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Payne Scores Victory
in NEMA Opener

Waterford, CT: Joey Payne was near flawless on Sunday afternoon. The Fairlawn, NJ driver made the victory look easy on a picture-perfect race day at the Waterford Speedbowl to claim the victory in the Northeastern Midget Association season opener. Payne started fourth, took the lead by lap four and then cruised to the victory over Ben Seitz of Monument Beach, MA, Nokie Fornoro of Stroudsburg, PA, Randy Cabral of Plymouth, MA and Bobby Santos III on Franklin, MA.

"I have the best crew," said Payne in victory lane. "They gave me a great racecar today. We made some decisions this morning (to make some changes to the car) and they were the right ones."  CONTINUED

NEMA Feature - Waterford - Sun. 4/2/06
Pos. # Driver Hometown Owner
1 45 Joey Payne Fairlawn, NJ Gene Angellilo
2 17 Ben Seitz Monument
Beach, MA
Pete Valeri
3 4 Nokie Fornoro Stroudsburg, PA Mike Jarret
4 47 Randy Cabral Plymouth, MA Tim Bertrand
5 98s Bobby Santos Marlboro, MA Robert Santos Jr.
6 7ny Adam Cantor Dix Hills, NY Cantor Racing
7 36 Cory Cleary - Glen Cabral
8 77 Mike Lugelle Hull, MA Mike Lugelle
54 Keith Botelho Attleboro, MA Marco Campanale
49 B. J. MacDonald Dublin, PA B. J. MacDonarld
21 Barry Kittredge Marlboro, MA Barry Kittredge
13 Ed Devoe E. Hartford, CT Ed Devoe
37g Shane Hammond E. Bridgewater, MA Jack Glockner
55 Mike Keeler Danbury, CT Kevin Keeler
99 Mike Ordway Jr. Freemont, NH Power Point
28 Paul Lugelle Holbrook, MA Paul Lugelle
16 Matt O'Brien Wilmington, MA Jim O'Brien
DNS 33 Shawn Torrey Marshfield, MA Shawn Torrey
DNS 52 Kevin Park Foxboro, MA Kevin Park
DNS V5 Scott Viets - Scott Viets

Feature Race Action

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Starting Lineup for
Speedbowl  Feature
Sunday, April 2

55 21
37g 45
4 54
47 98
49 17
7ny 77
99 36
16 22
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V5 52
13 28
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Heat 1 - Waterford - Sat. 4/1/06
Pos. # Driver Hometown Owner
1 17 Ben Seitz Monument
Beach, MA
Pete Valeri
2 47 Randy Cabral Plymouth, MA Tim Bertrand
3 55 Mike Keeler Danbury, CT Kevin Keeler
4 98 Bobby Santos Marlboro, MA Robert Santos Jr.
5 54 Keith Botelho Attleboro, MA Marco Campanale
6 7ny Adam Cantor Dix Hills, NY Cantor Racing
7 52 Kevin Park Foxboro, MA Kevin Park
DNS 22 Andy Shlatz Enfield, CT Alex Shlatz
DNS 18 Rich Gerbe Elmont, NY Lee Gerbe
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Heat 2 - Waterford - Sat. 4/1/06
Pos. # Driver Hometown Owner
1 4 Nokie Fornoro Stroudsburg, PA Mike Jarret
2 37g Shane Hammond E. Bridgewater, MA Jack Glockner
3 45 Joey Payne Fairlawn, NJ Gene Angelillo
4 21 Barry Kittredge Marlboro, MA Barry Kittredge 
5 49 B.J. MacDonald Dublin, PA B.J. MacDonald
6 77 Mike Luggelle Hull, MA Mike Luggelle
DNF 99 Mike Ordway Jr. Freemont, NH Chris Desrosiers
DNF 36 Cory Cleary - Glen Cabral
DNF 13 Ed DeVoe E. Hartford, CT Ed DeVoe
DNF 16 Matt O'Brien Willmington, MA Jim O'Brien
DNS 33 Shawn Torrey Marshfield, MA Shawn Torrey
DNS V5 Scott Viets - Scott Viets
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Payne Scores Victory in NEMA
Speedbowl Opener

Shane Hammond of E. Bridgewater, MA jumped from his third-place starting spot to take the lead on the opening lap. The action heated up quickly as Fornoro, who had already moved into second position, had his hands full with Payne. Fornoro slammed the door on Payne on lap two and then set his sites on leader Hammond.

Hammond ran strong holding off several challenges from Fornoro to maintain his lead. The young driver looked poised to be in position to take down his first career victory; but Lady Luck was not on Hammond's side. A caution period on lap four for a spin by Cory Cleary was prolonged when the #28 of Paul Luggelle went up in smoke. During the cleanup, Hammond headed down pit road with mechanical problems. Attrition would play a major role during the remainder of the 25-lap event.

With Fornoro now in command, things got racy immediately with the green flag in the air once again. Payne got a great run on the restart to get by Fornoro taking Seitz along for the ride. The pass for the lead was negated when pole sitter Mike Keeler of Danbury, CT also went up in smoke.

The restart was a replay of the same with Payne and Seitz moving past Fornoro. Payne was the new leader by the completion of lap four. Fornoro got crossed up coming out of turn three, sliding through turn four sideways and then bouncing through the infield. A great piece of driving by the veteran saved the car from spinning but Fornoro lost many positions in the process.

Payne continued to lead Seitz, Cabral and a hard-charging Adam Cantor of Dix Hills, NY, who had gone to the rear on the initial start after having problems with his ride. Keith Botelho of Attleboro, MA joined the top five as well.

