With a weekend off from the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Ryan Preece of Berlin, Ct. will jump into his refurbished old school race car hauler and head to Riverhead Raceway on Long Island Saturday June 15th to defend his 2018 race win in the 3rd annual Islip 300. Awaiting Preece to contend for the $7,000 victory will be a blend of talented Riverhead Raceway NASCAR Whelen All American Series track regulars along with invading NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour teams. The Islip 300 pays tribute to the former All Star Racing League that culminated with a season ending 300-lapper at the 1/5 of mile bullring and carries a total of $32,650 in posted awards for the 75-mile extravaganza.
Last year Ryan Preece went back to an old school set-up on his Eddie & Connie Partridge owned racer for the Islip 300 and entered the race with the mindset of taking the lead early and putting as many cars a lap down as he could. Indeed Preece moved by early leader Ronnie Williams for the top spot on lap 66 and Ryan then proceeded to put all but the second through fifth place cars a lap down. Part two of the TS Hauler team game plan was to pit as late as they could for their three change tires which they did just after the 200 lap mark. By lap 222 Preece made his way around John Fortin Sr. who moved out front when Ryan pitted to reclaim the race lead and popular victory.
Entering the 2019 edition of the 300 will be different on many levels for Preece including the car he’ll defend last years race win in. Ryan was strapped into what was then known as a Troyer Engineering built chassis for last springs 300 win however when he rolls through the gate Saturday tucked inside his old school race car hauler will be a new Chassis Dynamics designed and fabricated machine. Preece was hands on with designing as well building the new car he’ll run in this years race. No set-up book not withstanding Preece will still find himself on solid footing with 16 career wins at the demanding quarter facility dating back to his first, a WMT 200-lap triumph in August of 2009 while driving for the famed Boehelr family. Translation, Ryan and his team should be in the ballpark right out of the truck as Preece ranks 27th on the all time Riverhead win list with 16 career victories (12 NASCAR WAAS, 4 WMT wins). Currently on the MENCS Preece is locked in a tight battle for 2019 Rookie of the Year with Daniel Hemric with both among the top 25 in points.
As of press time several NASCAR WMT teams have verbally notified Bob Finan of their intentions of being on hand and vying for the $7,000 victory. Rising talent Craig Lutz of Miller Place fresh off his 3rd plan showing at the most recent WMT event at the Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park will be on hand with his Goodie Racing team. Craig has never won a Tour Type Modified race but should be in the mix for the 300 win. Eric Goodale did not race the ’18 300 but rather did commentary with Finan and Stephen Halpin in the booth will return to more familiar surrounding and contest for the 2019 win in his Goodie Motorsports Chevy. Popular “Showtime” Jimmy Blewett of Howell, NJ will be gunning for the rich win in his Long Island based WMT ride the Joe Bertuccio owned Gershow Motorsports Chevy.
Aside from competing in the $32,650 Islip 300 the WMT teams on hand will also get an extended test session leading up to the first 2019 WMT Riverhead Raceway WMT race Saturday July 6th.
Tommy Baldwin Jr. announced on social media Tuesday that not only will he be bringing his famed 7NY machine to Riverhead Raceway Saturday for the Islip 300 but he’ll have the car wrapped in the colors in tribute to one of his father’s first NASCAR Modified featuring an all orange hue with the number 747 on the doors for driver Jon McKennedy of Chelmsford, Ma. The 300 will be the second race in less than 24 hours for Tommy Baldwin Racing as they’ll enter rising star Bryan Narducci in a 80-lap open comp show the night prior at the Stafford Motor Speedway. Calvin Carroll of Andover, NJ who placed a solid 7th in the ’18 Islip 300 will return June 15th with his Power With Prestige race team hoping to pull off an upset win.
Track officials have been in communication with other top flight Tour Type Modified teams and are hopeful to disclose some more entrants on social media in the days leading up to the race.
Awaiting and looking forward to challenging the invading drivers will be the talented roster of Riverhead Raceway chauffeurs who make up the weekly Whelen All American Series roster at the Route 58 oval. Defending champion Kyle Soper of Manorville, winner of 3 out of four races contested in May is willing, ready and certainly able to collect the $7,000 win for car owners Wayne & Joette Anderson. Always a threat in any Tour Type Modified race run at Riverhead Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead ranked second on the all time win list with 53 victories will be sniffing around the front of the field in his Denise & Ken Darch owned racer for the big payday. John Beatty Jr of Merrick runner-up in ’18 to Preece tuned up for the 300 with a 75-lap win June 1st and hopes momentum can take him and his Mark Mina owned team to victory lane.
Former three time champion John Fortin Sr. of Holtsville along with upcoming talent Chris Young of Calverton, veteran Dave Brigati of Calverton, Dylan Slepian of Dix Hills and Davis Schneider of Hutington all front runners at Riverhead hope to make a statement with an Islip 300 win. The race which pays double Riverhead Raceway championship points is also expected to draw track regulars Howie Brode of East islip, John Baker of Brookhaven, Eric Zeh of Selden, CJ Lehmann of Shirley, 2018 Rookie of the Year Roger Turbush of Riverhead, Cory Midgett of East Hampton, Eddie Brunnhoelzl III of Levittown and Artie Pedersen III of Center Moriches.
Rounding out the Islip 300 program will be the Crate Modifieds, Blunderbusts, INEX Legend Race Cars and keeping with the evenings nostalgic theme he second 2019 appearance of the Vintage All Stars. Qualifying will start at 5:30 pm with opening ceremonies and first feature event starting at 7:00 pm.
In the event of rain the Islip 300 will be run the following week Saturday June 22nd.
– Riverhead Raceway Press Release