Brian McCormack Earns First Career Riverhead Raceway Victory In Labor Day Luau Sunday, Mike Mujsce Jr. Tops Mini Stocks

After being delayed by two weeks due to weather the Labor Day Luau Enduro was completed Sunday afternoon at Riverhead Raceway. After six years of trying Brian McCormack of Holbrook finally earned his first career victory when he topped the 40-lap Street Stock race holding off 2017 champion Greg Harris of Riverhead to earn his first victory lane trophy. Mike Mujsce of Hampton Bays scored the Mini Stock win taking the lead from Brandon Esposito of Farmingville just past the halfway mark of the 30-lap main event.

After Dave Antos led the first lap in the Phil LaManna owned car rookie driver Gerard Lawrence moved to the lead on lap 2. One lap later Glenn Simonin raced his was by Antos for second and Simonin seeking his 4th win of 2017 set out to challenge Lawrence for the lead. As the race moved along Brian McCormack who started 6th was on the march as he made his way to third and eventually on lap 19 moved by Simonin for second. A lap 22 double file restart pitted Lawrence and McCormack side by side with Brian attempting to roll the top in an effort to wrestle the lead away from Gerard. Unsuccessful on the outside of the track McCormack switched grooves now diving to the inside lane. That change in game plan would work out for McCormack on lap 25 as he raced under Lawrence entering the first turn and would be the new race leader. Lawrence after losing the lead soon found himself under attack for second from the likes of both Greg Zaleski and Greg Harris. Zaleski took the position from Lawrence on lap 29 but just one lap later Harris passed Zaleski for second.

With 10-lap remaining in the race Harris going for his third win of 2017 pulled right up to the rear spoiler of McCormack and the race was on for the win. Along the way Greg let Brian know he was there with a slight nudge here and there. As the laps clicked off Brian McCormack was able to hit his marks while also keeping his challenger behind him and when the checker flag waved it was a sweet first career triumph for the Big Mack Towing Chevy and driver Brian McCormack. Afterwards an excited race winner noted, “I have to first thank Greg for running me clean and congratulate him for the Street Stock championship” He then admitted he wasn’t sure if this first win would ever happen, “we’ve been close so many times you start to wonder will I ever win. Happily the answer for me and my family and crew is yes!”

Greg Harris with his runner-up finish becomes the first ever Street Stock Enduro champion at the track, “have to thank my wife Christie, my family and our SGS Stone Works business and the most loyal race team a driver could ever be a part of” the former multi time Truck Enduro boasted afterwards. Greg Zaleski of Jamesport was third in his Peconic Sign Chevy.

Due in part to his Labor Day Luau Mini Stock victory Mike Mujsce Jr. in his Premier Pest Control Toyota is on the verge of winning the first ever championship in the class in a season that almost didn’t happen for the veteran driver. Over the winter Mike and his team built an all new car for the new division and right out of the box Mujsce was not happy with the car. Undaunted Mike and his team went out and built a new car and ever since then the second generation driver has been tough to beat. After Chris Elixson paced the race for the first lap Brandon Esposito broke out front on lap 2 while Mujsce made his way to second on lap 3 after starting 6th. After spending a dozen laps chasing and sizing up Esposito for the race lead Mujsce made his move on lap 16 sneaking under Esposito down the back stretch to take command of the race. Once out front Mike slowly began to build up a comfortable lead, a lead he’d enjoy to the checker flag, All Mujsce has to do to clinch the 2017 Mini Stock title is start the race this Saturday night September 23rd and the crown is his. Brando Esposito was second in his Versa Contracting machine while Paul Wojcik of Centereach crossed the line third in his VRD Graphics race.

As a salute to the many female racers who compete in the Enduro ranks at Riverhead the Truck Enduro race went a distance of 67-laps with 2017 champion Don Nelson Jr. of Rocky Point scoring the win, this after putting himself to the rear of the race for spinning out a fellow competitor early in the race! Veteran racer Gene Burbol moved to the race lead early in the race and in fact opened up nearly a half track lead on the pack until a red flag waved for a Robert Eggers crash on lap 27. During that red flag period Burbol suddenly ducked to the infield, his race over. Meanwhile just prior Don Nelson Jr. got into the back of Hank Hallock spinning Hank around. Hallock kept his foot in the throttle and rejoined the race with Nelson slowing way down on the inside of the track. Once Hallock got by Nelson then proceeded to come back to speed, a self punishment for getting into Hallock. After the lap 27 red Phil LaManna would take over the lead before he was overhauled by Matt Triola on lap 44. Triola looked like a shoe in for the win but late in the race a lapped truck spun in front of the leader and Matt had nowhere to go making contact with the spun truck. Fast forward to the closing laps of the race and it would be Don Nelson Jr. the new race leader and eventual winner of the contest in his Abner Tree Experts Chevy S-10. Jarrett Campbell of Yaphank was second over the line in his High Velocity Paintball entry while veteran Bobby Pease of Medford placed third in the Fit Spot Gym mount.

