P.O. Box 1743
Riverhead, NY 11901
GREG HARRIS WRITES STORYBOOK ENDING WITH LAURA ZEGEL MEMORIAL 55 STREET STOCK VICTORY SUNDAY AT RIVERHEAD RACEWAY
by Bob Finan
Sunday afternoon Enduro racing returned to Riverhead Raceway for the running of the Summer Showdown program and when was all said and done it was an afternoon filed with great racing and plenty of feel good stories. In the headlining Laura Zegel Memorial 55 Street Stock event championship leader Greg Harris of Riverhead barn stormed his way from a 8th place starting spot to take home the $1,000 win, a victory made sweeter by the fact Erick Zegel and his family are members of the winning team. Also enjoying an emotional win of his own Christian Conklin of Riverhead who swept both ends of the Gut & Go doubleheader in tribute to his mother Fran Farruggia Conklin who passed away during the off season.
Greg Zaleski of Jamesport topped qualifying for the Laura Zegel 55 with a lap of 14.663 a new Street Stock track record. Greg was award the Gene's 112 Auto Service fast time bonus along with a plaque from McCormick Motorsports. Glenn Simonin was second quick with a lap of 14.791 earning a bonus from Truck Enduro driver Danielle Corwin with Brian McCormack third quick taking bonus money posted by "Jumbo" Jimmy Denis. With a straight up start from qualifying Zaleski would sit on the pole for the race. During the parade laps with each driver holding an American flag the pole position was left open for Laura Zegel while her son Erick paced the field in his #55, starter Bruce Noll waved the checker flag honoring Laura.
When the race officially got underway Greg Zaleski was quick to power out front with Brian McCormack making his way to second early on. On lap 5 Gerard Lawrence would spin after contact in turn three and was collected by Dave Antos, the contact damaged the right from suspension of Lawrence's car who'd be done for the race. On the ensuing restart Zaleski maintained his lead while Brian Brown powered his way to second under McCormack. With the race going the rest of the way under green Zaleski was able to get away from Brown and the rest if the opening a comfortable lead prior to halfway. Meanwhile further back Greg Harris was on the march in his SGS Stone Works Chevy and was clearly the fastest car on the track, On lap 27 Harris made his way to the back bumper of Brown and would pass Brian for second to the inside entering the third turn. Now to second the chore for Harris would be to attempt and reel in leader Zaleski who was nearly a straight away ahead.
Methodically lap after lap Harris was cutting into Zaleski's lead and with just 13 laps left he caught the leader and on lap 43 made his way by Zaleski for the lead. At first Zaleski was able to stay in the tire tracks of Harris but as the race entered the final 8 laps or so Harris would kick it into another gear and was able to gain some breathing room. At the checker flag it was Greg Harris first over the line and afterwards the emotional winner admitted, "those last two laps I had tears in my eye thinking how much this win would mean to Erick and his Dad Ralph. and all of us on this Trainsmoke Motorsports team. The Zegel's are such a big part of what we do, heck it's Erick's motor under the hood of my car". Ralph & Erick Zegel presented Greg with a $555 check in the winners circle.
Greg Zaleski was runner-up in his Blue Point Auto Body Chevy stating afterwards, "my car just didn't have the traction Greg's did late in the race, when he got to me I knew the right thing to do was let him go". Brian Brown of Baiting Hollow crossed the line third but was moved to last in the race after post race inspection revealed unapproved transmission modifications. Glenn Simonin of Holbrook was moved up to third while Brian McCormack of Holbrook and Kyle Curtis of Hampton bays completed the top five.
Special awards were awarded after the race with Greg Zaleski winning the Fastest Lap of the Race from Ken Hyde Jr and his family, fiancé Darien and Ken Hyde III while Honda Rob presented the Hard Luck award to Gerard Lawrence after his misfortune took him out of the race. Brian McCormack won the Best Appearing Car of the race from Okula Motorsports, Greg Harris won the Hard Charger of the race sponsored by Richie Davidowitz, Rob Bader and Jim Laird Jr. Three sets of lap money were also raised for the race and awarded.
Mike Mujsce of Hampton Bays scored his second Mini Stock win of 2017 when he topped their 30-lap feature event. In the process Mujsce also took over the championship lead as Bryan Kelly was unable to start the race after developing engine issues during practice. After Brandon Esposito led the first lap Mujsce powered his way by on lap 2 for the top spot, a lead he'd never surrender. Mujsce wheeling the Gregor Well Drilling Toyota Celica pulled away as the race moved along building up a nearly half lap lead when the race ended. Brandon Esposito of Farmingville was runner-up in the Hilltop Bagels entry while Paul Wojcik of Centereach placed third in the VDR Graphics machine.
After getting off to a late start in the Gut & Go Enduro action this year Christian Conklin made up for lost time sweeping the Summer Showdown and I Love America Night races. In the first feature a 60-lap affair Conklin in his Spit Speed Shop Hyundai Tiburon dominated the race scoring a comfortable win over Kevin Augustine of Bay Shore and Woot Lawrence of Southampton. Chocking back tears after the first win Conklin dedicated the win to his late mother, "this one is for Mom" Fran Farruggia Conklin was a long time employee of Riverhead Raceway in food services and merchandise sales who passed suddenly during the holiday season. In race two a 40-lapper Conklin would again dominate for the win and was chased by Brandon Esposito and Ryan Dupuis of Riverhead who rounded off the podium.
