From Last To First, Soper Drives To Victory At Riverhead Raceway in Bubba 100 NASCAR Modified Event

In life if the world gives you lemons you make lemonade. Saturday night after making an unapproved adjustment after setting fast time in qualifying Kyle Soper of Manorville was made to start The Bubba 100 Buzz Chew NASCAR Modifieds event at the rear of the 19-car grid. No problem for Soper who made enough lemonade after being handed lemons for the entire pit area to quench their thirst with as he drove from last to first for his fourth victory in the last seven starts.

By Bob Finan

The last to first performance is the second time the race run in memory of Bob “Bubba” Patanjo that the winning driver came from last to win as Tom Rogers Jr. turned the trick in the inaugural event last year.

With a lap of 11.415 Kyle Soper won the $197 JCR Motorsports Pole Award plus an additional $60 from Ygnacio Adames. John Baker was second quick in time with a lap of 11.504 while Shawn Solomito was third quick at 11..546. With Soper relegated to the rear the inside row moved up one for the start of The Bubba 100 putting Shawn Solomito on the pole and John Baker to the outside. When the race started it was Baker edging out front of Solomito for the early race lead with Dave Brigati who started third in the mix for the early race lead. On lap 6 Brigati was able to muscle his way under Solomito for second but just one lap later things would go south for Dave. A minor spin on lap 7 drew what turned out to be the only caution of the race but while riding around under yellow Brigati’s Coors Light Chevy suddenly shut off and he needed to be pushed to the pits surrendering second. A faulty kill switch was to blame.

On the ensuing restart leader Baker chose the outside while JB Fortin who had just passed Solomito for second prior to the yellow now second on the inside of the race leader. Baker resumed his role as the race leader when the race went back green with Fortin on his rear spoiler in second. On lap 24 Fortin made his move for the lead passing Baker to the inside. Meanwhile Soper was still racing outside the top five but was starting to show signs that was not going to be the case for very long as the race hit the midway point.

With and 93-lap green flag run passing with hard to come by but indeed there were some drivers on the march aside from Soper most noticeably John Beatty Jr. who started 6th and Kyle Ellwood who qualified 9th. On lap 72 with an inside pass down the backstretch Beatty worked his way by Baker for second but John’s time as the challenger to the leader would be brief. Kyle Soper who just past the halfway signal turned up the wick on his car was on the march and taking no prisoners as he had a point to to prove. On lap 78 Soper worked his way by Beatty for second and wasting no time at all one lap later on the 79th circuit Kyle slipped under JB Fortin for the race lead off turn 2.

Once to the lead Soper was not finished proving his point as he then drove away from Fortin, Beatty, Ellwood and Baker. The most intense battle among the second through fifth place drivers would come in the closing laps between Beatty and Ellwood for third as Fortin was comfortably in second. The Beatty/Ellwood tussle got too close on the final lap with contact sending Ellwood off the wall and Beatty last of the lead lap cars (14th) as per race control for his role in the incident.

As the checkers waved in the 2nd annual Bubba 100 Kyle Soper sat in the winners circle with his 23rd career win in pocket. The Patanjo family presented Kyle and car owner Wayne Anderson with a $1,000 race winner bonus and Dennis Freese of Oval Speed presenting a $500 bonus as well the winning plaque. “Bubba was a cool guy, funny too. I’m glad I got to know him some when I started driving for Wayne & Joette” the happy winner reflected. “This thing was awesome, my Dad and crew simply the best and all of our sponsors Eastport Feeds, Crescent Duck Dr. Martha Baker, DDS, Auto Quip Sales, Eastern Scaffolding, CBE HVAC Services,Auto Plane LLC, Fat Fro Zone and Al Lane’s The Racing School, this was a total team win tonight”.

JB Fortin of Holtsville was runner-up in his Peerless Boilers Chevy and in the process picked up the Brunnhoelzl Racing Products Most Laps Led Award $150 and the Righteous Window Cleaning Halfway Leader bonus of $100. Stakey’s Pumpkin Farm presented Fortin and third place finisher John Baker of Brookhaven and his Elite Towing team $250 bonuses for finishing second and third. Chris Young of Calverton won the JCR Motorsports/Patanjo Family Bubba Jr. Hard Charger Award $697 when he drove from 15th to 4th. Ed Brunnhoelzl III of Levittown was fifth.

