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SportsMotor Racing

Cory Midgett may only be 19, but driving like a veteran now

Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead puts on a

Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead puts on a show for the crowd at Riverhead Raceway. Credit: Daniel Brennan

Cory Midgett had half a mind to put his car in the garage for the season and go home. Midgett, 19, was involved in four wrecks early in the season, giving the East Hampton charger driver a handful of dreaded DNFs (did not finish) beside his name.

"The wrecks weren't my fault. It was other people wrecking me," Midgett said. "It was bad luck . . . It was really frustrating. You just feel like you don't even want to race anymore. You just want to put the car away and stop."

But thanks in part to his father, Brian, pushing Midgett to hang in there, the 2014 East Hampton High School graduate decided to stick it out. And the decision has started to pay major dividends.

Last week, Midgett won his third consecutive race, a 20-lapper that was cut to 14 because of time constraints. "I thought I'd be able to win a couple races in a season, but I never thought three in a row would happen," Midgett said. "It's mind-blowing."

Last week presented perhaps the biggest challenge of the streak, with Midgett dealt the ninth starting position -- not advantageous on Riverhead's narrow track. "I've started in the back before, but never have been able to come to the front," he said. "I saw the outside line was moving pretty well, so I moved out there and was able to get around all the cars that were in front of me . . . I was able to pass on the outside. That helped me out a lot."

Bay Shore's Ray Minieri was closing in on Midgett as the race wound down. "[Minieri] was a little faster than me," Midgett said. "I think if the race would have gone on, he would have went by me."

Midgett is in his fourth chargers season. He won once during his rookie year, but had come up empty since. Until, of course, his recent checkered flag bonanza. That multiyear drought did not discourage the young driver. Instead, he said he learned how to navigate the tight corners of Riverhead. "I was fast," he said. "There were races where I could have won, but I didn't push the issue . . . I was still learning. I laid back and I learned. Now, I'm finally able to go out there and run up front.

"It takes a while to learn Riverhead. If you can win at Riverhead, you can go anywhere else. Riverhead is one of the hardest tracks to run because of how small it is. There's not much room for passing."

This year, Midgett is driving the same car that Riverhead's Jeremy McDermott, currently the late model points leader, won the 2012 chargers title in. He purchased it at the end of last season. "It's a lot better than my old car," Midgett said. "It has a newer chassis."

Midgett said he will take Saturday night off and go for his fourth win in a row on Aug. 22.

"Sometimes, you need it,"he said of the midseason break. "It helps you regroup."

Modified Standings:

1. Tom Rogers Jr, Riverhead - 218

2. John Fortin, Holtsville - 213

3. Kyle Soper, Manorville - 205

4. Howie Brode, East Islip - 199

5. Ryan Preece, Berlin, Conn - 195

Tonight: Transaurus Monster, Modifieds (Time Trials), Late Models, Chargers, Blunderbusts, Super Pro Trucks, Grand Enduro (No Figure 8's or Legends).

END

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