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Riverhead Raceway: Solomito wins third race on Whelen Modified Tour

Timmy Solomito of Islip captured his third NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory of the season Saturday night in the main event at Riverhead Raceway. Solomito won the Riverhead 200, his 18th career victory at his home track, by holding off Dave Sapienza of Riverhead, the runner-up.

Solomito posted the top lap in qualifying to earn the pole, setting himself up for the early race lead. Ronnie Williams followed in second for the first eight circuits before being passed on Lap 9 by Ryan Preece of Berlin, Conn., who was closing in on the leader, Solomito. Preece managed to pass Solomito on Lap 31 as the duo began to lap another driver.

Solomito and Preece, who have now combined for five victories out of six races, went back and forth, each taking leads through Lap 81. The final pass for the lead took place just past the halfway point on a 10th lap restart where Solomito passed Preece on the outside. Preece sound found himself having to contend with the cars of Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville, Doug Coby of Milford, Conn. and Sapienza closing in on his second-place position.

On Lap 151, Bonsignore made his pass on Preece to move into the second position with Coby trailing in third in the 26-car field. Bonsignore and Coby battled for second before Sapienza emerged to pass them on Lap 173. At that point, Solomito was well on his way to a victory and Sapienza would have needed a late caution flag to have a chance at the lead.

That opportunity came with a Craig Lutz spin with just about five laps to go. With the race in overtime, Solomito managed to hold off Sapienza on the final restart before the race concluded on Lap 208.

Sapienza’s finish was a career best. Coby crossed in third during the late race restart and Preece settled for fourth. Bonsignore was fifth.

The Whelen Modified Tour continues July 14 with the All-Star Shootout at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and on July 15 with the Nor’easter 100. Both races are at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Riverhead Raceway will host its next Whelen Modified event on Sept. 16.

Three other NASCAR Whelen All American Series feature events were held at Riverhead Raceway prior to Saturday’s main event. Dave Brigati of Calverton scored his fourth win in five starts in the 30-lap modified crates; Eric Zeh of Selden won the 20-lap blunderbust main event and Brendon Bock of Franklin Square was the winner in the legend race event.

Photo caption: Timmy Solomito of Islip celebrates his victory Saturday night at Riverhead Raceway. (Credit: Adam Glanzman/NASCAR