Footnote: After the race the JB Fortin team lodged a protest against the winning Anderson Motorsports Team on two items, rear end assembly which checked out fine and the MSD ignition box. The MSD box findings will be known during the business day Monday August 28th.

Eric Hersey of Ronkonkoma had come close before to winning a Eagle Auto Mall Crate Modified race at Riverhead but something always prevented the second generation driver from getting to victory lane. Not Saturday night as Eric took the lead with just eight laps remaining to finally score that all important first career win. Dennis Krupski and Rich Gerbe brought the field to green with Krupski leading the first lap over Gerbe who was soon passed by Steve Ratti for second. Just two laps later on lap 5 Terry Stiles made his way to second after starting 5th and for the next 13 laps chased Krupski for the lead. Stiles however would have his night end in a spin after contact on lap 17 drawing a yellow flag and changing the complexion of the race. On the restart Krupski chose the inside and new second place driver Eric Hersey who raced his way from 8th on the grid took the outside. When the green lights winked back on Hersey would lead lap 18 with Krupski under attack for second from Mark Stewart. Nothing was going to stand in Eric Hersey’s way to his first career Crate Modified win which he drove to in his Silver Fox Racing Chevy. Mark Stewart of Riverhead crossed the line second but was stripped of that finish in post race tech due to a rev limiter issue. Championship leader Richie Davidowitz of East Moriches was runner-up in the Benimax Trucking Chevy with Owen Grennan of Glen Cove third in the Dillner Precast entry.

The Late Models completed their Miller Lite Triple Crown Series for 2021 Saturday with a 50-lap event and as is often the case in the class Jeremy McDermott of Riverhead scored a clean sweep. McDermott in the Rob Pelis owned machine dominated qualifying with a lap of 12.619 with Jerry Giordano of Freeport second quick at 12.894. When the race went green McDermott quickly motored out front with Dave Brigati who qualified third quick slipping under Giordano for second at the start. With a fairly clean race contested Jeremy McDermott once again had things under control in the Eastport Feeds Pontiac leading all 50-laps to his 24th career win giving him sole possession of 5th on the all time win list. The triumph also earns Jeremy McDermott the 2021 Miller Lite Triple Crown Series championship and heading into the LM finale on September 25th McDermott has a comfortable lead for the overall 2021 title. Dave Brigati of Calverton was runner-up in the Coors Light Chevy while Jerry Giordano in the Venture Auto Body machines was third.

With his INEX Legend Race Car motor in North Carolina for repairs Allan Pedersen of Center Moriches was offered and jumped into the Paul Dodorico owned TS Auto Clinic machine and Saturday night in his second start in the car Allan Pedersen drove to victory. 2020 Bethel Motor Speedway Legends champ Jeff Otto Jr. showed the way over the first four laps chased at first by Mike Benton and then Ray Fitzgerald who moved to second under Benton on a lap 2 double file restart. Just two laps later Fitzgerald a three time winner this year made his way to the race lead to start lap 5 bringing Eric Hersey to second. Over the next six laps Fitzgerald and Hersey, who earlier won the Crate Mod race were going at each other for the race lead. On lap 10 the duo made slight contact with Fitzgerald spinning while Hersey started a spin but never took his foot out of the gas allowing him to keep his spot when the yellow flew. Meanwhile Allan Pedersen who started the race 8th was on the march coming to second on lap 12 setting up a torrid side by side battle with Hersey for the lead. Hersey himself would soon find misfortune on lap 16 as his car get loose going into turn one and eventually spun off turn two. After a yellow flag period the field was reset and when racing resumed it was Allan Pedersen the new race leader with Jason Castaldo now in pursuit for a short run to end the 20-lap event. Allan Pedersen would take home the win while Jason Castaldo of Shirley was runner-up in the M3 Technology mount and Kevin Nowak of Medford third in the JTEC Electric entry.

Rhett Fogg of Westhampton scored the win in the 20-lap Street Stock main event, his first of 2021 and second career overall. Pole sitter Danny Pizzo broke out front at the throw of the green and led the first five laps of the tilt. Rhett Fogg who chased Pizzo over those first five laps made a bid for the lead payoff when he ducked under the race leader exiting turn four to start the sixth lap. Just one lap later Gerard Lawrence made his way by Pizzo for second but that would be as good as it got for Lawrence who won earlier this season. However tonight it was all about Rhett Fogg and his Accu-Rhett Chevy as he drove off to victory over Gerard Lawrence of Miller Place in the Arthur Edwards Pools & Spas Chevy. Chris Lescenski of Riverhead was third in the East End Firewood Chevy.

