Auto Racing: Charrier retains his Grand Enduro title


The curtain came down on the Riverhead Raceway season Saturday evening with Brendon Bock of Franklin Square taking first place in a 40-lap Legend Race Car race and James Charrier of Shirley being declared the winner of a 50-lap Grand Enduro. With that win, Charrier successfully defended his 2013 Grand Enduro championship.

Bock charged in front on the 14th lap and didn’t look back. Richie Davidowitz of East Moriches made a Lap-37 pass of Pedersen to claim second place. Artie Pedersen III of Center Moriches was third, Kyle Ellwood of Riverhead was fourth and the division champion, Kyle Soper of Manorville, came in fifth.

When the checker flag waved on the final Grand Enduro of the year, Charrier crossed the line in the second position which on its own merit was good enough to give him his second straight championship. However, Riverhead Raceway officials had a postrace tear down waiting for the top six cars in the race and that affected four of those teams. The race winner, Jimmy White Jr., refused the tear down and was disqualified as were David Antos, Brian McCormack and Greg Zaleski, who either refused the inspection or were caught with unapproved engine modifications or parts.

It is Charrier’s third straight Grand Enduro title and fourth over all. Steve Mastro of Port Jefferson was second, with third going to Walter Stroud of Yaphank.

A former four/six-cylinder Truck Enduro champion, Don Nelson Jr. of Rocky Point, won a 50-lap finale while Greg Harris of Riverhead notched the championship, his second in a row. For Nelson the victory was his second of 2014, a season that saw him miss most of the races because of a blown engine in May. However, there was no keeping Nelson from rebounding with two late-season wins. Harris was the runner-up while Richard Galante of Riverhead drove in third in just his second start.

Two seasoned veterans won eight-cylinder Enduro events. In the 75-lap opener, Dominic Ranieri of East Northport took the win, with the next two finishers being Anthony Pizzo of Lake Ronkonkoma and Michael Sorrentino of Lindenhurst.

Kris Dane of Hicksville finished the race sixth after starting way back in the 23rd position, but that drive to the front was good enough to give him his first career track championship in the class. Dane has been racing in the class the better part of the last decade.

In the nightcap, it was Pizzo taking the win, Ranieri second and Jimmy White Jr. of Southampton third.

Over the last few four/six-cylinder Car Enduro races, Mike Mujsce Jr. of Hampton Bays has had the dominant car. That was the case in the 75-lap finale, which he won in convincing fashion. The 2013 champion, Joe Warren Jr. of Ridge, was second and third went to Mike Mujsce Sr. of Quogue. Peter Verwys Jr. of East Rockaway crossed the line sixth and with that clinched the championship, a career first for the soft-spoken second-generation driver. For many years the Verwys name was prominent at Freeport Stadium.