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Photos by Norm Marx 
Young Avery Stoehr Tops NEMA Midgets Speedbowl Blastoff Field 
RACE REPORT BY BILL VANSLYKE  -  Waterford CT - Two for two for a rookie driver and new car. Avery Store (#15a) claimed his heat race as well as his first NEMA Midget feature win as he held off a strong restart challenge from Ian Cumens (#29).

A NEMA Lite standout for a number of years, this 17 year old states, “I’ve always wanted to drive a full NEMA midget my whole life after watching my father and uncle drive.” His ride, a Beast chassis with Gaerte power, is a sister car to cousin Bethany (#5b) who also won her first NEMA feature in 2013 at the Waterford Speedbowl.

At the start, the field was slowed on lap one for a multi car spin in turn three involving the #80 of Pete Pernesiglio, the #5b of Bethany Stoehr, and the #9 of John Zych.

Restarting in the original lineup, Ryan Bigelow, (#13), and Stoehr (#15a) battled side by side into turn one and down the back stretch, but Stoehr pulled ahead going into three.

Cumens raced into second from his fifth starting spot followed by Paul Scally (#30), Seth Carlson (#71), and Jim Chambers (#21).

Zych, from his ninth starting spot, moved up into the top five by lap 6.
Caution again came on lap 10 as Randy Cabral (#47) had his motor erupt in smoke and flame ending his day. Randy had been bringing his Bertrand owned ride steadily up through the field from his eight starting spot when the engine let go.

This set the stage for the most challenging restart as Cumens, from the outside front row, threw his #29 deep into turn one in an effort to show Stoehr his bumper and keep him low. Avery proved to be strong as he jumped ahead in turn four and pulled away from the #29 down the front straight.

A handfull of laps later, Zych, a past Speedbowl winner, got by Cumens for second. But his Drinan chassis had a worsening push, and he soon lost second back to Cumens. Seth Carlson stayed in the top five all day and finished forth. Coming all the way from his deep starting spot of twelfth, Todd Bertrand finished fifth in the family #74.

Ian would later say about that all-or-nothing restart, “I made one small adjustment from the cockpit to get it a little tighter and hoped it would stick so I could keep him low, but he was just too strong.”

John Zych said of his lap one spin, “It was definitely to avoid the other cars that spun, and I was not concerned about the car being hurt. The tight condition just got worse as the race went along.”

- “Awesome” was the word of the day in the Stoehr camp post race.
- Fasted lap of the NEMA feature was a 102.025 mph run by winner Stoehr.
- Bertrand Motor sports brought three cars to Waterford, two of which were brand new chassis designs (#74, #47).
- The Bertrand #39, slated for Todd Bertrand to drive, developed an engine problem, so Doug Coby, in the Bertrand #74, gave up his ride to Todd for the feature.
- In a mad dash, Randy Cabral (#47) did a 5 minute front spring change as the car did not feel right after the 5 lap Sunday noon warm up.
- Veteran NEMA flagger Steve Grant, came to the Blastoff clad in a pressed white shirt and red tie in remembrance of his legendary father, the late Earl Grant. “This is what my father wore back in the day,” Steve said with a heavy heart.
Pos. # Driver  Hometown Owner
1 15a Avery Stoehr Lakeville, MA Russ Stoehr
2 29 Ian Cumens Lydell, PA Bobby Seymour
3 9 John Zych Jr. Mendon, MA John Zych Sr.
4 71 Seth Carlson Brimfield, CT Gene Feigel
5 74 Todd Bertrand Suffield, CT Bertrand Motorsports
6 13 Ryan Bigelow E. Hampton, CT Randy Bigelow
7 99 Paul Bigelow Kensington, CT Susan Santa Maria
8 50L  Carl Medeiros Jr. Westport, MA Carl Medeiros Sr.
9 9L Matt Swanson Acton, MA Matt Seymour
21 Jim Chambers Atkinson, NH Mike Chambers
30 Paul Scally Raynham, MA Paul Scally
5b Bethany Stoehr Bridgewater, MA MCI Racing/
Greg Stoehr
47 Randy Cabral Plymouth, MA Tim Bertrand
80 Pete Pernisiglio Jr. Charlotte, NC Pete Pernisiglio Sr.
50 Kevin Park Foxboro, MA Peter Pernisiglio Sr.
77 Steve Powers - Mike Luggelle
Heat 1: 47 - 80 - 9 - 21 - 13 - 99 - (39 DNS)
Heat 2: 15a - 29 - 74 - 71 - 30 - 5b - (77 DNF) - (50 DNS)
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Photos by Norm Marx
P.J. Stergios Claims NEMA Lites
Waterford 2014 Blastoff 
Coming off a three win season in 2013, P.J. Stergios (#11) took the NEMA Lites opener at the Waterford Speedbowl 2014 Blastoff. The Candia, NH native started deep in the field, tenth, and was going away at the checkered over second place finisher Ryan Krachun, (#29) and third place finisher, Carl Medeiros Jr. (#50).

