Riverhead Raceway: Silk adjusts to shorter distance and wins

NASCAR Modified veteran Ron Silk is more accustomed to longer distance races on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, but on Saturday night at Riverhead Raceway ,the Norwalk, Conn., driver’s mind-set adjusted quickly for the 35-lap feature that was on the card. That adjustment took Silk to victory lane. 

It was Silk’s first win driving for car owners Bill and Barbara Park, whose team is riding a hot streak, having won three of the last five weeks at Riverhead. Ryan Preece drove Team Park to victory on May 23 and June 6 prior to Silk’s victory.

Vinny Biondolillo of Farmingville, who is knocking on the door for his first career win, was the runner-up. Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead crossed the line third. Howie Brode of East Islip was fourth and Shawn Solomito of East Moriches fifth.

Like a fine wine, Jack Orlando of Calverton keeps getting better with age. He triumphed in a 25-lap Late Model feature just one race removed from an event where he seemed to be on his way to victory before lapped cars ruined those plans. He drove off to his sixth career win in the class, complementing his 24 Chargers wins at the track. Shawn Patrick of Brightwaters was second while the points leader, Jeremy McDermott of Riverhead, was third.

John Baker of Brookhaven very well may be on his way to a career season in the Charger class. He won a 30-lap main event for his second win in a row and third overall in 2015. Prior to this season Baker had won twice in the class. Ray Minieri of Bay Shore was second, ahead of third-place C. J. Lehmann of Shirley.

The 20-lap Blunderbust feature event saw a first career win unfold as Jim Laird Jr. of Islip Terrace nailed down the win in convincing fashion. Laird, who started attending races at Riverhead Raceway when he was 3 years old, took full advantage of the pole starting position. Tom Pickerell of Huntington was second and Scott Maliszewski of Deer Park came in third.

He is barely into his third season driving a Super Pro Truck, but Mark Stewart of Riverhead is living up to his nickname, “The Real Deal.” The Riverhead High School student won his 10th career feature event, tying him with Ron Humes for seventh on the all-time win list. Another win would tie him with Pat Smith for sixth on the all-time win list. Lou Maestri of Deer Park drove in second. After fighting fuel pump issues all day, Jimmy Rennick Jr. of Howard Beach took third.

Prior to the 50-lap Grand Enduro, former champion Dave Antos of Lindenhurst was concerned about where he would start in the field, but those concerns were quickly put to rest as Antos won his first race of the year. Greg Zaleski of Jamesport came in second, with Brian McCormack of Holbrook third.

Mike Smith of Kings Park finished first in the Demolition Derby.