John Beatty Jr. In Right At Right Time For Third Riverhead Modified Win Of 2024

(Press Release from Riverhead Raceway)

Summer is barely two days old; but the heat was turned up Saturday evening at Riverhead Raceway, not even a 90-minute rain delay could cool the hot Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series on track Schools Out Extravaganza excitement. When the dust settled at the conclusion of the 50-lap NASCAR Modified event, defending champion John Beatty Jr. of Merrick scored his third win over the past five races. While skill and speed earned Beatty his first two triumphs of 2024, this win came with a sprinkling of some good racing fortune. 

Kyle Ellwood, making his first start of the season with Ken Matlach Motorsports, with whom he won the 2023 Crown Jewel Series Ted Christopher Cup with, broke from the pole into the race lead over Mark Stewart who started alongside. Yellow flew for a Tom Sekulski solo spin on lap 7 bunching the field up, Chris Young worked his way past Stewart for second on the restart. The race only went another four laps before the second caution flew for Timmy Solomito who spun and hit the third turn wall after battling with Stewart for third. Timmy, along with Michael Rutkoski who had nowhere to go were done for the race. Again, Ellwood mastered the second restart with Young remaining second. The race settled in for an extended green flag run that found Ellwood getting away from all comers.

As the race hit the 30-lap mark the driver on the march was JB Fortin, the former Islip 300 winner came from deep in the field to challenge Young for second, successfully making a pass on lap 35. Fortin was now left with the daunting task of trying to reel in the high-flying Ellwood, a task that became easier when a late race yellow flew on lap 44 for an incident involving Young and Stewart in the fourth turn. With six laps left in the contest Fortin lined-up to the right of Ellwood for the resumption of the race. Ellwood edged out front over Fortin when the green reappeared, but Fortin was not throwing in the towel riding the outside lane. Things really intensified as the duo took the white flag with Fortin holding an advantage over Ellwood. The duo touched off the fourth corner and racing to the first corner on the final lap Ellwood got into Fortin sending him into a spin. The yellow flew and during the caution Ellwood was sent to the rear of the field by race control, Kyle opted to head pit side. 

That wild turn of events left John Beatty Jr., who found himself third after the Young/Stewart dust up as the new race leader with Dave Brigati now second for the green, white, checker finish. When the race went back green to complete the final two laps, John Beatty Jr. drove the MSM Elite Motorsports entry to his 13th career win, tying him with Frank Vigliarolo Jr. for 31st all-time. Afterwards, Beatty admitted they may of stole one, “We were just a little off tonight, don’t know if we had a bad tire or what it was. I hate to win this way but when the leaders got together and went to the rear, we had one fall our way”. 

Jack Handley Jr. of Medford was able to race his way to second over the final two laps, charging from deep in the field earlier in the Hydro Action Chevy. Veteran Dave Brigati of Calverton was third in the Coors Light Silver Bullet. CJ Lehmann of Lake Grove also came from deep in the field for fourth while Dylan Slepian of Dix Hills placed fifth. 

The Super Pro Trucks competed in a 30-lap Miller Lite Triple Crown Series event and just like the Modifieds provided an intense late race fight for the win. Sean Glennon of Northport, making his first start of 2024 took the victory. Glennon and Jack Handley Jr. made up the front row for the event and raced side-by-side in line-up formation over the first 7 circuits, an appetizer for things to come later. After Handley took sole possession of the tilt on lap 8, Jack was able to find some breathing room over Glennon with the race remaining green. That all came to a grinding halt when Jimmy Rennick Jr. stalled with a distributor issue on lap 24 drawing a caution flag. Side-by-side for the restart Handley and Glennon waged war for the win over the final six laps with Handley holding the slight advantage. Glennon kept fighting alongside the leader and as the duo came off the fourth corner to what was sure to be a photo finish Sean Glennon took the win in the Glennon Construction machine by 0.103. It was the 9th time Glennon won a SPT event. Jack Handley Jr. in the East Side Building Toyota settled for second while Mark Stewart of Riverhead completed the podium in the Amish Electric racer.