Despite losing his power steering at the half way mark, PJ built a commanding lead. “I needed a lot more muscle after that. The car worked well on the outside. After a couple of second place finishes late last year, I really wanted another win.”

Megan Cugini (#41) took the lead at the green followed by Krachun and Scott Bigelow (#32). Krachun than went on top on lap two while Stergios moved from his tenth staring spot to second on the 6th lap followed by Cugini, Andy Borrows (46x) and Medeiros.

Krachun held the lead until a lap 10 caution triggered by a turn one spin by Richie Morrocco (#25).

On the restart, Stergios took the lead from Krachun followed by Cugini, Barrows and Medeiros. P.J. then stayed on the point till the checkers, still fighting that power steering issue, and was followed across the line by Krachun, Medeiros, Barrows and Matt Swanson, (#9), who moved up to claim fifth.

Krachun said in post race, “I wore out my left rear and had no brakes, blew out my felt front brake line.” He continued, “The car handled well, but would have been a lot better with a left rear. The #11 was much better.”

Medeiros, 2013 NEMA Lites Driver Champ, reported the #50 was “bad tight but improved as the race went on.” The crew had added extra fuel in anticipation of multi yellows, and as the right front became worn on a track “with lots of grip”, he knew third was his best shot.

The 20 car field enjoyed sunny skies and ideal track conditions to give the crowd tight, side by side racing. Next on the Lites schedule is May 10th right back at the Waterford facility for another go at the shore line track.

- Christian Briggs (#44) had engine problems after practice. Crew members from three teams and a NEMA official swarmed over the motor and corrected the problem.
- Carl Medeiros Jr. had no plans to run his Lites racer but motor problems in his new modified changed his mind. The stout Lites machine is for sale.
- After his first Lites division feature race, newcomer Dennis O’Brien was all smiles after he had some overheating problems and finishing 18th. “It rolled into the trailer, I’m happy.”
Pos. # Driver  Hometown Owner
1 11 PJ Stergios Candia, NH Bill Stergios
2 29 Ryan Krachun Neschanic Station, NJ Mike Krachun
3 50 Carl Medeiros Jr. Westport, MA Carl Medeiros Sr.
4 46x Andy Barrows New Ipswitch, NH Jeff Johnson
5 9 Matt Swanson Acton, MA Matt Seymour
6 41 Megan CuginI Marshfield, MA D.  Cugini
7 94 Logan Rayvals Brockville, ON, CA Craig Rayvals
8 44 Christian Briggs Mattapoisett, MA Charles Thomas Motorsports
9 51 Danny Cugini Marshfield, MA D.  Cugini
10 18 DJ Moniz Fairhaven, MA David Moniz
11 21 Anthony Payne Fairlawn, NJ Jennifer Scrivani
12 4 Jamie Falconi Southborough, MA Paul Scally
13 42 Juris Kupris Williamsburg, NY Charles Thomas Motorsports
14 7 Todd Bertrand Suffield, CT Gregory Olson
13 Paul Bigelow Kensington, CT Randy Bigelow
25 Richie Morrocco Plainville, MA Richard Morrocco
39 RJ Tufano West Haven, CT RJ Tufano
16 Dennis O'Brien Deerfield, NH Chris O'Brien
45 Brandon Igo Wilbraham, MA David Igo
32 Scott Bigelow E. Hampton, CT Scott Bigelow
35 Randy Cabral Plymouth, MA Glen Cabral
45m Joey Mucciacciaro Wolcott, CT Frank Mucciacciaro
Heat 1: 94 - 46x - 51 - 7 - 21 - 16 - (45m DNS)
Heat 2: 32 - 41 - 25 - 9 - 44 - 18 - (13 DNF)
Heat 3: 11 - 29 - 39 - 45 - 42 - 4 - (35 DNS)
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NEMA’s first Green Flag….Waterford “2014 Blastoff Weekend”
At Thompson CT’s final checkered flag last fall, all thoughts were on the off season. As the month of March 2014 rolled around, thoughts are now on the “new season.” The race fan’s hunger for the first live event will soon be satisfied as the Waterford Speedbowl and the Northeastern Midget Association will be on the menu.

