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Mattituck man races to first Modified victory at Riverhead Raceway

Michael Rutkoski of Mattituck raced to his first victory at Riverhead Raceway Saturday night in the 50-lap Modified feature event. The win for the third-year driver capped a momentous week after he and his girlfriend moved into a new home the prior weekend.

“I just can’t tell you what this means,” Rutkoski said as the previously postponed Fourth of July fireworks lit up the Riverhead sky. He credited his family for standing behind him. His grandfather Buzz Chew is deeply entrenched in motorsports and has sponsored events and pace vehicles at Riverhead Raceway since 1985.

Rutkoski, a former Crate Modified champion, started at the 11th position and decided it was “go time” on Lap 17. As he exited the fourth corner, he dipped under Jack Handley Jr. to take the race lead as John Fortin Sr. of Holtsville followed into second place.

Once out in front, Rutkoski would lead the rest of the way in his Buzz Chew Chevrolet-Cadillac Chevy.

Rutkoski said his mentor, Ron Ste-Marie from his dirt team was in the crowd and helped tweak his car. He also credited Kyle Ellwood, his crew chief and “best friend.”

Handley settled for second place while Chris Young of Calverton drove from a 12-place starting position to a third-place finish. Young had defending NASCAR WMT champion Justin Bonsignore serve as his spotted for the night and credited him for his top finish.

Fortin and Kyle Soper of Manorville rounded out the top five.

In other races, Ray Minieri of Bay Shore picked up his second Late Model win, racing to first in the 40-lap event. It was his second win in a row after it took him nearly five years to get win No. 1. Chris Turbush of Wading River was the runner-up and Chris McGuire of Selden was third.

Vinny Delaney of East Islip became the first repeat winner of the 2021 Eagle Auto Mall Crate Modifieds when he won the 25-lap feature event. Eric Hersey of Ronkonkoma was second and defending champion Richie Davidowitz of East Moriches was third.

All-time leading Super Pro Truck winner Lou Maestri of Deer Park won the 20-lap event for his 36th career victory. Max Handley of Medford finished second while Handley was third.

CJ Zukowski of Riverhead scored a clean sweep in the Mini Stocks as the defending champion set fast time and then proceeded to lead all 30 laps for his track leading third win of the season. Paul Wojcik of Patchogue roared back over the final 12 laps to take second and Tony Collinsworth of Calverton scored a career best third place finish.

Mariah Lawrence of Southampton made a daring late race pass of her brother Woot to win the 40-lap Truck Enduro. Her brother finished second and Don Nelson Jr. of Rocky Point was third.

Fourth generation racer Gavin Turbush of Riverhead won the Kids Big Wheel Race.

Racing is set to resume this upcoming Saturday. See more details here.