Koenig keeps on truckin' at Riverhead

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Dave Koenig drove a Humvee in Iraq during Desert Storm. He is a diesel truck mechanic for the City of Long Beach. And when he started racing at Riverhead Raceway in 1992, he drove a pickup truck.

To say he was comfortable around big vehicles would be an understatement. Want to guess which division he chose to race in?

"Everyone was racing cars, it was different," Koenig said about the super pro truck class, which he currently leads with 186 points, six more than Erin Dumicich of East Quogue. "The truck division is rougher than the other divisions. People figure because it's a big truck, you can give it more abuse. But it's just experience, as it is with everything. There was a learning curve those first years."

Things weren't always rosy for Koenig, an Oceanside native and Freeport resident. In his first nine seasons, the 43-year-old won only three races. But in the four years since, he's won four, including one this year to go along with two other top fives behind the wheel of his No. 97 Chevy.

"It could be," Koenig said when asked if this could be his first championship season. "It's still early, though, so I don't want to say anything to jinx it. It'd be awesome for the crew -- my guys have been with me since the beginning.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

"The guys on your crew are your tightest, closest friends."

An unnatural position

After breaking his wrist Memorial Day weekend, Islip's Timmy "The Natural" Solomito faces at least a month more of recuperation before he gets back behind the wheel. The 19-year-old led the modified class at the time of his injury after winning two of the first four races, but has fallen to third, 48 points behind leaders Justin Bonsignore and John Fortin with 12 races left.

You also may be interested in: