2014 NEMA NEWS
|JOHN "JK" KEANE
long time NEMA member and supporter,
"JK" Keane passed
away on Wednesday, Oct. 22nd.
|"JK" was an avid race
fan and was a race car driver, sponsor and owner of race
cars. He was a member of SCCA and NEMA and enjoyed various
motor sports including circle track, midget,
Tuesday, October 28th 11:00 AM
St. Mary's Church of
lieu of flowers, donations may be made to
Warrior Project, www.woundedwarriorproject.org
Andy Barrows pilots the Kenney Johnson Motorsports #46x
to a 4th place finish at the Speedbowl opener
Team Johnson: Full
on NEMA Midget Division
|The Bethany, CT father and
son team of Jeff and Kenney Johnson has made the move to
join the NEMA Midget Division for 2014. Racing in the NEMA
Lites since 2011, the Johnsons claimed 12 top 10's last year
boasting one late season win at the Waterford Speedbowl.
Kenney, a 15 year old sophomore at Amity High School and
a standout Lacrosse goalie, is a veteran when it comes to
racing with a steering wheel having first competed in the
"Kid Karts" at the Nutmeg Kart club in Shelton, CT in 2003.
But the racing bug bit the Johnsons long before.
Jeff, owner / operator of
NewEnglandTractor.com recalls, "I've been around racing
my whole life. When Kenney was born I was running a tractor
pull organization. and his first few years life were spent
at pulling events all over southern New England. Off
weekends we would attend oval races, and when Kenny was old
enough we got him driving."
The Johnsons first Midget
racing encounter came at the Lee USA Speedway in NH. Jeff
continues, "After finishing up racing Tobias Speedster
midgets in NY and PA, the Allison Legacy series was our next
move until that one night at Lee. We witnessed the best race
on the card with the NEMA Lites and we were hooked." From
there it was a conversation with Bobby Seymour on what was
needed and they were on their way to their first season in
the Lites in 2011.
After three years with the Lites,
the move to the full NEMA cars was decided to "further
Kenney's pursuit of a career in racing," Jeff said. The
Johnsons both agree that the Lites division provides a great
learning experience for anyone wanting to move up.
Plans for the 2014 season did not start out as hoped in the
NEMA car. The newly acquired motor did not perform as
expected and expired early in the Blastoff Weekend at the
Waterford Speedbowl on 4/12/14. Jeff laments, "It was a
disappointment, but we couldn't let it get to us. We need to
rebuild and move forward with a positive attitude."
Plans are now to rebuild the engine in time for the next
race on May 24th in Evans Mills NY if all necessary pieces
become available. That, coupled with keeping their Lites car
on track with fellow driver Andy Borrows, is a tall
The Lite #46x driving duties for 2014
will be split between Andy and Kenney with Andy in the seat
the majority of the time and Kenney filling in later in the
In 2014, "Team Johnson" will be met with
many challenges but Jeff has ensured the resources are in
place with backing from NewEnglandTractor.com, Tower and
Antenna Service and TC Facility Services as well as Chris
Hugerford helping in the pits.
visionaries, Jeff and Kenney hope to gather sponsorship one
day to run the K&N Pro Series East. But Jeff reiterates, "If
that deal doesn't work out, we'd love to run the NEMA
At the Speedbowl
opener Jeff and Kenney begin the teardown
damaged VW motor in the #46 NEMA Midget.
|Jerry Wall - Yellow Jacket
|NEMA Releases Vintage
Slide Show on DVD
|The Northeastern Midget
Association announces the release of NEMA Vintage photo's on
DVD just in time for Christmas. The presentation is from the
collection of one of the most respected journalist,
historians and statisticians in New England, Pete Zanardi.
The range of drivers, owners, tracks and race cars
depicted in the collection are the who's who in Northeastern
midget racing. The forefathers that laid the foundation for
present day racing are illustrated in color and black and
white photo's complete with captions. Bill Randall, Ray
Roberts, Ronnie Evans and Jerry Russo just to name a few
drivers from NEMA's infancy.
The early cage days
drivers are represented by Bill Roth, Lee Smith, Hank
Stevens and Len Thrall for example. And to finish out the
last couple of decades are the Fornoros, Stoehrs, Scrivanis,
Seymours and many many more.
