With five laps remaining in the NASCAR Modified feature at Riverhead Raceway on Saturday, three-time champion Howie Brode of East Islip seemed content with a runner-up finish to Ken Darch of Riverhead. However, a late-race caution on Lap 36 for a minor spin changed the complexion of the race. Brode powered his way to the outside on the double-file restart to take the lead with three laps remaining and go on to collect his 20th career victory.
“I was happy riding second to Kenny,” Brode said. “He’s come a long way this year, but when we got that last yellow and I got the run to the outside I knew the race was mine.”
Brode’s season has been full of misfortune. “It’s been a rough year and my team deserves this one,” he said.
Darch took second. Shawn Solomito of Center Moriches crossed the line third to take a commanding 41-point lead over Dave Brigati of Calverton in the standings. Brigati was fourth while rookie John Baker of Brookhaven completed the top five.
Not only did Chris Turbush of Wading River post his fifth Late Model win of the year in a 25-lap main event, but he also put himself back into contention for the championship in the process. He moved to within five points of championship leader David Roys of Coram, who dropped out of the race. Eric Zeh of Selden was second and Kyle Ellwood of Riverhead third.
Tom Ferrara of Patchogue won his first Figure Eight race of 2016, taking a 15-lap victory for his 10th career triumph. Gary Fritz Jr, of Mastic Beach was second, with defending champion Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead third. Ken Hyde Jr. of Mastic Beach has essentially clinched the championship, taking a 21-point lead over Roger Maynor into the final race of the season Saturday.
Tommy Walkowiak of Ridge continues to make up for lost time, winning his third Blunderbust race of the year in just his seventh start. It was the 60th career victory for Walkowiak, who underwent leg surgery in early May. But it was Jack Handley Jr. of Medford, who clinched his long-awaited first career championship with a runner-up finish in the 20-lapper. The 2015 champion, Tom Pickerell of Huntington, was third.
Handley crossed the line first in a 20-lap Super Pro Truck race, but was disqualified for having unapproved shocks. That gave Owen Grennan of Glen Cove his second win of 2016. Championship contenders Brigati and son-in-law Roger Turbush of Riverhead, were second and third.
Antos Takes Grand Enduro. Defending Grand Enduro champion Dave Antos of Riverhead won a 75-lap Grand Enduro feature event Sunday afternoon, Kevin Nowak of Medford was second, with Brian McCormack of Holbrook third.