Earlier in the week leading up to the Twin 30 NASCAR Modified features Saturday night at Riverhead Raceway, Kyle Ellwood and his Riverhead Building Supply team decided to withdraw from the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event at the New London Waterford Speedbowl which was Saturday evening as well. The decision was made due in part to logistical reasons with Kyle and his crew choosing to run at his home track, a choice that paid dividends when he swept both races in front of family and friends.
John Beatty Jr. of Merrick paced the way in qualifying with a lap of 11.992 but he redrew 3rd starting spot while the pole position was left in the bucket until Kyle Ellwood, who timed 8th was the final driver to pick. He was joined on the front row by Jerry Solomito Jr. who timed second with a lap of 12.053. When the first race got underway the intensity was evident right away as Ellwood was quickly pressured by not only Solomito but Beatty and Jason Agugliaro as well. Jason’s night would come to a quick end just laps into the race when he wound-up in the turn one wall after some close and hard racing. On the double file restart Ellwood was joined in the front row by Beatty who was now sitting second with Kyle Soper third and this trio would now battle in close quarters for the race lead. Beatty did all he could do to stay outside of Ellwood while the latter was making it very uncomfortable for the challenger on the outside.
After running some five laps in close quarters Soper saw an opening to the inside and threw his car under both Ellwood and Beatty but the opening closed up and Beatty would be the odd man out spinning from second position. Soper for his part in the incident was sent to the rear of the field for rough riding. All of this intensity took place before the first 10-laps were in the books. When the race resumed Ellwood now had to contend with former three time champion John Fortin and, like Beatty before him, Fortin tried to hang to the outside of the race leader but he soon got pressure from third place Howie Brode and had to fall in line.
Over the remainder of the race Kyle Ellwood would stay out front and capture the first 30-lap feature over John Fortin of Holtsville in his SGS Stone Works Chevy and Howie Brode of East Islip in his Petro Home Services Chevy. Vinny Biondolillo of Farmingville and Jerry Solomito of Hampton bays rounded out the top five.
With the second race starting heads-up front the finishing order and when the green light winked on Kyle Ellwood raced his way out front with John Fortin again making a run at the leader before falling back in line as he knew with Ryan Preece and Tom Rogers Jr., the track point leaders coming into the Twin 30’s at the NASCAR WMT race, he was going to gain some ground or perhaps even take over the championship lead. Defending champion Howie Brode once again sat third and he too realized he was going to have a much needed good points night.
At the finish of race two it was again Kyle Ellwood taking home the victory of John Fortin and Howie Brode with Vinny Biondolillo again placing fourth. Kyle Soper of Manorville raced his way back to a fifth place finish. With his two runner-up tallies John Fortin indeed is the new championship leader with 113 points with Ryan Preece second at 105 and Tom Rogers Jr. third with 104. Kyle Soper and Howie Brode are fourth and fifth with 97 and 91 points respectfully.
“My crew chief Rico couldn’t make it to Waterford or for that matter here this weekend so we decided to race Riverhead, we know this place pretty good and we made the right choice” Ellwood noted in victory lane. “I have to apologize to John Beatty, I had too much rear brake in the car and I went up the hill more than I wanted early in that first race” Kyle admitted. He added “it was my Mom’s birthday the other day so Happy Birthday Mom” Ellwood concluded.
In short track racing sometimes victories are all about being in the right place at the right time and apparent wins are taken away by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Such was the story in the 25-lap Late Model feature that found Jarrod Hayes of Calverton scoring his second straight win. Legend Race Car standout Richie Davidowitz and veteran driver Jack Orlando brought the field off turn four for the green flag and things went south in a hurry for the pole sitter as he missed a shift and didn’t come up to speed. Luckily Richie ducked his car to the inside and nobody got caught up but the turn of events did allow Jack Orlando and Jarrod Hayes, who started the race in 4th, to break out front. Right away Orlando and Hayes made it a two car breakaway and it would be their race to decide. As the race came down to its final five laps Orlando seemed to have things under control but then lapped traffic would change things in the blink of an eye. Two cars that had been running in single file decided just as K+jack was closing in on them to race side by side and the duo made matters worse in the first turn when they came together. Orlando hot on their heels had nowhere to go and was swept up in their mess and worse yet done for the race with damage.
That moved Jarrod Hayes of Calverton into the race lead for a green, white and checker finish and he was able to stay out front in his Apple Automotive Discount Chevy. Afterwards the driver known as J-Rod admitted, “I had nothing for Jack, it was his race”. Kevin Metzger of Massapequa was second over the line in his V&J Auto Body Chevy with Scott Kulesa of Georgetown, Ma. third in the Eastport Feeds Pontiac.
Defending Blunderbust champion Tom Pickerell of Huntington scored his 13th career Blunderbust victory in their 20-lap main event. Bill Wegmann Jr. broke out to the race lead early with newcomer Jim Laird Jr. in tow. Laird was hot on the heels of Wegmann over the first eight laps of the race but Jim’s car was soon to suffer from ignition issues dropping him from the race just after Tom Pickerell got by for second. Pickerell had made his way to third behind Wegmann and Laird on lap 8 after starting the race from 9th. After spending three laps pressuring Wegmann for the lead Tom Pickerell worked his way into the lead on lap 13 and from that point on the driver of the Northportpower.com Chevy never looked back driving off to victory lane. Bill Wegmann Jr. of Patchogue was runner-up in the Crackerjack Auto Stores racer while “Krazy” Ed Mistretta of Lindenhurst crossed the line third in his Ciao Baby’s Restaurant entry.
