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Dominating Performance Nets Kyle Ellwood Sweep Of Celebrating Chris Young Twin 49’s At Riverhead Raceway

The pairing of NASCAR Modified talent Kyle Ellwood of Riverhead and car owner Ken Matlach came about first week of July when Dillon Steuer could not run the Matlach Motorsports car due to dirt racing commitments. Saturday the new pairing dominated the Celebrating Chris Young Twin 49’s setting fast time and then winning both feature events for Ellwood’s second and third victories of 2023. By sweeping the two races, Ellwood earned $1,000 from the Highmark Building Efficiency Clean Sweep bonus.

By Bob Finan
Qualifying found Kyle Ellwood winning the Unique Golf $100 Pole Award clicking off a lap of 11.558 with championship leader John Beatty Jr. second quick at 11.567. At the throw of the green Ellwood wasted no time breaking to the race lead, with Justin Brown moving by Beatty for second on lap 2. With another 49-lap event in the offering the first 49 went off without a caution flag as the entire field raced conservatively throughout. When the checker flag waved in race one Kyle Ellwood in the Anthony Ferrante & Co, Chevy took home the win by a comfortable margin earning his 7th career victory. Justin Brown of Manorville in the Motorcycle Mike Attorney at Law entry was second with Dylan Slepian of Dix Hills third in the Eastport Feeds Chevy. John Beatty Jr. of Merrick and Chris Young of Calverton were fourth and fifth.
After the first race, two fans rolled inflatable dice to determine the invert for the second race, more good news for Ellwood as the dice totaled three.
When the second race took the green Dylan Slepian moved to the front from the pole with Justin Brown second. The lead tandem ran in that order until the 9th circuit when Ellwood snuck under Brown for second, quickly turning his attention to race leader Slepian. Ellwood kept showing his nose to Slepian exiting the corners, but Slepian had good drive off the corners to remain out front. That game of cat and mouse lasted about a dozen laps before Ellwood made an inside pass stick on lap 27. Once back to the lead Kyle was able to drive away as Slepian and Brown now tussled for second.
When the second race concluded Kyle Ellwood put a bow on a dominating evening winning his 8th career feature event in dominating fashion. “Just cant thank Kenny and Matlach Motorsports & Anthony Ferrante & Co. enough. This car has been flawless since I got into it” Ellwood noted afterwards. Aside from his $100 Unique Gold Pole Award and the $1,000 Highmark Building Efficiency Clean Sweep bonus, Kyle earned $200 in each race for leading lap 46 from Goodie Racing and $49 winner bonus from Artie Schenk.
Justin Brown would again finish second in the Kennedy L.I. Realty Chevy with Jack Handley Jr. of Medford third in the Suffolk Precast entry. Dylan Slepian and Mark Stewart of Riverhead were fourth and fifth.
The Eagle Chevrolet Crate Modifieds turned in a fast paced, non-stop 25 lap event with Sean Glennon of Northport earning his second win of 2023. Glennon, the 2022 Super Pro Truck champion at the track raced out front from the pole when the race took the green. AJ DeSantis who started outside the front row filed into second and would spend his entire race looking at the rear deck lid of Glennon’s car hoping the leader would bobble or perhaps have to fight lapped traffic. Neither would come into play as Sean Glennon drove a flawless race taking his 4th career win in the Mike Ryan Cesspools entry. AJ DeSantis of Yaphank was runner-up in the Strong Oil Chevy while defending champion Owen Grennan of Glen Cove was third in the Eastport Feeds machine.
Entering the Ken Hyde Sr. Remembered 2023 Figure Eight finale, Ken Hyde Jr. of Medford had already enjoyed a career season with four wins coming into the 20-lapper Saturday. However, Kenny Jr. still had some business to tend to aside from winning his dad’s race, like securing the 2023 Miller Lite Triple Crown Series and Riverhead Raceway championships. After the dust settled Ken Hyde Jr., who took the lead from Joe Warren Jr. on lap 3 would complete the triple, winning his father’s race and the two aforementioned championships. His fifth win of the season is the 16th of his career, moving him into sole possession of 11th on the all-time win list. The Riverhead Raceway championship is Kenny’s third title. Allan Pedersen of Center Moriches in the Top Notch Performance Chevy came to the race with a chance to win the track title but had to settle for second in the race and standings. 2022 champion Scott Pedersen of Shirley crossed the line third in the Land, Air & Water Environmental Camaro.
The 2nd annual Sara Sylvester INEX Legend Race Car National Qualifier 50 would provide many twists and turns during the event. When all was said and done rising talent Chase Van Houten of Wading River took home the victory, his first of 2023 and second career triumph. Championship rivals Jeff Farruggia Jr. and Richie Davidowitz ran at the front of the field early, with Farruggia leading until lap 13 before being overtaken by Davidowitz. Richie would then lead the contest until lap 22 when he was passed by Joey Braun for the top spot, as Joey was seeking his fourth win of the year. However, with less than ten laps to go things heated up at the front. A restart was needed after a lap 42 angle off turn two. When the race resumed Bruan led Van Houten for a lap before Chase took the lead with a textbook pass exiting the second turn. One lap later Braun’s night went south when he and Brad Van Houten got together entering the first turn. When the race resumed to start the 44th lap Chase Van Houten had pressure from Jason Castaldo who ran to the outside in close quarters. Those close quarters got too close as Castaldo caught the wall up the backstretch ending his run for the win. One final restart was in the making for leader Chase Van Houten who now had Riely O’Keefe, who drove from 25th into contention, spun and had to come from the back a second time still had a chance to take the win. However, Van Houten fired off a perfect restart and drove to victory in his Terra Vite Vineyards entry after a wild final 10-laps. O’Keefe of Manorville turned in the drive of the night for second in the Get Clear Window Cleaning racer while early leader Jeff Farruggia Jr. of Riverhead was third in the Chris Mohr Landscaping machine.
