The NEMA 2008-09 Yearbook is
now available for $ 3.00.
Mike & Lu Jarret
WHITE'S OF WESTPORT
2009 NEMA Champions
Randy Cabral and Bertrand Motorsports
NEMA Driving Title
|Brockton, MA - Randy Cabral
isn’t about to give the 2009 Northeastern Midget Association
driving championship, the second in a row for him and car owner
Tim Bertrand, back. “I’ll take them anyway I can get them,” he
Bertrand, a one-time driver, and Cabral, who followed his dad
Glen into NEMA, “took” their respective championships with
consistency. They won five times but it was the 11 top-five (in
14 races) that made the difference. They’ll top the honorees at
the NEMA Awards Banquet Saturday night Nov. 21 at White’s of
Westport in Westport, MA.
Cabral, a school teacher, won with an 84-point bulge on
runner-up three-time winner Nokie Fornoro, who missed a race,
and a 211 edge on third-place Adam Cantor, a two-time winner and
“twice a victim of circumstances.” NEMA had seven winners in all
– Jeff Horn, Jeff Abold, Russ Stoehr and Greg Stoehr each
“Nokie and Adam are the two guys I’m most comfortable with,”
said Cabral. “We take nothing away from each other. It doesn’t
matter where we are.”
Winning the first three of the first four races (he was second
in the other), Cabral, never trailed in the drivers points race.
With 13 wins over the last two years, he has moved to seventh
place on NEMA’s all-time win list. Eighteen have come in the
four years with Bertrand.
Acknowledging Bertrand “gives me the best equipment possible,”
Cabral says the objective is to “do the best we can” and that is
especially so when “we don’t have a car that is capable of
winning.” The season-ending World Series at Thompson is a case
in point, Cabral’s third place “just enough” to get the
championship for Bertrand by four points over Mike Jarret.
The relationship between the families, tempered by both joy and
sorrow, is, Cabral insists “not about championships but about
friendship. We were friends before we were owner/driver. If Tim
called up tomorrow and said he is putting somebody else in the
car we’d still be friends.”
The biggest 2009 win came at Twin State in September. “My
grandfather Henry died that week,” Cabral explains. “We had the
funeral on Friday and Friday night we were getting ready to go
racing. This is what we do, go racing. If I missed a race
because of his funeral, my grandfather would have climbed out of
the grave and kicked my butt.
“Ryan Newman was one of his favorites,” continues Cabral. “When
I beat him up at Lee (Newman was also in a Bertrand car) I
called by grandfather and said ‘Hey, I beat your boy.’ He
laughed and he was proud. He would call every Sunday morning and
ask how I did whether we raced or not. It was tough when I
didn’t get that call.”
Hitting the wall at Waterford was the low point “There was
nothing wrong with the car,” he says. “I made a mistake. It was
strange, the only DNF we had all year was at a track I really
love to race on.”
Cabral says “growing up all I thought about was driving
Midgets.” He would be “more than happy” to try a Supermodified
or a Modified but presently is more than content. “Right now, I
see myself driving for Tim Bertrand until he fires me,” he says.
2009 NEMA Points:
Full Points Page Here
Drivers: 1. Randy Cabral 1683; 2.
Nokie Fornoro 1599;
3. Adam Cantor 1472; 4. Russ Stoehr 1304; 5. Chris DeRitis 1119;
6. Greg Stoehr 1075; 7. Erica Santos 1017; 8. Jim Miller 964;
9. Abby Martino 954; 10. John Zych Jr. 945; 11. Jeff Horn 915;
12. Lee Bundy 909; 13. Paul Scally 740; 14. William Wall 560;
15. Doug Cleveland 524.
Owners: 1. Tim Bertrand (47) 1683;
2. Mike Jarret (4) 1679;
3. Cantor Racing (7ny) 1472; 4. Gene Angelillo (45) 1334;
5. Jim Miller (3m) 1072; 6. Ed Breault (44) 982),
7. John Martino (21a) 954; 8. John Zych Sr. (9) 945;
9. Lee Bundy (2) 909; 10. Greg Stoehr (26b) 839;
11. Power Point Racing (99) 831; 12. Paul Scally (30) 740;
13. Bobby Seymour (29) 649; 14. Wall Motorsports (5) 648;
15. Jeff Horn (A1) 639.
NEMA Owners Race
|Brockton, MA – Tim Bertrand
is doubly proud of his second straight Northeastern Midget
Association owners championship. In a battle that came down to
the final laps of the final feature (at Thompson Speedway’s
World Series), Bertrand nipped Mike Jarret by a scant four
Randy Cabral’s third (in the Bertrand 47) behind winner Nokie
Fornoro (in the Jarret 4) left little room to spare for
Bertrand. While he doesn’t deny the joy in winning, he takes
special delight in the battle.
