Just one lap short of glory.
John Beatty was just a quarter-mile away from scoring his first career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory at Riverhead Raceway in July. Beatty led the final stages of the race, before a late yellow closed the field up, and allowed defending tour champion Justin Bonsignore to earn his third straight win at the New York oval after some contact in the final corners.
This time, Beatty is going back for redemption when the Whelen Modified Tour returns for the Miller Lite 200 on Saturday night. He wants the trophy.
“Every tour race teaches me something new,” Beatty told said. “I always take away something from each tour race, even if it’s a negative experience, or a positive one. Being that I don’t tour race regularly, I have to make the most out of each opportunity I get.”
Beatty actually led the 200th lap of the Buzz Chew Chevrolet Cadillac 200 in July, but when he got into NASCAR overtime, it didn’t pan out his way.
How about those last ✌ laps from Riverhead?!?!?
Wow. Just, wow!!! pic.twitter.com/OKR15AVNkW
— #MyTrackMyRoots (@NASCARHomeTrack) July 7, 2019
He’s a competitor in the track’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modified division — one that has proven to produce some of the top talents the Whelen Modified Tour offers. Names like Bonsignore, Timmy Solomito, Eric Goodale and Craig Lutz all cut their teeth competing at Riverhead. Three of those four have won races on the tour, and Lutz is inching closer.
“It gives me a chance to run against different competitors and it’s humbling to be able to race with them,” Beatty said. “It really challenges me and my team to be better at what we do. It also gives me a chance to represent my local track.”
Entering Saturday, Beatty has two wins at Riverhead this season, and is third in the track’s championship point standings, 122 from the top. Track regular Kyle Soper has seven wins in 16 Modified races at the quarter-mile this season and leads the standings by a large margin. Tom Rogers Jr. is third. All three are entered fro Saturday.
With the track division off, Beatty is just one of many locals who will give it their best shot to knock off Bonsignore, who has three straight victories at Riverhead. Bonsignore recently had six in a row at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, before Doug Coby broke that streak last month. Beatty would love to be the one to end Bonsignore’s streak at Riverhead before it grows.
“Like I’ve said before, my chances are as good as anyone’s chances out there. Myself and my team always bring our best to the track,” Beatty said. “It’s all about being at the right place at the right time. I’ve always had a great team, and with a little bit of luck I don’t see why our performance this race should be shy of anything less than my last few tour races in Riverhead. After countless hours in the garage, along with sacrifices in my daily life, it would be a tremendous accomplishment for me and my team to win, along with those that give me endless support. Especially my friends and family.”