Opening-night laurels go to Steuer

The NASCAR modifieds were in mid-season form Saturday evening at Riverhead Raceway, providing fans with some great side-by-side racing. Chuck Steuer of Bohemia scored his 18th career victory in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series opener. Jerry Cook, a former six-time NASCAR national modified champion, greeted Steuer in victory lane to present him with his trophy.

When Steuer drove his Chevrolet into victory lane, it moved him into sole possession of 17th on the all-time Riverhead Raceway win list.

The soft-spoken Steuer pointed to his car owner and crew when it was time to distribute the credit. “I have a great car owner in Grant Williams,” he said. “We’ve been together for a lot of years — I can’t even remember how many ¬­– and he provides us what we need. Then there is my team, the guys are in the shop working their hardest night after night, and I can’t thank them and Big Sal’s Racing Engines enough.”

John Fortin of Holtsville was the runner-up, with Bill Park of Manorville third, Mike Andrews Jr. of Ridge fourth and Wayne Anderson of Yaphank fifth.

Peter Eriksen of Baldwin was in the right spot at the right time to collect his 43rd career late model victory, topping the field in a 25-lap main event. “I knew I just had to be patient tonight and it all worked out in the end,” he said. Roger Oxee of Peconic was second, and Mike Bologna of Huntington third.

Chris McGuire of Shirley gave his crew chief, Warren Collins, a big 40th birthday present, an opening-night win in the 20-lap Charger feature event. The last lap was tight as McGuire had both Chris Turbush of Riverhead and Kevin Orlando of Calverton on his rear spoiler as the checkers waved. Orlando made a last-lap move to claim second, and Turbush crossed the line third.

The defending blunderbust champion, Tommy Walkowiak of Ridge, kicked off his title defense in grand fashion by setting the fastest time during time trials and then winning the 30-lap, double-point feature event. It was his 39th career blunderbust triumph. Rob Bader of Holtsville crossed the line second. Tom Pickerell of Huntington placed third.

In a non-stop, 20-lap super pro truck contest, Frank Dumicich Jr. of Quogue notched his ninth career feature event win. Lou Maestri of Deerk Park finished second. Perhaps the best battle of the race was for third as Dave Koenig of Freeport and Roger Turbush of Riverhead tested each other, with Koenig prevailing.