Setting The Scene: Whelen Modified Tour Riverhead 200 At Riverhead Raceway

(Press Release from NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications)

Timmy Solomito won earlier this year in the Whelen Modified Tour's first visit to Riverhead Raceway (Photo: Fran Lawlor for NASCAR)

Timmy Solomito won earlier this year in the Whelen Modified Tour’s first visit to Riverhead Raceway (Photo: Fran Lawlor for NASCAR)

It will be an extra special homecoming for Eric Goodale this weekend when the Whelen Modified Tour returns to the Riverhead Raceway in Riverhead, New York for the Riverhead 200 on Saturday night.

A former Sunoco Rookie of the Year in one of the track’s support divisions, Goodale returns to Riverhead carrying the trophy from the biggest win of his career — a win in the Tour’s most recent event at Bristol Motor Speedway. Not only is Riverhead his home town, and his home track, but it’s also the site of his only other career win. The 30-year-old driver won the June race at Riverhead in 2014, the first win at the time for the driver who joined the Whelen Modified Tour full-time in 2009.

As always at Riverhead, though, Goodale won’t be the only one with a home track advantage. Nine of the last 18 races at Riverhead have been won by drivers who have ties to the unique quarter-mile bullring. Justin Bonsignore, who is currently second in the standings, has three wins at Riverhead, and Donny Lia, who is third, has four career wins there. Fourth-place Timmy Solomito won this season’s first visit to the track. All three of those drivers are from the Long Island area.

That Long Island contingent is still chasing Doug Coby, the three-time Whelen Modified Tour champion, who has a 32-point lead with six races remaining in the season. But unlike the three drivers chasing him into Riverhead, Coby has never won at the track.

Race: Riverhead 200
Place: Riverhead Raceway, Riverhead, New York
When: Saturday, August 28
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Track Layout: .25-mile asphalt oval
2015 Winner: Justin Bonsignore
2015 Pole Sitter: Tom Rogers Jr.
EVENT SCHEDULE: Saturday, August 28 – Garage opens: 12 noon; Practice: 3-4 p.m.; Qualifying: 6 p.m.; Driver Autograph Session: 6:45 p.m.; Riverhead 200: 8 p.m.
TWITTER: @RiverheadRacewa
EVENT HASHTAG: #Riverhead200

The Race: The Riverhead 200 is the 12th of 17 championship points events in the 2016 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season. It is the second of two races this season at Riverhead. Timmy Solomito won the event at the track in June.

The Procedure: The maximum starting field is 28 cars, including provisionals. The first 23 cars will have secured starting positions through two-lap time trials while the remaining five spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race is scheduled for 200 laps (50 miles). The tire change rule is zero (0) tires, any position.

The Track: A quarter-mile banked asphalt oval, Riverhead Raceway opened in 1949. The track has held a total of 57 races since the Whelen Modified Tour began in 1985, and is one of only two venues to play host to the tour in each of its 31 seasons.

Race Winners: There have been 25 different drivers that have reached Victory Lane at Riverhead, led by Mike Ewanitsko’s 11 career wins. Justin Bonsignore swept both events there in 2015.

Pole Winners: Thirty-four different drivers have captured a pole at Riverhead, led by Ewanitsko’s eight. Chuck Steuer set the qualifying record at 11.546 seconds (77.949 mph) in 2000. Doug Coby earned his first career Riverhead pole at the track in June.

Riverhead 200 Notes
Summer Shakeup: The luck was not on the side of Doug Coby’s closest championship pursuer at Bristol Motor Speedway, as Justin Bonsignore was collected in an accident early and finished 22nd. Coby’s lead atop the standings more than doubled with Bonsignore’s misfortune — from 15 points heading into the race to where it stands now at 32 points. Bonsignore remains second in the standings, eight points ahead of Donny Lia. Eric Goodale was the biggest mover after Bristol, jumping up to fifth in the standings, 22 points out of second.

Local Flavor: There will be at least eight teams competing in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modified division at Riverhead entered in the Riverhead 200 on Saturday. Shawn Solomito and Dave Sapienza, who have made starts on the Tour elsewhere, will be joined in the field by Frank Vigliarolo, Jerry Solomito, Kyle Soper, Craig Lutz and John Fortin in the Whelen Modified Tour field at their home track. Shawn Solomito has four wins this season and the division point lead, while Soper has won three times and sits third in the track’s standings.

Lia Consistent: Donny Lia doesn’t have a win yet in 2016, but the two-time Whelen Modified Tour champion has been one of the Tour’s most consistent drivers and is still within striking distance of the championship lead. The four-time Riverhead winner has eight top 10s in 11 races this season, including a podium finish last week at Bristol and a third-place run in June at Riverhead. He’s 40 points behind Coby.

Coby’s Kryptonite: Doug Coby has three championships and 20 career wins on the Whelen Modified Tour, but one track where he’s struggled has been Riverhead. In 2013, a practice crash prevented him from starting the race, and he has only three top fives in 12 career races at the track with an average finish of 11.2. He finished third and second, respectively, in the two races at Riverhead in 2015, but he came back to finish 10th in June after winning his first career pole at the facility. If the drivers chasing him for the championship — all of whom have had success at Riverhead — are going to make up any ground, this could be their best chance.

Winning: Doug Coby and Timmy Solomito are the only Whelen Modified Tour drivers with multiple wins this season, with three wins apiece. Ron Silk, Bobby Santos III, Jimmy Blewett and Eric Goodale won the other events on the schedule. Santos also won the non-points Whelen All-Star Shootout at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July.

NASCAR Home Tracks: Crate Modifieds Join The Riverhead 200 Bill
The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series will be highlighted as part of the Whelen Modified Tour Riverhead 200 program. The Riverhead 200 itself will take on a weekly racing flavor, with a number of the track’s premier tour-type Modified division teams entering the main event. In addition, crate-engine Modifieds and Legends will also be racing Saturday night.


  1. This is going to be a cage match, with all contestants in the cage at the same time.

  2. Would like to see some southern cars come up to these bullring events, Riverhead, Seekonk, etc. These little tracks are like their regular tracks and gives them the best chance to compete with the northern cars.

  3. Team owner for the 16 said after penalty after Bristol that he was possibly all done with NASCAR. From speed 51 site along with the 21 team on the southern side. Burt Myers was also involved but since leading the points he has no other option but to race on the tour for now.

  4. Weather is looking great. Should be a nice trip to Long Island.

  5. Perfect night for Justin to get back in the championship fight …. Close the gap on the 2 ! Darealgoodfella one of these races I will buy you a brew ! The tour should have a great finish to the season…. Anybody but the 2 . Please. Lol. They have earned it and every other team needs to step up !

  6. When was the last time the tour had back to back races in NY?

  7. Just happy the tour added 2 races this year . Get it up to 20 and take Bristol off and that would be pretty cool ! Wish the Valenti mod tour didn’t go down the tubes . Use to love that series 🏁🏁🏁

  8. The 16 will be there.

  9. What’s going on here?

  10. The 01 caught fire early in practice, it’s a sign.

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