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Riverhead Raceway: Soper triumphs, Partridge remembered, two drivers enshrined

A night of emotion, nostalgia and old-school NASCAR Modified racing Saturday at Riverhead Raceway ended with Kyle Soper of Manorville in the winners circle for the Baldwin, Evans & Jarzombek 77 for the second year in a row. Soper, using a balance of patience and aggression, took the lead from Timmy Solomito of Islip with five laps left to pocket his fourth win of the year and 28th of his career.

John Cozza of Medford and Rusty Turbush of Manorville were enshrined on the Cromarty Wall of Champions in a trackside ceremony prior to the feature racing. Then fans were asked to turn their attention to the top of the pit grandstands where a gray tarp was pulled back, unveiling the 2020 Islip 300-winning NASCAR Modified owned by the late Eddie Partridge, the track co-owner who died last September. The car, which was driven by Ryan Preece, sits atop a large pole and will serve as a tribute to Partridge. Partridge’s widow, Connie, and nephew, Tom Gatz, were part of the unveiling.

“This win is just another testament to my team” said Soper, who moved into a three-way tie with Don Howe and J.R. Bertuccio for 11th on the all time win list.

Solomito crossed the finish line second. Dylan Slepian of Dix Hills was third, John Beatty Jr. of Merrick fourth and Matt Brode of East Islip fifth.

Crate Modified driver Chase Greenan of Glen Cove backed up his first career win with his second win in three weeks. Max Handley of Medford was second and Stephen Coleman of East Islip motored in third.

When the checkered flag for a 30-lap Blunderbusts race flew, defending champion Cody Triola of Bay Shore was headed to victory lane for his first win of 2022 and seventh of his career. Eddie Diaz of Centereach was second, with Jim Laird Jr. of Ridge third.

Fifteen-year old Chase Van Houten of Wading River, a third-generation driver, won his first career event, a 20-lap Legend Race Car feature. Jake Curran of Calverton was a career-best second. Christopher Coleman of East Islip came in third.

Former five-time NASCAR Modified champion Don Howe of Water Mill took first in a 15-lap Eddie Partridge Vintage All Stars race. Tony Ferrante of New Hyde Park was second and third went to Tom Pickerell of Huntington.

Mariah Lawrence of Southampton gained her second Truck Enduro win in a week. The 40-lap contest saw Brandon LaManna of Smithtown grab second and Woot Lawrence of Southampton third.

Then, after that race, Lawrence jumped into an eight-cylinder Enduro and proceeded to win in a 40-lapper. Kevin Coyle of East Meadow and Kris Dane of Hicksville, who started the race 25th, were the next two finishers.