October 3, 2020
KYLE ELLWOOD REELS IN BALDWIN, EVANS & JARZOMBEK 77 NASCAR MODIFIED VICTORY AT RIVERHEAD RACEWAY SATURDAY NIGHT
By Bob Finan
Kyle Ellwood of Riverhead took full advantage of a rare NASCAR Modified start Saturday in the Baldwin, Evans & Jarzombek 77 at Riverhead Raceway by going out and winning the prestigious race that hnors three NASCAR Modified legends. Ellwood has been spending his time in 2020 serving as crew chief for Michael Rutkoski and in the 77 drove a team car to Rutkoski out of the Buzz Chew Chevrolet race shops to collect his 5th career triumph.
Tom Rogers Jr. laid down the fastest lap in qualifying with a lap of 11.313 just shy of his current track standard of 11.272, Ellwood was second quick at 11.475 setting the front row for the race. With Frank Saladino's Richie Evans tribute #61 Coupe pacing the field Rogers and Ellwood were ready to do battle. When the green flag dropped Rogers broke right to the race lead with Ellwood hot in his tire tracks. The 77 found a long green flag run to start the race that at times saw Rogers opening a comfortable cushion over Ellwood and at others saw the challenger close in on the leader. A Jack Handley Jr. spin on lap 43 slowed the proceedings and set up a double file restart.
On the restart Rogers remained the race leader with Ellwood still second with Dylan Slepian and defending champion Kyle Soper battling for third. As the race hit the 60 lap marker it looked like Rogers was going to grab his 61st career win in the Baldwin, Evans & Jarzombek 77 but soon thereafter things began to change. Ellwood was now all over Rogers for the race lead and on the 66th lap was able to close in on Rogers who got a tick loose in the third and fourth turn. Faced with making a decision that it might be now or never Ellwood shot the gap under Rogers to take the race lead with just 10-laps to go in the contest. Rogers right after losing the lead was now under attack for second from Slepian and later for third from Soper.
Over the final 10-laps of the race Kyle Ellwood was able to stay out front to take home the biggest win of his NASCAR Modified career in the Buzz Chew Chevrolet machine. "What can I say, I just can't thank Buzz and Bryon Chew, Michael and everyone for this wonderful opportunity to work with them" the happy winner boasted. "Working with Michael has been a pleasure this year and one of the fringe benefits is i get to do this once in a while". As for the pass for the lead Ellwood reflected, "I saw Tommy get loose and I went for it, I got into just a bit but to beat one of the true legends of our game in this race especially really feels great".
Dylan Slepian of Dix Hills was runner-up in the Eastport Feeds Chevy while his good buddy Kyle Soper of Manorville was third also in a car backed by Eastport Feeds. Tom Rogers Jr of Riverhead fell to fourth at the finish with many observers noting his car developed a wheel hop in the final dozen laps or so on the left rear while CJ Lehmann of Lake Grove posted another solid top five effort.
In the 25-lap late Model event Chris Turbush of Wading River scored his first win of the season in his North Fork Sanitation Chevy. The race which started a paltry field of 7 cars was by far the roughest of the eight features presented and only the race winner was able to avoid damage during the contest. "Radiant" Ray Minieri paced the race over the first eight laps of the caution flag filled event that found four time winner in 2020 Jeremy McDermott not immune from carnage. McDermott was involved in a lap 6 jingle that saw him lose three laps in the pits and his chances for a fifth win in six starts vanished. Minieri outran Turbush on the lap 6 restart but soon thereafter Turbush made another bid for the lead payoff taking the lead from Minieri on lap 8. Over the remainder of the race Chris Turbush was able to stay out front and away from all incidents to claim his 18th career win. Ray Minieri of Bay Shore was second in the Long Island Performance entry. The race was so rough and featured post race penalties for failing to make weight that Jeremy McDermott of Riverhead despite being 3 laps in the rears was third in the RP Fabricating Pontiac.
