RIVERHEAD, N.Y. – Riverhead Raceway will welcome the region’s best tour-type modified drivers this Saturday for the running of the Islip 300.
The event shares the Islip 300 name with a NASCAR Cup Series race that was held at the defunct Islip (N.Y.) Speedway in the 1960s and early 1970s. A stacked roster of drivers are expected to be in attendance to chase the $7,000 top prize.
Headlining that list is Ryan Preece, the two-time and defending winner of the Islip 300. Preece will return to the seat of the car that was owned by the late Riverhead Raceway owner Eddie Partridge and his wife, Connie.
Eddie Partidge passed away unexpectedly after suffering a heart attack following Preece’s win in a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at Richmond (Va.) Raceway in late September.
Preece, who just completed his third season in the NASCAR Cup Series with JTG Daugherty Racing, returns to the Partidge No. 6 for the first time since Eddie Partidge’s passing. He’ll attempt to earn one last victory for his late car owner during the Islip 300.
In order to do that he’ll have to outrun some of the best modified drivers in the business. Chief among them is Justin Bonsignore, who recently secured his third NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship in the last four years.
In three visits to Riverhead this season with the tour, Bonsignore earned finishes of third, third and second. Finishing off the season at Riverhead with a win at the Islip 300 would be icing on the cake for Bonsignore.
Others on the entry list include Patrick Emerling, who finished second this year to Bonsignore in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour standings. Also entered is Timmy Solomito, a 20-time tour-type modified winner with three Riverhead victories against the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
Kyle Soper, a former Islip 300 winner and the defending track champion in the headlining modified division, is also scheduled to compete. He’ll attempt to defend his home track from the touring invaders like Preece, Bonsignore and Emerling.
Tommy Baldwin Jr. will be bringing a pair of bullets with him in an effort to leave Riverhead Raceway with the Islip 300 trophy. Jimmy Blewett and Michael Christopher Jr. will drive a pair of Tommy Baldwin Racing entries.
Other anticipated entries include Keith Rocco, Anthony Nocella, Craig Lutz, J.B. Fortin, Eric Goodale, and Jon McKennedy. A number of local drivers are also expected, including Dylan Slepian, John Baker, Michael Rutkoski, Dave Brigati and more.
In addition to the $7,000 prize for winning the Islip 300, the race also serves as the finale of the track’s Crown Jewel Series that will award the Ted Christopher Cup to one lucky driver. Soper currently leads the standings by 26 points ahead of Fortin, with Tom Rogers Jr. sitting 27 points back in third.
The Riverhead Raceway Crate Modifieds and INEX Legends will complete Saturday’s program.