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Riverhead Raceway: Brigati makes winning return after layoff

Dave Brigati of Calverton returned to racing at Riverhead Raceway Saturday after a two-month layoff with a point to prove — to himself as well as his competitors.

When the checker flag waved during the 50-lap NASCAR Modified feature, Brigati proved his point by sealing his 12th career win, by far the most gratifying of his dozen victories.

Brigati, coming off an eight-week suspension for unapproved tires on June 12, took the lead with 13 laps left in the race.

Michael Rutkoski of Mattituck was second, Craig Lutz of Miller Place third, John Beatty Jr. of Merrick fourth and Chris Young of Calverton fifth.

“There were 16 cars here tonight and anyone of them could have won, I’m just happy it was us,” said Brigati.

Mark Stewart of Riverhead scored his second Crate Modified win of 2021, a 25-lap event. Matt Brode of East Islip made a late-race charge to claim second. Early leader Vinny Delaney of Islip Terrace was third.

Tom Ferrara of Patchogue scored his second Figure Eight victory of the year and 19th of his career. The 15-lap win tied him for eighth on the all-time win list with the late Ralph Tasso. Allan Pedersen of Center Moriches had to settle for second. Joe Warren Jr. of Ridge third.

For the second time in three Vintage All Stars races this year, Don Howe of Watermill came away the winner in a15-lap event. Tony Ferrante of New Hyde Park was second and Frank Saladino of Farmingville was third.

Joe Cooke Jr. of Shirley earned his first career Mini Stock win, becoming the 12th different driver to lay claim to a first career win at the track this year. C.J. Zukowski of Riverhead was second and his younger brother Ryan, also of Riverhead, was third.