“The Z-Man” Ryan Zukowski of Riverhead, younger brother of defending Mini Stock champion CJ made some Mini Stock noise of his own Saturday night when he won their 20-lap feature for his first career win. Andre Farnham raced out to the early lead with Ryan Zukowski in pursuit. After chasing Farnham for 8 laps Zukwoski decided it was go time as not only did he pass Farnham for the lead but brought older brother CJ to second with him. The duo would run in that order for the remainder of the race making a one-two sweep for the MSM Motorsports cars out of the Joe Warren Jr. shops. Early leader Andrew Farnham of Baldwin was third.

Former Truck Enduro champion Phil LaManna returned to his winning ways when he won his first feature of 2021 in a 40-lap affair. Kerry Botts had his best showing since starting with the class breaking out to the lead when the race started. Botts, a teammate of Street Stock winner Rhett Fogg looked as though he’d bring another trophy to the team but just after halfway Botts was under attack for the lead. On lap 22 entering the first turn Phil LaManna made his way under Botts for the lead to take over the race lead. Once Phil had the EP Milling & Sweeping Chevy out front he never looked back scoring the win. Championship contenders Mariah Lawrence of Southampton and Gary Voight of Medford were second and third with Mariah leading Gary in the championship fight that will go down to the wire.

NASCAR Modifieds (unofficial) 1. Kyle Soper 2. JB Fortin 3. John Baker 4. Chris Young 5. Eddie Brunnhoelzl III 6. Shawn Solomito 7. Chris Turbush 8. Dylan Slepian 9. CJ Lehmann 10. Michael Rutkoski 11. Tom Rogers Jr. 12. Roger Turbush 13. Kyle Ellwood 14. John Beatty Jr. 15. Artie Pedersen III 16. Matt Brode 17. Eriz Zeh 18. Jack Handley Jr. 19. Dave Brigati

Crate Modifieds: 1. Eric Hersey 2. Richie Davidowitz 3. Owen Grennan 4. Vinny Delaney 5. Dennis Krupski 6. Stephen Coleman 7. Matt Brode 8. Michael Berner 9. Alex Colasanto 10. Rich Gerbe 11. Mike Albasini 12. Steve Ratti 13. Terry Stiles 14. Chase Grennan 15. Eddie Schutze 16. Brian Brown 17. Mark Wolf 18. Ken Southard 19. AJ DeSantis 20. Chris Sinatro DQ-Mark Stewart

Late Models: 1. Jeremy McDermott 2. Dave Brigati 3. Jerry Giordano 4. Shawn Patrick 5. Rusty Turbush 6. Ethan Brown 7. Ed Cheslak 8. Brian Doyle 9. Alyssa Paprocky 10. Brandon Turbush 11. Chris McGuire DNS- Russ Jansen

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

Street Stocks: 1. Rhett Fogg 2. Gerard Lawrence 3. Chris Lescenski 4. Danny Pizzo 5. Jay Henschel 6. Brian Brown 7. Roger Oxee 8. Brian McCormack 9. Alyssa Paprocky 10. Carmine Ragusa 11. Justin Ferreri 12. RJ Gage

Mini Stocks: 1. Ryan Zukowski 2. CJ Zukowski 3. Andrew Farnham 4. Paul Wojcik 5. Joe Cooke Jr. 6. Mike Mujsce Jr. 7. Justin Squires 8. Jesse St. Clair 9. Scott Phillips 10. Bob Dalke 11. Tom Puccia 12. Martin O’Connell 13. Christian Conklin 14. Tony Collinsworth 15. James O’Connell 16. Ryan Warren

Truck Enduro: 1. Phil LaManna 2. Mariah Lawrence 3. Gary Voight 4. Kerry Botts 5. Woot Lawrence 6. Brian Dean 7. Doug Tittle 8. Don Nelson Jr. 9. Justin McGrady 10. Dusty Cole 11. Emily Hubbard 12. Chris Olsen 13. Daniel Creegan 14. Danielle Cohen 15. Jackie Germuth 16. Kayla Kelly 17. John Schultz 18. Amber Weiss

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