Setting The Scene: Whelen Modified Tour Buzz Chew Chevrolet-Cadillac 200 At Riverhead Raceway

(Press Release from NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications)

Justin Bonsignore

As Justin Bonsignore continues the search for his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship this season, Saturday’s Buzz Chew Chevrolet-Cadillac 200 at Riverhead Raceway has been circled on the calendar as the one track where he is one of the clear favorites to visit Victory Lane. Bonsignore has finished inside the top five in nine of his 12 career series starts at the quarter-mile, including winning four times and sweeping both races at the track back in 2015.

In fact, Bonsignore has a current streak going of four consecutive top two finishes behind the wheel of his No. 51 Phoenix Communications Chevrolet at Riverhead.

In his career, Bonsignore has been out front for 580 laps, including leading 117 of the 200 laps in route to victory at the oval last August. He sits fifth in the championship standings, 29 points from the top. The home track advantage could help him close that gap.

Bonsignore’s list of challengers heading into Riverhead is led by current series points leader Timmy Solomito, who is the defending winner of this event and already has two victories on this young season. Solomito finished second in last year’s August stop at Riverhead, coming up just short of completing the season sweep behind the wheel of his No. 16 Starrett Tools Ford. Solomito enters Saturday’s 200-lap main event leading the championship standings by a margin of just two points over Boehler Racing driver Rowan Pennink, while Eric Goodale, Max Zachem and Bonsignore complete the top five.

Saturday’s stop at Riverhead is the first of two this season and will be followed by three weeks off before the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the ‘Magic Mile,’ the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The second of the two races at New York’s Riverhead this season is slated for September 16.

RACE: Buzz Chew Chevrolet-Cadillac 200
PLACE: Riverhead Raceway, Riverhead, New York
DATE: Saturday, June 24
TIME: 8 p.m. (approx.)
TRACK: .25-mile asphalt oval
2016 POLESITTER: Doug Coby
2016 RACE WINNER: Timmy Solomito
EVENT SCHEDULE: Garage Opens: 12:45 p.m., Final Practice: 3:15-4:45 p.m., Qualifying: 6 p.m., Buzz Chew 200: 8 p.m. (approx).
TRACK TWITTER: @RiverheadRacewa


The Race: The Buzz Chew Chevrolet-Cadillac 200 is the sixth of 16 championship points events in the 2017 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season. It is the first of two races this season at Riverhead Raceway.

The Procedure: The maximum starting field is 28 cars, including provisionals. The first 22 cars will have secured starting positions through the qualifying process, while the other six positions will be awarded through the provisional process. The race is scheduled for 200 laps (50 miles).

The Track: A quarter-mile banked asphalt oval, Riverhead Raceway opened in 1949. The track has held a total of 58 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 wins. Timmy Solomito and Justin Bonsignore won the two races at the track last season.

Pole Winners: Thirty-five 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. Shawn Solomito earned his first career pole at the track last August.

Buzz Chew Chevrolet-Cadillac 200 Notes

Preece Riding Momentum: After missing the event at Langley to get married, Ryan Preece returned with a vengance at Thompson last week and captured his second victory of the season in the Thompson 125. As he moves forward to Riverhead, Preece is looking to continue his momentum by capturing what would be his fifth career victory on the quarter-mile oval. The most recent of his four wins at the track came in 2013 while driving for Eric Sanderson. Since beginning his partnership with the Patridge family, Preece has finished eighth twice and also 23rd, so his hopes are to improve on that this weekend.

Riverhead Regulars In The Field: The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races at Riverhead Raceway are known for some having the home track advantage. While Solomito and Bonsignore are former Riverhead regulars that currently run the tour full-time, there will be some of the current weekly drivers that give their efforts to capturing their first career tour win on Saturday. CJ Lehmann, who is a regular in the Riverhead Crate Modified division, will make his series debut on Saturday night driving for Visconti Motorsports.

Goodale Quietly Close: Even though his season thus far has been quiet, Eric Goodale sits third in the series point standings heading into Riverhead on Saturday night. Goodale, who drives the No. 58 GAF Roofing Chevrolet, is just 19 points from the current lead. In his career at Riverhead, Goodale has one victory in June of 2014, which was his first career tour win. Since that win, Goodale has finished inside the top-10 in all four Riverhead starts, including two of those finishes coming inside the top five. He has nine top-10s in 11 starts at the quarter-mile and will need another solid run to keep himself up top in the title chase.

Christopher Back To The Island: Ted Christopher will return to Long Island to compete at Riverhead Raceway in a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race for the first time since early 2015. In his career, Christopher has visited Victory Lane three times at the quarter-mile and has finished inside the top 10 in 62% of the time in his 26 career starts there. His most recent Riverhead victory came in 2006, and his most recent series victory came back in 2011.

HOME TRACKS: Riverhead Crate Modifieds In Action

Saturday night’s NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour 200 lap feature event is not the only action that will take place at the quarter-mile. The Riverhead weekly Crate Modifieds are set to compete in a 30 lap feature with time trials. The Blunderbusts and INEX Legends will also be in action on Saturday night.

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