Riverhead Raceway: After early challenge, Preece prevails

Who said a race car driver can’t win a race in the first few laps? Certainly not Ryan Preece.

The driver from Berlin, Conn., scored a 35-lap NASCAR Modified victory at Riverhead Raceway on Saturday night after spending the first five laps of the race fighting side by side for the lead with Timmy Solomito and Tom Rogers Jr. before edging out in front.

Preece, making only his second start of the season, not only claimed the victory but also the lead for the track championship lead by one point over Tom Rogers Jr., 105-104.

John Fortin Sr. of Holtsville enjoyed his best outing of 2015 with a runner-up showing. Kyle Soper of Manorville continues to impress with a third-place finish. Shawn Solomito of East Moriches was fourth and the defending champion, Howie Brode of East Islip, finished fifth

In other races:

Jarrod Hayes of Calverton topped the field in a 30-lap race for his 12th career Late Model victory. Mike Bologna of Melville was second and Jeremy McDermott of Riverhead crossed the line third.

Over his long Charger career, Ray Minieri of Bay Shore had to earn every one of his 21 career wins going into this past Saturday’s 20-lap tilt. This time, though, a little luck may have played a role. When the race leader at the time, Cory Midgett, headed to the pits during a yellow flag on Lap 2, Minieri found himself in the lead for the rest of the way.

“I’ve lost a few races having to pit while leading,” Minieri said. “I know how it feels.”

The defending champion, Eric Zeh of Centereach, motored his way to second place. C. J. Lehmann of Shirley drove in third.

Mark Stewart of Riverhead drove to victory in the 20-lap Super Pro Truck feature, his first win in the truck formerly driven by its owner, Dave Koenig. It was Stewart’s ninth career win. Mike Albasini of Flushing had to settle for second, with third going to Dave Brigati of Calverton.

Over the off-season, Legend Race Car driver Dylan Slepian of Dix Hills replaced his older worn out car with a new machine which required much in the way of work, all of which he did while completing his sophomore year at Stony Brook University. All that hard work paid off for Slepian, who won his first career 20-lap main event. He was immediately followed at the finish line by Vinny Delaney of Holtsville and Richie Davidowitz of East Moriches.

Mike Smith of Kings Park topped the eight-cylinder Demolition Derby field.

ZALESKI, NELSON TRIUMPH Greg Zaleski of Jamesport grabbed first place in a 50-lap Grand Enduro and Don Nelson of Rocky Point captured the 50-lap Truck Enduro at Riverhead Raceway this Sunday. It was the second win of the season for both drivers.