Riverhead Raceway: Zachem wins Whelen series opener

Max Zachem of Preston, Connecticut, scored his first career NASCAR Tour Type Modified win Saturday night when he won the 40-lap Whelen All-American Series opener at Riverhead Raceway.

With just three laps to go Tom Rogers Jr.’s car made contact with the one driven by defending NASCAR Modified champion Shawn Solomito, who leading at the time. Solomito was sent into a spin and Rogers drew a caution flag. That turn of events moved Zachem to the lead with fellow contender Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville alongside for the double-file restart. When the race went back to green for a three-lap dash to the checker, Zachem drove off to victory.

Bonsignore crossed the line second. He was followed by Vinny Biondolillo of Farmingville, John Fortin Sr. of Holtsville and Ken Darch of Riverhead.

In order for Eric Zeh of Selden to collect his third career Late Model win, he had to hold off 64-time winner Roger Oxee of Peconic in the non-stop, 25-lap feature. Mission accomplished. Oxee was second. Chris Turbush of Wading River charged his way from eighth to a third-place finish.

Defending Modified Crate champion Dave Brigati of Calverton topped the field in a 25-lap race for the second-year division. It was his second opening-night triumph in a row. C.J. Lehmann of Shirley was second, with third going to Dylan Slepian of Dix Hills.

Gary Fritz Jr. of Mastic Beach won a 15-lap Figure Eight main event, leading from green to checker flag. Tom Ferrara of Patchogue was the runner-up, and Scott Pedersen of Shirley placed third.

A 20-lap Super Pro Truck feature provided Brigati with his first of his two wins on the night as he led from wire to wire. The two wins were emotional for Brigati, who father died during the offseason. Teenage sensation Owen Grennan of Glen Cove steered his way to second place. Frank Dumicich Jr. of Quogue was third.

There is something about opening nights and defending Blunderbust champion Jack Handley Jr. that is magical. For the fourth time in his young career, he won the first 20-lapper of the season. The win was also a milestone for Handley as it marked his 20th career victory. Tom Pickerell of Huntington was second and Jim Laird of Riverhead finished third.

John Beatty Jr of Merrick won a 20-lap Legend Race Car feature event. Richie Davidowitz of East Moriches took second and Chris Rogers of Patchogue was third.

Making his first ever Demolition Derby start, C.J. Zurkowski of Riverhead outlasted seasoned veteran Joey Palmeri of Lindenhurst to win the four-cylinder event.