Slipped In: Anthony Nocella Wins In Dramatic Style In Islip 300 Marathon At Riverhead Raceway 

Anthony Nocella celebrates victory in the Islip 300 Saturday at Riverhead Raceway (Photo: Fran Lawlor/RaceDayCT)

It’s been a season of fabulous firsts behind the wheel of a Modified for Anthony Nocella. 

On July 16 the Woburn, Mass. veteran scored his first career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory after a wild finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. 

On Oct. 22 he recorded his first career Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series victory in the Haunted Hundred at Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway. 

Saturday at Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway it was another first for the Woburn, Mass. Modified racing veteran. 

Nocella used some late race dramatics to pass Matt Hirschman and win the caution-marred marathon Islip 300 Saturday at Riverhead. 

It was the first career victory at the legendary facility for Nocella, who took home a $7,000 paycheck for the win. 

“The whole second half of this year – we had troubles in the beginning of the year with a lot of motor problems, we didn’t run good – but the second half of the year we started going strong and I’m just glad to keep it going. 

“I just want to thank all my guys for working hard. I really make them work for it. I kind of throw a lot of changes at to make me happy and that seemed work out today.” 

Riverhead regular John Beatty Jr. of Merrick, N.Y. was second and Hirschman, of Northampton, Pa., third. 

Nocella seemed to take the lead from Hirschman at about lap 291 but caution flew and Hirschman put back to the spot. Following the restart Nocella nearly lost second place to Beatty before battling back to Hirschman’s bumper. On the next lap Nocella got under Hirschman off of turn two. Contact in going into turn three between the two got Hirschman sliding through the corner and Nocella took advantage of the open door. Beatty followed Nocella on the low lane to second and Hirschman straightened out getting back on the frontstretch. Nocella went unchallenged the rest of the way to the checkered. 

“Obviously I didn’t want to get into him like that, but my guys worked that hard all day,” Nocella said. “… We kept getting a run on him. He did what he had to do. He tried to put it on the apron and that time I felt like I was there enough to give it a shot.” 

Said Hirschman: “I would have liked to have won it. So close there leading quite a bit there at the end. [Nocella] had so much more speed at the end. Obviously some of that is that he pitted a little bit later for tires. But really, no excuses, we just got beat by a faster car.” 

Beatty carried the torch for the track regulars. 

“I had a really good car tonight, it just didn’t play out the way I thought,” Beatty said. “With 20 [laps] to go when [Hirschman] was in the lead, I thought I was a little bit better than him, I had a chance and the caution came. A lot of cautions tonight. That wasn’t how I wanted to race it but all in all a pretty good night.” 

Islip 300 Results

1. Anthony Nocella 2. John Beatty Jr. 3. Matt Hirschamn 4. Matt Brode 5. Justin Brown 6. Kyle Bonsignore 7. Brett Meservey 8. Jeff Goodale 9. JB Fortin 10. Mike Christopher Jr. 11. Chris Turbush 12. Dylan Slepian 13. Jack Handley Jr. 14. Walter Sutcliffe 15. Roger Turbush 16. Jason Agugliaro 17. Andrew Krause 18. Michael Rutkoski 19. Timmy Solomito 20. Kyle Soper 21. JR Bertuccio 22. Anthony Bello 23. Artie Pedersen III 24. Allan Pedersen 25. Chuck Hossfeld 26. Ken Heagy 27. Dillon Steuer 28. Jimmy Blewett


  1. Suitcase Jake says

    Congratulations Anthony and Team … The Fastest Car Won in the END… This track was on my bucket list …. But after watching that marathon it was really painful .. like a bad movie that you stayed to see the end… 11am until 830pm is just horrible… I will skip this stop on the Suitcase Jake Racetrack Tour of the USA…can’t even imagine sitting in the stands for 9.5 hours …. Too small.. too many wrecked equipment… too many yellows… 300 laps is painful … what happened to the infield pitting ?? Tour race it worked ??

  2. knuckles mahoney says

    Blewett looked like a complete Idiot running down the track. Easily the dumbest thing I have seen all year.

  3. David Fisher says

    Terrible race. Glad Nocella won, but it was painful to watch. And hopefully they can swap announcers before the next race there to add a little enthusiasm. i tuned in during a caution and watched an open pit gate for about 20 seconds before anyone said a word. That was frustrating, but it turned out to be the highlight.

  4. Tell you what, seeing Blewett jogging around the track chasing a guy in a race car was impressive. Impressive for his physical fitness and the fact he was willing to take on a car if he caught it.
    On the other hand was Fortin the culprit? Looked to me like Nocella making it three wide forcing Fortin up the track may have been the real cause for getting walled.

  5. Jimmy Blewett has never been in a wreck where the other drivers are not at fault. Now Fortin has been known to make some bonehead moves but i didn’t see this as his fault.

  6. Shame the 15 and 66 cars were lost at lap 277 – would have been a far more competitive ending to the race – once the 92 car took the lead with only a few laps left he won easily as if he had rocket boosters, blew by the 5 and 12 cars and they had no chance – beautiful day sunshine, 70 degrees, blue skies amazing for November. Very very long day due to delays – was there from noon till the ending at around 8:30 pm.

  7. steve jesus says

    How about Brett Meservey restarting at the rear and finishing seventh. Never even saw the track before, raced everyone clean as always. All the way from Brewster on Cape Cod! Big Dan is watching and smiling.

  8. That was brutal… just brutal.

    Glad the weather cleared up to allow this to happen.

    An extra distance race should always count all laps. All those yellows going nowhere were just painful and brutal, and made this drag on.

    There needs to be a mercy rule.

    If an extra distance race such as this is not going to count yellow laps, then there needs to be a time limit.

    Or, yellow laps do not count for the first three yellow flags, after that, all laps count.

    An extra distance race should be an exciting gladiator event, this was just brutal.

  9. Yellow flag stuff was ridiculous … but a good race generally and a great final 10 laps … congrats to the top 3 … crowd was cool and I actually learned a lot of stuff from some of the guys in the stands.

  10. Suitcase Jake says

    DR. Right.. You deserve some sort of Die Hard Fan Trophy for sitting through That amount of hours…. the parts suppliers win again….Carnage….

  11. Great job by Nocella 92 team! Nice 7th by Meservey as well!

  12. Nice win by Anthony in the Race Works 92!!

  13. I believe yellow laps counted until 25 to go??

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