When the checker flag dropped for the 50-lap NASCAR Modified feature Saturday night at Riverhead Raceway, the emotions flowed.
Second generation driver Chris Young of Calverton held off a hard-pressing, 58-time career winner, Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead, to earn his first career victory.
As he took his victory lap, Young admitted the tears welled up thinking about his late father, Chris, a 33-time winner at the quarter-mile oval. Young, who built the engine in his winning car, was among four of the first-time winners on the day.
Young soaked it all in afterward. “I had tears in my eyes and I took my time so I could gather myself for this interview, an interview I have dreamed of over and over,” he said. “When I got to the fourth turn gate where they used to let the crews out I could just envision my dad standing there with Mom and my sister.”
Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead, Dave Brigati of Calverton, Roger Turbush of Riverhead and Dylan Slepian of Dix Hills were the next finishers.
Owen Grennan of Glen Cove made it two Crate Modified wins in a row, giving him five for his career in the class. Sean Glennon of Northport was second, with Richie Davidowitz of East Moriches third.
Joe Warren Jr. of Ridge overcame an opening night engine failure to roar to victory in a 15-lap Figure Eight feature. Scott Pedersen of Shirley, the opening night winner, made a late-race charge for second place. Gary Fritz Jr. of Mastic Beach was third.
Eddie Diaz of Centereach, the 2019 Rookie of the Year, captured his first career Blunderbust win, a 20-lap event. Cody Triola of Bay Shore maneuvered into second. Tom Pickerell of Huntington, a 26-time winner in the division, took third.
Saddled with nothing but bad racing luck over the first three weeks of this season, Joey Braun of Manorville rid his team of all the demons Saturday when he won a 20-lap Legend Race Car event, leading all the way. It was his second career victory. Eric Hersey of Commack was second, ahead of third-place Allan Pedersen of Center Moriches.
Jay Henschel of Levittown collected the 20-lap Street Stock honors, his second career triumph. The next two finishers after him were Rhett Fogg of Westhampton and Dave Antos of Lindenhurst.
Franky Abbatiello of East Islip became the fourth first-time winner on the night in the program-closing, 50-lap 4/6-Cylinder Enduro. The Palmeri brothers, Joey Jr. and John, of Lindenhurst were second and third, respectively.