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Riverhead Raceway: Soper’s back in victory lane

It had been over a month since defending Riverhead Raceway NASCAR Modified champion Kyle Soper of Manorville had visited victory lane. He figured it was time to change that.

Soper drove to his seventh win of the 2019 Whelen All American Series Saturday night. The victory in the 50-lap event was the 16th of his career, tying him with Ryan Preece of Berlin, Conn., for 27th on the all-time win list.

A collision between Roger Turbush and Chris Young while exiting a turn moved Soper, who started the race seventh, into the lead from third, with John Fortin Sr. second for the restart.

After testing the former three-time champion Fortin for second several times, Craig Lutz was able to make his way into second, executing an outside pass. However, by the time Lutz took over the challenger’s role, Soper was long gone, making a triumphant return to victory lane.

“We had a good race going when we got some help getting to the front with all that was going on in front of us” said Soper. He also noted he is well aware of the single-season win mark of 10 set twice by Charlie Jarzombek and once by Gary Winters. “We [are] getting closer to that 10-win mark and hopefully … we can get there. We’ll see.”

Lutz of Miller Place was the runner-up while Fortin of Holstville took third, Dylan Slepian of Dix Hills fourth and Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead fifth.

In other races:

Jeremy McDermott of Riverhead returned to Late Model victory lane after a one-race absence, scoring his eighth win of 2019, making him the top winning driver in one race season in the class. He has won 16 races in career, moving him into sole possession of sixth on the Late Model all-time win list. Scott Kulesa of Georgetown, Mass., who is fifth on that list with 23 victories, settled for second. Shawn Patrick of Brightwaters was third.

Another driver regaining his winning form from earlier in the season was Justin Brown of Manorville, who won a 25-lap Crate Modified feature for his fifth win of the year. Brown, who started the race ninth, took advantage of a double-file restart on Lap 15, riding the outside lane to the lead with Chris Rogers tucking into second. From there, Brown sped to his eighth career win, good for third on the all-time win list. Rogers of Patchogue was second and the previous week’s winner, Dave Brigati of Calverton, placed third.

Former multi-time Super Pro Truck champion Lou Maestri of Deer Park drove to his second win of the season and 32nd of his career in a 20-lapper. Following him to the finish line were second-place Frank Dumicich Jr. of East Quogue and third-place Joe Cerabino of Bay Shore.

Joe Warren Jr. of Ridge drove to his third Mini Stock victory of the year. The 20-lap race saw Paul Wojcik of Centereach finish second and Chris Elixson of Riverhead third.

Donald Lawrence of Southampton scored a 40-lap 4/6-Cylinder Enduro victory, his second win of the season. The race was red-flagged when Christian Conklin of Riverhead flipped his Hyundai entering the third turn. He was shaken but otherwise OK, the track said. Following Lawrence at the finish were Chris Olivari of Coram and Peter Verwys of East Rockaway.

Photo caption: Sean Glennon (37) has nowhere to go as he collides with Terrance Stiles (41) in a Crate Modified event at Riverhead Raceway Saturday. (Credit: Bill Landon)