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Auto Racing: Aquebogue driver claims first career Legend win

Bryan Kelly of Aquebogue scored his first career INEX Legend Race Car victory Sunday at Riverhead Raceway by being in the right place at the right time with five laps to go in the 40-lap feature event.

In the Street Stock 100-lapper, Greg Zaleski of Jamesport set the fastest time in qualifying and then proceeded to lead 97 of the 100 laps.

On Lap 35 of the Legend Race Car, leader John Beatty was nudged by Kevin Nowak, sending him into a spin entering a turn and drawing a yellow flag. For his role in Beatty’s spin, Nowak was requested to report to the rear of the field; he opted to call it a day instead. When the race resumed, Kelly led the final laps for a long-awaited victory.

“I was just sitting back in third watching the two leaders go at it,” Kelly said. “I knew it was just a matter of time.”

John Beatty Jr. of Merrick rallied in the final laps to claim second place. Ray Fitzgerald of Manorville was third.

Zaleski made his way in front in the Street Stock race on the fourth lap. As the laps clicked off, his lead increased. Not even a caution flag with just over 30 laps remaining in the contest could ruin Zaleski’s day. Anthony Pizzo of Lake Ronkonkoma tried to make a run on the race leader on the restart, but Zaleski prevailed. Pizzo had to settle for second. Greg Harris of Riverhead, who started ninth, finished third.

The 40-lap Mini Stock event was a back-and-forth duel for the win with Kelly coming out on top. Although Brandon Esposito of Farmingville crossed the line first, his last-turn pass was called back by track officials for going under the yellow line. Kelly was declared the winner. Esposito was second, with Preston Prydatko of Rocky Point third.

Don Nelson Jr. of Rocky Point won a 40-lap Truck Enduro. He was followed, in order, by Gene Burbol of Brookhaven and R.J. Gage of Riverhead.

Esposito made a late-race pass of Joe Warren Jr. of Rocky Point to post an emotional victory in the 60-lap Gut & Go 4/6-Cylinder Enduro. Esposito dedicated the victory to his ailing grandfather, former Islip Speedway Figure Eight racer Joe Biondolillo Sr., who is seriously ill in South Carolina. Warren was the runner-up while Kelly crossed the line third.

After losing an engine two weeks ago, Mark Wolf of Shirley rebounded with a new engine under the hood and it brought him the win in a 40-lap 8-Cylinder Enduro. Sean Fitzpatrick of West Babylon was second while Justin Ferreri of Hicksville took third.