The cars are as big as
the drivers on this DVD that range from the Badgers to the
uprights, cage and cageless, even some Offy's.
DVD is 332 pictures strong and is a must for any early day
The cost is $20 each with all
proceeds going directly to NEMA to help carry on the rich
traditions these early pioneers built.
Payment can be
made through PayPal
email@example.com or by sending a check or money
(payable to NEMA) as well as your name and address to
Bill Van Slyke,
23 Horsestable Cir., Shelton, Ct. 06484.
|Tony Romit - Fahey Offy
|Bill Randall (3) & Bud
Tatro (1) - Seekonk
|NEMA Drivers “Other” Jobs
Talents outside the cockpit….Part 3
|STORY BY WILLIAM
|For this third and final
installment of Drivers “Other” Jobs, we’re going to hear
from the owner of Motor Cars International located in
Bridgewater, MA. Greg
Stoehr, 49, the
establishments Service Manager as well as owner, has been
selling and servicing cars there for 30 years, a career he
enjoys except for the long hours away from home. Every
technician has been trained by Greg, which he says is the
most likable part of the job, as he ensures the work gets
done properly and efficiently. Away from the dealerships
duties, he enjoys skiing and working on a fleet of midget
race cars and go karts that are driven by himself, daughter
Bethany and nephew Avery.
Bethany Stoehr, also an employee of the above
mentioned dealership for the past 3 years, boasts as only
the 2nd female to win a NEMA feature event. That
accomplishment occurred at Waterford Speedbowl in 2013 in
front of a roaring crowd. The next event, held in New
Hampshire, had this 18 year old leading the fans in singing
the national anthem, which was no small feat given it was
her very first performance in front of a live audience. When
putting in her hours at the family dealership, she can be
found performing clerical work as well as some light auto
repair. The most unique part of the job has her transporting
high end vehicles around the northeast, all of which she
says is enjoyable and never boring.
Avery Stoehr, 17, son of
past NEMA champion, Russ Stoehr, and forth generation
driver, works at Todrin Industries, Lakeville, MA. Duties
has this youngster working with sheet metal performing
welding and machine work, which he has done for the past
year. He enjoys the opportunity to operate a number of
different work centers and different variations of
equipment. On occasion he has to fight through some boring
jobs but looks forward to getting away to go snowboarding
Bigelow Electric, East Hampton, Ct.,
employs Ryan Bigelow, 23,
as a foreman. Ryan says he’s a “lifer” as he’s worked at the
family business all his life in one capacity or another. An
electrician by trade, duties include electrical work as well
as running and supervising jobs, tasks Ryan explains can be
very challenging on occasion. Always the outdoorsman, he
enjoys the winter as snowmobiling is his family’s outdoor
Finally, we close out our list of drivers with
a young man who’s profession is unique and challenging as
he’s always “cooking up” something.
Briggs, 30, from
Mattapoisett, MA, holds the title of Executive Chief at the
Gateway Tavern. The popular restaurant located in Wareham,
MA., has been Christian’s employment home for the past 10
years. Duties and responsibilities under his title include
“ensuring everyday operations are achieved properly” as this
restaurant has a large following and at peek hours patrons
deserve perfection. Christian brings a great work ethic to
the table as he must juggle the racing weekend schedules
with the tavern’s work schedule, a task that at times can be
a challenge. But as he has proven many times in the past, he
can excel in both environments.
multi-tasking, NEMA drivers can do it all. Their passion for
their careers is equaled only by their love for a sport that
uses up a large amount of spare time and money. They
wouldn’t want it any other way.
|NEMA Drivers “Other” Jobs
Talents outside the cockpit….Part 2
|STORY BY WILLIAM
|You would think with all
the racing knowledge and ability our NEMA and NEMA Lite
drivers have, that their everyday nine to fives would follow
that same line. Well, nothing could be farther from the
truth. This time around we’ll visit a driver that will pour
you a tasty drink, a young lady that will teach you how to
somersault, and a guy that’ll build you a house; just to
mention a few.
