Analyzing The Riverhead 200 At Riverhead Raceway
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will return to Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway for the rescheduled Riverhead 200 on Saturday, Sept. 15. Below is a statistical look at the performance of series and selected drivers at the track:
Riverhead Race Setup
• The most recent NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour winner this year, Justin Bonsignore, is the defending winner of the Riverhead 200, which marked his first NWMT win.
• There has not been a driver earn back-to-back wins at Riverhead since 2001 when Mike Stefanik swept the season’s two events at Riverhead.
• Ryan Preece, who had two NASCAR Whelen All-American Series wins at Riverhead this year, has four top-fives in five career NWMT starts at Riverhead, including a win in 2009.
• Four NWMT drivers recorded NWAAS wins at Riverhead this year including: Bonsignore (2), Preece (2), Ted Christopher (1) and Ron Silk (1).
At Riverhead Raceway:
• Built in 1949.
• Held its first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race on July 10, 1985 during the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour’s first season. The inaugural race was won by Jimmy Spencer.
• Has held 50 NWMT races all-time, fourth-most among all venues.
• Is one of two tracks to play host to the NWMT in each of its now 28 seasons of competition, along with Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway.
• At .25 miles, Riverhead is the smallest track on the schedule along with Monadnock Speedway.
• There have been four NWMT races that have been won by Riverhead NASCAR Whelen All-American Series drivers, the last of which was Ed Brunnhoelzl Jr. in 1995.
• Mike Ewanitsko experienced more success than any other NWMT driver at Riverhead during his days as a competitor. His 11 wins and eight poles lead in both categories.
• Mike Stefanik is the active wins leader at Riverhead with six while Ed Flemke Jr. has the most poles – four – among current competitors.
• The Riverhead 200 entry list includes eight drivers that have previously won NWMT races at Riverhead and 10who hail from Long Island.
Riverhead Raceway Data
Race: #11 of 14 overall
Track Layout: .25-mile banked asphalt oval
• Race Length: Qualifying Race, 25 Laps; Feature Race, 175 laps
2011 Pole Winner: Howie Brode
2011 Race Winner: Justin Bonsignore
Qualifying Record: Chuck Steuer (11.546 seconds, 77.949 mph, 6/10/00)
Active Category Leaders at Riverhead
1. Mike Stefanik … 6
2. Donny Lia … 4
3. Ted Christopher … 3
4. Jimmy Blewett … 1
Justin Bonsignore … 1
Ed Flemke Jr. … 1
Rowan Pennink … 1
Ryan Preece … 1
1. Ed Flemke Jr. … 4
2. Ted Christopher … 2
Mike Stefanik … 2
4. Howie Brode … 1
Ryan Preece … 1
Jamie Tomaino … 1
1. Mike Stefanik … 771
2. Donny Lia … 516
3. Ted Christopher … 436
4. Ed Flemke Jr. … 201
5. Justin Bonsignore … 185
1. Jamie Tomaino … 48
2. Ed Flemke Jr. … 35
3. Mike Stefanik … 34
4. Ted Christopher … 21
5. Eric Beers … 12
Donny Lia … 12
Selected Driver Highlights:
Eric Beers (No. 45 Horwith Freightliner/John Blewett Inc. Ford)
• Has two wins, nine poles and 77 top 10s in 180 career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour starts.
• Is 10th in points with four top 10s in 10 starts and a best finish of fourth on two occasions.
• In 12 starts at Riverhead Raceway he has a pole, seven top 10s, an average finish of 12th and his best finish was a runner-up effort in 2005.
Jimmy Blewett (No. 76 John Blewett Inc./Ling Trucking Chevrolet)
• Has five wins, a pole and 31 top 10s in 95 career NWMT starts.
• Has five top 10s in 10 races this year. Had three top 10s across 16 races the two previous seasons.
• Won at Riverhead in 2008 and has an average finish of 13th in five career NWMT starts at the track.
