It’s been 16 years since Dave Brigati won a championship at Riverhead Raceway, but there’s are pretty darn good chance that the drought is about to end.
Brigati, 45, is in the running for not only his first Riverhead championship since 2000, he’s within reach for three. He’s racing in modified crates, super pro truck and the main event, NASCAR modified. And while he’s won in past years out of state, it’s safe to say this has been a big year.
“I expected to have a great year, but not like this to be honest with you,” Brigati said.
Brigati, from Calverton, is averaging a 2.3-place finish in modified crates, and his next race this weekend will basically be a formality. As long as he shows up and races, he’s in good position to clinch his championship. The other two races are more up in the air.
“The truck definitely I could get,” Brigati said. “The modified, pretty much it’s a shot in the dark, but you never know.”
He sits 19 points behind Roger Turbush in the pro truck division and 38 points behind Shawn Solomito in the modifieds. There are three pro truck and two modified races left on the schedule.
“You don’t wish bad luck on anyone else, but you never know,” Brigati said of his tough climb for the modifieds. “With 15 modifieds showing up and he has a bad night and I have a good night, I can make it up almost in one night.”
Brigati credited his team for helping to keep his car running. He has two full-time employees working on the car, and that usually means six days a week of touch ups and repairs.
“I have a really good crew this year,” Brigati said. “We put a team together over the winter and it panned out for us. That was the biggest thing.”
The success that followed this season came less with strategy and more with the approach the crew took each week, Brigati said. And now it’s paying off.
“It starts with a positive outlook,” Brigati said. “If you go onto the track with a positive attitude and everybody is on the same page, it’s a team thing we have like six guys and everybody’s on the same page
Brigati, known on the track as the “Fancy Farmer,”
got his start in racing as a 16-year-old working on a modified car and has worked his way up through divisions. He grew up in an agricultural family and now owns White Post Wholesale Growers in Huntington.
But when he revs the engine on Saturday, the
slow growth of food will be the furthest thing from his mind.
“Just give it your all,” Brigati said. “Give
it 100 percent and see what happens.”
Shawn Solomito, Islip — 645
David H. Brigati, Calverton — 607
Kyle Soper, Manorville — 581
Howie Brode, East Islip — 554
John Fortin, Holtsville — 547
Saturday: Whelen Night, PBA/Firefighter/Ambulance
Night, Fire Department Gut & Go Enduro: NASCAR Modifieds, Late Models, Figure Eights, Blunderbusts, Super Pro Trucks.
Sunday: Summer Smackdown! Grand Enduro, 4/6-Cylinder
Truck Enduro, 8-Cylinder Enduro, 4/6-Cylinder Car Enduro, Gut & Go Enduro, Mini 8 Enduro.