Former Legend race champion Kyle Ellwood of Riverhead, at just 18 years of age, realized his lifelong dream Saturday night at Riverhead Raceway when he topped a non-stop 35-lap NASCAR Modified feature.
Ellwood will now cross off another item on his racing to-do list this coming Saturday, June 28, when he attempts to qualify for the Hoosier Tire 200 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event.
Tom Rogers Jr. again topped the speed charts, qualifying with a lap of 11.95 seconds, but as well as he qualified, his luck in the redraw remained sour, as he drew sixth, while Ellwood and defending champion Howie Brode drew the front row.
At the throw of the green flag, Ellwood wasted little time moving his machine out front, with Brode hanging his car on the outside for the first few laps in an effort to overtake the upstart driver. Jason Agugliaro ran third early on, and on lap 4, exiting the fourth turn, he was able to slip under Brode for second and move in to challenge Ellwood for the race lead.
Early in the race, Ellwood’s car was tight off the corners, which allowed Agugliaro to make a run at him. As the race progressed, Ellwood’s car started to come in, and during the final half of the caution-free race, he was able to gain some breathing room over Agugliaro, with Brode sitting in third and Todd Szegedy fourth. That duo ran in close quarters during the race as well.
At the checkered flag, it was Ellwood steering the Riverhead Building Supply Chevy over the line first to score a very popular win, as many family members, friends and former Legend competitors cheered him on.
“This is amazing” Ellwood noted, while looking over the throng of well-wishers in victory lane. “Ever since I was a really young kid, I dreamed of standing here where the greats have stood before me.
“I have to thank Russell and Cathy Goodale, who make all of this possible and help me make my dreams come true,” he added.
Agugliaro, of Islip, was runner-up in the Joe Ambrose-owned Jessup Landscaping Chevy, with point leaders Brode, of East Islip, third in the Freightliner of Long Island entry. Szegedy, of Ridgefield, Connecticut, and Dave Sapienza of Riverhead completed the top five.
Jarrod Hayes of Calverton won one for Dad on Saturday evening as he scored a clean sweep in the 30-lap Late Model feature event. Hayes, who lost his father, Greg, in April, set the fast time with a lap of 12.503 seconds, drew the pole, and then led all 30 laps of the main event.
Joined on the front row by all-time leading Late Model winner Roger Oxee, the duo would jump out to run 1-2 when the race went green. A Chris Lescenski spin on lap 2 drew the yellow and set up a double-file restart. On that restart, defending champion Jeremy McDermott slipped under Oxee for second, but, just two laps later, the yellow waved again and another restart was in order.
Former champion Kevin Metzger lined up third, then slipped under McDermott for second, and it would be his turn to chase Hayes for the race lead. As far as “J-Rod” was concerned, it didn’t matter to him who ran second, as he had his Meadowbrook Collision Chevy dialed in and he drove off to a very emotional victory. Hayes, a set-up guru in the pit area, choked back tears in victory lane as he dedicated the race to his dad.
Metzger, of Massapequa, was runner-up in the V&J Auto Body Chevy, with McDermott, of Riverhead, third in the JDP Mechanical entry.
For the second straight week, the 20-lap Super Pro Truck feature event boiled down to a photo finish with second-generation driver Brian McElearney of North Babylon taking the victory by a narrow margin in another non-stop affair.
When the race got under way, McElearney and former champion Roger Turbush entertained the fans with an exciting side-by-side fight for the lead that lasted for the first 11 laps of the race, all the while never touching each other.
Lap 12 saw McElearney’s teammate, Lou Maestri, able to slip by Turbush for second, and, teammate or no, he went after McElearney for the race lead, applying the “chrome horn” once or twice in the process. However, McElearney’s biggest challenge was yet to come, as Mark Stewart, a two-time winner in 2014, came from 10th place to second like he was shot out of a cannon, with just two laps to go. McElearney held his line to the inside, leaving Stewart no choice but to run the outside line. Coming off turn four, Stewart made one last-ditch run outside of McElearney. But, in the end, it was McElearney in the Finishline Carting Chevy scoring the thrilling win.
Stewart, of Riverhead, for the second week in a row, had to settle for second in the Lenny’s Pizza Chevy, with Maestri, of Deer Park, third in his Star Car Collision Center machine.
Defending Legend Race Car champion Brendon Bock of Franklin Square scored his first win since 2012 at Riverhead Raceway on Saturday as he won the 20-lap feature event. Despite the fact he started on the pole, his win was anything but easy.
Bock moved out front at the start of the race, with Justin Strumpf alongside for the first lap. Richie Davidowitz moved by Strumpf on lap 2 for second, and what unfolded after that was a good race for the lead between him and the race leader. Bock would lead until lap 4, when Davidowitz got by him, but Bock was determined he would eventually get that lead back.
The race between the two boiled down to a lapped car exiting turn 4 on lap 14. While lapping the slower car, Davidowitz left a tad too much room between the lapped car and himself, and Bock was quick to fill the hole, making it three wide as they headed to the first turn. Contact ensued, with Davidowitz spinning in the first turn, drawing a yellow flag despite the fact he never stopped but was in harm’s way with the entire field bearing down on him.
That turn of events moved Kyle Soper, who had been running third for a good part of the race, to second, setting up a late-race duel for the win. When the race went back to green, however, Bock had them covered, as he drove to victory in his A&S Bagels racer. Soper, of Manorville, was runner-up in the Atlantic Chevrolet machine, while John Beatty Jr., of Merrick, was third in the IGA Supermarkets mount.
Jimmy “The Kid” White Jr. of Southampton collected his second straight Grand Enduro win, as he topped a 20-car field over a 50-lap distance.
The field, set by luck of the draw, found White on the pole, with defending champion James Charrier alongside, with this duo setting sail for a race-long fight for the win when the race went green. White would take the advantage over Charrier when the race started, and for most of the 50-lap distance the tandem would play a high-speed game of cat and mouse in lapped traffic, as they were clearly the class of the field.
Charrier tried to sneak up on White numerous times, but in the end “The Kid,” in his Hometown Taxi Chevy, would prevail for his second win of the year in the class and fifth overall at the track this season. White Jr. has also won two Blunderbust features, plus a Demolition Derby.
Charrier, of Shirley, was second in the Clear Beer Draft machine, with Greg Zaleski, of Jamesport, third in the Peconic Sign Company Chevy.