• Has three career NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modified wins at Riverhead, including the 2008 Baldwin Evans Jarzombek 77.
Justin Bonsignore (No. 51 M3 Technology Chevrolet)
• Has two wins, three poles and 23 top 10s in 42 career NWMT starts.
• Is the defending winner of the Riverhead 200. His second career win came last week at Thompson International Speedway.
• Since gaining his first NWMT win last year at Riverhead Raceway, he has finished in the top 10 in 15 of 19 events.
• The 2011 NWAAS track champion at Riverhead, where he has seven career victories in the Modified division.
Howie Brode (No. 96 Peter Clark Motorsports Chevrolet)
• Has a pole and 14 top 10s in 55 career NWMT starts. The pole came in this event last year.
• Twenty-seven of his career starts have come at Riverhead, where he’s posted 11 top 10s with a best finish of second in 1998.
• Has 11 career NWAAS Modified wins at Riverhead and was the track champion in 1998.
Ted Christopher (No. 3 Eastport Feeds Chevrolet)
• The 2008 NWMT champion, he has 42 wins, 24 poles and 174 top 10s in 317 career starts. His 42 wins rank third all-time and his 24 poles are eighth. Has at least one win in the 13 previous seasons.
• Is eighth in 2012 driver points with six top 10s in 10 starts. Won the exhibition UNOH Showdown at Thompson.
• In 21 NWMT starts at Riverhead he has three wins, two poles, 13 top 10s, an average finish of 11th and 436 laps led.
• Had a win and six runner-up finishes in 12 starts this year for 1994 NWMT Champion Wayne Anderson in the NWAAS Modified division at Riverhead.
Doug Coby (No. 52 Reynolds Auto Wrecking/Furnace & Duct Supply Chevrolet)
• Has six wins, four poles and 53 top 10s in 126 career starts.
• Points leader has four wins and seven podium finishes in 10 races this year. Recorded two wins in 116 starts prior to the 2012 season.
• Started the season with top 10s in each of the first eight races, but has finishes of 11th and 13th the last two outings.
• Has five wins and 19 top 10s in 27 starts with the No. 52 team since the end of the 2010 season.
• Has two top 10s in six NWMT starts at Riverhead with an average finish of 15th and a best effort of fifth, recorded last year.
Donny Lia (No. 4 Mystic Missile Racing Dodge)
• The 2007 and 2009 champion, he has 16 wins, 15 poles and 61 top 10s in 123 career starts.
• Has a win and six top 10s through 10 races with an average finish of ninth in his return to the NWMT this year.
• Has four wins, six top 10s, an average finish of 12th and 516 laps led in 12 career NWMT starts at Riverhead.
• Has three career NWAAS Modified wins at Riverhead and was the division’s Rookie of the Year in 2001.
Rowan Pennink (No. 93 Monk Mechanics Hand Cleaner Chevrolet)
• Has a win and 40 top 10s in 82 career starts.
• Ranks 12th in points this year despite missing a race. Has five top 10s in nine starts.
• Earned his only NWMT win at Riverhead in 2010, where he has three top 10s in five career NWMT starts.
Ryan Preece (No. 16 Diversified Metals/R.B. Enterprises Ford)
• Has four wins, 11 poles and 40 top 10s in 77 career starts.
• In 11 races with Flamingo Motorsports he has a win, six poles, six top 10s, and laps led in six of those events.
• Is the first driver to record five poles in a season since Tony Hirschman earned seven in 2005.
• Earned the pole and led all 150 laps at Riverhead in 2009. His five career finishes there are 10th, fifth, first, second and fourth.
• Earned two NWAAS Modified wins at Riverhead this year in the No. 20 owned by Bill Park, including the Baldwin Evans Jarzombek 77 on July 21.
Tom Rogers Jr. (No. 9 Planet Earth Recycling Chevrolet)
• Has three top 10s in 11 career NWMT starts. Best result was fifth in the 2011 finale at Thompson.
