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Riverhead Raceway: Soper holds off Rogers in 77-lapper

An old-school race between eventual winner Kyle Soper of Manorville and defending champion Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead highlighted the annual Baldwin, Evans & Jarzombek 77 Saturday night at Riverhead Raceway. It was Soper’s second NASCAR Modified feature win in a row and his first ever in the 77, just two weeks after stating the race was one he would like to cross off his racing bucket list.

Mission accomplished.

Soper outlasted his fierce rival to grab his 22nd career victory.

After receiving congratulations from Rogers in the winners circle, Soper said: “I really like racing with Tommy. You beat him, you beat the best here.”

It wasn’t from a lack of effort that Rogers was runner-up in his first race back after an illness forced him to sit out of a July 24 race.

A third-place finish awaited Jon McKennedy of Chelmsford, Mass. John Fortin Sr. of Holtsville ended up fourth after starting 12th in the field. Kyle Ellwood of Riverhead was fifth.

Michael Berner of Pat-ch-ogue nailed down his first Crate Modified win of 2021 when he held off Richie Davidowitz of East Moriches in a 25-lap race. Berner dedicated the win to Louise Mangels, a family friend who died during the off-season. Owen Grennan of Glen Cove took third.

Cody Triola of Bay Shore had not scored a Blunderbust win since opening night May 1, but changed that with his sixth career win in a 20-lap affair. Max Handley of Medford was second and Tom Sullivan of Massapequa third.

After after 17 years away from racing, Joe Cerabino of Bay Shore made his return a couple of seasons ago. Before Saturday, he last won a Late Model race at Riverhead on April 29, 2000. Some 21 years later, Cerabino made a triumphant return to the winners circle. Max Handley was second and his brother, Jack, also of Medford, was third.

Joey Braun of Manorville won the US Legend Cars 50-lap national qualifier for his second win in two weeks and third of the season. George Tomko Jr. of Aquebogue was second, with Anthony Marsh of Riverhead third after starting 26th.

In a 40-lap 4/6-Cylinder Enduro that started 56 cars, John Palmeri of Lindenhurst scored his second win in a row.