Eric Hersey, Ray Fitzgerald, Gerard Lawrence And Chris Olivari Score Victories At Riverhead

(Press Release from Riverhead Raceway)

Prior to the Eddie Partridge 256 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event Saturday at Riverhead Raceway four Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series features were presented with two of the four winners decided in post race teach. Eric Hersey of Commack was declared the 25-lap Eagle Auto Mall Crate Modified winner in post race tech, as was Chris Olivari of Coram who was declared the 20-lap Mini Stock winner. INEX Legend Race Car victory Ray Fitzgerald of Manorville and Street Stock winner Gerard Lawrence of Miller Place earned their WMT prelim wins in a more conventional manner.

In the Crate Modifieds Charles Macwhinnie broke to the early race lead and would stay out front over the entire 25-lap distance seemingly winning his first career race, a scenario Macwhinnie had play out back on August 20th. After Macwhinnie crossed the line for what was thought to be his first ever win a month ago, track officials noticed the muffler on Charles car became dislodged bringing about a automatic DQ after leading 25 laps in another green to checker affair. Saturday Macwhinnie’s night turned sour in post race teach where it was discovered a had an unapproved carburetor on his machine. That turn of event moved Eric Hersey up one spot scoring his second win of the season. Hersey passed Dennis Krupski for second on lap 3 and that turned out to be the winning move for the driver of the Jack Anthony Pools Chevy, The win is the third of Eric’s Crate Modified career. AJ Desantis of Yaphank was runner-up in the Strong Oil Chevy while Michael Berner of Patchogue claimed third in his M3 Technology entry.

The 20-lap INEX Legend Race Car feature event took it’s toll and driver and machine and when the rough and tumble race was over veteran driver Ray Fitzgerald scored his first win of the season, ninth of his career. Young lions Chris Sinatro led Chase Van Houten over the first four laps of the contest before Van Houten got by for the lead with an inside pass on lap 5. Shortly after “the big one” erupted on the backstretch when a seven car pile up caused heavy damage to several cars, luckily all the drivers were okay. When the race resumed Chase Van Houten led Chris Sinatro until lap 11 When Chase’s father Brad moved by for second. What set up as a son-father duel for the lead lasted only two laps when the second big wreck of the race unfolded when Brad and other cars lost the handle in some fluid off turn two on lap 13.

When that mess was cleared the double file restart saw the younger Van Houten joined by Ray Fitzgerald for the double file restart and when the race resumed Fitzgerald quickly moved out front on lap 14. One lap later another cagey veteran Jim Sylvester, recovering from an early race spin fought his way to the second and glued himself to Fitzgerald’s rear bumper. In the end Ray Fitzgerald in the EP Milling & Sweeping racer would hold on over the final five laps for the win that moves him into a tie for 7th on the all time win list with Joey Braun. Jim Sylvester of Massapequa was second in the Joe Ryan Race Cars machine while Chase Van Houten of Wading River crossed the line third in the Terra Vite Northfork Winery & Vineyard racer. 

In the 20-lap Street Stock tilt Rhett Fogg led lap 1 when the green flag fell on the field but he was quickly overtaken on lap 2 by a strong running Danny Pizzo. Once to the lead Pizzo appeared to be lining himself up for his first career win with Fogg still filling his mirror Just after halfway Gerard Lawrence who started the race from 5th was starting to make some noise passing Fogg to the outside on lap 11 for second and then on the 12th lap still riding the outside line Lawrence worked his way by Pizzo for the race lead. Once Lawrence put the Lafo’s Glass Chevy out front he’d lead the rest of the way to collect his second win of ’22, fifth of his career. Rhett Fogg of Westhampton was runner-up in his Accu-Rhett Chevy, while Greg Harris of Riverhead crossed the line third in the River Walk Bar & Grill machine.

The Mini Stocks ran a green to checker 20-lap feature and when the race concluded it appeared Chris Elixson of Riverhead had scored his first career win. However joy turned into gloom for the Elixson camp when his car was found with unapproved tires stripping him of that first career triumph. Chris Olivari who moved by Justin Squires with just over five laps to go would be declared the winner in his sponsor wanted entry, his second win of the season and of his career. Joe Cooke Jr. of Shirley was second in the Island Technology Honda while Tony Collinsworth of Calverton placed third in the Suffolk Tree Work Chevy Cobalt. 

Crate Modifieds: 1. Eric Hersey 2. AJ Desantis 3. Michael Berner 4. Chase Grennan 5. Owen Grennan 6. Michael Rutkoski 7. Vinny Delaney 8. Alex Colasanto 9. Terry Stiles 10. Mike Albasini 11. DJ Doyle 12. Jack Baldwin 13. Mark Wolf 14. Eddie Schutze 15. Max Handley 16. Dennis Krupski 17. Nick Morabito DQ-Charles Macwhinnie

Legend Race Cars: 1. Ray Fitzgerald 2. Jim Sylvester 3. Chase Van Houten 4. Eric Hersey 5. Nick Morabito 6. Mike Van Houten Jr. 7. Charlie Hodge 8. Jeff Farruggia Jr. 9. Mike Benton 10. Robert Henninger III 11. Jake Curran 12. Kevin Ohrnberger 13. Michael Metcalf 14. Richie Davidowitz 15. Brad Van Houten 16. Chris Sinatro 17. Joey Braun 18. Jason Castaldo 19. Michael Collier 20. Riely O’Keefe 21. Anthony Marsh 22. Christopher Coleman 23. Jayden Glennerster 24. Kevin Nowak 25. Kim Daniel DQ-Luke Baldwin

Street Stocks: 1. Gerard Lawrence 2. Rhett Fogg 3. Greg Harris 4. Danny Pizzo 5. Dave Antos 6. Jay Henschel 7. Jarrod Hayes 8. Dennis Kurras 9. Kyle Curtis 10. Tom Cocozza 11. Chris Lescenski 12. Alyssa Paprocky 13. Kyle Halpin 14. Luke Foerster 15. William Kennedy DNS- James DiPietro, Henry Cuesta
Mini Stocks: 1. Chris Olivari 2. Joe Cooke Jr. 3. Tony Collinsworth 4. CJ Zukowski 5. Justin Squires 6. Paul Wojcik 7. Jesse St. Clair 8. Scott Phillips 9. James O’Connell 10. Andrew Farnham DQ-Chris Elixson

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