By this point, mechanical woes had cut the running order dramatically with only 10 cars remaining in the field. Bobby Santos was able to take advantage of the situation, bringing his racecar in for service during the caution periods to make adjustments.

A spin by B.J. MacDonald found the yellow waving for the third time on lap 10. This caution period claimed front-running Botelho with an engine failure. The restart gave Seitz a shot at the leader but a bobble out of turn one slowed his momentum leaving Payne to himself in the lead. Cabral, in the meantime, had also faltered a bit on the restart. Fornoro had appeared in the top-three again by the time the caution flew on lap 15 for debris. An impressive feat given that his beautiful #4 had dropped a valve spring earlier in the event.

Seitz took a peak on the leader when the racing resumed but settled into the second position once again. The leader Payne began to put some daylight between his Dumo's Desire machine and Seitz while things were heating up between Fornoro and Cabral for third. Santos caught the duo and looked to make it a three-car battle for the spot.

Over the last five laps the field settled into a steady rhythm with Payne distancing himself from Seitz, who had a comfortable margin over a now more subdued pack of Fornoro, Cabral and Santos. The lead that Payne enjoyed lengthened over the closing laps.

Payne cruised to the win over Seitz, Fornoro, Cabral and Santos. Cantor finished in the sixth position over rookie Cleary and Mike Luggelle. The remainder of the top ten, which included Botelho and MacDonald, were not running when the checkers fell on a tough day for the Midgets at Waterford.

"Joey had us beat," said Seitz after the race. "Congratulations to Joey, Gene (Angelillo-car owner) and their whole team."

Despite the trials of the day for many drivers and teams, the Speedbowl debut showcased the level of competition that will be evident in NEMA during the 2006 season between the likes of Payne, Seitz, Fornoro, Cabral and countless others.

The new season continues on April 29 & 30 at the Stafford Motor Speedway as the Northeastern Midget Association takes part in the 35th Annual TechNet Spring Sizzler.

NEMA Season Opener

NEMA Set for Bowl Opener this Weekend

Manchester, CT: The Northeastern Midget Association officially kicks off the 2006 season this weekend at the Waterford Speedbowl as the mighty Midgets will take part in the 10th Annual Budweiser Nationals. The two-day event will commence with practice and qualifying on Saturday, April 1st. The NEMA competitors will compete in a 25-lap feature event as part of the festivities on Sunday that will also include the ever-popular Speedbowl Pit Party.

"We are all very excited to be part of the Bud Nationals again," said car owner Peter Valeri. "This will mark the return of the Midgets to the Nationals after a two season hiatus."

Valeri has other things to be excited about as well. His young driver, Ben Seitz of Monument Beach, MA, will start his title defense as he looks for his third-straight driving championship in 2006. Seitz's hopes to start the 2006 season in his traditional manner-with a victory. Seitz has taken down opening day wins in both 2004 and 2005.

Seitz will have to be on top of his game to keep the tradition alive. He will have his hands full with a host of fiery competitors that will join him in the field for the Nationals.

Fans can expect the rivalry of Seitz and Joey Payne of Fairlawn, NJ to once again heat up when the green flag flies at the Speedbowl. The two have duked it out for supremacy in NEMA for several seasons. Racing at the Speedbowl, where the two drivers excel, tends to add fuel to the fire.

The veteran Payne will look to take down the opening day win to set the wheels in motion for what he feels confident will be another championship season for his Gene Angelillo led Dumo's Desire Team. The action promises to pick up where it left off in the season-ending event at the Speedbowl for these two teams.

Other favorites to win the Bud Nationals include multi-time Speedbowl feature winner Randy Cabral of Plymouth, MA, who returns in the potent Bertrand Motorsports entry, along with Adam Cantor of Dix Hills, NY, Mark Buonomo of Watertown, MA, Kyle Carpenter of Gloucester, MA, and Pete Pernesiglio of Lake Grove, NY, who is expecting great things for his team this season.

Nokie Fornoro may have turned 50 during the off-season but he is no-less hungry then the young guns of NEMA. The veteran is poised for a win at the Speedbowl for car owner Mike Jarett. By all accounts, Fornoro is charged up and ready to chase the title in 2006 as well.

The "dark horse" in the bunch might just be 2005 Rookie of the Year Mike Keeler of Danbury, CT. The teenager came on very strong late in the season and had arguably his best race of the season at the season-ender at Waterford.

The speculation will end on Sunday, April 2nd when feature racing for the Northeastern Midget Association gets underway.

On Saturday, April 1 the pit gate opens at 7:00 AM with the grandstand opening at 9:00 AM. Practice is currently scheduled from 9:00 AM to Noon for all divisions. Qualifying begins at approximately 1:00 PM with SK Modified time trials followed by the NEMA heats races. A full day of qualifying is scheduled for Saturday.

On Sunday the pit gate opens at 8:00 AM and the grandstand opens at 10:00 AM in preparation for the 10:30 AM Pit Party. The NEMA Midgets are tentatively scheduled to roll-off first with their 25-lap feature at 1:00 PM. For details on the remaining features on Sunday visit the Waterford Speedbowl website at

All scheduling is provided by the Waterford Speedbowl and is subject to change. For a complete listing of the weekends activities call the Speedbowl at 860.442.1585 or visit the track's official website.

Grandstand admission for the two-day event is $30.00 for adults, $5.00 for youth tickets (ages 6-14) with kids 5 and under free. Pit admission is $48.00 for the public and $40.00 with a valid NEMA license (or with any applicable Series license).

Fans and competitors alike are encouraged to contact the Speedbowl for information regarding the Friday practice session for the Budweiser Nationals. The NEMA competitors never disappoint when they travel to the Speedbowl.

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