One of the biggest recent announcements in asphalt Modified racing in the Northeast came during the offseason when Riverhead Raceway unveiled their plans to bring back the Islip 300. For those too young to young to remember, Islip Speedway was a 1/5-mile oval on Long Island that ran Modifieds as its premier division, and also played host to NASCAR Grand National Series races as well. The track closed in 1984 and was eventually torn down and a cookie factory was put in its place.
Now the Islip 300 is returning as a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modified race at Riverhead Raceway, the last remaining race track on Long Island.
“The 300 has all the making of a very special race Saturday,” said Bob Finan, the longtime announcer at Riverhead Raceway. “Heck, I go back to when Lou Lazzaro won the All Star 300 at Islip in a blue Pinto 93 out of New Hampshire. I’m hoping a new tradition will be born with the Islip 300.”
Finan has announced at Islip and has been the voice of Riverhead Raceway since 1985. He will be on the call for Saturday’s race as well. He said being able to call this race means “the world” to him.
“I have done some big races over the years and they are all special but this one has me pumped up.”
Richard Petty, Bobby Allison and Richie Evans have all won 300-lap races at Islip. Now drivers like Shawn Solomito, Tom Rogers Jr., Howie Brode and Kyle Soper have the chance to add their names to a historic list of 300-lap race winners on Long Island. And, the race will pay out a nice $7,000 to the winner as well.
The local drivers will also have to deal with a few NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour invaders like Justin Bonsignore, Eric Goodale and Ryan Preece who are hoping to take that $7,000 check for themselves.
For Long Island race fans, especially those that miss the “Good ole days,” this will be the race of the year.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Mario Fiore photo