2008 NEMA Champions
First NEMA Championships
|Randy Cabral and Tim
Bertrand, driver and owner champions, will head up
the honorees Saturday night Nov. 22 at the Northeastern Midget
Association banquet at Whites of Westport in Westport, MA.
The #47 team won eight of NEMA's 17 features including the
Boston Louie and the traditional late season triple -
Waterford's Finale, Seekonk's DAV and Thompson World Series, the
latter three in succession.
"People think it's the stuff," says Bertrand. "Well, it's not
just stuff. We have a great package. We have a great driver who
is consistent week in and week out. We have a great crew. Yes,
we have good stuff but
everybody has great stuff. It's the complete package that
With five different winners - Bobby Santos Jr., Greg Stoehr,
Jr. and Jeff Abold joining Cabral - NEMA had a competitive
titles were clinched at the World Series.
The championships bring to a pinnacle a team that actually
a crash at Seekonk in 2005. A broken Heim joint sent the car
wall, destroying it. It was the third time the car had been
badly that season.
"When we got back to the trailer my wife Cara and I saw the
Cabral family gathered around the car," says Bertrand. "They
actually crying and we made the decision right there to search
another car. This is an incredible family."
With help from Danny Drinan
they found a car in a barn in Indiana. Over
the past three seasons (2006-08) the car, with Bertrand and
Randy's dad Glen running the show, has 14 wins. Often, it was
the crew that turned defeat into victory.
Early in '05, Bertrand's car was crashed badly at Stafford. In
communication with an obviously down Bertrand, Cabral mentioned
driving the #47. "Tim laughed at me," remembers Cabral, who was
driving for Bobby Seymour at the time. "I didn't take offense. I
kind of walked away."
"I laughed because I thought he was kidding," Bertrand says. "I
him 10 minutes later and asked 'are you serious? We can be a
team over time.'"
They tested a week later at Waterford. "Back then 13 flat was a
fast time at Waterford," Bertrand continues. "Within five laps
he was at
12.9. I remember saying 'we're going to win a lot of races in
Cabral and Bertrand spent several seasons as competitors, the
NEMA driver from 2000 through 2004. A three-time Whip City Mini
champion, Bertrand, who has a Waterford NEMA win, realized his
job made it "difficult to focus my energy into driving a
Midget." He and his dad Gil became car owners only.
By 2005, Cabral, the 1999 co-Rookie of the Year, had seven NEMA
wins - six in his dad's car (including the 2000 Boston Louie)
and one for
Seymour. He'd been watching his father race since 1989 but it
was Chuck got him in a racecar.
"I was working for Chuck and he kept telling me 'you're doing a
and maybe I'll put you in one of the cars.' After three years, I
up at Seekonk for a test one day and Chuck said 'you got your
you? Better get it on." Cabral was 19.
"Chuck would sit with me and say 'what did you do wrong?' Cabral
continues. "I'd tell him and he'd say 'Ok, you know what you
never yelled and that's how I got better."
The next year the Cabrals became a team. "My father said 'well,
proved you can drive,'" Randy goes on. "At that point I was out
school and able to put some money in but the first time I drove
father he said 'drive like it's your last race because we have
He finished seventh and "from then on we raced off what the car
made." The Boston Louie win (besting Nokie Fornoro) was the
final hurdle, earning enough money and enough prestige to make
the team a contender.
"My father gave me a good race car, the best he could afford,"
Cabral. "Still, it wasn't even half of what the Bertrands have
With 21, he is among NEMA's all-time winners. He is the leader
Waterford and Thompson. And, Bertrand insists, he is still
still getting better.
BOBBY SANTOS WINS THE
TURKEY NIGHT GRAND PRIX
Bobby ran 4th for much of the
98 lap event and took the lead on lap 90 to go on and win the
68th “Turkey Night Grand Prix” USAC
Mopar National/Western Midget race at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale, CA.
Santos’ victory also won the 2008 “Toyota Challenge” championship for
his car owner Western Speed Racing of Fresno, CA.
Joey Payne, in Gene
Angelillo's #45, time-trialed well off the pace in 55th and did not
transfer to the main front the last chance race.
Speed51.com Short Track Power Rankings
A 51 Exclusive - and Tradition
Mention - Randy Cabral (NEMA)
This Maximum talented Midget racer was considering quitting
racing after losing his best friend Shane Hammond in a
season-opening wreck at Thompson. He finished the year
winning eight races including three in a row, one of them
being the race to wrap up the Owners and Drivers
Titles at Thompson's World Series of Speedway Racing. He is
the first driver to win three in a row since Jeff Horn in
SPEED51 STORY HERE
PERNESIGLIO HAS A LOT TO BE THANKFUL FOR IN 2008
|CHARLOTTE, N.C. (November
24, 2008) -With the holidays fast approaching and the racing
season winding down, it nears time for gathering with friends
and family and the traditional gluttonous holiday
feasting. Former NEMA driver Derek Pernesiglio plans to do
exactly that, but has to travel over 750 miles from his home in
Charlotte, North Carolina to Ronkonkoma Long Island, New York to
“It’s a twelve hour ride so there will be a lot of time to
reflect back on how special 2008 was for me. I’ll remember this
year for the rest of my life,” Pernesiglio said.
The baby-faced Long Islander had a breakthrough season in 2008.
The season began with the opportunity to fill in as pit reporter
for the ASA Southeast Asphalt Tour on Fox Sports South, and soon
parlayed to a one race audition reporting for the NASCAR Camping
World Series on SPEED Channel. “Two weeks later I got a call
from SPEEd offering me the rest of the Camping World races that
they would produce this year. After that race at Greenville
Pickens, things just blew up,” Pernesiglio exclaimed!
A few weeks following that call, well known race analyst, Rick
Benjamin, came looking for Pernesiglio. Benjamin was venturing
into television race production and brought Pernesiglio on board
to be the pit reporter for this season’s SCCA Playboy MX-5 Cup.
Then soon after, SPEED Channel again came calling, requesting
that Pernesiglio be a feature reporter for the 10-week Summer
Shootout from the infield quarter mile at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
In addition to these gigs, Pernesiglio reported for an
additional ASA race and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at the
historic Martinsville Speedway.
“The work just started to roll in; I couldn’t believe what was
happening. It felt like I was calling my family back on Long
Island once a week telling them about a new work opportunity,”
Success did not come without a fair share of responsibility
juggling by Pernesiglio. He still had to manage time between his
day job and his dream job. During the week he works at NASCAR
(formerly NASCAR Images) as the Associate Producer of Trackside
and NASCAR Live shows on SPEED.
“ I would work all week, hop on a plane late in the day Friday,
work Saturday and Sunday, fly back Sunday night or take a
red-eye in Monday morning. There were times when I got off the
plane at 7am
Eastern Time and had to go right into the office…those were
tough Mondays,” Pernesiglio recalls.
With the season ending, Pernesiglio will get a much needed
break, and head back to his hometown to celebrate the holidays
with his family and friends.
“I work all season long and taking vacation time around the
holidays fits just right,” he said. “Getting back to my hometown
really reminds me of where I came from so it grounds me. It will
recharge me for the upcoming season.”
So what does Pernesiglio have to be thankful for in 2008? He
recited a broad, but very enthusiastic list.
“I’m thankful for all of the marvelous opportunities to live a
dream this year. 14 years ago I told my friends and family I was
going to be on TV someday and it’s happening. I’m thankful for
all of the people
that showed me support over the years, reminding me to never
give up, especially my mother, Diane. I’m thankful for my
toughest TV critic, my brother, Pete. He always tells me what I
did wrong even when I tried to hide it! I’m thankful for all of
the people that took time out of their busy schedules to sit
down and watch some of my broadcasts. That means more than you
could ever know. I’m thankful to Rick Benjamin, Joe Ligon, Pete
Richards and Chet Burks. You guys gave me a chance when nobody
“I have a great job, a roof over my head, food on my table, an
adorable Godson, a nephew on the way and an incredible family,
overall, I’m a happy man. If Santa brings me nothing this year
that’s okay, all of 2008 was a Christmas present!”
Top Speeds Make
Sought After Commodity
|Speed was the centerpiece
of the Northeastern Midget Association’s 57th season. Champions
Randy Cabral (driver) and Tim Bertrand (owner) ruled over a
17-race campaign filled with astonishing lap times.