After a ten year absence Phil LaManna of Smithown made a triumphant return to victory lane when he won the 30-lap Truck Enduro. Ageless veteran Hank Hallock showed the way early before giving way to the high flying LaManna who took over the lead at the halfway mark of the race. Once out front Phil LaManna in the EP Milling & Sweeping entry hit his stride and drove off to the well deserved win. Hank Hallock of Riverhead was second in the Westhampton Auto Salvage Chevy while Don Nelson Jr. of Rocky point claimed third in the Abner Tree Experts S-10.
In the 40-lap 8-Cylinder Enduro Michael Asdahl of East Meadow took down his first career win holding off one of the all-time leading winners in the class in Dominick Ranieri in the process. Returning veteran Don Carasiti led early on but on lap 16 Dominick Ranieri made the pass of the race as he raced his way from third to the race lead while working lapped traffic. Many figured with Dominick now leading the race might very well be over but nobody told Michael Asdahl who kept digging and was able to pass Ranieri for the lead just past the halfway mark. Ranieri tried to make a few runs at Asdahl to reclaim the lead but the driver of the Ferrante Auto Insurance Monte Carlo was having none of that and took home the win. Ranieri of East Northport was runner-up in the Spare Parts Racing Chevy with Brandon Hubbard of Mastic Beach third in the Royalty Tattoo Chevy.
Laura Zegel Memorial Street Stocks:
1. Greg Harris 2. Greg Zaleski 3. Glenn Simonin 4. Brian McCormack 5. Kyle Curtis 6. Rhett Fogg 7. Chris Lescenski 8. Kevin Nowak 9. Joe Boccia 10. Dave Antos 11. Gerard Lawrence 12. Brian Brown
1. Mike Mujsce Jr. 2. Brandon Esposito 3. Paul Wojcik 4. Ryan Warren 5. Steve Fuller 6. Chris Elixson 7. Russ Jansen 8. Jeremy Clint 9. Kris Dane 10. Joe Cook DNS- Bryan Kelly
1. Phil LaManna 2. Hank Hallock 3. Don Nelson Jr. 4. Gary Voight 5. RJ Gage 6. Dustin Cole 7. Bobby Pease 8. Mariah Lawrence 9. Emily Hubbard 10. Mike Benton 11. Danielle Corwin 12. Danielle Cohen 13. Paul Cummings 14. Robert Eggers DNS- Justin McGrady
1. Michael Asdahl 2. Dominick Ranieri 3. Brandon Hubbard 4. Sean Fitzpatrick 5. Kevin Coyle 6. David Verbeeck 7. Justin Ferreri 8. Jarrod Halsey 9. Pat Collins 10. Brian Halsey 11. Dennis Jones 12. Stacy Halsey 13. Dennis Kurras 14. Jamie Meyer 15. John O'Rourke 16. Amber Weiss 17. Kim Hyde 18. William Ebert 19. Don Carasiti 20. Mark Wolf 21. Peter Hart 22. Drew Scalfani 23. Tom Doherty 24. Thomas Robert 25. Wes Sammon
1st Gut & Go Enduro:
1. Christian Conklin 2. Kevin Augustine 3. Woot Lawrence 4. James Johnson 5. Tom Pickerell 6. Corey Beverly 7. Sean Glennon 8. Robert Henninger 9. John Marino 10. Tom Coyle 11. Joey Palmeri Sr. 12. Pat Glennon 13. Joey Palmeri Jr. 14. Mitch Halfern 15. Justin Squires 16. Dimitra Pickerell 17. Andrew Jost 18. Jeff Michaels 19. Peter Verwys Jr. 20. Tony Collingsworth 21. Preston Prydatko 22. Dan Augustine 23. John Palmeri 24. Eric Germuth 25. Mitch Rippe 26. Will Meyer 27. Mike Farrell 28. Ryan Warren 29. Phil Ebert 30. Brian Schuker 31. Steve Fuller 32. AJ DeSantis 33. Dan Dimodungo 34. Rob Thureau 35. Michael Schlie 36. Brad Bess 37. John McKee 38. Charles Astacio 39. Jake Ruland 40.
Bryan Moore 41. Sean Rooney 42. Ryan Dupuis 43. Dege Russell 44. CJ Zurkowski 45. George Astacio 46. Doug Tittle 47. Max Handley 48. Dan Atkinson 49. Robert Savoy 50. Kris Dane 51. Peter Verwys 52. Joseph Giaimo 53. Mike Benton 54. Ron Everly DQ-Joe Warren Jr.
2nd Gut & Go Enduro:
1. Christian Conklin 2. Brandon Esposito 3. Ryan Dupuis 4. Andrew Jolt 5. Ryan Warren 6. Pat McGay 7. Michael Schlie 8. John Palmeri 9. Jack Handley Jr. 10. Sean Glennon 11. Joey Palmeri Jr. 12. Charles Astacio 13. George Astacio 14. Brian Schuker 15. Joey Palmeri Sr. 16. James Johnson 17. Justin Squires 18. Bryan Moore 19. Mitch Rippe 20. Sean Rooney 21. Ed Moebes 22. James Volmer 23. Andrew Farnham
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