(EDITOR’S NOTE: After the initial story was posted Sunday morning, Riverhead Raceway chief steward, Mike Cappiello, gave a comment regarding the decision to put Ryan Preece back to second on lap 11. His comments can be found in the eighth paragraph.)
Jason Agugliaro arrived at Riverhead Raceway (NY) on Saturday afternoon prepared for a pair of 30-lap races. Instead the track raced just one 40-lap race, but that didn’t seem to matter to Agugliaro who scored his second win of the season.
Agugliaro beat Ryan Preece to the checkered flag by just over half a second, but Preece definitely made Agugliaro work to get the victory.
Preece was in second to Agugliaro’s outside on a lap 8 restart. He was able to hang outside of Agugliaro even with Agugliaro running him up the track through the corners.
“In the beginning I couldn’t get through the corners as good as he could,” said Agugliaro. “We were a little tight. But that’s kind of what we were planning on so we would last the distance.”
Preece got back in behind Agugliaro going into turn three on lap 10 and gave Agugliaro a hard shot to the rear bumper which moved Agugliaro up the track and let Preece get underneath. Preece stayed under Agugliaro for half a lap before taking the lead in turn three the next time by.
“I tried to have a good race and race clean,” said Preece. “I race three days a week and I usually get put in the marbles quite a bit, and it just gets frustrating.”
But Preece didn’t hold the lead for long. After a caution came out for a spin by Vinny Biondolillo from contact with Brad Van Houten, Preece was placed back in second for “rough passing” according to track officials.
“We felt he took him up to the wall,” said Riverhead Raceway’s co-chief steward, Mike Cappiello. “So it was rough riding, but we just put him back one spot instead of to the rear.”
That ended up being the break Agugliaro needed as he was able to drive away from Preece two restarts later. Agugliaro went unchallenged in the second half of the race as Preece was left to fend off Tommy Rogers.
“It (feels) good,” said Agugliaro when asked about getting multiple wins in a season (he won once last year). “It’s definitely good.”
Meanwhile Preece was left to wonder what could have been had he not been scored behind Agugliaro for the restart.
“I’m still confused on why I got put back,” said Preece. “He won the race. He definitely had a good car. If I was in the lead, do I think I could have held him off and pulled away? Maybe. But he won the race so it’s good for him.”
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Regional Editor (Long Island, CT, NJ) – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Michael Pares
Riverhead Raceway NWAAS Modified Unofficial Results:
1. Jason Agugliaro
2. Ryan Preece
3. Tommy Rogers
4. Kyle Ellwood
5. Ron Silk
6. Howie Brode
7. Dave Sapienza
8. John Fortin
9. Vincent Biondolillo
10. Dave Schneider
11. Amber Fortin
12. Jeffrey Goodale
13. Brad Van Houten
14. Ken Darch
15. John Beatty Jr.
16. Russell Savoy
17. Jeff Andrade
18. Dave Brigati
19. Ken Heagy
20. Danny Watts
21. John Fortin Jr.