• Made NWMT starts at Riverhead in 2004 and 2006 with finishes of 22nd and 14th, respectively.
• The 2004 and 2010 Riverhead NWAAS track champ, he has 20 career Modified division wins, including six this season.
Ron Silk (No. 6 Calverton Tree Farm/TS Haulers Chevrolet)
• The 2011 NWMT champion has nine wins, seven poles and 59 top 10s in 107 career starts.
• Is second in points – 34 behind Doug Coby – on the strength of two wins and seven top 10s in 10 races.
• Has six wins and 31 top 10s in 42 starts with TS Haulers Racing since they first joined forces in 2009. He’s led laps in 19 of those races and has just five DNFs during the span.
• In six NWMT races at Riverhead he has four podium finishes.
• Also competes on a part-time basis in NWAAS Modified action at Riverhead, where he has two career victories, the 2011 Baldwin Evans Jarzombek 77 and the 2012 NASCAR Hall of Fame 100.
Mike Stefanik (No. 66 Variety Auto/Canto & Sons Paving Ford)
• The 1989, 1991, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002 and 2006 NWMT champion.
• Holds NWMT records for most titles (seven), wins (72), poles (47), top fives (219) and top 10s (290).
• Is ninth in points this year with six top 10s in 10 outings, highlighted by a win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
• Has six wins, two poles, 20 top 10s and 771 laps led in 34 career NWMT starts at Riverhead. His last win at Riverhead came in 2001, a span of 12 races.
Todd Szegedy (No. 2 Dunleavy Repair/A&J Romano Const. Ford)
• The 2003 NWMT champion has 17 wins, nine poles and 104 top 10s in 163 career starts.
• Has six top fives in 10 outings this year with a best finish of second at Bristol.
• In 11 NWMT starts at Riverhead he as four top 10s with an average finish of 14th and a best result of second, which came last year.
Up to Speed:
• The 2012 season is the 28th for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
• The 2012 schedule features 14 races at seven different tracks across four states.
• Defending NWMT champion Ron Silk won the 2012 season-opener at Thompson International Speedway on April 15. Ryan Preece was the polesitter for the Icebreaker.
• Doug Coby joined a select group of multiple Spring Sizzler winners when he took the checkered flag at Stafford Motor Speedway on April 29. Preece set the track record in qualifying prior to the event.
• Preece made it 3-for-3 in qualifying as he took the pole in track record fashion at Monadnock Speedway on May 12 and made the top starting position stand up as he led every lap en route to the victory.
• Bobby Santos captured the pole and led nearly the entire race before Coby wrestled the lead away in the closing laps to take the checkered flag on May 25 at Stafford.
• In the NWMT’s return to Waterford Speedbowl following a six-year absence, Ted Christopher earned the pole, but it was Coby who stole the show to earn his third win of the season.
• Mike Stefanik earned his first win of the year when he edged polesitter Silk by .003 seconds at the line at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 14.
• Coby made it three-for-three at Stafford in 2012 when he won the Stafford 150 on Aug. 3. Preece earned his fourth pole of the season prior to the race.
• Stefanik earned his first pole of the season and Donny Lia his first race win of the year in the Budweiser King of Beers 150 on Aug. 9.
• Ron Silk was the driver to beat at Bristol Motor Speedway on Aug. 22 when he sat on the pole and took checkers in the fourth annual combination race with the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour.
• Justin Bonsignore captured his first checkered flag of the season and Preece added yet another pole award in the Town Fair Tire Northern 75 on Sept. 9 at Thompson. Christopher followed that with a victory in the UNOH Showdown exhibition combo race with the NWSMT.
• Following the Riverhead 200, the NWMT will return to action on Sept. 22 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with the F.W. Webb 100.
Sources: Jason Cunningham/NASCAR WMT PR