CJ Lehmann of Lake Grove entered rarified air Saturday when he won his first career Street Stock event, leading green to checker in a 20-lap affair. For Lehmann it marks the fifth division he has won in at Riverhead as he boasts NASCAR Modified, Crate Modified, Figure Eight and Charger wins prior. Only Dave Brigati and Tom Rogers Jr. has won in five classes previous. Steering a car that was built over the winter as “a father/son bonding” in CJ’s words, Lehmann outran pole sitter Alyssa Paprocky to the race lead when the race started, with Brian Brown quickly coming to second. Brown spent the entire distance of the non-stop race trying to find a way past the 1977 Nova bodied racer of Lehmann but to no avail as CJ took home the win. Afterwards CJ thanked his sponsor, himself. Brown of Calverton brought the Eastport Feeds machine home second while Alyssa Paprocky of Rocky Point was third in her Middle Country Automotive Chevy.

CJ Zukowski of Riverhead took home the win in the Mini Stock feature, a scheduled 30-lap Miller Lite Triple Crown Series race cut short five laps by rain. Defending champion Joe Cooke Jr. paced the race over the first 8-laps pressured by Zukowski. After several laps of sizing up Cooke for the lead, Zukowski executed what would be the winning pass off the fourth turn as the field started the 9th lap. Cooke chased Zukowski for two laps before dropping out with a flat. That left Tony Collinsworth and Chris Olivari left to challenge the leader. On lap 25 a red flag waved for a fire on the Eoughan Hayward entry on the infield, Hayward exited the car unharmed. During the red flag the rains came starting the 90-minute delay. With 25-laps complete CJ Zukowski in the Walls if Fane Cavalier earned his first win of 2024, the 8th of his career tying him for third all-time with Mike Mujsce Jr. Chris Olivari of Coram was scored second in the Middle Country Automotive machine with Tony Collinsworth of Calverton third in the Walls of Fame entry.

In her first ever start at Riverhead Raceway, 8-year-old, third generation racer Leighton Van Houten of Wading River won the 10-lap Bock Auto Beginner Bandolero feature. Opening night winner Daxx Halpin, celebrating his 8th birthday broke to the early race lead but was soon under attack from his cousin Leighton. As the family feud exited the fourth turn to start the 4th lap. Van Houten threw her Riverhead Building Supply Bando to the outside passing Halpin for the lead and eventual victory. Halpin of Wading River was second in the Mike Van Houten Trucking mount with Leighton’s other cousin, Wyatt Goodale of Riverhead third in the GAF Roofing Bando. 

No question Emmett Grattan of Southold has come into his own this season, with the driver of the Southold IGA Bando scoring his second straight Bock Auto Bandolero Bandit 15-lap victory. Aria Ligon, winner of the final two races of 2023 broke out front early but Emmett Grattan made a successful pass for the top spot entering the first turn on lap 3. Once out front, Grattan hit his marks to remain perfect this season having won both races to date. Brooke Meyer of Riverhead, another vastly improved driver came home second in the WES Trailer Sales & Service Bandit, with defending champion Reid Halpin of Wading River rallying from an early race spin to finish third in the Mike Van Houten Trucking entry.

Defending Bock Auto Bandolero Outlaw champion Ben Morabito of Miller Place by earning 10th career win Saturday became the all-time leading Bandolero winner at Riverhead Raceway, breaking a tie with former champion Darren Krantz Jr. of Huntington. After Will Sipala paced Giavanna Agugliaro over the first two cycles, Morabito made his way to second on the third lap sneaking under Agugliaro in the first corner. A Jordan Ryan spin drew a yellow flag on lap 3, with the ensuing restart all Ben Morabito needed to put the MC-11 prepared Benimax Trucking entry out front. for good. Ben is also two-for-two in ’24. Will Sipala of Manorville was second at the finish in the Riteway Automotive Center machine, while Giavanna Agugliaro of Islip scored her best Outlaw finish with third in the Cesspool Pros entry.

