The 2nd annual Islip 300 set for this Saturday evening May 19th at Riverhead Raceway is drawing plenty of interest among both the competitors and fans of asphalt Tour Type Modified racing heading into the $7,000 to win extravaganza. Modeled after the All Star 300 held annually at Islip Speedway the 2018 Islip 300 will boast an all-star roster of drivers tackling the demanding quarter mile oval. Dillon Steuer of Bohemia stood the asphalt Tour Type Modified world on it's collective ear when he won the inaugural Islip 300 for his first career victory last May.
Among the "invading" drivers and teams who have indicated to track officials they will be on hand Saturday include 2018 Icebreaker winner and 2011 Riverhead Raceway NASCAR Modified champion Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville who'll be joined be fellow WMT standout and Spring Sizzler winner Ryan Preece of Berlin Ct. Local talent Eric Goodale of Riverhead who notched his first career WMT triumph at his home track will also be chasing the $7,000 pot of gold in the 300. Dave Sapienza of Riverhead would love to take down the rich victory in front of family and friends who'll be on hand rooting him on. Upstart WMT talents Craig Lutz of Miller Place and Ronnie Williams of Ellington, Ct. both would love to pull off an upset win of their own much like Steuer's last year. Calvin Carroll of Johnsonburg, NJ another rising talent on the WMT will also head north to Riverhead for the Islip 300 hoping for a good showing.
Late last week Long Island native Tommy Baldwin Jr. added some mystery to the race when he announced he'd be brining the famed 7NY Modified to the $32,650 race. With Tommy's regular driver Jon McKennedy not able make the race due to a long standing Super Modified commitment Baldwin has remained tight lipped about who his hired gun will be for the 300. Saturday while in Kansas for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event Baldwin posted a video on social media that showed him seemingly prompting 7-time MENCS champion Richard Petty to come north for the 300 to drive the 7 NY. Petty then fondly recalled his win at Bridgehampton on the road course and his annual mid week summer visit to Islip Speedway back in the Grand National days during the "northern swing" that culminated at the old Trenton Speedway.
Once again the weekly Whelen All American Series drivers who race Riverhead weekly will be out to protect their home turf which they did in 2017 with success. Riverhead regulars swept the podium when the checkers fell on the race last spring as Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead and David Schneider of Northport were second and third. The third place tally at the time was a career best finish for Schneider at Riverhead and would springboard him to two victories later in the summer. Former three time track champions John Fortin Sr. of Holtsville and Howie Brode of East Islip had top ten runs in 2017 with young guns John Fortin Jr. of Holtsville and Cory Midgett of East Hampton having impressive runs as well.
Eddie Brunnhoelzlz III of Levittown, Sal Accardi Jr. of Deer Park, Dave Brigati of Calverton, John Baker of Brookhaven and Vinny Biondolillo of Farmingville all took part in the Islip 300 last year but did not have the results they had hoped for and are expected back to take another run in the 300 Saturday.
2018 Riverhead opening night winner Kyle Soper of Manorville did not have a ride when the 300 took place but indeed will be a major player in the 2018 edition of the race in his Wayne Anderson owned machine. Last year John Beatty Jr. of Merrick was busy racing for the 2017 INEX Legend Race Car title but this season is back in the NASCAR Modified ranks as is Brad Van Houten of Wading River who now pilots the Denise & Ken Darch owned entry. Both are expected to compete as is Modified newcomer Roger Turbush of Riverhead.
With no official entry blank for the Islip 300 the door is open for other top flight Tour Type Modified drivers to make the tow to Long Island this Saturday night to compete in the Islip 300 with the rules allowing not just teams from the WMT but also teams from the Race of Champions and Valenti Modified Series.
Also in action Saturday are the Eagle Auto Mall Modified Crates, Blunderbusts, INEX Legend Race Cars and LIVARS Vintage Cars. Qualifying will begin at 5:00 pm with opening ceremonies at approximately 6:00 pm.
For further information please visit www.riverheadraceway.com or call 631-842-RACE.
-Riverhead Raceway Press Release. Photo Credit: Speed51 Photo