According to local weather experts it was supposed to be a pleasant final weekend of spring on Long Island. However suddenly Saturday evening a “clipper system” from the Northeast blew in and brought rain to Riverhead Raceway ending the program 25-laps into a scheduled 40-lap Crate Modified feature.
By Bob Finan
Owen Grennan of Glen Cove was leading the Crate event when the rain hit and was declared the winner moving him to the top of the all-time win list with 12 victories. Joey Braun of Manorville won the 20-lap INEX Legend Race Car event, the only other feature presented.
Michael Berner of Patchogue was quickest in Crate Modified qualifying with a lap of 12.641 followed by Kyle Ellwood who clicked off a 12.661 Q lap. For the inital start of the race Berner chose to start on the outside of Ellwood and was able to move to the early race lead. Just two laps into the contest Ellwood in his own words “hopped a nerf bar” of another competitor send him into a wild spin in turn four as the field raced to start the third lap. Amazingly nobody behind Kyle in the 20 car field made contact and the yellow flew. On the ensuing restart Berner stuck with the team game plan to restart on the outside putting Owen Grennan who had be sitting third prior to the caution to the inside.
Entering the night tied with former champion Dave Brigati of Calverton for the all-time lead in wins at 11, Grennan poured the coals into his Dillner Precast Chevy and was able to out run Berner for the race lead. Berner tucked into second with Chris Rogers motoring to third. The top three were settled in when the yellow waved again for a Sean Glennon crash on lap 25, it was during this caution period the first wave of rain moved over the track. The track safety crew was circling the track and had made progress drying it and drivers were called back to their cars after a delay. While getting back in their cars another wave of heavier rain moved in ending the racing for the night.
Owen Grennan undaunted by the moisture rolled his car to the winners circle for a milestone interview with track announcer Stephen Halpin where he noted, “can’t thank my parents enough, they field two cars for me and my brother Chase, the sacrifices they have made for me to now top the all time win list are countless”.
Michael Berner was runner-up in the Pro Diesel Chevy with Chris Rogers of Patchogue third in the Ralph’s Seafood Safari entry
In the INEX Legend Race Car event “Blankets” Joey Braun scored his first win of the 2022 campaign at his home track. Popular “V-Ride” Mike Van Houten showed the way at the throw of the green, Jerry Curran chased the leader for the first lap before Jim Sylvester who started 4th moved to second on lap 2. Sylvester, a former champion in the class was able to wrestle the lead away from Van Houten on a third lap double file restart and one lap later Michael Benton passed “V-Ride” for second. However there were two other drivers doing work early on as Joey Braun was on the move from the 8th starting berth and Ray Fitzgerald was coming through the field from 21st heading towards the front.
On the 7th lap Braun got by Benton with an inside pass in turn two and just a lap late using the inside lane again “Blankets” hustled his way under Sylvester for the race lead entering the third corner. Once to the lead Joey Braun was able to pull away some while Jeff Farruggia Jr. made a move to second on lap 8 during a double file restart. However high flying Ray Fitzgerald was on the march and got by the teenage drive on lap 11 for second.
When the exciting contest concluded Joey Braun and his Uncle Carmine’s Hot Peppers team celebrated his 8th career win which oddly enought ties him with Fitzgerald and Sylvester for 7th on the all time win list. Ray Fitzgerald of Manorville was second in the EP Milling & Sweeping racer, Eric Hersey of Commack completed the podium in third with his Grillin Villain entry.
The six features washed out will be made up on a date to be announced.
Crate Modifieds: 1. Owen Grennan 2. Michael Berner 3. Chris Rogers 4. Max Handley 5. Terry Stiles 6. AJ DeSantis 7. Mike Albasini 8. Kyle Ellwood 9. Chase Grennan 10. Eric Hersey 11. Dennis Krupski 12. Charles Macwhinnie 13. Lou Maestri 14. Mark Wolf 15. Eddie Schutze 16. Vinny Delaney 17. Patrick Glennon 18. Sean Glennon 19. Stephen Coleman 20. Alex Colasanto
Legend Race Cars: 1. Joey Braun 2. Ray Fitzgerlad 3. Eric Hersey 4. Anthony Marsh 5. Jason Castaldo 6. Richie Davidowitz 7. Jeff Farruggia Jr. 8. Nick Morabito 9. Jim Sylvester 10. Brad Van Houten 11. Collin Hoeffner 12. Jerry Curran 13. Chase Van Houten 14. Christopher Coleman 15. Mike Van Houten Jr. 16. Mike Benton 17. Charlie Hodge 18. Michael Metcalf 19. Matt Triola 20. Kevin Ohrnberger 22. Jay McConnell 23. Mark Godnick 24. Rich Braun 25. Kevin Pollard 26. Chris Sinatro