Joe Warren Jr. of Ridge made up from his Mini Stock disappointment with victory on the 40-lap 4/6-Cyinder Gut & Go Enduro that concluded the long night of racing & rain delays. Mike Mujsce Jr of Hampton Bays was third, Chris Olivari of Coram completed the podium.

NASCAR Modifieds: 1. John Beatty Jr. 2. Jack Handley Jr. 3. Dave Brigati 4. CJ Lehmann 5. Dylan Slepian 6. Chris Young 7. Tom Rogers Jr. 8. Chase Grennan 9. JB Fortin 10. Justin Brown 11. Chris Rogers 12. JR Bertuccio 13. Kyle Ellwood 14. Owen Grennan 15. Tom Sekulski 16. Mark Stewart 17. Timmy Solomito 18. Michael Rutkoski

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

Street Stocks: 1. CJ Lehmann 2. Brian Brown 3. Alyssa Paprocky 4. Max Handley 5. Gerard Lawrence 6. John Harley 7. Dennis Kurras 8. Tom Sullivan 9. Charles Sudano 10. Chris Lescenski 11. Jarrod Hayes 12. Ricky Carman 13. Jake Curran 14. PJ McGay 15. Bob Dalke 16. James DiPietro 17. Kyle Halpin 18. Anthony Cacioppo 19. Danny Pizzo

Mini Stocks: 1. CJ Zukowski 2. Chris Olivari 3. Tony Collinsworth 4. Joe Warren Jr. 5. Paul Wojcik 6. Ryan Warren 7. Jake Innes 8. Tyler Farrell 9. Eoughan Hayward 10. William Garcia  11. Hunter Cummings 12. Marissa Stewart 13. Joe Cooke Jr. 14. Charles Astacio

Bandolero Beginner: 1. Leighton Van Houten 2. Daxx Halpin 3. Wyatt Goodale 4. Mackenzie Ulmet DNS- Emily Gatz

Bandolero Bandits: 1. Emmett Grattan 2. Brooke Meyer 3. Reid Halpin 4. Mason Goodale 5. Aria Ligon 6. Antonio D’Alonzo 7. Layla Quilliam 8. John Alaimo 9. Blake Grattan 10. Christian Ryan DNS-Tyler Oxee

Bandolero Outlaws: 1. Ben Morabito 2. Will Sipala 3. Giavanna Agugliaro 4. Thomas Grattan 5. Kix Bock 6. Tucker Bock 7. Madison Tomaszewski 8. Madison White 9. Ayden Alvarado 10. Michael Berry 11. Jordan Ryan 12. Grace Cheslak 

Gut & Go Enduro: 1. Joe Warren Jr. 2. Mike Mujsce Jr. 3. Chris Olivari 4. Mike Mujsce Sr. 5. Eric Germuth 6. Joey Palmeri Jr. 7. Mike Mujsce III 8. Franky Abbatiello 9. David Olivari 10. John Palmeri 11. Ed LaSpina 12. Mark Duerwald 13. Vinny Abbatiello 14. Steve Jappell 15. Anthony Paretta 16. Chris Smith 17. Mike Kowalski 18. Jack Handley Sr. 19. George Astacio 20. Jack Tessa 21. Ryan T Warren 22. Wendy Rommeney 23. Bob Dalke 24. Melissa Tofalli 25. Talon Russell 26. Will Farrell 27. Jesse St. Clair 28. Tyler Farrell 29. Aiden Farrell 30. Michael Halfen 31. Charkes Astacio 32. Frank Raynor 33. Robert Sherry 34. Donald Meyer 35, Mina Timmons DNS-Mike Fragola 

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