Dan Jivanelli, Jack Orlando And Fred “Spider” Ligon Class of ’21 Cromarty Wall Of Champions Inductees Sept. 4 At Riverhead


(Press Release from Riverhead Raceway)

Saturday night September 4th Riverhead Raceway owners Eddie & Connie Partridge and Tom Gatz will proudly induct three successful and popular former driving stars onto the Cromarty Wall of Champions right after completion of opening ceremonies. Dan Jivanelli of Hampton Bays, Jack Orlando of Calverton and the late Fredrick “Spider” Ligon of Riverhead will all take their rightful place on the wall that greets fans in the third turn midway.

Dan Jivanelli’s racing journey at Riverhead Raceway and onto the Cromarty Wall of Champion began in the old Figure Eight class at the track that complemented the Modifieds from 1969 through 1973 utilizing 8-Cylinder machines.

In a three year span between 1971 and 1973 Dan won six events and two track titles in 1972 & 1973 beating out the likes of soon to be brother in law Greg Sacks, Don Howe and Dan Turbush. That time in the Figure Eights morphed into what would turn out to be a successful driving career in the NASCAR Modifieds with it not taking the auto body shop owner long to find the winners circle scoring what would be the first of twenty one career NASCAR Modified wins on August 2nd, 1975.

The 21 wins ties him with legendary driver Fred Harbach for 17th on the all time win list. In 1989 Dan and his George Nash owned NASCAR Modified team won the Riverhead Raceway championship. Some years later with no NASCAR Modified driving gig available Dan Jivanelli was tabbed by Late Model car owners John & Sheryl Heather to drive their potent machine leading them to the 1995 title at Riverhead. Over the years Dan won a total of 11 LM races some of which came from a driving stint for former car owners Talmage Farms of East Hampton. The Riverhead Raceway book on Dan Jivanelli reads 38 career victories and four track championships spread across three divisions.

Back in the mid 1980’s through the 90’s there was no more a competitive or popular racing class at the track than the Chargers, 30-40 cars vying to make the 20 car feature weekly turned qualifying heats races into mini feature events. “Jumping” Jack Orlando excelled during those glory days of the Charger division scoring his first of 24 career victories on June 29th, 1985.

As talented as Jack was behind the wheel of his famed #99 racers that always hit the track in showroom condition he was equally as talented as a race car fabricator building his own cars instead of going out and purchasing an “over the counter” car. Orlando was also willing to share his fabricating talents and race car set up prowess with his fellow competitors.

In the mid-2000’s Jack landed a ride with former Charger foe Daryl Baker to steer his potent Late Model machines and the pairing was an instant success taking six wins between 2005 and 2006, Jack would add one more LM win to his career total later in his career. In 2016 the Crate Modifieds were introduced at Riverhead Raceway and with the class racing on was was essentially the old Charger tire Jack and son Kevin who also was now racing were in. Jack would go on to win 3 times in the Crate Mods upping his career Riverhead total to 34 victories over 3 divisions.

Right up until his passing in January of 2014 there was no more a popular former driver in the modern day Riverhead Raceway pit area than Frederick “Spider” Ligon, patrolling the pits with his ever present smile and of course cigar hanging from the corner of his mouth folks flocked towards him.

A lifelong Riverhead resident Spider blazed the trail for African American race drivers at the track during the turbulent racial times of the late 50’s and early 60’s becoming the first black driver to compete. Among Spider’s early race cars he drove was one for his dear friend Charlie Turbush in the Lazy One machine. Currently the Ligon and Turbush families remain close with Spider’s son Fred Jr. a partner on the Crate Modified race car driven by Charlie’s great grandson Mark Stewart of Riverhead. Stewart has won twice in 2021 under the Spider Web racing banner. Spider was co-champion of the Sportsman class in 1965 with legendary Frank “Mississippi” Curtis and 13 years later won the 1978 Bomber championship with a well placed win on July 21st of that year putting him squarely in the title fight.

Aside from the Cromarty Wall of Fame inductions Saturday September 4th will be a busy part of Labor day weekend with the Buzz Chew Chevrolet NASCAR Modifieds, Crate Modifieds, Blunderbusts, Super Pro trucks, INEX Legends, Vintage All Starts and a School Bus Demolition Derby being presented. For the event start times and pricing please visit www.riverheadraceway.com, e-mails reach the track at [email protected] with our phone number remains 631-842-RACE

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