The Cabral/Bertrand #47 team won eight shows en route to the
first championship for both.
“We started off badly (losing Shane Hammond at Thompson) but
everybody pulled together,” reports NEMA President Mike Scrivani
Jr. “We had a lot of good races. We had great support in
There were five winners in all, Bobby Santos III (5), Greg
Stoehr (2), Joey Payne and young Jeff Abold joining Cabral. Adam
Cantor, Erica Santos, Jeremy Frankoski and William Wall had
“No question,” continues Scrivani, “the speeds help us. People
want to see it. Like Midget racing everywhere, NEMA is on the
upswing. The cars are a lot better and the show is a racier than
Bertrand points to speeds at three of NEMA’s long-time haunts.
“We had a 10.9 at Seekonk for the first time,” he says. “Greg
Stoehr and Jeff Abold both did it. At the World Series at
Thompson, Randy had 15 laps under 18 seconds, an astonishing
thing. At Waterford, Randy just kept breaking the record and
wound up with a 12.62 lap at the Finale.”
NEMA was also quick at Monadnock, Lee, Stafford, Beech Ridge and
“Two years ago 11.4 won the feature at Seekonk,” adds Scrivani,
the president since 2003. A 12.9 was lightning quick at the
Speedbowl just a year ago.
The trend is making NEMA a sought after commodity. Scrivani, who
remembers “scratching for shows” four years ago, now says the
challenge will be putting together a “reasonable schedule” in
the face of the economic difficulties that will no doubt
continue in ’09.
The success of the NEMA Lites has also been positive. A
development Series, it brought an additional dozen cars to
“We are seeing the results of the stuff we’ve worked on for
years,” he continues. “Every winter guys did their homework
trying to get these cars to go faster. It used to be five or six
guys doing that. Now, it’s 10 to 15 guys doing it.”
Bertrand says it’s “a natural progression that we see in every
sport. Everything is getting bigger, faster, better.” In that
picture, NEMA “is now viewed as one of the premier open wheel
series in the country, equal to the USAC pavement series.” The
latter has suffered car count losses because of the economy.
Long on history, NEMA is an “expected commodity” at New
England’s established events – the Icebreaker and World Series
at Thompson; the opener and closer at Waterford, the Boston
Louie and DAV at Seekonk, the midweek specials at Seekonk and
Stafford. “Fans expect us to be there,” Scrivani points out.
“NEMA is part of the party.”
DRIVERS: 1. Randy Cabral 2230; 2.
Joey Payne, 1903; 3. Bobby Santos III, 1841; 4. Adam Cantor,
1839; 5. Greg Stoehr, 1775; 6. Erica Santos, 1675; 7. William
Wall, 1577, 8. Nokie Fornoro, 1561; 9. Jeremy Frankoski, 1548;
10. Doug Cleveland, 1344.
OWNERS: 1. #11 Tim Bertrand, 2222;
2. #98 Bob Santos Jr. 2101; 3. #45 Gene Angelillo, 1939; 4.
#7ny, Cantor Racing, 1839; 5. #26b, Greg Stoehr, 1775; 6. #44 Ed
Breault, 1631; 7. #5 Wall Motorsports, 1577; 8. #4 Mike Jarret,
1561; 9. #63 TSR Motorsports, 1342; 10. #9 John Zych, 1315.
Inc. Signs on as
NEMA “Lite” Series Sponsor
The North East Midget Association is proud to announce that CellMark
Inc., of Stamford, CT will be sponsoring the new NEMA “Lite” division.
The company will be providing a bonus in each NEMA Lite feature for the
“Hard Charger”, which is defined as the driver who passes the most cars
during the feature event.
“CellMark is excited to be associating ourselves with the North East
Midget Association, and also with a great group of up and coming
drivers,” said company spokesperson Rick Paul. “We are looking forward
to growing with the series and hope that our investment will help
provide exciting racing action as well as to help the competitors with
In its 20 year history, CellMark has become the world’s largest
specialist in the marketing of woodpulp and paper related products. The
company’s total annual sales exceeds four and a half million tons,
representing an aggregate value of almost USD 2.1 billion.
Called a “feeder class” by NEMA Vice President Tim Bertrand, the NEMA
Lite series is designed to introduce new competitors to winged midgets
“in very low cost, less powerful cars.” Competitors can use any chassis
that currently meets NEMA specifications but engines will be limited to
Ford Focus and Oldsmobile Quad4.
“NEMA is proud to have CellMark on board as a sponsor and series
supporter,” said NEMA President Mike Scrivani. “We are excited to be
attracting organizations to our series of this caliber, and will do our
very best to make their investment worthwhile.”
The following Mazda Contingency payout is based on the year-end
2008 NEMA Owners Points Championship:
1st Mazda - $1,500
2nd Mazda - $1,000
3rd Mazda - $500
To be eligible for year-end contingency payout, car must have
competed with Mazda power in at least 50% of the 2008 season's
race events and must compete with Mazda logo decals at all
events. Car Owner must be enrolled as a Mazda Team Support
Member to claim contingency awards. Please contact Steve
Sanders at MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development (800-435-2508) or
for more information, decal requirements and a contingency
"SHANE RACE FOR FUN" - NOV. 29th
|Join in the fun!! This is
the FIRST annual “Shane Race for Fun”
charity event. It’s all in the name of Fun for Safety.
The Shane Hammond Believe Foundation has been established to
provide safety education to drivers old & new. This is an
opportunity to race against the best and the worst whether it’s
your pit crew, racing buddy, fans, friends or family. Race for
WHEN: NOVEMBER 29, 2008
WHERE: F1 BOSTON
290 Wood Road,
Braintree, MA 02184
• 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM - SAFETY BRIEFING
• 7:00 PM & 9:30 PM - APPETIZERS SERVED
• 7:00 PM – 11:00 PM - TRACK 1 LOUNGE
• 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM - EXCLUSIVE USE OF TRACK 1
• 9:00 PM – 11:00 PM - BILLIARDS ROOM
Space is limited. All registrations must be received no later
than November 20. Late
registrations are subject to increase.
REGISTRATION FORM HERE
Ryan Newman Files Entry for 2008
Copper World Midget Field with Bertrand Motorsports
Former USAC standout and 2008 Daytona 500 winner Ryan Newman has
filed an entry for this year’s Copper World Classic in Phoenix
on Thursday November 6th.
Newman comes to Phoenix along with the 2008 North Eastern Midget
Association (NEMA) Championship team Bertrand Motorsports, owned
by Tim Bertrand, and their #39 Drinan/Esslinger. The Bertrand
team will be hauling out and back from Massachusetts, nearly a
5,000 mile round trip.
Hot Pepper Promotions has signed on as primary sponsor for the
It is with
great sadness that I must inform the racing community of the
passing of David Suchy.
|David was most known as the owner / driver of the ARDC roadster
midget "Outhouse Mouse" #27. He was truly one of the nice guys
in motorsports. David's racing career began with the modifieds
at places like The Reading Fairgrounds, Big Diamond, Anthracite,
Fredricksburg and Penn National. His racing career spans almost
40 years and nearly 100 different race tracks. David drove
modifieds, late models and hobby cars and his favorite the
David was a staple on the ARDC midget circuit from 1985-2003. He
served on the board of the ARDC numerous times and was always
willing to help. He loved the travel and the many friendships he
built in and out of the club. Although the Roadster will never
again be in active competition, I assure you, It will ride again
to keep his memory and legacy alive.
In lieu of flowers, we ask that contributions be made to the
Eastern Museum of Motor Racing in his name. Contributions
can be mailed to:
Eastern Museum of Motor Racing P.O. Box 688
Mechanicsburg, Pa. 17055
A memorial service was held on Oct. 20th at 11am at Holy
245 W. Pine St. Palmyra, Pa. 17078
A final thought: David was not only my brother, he was my
best friend, and most importantly he was my HERO. I will
truly miss him.
A Wake Up Call from Joey Payne
and Fellow racers,
I'd like to thank Oswego Speedway, their Safety crew and the Big
O fans for being the best at what they do. Saturday's (June 7th)
crash in the Supermodified was one of my worst in 24 years of
racing. The impact was horrific, so bad my teeth were hurting.
