Auto Racing: Overflow crowd watches Preece snap Rogers’ win streak



One of the largest Riverhead Raceway crowds in recent memory celebrated “I Love America Night” and watch Ryan Preece of Berlin, Conn., capture a non-stop, 35-lap NASCAR Modified victory on Saturday. The triumph was Preece’s third of the year and snapped Tom Rogers Jr.’s four-race win streak.

“Man this car was on the money tonight,” Preece said in a busy victory lane.

Howie Brode of East Islip, the division’s defending champion and current points leader, came out on top in the fight for second place, leaving Rogers of Riverhead third. That translated into a 19-point lead for Brode in the championship standings with four point races left. Dave Sapienza of Riverhead and John Fortin Sr. of Holtsville rounded out the top five.

In other races:

While he might have lost some ground in the NASCAR Modified title fight, Tom Rogers Jr. made a giant leap in the Figure Eight championship chase, winning a 15-lap feature for his third win of the year. Rogers not only won the race but took over the championship lead by 2 points over Roger Maynor. Ken Hyde Jr. of Mastic Beach was the runner-up in the race. Mike Mujsce of Quogue made a great recovery from an early-race tangle to place third.

A 20-lap Charger feature provided the closest finish of the night as defending champion Eric Zeh of Selden made a last-lap pass of David Roys of Coram to notch his fourth win of the season. Roys had to settle for second. John Baker of Brookhaven was third.

Over the past couple of years Richie Davidowitz of East Moriches has been called “Big Money” because some of his wins came with extra prize money on the line. Well, it also appears that the soft-spoken talent also likes big crowds. Davidowitz won his fifth Legend Race Car main event of 2014. Kevin Nowak of Medford drove in second and Kyle Soper of Manorville took third.

The program opened with a 50-lap Grand Enduro. Jimmy White Jr., who was seeking his 10th overall Riverhead Raceway win of the year, led all the way, but he failed an extensive postrace technical inspection. White was found to have an unapproved part in his engine and disqualified. Steve Mastro of Port Jefferson made a late-race pass of Rob Bader of Holtsville for what was second place but, in light of White’s disqualification, actually netted the driver his second career win. David Antos of Lindenhurst came in second, with third going to Rob Bader.

The School Bus Demolition Derby provided plenty of thrills and spills, and when the steam settled, it was John Denniston of Westbury earning a hard-fought victory over Michael Rommeney of Maspeth. Mike O’Keefe of Islip was third.