"Big Money" Richie Davidowitz of East Moriches took full advantage of a late race restart to win his second Eagle Auto Mall Crate Modified race of 2020 in a 25-lap affair. Once again newcomer Alex Colasanto impressed as the early race leader breaking out in front of racing veteran Lou Maestri at the start. Maestri was passed for second on lap 5 when Eric Jersey slipped under for the spot. After chasing Colasanto for the lead for five laps Hersey moved to the race lead on lap 12 on a double file restart with Colasanto's fine ride soon going south with a spin from second on lap 14. That caution set up another double file restarts with Hersey as the race leader and recent winner Chris Rogers second with Rogers breaking to the race lead when the green reappeared. Hersey ran second just for a lap before Davidowitz who started the race 10th raced by for the spot. With Rogers and Davidowitz now running 1-2 Rogers seemed to have things in hand until a lap 21 yellow waved for a Stepehn Coleman single car incident in turn one. There were two attempts to restart the race with Rogers choosing the inside for the first restart which was waved off for another quick caution. Davidowitz got an advantage over Rogers on the aborted restart and many wondered if he'd sill chose the inside for the second attempt and indeed he did. That was music to the ears of challenger Davidwitz who stuck his Benimax Trucking Chevrolet to the outside to take the lead when the race resumed on lap 22 driving off to victory. Rogers of Patchogue was runner-up in the Peconic Gold Oysters Chevy while AJ DeSantis of Yaphank completed the podium in his Mastic Wheel Alignment Chevy.
In one of the most thrilling 20-lap Blunderbust races ever Cody Triola of Bay Shore made a bold last lap third to the race lead move to claim his second win of 2020. Jarrett Campbell broke to the early race lead in hopes of capturing his second career win. Over the first 13 laps Alyssa Paprocky trailed Campbell before she was passed for the position by Tom Pickerell whoc executed an inside pass in turn three. Pickerell once to second was soon under attack for the spot from "Mad" Max Handley who got be eventually and set sail for race leader Campbell. Over the final two laps Handley was all over the back bumper of Campbell who was trying to block ever challenge Handley threw his way. On the final lap Campbell saw Handley gathering up steam to the outside and tried to throw the block in the final turn which opened up the bottom for Cody Triola who dove down to the inside to bring his C&L Aluminum & Glass racer from third place to victory lane in the final turn. "Mad" Max Handley of Medford was runner-up in the Relle Electric caprice while Tom Pickerell of Huntington was third in the Encore Rentals Chevy. Jarrett Campbell was moved to last for excessive blocking during the closing laps.
Another race that saw a final lap pass for the win was the 30-lap Super Pro Trucks main event and it also featured Max Handley in a starring role. In qualifying Jack Handley Jr. set fast time with a lap of 12.232. At the outset of the race Handley took the race lead but would never get too far away from the likes of Sean Glennon, Max Handley of Jimmy Rennick Jr. who was second quick in time. Glennon actually took the lead on lap 7 but Jack Handley roared back to reclaim it on the 8th circuit and would lead until lap 23 when the intensity picked up between the quartet.Max Handley made his presence known as the race leader on lap 24 before Glennon came along and took the lead on lap 25. Soon Sean was challenged by Jack Handley for the race lead and that battle got too close on lap 27 when Handley got into leader Glennon who spun to draw a caution. Jack was moved by track officials to the rear for his role in the incident. That set the stage for a two lap shootout between Max Handley and Jimmy Rennick Jr. with Handley leading right up until the white flag lap. As the tandem raced the third and fourth turn Rennick moved in on Handley and gave the leader a nudge opening up the bottom allowing Jimmy Rennick Jr. to race to his second win of 2020 in the Metropolitan Recycling Chevy. Max Handley in the Hollis Court Collision entry was a disappointed runner-up while Mark Stewart of Riverhead hovered in the top five all race long to come home third in the National Metals Chevy.
After borrowing a car from Richie Davidowitz for a couple of races veteran Ray Fitzgerald of Manorville was back in his own Benimax Trucking entry for the 20-lap INEX Legend Race Car feature which he promptly drove to his second win of the season. After Jeff Farruggia Jr. led the first lap Scott Cheslak took the lead on lap 2 before he surrendered the top spot on lap 4 to Joey Braun. When Braun took the lead Ray Fitzgerald came to second by Cheslak as well and Ray was testing the youngster Braun for the lead over the following four laps. With an inside pass of Braun off turn two on lap 8 Fitzgerald became the new race leader, a lead he'd never surrender over the final dozen laps of the race. Eric Hersey of Commack was runner-up having raced his way by Braun for second on lap 13 in the Epic Tools Coupe while Allan Pedersen of center Moriches placed third in The Boiler Guy entry.
