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Post-Race DQ’s Add Drama To Riverhead

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. — Prior to the Eddie Partridge 256 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event Saturday at Riverhead Raceway, four Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series features were presented with two of the four winners decided in post race tech.

Eric Hersey was declared the 25-lap Eagle Auto Mall Crate Modified winner after the race, as was Chris Olivari who was declared the 20-lap Mini Stock winner.

INEX Legend Race Car victory Ray Fitzgerald and Street Stock winner Gerard Lawrence of Miller Place earned their WMT prelim wins in a more conventional manner.

In the Crate Modifieds Charles Macwhinnie broke to the early race lead and would stay out front over the entire 25-lap distance seemingly winning his first career race, a scenario Macwhinnie had play out back on August 20.

After Macwhinnie crossed the line for what was thought to be his first ever win a month ago, track officials noticed the muffler on Macwhinnie’s car became dislodged, bringing about an automatic DQ after leading 25 laps in another green to checker affair.

That turn of events moved Hersey up one spot, scoring his second win of the season.

Hersey passed Dennis Krupski for second on lap three, and that turned out to be the winning move for the driver of the Jack Anthony Pools Chevy. The win is the third of Hershey’s Crate Modified career.

A.J. Desantis was runner-up in the Strong Oil Chevy while Michael Berner claimed third in his M3 Technology entry.

The 20-lap INEX Legend Race Car feature event took its toll, and when the rough and tumble race was over, veteran driver Fitzgerald scored his first win of the season, the ninth of his career.

Young lions Chris Sinatro led Chase Van Houten over the first four laps of the contest before Van Houten got by for the lead with an inside pass on lap 5.

Shortly after “the big one” erupted on the backstretch when a seven car pileup caused heavy damage to several cars, luckily all the drivers were OK.

When the race resumed, Van Houten led Sinatro until lap 11, When Chase’s father Brad Sinatro moved by for second.

What set up as a father-son duel for the lead lasted only two laps when the second big wreck of the race unfolded when Brad Sinatro and other cars lost the handle in some fluid off turn two on lap 13.

When that mess was cleared the double file restart saw the younger Van Houten joined by Fitzgerald for the double file restart.

When the race resumed, Fitzgerald quickly moved out front on lap 14.

One lap later, another cagey veteran Jim Sylvester, recovering from an early race spin fought his way to the second and glued himself to Fitzgerald’s rear bumper.

In the end Fitzgerald in the EP Milling & Sweeping racer would hold on over the final five laps for the win that moves him into a tie for 7th on the all-time wins list with Joey Braun.

In the 20-lap Street Stock tilt, Rhett Fogg led lap 1 when the green flag fell on the field, but he was quickly overtaken on lap 2 by a strong running Danny Pizzo.

Once to the lead Pizzo appeared to be lining himself up for his first career win with Fogg still filling his mirror. Just after halfway Gerard Lawrence, who started the race from fifth, was starting to make some noise passing Fogg to the outside on lap 11 for second and then on the 12th lap still riding the outside line Lawrence worked his way by Pizzo for the race lead.

Once Lawrence put the Lafo’s Glass Chevy out front he’d lead the rest of the way to collect his second win of the season, the fifth of his career.

The Mini Stocks ran a green to checker 20-lap feature, and when the race concluded it appeared Chris Elixson had scored his first career win.

However joy turned into gloom for the Elixson camp when his car was found with unapproved tires, stripping him of that first career triumph. Chris Olivari was declared the winner.

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