For the fourth time in 2023 Reid Halpin of Wading River came home the winner of the 15-lap Bock Auto INEX Bandolero Bandit feature. Aria Ligon broke to the early race lead and would turn in her best performance since starting her career. Aria led the first 7 laps of the tilt before Reid Halpin, who started 6th dove under her entering the third turn taking over the lead as they started the 8th lap. Once out front Halpin, the championship leader in the class hit his marks and drove the Baldwin Automotive entry to victory. Aria Ligon of Riverhead was an impressive runner-up in the Spider Web Racing machine with Mason Goodale of Riverhead third in the Riverhead Building Supply entry.
Ben Morabito of Miller Place continued his winning ways taking the 15-lap Bock Auto INEX Bandolero Outlaw feature for his fifth win of the year. Starting in the last row did not bother Morabito one bit as he quickly ducked to the inside at the drop of the green racing his way immediately to second behind early leader Phillip Alaimo. Alaimo did all he could to try and keep Morabito at bay, but Ben would put his 860 Northeast Outlaw out front on lap 3 with an outside pass. Once out front Morabito has no less than three challengers before taking the checker as Cillian Tennant, Gavin Romano and Will Sipala swapped second before the race concluded. At the conclusion Ben Morabito scored his 8th career win, tying him with Chevy Rommeney for second all-time. Sipala of Manorville was second in his JD Posillico Contracting mount with Phillip Alaimo of Miller Place third in the Alaimo Construction entry.
NASCAR Modifieds 1st Twin 49: 1. Kyle Ellwood 2. Justin Brown 3. Dylan Slepian 4. John Beatty Jr. 5. Chris Young 6. Jack Handley Jr. 7. Mark Stewart 8. Chris Rogers 9. JR Bertuccio 10. Matt Brode 11. Michael Rutkoski 12. Tom Rogers Jr. 13. Owen Grennan 14. Dave Brigati DNS- Allan Pedersen
NASCAR Modifieds 2nd Twin 49: 1. Kyle Ellwood 2. Justin Brown 3. Jack Handley Jr. 4. Dylan Slepian 5. Mark Stewart 6. Tom Rogers Jr. 7. JR Bertuccio 8. Dave Brigati 9. Chris Young 10. John Beatty Jr. 11. Matt Brode 12. Chris Rogers 13. Owen Grennan 14. Michael Rutkoski DNS-Allan Pedersen
Crate Modifieds: 1. Sean Glennon 2. AJ DeSantis 3. Owen Grennan 4. Chevy Rommeney 5. Chase Grennan 6. Kyle Ellwood 7. Michael Berner 8. Terry Stiles 9. Vinny Delaney 10. Eric Hersey 11. Max Handley 12. Mike Albasini 13. Eddie Schutze 14. Joey Braun
Figure Eights: 1. Ken Hyde Jr. 2. Allan Pedersen 3. Scot Pedersen 4. Cody Triola 5. Ryan Warren 6. Bryan Quilliam 7. Joe Warren Jr. 8. Kim Hyde 9. Bob Dalke 10. Paulo Miguel 11. Arie Pedersen III 12. Gary Fritz Jr.
Legend Race Cars: 1. Chase Van Houten 2. Riely O’Keefe 3. Jeff Farruggia 4. Timmy Solomito 5. Richie Davidowitz 6. Nick Morabito 7. Christopher Coleman 8. Joey Braun 9. Ryan Lutz 10. Rodney Dowless Jr. 11. Charles Hodge 12. Ray Stulz 13. Mike Van Houten Jr. 14. Donald Doran 15. Michael Metcalf 16. Kendall Van Houten 17. Jason Castaldo 18. Brad Van Houten 19. George Tomko Jr. 20. Jim Sylvester 21. Steven Harding 22. Kim Daniel 23. Chris Sinatro 24. Robert Henninger III 25. Eric Hersey 26. Pat Moore 27. Marc Godnick
Bandolero Bandits: 1. Reid Halpin 2. Aria Ligon 3. Mason Goodale 4. Emmett Grattan 5. Christian Ryan 6. Brooke Meyer 7. Layla Quilliam 8. Blake Grattan 9. Antonio D’Alonzo 10. Jordan Ryan
Bandolero Outlaws: 1. Ben Morabito 2. Will Sipala 3. Phillip Alaimo 4. Gavin Romano 5. Cillian Tennant 6. Nick Hodge 7. Madison Tomazewski 8. Giavanna Agugliaro 9. Jayden Owens-Bader
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