In early January when the 2022 Riverhead Raceway schedule release was announced fans of the NASCAR Modifieds were quick to notice the Crown Jewel Series was expanding from four races to six in the race for the Ted Christopher Cup.
The Crown Jewel Series will encompass six extra distances races totaling 849 laps of competition. 2021 Riverhead Raceway NASCAR Modified champion Kyle Soper of Manorville won the Crown Jewel Series championship with a 10th place finish in the Islip 300 last November.
“If you’re a fan of Tour Type Modified racing then Riverhead Raceway is for you in 2022!” an excited track GM John Ellwood proclaimed recently. “we’ve added two very special races for two very special people this year expanding the Crown Jewel Series to six” Ellwood added. The six race series will pay a separate set of points toward the Crown Jewel Series with the first five races additionally paying Advance Auto Part Weekly Series track championship points. The Islip 300, that culminates the race for the Ted Christopher Cup remains a non track point event.
The 2022 Crown Jewel Series starts off in a big way Saturday evening June 4th with The Flying Dutchman 90, a tribute event for the late Fred Harbach celebrating the 30th Anniversary of his final victory earning him the 1992 NASCAR Modified title in storybook fashion. Entering the 1992 campaign Harbach, who was beloved by not only race fans but fellow competitors announced he was retiring at seasons end. What unfolded the final night of racing Saturday September 19th remains legend to this day. Fred needing to finish ahead of young upstart talent Brian Miller for the title not only accomplished that goal but won his final race clinching the championship in the process.
The Crown Jewel Series will be in action twice in the month of July with the 72nd Year Celebration Saturday July 2nd and four weeks later the popular Baldwin, Evans & Jarzombek 77 on July 30th. On August 20th The Bubba 150 is scheduled to be the fourth race of the 2022 Crown Jewel Series, a race run in honor of longtime Bill Park crewman Bob Patanjo.
Another very special addition to the Crown Jewel Series comes to fruition Saturday evening September 10th with the running of The Cecil Palm Tree 160, taking place on the first anniversary of track owner Eddie Partridge’s passing. Eddie’s passion for big, extra distance Tour Type Modified races was the vision for the Islip 300 and that passion and vision will be remembered fondly with 160-laps of racing. “Eddie loved the big races and the strategy that went into them” John Ellwood recalled, “with that in mind we are planning to allow for a tire change during the 160”. Cecil Palm Tree was Eddie’s racing moniker during a very short driving career.
The chase for the Ted Christopher Cup and Crown Jewel Series championship will be decided Saturday afternoon November 12th with the 6th annual Islip 300, a $7,000 to win Tour Type Modified extravaganza. JB Fortin of Holtsville will defend his 2021 Islip 300 victory against what is again expected to be another all star roster of drivers. “the rules for the Islip 300, are open to any Tour Type Modified race series, Whelen Modified Tour, Race of Champions, Tri-Track or Modified Racing Series” Ellwood noted and furthered, “those Islip 300 rules are in place for the five Crown Jewel Series events prior to the 300, declare a series, follow those rules and you can race for the TC Cup”.
The 2002 Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series at Riverhead Raceway opens Saturday evening May 7th with seven divisions of racing led by the NASCAR Modifieds in action. Two free to the public practice sessions will be presented in advance of opening night on Saturday afternoon April 23rd and April 30th.