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Riverhead Raceway: Soper claims his first Modified title

Kyle Soper of Manorville secured his first career NASCAR Modified championship with a fourth-place finish in a 40-lap race at Riverhead Raceway Saturday night. Soper, 22, beat out Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead by six points for the Whelen All American Series title. Earlier in the night he won his second consecutive Late Model championship.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Soper.

Rogers won the Modified race, however, his fourth victory of the season and 52nd of his career. Dave Brigati of Calverton was second and John Fortin of Holtsville third. John Baker of Brookhaven followed Soper, coming in fifth.

In the 25-lap Late Model race, Jeremy McDermott of Riverhead picked up his second win of the year and ninth of his career. Kevin Metzger of Massapequa was the runner-up. Chris Turbush of Riverhead recovered from a spin to finish third.

The tightest championship fight on the final night of racing came in the Crate Modified class, with Michael Rutkoski of Mattituck and Justin Brown of Manorville separated by a mere three points entering the competition. When the 25-lap race was over, Rutkoski had his seventh win of the season as well as the title. Brown was second in the race and Artie Pedersen III of Center Moriches was third. The championship is the first for the 24-year-old Rutkoski.

In Figure Eight action, Tom Ferrara of Patchogue scored his second win of the season in a 15-lapper. While Ferrara drove off to his 13th career triumph, Tom Rogers Jr. earned his fifth career championship in the class by crossing the finish line second. Eric Zeh of Selden was third.

Jack Handley Jr. of Medford iced the cake on his second career Blunderbust championship by winning a 20-lap main event for his eighth win of the season and 29th of his career. Jim Laird Jr. of Riverhead was second and Tommy Walkowiak third in the final race of his career.

The Super Pro Truck champion, Mark Stewart of Riverhead, wrapped up his championship season with a win as well. It was the 20-year-old Stewart’s seventh win of the season, a milestone 20th career victory. Eddie Schutze of Oyster Bay and Jimmy Rennick Jr. of Howard Beach were the next two finishers after Stewart.

Richie Davidowitz of East Moriches became the all-time leading Legend Race Car winner at the track when he won his 20th career race in a 20-lap event. Brad Van Houten of Wading River took second while Allan Pedersen of Center Moriches was third. Jim Sylvester of Massapequa came into the race having already clinched the championship, his first.

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