Bigelow, 35, from East Hampton, Ct., (along with his
racing family made up of Ryan, Paul and Randy); own and
operate Bigelow Electric Inc., out of Kensington, Ct. They
have been running the company for the past 20 years billing
themselves out as “Electrical Contractors”. Scott, the vice
president, enjoys the work but always saves time on the side
for hunting, snowmobiling and spending time with his three
kids. Come this March, he’ll once again be adding racing to
his busy schedule.
Next up are
the Cugini siblings, Megan and Danny, 18 and 21. Both
reside from Marshfield, Ma. and both compete in the NEMA
Lite series. Danny has been employed as a Mechanical
Contractor for the last 4 years and “Meg” is a Nursing
student at Laboure College in Milton, Ma. In their spare
time away from the daily grind, Danny enjoys riding his
ATV’s and working around the race shop. Sister Meg fills her
spare time as a gymnastic coach.
Speaking of racing
families, the O’Brien name
will always be associated with New England auto racing.
Father and car owner, Jim O’Brien, fielded many a fast
midget over the years in the NEMA series and the same can be
said of son Matt. Along
with elder brother Dennis, Matt, 41 from Wilmington, Ma.,
continues to ensure the familiar family name is always on
the entry lists. Away from the track, Matt holds the title
of Senior Project Architect at R.E. Dinneen Architects,
located in Boston, a position he’s had for 5 years. The busy
work schedule at the firm has Matt performing design work,
production and management duties. His off time is spent with
the kids, the race cars while tinkering with carpentry. Is a
wooden race car design in his future?
love the beach”, is what Andy
Barrows says is his favorite past time when not
racing or running Prostock Kitchens out of Peterborough,
N.H. This New Ipswich, N.H. resident campaigns a NEMA lite
racer during the racing season while juggling the Kitchen
business that he’s owned for 15 years. Andy will point out
that the title of President of a company comes with the
duties of doing “everything”. When asked of the pro’s and
con’s of the business, Andy points out the best thing is
dealing with the customers, and the worse thing is dealing
with the customers, but for 15 years he’s done a good job
When the topic of being active and going
fast comes up, NEMA driver of the Bertrand family midgets,
Todd Bertrand, 22, throws
his hat in. This Suffield, Ct. native loves to drive go
karts and go snowboarding when he’s away from the track. For
two years, Todd has worked as a bartender at the Plan B
Burger Bar in West Hartford, Ct. and loves to socialize
while serving the customers, but is not fond of the long,
late night hours. Always one to experience new things, Todd
enjoys tasting the latest craft beers on the market and
makes recommendations to his customers.
this group will be happy to build you kitchen or design you
a house, next time we’ll visit a place to buy a great car
and a place to buy a great meal……bring money.
|NEMA Drivers “Other” Jobs
Talents outside the cockpit….Part 1
"plays in dirt", "30 years", "AARP",
|STORY BY WILLIAM
|We fans of the Northeastern
Midget Association are well aware of what our drivers do 17
weekends of the year. The question is, what’s their life
like away from the track, away from the bright lights, the
screaming engines, the competition? What exactly are these
drivers other talents and interests when not strapped in
their rocket ships. Well, some of NEMA’s best were gracious
enough to reveal some interesting aspects of their lives
pertaining to their hobbies, occupations, likes and
Multi feature winner and NEMA’s 2013 Champ,
Johnny Zych, 30, from Mendon MA, has what you could
call a serious sweet tooth. John is a district sales manager
for the Hershey Company for southern New England. John has
been with Hershey 8 years and currently manages a sales
team, a group of people he enjoys working with. When away
from the track and his job, he enjoys time with the family
and playing basketball. John was everyone’s friend at the
club’s recent banquet as he showed up with the “largest
Hershey bar anyone has ever seen“ as it was measured in
Driver of the bright orange and white number
30 midget, (and NEMA’s club treasurer),
Paul Scally, from Raynham,
MA, currently supervises all construction activities at the
R. Zoppo Construction Co. in Stoughton, MA. A 10 year
veteran at the company, his title of Superintendent keeps
him busy and allows him to earn the needed capital to go
racing. Not one to relax after work, Paul spends this off
time building racecars and spending time with his dad.
