Kyle Soper, Justin Brown & John Beatty Jr. Collect Miller Lite Victories At Riverhead Raceway Saturday Night

Prior to the Miller Lite 200 for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour three exciting Whelen All American Series feature events were contested Saturday night at Riverhead Raceway with Kyle Soper of Manorville notching his 6th Late Model win of 2017 in a 25 lap contest. Justin Brown of Manorville scored his first career Eagle Auto Mall Modified Crate win in their 25-lapper, while John Beatty Jr. of Merrick clinched the 2017 INEX Legend Race Car feature when he won his third feature of the season in a 20-lap affair. All three winner took home a handsome trophy from Miller Lite and their L.I. distributor Boening Brothers of Lindenhurst.

Former two time Late Model champion Kevin Metzger seeking his first win of the year broke out front when the green flag dropped chased for the first lap by Eric Zeh. A quick yellow flag as the field started the second lap set up a double file restart where Kyle Soper made his way under Zeh for second to start lap 2. After sizing Metzger up for two laps Soper made his way to the race lead on as the field raced off the fourth turn on lap 4 passing Metzger for the lead to the inside. Metzger would run second to Soper but the leader was able to pull away until lap 17 when Roger Oxee tagged the third turn wall after contact from Shawn Patrick, Oxee was done for the night and NASCAR officials removed Patrick from the race. On the final restart of the race Soper held serve in the Eastport Feeds Pontiac remaining out front as John Baker made his way by Metzger for second on the restart. At the finish it was Kyle Soper extending his championship point lead to 28 entering the final two weeks of the season over Jeremy McDermott of Riverhead who was third in the race in his JDP Mechanical Chevy. John Baker of Brookhaven in a rare LM start was runner-up in the Staria Automotive entry.

Rookie Eagle Auto Mall Modified Crate driver Justin Brown would lead all 25 laps of their feature event but by no means was an easy win for the former go-kart talent. When the race got underway Brown got the measure of Terry Stiles for the early race lead. Stiles making his first start since May hounded the freshman driver early on but his run at a second career win would come to an abrupt end when his car started leaking water on the track. After being shown the black flag Stiles pulled to the infield moving two time feature event winner and fellow rookie driver Michael Rutkoski to second. Once in the challengers position Rutkoski pulled right to the rear bumper of Brown hoping to make a bid for his third win of the year. However Justin Brown in the KMS Kustoms Chevy would have none of it as he drove off to that all important first career win. Michael Rutkoski of Mattituck was second across the line in his Buzz Chew Chevrolet machine while championship leader Dave Brigati of Calverton placed third in the Quest Machining & Fabricating Chevy. Going into the final two races of 2017 Brigati holds a 30-point advantage over Dylan Slepian of Dix Hills for the title.

John Beatty Jr. clinched the 2017 INEX Legend Race Car championship in fine style as he won his third race of the season topping the 20-lap main event. Brad Van Houten, just days removed from his 40th birthday jumped out to the early race lead over defending champion Vinny Delaney. Van Houten would pull away from Delaney just prior to the halfway point of the contest but a lap 13 caution would change the complexion of the race. On the ensuing restart Van Houten remained the race leader with veteran Kevin Nowak making his way by Delaney for second. Just two laps later as the field was set to start the 16th circuit Nowak got into the back of Van Houten sending the leader for a spin. Van Houten running a part time schedule in 2017 frustrated by the move parked his car during the caution and track officials requested that Nowak join him in the pits for the rest of the race. That turn of event propelled John Beatty Jr. who started the race 9th to the race lead, a lead he’d not relinquish in his Giella Electric mount for the rest of the race. Ray Fitzgerald of Manorville was runner-up in the Blue Point Auto Body machine while Jeff Otto Jr. of Deer Park was third in the Strike 10 Lanes entry.

Late Models:
1. Kyle Soper 2. John Baker 3. Jeremy McDermott 4. Chris Turbush 5. Kevin Metzger 6. Eric Zeh 7. Darren McCabe 8. Dylan Slepian 9. Roger Oxee 10. Steve Mastro Jr. 11. Ken Matlach 12. Ray Minieri 13. Shawn Patrick 14. Brandon Turbush

Modified Crates:
1. Justin Brown 2. Michael Rutkoski 3. Dave Brigati 4. Jack Orlando 5. AJ DeSantis 6. Dylan Slepian 7. Peter Bertuccio 8. Kurt Kreiger 9. Scott Pedersen 10. Jay Hansen 11. Cary Rogers 12. Terry Stiles 13. Dennis Krupski 14. CJ Lehmann 15. Michael Rommeney

Legend Race Cars:
1. John Beatty Jr. 2. Ray Fitzgerald 3. Jeff Otto Jr. 4. Jim Sylvester 5. Jerry Curran 6. Vinny Delaney 7. Mike Van Houten Jr. 8. Richie Davidowitz 9. George Tomko Jr. 10. Ed Cheslak 11. Dennis Kurras 12. Riley O’Keefe 13, Matt Brode 14. Joey Villatoro 15. Silas Hiscock Sr. 16. Brad Van Houten 17. Kevin Nowak 18. Jonathan Parsons 19. Artie Pedersen III 20. Eric Hersey 21. Mike Benton 22. Steve Woytysiak 23. Wally Davidowitz


Bob Finan