Ryan Preece Goes Back To Old Set Up For Islip 300 Win At Riverhead Raceway

(Press Release from Riverhead Raceway)

Ryan Preece

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. – Popular Ryan Preece of Berlin, Ct. went back to basics in the set-up of his Eddie & Connie Partridge Tour Type Modified Saturday night at Riverhead Raceway and did it ever pay off as he won the 2nd annual Islip 300 worth $7,000 to the winning team.

For Preece a two time winner on the Xfinity Series of NASCAR it was his 16th career win at the historic quarter mile oval.

Ronnie Williams was quickest in qualifying turning in a lap of 11.910 just edging out former three time track champion Howie Brode who went 11.918 while Preece could only muster a 14th place effort in time trials.

Williams steering a tribute Gershow Motorsports machine in tribute to Don Howe’s 1994 machine that he won a championship with for owner Joe Bertuccio jumped to the lead at the throw of the green.

Howie Brode tucked in behind Williams but the leader would soon pull away from the challenger over the first 60 laps. Meanwhile Preece was on the march from what would be a 12th starting spot and soon made his presence known racing by Brode on lap 64 for second.

During the race WMT standout Eric Goodale was doing color commentary and noted over the airwaves that Ryan’s car “had amazing drive off the corners”.

Indeed going back to an old Riverhead set-up clearly gave Preece the best car on the track as just two laps after moving to second he wheeled by Williams on lap 66 for the race lead. Once out front Preece’s goal was to put as many cars as he could a lap down and at one point there were just five cars on the lead lap. His other strategy was to stay out as long as he could before pitting under yellow for his three change tires.

Other drivers like John Fortin Sr. had another game plan pitting early for a right front tire and then later for the two rears. Fortin would become a contender for the race win later in the contest. Among those who ran second to Preece over the first two thirds of the race included Williams, Kyle Soper and Howie Brode.

Preece would pit for his change tires just after the 200 lap mark of the race moving John Fortin Sr. to the race lead on lap 215. However armed with three new tires Preece’s car was again on rails and he wasted little time taking back the race lead from Fortin on lap 222.

However during a long green flag run after taking back the lead Ryan’s car seemed to level off allowing not only Fortin to pressure the leader but also John Beatty Jr. who with 40-laps remaining got by Fortin and set sail for Preece. Beatty was able to stay right in the tire tracks of Preece and on occasion tried to cross the leader over off the corners but Ryan was able to inch away each time.

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When the checker flag waved Ryan Preece would indeed by the winner of the Islip 300 and he was quick to point out how he got there, “you see all these guys out here, they busted their butt for me and this win is for them” Preece boasted. He also admitted, “we came here last week and I was embarrassed but that was on me, I tried something and it didn’t work. Tonight we threw an old set-up at the car and the thing was quick right off the truck”. With it being Father’s Day weekend Ryan added, “I can’t thank my Dad enough, without him I would be where I am today. Also a big thank you to Eddie & Connie for letting me drive their car”. In conclusion the happy winner added, “it is so cool to win the Islip 300 and better yet to win here three weeks before the Buzz Chew Chevy 200 WMT is even better, we’ll have something for them that night (July 7th).

John Beatty Jr. of Merrick was runner-up in the MSM Elite Motorsports Chevy sending praise the race winners way, “hats off to Ryan and his team, they had a great car. So did we, his was just that much better”. John Fortin Sr. was third in his Long Island Truck Parts Chevy, “we were good” John stated afterwards, “if I had it to do over again I may not have come in so early for that right front tire, she wore out and I was sliding the nose late in the race”. Kyle Soper of Manorville crossed the line fourth while Dave Brigati of Calverton completed the top five.

Sophomore jinx, what sophomore jinx? MIchael Rutkoski of Mattituck the 2017 Rookie of the Year in the Eagle Auto Mall Crate Modifieds equaled his win total from his freshman season in just the fifth start of 2018 when he won his second race of the year taking the 25-lap main event. Chris Rogers moved out front at the start of the race chased at first by Scott Pedersen for the first two laps. Rutkoski who started from the 6th spot quickly made his way to the front and during a third lap double file restart motored his way by Rogers to take command of the race. Rogers ran second until the 7th circuit when he was overtaken by veteran wheelman Peter Bertuccio on lap 8. However there would be no catching Rutkoski in his Buzz Chew Chevrolet entry as he drove off to his fourth career win tying him for second on the all time win list in the new class with Dillon Steuer & Dylan Slepian. Peter Bertuccio of Bohemia was runner-up in the Gershow Recycling Chevy while Artie Pedersen III of Center Moriches was third in the Vecchio Cesspools Chevy.

