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Riverhead Raceway: Rutkoski motors to sixth win

Saturday night at Riverhead Raceway had a little bit of everything. Michael Rutkoski of Mattituck pocketed his sixth Crate Modified win of the season. Legend Race Car talent Noah Korner of Canton, Conn., made a late-race pass to win a 50-lap U.S. Legend Cars National Qualifier. Twenty-five-year Demolition Derby veteran Frank Phillips of Ozone Park won his first career National Demolition Derby Championship event.

In the 25-lap Crate Modified tilt, Owen Grennan of Glen Cove moved by Chris Rogers of Patchogue for the lead on Lap 2 and led the remainder of the race, seemingly having won his fourth race of 2018. However, after taking the checker flag, Grennan’s winning car was found to have unapproved fuel and was stripped of the win. Rutkoski was declared the winner, bringing him his eighth career win. Jack Orlando of Calverton was runner-up while Justin Brown of Manorville placed third. With one race meet remaining, Rutkoski leads Brown by a mere three points for the 2018 championship.

In the U.S. Legend Cars National Qualifier, Kyle Ellwood was enjoying a comfortable lead and appeared to be on the way to his 20th career victory when mechanical disaster struck. On Lap 45 Ellwood ducked off the backstretch onto the infield, the victim of rear end assembly failure. That propelled Korner into the race lead with just four laps remaining. Korner was pushed for the lead by Richie Davidowitz before slight contact made off the final corner sent the challenger into the wall. Korner picked up his first career Riverhead Raceway win. Davidowitz of East Moriches was a disappointed second while Ray Fitzgerald of Manorville was third.

Jim Sylvester of Massapequa, with his fifth-place tally, sewed up the Legend Race Car championship with one race remaining.

Chris Turbush of Wading River is on a late-season roll in Late Model competition, winning his second race in a row and fifth this year. His 12th career Late Model win ties him with Mike Mortimer for 10th on the all-time win list. Dave Brigati of Calverton was second and Jarrod Hayes of Calverton third. With one race remaining, Kyle Soper leads Turbush by 11 points for the class title.

Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead had to withstand late-race contact with Tom Ferrara of Patchogue before he could claim his track-leading eighth win of the year in a 15-lap Figure Eight feature. It was Rogers’ 43rd career win, sewing up the Figure Eight championship. The title is the fifth of Rogers’ storied driving career. Ken Hyde Jr. of Mastic Beach was second in the race, followed by Eric Zeh of Selden.

It’s not often that 63-time Blunderbust winner Tommy Walkowiak of Ridge gets passed late in a race for the win, but that is exactly what Jack Handley Jr. of Medford did to take home his seventh win of the season in a non-stop 20-lapper. The win wrapped up the Blunderbust title for Handley. Tom Pickerell of Huntington, also with a late-race pass, claimed second. Walkowiak, who announced on social media that the last race of 2018 would be the last of his career, was third.

A career season for Mark Stewart of Riverhead rolled on as he won a 20-lap Super Pro Truck feature, his sixth win of the season and 19th of the 20-year old’s career. Lou Maestri of Deer Park was second and Jimmy Rennick Jr. of Howard Beach third.

Former Blunderbust talent Tom Puccia of Shirley took advantage of a late-race restart to claim his first career Mini Stock win in a 20-lap event. Paul Wojcik of Centereach came in second and Andrew Farnham of Baldwin third.