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Photos by Keith Cyr - Race Dog Photography

Keeler Scores Career First
NEMA Win at Speedbowl

Waterford, CT (August 5, 2006): During the 2006 season, sophomore driver Mike Keeler of Danbury, CT has quietly become one of NEMA's top competitors. With solid performances each week, it was only a matter of time before the young man found his way to victory lane. At the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night, it was loud and clear that Mike Keeler is a winner.

Keeler dueled with the red-hot Nokie Fornoro for much of the race and held off rising national star Bobby Santos III to score his first career win with NEMA. Keeler took the lead for the final time from Fornoro with nine laps remaining then fought Santos on a late race restart to score the victory. Santos, Greg Stoehr, Fornoro and Erica Santos rounded out the top five. With the victory, Keeler became the sixth different NEMA winner in the eight races held so far this season.

Keeler quickly jumped from third to the lead over Shane Hammond. In the opening laps, the man on the move was Fornoro. The veteran came from his 12th place starting spot and into fourth by lap three.

The battle for the lead erupted when Fornoro overtook Keeler. Not to be outdone, Keeler rocketed to the inside to recapture the lead. Meanwhile, B. Santos, who also started deep in the field, was quickly making up ground.

The usually strong Randy Cabral and Ben Seitz were both struggling. Cabral had lost a lap in the early going and was storming back through the field after a pit stop when an oil filter seal blew sending Cabral spinning and the caution waving. Seitz later pitted at the halfway point for service to his mount.

On lap 18 things really got interesting when Santos grabbed the second position from Fornoro. Santos dogged leader Keeler. He got the opportunity he needed when the caution flew setting up a restart with only three laps remaining.

Santos lagged back on the restart, getting a good run on the outside. Despite the valiant effort of Santos, Keeler retained his lead. Over the final laps, Keeler began to pull away and cruised to his first career NEMA victory.

In victory lane, Keeler thanked his family and crew for sticking by him and Autocraft Engines for their continued support.

Only days after making his debut in the USAC Silver Crown Series at Indianapolis Raceway Park, Santos came home to finish second. Greg Stoehr had his best finish since returning to NEMA full-time with his third-place finish. After suffering from throttle linkage issues late, Fornoro had to settle for fourth while Erica Santos continues to turn in strong performances, finishing fifth.

"CARQUEST Presents the Big One" is the next event on the NEMA schedule. The non-point race will feature the Midgets without wings at the Stafford Motor Speedway on Tuesday, August 15, 2006. The Midget event will be held in conjunction with the much-anticipated 100-lap PRA Big Car Series event featuring the former USAC Silver Crown racecars. It is the first-ever visit for these high-powered racers in New England. CARQUEST has posted a $50,000 bonus for any driver that can win both the Big Car and Midget events.

The 30-lap, 33-car non-wing event for the Midgets will be sanctioned by NEMA, ARDC and USAC. The NEMA drivers expected to compete include this week's winner Mike Keeler, Ben Seitz, Randy Cabral, Bobby and Erica Santos. Bobby Santos III will take his shot at the bonus as he is entered in both the Midget and PRA events.

For more information on "CARQUEST Presents the Big One" log on to
NEMA Feature - Waterford - Sat. 8/5/06
Pos. # Driver Hometown Owner
1 55 Mike Keeler Danbury, CT Kevin Keeler
2 98s Bobby Santos Franklin, MA Robert Santos Jr.
3 26 Greg Stoehr Bridgewater, MA Greg Stoehr
4 4 Nokie Fornoro Stroudsburg, PA Mike Jarret
5 44 Erica Santos Franklin, MA Ed Breault
6 37g Shane Hammond E. Bridgewater, MA Jack Glockner
7 80 Pete Pernesiglio Lake Grove, NY Peter Pernesiglio
8 15 Ryan Dolan Acton, MA Jay Dolan
9 17 Ben Seitz Monument
Beach, MA
Pete Valeri
10 36 Cory Cleary Plymouth, MA Glen Cabral
11 21 Barry Kittredge Marlboro, MA Barry Kittredge
12 49 B.J. MacDonald Dublin, PA B.J. MacDonald
13 12 Kyle Carpenter Gloucester, MA Brad Carpenter
14 7ny Adam Cantor Dix Hills, NY Cantor Racing
15 50 Gary Mondeschein Brodheadville, PA Peter Pernesiglio
16 51 Monnie
Wonder III
Lititz, PA Monnie
Wonder, Jr.
17 47 Randy Cabral Plymouth, MA Tim Bertrand
18 52 Kevin Park Foxboro, MA Kevin Park
19 30p Mike Horn Ashland, MA Jeff Horn
20 22 Andy Shlatz Enfield, CT Alex Shlatz
21 99 Mike Ordway Jr. Freemont, NH Power Point
22 3 Tommy Spada Kensington, CT Gino Spada
23 30 Paul Scally Randolph, MA Paul Scally
24 77 Mike Luggelle Hull, MA Mike Luggelle
25 54 Keith Botelho Attleboro, MA Marco Campanale
DNS 47a Jeff Horn Ashland, MA Tim Bertrand
DNS 16 Matt O'Brien Wilmington, MA Jim O'Brien

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