Among competitors and spectators alike, the Eagle Auto Mall Crate Modified and INEX Legend Race Car divisions of the Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series of Riverhead Raceway are extremely successful and popular. Saturday afternoon during the Islip 300 for the Tour type Modifieds teams in both classes will showcase their talents with the Crate Modifieds set for a 50-lap event while the INEX Legend Race Cars race a 40-lap feature.
By Bob Finan
During the 2021 regular season thirty-three different drivers competed with the Crate Modifieds and for the second consecutive season “Big Money” Richie Davidowitz of East Moriches scored the championship for car owner Stan Morabito and Benimax Racing. The Crates averaged 21-22 cars weekly. In route to the title Davidowitz, a UPS Package Truck driver by trade delivered the freight with three feature wins. Davidowitz hopes for win number four Saturday. 2021 was indeed a career year for Vinny Delaney of East Islip who debuted in the Crate Modifieds class after a year up with the big club, the NASCAR Modifieds. Like Davidowitz, Delaney was a three time winner in ’21 starting with his Father’s Day win June 20th and will be gunning for number four Saturday afternoon. The other three time winner on the season Mark Stewart of Riverhead will not be in action Saturday. His car was raffled off right after the final points show in September. The lucky winner Mike Stone of Cromer’s Market, Stewarts sponsor will make his racing debut instead Saturday.
Owen Grennan of Glen Cove was one of the fastest car weekly and the second generation driver was a two-time winner on his way to a runner-up showing in the championship chase. Grennan, along with other 2021 feature winners, Michael Berner of Patchogue, Sean Glennon of Northport, Chris Rogers of Patchogue and Eric Hersey of Ronkonkoma all were single event winner in 2021 and are expected to compete Saturday. Hersey and his Silver Fox Racing team are fresh off a 12th place showing in the 602 Crate Modified event last weekend during the North-South Shootout at Caraway Speedway.
Drivers who went without a win during the regular season hoping to come away with a win Saturday include, Alex Colasanto of Selden, AJ DeSantis of Yaphank, terry Stiles of Rocky Point, Mike Albasini of Flushing, Stephen Coleman of East Islip, Dennis Krupski of Calverton and Chase Grennan of Glen Cove. A newly formed team of former Charger champion Steve Ratti and Kyle Ellwood of Riverhead came together for the last race of the regular season will again team for the 50-lap contest Saturday.
With a weekly average of 33-cars, just making the 26-car INEX Legend Race Car feature is a chore at Riverhead Raceway. An astounding sixty-six drivers signed in to compete and when the dust settled George Tomko of Aquebogue rose above them all as 2021 INEX Legend Race Car champion. Tomko visited victory lane once in seventeen starts with the Montauk Distilling entry good enough for his first career championship after two consecutive runner-up seasons. “Blankets” Joey Braun of Manorville led the way in wins with four during the ’21 campaign, with Anthony Marsh of Riverhead and Ray Fitzgerald of Manorville both racing to three wins each. All four talented drivers hope to add to their win total during the Islip 300 program.
Jason Castaldo of Shirley pocketed his first career win on May 8th and backed it up with another July 24th, Jason will be aiming for win number three Saturday. Veterans Allan Pedersen of Center Moriches and Kevin Nowak of Medford each won once in ’21. Two drivers who additionally took home single wins during the season were Jeff Farruggia Jr. of Riverhead and Sean McElearney of North Babylon, a career first for both teenage drivers. Farruggia, 16 turned the trick on June 5th while McElearney, 15 waited until the final night, officially becoming the youngest driver to win a INEX Legend Race Car event at Riverhead. Sean is the Grandson of the late Paul McElearney.
Teams shutout of victory lane during the regular season looking to change that stat include, Eric Hersey, Riely O’Keefe of Manorville, Nick Morabito of Miller Place, Jim Sylvester of Massapequa, Brad Van Houten of Wading River, Jeff Otto Jr. of Deer Park and Mike Van Houten Jr. of Jamesport.
Qualifying for both the Eagle Auto Mall Crate Modifieds as well the INEX Legend Race Cars time trials that start at 1:00 pm with the Legends. Qualifying order will be determined by practice speeds. B-Mains will be run if needed. The Legend Race Cars practice from 10:00 am-10:30 am continuous, with the Crate Mods doing the same from 10:30 am-11:00 am. Spectator gates open at 11:00 am with Tour Type Modified practice running from 11:00 am-12 Noon. Pit gates open at 8:00 am, with hauler parking available at 7:00 am.
General admission is $35 for adults, kids 6-12 $15, with 5 & under free. Pit admission is $55. Campers are welcome at no charge. The camping area is at the rear of the pit area only, no hook ups.
For further information including race procedure, entry list and race day event schedule please visit http://www.riverheadraceway.com, e-mails reach us at email@example.com. The phone number remains 631-842-RACE.