The Super Pro Truck feature event would be 30-laps in distance and defending champion Lou Maestri of Deer Park led the way in qualifying with a lap of 13.684. Lou for the redraw asked track announcer Bob Finan to draw for him, a choice Maestri would regret as he would start 6th. The front row would be made up of “Dynamite” Dan Turbush and his grandson Mark Stewart and when the green flag waved they quickly asserted themselves into the top two spots. The race was going along just fine for the Turbush clan up front but then a caution flag would wave on lap 18 and that is when things got a tad dicey. When the green flag waved Mark started an inside move on his Grandfather as they raced into the first and second turn. By the time they reached the third and fourth corner contact was made as smoke poured off the lead trucks in a family feud. Things would settle down as Dan Turbush, the tested tough veteran that he is stayed out front in the NY Auto Giant Chevy owned by Rich Campo to score his first Super Pro Truck win since July 8th, 2006. Lou Maestri with his lap 21 pass of Mark Stewart would finish second in his IGA of Ft. Salonga Chevy while Mark Stewart of Riverhead was third in the Herb’s Market of Montauk Chevy.
For the second consecutive week the Legend Race Car 20-lap main event yielded a first career victory with George Tomko Jr. of Aquebogue coming home with the win. Tomko assured himself the pole position for the feature event by winning the first heat race while Artie Pedersen III and Bryan Kelly won the second and third qualifiers. At the throw of the green George Tomko Jr. wasted no time in pulling out to the race lead in his D&D Auto Body entry with Bryan Kelly quickly moving under Artie Pedersen III for second. With Tomko leading the race for second things were intense between Kelly and Pedersen and near the halfway mark the two touched and while they did not crash they had to roll off the gas. That allowed Allan Pedersen, Artie’s younger brother to make an inside pass in the third turn to race his way to second. However with his sponsors from D&D Auto Body rooting him on there was no stopping George Tomko Jr. as he drove off to that all important first career victory. Allan Pedersen of Center Moriches was runner-up in the Sherwin Williams Paints racer while veteran John Beatty Jr. of Merrick made a late race charge to finish third in the IGA Food Markets machine.
Just six days after scoring what appeared to be his second straight 4/6-Cylinder Enduro win over Memorial Day weekend only to have the victory taken away with a disqualification for not having an exhaust system, Mike Mujsce Jr. of Hampton Bays came back to win a 60-lap feature event Saturday night. After picking his way towards the front Mujsce wheeling the Premier Pest Control entry broke out to the race lead on lap 10 and drove off to victory avenging his DQ in style. Brandon Esposito of Farmingville was runner-up while George Davis of Patchogue placed third.
-Riverhead Raceway Press Release. Photo Credit: Mike Perricone photo
NASCAR Modifieds 1st twin 30: 1. Kyle Ellwood 2. John Fortin Sr. 3. Howie Brode 4. Vinny Biondolillo 5. Jerry Solomito Jr. 6. Kyle Soper 7. Ken Darch 8. John Beatty Jr. 9. Ron Silk 10. John Fortin Jr. 11. Jason Agugliaro 12. Dave Brigati DNS- Dan Jivanelli
NASCAR Modifieds 2nd Twin 30: 1. Kyle Ellwood 2. John Fortin Sr. 3. Howie Brode 4. Vinny Biondolillo 5. Kyle Soper 6. Jerry Solomito Jr. 7. Ron Silk 8. John Fortin Jr. 9. John Beatty Jr. 10. Ken Darch DNS- Jason Agugliaro DNS_-Dave Brigati DNS- Dan Jivanelli
Late Models: 1. Jarrod Hayes 2. Kevin Metzger 3. Scott Kulesa 4. Mike Bologna 5. Jeremy McDermott 6. Shawn Patrick 7. Roger Oxee 8. Chris McGuire 9. Chris Lescenski 10. Chris LaSpisa 11. Kaitlyn Schober 12. Jack Orlando 13. John baker 14. Richie Davidowitz
Blunderbusts: 1. Tom Pickerell 2. Bill Wegmann Jr. 3. Ed Mistretta 4. Terry Stiles 5. Joe Warren Jr. 6. Tim Mulqueen 7. Jack Handley Jr. 8. Tom Sullivan 9. Ron Langdon 10. Derek Wegmann 11. Dennis Scott 12. Tom Puccia 13. Fred Nolan 14. Andrew Wegmann 15. Jim Laird Jr. 16. Scott Maliszewski
Super Pro Trucks: 1. Dan Turbush 2. Lou Maestri 3. Mark Stewart 4. Mike Albasini 5. Dave Brigati 6. Jerry Giordano Jr. 7. Brian McElearney 8. Amanda Anderson 9. Anthony Vecchio 10. Erin Solomito
Legend Race Cars: 1. George Tomko Jr. 2. Allan Pedersen 3. John Beatty Jr. 4. Vinny Delaney 5. Kyle Ellwood 6. Dylan Slepian 7. Bryan Kelly 8. Chris Rogers 9. Ray Fitzgerald 10. Greg Harris 11. Shawn Wanat 12. Artie Pedersen III 13. Eric Hersey 14. Richie Davidowitz 15. Mike Van Houten Jr. 16. Kurt Krieger 17. Wally Davidowitz 18. Jerry Curran 19. Eric Henschel 20. Bill Fitzgerald 21. Ed Cheslak DNS- Paul Dodorico DNS- Brad Van Houten
4/6-Cylinder Car Enduro (top 5) 1. Mike Mujsce Jr. 2. Brandon Esposito 3. George Davis 4. Joe Warren Jr. 5. Scott Setek