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Bob Engelfried And Greg Harris Close Out
Riverhead Raceway Season With Enduro Triumphs
The curtain came down on the 63rd season of racing at Barbara & Jim Cromarty's Riverhead Raceway Saturday evening with a full card of Enduro racing that found Bob Engelfried of Stony Brook taking his first career victory in the 50-lap Grand Enduro. Greg Harris of Riverhead scored his 2nd win of the year in the 4/6-Cylinder Truck event. The two drivers however took different paths to the winner's circle.
Five time feature event winner James Charrier via the luck of the draw picked the pole for the Grand Enduro contest and he quickly motored out front with teammate and brother-in-law Bob Engelfried in tow. Many in attendance who thought that Charrier would simply pull away from the field with that pole starting position were at first correct but as the race neared the halfway mark Charrier's car was not getting through the corners as it normally does. Meanwhile Greg Zaleski who started the race 11th was marching forward all race long and on lap 33 he slipped under Engelfried for second racing off the fourth turn. Just two laps later with an almost identical pass off turn four to the inside Zaleski moved by a struggling Charrier for the lead on the 34th lap. Laps after surrendering the lead Charrier dropped to the infield with a left rear flat tire that had slowly been losing air.
Once out front Greg Zaleski just pulled away from the field over the final 15 circuits and had seemingly won his third race of the year in the Gallo's Used Auto Parts Chevy. However Riverhead Raceway Chief Technical Inspector Walter Bonczyk told the top six finishers that an involved teardown would take place in post race tech and Greg Zaleski was one of four drivers in the top six who refused teardown earning an instant disqualification. Phil LaManna (4th), David Antos (5th) and Erick Zegel (6th) all balked at the teardown as well and were DQ'D.
This moved Bob Englefried into the winner's circle as his Clear Beer Draft Chevy passed inspection with flying colors earning him his first career win. Steve Mastro of Port Jefferson was runner-up in the New York Auto Giant entry, while Glenn Simonin of Holtsville who, one week earlier had a career best 5th place finish, improved upon that tally with third place honors this week. Chris Lescenski of Riverhead and Michael Retus of Manorville completed the top five.
Despite falling out of the race while seeking his sixth win of the year, James Charrier indeed would clinch the 2012 Grand Enduro title on the strength of his five wins in the Clear Beer Draft Chevy. It's Charrier's second title in three years.
Greg Harris liked the feeling of his first career Enduro win a few weeks back so the driver of the SGS Stone Works Chevy S-10 went out and won another 50-lapper. Don Nelson paced Mariah Lawrence for the first three laps of the tilt before Dale Owen moved by Lawrence for second on lap 4. Owen's stay was short lived as Robin Vollmoeller got by the young talent for second on lap 6. Meanwhile Greg Harris was moving through the field and as the race wore on lapped traffic would come into play. Harris got around his father-in-law Vollmoeller for second on the 11th lap and over the following 13-laps he then worked on first catching and then passing Don Nelson for the race lead. Ducking under Nelson off turn four on lap 25 as the field got the halfway signal would prove to be the winning move of the race for Greg Harris as once he broke out front he went the rest of the race unchallenged.
At the finish it was Greg Harris taking home the win and afterwards he used a line on announcer Bob Finan in victory lane that Bob has used often over the years with many a first time winner, "I guess the saying is true the first win is the toughest, the rest get easier". Harris quipped.
With a runner-up finish in his Spit's Speed Shop machine Robin Vollmoeller of Riverhead sewed-up the 2012 4/6-Cylinder Truck Enduro championship. "Kid Cool" Dale Owen of Oceanside was third in the Pitbull Motors racer, while Don Nelson of Rocky Point and Greg DiCanio of Seaford rounded out the top five.
Frustrated with how his Labor Day weekend 8-Cylinder Enduro effort panned out, Anthony Pizzo of Lake Ronkonkoma was a driver on a mission Saturday as he scored a convincing win during a 75-lap feature that would be the first of two for the class. Pizzo took the lead on lap 5 from Jess Martines, with Dominic Ranieri quickly came to second moments later. Ranieri would in fact get by Pizzo for the lead on lap 11 with an outside pass while working lapped traffic on the front stretch. In the theory that one good turn deserves another Pizzo would make the same exact pass on Ranieri to re-claim the lead on lap 27 with his pass also coming at the start/finish line.
Once he had his United Exhaust Shops Caprice in the lead Anthony Pizzo never looked back to score the much sought after win after his misfortunes earlier in the month. Dominic Ranieri of East Northport clinched the 2012 8-Cylinder Enduro championship with his runner-up finish in the Westhampton Auto Salvage Chevy. Jess Martines of Shirley was third while Dege Russell of Rocky Point and Rob McCormick of Calverton completed the top five.
In the 2nd 8-Cylinder race that went a distance of 50-laps Dege Russell of Rocky Point ended his season on a high note as he took home the gold in his Kelly Russell Realty Chevy. Ranieri was runner-up, with Pizzo third in the nightcap. Ray Fitzgerald of Manorville and Mark Wolf of Shirley were 4th and 5th.
There was only one way in Steve "The Pitbull" Trimboli's mind to clinch the 2012 4/6-Cylinder Car Enduro title and that was by going out and winning the 50-lap main event. Steve was also fueled by additional motivation as he was disqualified over the Labor Day weekend for an unapproved rear suspension part/adjustment and he was out to prove to everyone that the DQ had no effect on his car. Trimboli of Freeport worked his way by early race leader Mitchell Pattern on the 8th lap to take over the lead and once he was out front he dominated the remainder of the race in his Pitbull Motors Mercedes Benz. In a post race interview Trimboli disclosed that this win and championship would be the final one in the class as he will concentrate on a full Grand Enduro effort for 2013.
Bob Haeger of Hampton Bays was runner-up to Trimboli in the 50-lap tilt steering the Haeger Home Improvement machine, while Joe Warren Jr. of Rocky Point placed third. Mike Mujsce of Westhampton Beach, the 2012 Figure Eight champion and George Davis of Patchogue were 4th and 5th.
Grand Enduro (top five)
1. Bob Engelfried 2. Steve Mastro 3. Glenn Simonin 4. Chris Lescenski 5. Michael Retus
4/6-Cylinder Trucks (top five)
1. Greg Harris 2. Robin Vollmoeller 3. Dale Owen 4. Don Nelson 5. Greg DiCanio
1st 8-Cylinder (top five)
1. Anthony Pizzo 2. Dominic Ranieri 3. Jess Martines 4. Dege Russell 5. Rob McCormick
2nd 8-Cylinder (top five)
1. Dege Russell 2. Dominic Ranieri 3. Anthony Pizzo 4. Ray Fitzgerald 5. Mark Wolf
4/6-Cylinder Cars (top five)
1. Steve Trimboli 2. Bob Haeger 3. Joe Warren Jr. 4. Mike Mujsce 5. George Davis
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