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Riverhead Raceway: Turbush triumphs on last-lap pass

Chris Turbush of Wading River rewarded his hard-working team, which burnt the midnight oil during the week to repair a heavily damaged car, by making a last-lap pass of Kyle Soper of Manorville to claim a win in a 50-lap Late Model feature at Riverhead Raceway Saturday evening.

Rookie driver Michael Rutkoski of Mattituck scored his first career Modified Crate victory in a nonstop 30-lap main event.

The moment Turbush moved into second in the Late Model race, he went right to work on Soper as they ran nose to tail with less than five laps remaining. Turbush worked the inside lane as they raced off the corner with the race coming down to the white-flag lap. After taking the one to go signal, Turbush started his inside pass of Soper off the second turn as the tandem ran door handle to door handle. Entering the third turn, Turbush muscled his way under Soper and steered his way to his sixth career Late Model win.

“What a team I have,” Turbush said afterward. “We’ve had to rebuild this car twice since opening night and my guys … never say die, they just keep digging.”

Soper crossed the line second but was moved back to sixth for after-race contact with Turbush. That turn of events moved Kevin Metzger of Massapequa to second, his best effort of 2017. Eric Zeh of Selden came in third, with Jeremy McDermott of Riverhead fourth and Scott Kulesa of Georgetown, Mass., fifth.

After honing his racing skills in the competitive Legend Race Car division, Rutkoski and his grandfather and car owner Buzz Chew decided the next step for Rutkoski would be the Modified Crate class. That decision paid dividends Saturday as Rutkoski led from green to checker for his first career win. Dave Brigati of Calverton put pressure on the young driver but had to be content with runner-up money. C.J. Lehmann of Center Moriches was third.

Tom Rogers Jr. scored his second consecutive Figure Eight win, his third this season and the 29th of his career, tying him with Tom Kraft for fourth on the all-time win list. Rogers, the championship leader, padded his point lead over Tom Ferrara of Patchogue, who was second in the race. Early leader Greg Harris of Riverhead was third.

In the 20-lap Blunderbust race, Tom Sullivan of Massapequa seemingly had won his first race of the season but a postrace inspection determined his car was too low and he was moved to last in the running order. That moved Tommy Walkowiak of Ridge into victory lane for the 62nd time in his illustrious career. Championship leader Tom Pickerell of Huntington was second. Max Handley of Medford took third in just the third start of his career.

On the strength of a late-race pass, Jack Handley Jr. of Medford won his first Super Pro Truck race of the year, a 20-lap event. Jimmy Rennick Jr. of Howard Beach had his best run of the year, coming within laps of his first career win before settling for second. Sean Glennon of Northport took third.

Brian Brown of Baiting Hollow picked up his first career win in a 30-lap Street Stock event. Rhett Fogg if Westhampton and Anthony Pizzo of Lake Ronkonkoma were the next two finishers.

Joe Warren Jr. of Ridge won a 40-lap Enduro after starting 17th in the 47-car field. Brandon Esposito of Farmingville, who started the race in the 42nd position, finished second. Christian Conklin of Flanders was third.