The March 28th, 29th and 30th “2014 Blastoff Weekend” will be held at “the perfect midget track.” That’s a quote from many NEMA drivers over the years as the speeds and competition continue to climb at the shoreline speed plant. A year ago at the opener, Todd Bertrand turned a lap of 12.619 seconds, 106.9 mph, on his way to winning his heat race, compared to times in the 12.8’s and 12.9’s in previous years.

Coming off a very competitive 2013 season with 9 different winners in 15 races led by John Zych with 5 wins, this crop of drivers and teams preparing for the opener are a good mix of experienced veterans and talented rookies in both the NEAM and Lites divisions.

Zych, 2013 NEMA champ, claimed his first checkered at the Waterford Blastoff opener in 2012, but will get pressure from last year’s winner, Todd Bertrand wheeling the family #39. Also out of the Bertrand stable is past Waterford winner Randy Cabral and Whelen Modified Champ Doug Coby, both in new Linblad / Drinan chassis cars.

Another “Bowl” winner from 2013, Bethany Stoehr, will be joined this year in the NEMA Midges division by cousin Avery Stoehr. Avery campaigned the family #15a in the Lites for a number of years but got some seat time in the big cars in 2013.

Other returnees looking for “Blastoff" success” are Ian Cumens in the Seymour #29 and new NEMA division entrant Ryan Bigelow in his #13 Honda powered racer. Long Island’s Pete Pernesiglio (#80), Alan Chambers (#21), Seth Carlson (#71), and veteran Paul Scally in his #30 Drinan Chassis midget, are all opening day hopefuls.

Also on the card for opening weekend will be the NEMA Lites division, starting their seventh year of competition. Led by the only returning 2013 multi- winner P.J. Stergois (#11), this ultra competitive series had eleven winners in sixteen races for 2013. From top to bottom, the Lite’s roster is loaded with youth and exuberance and promises not to disappoint the fans.

Also expected are Lites competitors Andy Borrows (#81), Scott Bigelow (#33), and Danny and Megan Cugini (#51 & #41). Winner at Oswego in 2013, Richie Morrocco, will run his #25. Other Lites entries will be Brandon Igo (#45), Logan Rayvals (#94), and a two car effort from CTM Racing and Christian Briggs. Christian has teamed with former go-kart racing buddy Juris Kupris, a Conn. native, to run his old ride, now re-numbered to #42. Christian will drive a newly acquired former USAC Spike chassis as the #44.

From the Jenifer Scrivani camp is the revamped chassis #21 driven by second generation driver Anthony Payne. With limited exposure in 2013, this will be Anthony’s first full season in the Lites.

With NEMA’s 2014 campaign officially starting at the Blastoff’s first green flag, the NEMA team’s off season preparation will surely be put to the test.

by Shaun Courchesne
Doug Coby To Add More Midget Events
In 2014 With Bertrand Team;
Ready For NEMA Opener At Waterford
For years Doug Coby wanted to be part of the prestigious “guest driver” program for the Bertrand Motorsports Northeastern Midget Association team.

It’s a program with Bertrand Motorsports that over the years has included the likes of Ryan Newman, Cole Carter, Ted Christopher, Lou Cicconi and Mike Stefanik to name a few.

Now guest who isn’t leaving anytime soon might be the best way to categorize the Milford driver’s place with the team.

After running three NEMA events for Bertrand Motorsports in 2013, Coby said he expects to expand that schedule for 2014.   FULL STORY HERE
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