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Seekonk 6/18 Top Three - L to R: Jim Santa Maria #99, 3rd;
Winner Bethany Viets #1; and David Moniz #18, 2nd.

Action >
Photos by John DaDalt
Rookie Bethany Viets Makes History,
Earns First NEMA Lites Victory at Seekonk
SEEKONK, MA - Eighteen year old Bethany Viets of Granby, CT became the first female to win a NEMA Lites feature with her victory at Seekonk Speedway on Friday, and joined 2007 NEMA Midget winner Erica Santos as the only female NEMA feature winners in the 58 year history of the organization.

Starting on the pole for the 20 lap race, Viets led every lap and survived two restarts to earn her initial win over a 20 car field of both veterans and talented newcomers. Fellow rookies D.J. Moniz and Jim Santa Maria finished second and third.

After a restart on lap 2, when Paul Bigelow’s car shut down due to a clogged fuel filter and another restart on lap 5, when Eric Cabral’s car spun exiting turn four, the race ran non-stop and Viets stretched her lead out to half a straightaway. She passed lapped traffic with ease until late in the race when she closed in on a lapped car that was fighting a handling issue. Then she used her head, in addition to her right foot.

“We’re a low budget team, and as much I wanted to win, I didn’t want to take any unnecessary chances and try to pass,” Viets said in victory lane. “I knew we only had a couple of laps left and I just prayed that I had enough of a lead that nobody would catch me.”

Runner-up D.J Moniz started seventh and was closing in on Viets on the final laps. “Our car was getting looser as the race went on, and the looser it got, the faster it went,” Moniz said. “But Bethany was really fast and I was having a tough time catching up to her.”

It was only Jim Santa Maria’s second time competing in a NEMA Lite and he had to work his way from a tenth starting spot to finish third. “It was hard work to pass cars out there,” Santa Maria said. “When Randy Cabral got by me, I thought I was going to start falling back, but then I was able to get by him and I knew we were in good shape.”

Randy Cabral raced from 13th to finish fourth and Eddie LeClerc came from 11th to finish fifth.

All three heat races, which were won by Kevin Park, D.J Moniz and Randy Cabral, ran without a single yellow flag.

Although she has only competed in a NEMA Lite on four previous occasions, Viets acquired an impressive racing resume on the clay track at Whip City Speedway. Starting in a Micro Stock at age 12, she progressed to 750cc Mini Sprints and Quad 4 Midgets. She has three Mini Sprint wins to go with her nine Quad 4 Midget victories.

The night wasn’t a complete bed of roses for Viets. During practice and her heat race, Viets fought a handling problem after car owners Charlie Gunther and Tom Rodzen put on a new left rear tire and struggled to adjust the stagger properly. They eventually changed to an old tire and Viets won with a tire that had been used in three previous features and several practice sessions.

The NEMA Lites join the NEMA Midgets at LeeUSA Speedway this Friday, June 25th.
Lites Feature - Seekonk - Fri. June 18th
Pos. # Driver Hometown Owner
1 1 Bethany Viets Manchester, CT Charles Gunther
2 18 David Moniz Fairhaven, MA David Moniz
3 99 Jim Santa Maria Burlington, CT Susan Santa Maria
4 4 Randy Cabral Plymouth, MA Bobby Seymour
5 12 Eddie LeClerc Jr. Taunton, MA Eddie LeClerc St.
6 29 Anthony Nocella Woburn, MA Matt Seymour
7 48 Todd Bertrand Suffield, CT Tim Bertrand
8 20 Chris Haskell - Andy Shlatz
9 52 Kevin Park Foxboro, MA Kevin Park
10 93 Jake Smith Stroudsburg, PA Ted Smith
11 5c Joey Chick Hubbardston, MA Bob Chick
12 28 Paul Luggelle Holbrook, MA Paul Luggelle
13 81 Andy Barrows New Ipswich, NH Bobby Seymour
14 36 Eric Cabral Manchester, NH Glen Cabral
15 23 Gary Sherman Billerica, MA Gary Sherman
16 13 Ryan Bigelow E. Hampton, CT Randy Bigelow
17 27 Vince Jacob Covertry, RI Vince Jacob
00 Lanson Fornoro Stroudsburg, PA Paul Luggelle
47 Vinnie Annarumo Swansea, MA Glen Cabral
31 Paul Bigelow Berlin, CT Randy Bigelow

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