Auto Racing: Three years later, Brunnhoelzl’s back in victory lane

GEORGE FAELLA PHOTO | Tim Ferrara's car was in rough shape after the Patchogue Figure Eight driver collided with the car driven by Tim Mulqueen of Levittown.

Eddie Brunnhoelzl III of Levittown picked a good night to end a three-year dry spell in the NASCAR Modified ranks at Riverhead Raceway. On Saturday night Brunnhoelzl led from start to finish in a non-stop, 35-lap feature event that marked his first win since his first career triumph on Aug. 30, 2008.

“Sure is good to see you here,” Brunnhoelzl quipped to the track announcer, Bob Finan, after exiting his Chevy. “It’s been too long between wins, but it’s the product of a hard-working team that thrashes on the car during the week while me and my father work.”

Jason Agugliaro of Islip, who just three weeks earlier thought his season was done with a blown motor, crossed the line second. Tom Rogers Jr. of Patchogue held off Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville for third place. The battle for third between Rogers and Bonsignore was intense and at times got physical before cooler heads prevailed. Chris Young of Calverton completed the top five.

Roger Maynor of Bay Shore also ended a dry spell, winning a nine-lap Figure Eight feature as the race was cut six laps short because of a time limit. Maynor, a 101-time career winner in the class since 1985, posted his first win since Aug. 22, 2009. Ken Hyde Jr. of Medford was second, with Mike Mujsce of Westhampton Beach taking over the points lead with his third-place finish. It was the first race in the class since July 23.

Tommy Walkowiak of Ridge scored his 48th career Blunderbust win when he topped a 20-lap main event and afterwards admitted this one might have fallen into his lap.

Tom Pickerell was applying pressure when his front bumper made contact with Tim Mulqueen’s left rear tire and rim, which broke the axle right out of the leader’s car. During the caution flag period that ensued, Pickerell, who would have been the new race leader, had issues of his own as a left rear tire was going down and he was forced to pit. The wild turn of events left Walkowiak as the new race leader. He had raced his way from a 16th starting berth to third in 15 laps.

Walkowiak drove off to his track-leading fifth win of the year. Scott Sepe of Ozone Park notched his best finish of 2011 when he crossed the line second. A newcomer, Thomas Puccia of Mastic, did the same with his third-place showing.

One week earlier, Roger Turbush of Riverhead ended a mid-season run of bad luck in the Super Pro Truck division when he won a 20-lapper. On Saturday he buried those demons with his second straight win in the class. Turbush drove to his eighth career triumph (and third of the year) in the 20-lap race. Lou Maestri of Deer Park was second, and Dave Koenig of Freeport third.

Chris Young of Calverton took a victory in the Legend Race Car feature and, in the process, increased his division lead to 12 points over Justin Strumpf of Selden, who was second. George Baker Jr. of Bayville turned in a career-best performance, placing third.

Gene Burbol of Brookhaven continued his domination of the Six-Cylinder Enduro racing when he won a 50-lap event. Christian Conklin of Flanders was second and veteran Bob Haeger of Hampton Bays third.

Bobby Benison of Lindenhurst scored his second Eight-Cylinder Demolition Derby win of the year. Benison topped his brother-in-law, Tom Kilkenny of Babylon, and his employee, Jason Savoy of Lake Panamoka.