and leading all 60-laps in route to his second win of the season.
Over in the Buzz Chew Chevrolet NASCAR Modifieds former champion Kyle Soper of Manorville became the first repeat winner in ’21 when he won the 50-lap main event padding his championship lead in the process.
Eric Zeh and Roger Turbush brought the 18-car Buzz Chew Chevrolet NASCAR Modified field to green with Zeh getting a slight edge on Turbush over the first three circuits. Lap 4 saw Turbush make his way into the race lead with Zeh now second however Eric was now feeling pressure form third place Justin Brown who started the race from 4th. On lap 6 Brown made his way by Zeh for second and set his sights on race leader Turbush. With two hungry drivers now getting after each other for the win things were bound to heat up as Roger was out for his second career win, first of the year while Brown the 2020 Rookie of the Year gunning for his first career triumph.
As the race moved along Brown started to turn up the pressure on Turbush looking both high and low for a way by. Each time Brown made an offensive move Turbush played defense throwing the block frustrating the young driver. During the intense battle race control warned Roger about choosing a lane but things were about to boil over. As the duo exited turn four on lap 32 Brown went to the outside of Turbush in a bid for the lead but Turbush moved up with Brown’s car making slight contact with the wall sending sparks flying. The loss of momentum saw Justin lose a few spots but a quick yellow waved for Eric Zeh who slowed with a broken suspension in turn two. It was then Brown frustrated with Turbush’s defensive driving took matters into his own hands driving into the back of a stopped Turbush in the backstretch. Brown was ejected from the race by race control.
When the race resumed to start the 33rd lap Turbush remained the race leader not having suffered any race ending damage from the contact under caution with a new challenger awaiting him in Kyle Soper. Soper who started 11th methodically made his way through traffic by being both patient and avoiding some hard racing and contact along the way. Over the next 11 laps new challenger Soper put heavy pressure on Turbush for the lead and again went Roger played defense. However on lap 44 that defense got too strong as Roger moved Kyle up the track exiting turn four with Soper getting a piece of the wall again on the front stretch. At that point race control having already warned the leader about choosing a lane black flagged Turbush from the event.
Over the final five laps new leader Kyle Soper drove off in his Eastport Feeds Chevy to his 21st career win tying him for 18th on the all time win list with Fred Harbach & Dan Jivanelli. “I saw how hard some of the guys were racing up front” Soper reflected afterwards, “then when I got to the 81 he was kind of running me all over the place, I like Roger and we get along so I didn’t understand it but he wants to win too”. With another win in his pocket Kyle now looks forward to the Baldwin, Evans & Jarzombek 77 on August 7th, “the 77 and a WMT race are the two races left to win on my Riverhead bucket list”
John Fortin Sr. of Holtsville rebounded nicely from an early race spin to roar back to a runner-up finish in the John’s Tree Removal Chevy while his son JB Fortin also rebounded from early race woes to finish third in the Golden Jalapeno Chevy. Dylan Slepian of Dix Hills and Craig Lutz of Miller Place were fourth and fifth.
With family and friends looking on Paul McElearney a 45 time Late Model winner and seven time track champion was honored with a 60-lap race and what unfolded was reminiscent of the dominating performances Paul laid on his competition back in the day. Jeremy McDermott set fast time in qualifying winning the Myracenews.com Pole Award $198 with a lap of 12.643. Impressive rookie wheel man Joe Warren Jr.was second quick at 12.869. At the throw of the green McDermott in the Eastport Feeds Pontiac moved right out front with Jerry Giordano tagging along on the inside to come to second. Giordano ran second until just prior to the halfway mark when he was p[assed by Chris Turbush in turn two to the inside on lap 28. By the time Turbush made his way from a 5th place starting berth to second McDermott was long gone and Chris was going to need a caution to catch the flying race leader. Low and behold the race which was a well driven event by the 15 drivers in the field saw the first yellow wave on lap 46 for a Jerry Giordano spin in turn one giving Turbush the opportunity he sought. However when the green light came back on it was all Jeremy McDermott who broke back into the lead and pulled away over the final 14 laps for his 23rd career win tying him with Scott Kulesa for 5th on the all time win list. Over the final green flag run Chris Turbush of Wading River was under pressure for second from JB Fortin in the Minieri Motorsports pressure Chris would withstand coming home for runner-up money in the Coors Light Chevy. Fortin made an impressive Late Model debut starting 8th on the grid coming home third at the finish in the Long Island Performance entry. named winner of the Hard Charger Award. The McElearney Memorial was the second race of the Miller Lite Triple Crown Series, the third and final race is set for August 28th.
Defending Eagle Auto Mall Crate Modified champion Richie Davidowitz of East Moriches found his way back to victory lane Saturday winning the 40-lap event, the second race of the Miller Lite Triple Crown Series. Qualifying for the 22 cars on hand saw Davidowitz the final car to take time winning the pole with a lap 12.468 while Owen Grennan of Glen Cove was second quick at 12.472. When the green flag dropped it would be Grennan moving from the outside pole to the race lead with Davidowitz a close second. The tandem ran one-two over the first 30-laps before the race got bogged down with a series of yellow flags with just 10-laps remaining. It was during the more than one attempt at restarting the race that Grennan’s night went south in a hurry as race control felt he left too early on one restart calling back the start and warning Owen on the radio. Next attempt officials felt as though Owen went early again and he was moved to the back of the field. That left Richie Davidowitz all alone in the lead with recent winner Mark Stewart now second. Over the final 10 circuits Davidowitz in the Benimax Trucking Chevy led the remainder of the way for his second win of 2021, fourth overall in his career. Stewart of Riverhead was runner-up in the Eastern Fuel Chevy while Alex Colasanto of Selden turned in a stellar effort for third in his Vanguard Fire Protection Chevy after starting 10th on the grid. The final race of the Miller Lite Triple crown Series for the Crate Mods will unfold September 4th.
Defending Blunderbust champion Tom Pickerell of Huntington notched his first win of the 2021 campaign when he won their 20-lap feature his 29th career victory. Eddie Diaz paced Alyssa Paprocky for the first two laps before “Slick Pick” Tom Pickerell slipped by Paprocky to the inside entering the third turn. Diaz remained the pace setter of the race until a yellow waved on lap 6 for CJ Lehmann who suffered a flat tire. When the race restarted Diaz chose the bottom moving Pickerell to his outside and when the green flag waved Pickerell raced his way to the lead to start the 7th lap. On lap 8 championship leader Cody Triola snuck by Diaz for second but rather then go after leader Pickerell he’d find himself racing with Max Handley for second with the duo changing position three times over the final 11 laps. When the dust settled it was Tom Pickerell in the Encore Rentals Chevy sitting in the winner’s circle with “Mad” Max Handley of Medford winning the battle royal for second in his All American Auto Wreckers Chevy. Cody Triola of Bay Shore was third with his C&L Aluminum & Glass racer.
Jason Castaldo of Shirley scored his second INEX Legend Race Car win of the season when he won their 20-lap main event backing up his first career victory back on May 8th. Two new faces ran at the front of the field early on in the race as Mike Benton and Sean McElearney ran one-two at the throw of the green. With Benton gettin away slightly Sean, the grandson of Paul McElearney soon was under attack from Riely O’Keefe for second. Exiting the fourth turn McElearney moved up slightly on O’Keefe putting him into the wall by the starters stand with Riely nearly flipping. During the caution race control moved McElearney to the rear for his role in the incident. When the race resumed 2020 Bethel Motor Speedway Legend champ Jeff Otto got the measure of Benton on the restart but his run at the front didn’t last long as he spun in turn one. That turn of events found Jason Castaldo moving out to the race lead with Eric Hersey second for a lap but Eric soon was passed by defending champion Kevin Nowak for second on lap 9 during a double file restart. With Nowak, a 19-time career winner breathing down his neck Jason Castaldo held serve over the last 11-laps scoring the win in his M3 Technology racer. Kevin Nowak of Medford was runner-up in the JTEC Electric mount while George Tomko Jr. of Aquebogue crossed the line third in his Montauk Distilling Co. entry.
For the third time this season Sean Fitzpatrick of West Babylon won the 8-Cylinder Enduro. With starting positions drawn as drivers enter the track Sean drew the outside pole which was bad news for his competitors. He was also motivated by the fact his children Sean & Skylar were celebrating birthdays and promptly went out and led all 40-laps of the race in his Tire Express Chevy. James Muench of Patchogue turned in a solid performance with a runner-up finish while Pat Collins of Southampton came home third.
Buzz Chew Chevrolet NASCAR Modifieds: 1. Kyle Soper 2. John Fortin Sr. 3. JB Fortin 4. Dylan Slepian 5. Craig Lutz 6. Artie Pedersen III 7. Chris Turbush 8. Michael Rutkoski 9. Jarrod Hayes 10. Matt Brode 11. Roger Turbush 12. Eric Zeh 13. Kyle Ellwood 14. Chris Young 15. CJ Lehmann 16. John Beatty 17. John Baker DQ-Justin Brown DNS- Jack Handley
Paul McElearney Memorial Late Models: 1. Jeremy McDermott 2. Chris Turbush 3. JB Fortin 4. Shawn Patrick 5. Ed Cheslak 6. Brian McElearney 7. Brandon Turbush 8. Ethan Brown 9. Mike Bologna 10. Ken Hyde Jr. 11. Eric Hersey 12. Joe Warren Jr. 13. Jerry Giordano 14. John Baker 15. Brian Doyle
Crate Modifieds: 1. Richie Davidowitz 2. Mark Stewart 3. Alex Colasanto 4. Michael Berner 5. Matt Brode 6. Vinny Delaney 7. Sean Glennon 8. Charles Macwhinnie 9. Stephen Coleman 10. Terry Stiles 11. Owen Grennan 12. Eric Hersey 13. Artie Pedersen III 14. Dennis Krupski 15. Chase Grennan 16. Eric Zeh 17. Rich Gerbe 18. AJ DeSantis 19. Ken Massa III 20. Mike Albasini 21. Mark Wolf 22. Steve Ratti
Blunderbusts: 1. Tom Pickerell 2. Max Handley 3. Cody Triola 4. Brandon Hubbard 5. Eddie Diaz 6. Tom Sullivan 7. Jim Laird Jr. 8. Bill Wegmann Sr. 9. Jarrett Campbell 10. Bill Wegmann Jr. 11. Alyssa Paprocky 12. Gary Caldwell 13. Kyle Halpin 14. CJ Lehmann
Legend Race Cars: 1. Jason Castaldo 2. Kevin Nowak 3. George Tomko Jr. 4. Anthony Marsh 5. Ray Fitzgerald 6. Allan Pedersen 7. Eric Hersey 8. Jerry Curran 9. Scott Cheslak 10. Brad Van Houten 11. Colin Volpe 12. Jason Agugliaro 13. Pat Moore 14. Jeff Farruggia Jr. 15. Jim Sylvester 16. Mike Van Houten 17. Sean McElearney 18. Charlie Hodge 19. Chris Sinatro 20. Jeff Otto Jr. 21. Mike Benton 22. Vinny Delaney 23. Ed Cheslak 24. Riely O’Keefe 25. Alex Halinar 26. Joey Braun
8-Cylinder Enduro: 1. Sean Fitzpatrick 2. James Muench 3. Pat Collins 4. Ricky Carman 5. Greg Harris 6. Woot Lawrence 7. Kevin Feeney 8. David Verbeeck 9. Kevin Coyle 10. Richie Carman 11. Michael Asdahl 12. Vinny Poharski 13. Kale Buckley 14. Kris Dane 15. Christian Kalbfleish 16. Tony Copobianco 17. Dennis Jones 18. Preston Prydatko 19. David Cohen 20. Blake Drinkwater 21. Roger Tramm 22. Mahmoud Anaya 23. Joe Boccia 24. John O’Rourke 25. Ralph Caggiano 26. Eric Germuth 27. Steve Jones 28. Dale Doherty 29. Robert Eggers 30. Jody Fickiessen 31. Michael Farrell 32. David Sandel