The 40-lap 8-Cylinder race was a rough and tumble affair up front and when the dust settled it was Dominic Ranieri of East Northport not only declared the race winner but he also sewed up the 2017 championship in his Kings Park Contracting Chevy. The race boiled down to a torrid fight for the lead between Mark Wolf and Sean Fitzpatrick and while racing hard for the lead Fitzpatrick made contact with Wolf sending the leader spinning with a handful of laps to go. When the race concluded Fitzpatrick was first under the checker but track officials moved him on spot behind Wolf in the finishing order for the contact. Following Ranieri in second was Don Carasiti of St. James in the IRIE Riding Stables Chevy while Mark Wolf of Shirley recovered from his spin for third in the Shirley Feed Chevy. Sean Fitzpatrick of West Babylon was moved back to fourth behind Wolf.

Christian Conklin of Riverhead made it three Gut & Go Enduro wins in a row as he flat out dominated their 60-lap race lapped the entire field in the process. In fact Conklin lapped the third through seventh place cars twice! Christian Conklin in his Spit’s Speed Shop Hyundai broke to the race lead at the outset of the contest and clearly never looked back. Brandon Esposito in the Hilltops Bagels machine was second while Corey Beverly of Bohemia placed third in his United Exhaust Shop entry. With a 4th place finish “Captain America” Kevin Augustine of Bay Shore nailed down his first career track championship.

Brandon Esposito took the lead from “Blackjack” Bryan Kelly on lap 11 and went on to win the 15-lap Mini 8 event on the Figure Eight course in his Versa Contracting racer. Bryan Kelly of Aquebogue was runner-up in the John’s Tree Removal entry while Preston Prydatko of Rocky Point was third in the Tire Express mount.

Street Stocks:
1. Brian McCormack 2. Greg Harris 3. Greg Zaleski 4. Gerard Lawrence 5. Rhett Fogg 6. Glenn Simonin 7. Dave Antos 8. Dale Doherty 9. Sal Sinatro 10. Ed Fontana 11. Brian Brown 12. Joe Boccia 13. Kyle Curtis 14. Chris Lescenski

Mini Stocks:
1. Mike Mujsce Jr. 2. Brandon Esposito 3. Paul Wojcik 4. Bryan Kelly 5. Steve Fuller 6. Chris Elixson 7. Russ Jansen 8. Ryan Warren 9. Tony Collingsworth 10. Jay Conrad 11. Robert Dugre 12. Joe Cook

Truck Enduro:
1. Don Nelson Jr. 2. Jarrett Campbell 3. Bobby Pease 4. Matt Triola 5. Dustin Cole 6. Gary Voight 7. Phil LaManna 8. Kenny King 9. Danielle Cohen 10. Hank Hallock 11. Paul Cummings 12. Mike Benton 13. Gene Burbol14 Mariah Lawrence 15. Patrick McGrady 16. Rob Eggers 17. Samantha Piccola 18. RJ Gage

8-Cylinder Enduro:
1. Dominic Ranieri 2. Don Conradis 3. Mark Wolf 4. Sean Fitzpatrick 5. Dennis Jones 6. Justin Ferreri 7. Brian Halsey 8. Pat Collins 9. Mike Asdahl 10. Jimmy Muench 11. Amber Weiss 12. Kevin Schultz 13. Kevin Coyle 14. Peter Hart 15. Will Ebert 16. David Verbeek 17. Kim Hyde 18. Stacy Halsey 19. Dillon Vanston

Gut & Go Enduro:
1. Christian Conklin 2. Brandon Esposito 3. Corey Beverly 4. Kevin Augustine 5. Jim McCarthy 6. Woot Lawrence 7. Tom Coyle 8. John Palmeri 9. Dan Dimodugno 10. Tom Pickerell 11. Brad Bess 12. Don Laskey 13. John Marino 14. Scott Phillips 15. Steve Betcher 16. Steve Raynor 17. Pete Rabaglia 18. Kris Dane 19. Jeff Michaels 20. Eric Germuth 21. Preston Prydatko 22. Phil Ebert 23. Kurt Kreiger 24. Tim Tripler 25. Bryan Moore 26. Mark Mahler 27. Joe DeSantis 28. Jason Boeklen 29. Tom Curcio 30. Mike Boyd 31. Jim Johnson 32. Drew Fohrkolb 33. Robert Henninger 34. Joesph Giaimo 35. George Hagzan 36. Jack McKee 37. Sean Glennon 38. Tony Collingsworth 39. Dan Southard 40. Dan Augustine 41. Joey Palmeri Sr. 42. Mike Farrell 43. Andrew Farnham 44. Dege Russell 45. Austin Elliston 46. Woo Yang 47. Charlie Astacio 48. Will Mayer 49 Justin Squires 50. Meaghan Kennedy 51. Dimitra Pickerell 52. Robert Thurau

Mini 8 Enduro (top 3)
1. Brandon Esposito 2. Bryan Kelly 3. Preston Prydatko


Bob Finan