NEMA Winner At Oxford
Jumping off the pole, Kyle Carpenter
drove to an impressive
25-lap Northeastern Midget Association victory Saturday night at Oxford Plains Speedway.
It was the first win of the season for Carpenter who faced only one restart challenge,
that coming with two laps remaining.
Erica Santos became the highest finishing female in NEMA history with a third, that after
becoming the first female to win a heat. The podium finish came in only her seventh start.
En route to his second career victory, Carpenter quickly established a five-car length
lead over outside front row starter Santos. He continued to build on it and when the first
and only yellow flew (for Lee Bundy's expired engine) he was a straightaway ahead.
"I just kept passing cars," said Carpenter, who was also "taking care of
the tires. I knew the race was going to be about tire management. We set up the car to be
real easy on the right rear. I stayed out of the throttle as much as possible. At the end,
the tires were starting to go away."
Randy Cabral, who came from eighth, took second away from Santos with an inside move
coming out of two on the final lap. Cabral wound up with the hard charger prize. A late
pass by point leader Joey Payne Jr. gave him fourth over Sean Caisse, the latter two
waging a war over much of the race. Payne, the first heat winner, started ninth.
Santos, in the Mike Seymour-owned #8, had little trouble in her heat, beating Adam Cantor,
Cabral, Caisse and brother Bobby III.
NEMA heads to the Oswego Classic August 30th where Carpenter will do double duty making
his SuperModified debut as a teammate to Bobby Santos III in Dave Lair cars. "I'd
like to see Oxford as a tune-up for Oswego," said Carpenter.
Oxford was, however, the "dominating" win Carpenter wanted. "Everybody
knows we kind of lucked into the first win (the 2002 Thompson World Series)," he
said. "This is something we needed and we finally got it."
Carpenter is the seventh winner in 11 races.
1. Kyle Carpenter, 2. Randy Cabral, 3. Erica Santos,
4. Joey Payne Jr., 5. Sean Caisse, 6. Drew Fornoro,
7. Adam Cantor, 8. Bobby Santos III, 9. Howard Bumpus,
10. Ben Seitz, 11. Ed Breault, 12. Tim Heath.
13. Matt O'Brien, 14. Bob Bradbury, 15. Andy Shlatz,
16. Lee Bundy, 17. Ryan Dolan
Plains NEMA Winners
Drew Fornoro will probably the only former Oxford
Plains Speedway Northeastern Midget Association winner in the field when the 52-year old
sactioning body returns to the Maine third mile Saturday, Auguest
NEMA, which will share the bill with International SuperModified Associaition, is making
its first Oxford Plains visit since 2001 when Jim Miller won.
A different surface awaits NEMA. Tire maintenance could well be the key on one of New
England foremost "momentum" tracks. "We have always been quick there,"
says Fornoro. "You're on it almost all the way around."
A trio of Hall of Famers - Ray Roberts, Joe Csiki and Bill Randall - filled the podium
following NEMA's first Oxford visit on July 2, 1961. There have been 48 races since then,
Walter Gale the top winner with eight.
A win would give Fornoro Oxford checkereds in three different decades (he won in '82 and
'94) and would move him up to fourth on the all-time Oxford win list behind Gale, Dave
Humphrey (5) and Bill Eldridge (4).
Jim Lowrey Jr.