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The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour heads back to Riverhead Raceway on Saturday night. (Adam Glanzman/NASCAR)

PIT BOX: Long Island Drivers Look To Steal The Show at Riverhead

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour continues the busiest month of the 2018 season at Riverhead Raceway,  where drivers will compete in the Miller Lite 200 on Saturday night. The event marks the second stop at the Long Island quarter-mile this season, and Justin Bonsignore looks to complete the season sweep at his home track.

The NASCAR Pinty’s Series returns to racing at Quebec’s Autodrome St. Eustache on Saturday night. With just three races left in the championship points schedule, L.P. Dumoulin looks to give himself some further breathing room before the series heads for their inaugural United States stop at New Hampshire Motor Speedway later this month.


NASCAR WHELEN MODIFIED TOUR AT RIVERHEAD

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

With six wins in the first 12 races, Justin Bonsignore is headed for his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship. But his path to that title must go across New York from Oswego Speedway to Riverhead next.

Bonsignore won the first Riverhead event back in July, leading 59 laps and passing Ryan Preece in the final laps. Luckily for him and the rest of the field, Preece, who crossed second in July, won’t be in attendance on Saturday while he competes in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for Joe Gibbs Racing.

However, Bonsignore’s task of mastering Riverhead again will have plenty of challengers looking to steal the show — and many of them know the track well. Riverhead is one of few tracks on the circuit where local modified competitors can enter the race and truly play a major factor. Timmy Solomito, a former Riverhead weekly regular who is now driving on the Whelen Modified Tour, has won three of the last five races at the bullring, and is looking for his first win of the season.

Dave Sapienza, another driver who cut his teeth racing modifieds in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, finished fourth in the first stop and is still looking for his first career Whelen Modified Tour win.

NASCAR Whelen All-American Series regulars entered for the race include Kyle Soper, John Fortin and John Beatty, Jr.

RACING-REFERENCE: Previous Whelen Modified Tour races at RiverheadWhelen Modified Tour drivers’ career stats at Riverhead

RACE FACTS

RACE Miller Lite 200
PLACE Riverhead Raceway, Riverhead, New York
DATE Saturday, September 8
TIME 8 p.m. ET (approx.)
TELEVISION NBCSN, Thursday, September 13, 6 p.m.
TRACK LAYOUT Quarter-mile paved asphalt oval
2017 WINNER Timmy Solomito
2017 POLE Timmy Solomito
EVENT SCHEDULE Saturday: Garage Opens: 12:45 p.m., Final Practice: 3:15-4:30 p.m., Qualifying: 6 p.m., Miller Lite 200: 8 p.m. (approx.)
TWITTER @RiverheadRacewy
HASHTAG #NWMT, #MillerLite200

RACE CENTER

CREW CHIEF HANDOUT: The maximum starting field is 28 cars, including provisional positions. The first 22 cars will secure starting positions based on the qualifying session for the Miller Lite 200. The remaining six spots will be awarded through the provisional process.

Two consecutive qualifying laps will be used to determine the starting positions. Faster lap of the two laps determines a vehicle’s qualifying position. Adjustments or repairs may not be made on the vehicle after the vehicle has taken the green flag at the start/finish line. NASCAR reserves the right to have more than one car engage in qualifying runs at the same time. Vehicles will be impounded after qualifying, and must qualify on their race set up.

The Miller Lite 200 will be 200 laps (50 miles).

The maximum tire allotment available for this event is eight (8) tires per team. Four (4) tires used for qualifying must be used to begin the race. The tire change rule is zero (0) tires, any position.


NASCAR PINTY’S SERIES AT AUTODROME ST. EUSTACHE

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Alex Tagliani is going to do everything he can to not let the NASCAR Pinty’s Series championship get away from him, but he will need to pick up points quickly. The Montreal, Quebec, driver enters Saturday’s Lucas Oil 250 second in the championship standings, just 14 points back and coming off his second win of the season at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

0In five career starts at St. Eustache, Tagliani has a best finish of fifth, but has only led seven laps at the .4-mile oval. If he wants to close the gap with just three races left, his No. 18 Epipen Chevrolet is going to have to unload with plenty of speed on Saturday to contend with the points leader.

DIn his quest for his second series title this season, Dumoulin has three wins and 419 laps led in the first 10 races.

In nine previous events at St. Eustache, six different drivers have been to Victory Lane. And even though Scott Steckly, who has four previous wins at the oval, isn’t going to be driving, competitors will still have to deal with him if they want to take the checkered flag.

Steckly owns the Tagliani entry and will surely be using his previous driving experience to help the team put together a car that will contend for the victory.

RACING-REFERENCE: Previous Pinty’s Series races at Autodrome St. Eustache | Pinty’s Series drivers’ career stats at Autodrome St. Eustache

RACE FACTS

RACE LUCAS OIL 250
PLACE Autodrome (Quebec) St. Eustache
DATE Saturday, September 8
TIME 8:30 p.m.
TELEVISION TSN — Saturday, September 15, 3:30 p.m.; RDS2 — Tuesday, October 2, 10:30 p.m.
TRACK LAYOUT .4-mile paved oval
2017 WINNER Alex Labbe
2017 POLE Kevin Lacroix
EVENT SCHEDULE Saturday — Garage Opens: 11 a.m. ET, Final Practice: 1:20-2:30 p.m., Qualifying: 4:45 p.m., Lucas Oil 250: 8:30 p.m.
TWITTER @NASCARPintys
HASHTAG #NASCARPintys, #LucasOil250

RACE CENTER

CREW CHIEF HANDOUT: The maximum starting field for the event is 22 cars, including provisional positions. The first 19 cars will secure starting positions for the LUCAS OIL 250 through the qualifying process. The remaining three positions will be awarded through the provisional process.

Two consecutive laps will determine qualifying position. Faster of the two laps determines the qualifying position. Adjustments or repairs may not be made on the car after the car has taken the green flag at the start/finish line. NASCAR reserves the right to have more than one car engage in qualifying runs at the same time. Vehicles will be impounded after qualifying, and must qualify on their race set up.

The LUCAS OIL 250 will be 250 laps (100 miles), and will be run in three (3) segments. The five (5) minute breaks will occur at or near the conclusion of laps 90 and 180. Once the yellow flag is displayed, the caution vehicle will pick up the field. Once pit road is open, vehicles electing to pit may enter pit road. No work is to be performed at the break until advised by NASCAR officials. A maximum of five (5) uniformed crew members can be in the vehicle servicing area. At the three (3) minute mark, vehicles must start moving onto the track, and at the five (5) minute mark, the caution vehicle will roll. Vehicles will line up with lead lap cars to the front, and lead lap cars that elected to pit will line up behind those lead lap cars that elected not to pit, in the order of running. The four (4) change tires can only be installed during the break, and fuel may only be added during the breaks.

The maximum tire allotment available for this event is as follows: One (1) tire for practice, four (4) tires for qualifying and to begin the race and four (4) additional tires for use during the race for a total of nine (9) tires.


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Justin Comes celebrates a victory at Devil’s Bowl Speedway as part of the Labor Day Special. (Josh Ryan/Devi’s Bowl Speedway)