Defending and multi time Blunderbust champion Tom Pickerell of Huntington knows that sometimes in racing you need to be as lucky as you are good. Saturday night Pickerell claimed his 21st career win in the class by being in the right spot at the right time. Third year driver Alyssa Paprocky broke out to the early lead in the 20-lap main event chased at first by Brandon Hubbard. Lap 4 found Cody Triola who started 4th getting by Hubbard for second. Cody quickly went to work on erasing the cushion Paprocky had built up and before long closed in to challenge. Alyssa was trying to become the first female driver in 20-years to win in the class with the last such win turned in by Lauire Harlin on May 2nd, 1998. As the laps wound down Paprocky as well as Triola were hopeful of earning their first career wins and were racing hard. On the final lap contact was made sending Paprocky spinning with damage and slowing Triola. Racing third was Tom Pickerell who got around to post his first win of the season in the Sequel Group Chevy. Jack Handley Jr. of Medford was runner-up in the Relle Electric Chevy with Jim Laird Jr. of Riverhead third in the Comiskey Park Pub Chevy.

In the 20-lap INEX Legend Race Car feature event Brad Van Houten of Wading River seemingly had his first win of the season after having led wire to wire. However in post race tech Van Houten’s winning machine was found to have unapproved tires and was sent to last in the 24-car finishing order. That turn of events gave Richie Davidowitz of East Moriches his third win of 2018 making him three for three on the year. With just two laps to go Davidowitz in his Tony Power machine made his was by Allan Pedersen for what appeared to be second but as it turned out that was the winning pass of the race. Pedersen of Center Moriches was runner-up in the Park Lane Maintenance racer while Eric Hersey of Commack had a solid third place finish in the Bolland Motrports entry.

Don Howe of Water Mill returned to his winning ways in the LIVARS Vintage Car series as he bested their 15-lap feature. Howe had to fend off a hard pressing Tony Ferrante Jr. of New Hyde Park who was making his very first LIVARS start in the restored X3 now owned by Bill Murray. Tony gave Don a run for his money but in the end Howe collected his 6th career win in the class. Ferrante was runner-up in the Nuzzi Auto Body Chevy while ageless Jimmy Reed of Central Islip was third in the Tango Argentinean Steakhouse Cavalier.

Islip 300: 1. Ryan Preece 2. John Beatty Jr. 3. John Fortin Sr. 4. Kyle Soper 5. Dave Brigati 6. Howie Brode 7. Calvin Carroll 8. John Fortin Jr. 9. Tom Rogers Jr. 10. Roger Turbush 11. John Baker 12. David Schneider 13. Artie Pedersen III 14. Chris Young 15. Ronnie Williams 16. Eric Zeh 17. Eddie Brunnhoelzl III DNS-Ken Darch

Crate Modifieds: 1. Michael Rutkoski 2. Peter Bertuccio 3. Artie Pedersen III 4. Chris Rogers 5. AJ DeSantis 6. Scott Pedersen 7. Dennis Krupski 8. Jason Hansen 9. Justin Brown 10. Jack Orlando DNS- Cary Rogers

Blunderbusts: 1. Tom Pickerell 2. Jack Handley Jr. 3. Jim Laird Jr. 4. Bill Wegmann Sr. 5. Russ Jansen 6. Dennis Kurras 7. Jarrett Campbell 8. Alyssa Paprocky 9. Cody Triola 10. Brandon Hubbard 11. Tim Mulqueen

Legend Race Cars: 1. Richie Davidowitz 2. Allan Pedersen 3. Eric Hersey 4. Vinny delaney 5. Ed Cheslak 6. Ray Fitzgerald 7. Jerry Curran 8. Kevin Nowak 9. Mike Van Houten Jr. 10. George Tomko Jr. 11. Riely O’Keefe 12. Mike Benton 13. Matt Brode 14. Silas Hiscock Sr. 15. Jim Sylvester 16. Pat Moore 17. Steve Woytysiak 18 Joey Villatoro 19. Scott Cheslak 20. Tom Ferrara 21. Jonathan Parsons 22. Jeff Otto Jr. 23. Alex Halinar 24. Brad Van Houten DNQ- Stephen Coleman, Jeff Farruggia Jr., Steve Hersey & Rich Braun

LIVARS Vintage Cars: 1. Don Howe 2. Tony Ferrante Jr. 3. Jimmy Reed 4. Ken Southard 5. Frank Saladino 6. Mark Miller 7. Rich Rumplick 8. Bill Meyer Jr. 9. Jimmy Kelly DNS- MIke Sweet


  1. The great pumpkin wins again in his Halloween special and no first hand account observations. Riverhead out of the magic triangle. Disappointing. Would have preferred a local to win the cash but that is after all what opens are about right?

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