Dan Turbush said his retirement had a caveat; he wanted one more go at Riverhead Raceway in the same truck he drove to victory lane five times last year as a part-time racer.
A 2014 Riverhead Raceway Wall of Fame inductee, Turbush, 65, of Riverhead, got his wish as he made his season debut Saturday in the Rich Campo-owned Super Pro Truck and led the field in the Mr. Rooter New England Truck Series Riverhead Nationals to earn his 80th career win and $2,000.
Add another notch to his belt: He beat sons Roger, 35, and Christopher, who turns 40 Sunday, both also of Riverhead. Roger, the reigning New England Truck Series champion, took second.
“It’s so exciting, it was a thrill,” said Dan, who added he’s going back into retirement. “It’s exciting to win any time at Riverhead. It was my home away from home from 16 on up. Winning never gets old and as you get older it gets more exciting.
“It was one of the proudest moments to have two of my sons racing in this race with me. Last year I got to run against my grandson (Mark Stewart, 18, of Riverhead), but I never ran against both my boys. It’s a lifetime dream.”
Turbush said he started racing at Riverhead in 1967 in the novice division and branched out to the figure eight and charger divisions before moving to trucks in 2005. He said he raced trucks and late models in 2006, but took a hiatus from trucks until last year.
Turbush said years of experience helped in the 55-lap NETS race because he knew to conserve his tires, a different strategy than the weekly 20-lap Super Pro Truck features at Riverhead.
“It was a long race,” Turbush said. “I thought for sure those guys were going to be close, but they burnt their tires up trying to get up there and I was just on cruise control, like driving on the expressway, nice and easy.”
But Roger and Christopher are far from rookies. Roger has 26 career wins, Dan said, and leads Riverhead’s Super Pro Truck division with 189 points heading into Saturday. Christopher, Dan’s co-crew chief with Ray Bouchard, has 54 career wins and Stewart has 11, Dan said.
Dad just knew best this time.
“He’s 65 years old and he’s got more energy than I do,” Roger said, adding he and his brother learned all they know about racing from their dad. “He’s like a little kid out there. He’s still got it. It’s amazing to me. He doesn’t need practice, he can just go out there and he can ride. That’s his track.”
Added Dan: “I guess age doesn’t matter.”
Shawn Solomito, Islip – 404
David H. Brigati, Calverton – 385
John Fortin, Holtsville – 365
Howie Brode, East Islip – 357
Kyle Soper, Manorville – 354
Saturday (Tonight): School Bus Demolition Derby, NASCAR Modifieds, Late Models, Figure Eights, Blunderbusts, Super Pro Trucks, Legend Race Cars, Gut & Go Enduro.