JB Fortin Scores Modified Victory At Riverhead Raceway

(Press Release from Riverhead Raceway)

JB Fortin (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

During the off-season JB Fortin of Holtsville and family made the difficult decision to leave the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour as a series regular, opening the door for a return to weekly Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series competition at Riverhead Raceway. Saturday, JB Fortin completed his racing homecoming with his 4th career victory winning the 50-lap feature event for his first victory since the 2021 Islip 300.  

Rising talent Mark Stewart and JB Fortin brought the field to green with Fortin getting a great launch out of the Newsday Go Zone to move out front while Stewart settled into second. With more than the first half run under green flag conditions, JB was pulling away turning in lap times in the 11.8 range. Oddly enough his big lead would be erased on lap 29 when John Fortin Sr. brought out the first caution with a non-contact spin off the second corner. When the race resumed JB picked up where he left off out front while JR Bertuccio moved from third to second passing Stewart.

After the race enjoyed a 14-lap green flag Owen Grennan and Michael Rutkoski got together up the backstretch, with Grennan’s car coming to a grinding halt with heavy damage in turn three setting up another restart. However, on that attempt to resume several cars stacked up on the inside with John Beatty Jr. the odd man out hitting the inside wall. When the race did resume Fortin held his advantage over Bertuccio and Stewart, the latter now feeling pressure form Chris Young for third. That battle for position would intensify in the closing laps with Young hanging his car to the outside of Stewart.

When the event concluded JB Fortin took home the win in the John’s Fuel Oil/John’s Tree Removal Chevy. “Just can’t thank my parents, John & Nicole for everything they do for me, my crew chief Kenny Lechner, he and I were arguing today a bit on set-up, glad I listened”. As for the race itself, “I knew restarts would be the key, I am glad I hit them right. It’s so great to win in front of my wife Eriin and it’s my first win for my daughter”. Fortin boasted. 

JR Bertuccio of Centereach was runner-up in the North Fork Sanitation Chevy while Chris Young of Calverton rim rode his way to third place money in the Earth’s Splendor entry. Mark Stewart of Riverhead and Justin Brown of Manorville were fourth and fifth. 

AJ DeSantis of Yaphank ended a four-year dry spell when he topped the 25-lap Eagle Chevrolet Crate Modified feature earning his second career win. After heat race passing points earned DeSantis the pole position, an opportunity he was not going to waste grabbing the race lead at the drop of the green. Veteran Mike Albasini chased AJ over the first few laps of the tilt before he was overtaken by Michael Berner on lap 7. Having some so close to winning since that first win DeSantis was not going to let anything spoil his fun on this night as he drove the Sunoco Strong Oil Chevy to victory. “I started this journey after my grandpa Tom Tillotosn passed in 2019, we won pretty quickly, but I never thought it would take this long to get back” the happy winner proclaimed. “My parents, my family and most of all my team never stopped believing, even at times when I did”. Michael Berner of Patchogue brought the Drifters Kitchen entry home second while Chase Grennan of Glen Cove was third in the Dillner Precast racer.

The Blunderbusts were set to open their Miller Lite Triple Crown Series with a 30-lap main event. What broke out instead resembled a WWE Battle Royal, complete with body slams and locker room brawl. When the dust settled opening night winner “Slick Pick” Tom Pickerell of Huntington won his second race of the season, 31st of his career. Earle on Pickerell broke to the early lead from the pole chased closely by the like of Cody Triola, Jim Laird Jr. Joe Densieski and Bill Wegmann Jr. Defending champion Triola and Laird were eliminated when they threw each other off the top rope on lap 22 while fighting for the lead. Their body slams left the inside open for Pickerell, who had dropped to third on a restart to reclaim the lead. Once back to the lead Pickerell may have thought things would get easier over the final 8-laps with Triola and Laird done for the race. That was not the case as Wegmann and Densieski stayed glued to Tom’s rear bumper over the final two miles. In the end Tom Pickerell would survive scoring the win in the G-Force of Lindenhurst Chevy. Bill Wegmann Jr of Patchogue in his sponsor wanted Caprice was runner-up, with Joe Densieski of Riverhead third in the Hydro Action Chevy.

