NASCAR, Riverhead Raceway Announce Changes To Honor Eddie Partridge At Upcoming Whelen Mod Tour Race

Eddie Partridge (Photo: Fran Lawlor/RaceDayCT)

NASCAR, in conjunction with Riverhead Raceway management, will make some major format changes for the Sept. 17 Whelen Modified Tour event at the historic Long Island bullring in honor of former track owner and longtime team owner Eddie Partridge. 

It was announced Tuesday by NASCAR and Riverhead Raceway that the Sept. 17 event at Riverhead will be extended from 200 laps to 256 laps and will now include live infield pitting. 

The race will be the Eddie Partridge 256 with the No. 6 in the length of the race to honor Partridge, who long ran No. 6 Modified teams. 

Partridge passed away unexpectedly on Sept. 10, 2021 just hours after celebrating a Whelen Modified Tour victory with driver Ryan Preece at Richmond (Va.) Raceway.  

“Track general manager John Ellwood spearheaded this exciting change for the fans,” Riverhead Raceway co-owner Tom Gatz said in a release. “His enthusiasm for the track is unmatched, and we are excited about what this will mean for everyone in attendance in September.”

Partridge won the 2011 driver’s and owner’s championship on the Whelen Modified Tour with driver Ron Silk and also celebrated the owner’s championship in 2017 with primary team driver Ryan Preece. 

“Eddie was a larger-than-life figure in the Modified community, and it was a goal of his to bring this format to Riverhead,” said Jimmy Wilson, Whelen Modified Tour series director. “We know this will be a fitting homage to his legacy and can’t wait to put on a show he would be proud of.”

Partridge purchased Riverhead Raceway in 2015. 

“I’m committed to keeping Eddie’s memory alive and this will be a tribute to him,” Ellwood said. “We all know how great the Whelen Modified Tour racing is at Riverhead, and Eddie really wanted to add this live pit stop format to give the fans in the stands even more to cheer for.” 

Wilson told RaceDayCT Tuesday that NASCAR and Riverhead Raceway managment have formulated a design to have a frontstretch pit road and backstretch pit road on the infield of the quarter-mile oval. Wilson said the pitting procedure will be the same as most other short track facilities with infield pitting. 

“We’ve worked with folks at Riverhead Raceway and have done the math on it to where there will be adequate size pit boxes and pit road,” Wilson said. “There will be a wall that will separate the race track and pit road on both sides because you’re going to have a front straightaway pit road and a back straightaway pit road. And then an additional wall inside of there that the crews will be able to stand behind and protects them when cars come in making pit stops. There will be four rows or retaining walls when you look at the infield of Riverhead.” 

The Sept. 17 event is the third of three series events at Riverhead this season. Doug Coby won the Miller Lite 200 on May 14 and track regular Kyle Soper was victorious in the Buzz Chew Chevrolet Cadillac 200 on June 25. 


  1. As long as it is done safely.

    This could be awesome.

    Everything happening in front of the crowd.

  2. Others have and will discuss the obvious safety concerns. A riverhead Saturday night guy wins a tour race there and this format change will all but end their chances now. Track position is critical there and now you have tour teams with crews who do pit stops all the time racing against Riverhead teams with no experience doing live stops. It could even discourage some teams from entering the race as it would entail buying nascar approved safety gear for over the wall crew.

  3. That was my exact same thought. Not good for the Riverhead teams one would think, potential danger, more laps for Tour teams in an already brutal stretch run and more race complications to have to prepare for.
    But it all came from or is supported by Riverhead from the length change to the pit design.
    The Riverhead teams can’t be that upset about it. Or perhaps they are more concerned with their own points battles and this is just a diversion a hand full of teams participating in that most don’t really care about.
    In any event it’s banked, happening and it should be pretty great.

  4. I like this plan the starting field might be limited to 26 starters.
    I don’t think they will have more cars then that anyway.
    I wonder if Ryan Preece will be there.
    I wish I could attend unfortunately I have to work that weekend.
    If it works out maybe they can have infield pitting for all of the future
    tour shows and even the All Star 300.
    I wish all that’s involved best of luck that weekend.
    I will be watching from my home in Delaware on Flo Sports.

  5. ALFRED WOODS says

    Having the very talented Riverhead modified drivers and the very talented NWMT drivers together is exciting enough, but the addition of infield pitting should add extra interest for the race fans!! The thrill of watching the great Richie Evans, Fred Harbach and Charlie Jarzombek in the past will never be forgotten! If one additional driver could be contacted, this field would be even greater and make my 75th birthday weekend that much more special – #60 Matt Hirschman. He has never been to Riverhead, and the fans would be introduced to another great racer! I have seen him on FloRacing, but not in person. Looking ahead to a fantastic evening of racing, as Riverhead carries on the tradition!!

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