They call this next driver, “The Jet”,
Joey Payne, 47, from Fair
“The Jet” is a handle he does not treat
lightly, as this Service Manager for “Vacuum Truck Rentals”
makes sure he’s always on the move. Joey has been at the
Oakland, NJ rental facility for 4 ½ years and is currently
in charge of 50 plus truck rentals spread up and down the
east coast. He loves the job because he never knows where
he’ll be on any given day, but on occasion, he’ll get caught
up on delivering a truck on a Friday when he needs to leave
for a race. Yes, “Jet”, is a very appropriate handle.
The Pernesiglio name as been synonymous with NEMA for
more than 30 years, and “young”
Pete Pernesiglio races the family car to keep that
tradition alive. Son of “Mazda” Pete, this 43 year old
father of one from Lake Grove, NY, a Long Island community,
works in auto parts sales at Advantage Hyundai. With 10
years service at the Hicksville, NY dealership, Pete enjoys
getting home every night, but has his hands full at times
dealing with the commute, a part of the job not to his
liking. So as a outlet, Pete heavily involves himself with
slot car racing, and even takes his unique hobby out of
state to test his skills against some of New England’s best.
To watch Kevin Park at
any race track, you’ll witness a 59 year old bounce around
with the youthfulness of a racer 30 years his junior. This
tireless NEMA Lites driver, from Foxboro, MA. enjoys making
his livelihood operating heavy equipment for the Derenzo
Co., but is quick to say he’d rather not be out in the
Northeast winter climate. Kevin does point out that the most
enjoyable aspect about his 7 years at the company is
defiantly pay day which allows him to fund his midget racing
as well as his grandson’s go karts.
Perhaps the most
interesting occupation we came across was that of
Jim Chambers, driver of
the family number 21 NEMA racer. This 26 year old from
Atkinson, NH holds the title of Auctioneer for
(appropriately named) “Jim Chambers Auctioneer” The most
enjoyable part of this job, Jim points out, is “working for
myself”, and has been at it for 8 years. Unfortunately, Jim
must travel to where the work takes him and even though that
is the downside to all this, he makes sure he gets away to
enjoy his snowboarding and music. Got a bunch of stuff to
sell, Jim’s your man.
|Marlene D. Buckley
|Buckley, Marlene, D.,
“Mardy,” 83, of Magnolia Street, Rumford, died peacefully on
April 18, 2014. She was the wife of the late Richard W.
A lifelong resident of Rumford, she was the
daughter of the late Edward Fitzhugh and Dorothy (Nichols)
Mrs. Buckley was a writer for the Speedway
Scene and the Seekonk Speedway Program from 1990-2002. She
previously was a receptionist for the Phyllis Dance Studio.
Marlene enjoyed auto racing.
She is survived by a
son, Michael F. Buckley of Rumford; a daughter, Cynthia G.
Blanchette and her husband Robert Blanchette of Rumford and
a step-brother, Joel Halbert of Texas.
service will be held on Wednesday April 23, 2014 in the W.
RAYMOND WATSON FUNERAL HOME, 350 Willett Avenue, Riverside
at 11 am. Burial will follow in Gate of Heaven Cemetery.
Calling hours are Tuesday 4-8 pm. Flowers are
respectfully omitted. Contributions in Marlene’s memory to
Home & Hospice Care of RI, 1085 North Main Street,
Providence, RI, 02904 would be deeply appreciated.
Irene Venditti passed away on March 28th.
a Victory Lane photograph that includes Irene Venditti.
Reach out, grab and hold on to that smile. That smile is
what Irene, the matriarch of one of New England’s premier
racing families, was all about.
A New England Auto
Racers Hall of Famer, Irene Venditti,. 94, passed away
Part of Seekonk Speedway from its inception
in 1946, the smile reflects the love and joy Irene found in
both the game and in the competitors. Victory was not the
result so much as it was the culmination of the battle.
She was by husband D.Anthony’s side when Seekonk became
a reality in 1946. She was a major part of the battle that
resulted in the “Cement Palace” being one of the
longest-running tracks in the country. Her dedication to the
sport and her husband actually preceded that, going back to
Anthony’s involvement with the “Big Cars” before the war.
And, one suspects, nothing surpassed the Midgets in
Irene’s heart. “Almost to the end Mrs. V was there for every
Midget show,” points out Seekonk historian R.A. Silvia, a
life-time friend of Irene. “Seekonk was built for the
Midgets and she never forgot that.”
Seekonk hosted the
first-ever Northeastern Midget Association event on May 30,
1953 and the “Cement Palace” remains a showplace for the
Back a few years ago Irene rode around the
track in a special two-seater driven by New England
open-cockpit legend Joe Sostillio. She so loved it as she
did whenever other legendary drivers and cars came to the
A woman of immense faith, Silvia points out
“she always went far beyond the usual limits of friendship.
Her kindness was gigantic. She was truly universally loved.”
She could, however, be stern and was indeed so when,
following D. Anthony’s passing in 1991, the situation
NEMA extends its sympathy to Irene’s
family – daughters Ann and Adrianne and son Francis.
|Morrocco Looking for
|Brockton, MA -
Fifteen-year-old Richie Morrocco will be back with the NEMA
Lite series in 2014, and there are no doubts in his mind, or
in others’ that he will be a championship threat. A winner
in 2013 at the ultra-fast Oswego Speedway, Morrocco was
undoubtedly impressive in his freshman voyage.
famous names around the Northeast, Morrocco got his start at
the “Little T” Speedway in Thomspon, CT racing quarter
midgets. Long time NEMA member Jackie Parker guided Morocco
there, with the hope that he would some day move into the
full midget ranks with NEMA. “Jackie has been influential to
our team and our involvement with NEMA, and is a sponsor of
ours today,” said Morrocco.
Morrocco counts Bobby
Santos III and Randy Cabral as two of the biggest influences
in his racing career. “Bobby is a big influence for a young
driver – he’s a local guy, great driver, he's fast in every
car he drives and he can show up after warm ups and still
win – which says something,” said Morrocco. “Randy (Cabral)
helps out a lot of the kids, including me. He shares some of
his knowledge and helped me improve a lot as a driver this
year. And I enjoyed running with him in the lites this past
year,” he said.
Morrocco’s Hawk Chassis, #25 will
carry a familiar set of sponsors again in 2014 - West St.
Auto Body, Parker Sanitation, American Beauty Signworks and
the Shane Hammond foundation.
When asked about his
Championship hopes for 2014 – Morrocco says “it took me a
while to get used to the car, and for us to get the car
sorted out, but that’s mainly behind us now. We have a good
program for 2014 and look forward to running for a
Championship if things go well,” said Morrocco.
Morrocco and the NEMA Lite series get their start at the
Budweiser Blastoff the weekend of March 29th at the
In The O’Brien Book, “Final Chapter
Written… Just Yet”
|STORY BY WILLIAM
|Dennis O’Brien, son of
popular NEMA car owner, the late Jim O’Brien, will campaign
a NEMA Lite entry for the full 2014 racing season. Elder
brother of current NEMA driver, Matt O’Brien, Dennis will
bring his life long racing experiences to the New England
racing club with enthusiasm and a ton of resources.
This Deerfield, NH resident, and UPS driver, has sold his
entire Dwarf racing team and has purchased a Stealth chassis
and is currently installing a Ford Focus engine. He will be
putting forth a top notch effort in the very competitive
Lite division. Dennis is quick to point out that the
O’Brien’s are a “racing family” and that will continue with
sons DJ 19, and Mitchell 14, working the pits and brother
Chris acting as car owner who will also overlook the
finances. “Chris will handle his duties far away from the
track as he doesn’t get his hands dirty”, Dennis points out
with a laugh.
“Our father gave us the opportunity to
get involved in racing at early ages and we just couldn’t
get enough.” Dennis explains. “We were always at the track
and at the shop with him and he taught us well through the
years.” Starting his driving career in 1994 in stock cars,
Dennis moved to mini-stocks and super streets then
eventually to Dwarf cars. He explains, “I will heavily lean
on brother Matt’s vast midget experience and he is fully
behind this effort.”
Even though the color of the car
has not been finalized, “The number will be 16 and the
words, “Jim O’Brien & Sons Engineering” will be on the side
as is the case with all the O’Brien racing machines."
