Riverhead Raceway
Ed Partridge, second from the left and holding the trophy, celebrated the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour owners championship in 2017, with driver Ryan Preece, wife Constance, and NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series Director Jimmy Wilson. (Courtesy NASCAR)

The motorsports community is mourning the loss of Eddie Partridge, co-owner of Riverhead Raceway and owner of a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour car, who died on Sept. 10 at age 68.

Just hours before his death, his NASCAR driver, Ryan Preece, led the team to victory at Richmond Raceway in Virginia. Partridge, of Wading River, was riding back to Long Island when he suffered a fatal heart attack.

“Last night we won the race. Last night I lost one of my best friends and modified owner,” Preece wrote on Twitter on Sept. 11. “Rest in Peace Big Eddie. I’m going to miss you.”

A NASCAR.com obituary called the 6-foot-7 racing fanatic “larger than life … both in stature and in personality.”

In a statement, NASCAR said it was “only fitting that Eddie’s last race was a victory.”

“Eddie’s passion for racing was felt not just throughout the modified community, but also throughout grassroots racing as a whole,” it said. “He fielded teams for some of the best drivers in the sport, and truly loved seeing his cars run up front … A fierce competitor who fought for the good in short track racing, he will be greatly missed.”

As a car owner, Partridge was a two-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion, in 2011 and 2017.

Partridge bought Riverhead Raceway with his wife, Constance, and nephew, Thomas Gatz, in 2015. The family made the purchase with the intention of reviving Long Island’s only remaining major raceway, which was struggling financially at the time.

In addition to his wife and nephew, Partridge is survived by five sisters and one brother. A funeral service was held at St. John the Baptist Church in Wading River, and he was buried at Wading River Cemetery.

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