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Photos by Norm Marx

NEMA Celebrates a Great ’07 Season

Champions Ben Seitz and Peter Valeri carried off the biggest trophies as the Northeastern Midget Association celebrated its 55th campaign Saturday night. The 2007 Awards Banquet attracted a capacity crowd at White’s of Westport in Westport, MA.

Club President Mike Scrivani and Master of Ceremonies Peter Falconi covered past, present and future. Falconi reviewed the 2007 season race by race noting the highlights and hardships.

Scrivani called ’07 "a hell of a year," pointing to eight different winners, a strong rookie class and a point battle that went right to the checker. Seitz (who won a fourth straight driver’s championship) and Valeri bested the Joey Payne Jr./Gene Angelillo team.

Scrivani noted NEMA's momentum, pointing out "a couple years ago we had to struggle to get races. Right now, the promoters are calling us. That’s how good we are."

Trophies and checks recognized the efforts of the top-15 owners and drivers.

While thanking each other, Champions Valeri and Seitz praised their crew including crew chief Dickie Bean and sponsor Cape Cod Aggregates. It was the third owner's crown in four years for Valeri.

The top two NEMA teams complimented each other. Seitz called the Gene Angelillo team "the toughest I’ve ever competed against" while Valeri praised the team’s performance in the face of the adversity it faced, notably the passing of Angelillo’s wife Marilyn, a long-time NEMA stalwart.

Angelillo along with his daughter and son-in-law Laura and Curt Kibbe were part of the presentation of the Marilyn Angelillo Woman-Behind-The-Man Award that went to Lu Jarret, wife of club sponsor and car owner Mike Jarret. Ed and Rachael Breault are the originators of the new for 2007 award.

The coveted Johnny Thomson Award, selected by an independent committee, went to Seekonk Speedway’s Irene Venditti, the announcement receiving a standing ovation. Venditti, a long-time friend of NEMA who later received a lifetime membership as well, remembered Thomson as "a dear person and a beautiful racer."
Mrs. Venditti was the second woman (joining Marilyn Angelillo) and the second promoter (joining Oxford Plains) to win the Thompson Award, part of the NEMA festivities since 1961. Bill Estabrook Sr. and Jr., Bruce Beane and Sam Weisberg make up the selection committee.

The equally prestigious Wen Kelley Memorial Award for outstanding dedication and service to NEMA went to Mike Scrivani.

Jeremy Frankoski, a feature winner who wound up sixth in the driver standings, received the Ed Clotheir Rookie of the Year Award.

Mechanic of the Year honors went to Lou Breault, who wrenched the Erica Santos’ driven #44 to fifth in the owner ranks with zero DNFs.

Erica Santos, a winner at Stafford and fourth in the final driver stats, received the Joe Csiki Most Improved Driver trophy.

The Pat Thibodeau Youth and Determination prize was shared by rookies John Zych Jr. and Chris Leonard, both posting top-15 finishes in the driver rankings.

Others getting special recognition were Greg Stoehr (Evans/Thrall Top Owner/Driver), B.J. MacDonald and Robert Kuiken (Never Say Die Award) and Shawn Torrey (Ray Roberts Award). Stoehr finished fifth in the driver points and sixth in the owner listings.

Eleven owners were recognized for "perfect attendance" – Peter Valeri, Gene Angelillo, Tim Bertrand, Mike Jarret, Ed Breault, Power Point Racing, Mike and Paul Luggelle, Glen Cabral, Paul Scally and Shawn Torrey.

Also recognized were club sponsors Mike Jarret (Helping Hands of America) and Stu Murray (Wirtgen America). Appreciation awards went to Deb Fornoro, Angela Pernisiglio, Linda Cleveland and Deb Marviglio and to push truck operators Jack Gianinni, Pete Pernesiglio, John Greenhalgh, Mike Luggelle, Glen Cabral, and Mike Jarret.

NEMA NOTES – "She was a racer, she will always be a racer," Gene Angelillo said of wife Marilyn. He pledged that he along with Laura and Curt Kibbe will continue on in her name. The team won its 111th NEMA feature last year…Randy Cabral, third in driver points, had words of praise for the NEMA officials, pointing out "We can’t run without them." He said he races with several clubs but none is more fun that NEMA.…Drivers extending win totals in ’07 were Payne (18 since 1994), Cabral (13 since 2000) and Stoehr (six since 1992)…Nokie Fornoro and Greg Stoehr added to the brothers’ win list as well.....Thanks to Erica’s’ triumph at Stafford, NEMA can now start brother-sister win stats as well…Drew Fornoro, who drove in the last two races of ‘07, holds the NEMA record for season-opening wins with six. Second on the still active list is Jeff Horn with three. Payne and Seitz have two apiece.

1. #17 Pete Valeri, 1710; 2. #45 Gene Angelillo, 1670;
3. #47 Tim Bertrand, 1529; 4. #4 Mike Jarret, 1415;
5. #44 Ed Breault, 1389; 6. #26b Greg Stoehr, 1296;
7. #99 Power Point Racing, 1282; 8. 7NY Adam Cantor Racing, 1274;
9. #29 Bobby Seymour, 1214; 10. #80 Pete Pernesiglio, 1009;
11. #47b Tim Bertrand, 972; 12. #35 Glen Cabral, 939;
13. #77 Mile Luggelle, 918; 14. #30 Paul Scally, 858;
15. #33 Shawn Torrey, 839.

1. Ben Seitz, 1710; 2. Joey Payne Jr., 1670;
3. Randy Cabral, 1529; 4. Erica Santos, 1389;
5. Greg Stoehr, 1389; 6. Jeremy Frankoski, 1282;
7. Adam Cantor, 1274; 8. Nokie Fornoro, 1235;
9. Shane Hammond, 1199; 10. Lou Cicconi Jr., 1044;
11. Cory Cleary, 873; 12. Paul Scally, 858;
13. Chris Leonard, 837; 14. John Zych Jr., 837;
15. Shawn Torrey, 805.

Full 2007 NEMA Points Sheets HERE

Boxscore Listing of 2007 Driver Finishes HERE

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