Chris Young Scores First Career NASCAR Modified Victory At Riverhead Raceway

(Press Release from Riverhead Raceway)

When the checker flag dropped on the 50-lap NASCAR Modified feature Saturday night at Riverhead Raceway the emotions flowed as second generation driver Chris Young of Calverton held off a hard pressing 58-time career winner Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead to earn his first career victory. As he took his victory lap Chris admitted the tears welled up thinking about his late father Chris a 33-time winner at the demanding quarter mile oval but also realized it was the work ethic instilled into him by his parents that brought him to this point including building his own engine in the winning machine. The night would belong to first time winners with four of the seven victors enjoying their first career victory.

With the NASCAR Modifieds racing in the mid eleven second range this season the action has been fast and furious and Saturday was no exception with Chris Young moving to the race lead at the throw of the green with CJ Lehmann second for the first two circuits. Michael Rutkoski, 2019 Rookie of the Year moved by Lehmann on lap 3 and set his sights on leader Young with John Baker came to third. For several laps Rutkoski and Baker sliced and diced for second behind Young racing on the ragged edge. On lap 14 Rutkoski made contact with the wall exiting the second turn ending his fine run with right front suspension damage moving Baker into second. On the ensuing restart Young chose the inside moving Baker to the outside and when the race resumed Baker would take slight advantage over Young as the duo renewed their opening night battle.

Lap 32 would again find turn the exit to turn two being the area where racing got too close as Baker running the outside to Young inside made contact sending Baker out of shape exiting the second turn and that would trigger a multi car accident that involved Baker, John Beatty Jr., Jeremy McDermott, Cory Midgett, Glen Steger and Vinny Delaney. Once the incident was cleared and the field reset it was time for race leader young to make his choice with new challenger Dave Brigati waiting in the wings, Young chose the bottom and when the race went back green remained the race leader with Brigati and Tom Rogers Jr. now hot on his heels. Rogers turned up the heat on Brigati for second and with a power move to the outside took the spot with nine laps left in the contest. Rogers wasted no time in closing in in Young’s rear bumper as he sought his 59th career win. Tommy took a peak to the inside and then to the outside but Chris was backing up his corner just right so the challenger could not gain the run he was seeking.

At the checker Chris Young steering the Riverhead Building Supply Chevy finally realized NASCAR Modified nirvana with his first career win and soaked it all in during the victory lap admitting afterwards, “I had tears in my eyes and I took my time so I could gather myself for this interview, an interview I have dreamed of over and over. When I got to the fourth turn gate where they used to let the crews out I could just envision my Dad standing there with Mom and my sister” While looking over his new LFR racer Young, a Purdue University graduate with an engineering degree revealed, “when I took delivery of this LFR from Rob Fuller it was a bare frame not a roller like most so I went to work and built it over the winter doing all the tin and interior work myself in addition to building the engine” 

Tom Rogers Jr. try as he might settled for second in the License To Chill Chevy with Dave Brigati of Calverton claiming third place money in his Covino Enterprises Chevy. Roger Turbush of Riverhead and Dylan Slepian of Dix Hills were fourth and fifth.

Owen Grennan of Glen Cove made it two Eagle Auto Mall Crate Modified wins in a row scoring a clean sweep of the night’s activities. In qualifying Grennan was quickest with a lap of 12.571 earning him the pole for the feature with Sean Glennon of Northport second quick in time, 12.637. When things got underway Grennan raced his way to the lead over Grennan and what followed would be a 30-lap green flag run that allowed Grennan to get away from Glennon and the field as the laps clicked off. After a rough and tumble first three races of 2020 nobody saw the extended green flag run coming with the first caution flying when Gerard Lawrence and Charlie Macwhinnie made slight contact in turn 4. When the field lined up for the double file restart Glennon an opportunity to try and outfox Grennan on the restart but when the green waved Owen in the Dillner Precast Chevy remained out front claiming his 5th career win in the class. Sean Glennon was runner-up in his LTE Drainage Chevy with Richie Davidowitz of East Moriches was third in the Benimax Trucking entry.