In the 15-lap Vintage All Stars event former five time NASCAR Modified champion Don Howe of Water Mill overcame a first lap tangle with Mark Miller of Hauppauge to claim his first win of 2020. After the contact with Miller on the initial start Howe in the Corwith's Auto Body Cavalier was a man on a mission taking the race lead from Tony Ferrante Jr. with an outside pass on the front stretch on lap 6. Ferrante of New Hyde Park would finish second in the Nuzzi Auto Body Cavalier while Eric Zeh of Selden wheeled the John DeStefano Best Modular Chevy home in third.
Don Nelson Jr. of Rocky point dominated the 40-lap Truck Enduro claiming the victory after having drawn the pole starting position. Nelson in the Abner Tree Experts S-10 pick-up led all the way. Gary Voight of Medford was second in the A. Voight Towing Chevy while Justin McGrady of Stony Brook was third in the HP Landscaping machine.
NASCAR Modifieds: 1. Kyle Ellwood 2. Dylan Slepian 3. Kyle Soper 4. Tom Rogers Jr. 5. CJ Lerhmann 5. Howie Brode 7. Michael Rutkoski 8. Dave Brigati 9. Chris Young 10,. Vinny Delaney 11. Jack Handley Jr. 12. Roger Turbush DNS- Artie Pedersen III, Jeremy McDermott & Ken Heagy
Late Models 1. Chris Turbush 2. Ray Minieri 3. Jeremy McDermott 4. Kevin Metzger 5. Jarrod hayes 6. Brandon Turbush 7. Shawn Patrick
Crate Modifieds 1. Richie Davidowitz 2. Chris Rogers 3. AJ DeSantis 4. Matt Brode 5. Lou Maestri 6. Michael Berner 7. Steve Ratti 8. Gerard Lawrence 9. Owen Grennan 10. Eric Hersey 11. Alex Colasanto 12. Mike Albasini 13. Dennis Krupski 14. Charlie Macwhinnie 15. Sean Glennon 16. Stephen Coleman 17. Eddie Schutze DNS- Terry Stiles
Blunderbusts: 1. Cody Triola 2. Max Handley 3. Tom Pickerell 4. Alyssa Paprocky 5. Bill Wegmann Sr. 6. Tom Sullivan 7. Gary Caldwell 8. Kyle Halpin 9. Jason Wegmann 10. Jarrett Campbell DNS- Brandon Hubbard
Super Pro Trucks: 1. Jimmy Rennick Jr. 2. Max Handley 3. Mark Stewart 4. Frank Dumicich Jr. 5. Joe Cerabino 6. Jack Handley Jr. 7. Chad McDonald 8. Frank Dumicich Sr. 9. Daniel Creegan 10. Sean Glennon 11. Ethan Brown 12. Lou Maestri
Legend Race Cars: 1. Ray Fitzgerald 2. Eric Hersey 3. Allan Pedersen 4. Joey Braun 5. Kevin Nowak 6. George Tomko Jr. 7. Jason Castaldo 8. Scott Cheslak 9. Anthony Marsh 10. Patrick Moore 11. Chris Sinatro 12. Anthony Colandro Jr. 13. Mike Benton 14. Colin Volpe 15. Jim Sylvester 16. Charlie Hodge 17. Shawn Wanat 18. Jerry Curran 19. Jeff Farruggia Jr. 20. Mike Van Houten Jr. 21. Sean McElearney 22. David Strohmeyer 23. Robert Henninger III 24. Rich Braun 25. Chase Grennan 26. Bran Van Houten
Vintage All Stars: 1. Don Howe 2. Tony Ferrante Jr. 3. Eric Zeh 4. Frank Saladino 5. Bob Southard 6. Mark Miller 7. Bill Meyer DNS- Joe Larsen
Truck Enduro: 1. Don Nelson Jr. 2. Gary Voight 3. Justin McGrady 4. Woot Lawrence 5. Joey Villatoro 6. Doug Tittle 7. Joe Brodman 8. Amber Weiss 9. Wayne Yarbrough 10. Eric Germuth 11. Brian Dean 12. Danielle Cohen 13. Bryan Moore 14. Mariah Lawrence 15. Kerry Botts