April 28, 2019
RIVERHEAD RACEWAY PITS AT CAPACITY FOR SATURDAY PRACTICE DAY, OPENING WEEKEND SET FOR THIS SATURDAY & SUNDAY
Bob Finan PR
If Saturday's practice day at Riverhead Raceway is any indication the 2019 season is going to be both a successful and busy one as each and every parking spot in the pit area was occupied for the test & tune session. With practice day in the books all signs point to opening weekend this week Saturday May 4th and Sunday May 5th. Saturday evening seven NASCAR Whelen All American Series divisions will go to post headlined by a NASCAR Modified 50-lap feature while Sunday afternoon the 34th season of Enduro racing will commence with five classes in action.
On track action was spirited throughout the afternoon with track officials getting in five rounds of practice for the NASCAR stock cars as well the Street Stocks and Mini Stocks. Kyle Soper of Manorville was putting the Wayne & Joette owned machine through it's paces as the team readies to defend their 2018 title. Soper meanwhile has relinquished his seat in the Rob Pelis Late Model for whom he won two championships in a row but Rob hasn't missed a beat as he was on hand with his new driver former multi-time LM kingpin Jeremy McDermott of Riverhead. Reining Figure Eight champion Tom Rogers Jr. was on hand with his Keith Repp owned Chevy Coupe as was 2018 INEX Legend Race Car champ Jim Sylvester of Massapequa in his self-owned mount. Last year's Crate Modified champion Michael Rutkoski of Mattituck was busy this past saturday running a Keith Rocco SK Modified at Stafford Motor Speedway and was not at Saturday's session but plenty of Crate Mods were on hand. With Jack Handley Jr. of Medford indicating he'll not defend his Blunderbust title in 2019 that championship chase will be wide open and several BB teams were on hand gearing up for a run at the vacated title. 2018 Super Pro Truck champion Mark Stewart of Riverhead was missing as he attended his grandfather Dan's wedding in the afternoon but he is expected to defend his SPT against a 2019 roster that will include several newcomers.
Two hard impacts during the course of the afternoon were the only blemish on the day. In the first Crate Modified session veteran and former LM champion Peter Bertuccio of Bohemia made hard contact with the first turn wall due to what appeared to be a stuck throttle. Peter after gathering his thoughts emerged from the heavily damaged car and rode off the track on a golf cart with NASCAR official Mike Cappiello shaken but otherwise okay. Later in the day veteran INEX Legend Race Car driver Silas Hiscock of Bridgehampton slammed the fourth turn wall at full throttle. Hiscock was extricated from his car and transported to Peconic Bay Hospital for evaluation & treatment. It was determined there Silas needed to be transported to Stony Brook University Hospital for additional evaluation and treatment.
Dave Antos of Lindenhurst the 2018 Street Stock champion and Jared Halsey of Southampton the 8-Cylinder Enduro champion were part of the practice day preparing for this Sunday's opening day for the cars and stars of Enduro racing. 2019 will see the Enduro classes perform on Saturday night more than they have in the past as after the May 5th opener only one other stand-alone Sunday show is scheduled for September 29th. Paul Wojick of Centereach was the 2018 Mini Stock champion while Don Nelson Jr. of Rocky Point topped the Truck points and Christian Conklin of Riverhead won his first career Gut & Go title last year, all three are also expected to defend their crowns in 2019.
Saturday evening will see the mighty NASCAR Modifieds going 50 laps on opening night and be joined by the Late Models (25), Crate Modifieds (25), Figure Eights (15), Blunderbusts (20), Super Pro Trucks (20) and INEX Legend Race Cars (20). Track officials will release start times for Saturday on the track web site early this week. On Sunday the Street Stocks, Mini Stocks, Trucks, 8-Cylinders and Gut & Go 4/6-Cylinder feature event distance will be as they have in the past determined by car counts. Sunday racing will start at 12:30 pm, pits will open at 10:00 am.
The complete 2019 schedule of events can be viewed at www.riverheadraceway.com. E-mails reach the track at email@example.com with the phone number remaining 631-842-RACE. Those seeking information on the Rusty Wallace Driving Experience are asked to visit racewithrusty.com