Joe Warren Jr. of Ridge overcame an opening night engine failure to roar to victory in the 15-lap Figure Eight feature. When the green lights came on Warren broke to the race lead chased by teammate Tom Ferrara for the first half of the race. While chasing the leader Ferrara’s race came to a sudden end on lap 8 the victim of an electrical issue. Gary Fritz Jr. moved to second but he was overtaken two laps later by CJ Lehmann on lap 10, Lehmann started the process of trying to catch leader Warren when he suddenly had to climb on the brakes to avoid heavy impact with a stalled Brian Hansen at the intersection. Lehmann did make slight contact but was able to continue, Hansen was done for the night. When the race resumed on lap 13 Joe Warren Jr. was able to keep his Sayville South Bay Auto Repair machine out front to score the victory. Scott Pedersen of Shirley the opening night winner made a late race charge to claim runner-up money in the Vecchio Racing Chevy while Gary Fritz Jr. of Mastic Beach was third in the Westhampton Beach Brewery Chevy. 

Eddie Diaz of Centereach captured his first career Blunderbust win when he won their 20-lap main event. Diaz, the 2019 Rookie of the Year moved out front over Alyssa Paprocky at the outset with Tom Pickerell moving by Paprocky on lap 2. Pickerell, a 26 time winner in the division made his way to the rear bumper of leader Diaz and would start to mount some challenges but the sophomore driver was able to stay out front. Not even some double file restarts sprinkled in would give Pickerell the edge he was seeking as Diaz drove the race like a tested tough veteran himself. In the closing laps Pickerell found himself on defense more than offense as Bill Wegmann Sr and Cody Triola closed in on the second place runner. At the finish Eddie Diaz would score a hard earned first victory in his Shea Trucking racer while Cody Triola of Bay Shore made some late race moves for second in his Drexler Construction entry. Tom Pickerell of Huntington was third in his Encore Rentals Chevy.

Saddled with nothing but bad racing luck over the first three weeks of 2020 Joey Braun of Manorville rid his team of all the demons Saturday when he won the 20-lap INEX Legend Race Car feature event leading all 20-laps in the process. Braun wasted no time breaking to the race lead at the throw of the green flag chased by veteran Eric Hersey. A quick yellow on lap one for a minor incident set-up a double file restart with Ed Cheslak able to sneak under Hersey on lap 2 for second but just one lap later Hersey would reclaim the spot. As the race moved along Braun in his Buzz Chew Chevy was able to remain out front while Hersey was about to have some callers for second in Allan Pedersen and George Tomko Jr. With Hersey now distracted and racing luck firmly on his side “Blankets” Joey Braun was able to drive off to his second career victory. Eric Hersey of Commack was able to prevail in his Epic Tools entry for second while Allan Pedersen of Center Moriches was third in The Boiler Guy mount.

Jay Henschel of Levvitown collected the 20-lap Street Stock honors the second career triumph for the former Charger driver. Rhett Fogg broke our front at the start with Henschel second but a quick first lap caution slowed the race. On the ensuing double file restart Henschel would ride the outside lane to move out front over Fogg who as the laps clicked off was about to be in a torrid battle for second. Dave Antos the opening day winner made his way to Fogg’s rear bumper and in the closing laps of the contest the fight for second would be the one to watch. Every time Antos tried to make an inside run on Fogg for second Rhett was able to motor away. This was music to the ears of race leader Jay Henschel who was able to pull away to claim the victory in his Wantagh Avenue Automotive Chevy. Rhett Fogg of Westhampton in the Accu-Rhett Chevy was runner up while Dave Antos of Lindenhurst was third in the EP Milling & Sweeping Monte Carlo.

Franky Abbatiello of East Islip became the fourth first time winner on the night in the program closing 50-lap Gut & Go 4/6-Cylinder Enduro. Right from the start of the race Franky Abbatiello would be the driver to beat in his Bike Depot East Hyundai taking the early lead and never looking back The only obstacle would be the heavy lap traffic that is commonplace in these type races but Franky was equal to that task too carefully weaving his way through for the popular win. The Palmeri brothers, Joey Jr. and John of Lindenhurst were second and third in their J&J Towing machines.

