The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour resumes action at a familiar venue resuming after a five week hiatus returning to action for the Miller Lite 200 Saturday night May 14th at Riverhead Raceway. Two Empire state drivers that live at opposite ends of the state, Eric Goodale of Riverhead and Tommy Catalano of Ontario, NY will come to the Miller Lite 200 tied for the early season WMT championship lead.
The mid May visit is the first of three visits to Long Island for the NASCAR WMT, with the Miller Lite 200 serving as the 68th start since 1985. The WMT returns for events on Saturday June 25th and Saturday September 17th for the Eddie Partridge 206. The milestone 70th start for the WMT at Riverhead is named after late track owner and former WMT championship car owner Eddie Partridge who passed away suddenly at Richmond Raceway September 10th, 2021 a short while after celebrating his teams win with driver Ryan Preece.
Heading to the Miller Lite 200 Eric Goodale holds slight advantage over Tommy Catalano in experience at the demanding quarter mile venue starting his driving career in Go-Karts before graduating to the Charger class and eventually the Tour Type Modifieds. Eric captured his first WMT triumph at Riverhead in June of 2014 and he hopes to collect WMT career win number five in front of family and friends. However don’t count our Catalano for the win, especially after he performance in the April 1st event at the Richmond Raceway. Tommy and his family are no strangers to bullring racing either cutting his eye teeth at at famed upstate New York track as Chemung Speedrome and Spencer Speedway. Catalano is seeking his first career win on the WMT.
The Miller Lite 200 will be the first of three WMT events to be contested in consecutive weeks to close out May and teams ranked third through tenth are expected to be at Riverhead May 14th. Tyler Rypkema of Owego, NY, Jon McKennedy of Chelmsford, Ma., Ron Silk of Norwalk, Ct, Jimmy Blewett of Howell, NJ, Craig Lutz of Miller Place, Austin Beers of Northampton, Pa., Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville and JB Fortin also of Holtsville will all be on hand.
Bonsignore, defending WMT champion comes to the Miller Lite 200 on a roll having won the Virginia Is For Racing Lovers 150 at Richmond, his 32nd career WMT triumph, eight of those victories coming at Riverhead. Bonsignore currently sits three victories behind all time WMT Riverhead winner Mike Ewantisko. JB Fortin will look to make some noise eyeing his first career WMT win. JB scored the biggest win of his young career in the Islip 300 by East West Marine Supply six months to the day on November 14th of last fall.
A strong contingent of Riverhead Raceway regulars are expected to compete trying to upset the WMT apple cart. Defending track champion Kyle Soper of Manorville, John Baker of Brookhaven, Roger Turbush of Riverhead, Michael Rutkoski of Mattituck, Dave Brigati of Calverton, Chris Young of Calverton and Dylan Slepian of Dix Hill are some of the track weekly racers who competed in the three ’21 WMT Riverhead events. Turbush posted the best showing of all placing third last September behind race winner Patrick Emerling of Orchard Park, NY and runner-up Justin Bonsignore. Emerling is expected to enter the ’22 Miler Lite 200 as well.
WMT practice on May 14th will run from 3:00-4:00 pm, qualifying is set for 6:00 pm with the Miller Lite 200 slated for approximately 8:00 pm. Complementing the card are the Eagle Auto Mall Crate Modifieds, INEX Legend Race Cars, Street Stocks and Mini Stocks. Practice, qualifying and feature times for the local division TBA.
Campers are welcome with no fee or hook-ups but must use the area behind the fenced in pit area in the back parking area only.