Jack Handley Jr. of Medford won this second consecutive 20-lap Super Pro Truck main event on the strength of a late race pass. Mark Stewart, subbing for his grandfather “Dynamite” Dan Turbush started the race from the pole and broke to the early lead at the start. Frank Dumicich Jr. settled into second behind Mark, who formerly drove for Frank. All eyes started focusing on Jack Handley Jr. who was making his way towards the front, moving to third on lap 8, and three laps later by Dumicich for second. However, Stewart seeking his 26th career win in the SPT ranks remained out front while Handley closed in. On lap 18 the storyline would change as Stewart while lapping a slower truck went to the outside of the lapper off turn two. When they hit the third turn Handley saw an opener under the lapped truck and Stewart who was up in the marbles and Jack pounced taking the lead as the white flag flew. That was enough to earn Jack Handley Jr. his 22nd career win for the East Side Building Toyota team. Frank Dumicich Jr. of East Quogue raced his OKpetroluemarketplace.com back to a second-place finish on the final lap while sister Erin Solomito of Hampton Bays was third in the Maximum Canine Dodge Ram. Stewart, driving for John Jay Prevette, fell to fourth on the final lap. 

The Miller Lite Triple Crown Series got underway for the INEX Legend Race Cars with a 30-lap tilt. Opening night winner Kyle Ellwood of Riverhead would prevail for his 21st career victory in a hotly contested race. Riely O’Keefe led most recent winner Ben Morabito early on, but a quick yellow for a Richie Davidowitz slowed the pace on lap 3. On the restart O’Keefe remained out front with veteran Ray Fitzgerald now second. On lap 10 Kyle Ellwood began to flex his muscles passing Fitzgerald to the outside for second and setting sail for leader O’Keefe. Over the following 10-lap segment Ellwood sized O’Keefe up for a pass finally seizing an opportunity completing an inside pass on lap 21. O’Keefe wasn’t finished though, as he quickly attempted to cross Ellwood over off turn two on lap 22 with both Fitzgerald and Morabito right on the leading duo’s rear bumpers. When the checkers fell Kyle Ellwood steering the Star Metal Building racer took home a hard-fought win. Riely O’Keefe of Manorville settled for second in the Crystal Clear Window Cleaning entry while Ray Fitzgerald of Manorville was third in the EP Milling & Sweeping machine. 

A month later than scheduled, the Mini Stocks opened their 2024 campaign with a 20-lap contest. The Warren brothers, Ryan and Joe brought the field to green with Joe taking command of the race from the start, Ryan sadly had his hood fly up when the race started, forcing him out of contention.  With nothing but clean air in front of him Joe Warren Jr. added to his lead on the all-time win list leading all the way for his 13th career victory in the Schmidt’s Country Market Cavalier. Paul Wojcik of Patchogue was runner-up in the RFG Electrical Contractors Honda while Chris Olivari of Coram brought the Middle Country Automotive entry home third. 

Mike Mujsce Jr. of Hampton Bays scored the 30-lap 4/6-Cylinder Gut & Go Endure win, leading from green to checker in his East West Pest Control machine. Defending champion Zach Tyler of Cutchogue was runner-up in the Miller & Caggiano Attorney at Law entry with Mike Mujsce III of Hampton Bays third in the Mike’s Auto Service of Quogue mount. 

With a last lap pass, Max Handley of Medford won the School Bus Oval race over “V-Ride” Mike Van Houten Jr. of Jamesport.

Fourth generation racer KJ Curtis of Hampton Bays won the JuiceBox Racers event. KJ is the great grandson of Frank “Mississippi” Curtis, grandson to former Blunderbust champion Frank Curtis Jr. and son to current Street Stock racer Kyle Curtis and wife Tricia. 