NASCAR Modifieds: 1. Chris Young 2. Tom Rogers Jr. 3. Dave Brigati 4. Roger Turbush 5. Dylan Slepian 6. Howie Brode 7. Jack Handley Jr. 8. Jeremy McDermott 9. Justin Brown 10. Cory Midgett 11. Kyle Soper 12. CJ Lehmann 13. John Baker 14. John Beatty Jr. 15. Vinny Delaney 16. Glenn Steger 17. Michael Rutkoski DNS- Kyle Ellwood

Crate Modifieds: 1. Owen Grennan 2. Sean Glennon 3. Richie Davidowitz 4. Eric Hersey 5. AJ DeSantis 6. Steve Ratti 7. Matt Brode 8. Justin Brown 9. Mike Albasini 10. Michael Berner 11. Gerard Lawrence 12. Charlie Macwhinnie 13. Alex Calasanto 14. Lou Maestri 15. Dennis Krupski 16. Eddie Schutze 17. Kenny Southard DNS Terry Stiles & Chris Rogers

Figure Eights: 1. Joe Warren Jr. 2. Scott Pedersen 3. Gary Fritz Jr. 4. Ryan Warren 5. CJ Lehmann 6. Bryan Quilliam 7. Bob Dalke 8. Chris Elloitt 9. David White 10. Paul Cummings 11. Tom Ferrara 12. Brian Hansen

Blunderbusts (unofficial): 1. Eddie Diaz 2. Cody Triola 3. Tom Pickerell 4. Bill Wegmann Sr. 5. Alyssa Paprocky 6. Jim Laird Jr. 7. Tom Sullivan 8. Jarrett Campbell 9. Kyle Halpin 10. Gary Caldwell 11. Max Handley

Legend Race Cars: 1. Joey Braun 2. Eric Hersey 3. Allan Pedersen 4. George Tomko Jr. 5. Ed Cheslak 6. Kevin Nowak 7. Ray Fitzgerald 8. Anthony Colandro 9. Daniel Carter 10. Riely O’Keefe 11. Jim Sylvester 12. Shawn Wanat 13. Mike Benton 14. Mike Van Houten Jr. 15. Patrick Moore 16. Frank Hodge 17. Charlie Hodge 18. Chris Sinatro 19. Jeffrey Farruggia Jr. 20. Scott Cheslak 21. Chase Grennan 22. AJ Vasseur 23. David Strohmeyer 24. Jake Curran 25. Rich Braun

Street Stocks: 1. Jay Henschel 2. Rhett Fogg 3. Dave Antos 4. Chris Lescenski 5. Brian McCormack 6. David White 7. Roger Oxee 8. James Pape Jr. 9. Justin Ferreri 10. Sal Sinatro 11. James Dipietro 12. Phil LaManna 13. Danny Pizzo 14. Rob Blackmore

Gut & Go 4/6-Cylinder Enduro: 1. Franky Abbatiello 2. Joey Palmeri Jr. 3. John Palmeri 4. Chris Olivari 5. Donnie Oliver 6. Woot Lawrence 7. Zach Tyler 8. Carmine D’eredita 9. Thomas Coyle 10. Joseph DeSantis 11. Frank Raynor 12. Eric Germuth 13. Bob Haeger 14. Jenn Krpata 15. Jesse St. Clair 16. Jack Tessa 17. Peter Verwys Jr. 18 Will Raynor 19. Jason Savoy 20. George Astacio 21. Ryan Warren 22. David Cohen 23. Mark Raynor 24. Roy Stulz 25. Vincent Abbatiello Sr. 26. Patrick Collins 27. David Olivari 28. Bob Dalke Jr. 29. Vinny Abbatiello Jr. 30. Kim Hyde 31. Doug Tittle 32. Ed Laspina 33. Kevin Augustine 34. Charles Astacio 35. Robert Savoy 36. Anthony Paretta

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