When pressed to reveal his 2014 goals, Dennis says with
confidence, “Immediately, we want top 10’s, by mid season
some top 5’s and ultimately a podium finish and a trophy by
years end.” He has been a track champion at Lee Speedway in
the 4 cylinder division, he considers the up coming
season a challenge. We are “determined to succeed,” even at
tracks like Star and Monadnock, where he has also turned
Dennis pointed out in closing that “Dad
loved racing and loved to share it with his boys, and….. The
Final Chapter Not Written… Just Yet”.
Next: Avery Stoehr
Bound for NEMA Midgets Full-Time
Generation Driver Prepares for Rookie Season in #15a
|by Nick Teto /
Headshot: Crystal Snape
|Avery Stoehr of
Lakeville, MA will be competing in the Northeastern Midget
Association (NEMA) Midgets full-time for MCI Racing. Stoehr
wants to “be competitive all year and learn as much as I
can. … I think I learned a lot from driving the #3t, #26,
and #44 this year and hopefully can build off that for next
Both Avery and Bethany Stoehr’s cars are
former Mike Jarret Beast-Gaerte Fords. Avery Stoehr will
drive a new spare chassis, while John Andruk is finishing
engine work this week. Sponsors Motor Cars International of
Bridgewater, MA, Skaters Edge Indoor Skatepark of Taunton,
MA and Circle Performance Racing Engines of Berkley, MA will
join Stoehr for his NEMA run.
Stoehr has four career
NEMA Lite wins. He finished third in NEMA Lite points last
year with wins at Stafford and Waterford. Stoehr also had
two top 10 finishes in five NEMA Midget starts this past
season. “I as well as Carl Kibbe are really looking forward
to him moving up,” Russ Stoehr said. “His limited
performances in the #44 showed a lot of promise and his
Thompson debut showed me he is ready.”
FULL STORY HERE
Jason Hentrich Joining NEMA
Midget Field in 2014
|by Nick Teto /
Borgers Speedway 600 Dirt Micro Sprint champion Jason
Hentrich of Willow Grove, PA will be moving up to the
Northeastern Midget Association (NEMA) Midgets in 2014. “We
are really looking forward to it, Hentrich said. “This has
been something we had always wanted to do. We just came off
a successful season in asphalt Micros so we decided that it
was time to try it.”
FULL STORY HERE
Briggs & CTM Plan Two Car LITES Effort in 2014 with Juris
Motorsports Expansion Underway
|by Nick Teto /
Briggs of Mattapoisett, MA confirmed last Thursday that he
will be competing full-time in the Northeastern Midget
Association (NEMA) Lites in 2014. 2014 will be Briggs’ first
full season. Briggs’ new #44 car is a former USAC Ignite
Focus Midget with a Spike chassis and Focus engine.
Charles Thomas Motorsports will be expanding to two cars.
Briggs’ former Hawk will sport the #42 for rookie driver
Juris Kupris of Williamsburg, NY. A native of Storrs, CT,
Kupris is an extreme surfer and personal trainer. Briggs
described Kupris as “a lifetime friend and mentor of mine.
We go back to Sugar Hill Speedway racing Karts when we were
kids. … Juris will be sure to turn some heads out there, he
is bad fast.” According to Briggs, Kupris will be competing
”full-time, if not very close. He is getting a great ride; I
don’t think he will want to miss any."
FULL STORY HERE
NEMA LITES Ryan Bigelow
“Moving Up For 2014”
Association LITES standout Ryan Bigelow has announced his
intention to move into the full NEMA division for the 2014
racing season. The East Hampton, Ct. native will be wheeling
a newly acquired Beast chassis with Honda horsepower for the
full NEMA schedule.
“I feel pure excitement about
this move and can’t wait to start working with the new
chassis.” Ryan goes on to say, “This plan has been three
years in the making, and now everything is aligned to make
With the proven reliability of the Honda
power plant Ryan is confident that he should be able to
reach his 2014 goals of at least 1 win and possibly the NEMA
rookie of the year honors.
This young 23 year old
electrician is certainly no rookie when it comes to driving
anything with four wheels. Starting out in 2000 with Go
Karts at Whip City Speedway, he advanced to the Mini-Sprints
division where he piled up seven years of experience
perfecting his trade on that quarter mile oval.
next move was to the NEMA LITES in 2010. Ryan claimed his
first win at his favorite track (and home track) the
Waterford Speedbowl on May 7, 2011 and another win at
Seekonk Speedway later that year. Waterford was again good
to Ryan in the 2012 season opener, where he grabbed his
third career win.
With the help and support from
sponsors Bigelow Electric and Trade Services as well as from
his racing brothers Paul and Scott, we’ll expect big things
from Ryan Bigelow as he's “Moving up for 2014.”
|NEMA General Meeting
Hoosier Tire Info Session:
Friday, March 14, 2014
|On Friday, March 14, 2014
at 7:30pm, NEMA will host a general meeting at the Crowne
Royal Plaza in Marlborough, MA. Exit
24b off I-495.
Representatives from Hoosier Tire will attend the
meeting to discuss tires for the 2014 race season. NEMA
invites you to attend the meeting . This is your time to ask
the questions you need answered about your racing tires. The
objective of the meeting is to give everyone a full
understanding of the makeup and functionality of the Hoosier
Tire so you can make more knowledgeable decisions with your
tires at the race track. We are encouraging all drivers, car
owners, and crew members to attend this exclusive
The NEMA board will also
review the 2014 race schedule
and any outstanding issues that need to be discussed prior
to the season opener.
At this meeting, NEMA will
also be accepting new memberships
for those of you who have not yet signed up for the
2014 race season. March 14th will
be the last day that you can purchase your membership at a
reduced price. Please remember we would like all
paperwork completed before the Budweiser Blastoff on March
29th at Waterford Speedbowl.
NEMA will be serving
snacks at the meeting for
the hard working folks on a workday.
|by Chris Romano
|“Hey, Poison Pen, get over
Thus began my long friendship with one of the
best flagmen ever to grace a starter’s stand. I forget
exactly what I wrote to prompt Earl to give me the best
nickname I’ve ever had, but I have no doubt that in the
subsequent conversation he set me straight.
Berggren, Lew Boyd and Bruce Cohen put together the first
Spring Sizzler at Stafford Motor Speedway they called Earl
Grant, who put his distinctive style on what would become
one of the greatest annual events in New England Modified
racing. It was a good choice. Earl came with a wealth of
experience at Thompson, Stafford, Seekonk, and throughout
New England. If guys like Bugsy, Richie, Eddie and Freddie
respected you, that was as good an endorsement as any that
you knew what you were doing.
And he did. Back before
race directors, tour directors, yellow lights every thirty
feet, the flagman ran the show. Earl laid out what he
expected at the driver’s meeting and followed through on the
flagstand. His signature move was turning his back on the
field if he didn’t like the way they came down to take the
green. The front row only got away with it once; you didn’t
want Earl to turn his back on you a second time.
every call was perfect. How could it be? But any decision is
better than no decision, and once made, Earl stuck with his
call. It’s easy to second guess a flagman from the comfort
of the cockpit, the grandstands, or the press box, but try
walking one night in their shoes.
Earl cared very
deeply about his drivers. Not many picked up on it but prior
to going up on the stand Earl would be noticeably nervous.
He didn’t doubt himself, but wanted to do a good job for the
drivers and fans, and his number one priority was to keep
There’s no question he loved the
Modifieds, but I personally think his heart was with the
midgets. For years he’d barnstorm around New England with
his partner in crime, Dave Humphrey, following “the little
cars.” Just a few weeks ago I talked with Earl, listening to
his ideas about how to boost car counts for the midgets. It
was fitting that he ended his career with the Northeast
Midget Association. He loved them, and they loved him. He
wasn’t a flamboyant flagman, but he was consistent,
disciplined, and commanded respect. In the years I covered
NEMA most nights I got to watch him ply his trade from the
announcer’s booth. Let me tell you, it was the best seat in
Earl’s legacy lives on with his son
Stephen, every bit as accomplished a flagman as his dad. To
Stephen, Earl’s family, and the many friends he made in a
lifetime in the sport NEMA extends its deepest sympathies.
And from Poison Pen, Godspeed my friend.