Aside from that my ribs, legs and jaw were badly bruised. I have
to thank the Strong gang for putting together such a safe car.
Two years ago I nearly died in my NEMA Midget. If it wasn't for
having the Cadillac of seats, The Joie of Seating, I probably
would have been dead.
This weekend I wore my Safety Solutions Hybrid Rage head and
neck device for the second time, and boy am I glad I did. After
the wreck at Stafford I swore I would be safer racing. My
brother Johnny sells the devices for Safety Solutions, but being
the old school racer I am, I shrugged it off, saying "Ah I'll be
I owe Johnny a lot of Thanks. In Saturday's wreck the throttle
stuck, and in the second or two it took to hit the wall I pulled
back on the pedal so hard I have the top of my right foot
It's easy for everyone to say "He should have just hit the kill
switch." Well I'll tell you that was the last thing I thought of
as the wall approached. I did try to hit the switch off on the
steering wheel as I hit the wall but just couldn't. I didn't
want to let go of the wheel. The Hybrid Rage did its job, and to
be honest, my head and neck are remarkably feeling great.
Lets use this crash as a wake up call to everyone!
Drivers use the safety devices!!
I feel it really saved my
life. On the other side I feel that the track and clubs should
make kill switches on the brake pedal or the toe strap
mandatory. It's a cheap fix compared to losing a friend. Believe
me I have lived through it.
I know all this safety stuff isn't cheap but you can't put a
price on life.
Thanks for reading,
Dream Season Continues for Pernesiglio
N.C., (August 27, 2008) - It’s been a whirlwind season for the
former NEMA midget driver turned SPEED Channel pit reporter,
Derek Pernesiglio. What started out as an opportunity to be a
fill-in reporter for one NASCAR Camping World Series race
evolved into 33 on-air appearances in what Pernesiglio calls his
“big break” of 2008. One of those appearances is scheduled for
Friday August, 29th at noon. Pernesiglio will be on
pit road at Toyota Speedway in Irwindale, CA reporting for the
NASCAR Camping World Series West race on SPEED Channel.
undoubtedly the greatest year so far in my professional career,”
said an enthusiastic Pernesiglio. “It feels like years of hard
work are finally being acknowledged. When the year started, I
was thrilled to get a chance to report three ASA Southeast
Asphalt Tour races, but that first SPEED race from Greenville
Pickens was the turning point that got the other shows in
turning point came a few days after his pit reporting debut at
Greenville Pickens Speedway, where his professionalism and
knowledge of the sport turned a few heads at SPEED Channel.
After the show aired they called him back in and asked him to
remain as the pit reporter for NASCAR on SPEED’s Racing Across
America television package.
after, SPEED Channel came calling again asking Pernesiglio to be
a feature reporter for Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s tape-delayed
Summer Shootout Series races that are expected to air on the
network later this fall.
Shootout was a perfect fit,” Pernesiglio explained. In a sport
where veteran drivers and retired crew chiefs are transitioning
to the broadcast booth, it didn’t leave much room for the
baby-faced, Long Island native in motorsports television. “I’m
34 and look like I’m 24. I couldn’t get a producer to look at my
resume reel because they said I looked too young. I even flew to
a bunch of Cup Series races out of my own pocket, only to have
them tell me the viewers at home would not listen to what a kid
had to report on. The Camping World races and the Shootout races
are different because they both have young drivers trying to
make their way up the racing ladder so the producers at the
network thought the shows would be a nice fit for me.”
Pernesiglio took advantage of his microphone time this summer to
learn and grow as a pit reporter. With the Summer Shootout races
running on Tuesday nights for ten straight weeks Pernesiglio was
on camera often. “Camera time is the same as seat time in my
opinion, the more you do it the better you get. I would fly home
from a race on Sunday, shoot a feature on Monday, report at
Lowe’s on Tuesday and then hop back on plane for an upcoming
race. By the time the next Camping World race came around I was
less nervous and it was easier to talk to the camera.”
addition to his appearances on SPEED Channel, Pernesiglio is
also pit reporting for the entire season of the SCCA Playboy
MX-5 Cup and three ASA Southeast Asphalt Tour races airing on
Fox Sports Net. Those races complete 33 race television season.
season winding down his last appearance on SPEED will be
Pernesiglio’s personal favorite of the 2008 season.
saved the best for last,” he said with a smile! “My last gig for
SPEED this year will be on pit road for the NASCAR Whelen
Modified Tour race at Martinsville Speedway. I grew up around
modifieds and midgets, I’ve been the announcer for every North
South Shootout, My first ever foray into pit reporting was for
the Tour at Thompson Speedway years ago. For a kid from Long
Island, getting to report on TV for a series I grew up watching
is a huge thrill.”
Pernesiglio is the son of long-time car owner, “Mazda” Pete
Pernesiglio, and is the younger brother of NEMA veteran Pete
Pernesiglio. As a longtime mainstay in NEMA, Pernesiglio has
driven and won the Pat Thibodeau Youth Determination and Talent
award in 1997. He has worked on the family cars since childhood
and announced for NEMA, the Pro-4 Modifieds, Seekonk Speedway
and Thompson Speedway since 1995.
NEMA Second Half
for Jeremy Frankoski
|Huntington, NY (08/20/08) –
After maintaining a “top ten” standing while racing week to week
for four different car owners this season, Jeremy Frankoski can
finally “get back in the groove” knowing he has a solid
opportunity in NEMA midgets. The 22 year old young gun will be
competing as the newest member of the top ranked Bertrand
Motorsports team and will pilot Tim Bertrand’s 47B midget at all
seven remaining NEMA races in 2008.
“Everything has come together for us during the past two weeks,”
stated Tim Bertrand. “With the help of some exceptional people
in and around NEMA, we have been able to put together enough
support to run the remainder of the 2008 season and hopefully
give Jeremy a shot at some top finishes.”
Coming off a solid 9th place finish last Saturday driving the
77M Beast chassis for Luggelle Racing at Waterford Speedbowl’s
highly successful “Wings & Wheels” event, Jeremy Frankoski holds
onto 7th in the NEMA driver standings.
“Although the 47B will continue to be Randy (Cabral)’s back up
car for the remainder of the season, and with a spare engine in
the trailer, we hope we won’t have to play that plan out,”
Bertrand strategized. Randy Cabral remains on top of the NEMA
driver standings ahead of Joey Payne in 2nd and Bobby Santos III
in 3rd. Tim Bertrand leads the owner standings ahead of Bob
Santos in 2nd and Gene Angelillo in 3rd.
The opportunity comes on the heals of a successful Bertrand/Frankoski
venture in the Boston Louie Memorial Race held August 9 at
Seekonk Speedway in which Frankoski posted a strong 2nd in time
trials among more than 30 cars. Frankoski went on to finish
fourth after an inverted start from 13th in his first race in
the Bertrand machine.
“After driving (the 47B) in the Boston Louie and getting a feel
for this race car, I’m more than excited about our prospects for
the rest of the year,” said Frankoski. “The chemistry with Tim
and Randy is really good too, and that’s a big factor.”
“I’m also thankful for all the great support I have received
from so many people over the past month,” Frankoski continued.
Mike Jarret at MJ Motorsports, the Bertrands and Cabrals along
with Mike Luggelle, Bob Santos, Bobby Seymour, Mike Horn and
John Greenhalgh all pledged their support and continue to be
The newly expanded Bertand team has plenty of hard work ahead of
them in the next two weeks as they prepare for Monadnock
Speedway on August 30th. The extensive work includes a rebuild
of the engine that failed for Cabral in the 47 midget during
practice at the Boston Louie two weeks ago and installation of a
recently acquired engine from Esslinger Racing in the 47B.
The next stop on the NEMA tour, Monadnock Speedway, is a tricky
¼ mile track in Winchester, New Hampshire. Frankoski had a good
run there earlier this year and was solidly in 3rd before fuel
issues in the final laps dropped him back to a 7th place finish.
Cabral claimed runner-up honors to Joey Payne the same night.
Jeremy Frankoski won his first NEMA race last year as a rookie
at Beech Ridge. He also finished 3rd at Stafford, 2nd at Seekonk
and went on to be honored by NEMA as the 2007 Rookie of the
Year. So far this year in NEMA, Jeremy has 7 top ten finishes, 3
top five finishes and 2 heat wins.
The “Boston” Louie Seymour Memorial Race is one of NEMA’s most
prestigious races of the season. The race, in its 12th year,
honors legendary car owner Louie Seymour who raced midgets
across the US and brought notoriety, not only to his team for
their accomplishments, but to open wheel racing in the
For More Information Please Visit:
Association regulars Bobby Santos III (7th) and Randy Cabral
(34th) hold down top-50 spots in
Speed51.com’s Fifth Annual
“Short Track Draft".
Santos is the top New England pick in the draft. Get the entire
He's Driven To Honor His Late Brother
|By Mike Loftus -
GateHouse News Service
|SEEKONK — Whether in the
pits or in the stands, one doesn’t have to search long at a
Northeastern Midget Association race before seeing people
wearing shirts dedicated to Shane Hammond, who died in a NEMA
race in April.
At some NEMA shows, there’s a more personal reminder. Hammond’s
younger brother, 16-year-old Anthony Marvuglio, is racing in the
new NEMA Lite series – a lower-cost, lower-horsepower
alternative which gives drivers experience in the winged,
“I went from maybe 12½ horsepower in a go-kart, with body
panels, to a little over 200 horsepower,” said Marvuglio, an
East Bridgewater resident whose brother had moved to Halifax.
“Having big tires, having motor (power) right there, is a big
difference. I love it.”
Marvuglio, who began racing quarter-midgets at age 7 and karts
at 8, is being groomed by the Cabral family of Plymouth. Randy
Cabral, NEMA’s points leader, was one of Hammond’s closest
friends. Cabral’s father, Glen, owns the NEMA Lite Marvuglio is
driving this season.
“They’ve been a huge help to me, putting me in this car,”
Randy Cabral sees it as fulfilling a friend’s wish. “Shane was
around long enough to figure out what to do,” Cabral said.
“Anthony doesn’t have that kind of experience yet, so he’s going
to learn from us. It’s what (Hammond) would have wanted. He
wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Marvuglio is grateful for the guidance.
“Shane and Randy were best friends,” he said. “My brother got
started through (the Cabrals), and now I’m getting started
through them. It’s an awesome feeling.”
Marvuglio says he gets help from outside the Cabral stable, too.
“I’ll talk to (Hammond) before a race, and once I get going,
everything will sort out,” he said. “I know there’s definitely
been times that he’s helped me out on the track, when I was too
sideways, or I was pushing straight at the wall.
“There have been times when it’s been tough ... but I know
Shane’s been there, helping me out along the way.”
by Pete Falconi, NEMA Announcer
|This sport that we love so
much, this thing that is so entrenched in our hearts and souls,
has now hurt our hearts and taken a piece of our souls. Some of
the attraction of this sport that occupies many of our days and
nights are the personalities of the people involved, the
interests that we share, the camaraderie of the competitors, the
spirited competition and the overall thrill that is auto racing.
A good part of that thrill is the danger associated with the
event itself. There isn’t a driver whose adrenaline isn’t fueled
by the risk they take every time they strap themselves into the
car. That risk and the element of danger is part of what brings
us back week in and week out, puts spectators in the stands and
provides the excitement that consumes so much of our lives. Love
it as much as we do, we hate it when it takes one of our own.
Shane Hammond was a colorful kid, warm and friendly with a great
smile and pleasant attitude. He was a racer’s racer. He never
complained, he listened a lot, a true professional, a gentleman
and a friend to everyone he raced with. He could turn the
wrenches and was admired for his mechanical abilities. He was
good on the track, too. One of those drivers that week in and
week out was in contention, and more often than not we said
“he’s due for a trip to victory lane.” Often times we were
surprised that he didn’t post a podium finish and be back at the
start/finish line after the race to celebrate with some of the
more experienced drivers like Joey, Nokie, Randy, Greg and Ben.
He certainly was on par with those guys. Many of the times he
didn’t post a top three finish it was no fault of his. It was
mechanical problems or he just didn’t get the break he needed to
get to the front. Even though he wasn’t there in front of the
crowd getting his picture taken at the end of the race, he never
showed an ounce of discouragement. Right back at it next week,
listening, asking questions, trying harder. Shane was a racer’s
racer, a role model to the incoming rookies and sophomores of
NEMA. He was part of that new breed of midget drivers that have
been putting NEMA on the map lately; destined for greatness in
open wheel racing.
Now we try to make sense of a devastating tragedy like this.
Why? Why Shane? Why NEMA? Why now? If there is even the
slightest consolation, we have to remember that death is at the
doorstep for all of us. We can’t predict when we will be called,
only the Good Lord can make that decision. We can only hope and
pray that we will be one of the fortunate ones that are called
to Eternal Life while doing something that we truly enjoy,
something that is our love and passion. If there is a final gift
on this earth, it is that.
The Northeastern Midget Association will go on in our 56th
season. We’ll gather at the track and continue the spirited
competitiveness, maintain that special camaraderie and live the
thrill of the sport that is so close to our hearts. But our
hearts will be heavy and it won’t be the same for awhile.
There’ll be a hole in the line-up, an absent smile, a great
competitor, a friend, a racer’s racer will be missing. Have the
faith that he will be with us in spirit at the track every week.
He’ll be in the pits and at the drivers’ meetings. In spirit he
will ride with you, the drivers, for each and every lap and he
will be in victory lane to celebrate right alongside you.
God rest Shane’s soul and God ease the pain of Shane’s family
and friends and of the wonderful people that are The
Northeastern Midget Association.
In lieu of flowers, Shane's family has asked that contributions be
made in Shane's name c/o NEMA. All contributions can be sent to
NEMA at 266 Kelly Rd, Middlebury CT 06762.
Jeff Horn Credits
For Increased NEMA Speeds
Jeff Horn is probably the
Northeastern Midget Association elder statesman. “I drove in the
final years before the cages, 1969 and 70,” says the soon-to-be
63 Horn. “I’m not sure anybody else can say that. I was in Ray
Kelly’s car back then.”
He’s figuring on making his 2008 debut when NEMA visits Thompson
Speedway Thursday night July 3. A Vermont native (he actually
started racing at Thunder Road), Horn will campaign his own A1
Esslinger-powered Drinan chassis.
Now calling Ashland, MA home, Horn has raced against the fathers
of current competitors Randy Cabral and Greg Stoehr. Son Mike is
also a NEMA driver.
Horn, who has 19 career wins, is not surprised by the speeds
shown so far. “Technology and tires is the reason,” he says. The
bar has been raised. Everybody has first-class equipment – good
motors and good handling technology.”
Cabral, in Tim Bertrand’s #47, leads NEMA into a Friday night
June 27 date at Lee USA Speedway. A two-time winner this year,
Cabral and Bertrand take slim point leads over Joey Payne Jr.
and Gene Angelillo into the next battle.
“You’ve got to hand it to Randy and Tim,” offers Horn. “They’ve
earned everything they’ve accomplished. They work at it. They
don’t stop working at it.”
Horn, equally apt in a Supermodified, won his first NEMA race at
All Star Speedway in 1987. His last came at Stafford in 2005. In
1993, driving for Bay Hayes, he won three in a row (Star,
Seekonk, Waterford). It has not been done since. Cabral went to
Monadnock looking for three straight.
A second at Monadnock was Horn’s best finish in 10 starts last
NEMA’s top-10 in points includes veterans like Greg Stoehr and
youngsters like William Wall, Jeremy Frankoski and Chris
Leonard. “I remember when the Super guys at Star, and I was one
of them, used to joke about how old the NEMA guys were,” says
Horn. “Boy, that’s over.”
The field includes Erica and Bobby Santos III and Adam Cantor,
all contenders. “It used to be there were four or five cars that
can win,” says Horn. “Now we have at least 10. Now, a top-10 is
an accomplishment in NEMA.”
Horn, a Bay Stater since getting out of the Army, has been in a
variety of race cars (including Modifieds and Late Models) but
clearly puts the supers and midgets on top of the priority list.
Jon Seaman Jr. Tapped
Bill Davis Racing Summer Intern
Southbury, Conn. – Jon Seaman Jr., 2007 Pomperaug
High graduate ,NEMA race driver and rising sophomore in
Mechanical Engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology, was
selected as an intern by Bill Davis Racing’s No. 22 Caterpillar
Toyota Sprint Cup race team located in High Point North
The young race driver and engineering student
says that he “hopes to get experience in data acquisition and
chassis research and development” on the team. “I’m looking
forward to learning as much as I can and get good experience in
race car engineering” this summer he continued. “Having the
opportunity to work with Bill Davis Racing and get hands-on
experience will bring me a solid foundation for my future,
whether as a driver, crew chief or team engineer,” he added.
While carrying a full course load and helping his
family race team field a car for Jeremy Frankoski, Seaman has
earned a 3.25 GPA in one of the nation’s best engineering
schools. While his ambition includes driving as a career, he
admits that he would be happy as an engineer on a major team.
There is no doubt that he still wants to be a
successful driver, but if his career path takes a turn into the
engineering office instead of the driver’s seat, this summer
will be a good training ground for him.
Seaman is being helped in his career by training
from Future Stars in Racing Academy. The Academy helps prepare
young drivers for success outside the car in public speaking;
sponsor presentations; working with the media and behavior on
and off the track. Future Stars in Racing is the exclusive
driver development partner with the ASA Late Model Series.
Marketing partners include Safety-Kleen and Sunbelt Web
Solutions. The Academy features a staff with decades of
experience in all aspects of motorsports. To learn more about
Jon Seaman and the Academy, go to
Wall Off to Quick Start
William Wall’s first look at Lee USA
Speedway will come on Friday, July 27. Wall, currently running fifth in
points, will be part of the Northeastern Midget Association field.
Wall, 16, had never seen Monadnock Speedway before NEMA’s appearance
there on May 24. He finished sixth, his third straight top-10 effort in
the #5 VW-powered Hawk chassis. Driving for his dad Steve, Wall had a
sixth and seventh at Waterford Speedbowl.
About to complete his sophomore year at Assabet Technical High School in
Marlboro, MA, Wall joins older brother Aaron on the NEMA driving roster.
The family’s participation goes back more than a dozen years starting in
“I’m still trying to get hold of the car,” reports Wall, the 2007 Whip
City 270-Micro Sprint champ. He was Rookie of the Year in ’06. “We are
going from dirt to asphalt. When I first got in the car I didn’t expect
the speed. When I hit the pedal I said ‘wow, this is different.’ The
closing time was really surprising.“
His first time out at the Speedbowl’s Modified Nationals he was
determined “to learn as much as I could.” Now he is hoping to keep the
top-10 streak alive. Points are not a big concern (“we don’t have the
equipment to be competitive on the bigger tracks”) but the Rookie of the
Year prize is. “We definitely would like to go after that.” he says.
Wall’s debut coincides with a year of incredible speeds. Current point
leader Randy Cabral, Monadnock winner Joey Payne Jr., Greg Stoehr, Erica
and Bobby Santos III, Adam Cantor and the ageless Nokie Fornoro have
been very quick. Wall is very aware of the company he’s in.
Cabral, who has won twice at the Speedowl, leads Payne by 22 atop the
standings. Only six points separate third through fifth – Stoehr, Erica
Santos and Wall. Cantor is sixth.
“Adjusting to the different driving styles is as much a part of it as
adjusting to new tracks,” he says. Bobby Seymour (a long-time mentor for
NEMA’s young drivers) and Cantor, who like Wall came to NEMA at age 16,
have been especially helpful. His father and brother, however, are the
first people he goes to especially when learning new layouts.
Brother Aaron ran selected NEMA events in ’07 after a season and a half
in Ford Focus action. “So I guess you can say I’m following in his
footsteps,” said Wall.
The two brothers try to get into different practice sessions. When in
the same session, they run a half-lap apart. “First of all, we don’t
want to lose two cars,” Wall says. “Second, it allows my father to get a
good look at both of us.”
Adam Cantor Heads to Monadnock
in the #7ny
|Sometimes Adam Cantor, 23,
just can’t figure where he belongs in the Northeastern Midget
Association hierarchy. Still young, he is currently in his
eighth NEMA campaign.
“I consider myself a veteran,” he says, quickly admitting he
“doesn’t have the race wins to be in the Randy Cabral, Joey
Payne Jr. or Nokie Fornoro category.” He has two victories and,
he declares, the “main goal is to get more.”
NEMA heads to Monadnock Saturday (May 24) and Cantor is
optimistic. “Monadnock is definitely a driver’s track and I feel
like I do well on driver’s tracks,” he says.
“Turns one and two are unique because you can go wide open all
the way through,” he continues. “You’ve got a couple of race
grooves and then the backstretch gets real bumpy. You’re kind of
all over the place. Then three and four is like a hairpin
almost. Everybody kind of stacks up and you’ve got to position
yourself very carefully.” It demands, he says, “a lot of finesse
with the throttle.”
Fourth and sixth so far this season, Cantor is almost starting
anew in ’08 after a devastating, season ending crash at Seekonk
last year. It was, he says, “a wake up call” and the team
returned committed to “keep digging it out.” He feels having
noted Midget mechanic Jim Reider involved along with a strong
IGA sponsorship makes the family team a contender – one of
several cars capable of winning.
“Reider was with us when we crashed at Seekonk,” Cantor says.
“He took it back to Indiana and put together the car we have
now. He’s taken us under his wing.” The car is MOPAR powered.
Cantor is the last member of the heralded “young guns” class of
’01 still with NEMA. The group also included Kyle Carpenter and
Ryan Dolan. It was hardly easy going racing against veterans
like Bobby Seymour, Drew Fornoro, Russ Stoehr, Jeff Horn and a
young hotshot named Randy Cabral.
“I’m still young but I feel I can still help people out,” says
Cantor, who last won at Adirondack in 2005. We’ve been through a
lot, especially those first few years when he struggled. The
rookies come in, I see their heads down, I go over and say ‘hey,
I’ve been there.’”
NEMA, he says, “is, on average, 10 to 15 miles an hour faster
everywhere we go over the last eight years,” Cantor points to
the last run at Waterford Speedbowl where the top six all turned
high 12 to low 13 seconds laps. He attributes that to chassis
and motor technology. “Right now,” he says, “it’s all about
carrying the speed through the corners. If you can do that, you
are going to do OK.”
More History Awaits Cabral
Two-for-two so far with a couple of victories at Waterford
Speedbowl, Randy Cabral is still not ready to declare himself a
contender for the Northeastern Midget Association championship.
He is, however, the driver to watch when NEMA pulls into
Monadnock Speedway on Saturday, May 24.
Monadnock is one of the “trickiest” venues on the NEMA schedule.
The club returned there last year after a 10-year hiatus and it
was a trio of veterans – Greg Stoehr, Jeff Horn and Nokie
Fornoro – that filled the podium. Nokie, a winner back in 1981,
is the only other current NEMA driver with a Monadnock win.
While he still believes his new job – a custodian for the
Plymouth, MA school system – may cause some conflicts with race
dates, he is not unmoved by making history. Three straight wins
have not happened a lot in NEMA’s long history. The last to do
it was Horn back in 1993.
Since then six drivers, including Cabral, have won two straight.
Russ Stoehr did it five times.
Gene Angelillo’s “Marilyn’s Passion” team has had incredible
success at Monadnock. Prior to ’05, the track hosted NEMA 22
times and Drew Fornoro won 12 of them. Pointing out “it is
without doubt a driver’s track,” Angelillo is quick to credit
Joey Payne Jr., second and third so far this season, hopes to
add to Angelillo’s Monadnock success.
Payne, Stoehr and Fornoro take what they hope will be
championship campaigns to Monadnock. Unlike most of the stops, a
large share of the NEMA competitors do not have extensive
experience at Monadnock.
Bobby Santos III, no stranger to answering new challenges, will
be a competitor to watch, as will sister Erica and Adam Cantor.
NEMA has raced only at Waterford to this point but it is
apparent many teams are at the top of their game. Cabral’s
12.742 seconds lap captured the spotlight. He had seven sub-13
seconds laps in the feature. Three others – Bobby Santos III,
Erica Santos and Greg Stoehr – had at least one.
NEMA’s Stoehr Takes Title Bid To Seekonk
Greg Stoehr has been driving race
cars for over 30 years. He’s been a Northeastern Midget Association
competitor since the mid 1980s. After all that time he’s going after a
The quest continues May 3-4 when NEMA takes on Seekonk Speedway, helping
the “Cement Palace” open its season.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever really wanted a championship,” says
Stoehr. He feels he owes the effort to the people who have helped him,
notably Bruce Beane and John Andruk of Circle Performance Motors. They
are the masterminds behind the unique Mazda engine that powers the
He is not exactly a stranger to championships. Older brother (by 11
months) Russ has five NEMA crowns. “Russ knows how to win
championships,” understates Stoehr. “He knows how to get it done.” The
run, he adds, “is the culmination of a lot of trial and error.”
Stoehr joins two other veterans who have lofty intentions – Joe Payne
Jr. and Nokie Fornoro also know how to win championships. “You need a
lot of reliable equipment, you need good people and you have to be smart
on the track,” says Stoehr.
The Stoehrs have a combined eight NEMA wins at Seekonk, five for Russ.
Only Nokie (8) and Drew (2) Fornoro have more. Stoehr comes to Seekonk
off a strong third place at Waterford Speedbowl’s Modified Nationals.
Greg has a first and a second in heat action.
“[Seekonk] has to smile at you,” says Stoehr who sees the historic
quarter-mile in contradictory terms. “It is,” he continues, “a rhythm
track as opposed to a gas and brake track. You smoother you are the more
Seekonk rewards you because if you slow down, a lot of cars are going to
pass you. And you have to be good in traffic because you are in it
Stoehr, who spent 10 years driving fendered cars at the ‘Konk, believes
it’s a place where experience counts. There are exceptions (Randy Cabral
and Bobby Santos III) but “some guys never get it,” says Stoehr.
The Stoehrs and Fornoros are both sons of drivers – Paul Stoehr and
Nicky Fornoro respectively. Nicky Fornoro actually won a AAA race at
Seekonk in 1952.
“You’ve got to let the car run free at Seekonk,” says Nokie Fornoro.
“You can’t hold it down. You’ve got to let it go.” He claims he often
“gets into such a rhythm there that the right rear actually ticks the
wall in the front stretch.” Nokie, who uses no brake, says he learned a
lot about driving Seekonk from Mike Scrivani Jr. and Modified Hall of
Famer Leo Cleary.
Among active drivers, Randy Cabral (3), Jeff Horn (3), Joey Payne Jr.
(2) and Bobby Santos III (1) join Fornoro and Stoehr on the Seekonk/NEMA
win list… Stoehr and Fornoro agree it will take laps in the low 11
seconds to win a Midget race at Seekonk. That compares with laps in the
mid 15 seconds back in the early 1950s … NEMA’s first race was at
Seekonk on May 30, 1953, the late Fred Meeker beating Al Pillion and
Cliff Riggott. The next NEMA feature will be the 71st at Seekonk … The
legendary Oscar Ridlon won the first-ever event at Seekonk, a Midget
race, on Memorial Day in 1946. Through the years Seekonk has run events
sanctioned by many sanctioning bodies including Bay State, Triple A,
ARDC and USAC. The win list is extraordinary and includes the likes of
Bill Schindler, Joe Sostillio, Johnny Thomson, Len Duncan, Billy
Randall, Joe Csiki, Mel Kenyon, Johnny Mann and Dutch Schaefer.
Seeking Second NEMA Win
Erica Santos wants, make that needs,
another victory. The sooner it comes the better it will be for Santos
who made Northeastern Midget Association history last year when she won
at Stafford Motor Speedway, the first female in the club’s history to do
NEMA’s busy ’08 campaign continues May 3-4,
helping Seekonk Speedway open its season. You can bet on folks
talking about Erica at Stafford.
“They can stop with Stafford,” says Santos. “They don’t need to keep
talking about it. It’s time [for me] to back it up. I want to win other
In her second season in the Ed Breault-owned #44, she is cautiously
optimistic heading into Seekonk. Admitting she “hasn’t run great there
in the past,” Santos returns believing “we might have found something
the last time we were there. I think we should be pretty good.”
“If they know nothing else, people go home knowing how Erica did,”
explains NEMA president Mike Scrivani Jr. Within the club, she is
treated as any other potential winner.
“When I do pretty good or OK people make such a big deal about it,” she
continues. She understands “there are not too many girls racing midgets”
but sees herself “as another race driver. I’ve been driving longer than
a lot of the people out there so I should be doing what I’m doing.”
The #44 team will come to Seekonk with a fast car. “We’ve had good cars
on both weekends,” said Santos who captured heats at both Waterford and
Thompson. “We are ahead of last year and last year was good. We have to
keep doing what we’re doing.” Santos and Breault wound up fifth in their
respective standings in ’07.
At Waterford’s Modified Nationals she was ahead when the rain came. “Had
the rain not come, had it stayed green, I probably would have been OK,”
she says. “After the long delay [winner] Randy Cabral’s car was better;
mine was a little worse.” Admitting to a mistake, she wound up fifth.
“I need to be fast, consistent,” she says. “I need to be in a position
where we can win.”
She shares the spotlight with heralded brother Bobby III who often
pilots the family-owned #98. Although the #44 is maintained by Lou
Breault, Erica’s father and brother “put the set up in it.”
As much as possible, Erica tries to follow her brother in practice.
“First,” she explains, “I know that’s he is usually one of the fastest
cars. If I can keep up with him I know I’m in pretty good shape. And,
it’s easier for my dad. He doesn’t have to watch two cars on opposite
sides of the track.”
Seekonk, she says, is “definitely a handling race track” and having a
car that’s “comfortable” is key “because you are always turning there.
If I’m not in a good handling car I’m going to get tired quickly.”
Strength is one of the things that, Santos believes, puts girls at a
disadvantage in auto racing. “We are not as strong and we not as
aggressive, things you need to be a good race driver. Guys are just so
naturally competitive and really aggressive,” she offers.
She sees herself as “really competitive” and “pretty aggressive for a
to Make Speed Channel Debut
Former NEMA Driver, Turned Broadcaster, Get’s Big Break
|Former Northeastern Midget
Association driver, Derek Pernesiglio, will make his pit
reporting debut on SPEED Channel’s broadcast of the NASCAR
Camping World Series East race from the historic Greenville
Pickens Speedway as part of their Racing Across America
Eight years ago Pernesiglio made the tough decision to step out
of the driver’s seat in NEMA midget competition and step behind
the microphone in an effort to start his career broadcasting
races on television.
“This is unbelievable!” said Pernesiglio. “It’s been a long time
coming that’s for sure. I have to thank SPEED Channel and the
fine folks at Chet Burks Productions for this marvelous
opportunity… I just hope it turns into more work.”
time coming’ is Pernesiglio referring to watching all of the
broadcasts come into his current place of work at NASCAR Media
Group. It was there he started helping the producers with
statistical information and identifying drivers of other series.
“It’s funny how it all happened.” said Pernesiglio. Four years
ago I walked past the control room at work and saw the East and
West series races being edited down and started talking with the
producers about how I could help with the races because I was
familiar with the drivers and tracks they run on.”
Pernesiglio is currently employed by NASCAR Media Group
(Formerly known as NASCAR Images) and is the Associate Producer
for the Trackside and NASCAR Live shows that air on SPEED from
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series venue each weekend.
Pernesiglio is the son of legendary open wheel car owner “Mazda”
Pete Pernesiglio and younger brother of NEMA veteran Pete
Pernesiglio. In his driving career Pernesiglio has driven NEMA
Midgets, go-karts, Pro-4 Modifieds, TQ Midgets and stock cars.
Pernesiglio will be pit reporting more for the ASA Southeast
Asphalt tour on Fox Sports Net South and the entire season of
the SCCA Pro, Playboy Cup Mazda MX-5 Series. In addition, he
will report for the 2008 Summer Shootout at Lowe’s Motor
Speedway in Concord, N.C.
Located in Charlotte, N.C., NASCAR Media Group is an
entertainment production and marketing company that holds
exclusive rights to use and license footage from NASCAR racing
events in movies and TV shows.
The NASCAR Camping World Series East race will air May 7th at 1
pm as part of their Racing Across America television package.
NEMA’s ’08 Slate Biggest in 20 Years
|With the recent additions
of two New Hampshire ovals – All-Star (Epping) and Twin-State
(Claremont) –Northeastern Midget Association competitors will
face a 19-race agenda in 2008. Eight tracks are involved in
NEMA’s largest schedule in 20 years.
The 56th NEMA campaign gets
underway at Thompson Speedway’s traditional season-opening
Icebreaker on April 5-6. The winged wonders are part of
Waterford Speedbowl’s Modified Nationals on April 12-13.
“Over the winter tracks were coming to us,” says president Mike
Scrivani Jr. “Good fields of talented drivers and excellent
equipment makes NEMA one of the best tours in the northeast. We
are excited at the prospect of showing it off.”
All-Star (the former Star Speedway) has had more NEMA races than
any other track. Ben Seitz won the 138th NEMA race at All Star
last September. Kyle Carpenter won the last visit to Twin State
back in 2005, besting Joey Payne Jr. and Adam Cantor.
Charter members Waterford Speedbowl (four dates), Seekonk
Speedway (4) and Stafford Motor Speedway join Thompson (3),
Monadnock (3) and Lee USA (2) Speedways are on the busy agenda.
The schedule includes traditional headliners Xtreme Tuesday July
8 at Stafford, Open Wheel Wednesday at Seekonk on July 16 and
the Boston Louie also at Seekonk on Aug. 9.
The traditional triple header finale – Waterford’s Finale Oct.
4-5, Seekonk’s DAV Memorial Oct. 11-12 and Thompson’s World
Series Oct. 17-19, is also intact.
Of NEMA’s ’08 Success
|Springfield, MA -
Throughout the summer, interest in the Northeastern Midget
Association’s “Lite” division picked up. It was the first season
for the developmental division but definitely not the last
according to club President Mike Scrivani Jr.
Featuring much less expensive machinery, the Lites (powered by
Focus or Quad 4 engines) ran in conjunction with the “full”
midgets on eight occasions. They definitely contributed to
NEMA’s strong year.
The Lites season will be celebrated along with the ’08 NEMA
campaign t the club’s annual banquet Saturday night, Nov. 22 at
White of Westport in Westport, MA.
“We gained a little each time they ran,” said Scrivani. “We
ended the season at Twin State and there were a lot of people
from other divisions talking to me about the cars. I think it
was a real good start. There were a lot of promising things.”
The Lites ran at Waterford, Seekonk, Lee and Beech Ridge in
addition to Twin State. They are all “traditionally sized”
The division was designed to capture young racers before they
“go romping off” in some fendered division. Jesse State, Shaun
Torrey, Shaun Gosselin, Matt Bettencourt, Jake Stergios and Todd
Bertrand were winners. Anthony Marvuglio, Russ Wood Jr.,
Stephanie Doty and J.C. Stergios were also impressive.
“I think we have also saw the development of some outstanding
mechanics,” said Scrivani, NEMA president since 2003.
One or two of them could move up to the full midgets next year.
Equally important, Scrivani believes the division will grow by
six-to-eight cars next year. “Promoters just love that,” he
says. “There’s the prospect of 35-to-40 Midgets coming to a
While 2008 was “just about seat time,” Scrivani plans on
providing “some more incentives” for next year starting with a
sponsor-driven point fund. He also said the club will do a lot
more in “teaching the kids the right way to do things” next
Establishes New “Lite” Series
Coming off a sensational 2007 season, the Northeastern Midget
Association has decided to “invest in the future” with the “NEMA Lite
Series.” The series, approved by the NEMA Contest Board, is gaining
Called a “feeder class” by NEMA Vice President Tim Bertrand, the series
is designed to introduce new competitors to winged midgets “in very low
cost, less powerful cars.” Competitors can use any chassis that
currently meets NEMA specifications but engines will be limited to Ford
Focus and Oldsmobile Quad4. All the cars will have starters.
Plans are for the “Lites” to run in conjunction with regular short track
NEMA events. Bertrand said, “NEMA is putting in place incentives for
tracks to run the Lite Series cars. We are aware of the time factors and
economics involved. We have to make it attractive for them. We believe
we have done that.”
Bertrand says as many 20 teams have expressed intentions to compete.
“Most are Focus and Quad4 owners who can’t afford Esslinger and Gaerte
motors and are looking for a way to go,” he says. “We are talking about
$8-to $10,000 cars in this series. The equipment is definitely available
The plan allows for competitors, when they are ready, to “move up” to
the fulltime NEMA status with more powerful (and more expensive) motors.
Bertrand admits “a lot of sportsman type divisions are popping up all
over the country” claiming potential NEMA competitors. “Other divisions
were the only thing they could afford,” he says. “This is an effective
plan to keep them in winged Midgets.”
A number of “established” Midget regulars including Steve Grant and
former champions Bobby Seymour and Butch Walsh will be consultants for
the new series.
Optimistic Payne Set For NEMA’s Opener
Joey Payne Jr. returns to the Northeastern Midget Association and
Thompson Speedway’s season Icebreaker on April 4-5-6. He admits to
“looking forward” to the new season, his 24th.
“I’ve been down the road a lot of times,” says Payne who’ll steer Gene
Angelillo’s #45 for the fifth straight season. “I know that better times
are coming. Last year really sucked so, yes, I’m looking forward to it.”
The Icebreaker kicks off a 19-race agenda for NEMA, the most in 20
years. The “Jersey Jet” comes off a strong indoor TQ season.
Payne’s objective is the 2008 championship. He did that back in 2003,
his first season with Angelillo. Doing it again will not be easy.
“I’ll tell you what,” he insists, “on any given night 15 cars can win
the feature.” He admits “the advancing technology has pushed the speeds
up a little,” but it is the increase in competition that makes NEMA “the
premier touring division in the northeast right now whether people want
to admit it or not.”
Among the drivers poised to end the championship run of Ben Seitz is
Nokie Fornoro, back in the Jarret #4. Erica and Bobby Santos III
are back, Erica in Esslinger-powered #44 and Bobby in the family #98.
Jeremy Frankoski, the ’07 Rookie of the Year, moves into the Seamon #63.
Veterans Adam Cantor and Greg Stoehr and youngster Chris Leonard are
other threats. Randy Cabral will be a factor in the Bertrand #47,
although not a contender since a new job will force him to miss several
Payne is ready. “Considering the way last year ended,” he says, “a win
at Thompson would be very nice. Winning the first race can bring a lot
of momentum to a team.”
And, it would soften a difficult memory. Payne and the Angelillo team
had the championship in view at Thompson in last year’s season-ending
World Series when an overheated engine forced them to retire and accept
second place in the final standings. It was the third time in the last
four seasons Payne has been second in driver points.
Payne actually made his midget debut as an 18-year old in the 1984
Thompson World Series. Since then he has had a “love/hate” relationship
with NEMA’s “separates the men from the boys” track. “There is a point
where the right foot has to connect with the brain and
knowing that can make a big difference there too,” he adds.
Back in 1998 an early crash in the World Series cost Payne the ISMA
championship. And two years later, in a back-up car, he gave Angelillo
his 100th career victory. Since taking the ride in 2003, he has given
Angelillo 14 more checkereds.
“When I finish at Thompson I usually finish up front,” says Payne. He’s
been second at Thompson four times and third twice. He also had a second
at Thompson before joining Angelillo.
Thompson, says Payne, is loaded with quirks. “The stands separate on the
front stretch,” he says. “There’s a walkway there and on breezy days the
wind comes right through. It hits the wing, loads the left
rear and the right front comes right up off the ground. It can really
get your attention.”
Takes Aim At Another NEMA Crown
Things seem to be in order for Nokie Fornoro – all the things necessary
to capture the Northeastern Midget Association championship for himself
and owner Mike Jarret.
“I’m going after it,” declares Fornoro, about to start his 34th season.
“I have no other commitment. I don’t have to worry about missing races.
It’s about time. I haven’t had a championships in over 10 years and that
sort of bothers me.”
NEMA opens its 19-race schedule April 4-5-6 at Thompson International
Speedway. A spot on Waterford Speedbowl’s Budweiser Modified Nationals
follows a week later (April 12-13). A large and impressive entry list
compliments the agenda.
He expects a “quick” start to his quest. The cooler temperatures mean
faster speeds at Thompson he says. Motors will run better and the
banking will have more affect. “Thompson is always faster when you can
use the banking. I love the speed you get there.”
He and Bobby Santos III were “down in the seventeen seconds” at last
year’s. World Series. “The Midgets,” he declares, “are “scary fast” at
Fornoro’s last championship was the 1995 ARDC title, one of several he
owns including the 1981 NEMA crown. His last Midget victory, the 105th
of his career, came last August at the Waterford Speedbowl. With his
father Nick and his brother Drew, Nokie is part of one of Midget
racing’s most successful families.
“Considering the caliber of cars we have now – 12-to-15 cars can win any
given night – you have to have one heck of a maintenance program to win
a championship,” says Fornoro. “I believe money can’t
buy you wins. Yea, it can help you get the best stuff but if you don’t
have a maintenance program, you’re in trouble.”
He gives owner Peter Valeri, the champ three of the past four years
(driver Ben Seitz won four in a row) “all the credit in the world. Every
race, no matter what happened, they went through the car and that’s
what you have to do.”
Fornoro has always “been blessed with good owners” and Jarret is one of
them. “Whenever Mike gets involved he does it wholeheartedly,” says
Fornoro. “There is nothing this team should lack; there is no reason why
we shouldn’t do well. I feel we’ve got the best stuff.”
The present operation, including Mike Scrivani Jr., is a carry over from
the glory days of early 1980s when Fornoro dominated in cars owned by
Hall of Famer Mike Scrivani Sr., the larger than life character known as
‘Iron Mike.’ Both Jarret and Mike Jr. were key parts of an operation
that produced the NEMA title and a couple of his five ARDC crowns.
Fornoro vividly recalls his first Thompson run way back in 1976, a sixth
place finish after a confrontation with Joey Coy. Since then he has
“hundreds and hundreds of laps” around the historic oval in both Midgets
and SuperModifieds. He was an ISMA winner there is 2006.
Early NEMA Win Key In Cabral’s Objective
Randy Cabral is not given to exaggeration. The Northeastern Midget
Association hot shoe keeps a tight reign on his expectations.
“I want to win at least one race,” says Cabral who will be in the
Bertrand #47 for the third straight year. “Ever since my second year in
NEMA (2000) I’ve won at least once. I’d like to keep that streak going.”
NEMA starts its very ambitious 19-race agenda at Thompson Speedway’s
Icebreaker on April 5-6 and heads to Waterford Speedbowl for the
Budweiser Modified Nationals April 12-13. NEMA will help Seekonk
Speedway open its season on May 4. “They are the best Midget tracks in
the East,” Cabral insists. “I’ve had side-by-side battles at all three.”
Eleven of Cabral’s 12 wins have come at those three tracks, four each at
Thompson and Waterford. He won the closers at the latter two last year,
his effort in the Speedbowl’s “Finale” near flawless. The team has made
few changes. “The car was so good we didn’t want
to touch it,” Cabral says.
“Hopefully we can get the win in the first three races and then go back
to having fun like we did last year,” continues Cabral who followed his
father Glen into the sport. He has, in fact, done that the past two
Cabral is part of a NEMA cast that includes Erica and Bobby Santos III,
veterans Joey Payne Jr. and Nokie Fornoro, Adam Cantor and youngsters
Jeremy Frankoski and Chris Leonard.
His first win came in the 2000 Boston Louie at Seekonk in family-owned
equipment but it was the Thompson Icebreaker victory in 2001 that
ignites him still. “I’ve been watching races there since 1988, watching
my dad,” he explains. “It’s a special place and I’ve always wanted to
race there so to actually win there was unbelievable.”
When it comes to his best race, however, only the Boston Louie win
compares with last year’s “Finale” at Waterford. “I couldn’t do anything
wrong at Seekonk,” he says. “The car was nothing fancy. We bought it
that year, pulled it out from under a tarp, put a motor in
it and went racing. Seven races in we won.”
He says people tell him he drives Waterford all wrong. “’You can’t go
into one that way,’ they say,” he explains. “You’re wrong and you need
to do it this way.’ I tell them I can’t get my way out of my system
and I’ve been pretty successful with the way I do it.”
Thompson, he insists, is “very intimidating” and “demands respect.” He’s
sure “people don’t realize the speeds we go there. When things happen
they happen really big.”
He’s made four-wide passes on both the bottom and the top at the
Speedbowl “and there’s no other track where you can do that,” he adds.
While speeds have definitely increased, it’s the improved competition
that makes NEMA “the premier touring division in New England,” he says.
“When I got my first win people said there were maybe 10 cars that could
win a NEMA feature. Now there are 20-25 and everybody is so hungry.”
Drew Fornoro ran the #63 in
the Oct. 7, 2007 Seekonk DAV (Norm Marx Photo)
Taps NEMA Rookie of the Year Jeremy Frankoski For Driving Duties
While Jon Seaman Jr. Concentrates on Engineering Studies
(Future Stars In Racing PR)
Southbury, Ct. – While Jon Seaman Jr. devotes time to his
Mechanical Engineering studies at Rochester Institute of
Technology, TSR Motorsports has named 2007 NEMA Rookie of the
Year Jeremy Frankoski to fill the driver’s seat of the No. 63
Midget for the 2008 season.
“TSR Motorsports feels very fortunate to have Jeremy on their
team for the upcoming 2008 season,” commented team principal Jon
Seaman Sr. “His focus and determination will blend well with the
young but experienced crew Jon Jr and TSR Motorsports have
Frankoski started racing at age nine in five-hp ‘microd’ karts,
has since methodically worked his way up to the top ranks of
wheel racing. He has many wins and podium finishes already and
Motorsports would like to give him a few more while Jeremy
climbs his way to the top tier of professional auto racing.
The first race on Jeremy’s schedule is the ‘Ice Breaker’ at
Conn., the initial race on the NEMA midget calendar for 2008.
The eventual teaming of Seaman Jr and Frankoski promises to
become one of the outstanding young teams in NEMA competition
for the 2008 season and beyond with both young racers building
off the other’s strengths.
Seaman is being helped in his career by training from Future
Racing Academy. The Academy helps prepare young drivers for
success outside the car in public speaking; sponsor
presentations; working with the media and behavior on and off
the track. Future Stars in Racing is the exclusive driver
development partner with the ASA Late Model Series. The Academy
features a staff with decades of experience in all aspects of
motorsports. To learn more about John Seaman and the Academy, go
Marilyn A. Bertrand
1949 - January
Marilyn A. (Luko)
Bertrand, 58, of Suffield, the beloved wife of 36 years to Gilles
Bertrand, entered peacefully into eternal life surrounded by her loving
family on Wednesday, January 23, 2008 at her home. She was born on
December 30, 1949 in Hartford,
a daughter of Jeanette and the late Anton Luko. She resided in Suffield,
CT for the past 20 years and prior to that in Stafford and Enfield, CT.
Marilyn was a graduate of Hartford High School Class of 1967 and
received her degree in Education from
in 1971, during which time she was president of her sorority, Lambda
Kappa Nu. She continued on to receive her Masters Degree from
Central Connecticut as well. Marilyn was employed by the
Enfield Board of Education and spent her entire 37 year career as a
teacher at Fermi
High School, where she was the head of the
Business Department and was also an advisor for FBLA (Future Business
Leaders of America).
Marilyn is survived by her
devoted husband, Gilles, her loving children, Tim Bertrand and his wife,
Cara of Sturbridge, MA, Patrick Bertrand, Lindsay Bertrand and Todd
Bertrand all of Suffield, her mother, Jeannette (Luko) Mulready of West
Hartford, CT a sister, Gilberta Calegari and her husband, James of E.
Hartford, CT, a brother, Stephen Luko and his wife, Annette of
Terryville, CT along with many nieces, nephews, and dear friends, as
well as her grand-dogs, Tessa & Toby.
Marilyn dedicated her life
to her family and friends, always putting others needs before her own.
She loved her yard, her pool, her flower gardens and her home. She
loved being the oldest of a group of much younger Soccer parents,
cheering on her son Todd and his teammates, and her presence at all of
the games will be missed. She spent many years enjoying all of her
children’s pursuits and talents, as well as supporting Gil in his love
of auto racing. Marilyn enjoyed the good things in life – dancing,
singing, boating, laughing, cheering and crying. A White Russian will
never be drunk without thoughts of Marilyn in the future.
in her memory may be made to the
Eye Melanoma Research Fund at the
C/O Ms. Helen Lane
233 S. 10th St.