Jeremy McDermott, the current leader in the charger standings, does not live the standard life of a Riverhead racer.
The 33-year-old Riverhead native and Riverhead High School alum moved to East Stroudsburg, Pa., in 2007. He wakes up each morning at 4:30 to catch a 5:30 bus to New York City, where he works as a steamfitter. During race weekends, he stays at his fiancee's family's home in Southampton, shuttling back and forth from his race car shop in Mattituck.
"It's definitely not easy. All I do is travel," McDermott said. "I'm used to it now. I've been doing it for years, although it gets to be a pain with traffic."
McDermott is in his third full season racing his charger at Riverhead and currently holds a 12-point lead (368-356) over garage-mate Eric Zeh. Last year, McDermott and Zeh got into a serious wreck with four races left in the season.
Entering the race, McDermott trailed by four points in the standings. After the race, the gap had increased to 28. His car, and a shot at a track championship, was totaled.
"It wasn't anything intentional, but it just happened. It was devastating to us because we had a good shot at the championship," McDermott said.
Less than a year later, McDermott finds himself in the thick of things once again. In addition to driving his charger, he began racing Jim Wichert's late model car back on July 14. He is a busy man on and off the track, a weekend racer with 20 hours of work-related travel per week. But with a track championship in his sights, McDermott has more than enough energy to go around.
NASCAR comes to Riverhead
NASCAR's annual Whelan Modified race is scheduled to begin at 8:30 p.m. Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville is the defending champion and has finished in the top 10 in 10 in 13 of 16 events since.