Ruby Wallau/NASCAR
Ruby Wallau | NASCAR

PIT BOX: Whelen Modified Tour heads back to Riverhead Raceway

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour heads back to Riverhead, New York, this weekend for the second time in the last five weeks, as Riverhead Raceway plays host to the sixth event of the 2021 season.

The 200-lap, 50-mile event will be the first time the tour heads back to a venue for the second time this season, with return visits to Stafford, Oswego (and Riverhead for a third time) on the docket later in the slate. The quarter-mile oval serves as the only auto racing venue on Long Island, has been in operation as an asphalt track since 1955 and has hosted at least one NWMT race every year since 1985 (excluding 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic).

RACE INFO: Entry List | Race Center

With the top two title contenders, Patrick Emerling and Justin Bonsignore, finishing third and fourth at Oswego respectively, the former maintains a three-point advantage over the latter heading to Riverhead. Bonsignore swept the Riverhead races in 2018 and 2019 and has won eight career races at the New York quarter mile.

After skipping Oswego, six-time champion Doug Coby returns to the modified to defend his May 15 victory at Riverhead. The win was his first at Riverhead in 21 starts spanning 15 years.

Fans can watch the race live on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold and tape delayed on Thursday, June 24 at 4:30 pm ET on NBCSN.


Buzz Chew Chevrolet Cadillac 200

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
Despite sitting 14th in the standings, Timmy Solomito will be a driver to keep an eye on. The three-time Riverhead winner is a former track regular and knows his way around the quarter- mile. The former series runner-up finished 12th at Riverhead in May, two laps down, in his debut with the No. 64 team.

Multiple-time Riverhead track champion Tom Rogers Jr. will look to improve on his 24th-place showing earlier this season. In 13 career starts, Rogers has a best career finish of fourth (2016) and nine total top 10 finishes.

J.B. Fortin and Kyle Soper will have hometown support in their backyard but are hoping for a change of fortune. Fortin has an average finish of 16.3 in four career starts at Riverhead (one top 10), while Soper has amassed two top fives and in five career starts and holds an average finish of 12.0. They finished 20th and 22nd, respectively, in the Miller Lite 200 in May.

Making his 2021 season debut will be weekly regular Mike Rutkoski. The Mattituck, New York native finished 21st in both of his prior starts at Riverhead in 2019, failing to finish in both events.

While there are plenty of stories throughout the field, all eyes will remain on the title battle between Patrick Emerling and Justin Bonsignore. The two finished second and third at Riverhead earlier this season, and can’t seem to get away from each other on track.

This is uncharted territory for Emerling, who has a best finish of fifth in the standings, to be leading the points. His runner-up result earlier this season was his best finish at Riverhead in 10 starts. Whereas Bonsignore, a two-time champion and three-time runner-up, knows what it takes to put together an entire season that is championship worthy. The two are sure to battle wheel to wheel once again this weekend, with three points separating them atop the standings.

Coby now sits 47 markers back of the top spot in eighth place. But, having won his first race at Riverhead just over a month ago, this Saturday could be the start of another blazing hot summer stretch for the driver of the No. 10.

Sitting behind Emerling and Bonsignore in the standings are Woody Pitkat (-26 in third), Kyle Bonsignore (-28 in fourth), Tommy Catalano (-32 in fifth) and Eric Goodale (-33 in sixth). The four drivers have a combined one victory at Riverhead (Goodale in 2014) but are in prime position to pounce should anything happen to the top two.

RACING REFERENCE:

RACE FACTS

Race Buzz Chew Chevrolet Cadillac 200 at Riverhead Raceway at Riverhead Raceway
Date Saturday, June 19, 2021
Track Riverhead Raceway
Layout Quarter-mile oval
Location Riverhead, New York
Start time 8 p.m. ET
Laps 200
Miles 50
Tickets Riverhead Raceway Gate
TV channel NBCSN (Delayed: Thursday, June 24, 4:30 p.m. ET)
Live stream TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold (Live)

RACEDAY SCHEDULE: Saturday, June 19 — Garage opens: 12:45 p.m. ET; Practice: 3-4 p.m.; Qualifying: 6 p.m.; Race: 8 p.m.

CREW CHIEF HANDOUT: The starting field for the Buzz Chew Chevrolet Cadillac 200 is limited to 28 starters including provisionals. The field will be set by qualifying (1-22) and provisional process per the entry blank (23-28) for the Buzz Chew Chevrolet Cadillac 200. In the event that qualifying as stated on the entry blank does not take place for any unforeseen circumstance, the field will be set in accordance with the 2021 NASCAR Touring Series Rule Book.

QUALIFYING: Two consecutive qualifying laps. Faster lap determines qualifying position. Adjustments or repairs may not be made on the vehicle after the vehicle has taken the green flag at the start/finish line. NASCAR reserves the right to have more than one vehicle engage in qualifying runs at the same time.

The maximum tire allotment available for this event is as follows: The maximum tire allotment available for this event is eight (8) tires per team. All tires used for qualifying and the race must be purchased at the track and scanned by Hoosier, unless otherwise approved in advance by the Series Director. Four (4) tires must be used for qualifying and to begin the race. All qualifying tires must remain in impound until released by NASCAR Officials. The remaining tire allotment may be used for practice and/or change tires during the event.

The tire change rule is zero (0) tires, any position.

QUALIFYING AND SPECIAL AWARDS

$400 Phil Kurze Halfway Leader Award presented by Josten’s per event award to the race leader at the halfway point of the event, regardless if the race is running under green or yellow.

$600 Hoosier Tire “Lap Leader” per event award to the eligible car owner whose driver leads the most laps in each event. In the event of a tie, the award will go to the highest finishing car in the event.

$500 Hoosier Tire “Hard Charger” per event award to the highest finishing eligible driver who advances the most positions during the course of the race. In the case of a tie, the highest finishing driver will receive the award.

$500 Hoosier Tire “Most Improved” per event award to the eligible new team/organization whose driver improves the most positions during the course of the race. In the event of a tie, the award will go to the highest finishing car in the event. If money is not awarded during this event, funds will roll over to the next event and will continue to roll over until an eligible new team/organization claims the money.

$1,000 Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole per event award to the driver with the fastest qualifying time eligible to participate under the Manufacturers’ Prize Money Conditions.

$550 Sunoco Spec Fuel award divided: 1st-$300 5th-$150 10th-$100.

$3,500 Whelen Engineering “Winner of the Race” award to the winning driver.

Whelen Non-Starter award will be paid to the first 15 competitors throughout the season who pass inspection, practice, attempt to qualify, but fail to make the feature event.