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Riverhead Raceway: First career win for Brown in bounce-back performance

Justin Brown of Manorville secured his first career NASCAR Modified win Saturday night with a bounce-back performance at Riverhead Raceway.

One week after being the first car out of The Bubba 150, Brown earned a victory by executing a winning pass on the outside in the 50-lap event before a standing-room only crowd.

“Man, this is so great,” Brown said in the winner’s circle. “We had a great, clean battle with Jack [Handley Jr.]. Thanks to him for racing clean. I was trying him down low but my car was just a tick off down there, so we switched and took her to the outside.”

After the halfway mark, Brown looked several times to the inside of the race leader but quickly realized he needed to go around the long way for a shot at a pass. During Lap 33, Brown go ta nice run to the outside of Handley and Brown surged past as the race leader for Lap 34. Handley had given him plenty of room on the high side, then tucked in behind Brown for second with Timmy Solomito of Islip in the third position.

Over the final 15 laps, Brown hit his marks to fulfill a dream of a lifetime when he crossed first under the checker flags.

Handley, of Medford, turned on a stellar performance for second while Solomito finished third. John Beatty Jr. of Merrick and Kyle Soper of Manorville rounded out the top five.

The Figure Eight division has seen its share of drama at Riverhead Raceway this season. The 20-lap race Saturday featured a crash between Bob Dalke and Ken Hyde Jr., ending the bid by Hyde for his 12th career win on a night the race was in memory of his father, Ken Hyde Sr., on what would have been his 59th birthday. Both drivers were OK and when the race resumed, Allan Pedersen of Center Moriches was the new race leader. However, Gary Fritz Jr. of Mastic took the lead shortly after and went on to secure his first win of 2022. Pedersen settled for second and Scott Pedersen of Shirley was third.

Nick Morabito of Miller Place won the INEX Legend Race Car event, winning a wild three-car photo finish by just .029 seconds. Christopher Coleman of East Islip was the runner-up and Ray Fitzgerald of Manorville was third.

Greg Harris of Riverhead won his second Street Stock race of the season, coming out on top in the 20-lap race. It was his fourth career victory. Kyle Curtis of Hampton Bays was second and Gerald Lawrence of Miller Place was third.

Greg Harris of Riverhead, pictured with his wife, won the Street Stock race. (Credit: Richie Grodski/Riverhead Raceway)

Andrew Farnham of Baldwin captured his first 20-lap Mini Stock feature — his fifth career win. Chris Olivari of Coram was second and CJ Zukowski of Riverhead was third.

Joe Warren Jr. of Ridge broke to an early race lead in the 50-lap 4/6-Cylinder Gut & Go Enduro and dominated the race to win by 6.774 seconds. John Palmeri of Lindenhurst was second and Joe Palmeri of Lindenhurst was third.

Michael Rommeney of Bohemia made it a clean sweep on the two school bus demolition derby events in 2022 as he won a hotly contested conclusion over Scott Phillips of Bay Shore. Rommeney dedicated his win to his son Chevy, who received 300 stitches in his leg Friday after a race shop accident.

Racing continues in Riverhead Saturday with opening ceremonies at 6 p.m. and a full slate of racing to follow.