NASCAR Modifieds: 1. JB Fortin 2. JR Bertuccio 3. Chris Young 4. Mark Stewart 5. Justin Brown 6. Jack Handley Jr. 7. Dylan Slepian 8. John Fortin 9. Dave Brigati 10. Chris Rogers 11. Owen Grennan 12. Michael Rutkoski 13. John Beatty Jr. 14. CJ Lehmann

Crate Modifieds: 1. AJ DeSantis 2. Michael Berner 3. Chase Grennan 4. Max Handley 5. Eric Hersey 6. Mike Albasini 7. Andrew Farnham 8. Stephen Coleman 9. Joey Braun 10. Vinny Delaney 11. Tom Sekulski 12. Kyle Ellwood 13. Charles Macwhinnie DNS-Chevy Rommeney

Blunderbusts: 1. Tom Pickerell 2. Bill Wegmann Jr. 3. Joe Densieski 4. Brad Bess 5. Bill Wegmann Sr. 6. Anthony Copobianco 7. Ryan Warren 8. Liam Macwhinnie DNS-Matt Triola DQ- Cody Triola, Jim Laird Jr. 

Super Pro Trucks: 1. Jack Handley Jr. 2. Frank Dumicich Jr. 3. Erin Solomito 4. Mark Stewart 5. Mat Triola 6. Jimmy Rennick Jr. 7. Lou Maestri 8. Dave Koenig 9. Phil LaManna 10. Frank Dumicich Sr. 11. Tony Naglieri 12. Cillian Tennant 13. Liam Patrick 14. Rob Corwin 15. Brandon Hubbard

Legend Race Cars: 1. Kyle Ellwood 2. Riely O’Keefe 3. Ray Fitzgerald 4. Rodney Dowless 5. Ben Morabito 6. Kevin Nowak 7. Anthony Marsh 8. Jim Sylvester 9. Christopher Coleman 10. Jeff Farruggia Jr. 11. Charles Hodge 12. Pat Moore 13. Nick Morabito 14. Chevy Rommeney 15. Chris Sinatro 16. Alex Halinar 17. Philip Alaimo 18. Richie Davidowitz 19. Ed Stadtlander 20. Michael Metcalf 21. Rich Braun 22. Steve Woytysiak 23. Mike Van Houten Jr. 24. Jayden Glennerster 25. Will Sipala DQ-Joey Braun

Mini Stocks: 1. Joe Warren Jr. 2. Paul Wojcik 3. Chris Olivari 4. CJ Zukowski 5. Joe Cooke Jr. 6. Euoghan Heyward 7. Jake Innes 8. Mike Mujsce Jr. 9. William Garcia 10. Tyler Farrell 11. Charles Astacio 12. Marissa Stewart 13. Hunter Cummings 14. Ryan Warren DNS- Scott Setek

4/6-Cylinder Gut & Go: 1. Mike Mujsce Jr. 2. Zach Tyler 3. Mike Mujsce III 4. John Palmeri 5. David Olivari 6. Chris Olivari 7. Joey Palmeri Jr. 8. Jack Tessa 9. Cynthia Handley 10. Ed LaSpina 11. Ryan Warren 12. Charles Astacio 13. Tallen Russell 14. Franky Abbatiello 15. Vinny Abbatiello 16. Jeremy Rand 17. George Astacio 18. Chris Smith 19. Don Meyer 20. Taylor Schewire 21. Mike Kowalski 22. Robert Sherry 23. Jesse Bichsel 24. Melissa Tofalli 25. Raymond Rau 26. Hans Kiesling 27. Will Farrell 28. Anthony Paretta 29. Mike Fragola 30. Aiden Farrell 31. Wendy Rommeney 

School Bus Race: Winner- Max Handley

JuiceBox Racers: Winner-KJ Curtis


  1. hell of a race it was

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