It took nearly three long and frustrating years of close finishes, but Mike Albasini finally added another jewel to his racing crown.
Albasini, affectionately nicknamed “The King of Queens,” partly after the television show, earned his 10th career win in the Riverhead Raceway Super Pro Truck division Saturday during the track’s season opener.
The 45-year-old from Bayside said he has 30 second-place finishes but hadn’t won a race “in the last two and a half to three years.” He added he almost quit racing at Riverhead, but decided to give it one more try this season.
“It was huge for me,” said Albasini, who won the Super Pro Truck Championship in 2009.
“For some reason I couldn’t do it the last couple of years; somebody would crash into me and take me out . . . I just couldn’t get that 10th win. There are guys out there with 100 wins, but to me, 10 wins are good.
“We’ve been fast the last year with this truck and getting faster. I knew it was just a matter of time before it was going to happen, but I didn’t know it was going to be opening night. We started fourth in that heat race and finished second and it gave me a good position [in the feature race].”
Albasini, who has owned and operated Hollis Court Collision in Flushing since 2007, said he started racing at Riverhead regularly in 1999. The 6-2, 266-pounder was given his nickname a few years later during a race in Pennsylvania when a track announcer introduced him as “The King of Queens.”
“I never watched the show; I think I’ve seen half an episode,” Albasini said, “But I think it’s funny. I guess if you have a nickname you’re somebody, right? You’ve arrived.”
Albasini is hoping for more recognition on the track, too.
He said his latest victory has renewed his confidence on the track and believes he could be in for a promising season alongside crew chief Eddie Carroll. Albasini said he also plans to debut in the new Riverhead Modified Crate Division later this year, using a modified car he bought during the offseason.
“It felt like there was a lot of bad luck going my way, but now I can move forward,” Albasini said. “As long as my car stays out of trouble, I have no problem winning one of these again. More will come, I know that.”
Shawn Solomito, East Moriches — 55
Tom Rogers Jr., Riverhead — 52
Howie Brode, East Islip — 51
David H. Brigati, Calverton — 48
Kyle Soper, Manorville — 45
School Bus Figure 8 Race, Big Wheel Race, NASCAR Modifieds, Late Models, Blunderbusts, Super Pro Trucks, Mini 8 Enduro.