Riverhead Raceway hosted the annual Back To School Monster Truck mid week spectacular Wednesday evening complete with six Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series feature events with Max Handley of Medford topping the list of race winners when he won the 25-lap Eagle Auto Mall Crate Modified event. The win was the second of the season of Handley, a graduate of University of Northern Ohio.
By Bob Finan
Early on in the contest Eddie Schutze paced the race leading the first three lap before he was overtaken by Vinny Delaney to start lap 4. When Delaney worked his way by Schutze for the lead, Max Handley was able to slip by the early race leader as well for second. Just one lap after the Delaney & Handley tandem moved to the top two positions the complexion of the race would change quickly when a yellow flag waved for a minor spin on lap 5. with the race leader having the option to start on the inside or outside, leader Delaney picked the outside allowing Handley the inside. The first attempt to restart the race saw officials call back the restart feeling perhaps Handley went before Delaney. With the front row reset the green flag would wave and the result would be the same with Handley getting the measure of Delaney for the race lead. With Handley the new race leader Delaney soon found himself in the clutches of Owen Grennan in a race for second. On lap 8 Grennan was able to wrestle the position away from Delaney.and set sail for new race leader Handley. However over the final 17-laps of the race Max Handley in the Licciardi Builder Chevy was able to keep his car out front until the checkers waved on lap 25. Owen Grennan of Glen Cove was runner-up in the Dillner Precast Chevy, while younger brother Chase completed the podium in third with his Black Forest Auto Works entry.
In a non-stop 20-lap Blunderbust feature Jim Laird Jr. of Riverhead became the sixth different winner in as many races for the division earning his 11th career victory. Tom Puccia broke our front at the throw of the green after starting from the pole with Jim Laird quickly coming from his third starting slot to second. After chasing Puccia for a mile, Laird made his move to the inside of the race leader exiting turn four and became the new race leader to start the 5th lap. Laird, hungry for a win to turn around his 2022 fortunes had a new challenger enter the picture at the halfway mark when Eddie Diaz moved by Puccia for second.Over the final half of the race Jim Laird Jr. was able to keep his Stakey’s Pumpkin Farm Chevy out front to score the win that ties him with Bobby Gardner & Chris Busick for 9th on the all time win list. Eddie Diaz of Centereach was runner-up in the Notorius Tattoo machine while defending champion Cody Triola of Bay Shore was third in the Cesspool Pros entry.
The Super Pro Trucks ran their third and final race in the Miller Lite Triple Crown Series with Jack Handley Jr. of Medford scoring a hotly contested victory over Sean Glennon of Northport in a 30-lap affair that found the tandem side by side more often than not. Glennon ser the qualifying standard with a lap of 13.149 with Handley just a tick off at 13.190 setting up the front row. When the green light came on Glennon led the first lap but a quick yellow appeared for a Liam Patrick spin. On the early restart Handley was able to race alongside Glennon and be scored the leader of the 2nd and 3rd laps before Glennon roared back to the inside to take the lead back on lap 4. For a spell the duo settled in testing each other at times side by side or nose to tail other times. Just past the halfway mark of the race Handley turned up the heat on Glennon and by the time they started the 16th circuit Jack was back out front with Glennon now in tow. Over the remaining laps Jack Handley Jr. was able to stay out front in the River Walk Bar & Grill Chevy to score his second win of ’22, the 14th of his career tying him with Dave Brigati for 6th on the all time win list. By virtue of his runner-up finish Sean Glennon clinched the 2022 Miller Lite Triple Crown Series championship in his Deer Run Industries racer, Lou Maestri of Deer Park was third in the Hunter Business School mount.
Riely O’Keefe of Manorville scored his first career 20-lap INEX Legend Race Car victory at Riverhead Raceway steering a Pat Moore owned coupe. Chris Sinatro raced his way out front early making a bold third to first move passing the front row cars of Michael Metcalf and Ray Stulz three wide. Chase Van Houten, who started fifth followed Sinatro through to come to second early on. On lap 4 exiting the fourth turn Van Houten ducked under Sinatro to take the race lead starting the 5th lap. On lap 9 O’Keefe, who started 9th on the grid came to second and quickly went to work trying to erase a lead that Van Houten had built up. After tracking the leader down O’Keefe made his move on lap 14 and was able to loop around Van Houten for the race lead. Once in command of the race Riely O’Keefe brought the Get Clear, Crystal Clear Window Cleaning machine home a winner in front of his hometown friends and family. Chase Van Houten of Wading River continued his impressive freshman season with a runner-up finish in the Terra Vite North Fork Winery & Vineyard coupe with Eric Hersey of Commack taking over the championship lead with his third place tally in the Grillin’ Villain racer.
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The most thrilling finish of the night came in the 15-lap Bandolero Bandits event with Ben Morabito of Miller Place collecting his second consecutive win. The race started off with a wild scramble that saw defending champion Darren Krantz Jr. and Morabito who started side by side in the fifth row quickly shot their way to the front with Krantz taking the lead over Morabito on the first laps. Fast forward to the final lap and that is where the fun and excitement unfolded. Working lapped traffic down the back stretch, on car down low, one up high Krants and Morabito threaded the needle between the two slower cars with Morabito gaining a white flag lap advantage over Krantz. At the checker it was indeed Ben Morabito in the Benimax Racing machine taking the breath taking win. Darren Krantz Jr. of Huntington crossed the line second in the Raceforkids.com entry while newcomer Phillip Alaimo of Miler Place was third in the Turf King racer.
There is no quit in Chevy Rommeney of Bohemia who recovered from an early race spin due to his steering locking up to roar back for the Bandolero Outlaw victory, his fourth in five races run to date this season. Marissa Stewart and Wayne Meyer Jr. took turns leading the first two laps before Will Siplala took the lead on lap 3. While working his way towards the front from an eight place starting berth Chevy Rommemeny spun drawing a yellow. When the race resumed Sipala remained out from with Rommeney storming through the field quickly. With less than five laps to go Rommeney in his Hollis Court Collision racer worked his way by Sipala for the lead and eventual win, the 6th of his career. Will Sipala of Manorville was second in the Posillico Paving mount, with Gavin Romano of Riverhead third in the Mil-Aero Solutions entry.
Crate Modifieds: 1. Max Handley 2. Owen Grennan 3. Chase Grennan 4. Vinny Delaney 5. Michael Berner 6. Eric Hersey 7. Michael Rutkoski 8. Kyle Ellwood 9. Mike Albasini 10. Alex Colasanto 11. AJ DeSantis 12. Eddie Schutze 13. Charles Macwhinnie 14. Terry Stiles 15. Dennis Krupski 16. Mark Wolf 17. Scott Denis 18. Stephen Coleman
Blunderbusts: 1. Jim Laird Jr. 2. Eddie Diaz 3. Cody Triola 4. Tom Puccia 5. Brandon Hubbard 6. Tom Sullivan 7. Bill Wegmann Sr. 8. AJ DeSantis 9. Gary Caldwell 10. Steve Neenan 11. Joe Densieski
Super Pro Trucks: 1. Jack Handley Jr. 2. Sean Glennon 3. Lou Maestri 4. Mark Stewart 5. Joe Cerabino 6. Brian Doyle 7. Frank Dumicich Sr. 8. Rob Corwin 9. Liam Patrick
Legend Race Cars: 1. Riely O’Keefe 2. Chase Van Houten 3. Eric Hersey 4. Nick Morabito 5. Richie Davidowitz 6. Jake Curran 7. Chris Sinatro 8. Jeff Farruggia Jr. 9. Pat Moore 10. Timmy Solomito 11. Michael Metcalf 12. Ray Stulz 13. Anthony Marsh 14. Mike Van Houten Jr. 15. Mike Benton 16. Jayden Glennerster 17. Peter Fallon 18. Robert Henninger III 19. Nick Kocis 20. Jay McConnell 21. Christopher Coleman 22. Jim Sylvester 23. Ray Fitzgerald 24. Joey Braun 23. Charlie Hodge 24. Kevin Ohrnberger
Bandolero Bandits: 1. Ben Morabito 2. Phillip Alaimo 3. Rodney Dowless Jr. 4. Nick Hodge 5. Kix Bock 6. Reid Halpin 7. Giavanna Agugliaro 8. Emmett Grattan 9. Jordan Ryan 10. Brooke Meyer 11. Nora Schelin 12. Layla Quilliam DQ- Darren Krantz Jr.
Bandolero Outlaws: 1. Chevy Rommeney 2. Will Sipala 3. Gavin Romano 4. Tucker Bock 5. Marissa Stewart 6. Wayne Meyer Jr. 7. Jayden Owens-Bader 8. Julianna Kramer 9. Haylie Denis