Auto Racing: Fortin’s second straight win closes gap

John Fortin of Holtsville notched his second straight NASCAR Modified feature win Saturday at Riverhead Raceway. In doing so, Fortin trimmed Justin Bonsignore’s lead in the championship chase to 16 points with one race remaining this coming Saturday. The victory was Fortin’s third of the season and 26th career visit to victory lane.

“Like Justin says, don’t pop the champagne corks just yet,” said Fortin.

The Fortin team filed a protest against Bonsignore’s fourth-place Chevy, claiming the division leader might be using traction control. An inspection, however, found that the car was legal.

In the final race of the season, Fortin would have to finish nine spots better than Bonsignore in order to claim the title.

Eddie Brunnhoelzl III of Levittown was second, and Tom Rogers Jr. of Patchogue drove in third. Amber Fortin of Holtsville was fifth, behind Bonsignore, another Holtsville driver.

Ray Minieri of Bay Shore pocketed his second win of the Chargers campaign when he took first in a 20-lap main event for his 14th career triumph. Jeremy McDermott of East Stroudsburg, Pa., placed second, sending the duo into a tie for third in the standings. Chris Turbush of Riverhead was third, and with two races left holds a slim six-point lead on Chris McGuire of Shirley. McGuire was fourth.

Fifteen-year-old Jack Handley Jr. of Medford will return to the Patchogue-Medford High School this week with his first career Blunderbust victory under his belt. The second-generation driver won in a 20-lap feature event. Rob Bader of Holtsville was second, and Scott Maliszewski of Deer Park came in third.

After having previously come close to her first career feature event win, Erin Dumicich of East Quogue sealed the deal Saturday night, triumphing in a non-stop 20-lap Super Pro Truck race. With the Labor Day weekend crowd sensing a history-making win as the laps wound down, Dumicich did not disappoint, becoming the first female driver to win a feature since 1998 when Laurie Harlin won a Blunderbust race. Keith Rotzi of Bay Shore had his best ever finish with a second-place showing. The third-place Frank Dumicich Jr. of East Quogue followed him.

Jason Savoy of Lake Panamoka won the Eight-Cylinder Demolition Derby, outlasting Matt Mulqueen of Levittown.

The Labor Day weekend racing concluded Sunday as James Charrier of  Shirley won his first Grand Enduro of the year, and Ben Gregor of Bridgehampton continued to dominate the Four/Six-Cylinder Truck class, scoring another victory. Both wins came in 50-lap races.

In the Grand Enduro, Bob Engelfried of Stony Brook was second, and newcomer Steve Mastro of Port Jefferson was third.

Greg Harris of Riverhead was second in the Four/Six-Cylinder Truck race that Gregor won. Robin Vollmoeller of Riverhead took third.

Two Eight-Cylinder Enduro races were run. The first, a 75-lap affair, was led from the green flag to the checker flag by Anthony Pizzo of Lake Ronkonkoma. However, Pizzo was later found to have unapproved camber in his front end, and was disqualified, handing the win to veteran Dominic Ranieri of East Northport. Dege Russell of Rocky Point was second, with Kris Dane of Hicksville third.

In the 50-lap nightcap, Russell completed a successful day with a victory. Ranieri crossed the line second, and third went to Michael Wahl of East Islip.

Gene Burbol of Brookhaven continued to dominate the Six-Cylinder class, prevailing in a 50-lap feature. Christian Conklin of Flanders came in second, and Richard Galante of East Patchogue was third.

The most competitive race on the day turned out to be the Four-Cylinder Enduro taken by Dennis Nelson of Coram. Nelson and Anthony Pizzo swapped the lead from times from Lap 17 until the 46th circuit. The see-saw duel ended with Nelson’s second win in a row. Pizzo ended up second. Steve Trimboli of Freeport took third.