The FUNERAL SERVICE will be held
on TUESDAY 2/18 at 10 AM from the HATHAWAY HOME for FUNERALS,
1813 Robeson St., Fall River, MA
followed by a Funeral
Mass at 11am in the Church of the Holy Spirit, 160 Rock
Street, Fall River, MA. Relatives and friends are invited to
Burial will be private at the request of the
CALLING HOURS for Earl will be held on
MONDAY 2/17 from 4-8 PM.
Memorial donations in his memory
can be made to either
the Church of the Holy Spirit, 160
Rock Street, Fall River, MA 02720 or to
Foundation for Injured Race Drivers, Inc.,
Springs Road, Owego, NY 13827-2110.
Danny & Megan Cugini
representing NEMA in the
Oxford Plains Speedway booth at Racin'
NEMA Well Represented at
Atlantic City TQ Indoor Event
|STORY BY WILLIAM
|Atlantic City, N.J.
-Several Drivers and crew from The Northeastern Midget
Association headed south for a weekend of close, fast, wheel
banging indoor racing action at the beach city’s Boardwalk
Hall. Even though the weather on the boardwalk resembled a
freezer, the weather inside was like a pressure cooker. An
astounding 99 TQ racers were on hand to fill 26 slots for
the A-main feature Saturday night.
Five of NEMA’s
best, both past and present, took part in the action with
three racing in the TQ division; Carl Medeiros Jr, Joey
Payne and Randy Cabral. In the Champ Kart’s: cousins Bethany
and Avery Stoehr dusted off their machines and took to the
An intense qualifying procedure dictated the
racers go through a series of time trails, heats, and
B-mains to advance to the A-mains.
Former NEMA Lites
competitor and reigning champ, Carl Medeiros Jr., had a
rough time of it from the beginning as he drew a early
qualifying spot and turned in a time not of his liking.
Plagued by handling problems in the consi, Carl’s machine
spun a numbers of times in the ultra tight race and did not
qualify. “I feel the weekend could have been a lot worse as
this was the first time indoors with this car”, Carl
explained. “Outside, the car is a rocket”.
“Thanks to my
family and friends for a great effort, and we’re working on
getting the car better for next time”, Carl said with
Racing in his home “Garden” state, “The
Jersey Jet” Joey Payne had a weekend he would like to
forget. His TQ ride, the Mike Pjatikin owned Laffler chassis
was a new piece for the weekend. For the Friday race, Payne
had a good second lap time trial going but spun coming down
to the checkers. Riding in a qualified spot in his heat
race, “I got run over and knocked the injectors off the
motor”, he said. Joey was running 4th in the B-main and had
the right front torn off by a spinning car and didn’t make
the Friday A-main. Saturday, Joey was able to make the
feature by “driving the hell out of the car”. He started
14th and advanced right away but got pushed into a wreck
ending his night and weekend. Joey gives thanks to his crew
for thrashed on the car and actually had it fixed, but was
not allowed to re-enter the race due to being down too many
Of all the NEMA drivers, multi feature winner
Randy Cabral, turned in the
best performance of the
weekend. Wheeling the Dave Clarke owned TQ,
qualified for the Friday night A-main by finishing 6th in
his heat race,
and then won the B-main from his 5th place
starting spot. Starting in the 21st
spot in the A-main he
advanced to a respectable 12th place finish.
the former NEMA champ started on the front row in his heat
finishing 2nd which placed him in the 16th slot to
start the A-main. Randy
survived a number of cautions in
the main and got up to 10th by a lap 5. After
caution, he was forced to the outside and dropped back to
raced hard to keep moving up. Unfortunately, he
hit an inside tire barrier,
spun and finished 14th.
On Champ Kart’s side of the program, the cousins Stoehr
had a weekend
with mixed results. Bethany, one time NEMA
feature winner, was running
well in her heat race but got
caught up in a mishap damaging the front end
her brakes, failing to qualify.
Avery, a NEMA Lites
stand out, drove a good B-main race, winning it going
away. The young Stoehr would start his A-main in 22nd and
moved up to 18th
on lap 5. After a lap 7 caution Avery
got up to 13th, but dropped to 15th on
lap 10. After
dropping off to the 17th spot, he survived a few more
and was able to bring the kart home 15th.
A number of other NEMA drivers, crew members, officials
members also made the trek to Atlantic City to
enjoy not only the racing but
also the gaming tables and
atmosphere that only the New Jersey beach city