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Consistent 2nd-place finishes is the plot for this 'King of Queens'

A flagman waves the green flag at Riverhead

A flagman waves the green flag at Riverhead Raceway. (July 16, 2011) Credit: Daniel Brennan

Only once, Mike Albasini said, has he ever watched "The King of Queens."

So for him, it's kind of weird that the television show is partially the source of his nickname.

The nickname was coined in 2003 when Albasini, who competes in the super pro trucks division at Riverhead Raceway, was in Pennsylvania for a race. Since Albasini lives in Flushing, Queens, and he's 6-2, 270 pounds, the announcer at the track introduced him as "The King of Queens."

"It's fine. I guess if you have a nickname, you're somebody, right? So that's a cool thing," Albasini said. "I watched the show once."

Albasini, who started racing at Riverhead in the early 1990s, has been seeking his 10th career win all season. He is the 2009 super pro truck champion and has 30 career second-place finishes.

"I always seem to be runner-up," said Albasini, who has finished second seven times this season. "But that's OK. I'd take second every time if I could."

Heading into action Saturday, Albasini is 18 points out of first place. He said if he were to win another championship, he would move on to the modified division, which is the featured and most competitive race at the track.

"I'd love to get that championship again," said Albasini, 43, who owns and operates Hollis Court Collision in Flushing. "Without a doubt, the modifieds would be really hard. With a good motor and the right equipment, though, you can make a run with the big guys."

Albasini still has work to do with his super pro truck. He said he has competed in 160 consecutive races, which he attributes to his consistency and knack for "staying out of trouble on the track."

Albasini is driving a new car this season, which is important to him because he has won races in two different cars previously. To win another race, in his third car, would be special for him.

"I think that has to be a little record," Albasini said. "If I could drive three trucks to victory lane, that's something. That's because it takes people years to figure out just one truck. In my eyes, to accomplish that would be a big deal."

Modified Standings

Through Aug. 9

1. Howie Brode, East Islip 313

2. Tom Rogers Jr., Riverhead 292

3. Ryan Preece, Berlin, Conn. 260

4. Ed Brunnhoelzl III, Levittown 219

5. Kyle Ellwood, Riverhead, 191

Saturday

Featured racing starts at 6 p.m.: Wall of Fame Night, Old Timers Night, twin 30s modfieds (time trials), 30-lap late models (time trials), 30-lap blunderbusts (time trials), 30-lap super pro trucks

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