P.O. Box 1743
Riverhead, NY 11901
CHANGE OF PLANS LANDS RYAN PREECE IN VICTORY LANE
AT RIVERHEAD RACEWAY SATURDAY NIGHT
by Bob Finan
Ryan Preece of Berlin, Ct. and his TS Haulers team indeed had plans to run their NASCAR Modified on a quarter mile race track Saturday but that track was to be in New Hampshire not Riverhead Raceway on Long Island. When the planned race Preece and his team hoped to run was rained out at the Monadnock Speedway they changed course and headed south and by the time the 67-lap NASCAR Modified race was completed at Riverhead the former NASCAR WMT champion notched his 16th career win at the historic quarter mile oval.
Qualifying found Dillon Steuer turning in the fastest lap at 11.955 followed by defending champion Shawn Solomito's 11,971. Solomito would draw the outside pole in the redraw while Steuer drew third with Dave Brigati picking the pole. At the throw of the green Solomito would lead the first lap on the outside before Brigati roared back on the inside to lead laps two through four before he was passed on lap 5 by Dillon Steuer for the top spot. After Brigati ran second to Steuer from laps five through eleven Solomito made his way under Brigati on a 11th lap double file restart. Solomito wasted little time in making a bid for the lead on lap 12 but he and Steuer would have momentary contact which allowed former three time champion Howie Brode to race his way the top two cars for the lead. Another former three time champion John Fortin Sr. moved to second when Brode took the lead but John was quickly under attack from Ryan Preece who raced his way to third after starting the race from the spot.
On lap 16 Preece dispatched of Fortin and quickly reeled in leader Brode who had pulled away from the pack. Over the following 18 laps Brode and Preece played a high game speed of cat & mouse with Preece sizing up Brode looking both high and low. Preece would seize the opportunity on lap 34 when he went high on Brode entering the first turn but by the time the duo raced off the second corner Ryan had crossed over to the inside exiting the second turn. By the time the tandem hit the third turn Preece would indeed be the new race leader, a lead he would not surrender for the remainder of the race.
"What can I say about my team" Preece commented afterwards, "we were all ready to run the MTS race at Monadnock but when that got called off Eddie & Connie Partridge called me and asked me if I'd head to Long Island. I looked at my wife Heather and she gave me the nod of approval and here we are". Ryan furthered, "we hastily put together our L.I. team to do this deal tonight, a big thank you to those guys" As for his tussle with Brode for the lead, "Howie and I ran really hard but really clean, I knew if I could catch him off one of the corners I'd be able to get by".
Howie Brode of East Islip was runner-up in the Petro Home Services Chevy while Shawn Solomito of Center Moriches placed third in the Eastport Feeds Chevy. Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead back in his family car was fourth while championship leader John Fortin of Holtsville rounded out the top five.
Dylan Slepian of Dix Hills raced his way to his second Eagle Auto Mall Modified Crate victory of 2017 when he topped their 25-lap main event. Rookie Kurt Kreiger started the race on the outside pole and when the green flag waved the recent high school graduate took the lead from pole sitter Michael Rommeney. Once he made his way out front Kreiger was able to open up a comfortable lead while Rommeney battled for second with Peter Bertuccio who eventually took the position on lap 6. As the race wore on Kreiger had a commanding lead and the last thing the teenage wheelman wanted to see was a yellow flag which unfortunately for Kurt waved on lap 16 for Rommeney who spun his machine. Dylan Slepian who just completed a pass of Bertuccio for second be aided by the caution as it erased the large lead of Kreiger. Just one lap after the race resumed Slepian in his Eastport Feeds Chevy was able to sneak under Kreiger on lap 17 to take the race lead for good exiting the fourth corner. Rookie Michael Rutkowski of Mattituck scored his second straight runner-up finish in the Buzz Chew Chevy entry when he passed Kreiger for second on lap 19. Defending champion Dave Brigati of Calverton would make a late race charge for third in the Quest Machining & Fabricating Chevy. Early leader Kreiger fell to ninth.
Former Figure Eight champion Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead collected his 28th career win when he won the 15-lap Figure Eight feature with a late race surge. It was Tom's second win of 2017. Eric Zeh in a Rogers team car out of the Keith Repp shops led the first two laps before he was passed by Gary Fritz for the top spot. Fritz seeking his second win of the year led until the 12th lap when he was over taken by Tom Ferrara. In the end however Rogers steering the Bays Bar & Grill Ford Coupe was not going to be denied as he took the race lead on lap 14 when Ferrara suffered misfortune with a lapped car. Once in the lead Rogers would lead Gary Fritz Jr. of Mastic Beach in the Northeastern Office Equipment 1957 Chevy to the checkers while Bob Dalke of Farmingville had a solid run for third in the Midas Car Care entry.
Roger Turbush of Riverhead won his second Super Pro Truck event of 2017 in a 20-lap tilt and in doing so tied Lou Maestri of Deer Park for the all time win lead at 29. Sean Glennon paced the race for the first two laps before he was passed by the returning Jimmy Rennick Jr. on lap three. Glennon ran second until ran second until the 5th lap when he was passed by Owen Grennan to the outside off the second corner. After spending three laps chasing the race leader Grennan would move by Rennick for the race lead on lap 9. Owen was seeking his third win of the campaign but Roger Turbush had other ideas as he made his way out front on lap 12. Once in command Turbush in the Kennedy L.I. Realty of Bay Shore Chevy drove off to victory leaving he & Maestri in a battle to be the first to 30 wins. Jack Handley Jr. of Medford and his truck owner Mike Albasini of Flushing were second and third in their Hollis Court Collision entries
Street Stock newcomer Gerard Lawrence of Miller Place, nephew to former Charger champion Larry LaFountaine scored an upset win when he won the 30-lap main event. Kyle Curtis broke out front early leading the first four circuits of the race before he was overhauled by Brian Brown on lap 5 who executed an inside pass through the third and fourth turn. Curtis ran second until the 7th lap when Anthony Pizzo worked his way by for position. Pizzo a 47-time 8-Cylinder Enduro winner set sail for leader Brown but the car on the move indeed belonged to Lawrence who motored his way from his 5th starting spot into contention. On lap 25 Lawrence made a bold inside move to race his way out front in the Lafo's Performance Glass Chevy and once in the lead the upstart driver never looked back earning a popular first career win. Championship leader Greg Harris of Riverhead who started the race from 10th was runner-up in his SGS Stone Works Chevy while Brian Brown of Baiting Hollow was third in the L.I. poultry racer.
Never let it be said Gut & Go Enduro driver Joe Warren Jr. lets any grass grow under his feet as the Ridge driver quickly made his way from a 14th starting spot to win the 40-lap feature event. Christian Conklin raced his way from the pole to lead the first two laps before Warren who some how, some way made his way from 14th to the race lead on lap 3. Once out front Joe never looked back taking a convincing win in his self funded machine. Veteran racer Dege Russell of Rocky Point was runner-up in his Kelly Russell Realty machine was runner-up with "Blackjack" Bryan Kelly of Aquebogue third in his John's Tree Removal racer.
After years of trying but always coming up short "Curious" George Astacio of Shirley won his first career 8-Cylinder Demolition Derby in his King Shirley #911. Astacio had to outlast tested tough veteran Scott Phillips of Ozone Park who won Judge's Choice in his Tire Express machine. "Big Red" Danny Zasowski of Holbrook was voted Fan's Choice.
1. Ryan Preece 2. Howie Brode 3. Shawn Solomito 4. Tom Rogers Jr. 5. John Fortin Sr. 6. Dillon Steuer 7. John Fortin Jr. 8. Chris Young 9. Dave Brigati 10. Jerry Solomito Jr. 11. Cory Midgett 12. Ken Heagy 13. John Baker 14. Eddie Brunnhoelzl III 15. Vinny Biondolillo 16. Kyle Ellwood
1. Dylan Slepian 2. Michael Rutkowski 3. Dave Brigati 4. Peter Bertuccio 5. Dennis Krupski 6. CJ Lehmann 7. Justin Brown 8. Jay Hansen 9. Kurt Kreiger 10. AJ DeSantis 11. Michael Rommeney 12. Tony Vecchio
1. Tom Rogers Jr. 2. Gary Fritz Jr. 3. Bob Dalke 4. Tom Ferrara 5. Greg Harris 6. Scott Pedersen 7. Brian Hansen 8. George Brown 9. Johnny Vullo 10. Eric Zeh 11. Charles Macwhinne
Super Pro Trucks:
1. Roger Turbush 2. Jack Handley Jr. 3. Mike Albasini 4. Sean Glennon 5. Jimmy Rennick Jr. 6. Frank Dumicich Sr. 7. Frank Dumicich Jr. 8. Owen Grennan 9. Lou Maestri 10. Dave Brigati
1. Gerard Lawrence 2. Greg Harris 3. Brian Brown 4. Rhett Fogg 5. Anthony Pizzo 6. Brian McCormack 7. Chris Lescenski 8. Glenn Simonin 9 Brandon Hubbard 10. Jamie Curtis 11. Sal Sinatro 12. Kyle Curtis 13. Greg Zaleski 14. Dale Doherty
Gut & Go Enduro (top five)
1. Joe Warren Jr. 2. Dege Russell 3. Bryan Kelly 4. Greg Harris 5. CJ Zukowski
Winner - George Astacio
Judge's Choice- Scott Phllips
Fan's Choice- Danny Zasowski
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