“We had no mechanical dnfs all year,” Bertrand says. “That is
almost unheard of in Midgets. The fact that the Jarret car had
no dnfs at all is incredible. We should have won the owners
title by 200 points, instead the #4 gave us as good a run for
the championship as perhaps NEMA has ever seen. The top two cars
had one dnf between them (Cabral crashed at Waterford) and no
Bertrand, who also maintained a NEMA Lites car, has high praise
for Jarret and his wife Lu, both as competitors and friends, who
retired as owners following the last race.
The second championship comes in the fourth year of the
partnership between Bertrand, a former driver, and Cabral. The
team has 18 wins, five coming in 2009.
“Part of [our success] is the work Randy and his dad Glen do
during the week. Part of it is also a midseason switch to Jon
Andruk (Circle Performance) regarding the motor,” Bertrand
continues. Andruk, he adds, made the Esslinger motor “more
reliable, insuring a lack of problems.”
Bertrand Motorsports pretty much dominated in 2008 with eight
wins in 17 races. “What we had was a great driver and we had the
set up perfect a number of times,” Bertrand says. “We proved
it’s not about the motor, not about the ignition box, not about
the number of rpms; - it’s about the set up.”
Others proved that as well this year – Adam Cantor, Jeff Abold,
Jeff Horn, in addition to Fornoro, had excellent runs.
The two Bertrand championship seasons are similar. In ‘08 the
team did it with wins (8); this year with top-five finishes. The
car was out of the top five only once over the last eight races
including five podium spots. “We proved when we were right on we
could win and we proved when we were not right on we were still
competitive,” Bertrand boasts.
The championship was in doubt until, on lap 16, Cabral passed
Cole Carter, who was also driving a Bertrand entry, for third.
“I was nervous, sick to my stomach,” says Bertrand, freely
admitting he was thinking points at that point.
Bertrand could be even busier in 2010, heading up a team that
could also include one or two other cars. The “guest program”
which this year included, in addition to Carter, Sprint Cup star
Ryan Newman and Modified ace Ted Christopher, will most likely
continue as well.
Longtime Seekonk Speedway racer, Fred Darling passed away
Tuesday night, December 15th.
Our condolences go out to his
Zahar, who owned the NEMA midgets #38 & 38B with her husband,
John Zahar, passed away Nov 22, at age 81. Their last driver was
Greg Stoehr, but many others, from Lou Fray to Noki Fororo, also
drove for them.
The Zahars were honored with the NEMA Chuck Daniel Memorial
Award in 1999, and were made Life Members in 2000.
Messages of sympathy can be sent to John Zahar, c/o Ruth Zahar
Sebas, at 83 Boulder Drive, Milford, NH 03055.
Donations in Adele's memory are requested to St. Jude's
Children's Hospital, to which the Zahars have donated for many
longtime NEMA member, passed away
on Saturday, September 19th.
Our condolences go out to his family..
Rifchin, Founder of the M&H Tire Company, passed away
June 3 at the Maristhill Nursing Home in Watertown Mass.
There will be a Graveside Service at the Sharon Memorial Park
Cemetery on Friday June 5th, at 12:45 PM.
In lieu of flowers, contributions to the charity of your choice
may be made in Marvin's memory.
(NEAR Hall of Fame Page
Indoor Racing at
the Dunkin' Donuts Center
Providence, RI - Dec. 4th and 5th
Saturday TQ Winner Mike Stefanik
12/5 Race Report HERE
Friday 12/4 Race Report HERE
- The New York Times
|July 24, 2009 - By Dana
Celebrating Machines That
"STAFFORD SPRINGS, Conn.— Despite a morning of hard rain, by 3
o’clock on a recent Tuesday afternoon the back 40 at Stafford
Motor Speedway had been transformed into a sunny village of
R.V.’s, campers and four-wheel-drive vehicles, complemented by
tents, wobbly lawn chairs and even-wobblier awnings. It was a
kind of Hooverville devoted to the pleasures of high velocity."
is grass-roots racing at its essence. There are no ISMA dads, no
ISMA Nation, no television contracts, just fans addicted to
speed, unpredictable racing action and, just maybe, the smell of
methanol. Their hard-driving heroes, most of whom hold down day
jobs, are men like Chris Perley, the Rowley Rocket, from
Massachusetts.; Bentley Warren from Kennebunkport, Me., who
turns 69 this year; and Liquid Lou Cicconi from Aston, Pa."
FULL STORY from the TRAVEL Section on
ISMA & NEMA at 2009 Stafford Extreme Tuesday
SLIDE SHOW HERE with the NEMA #4 and #44.
SANTOS LEADS FINAL LAP TO WIN “COPPER WORLD” MIDGET FEATURE
Santos III of Franklin, Mass. emerged the winner of Thursday
night’s 25-mile USAC National/Western Midget race at the 34th
“Copper World Classic” at Phoenix International Raceway. Santos
wrested the lead from Bryan Clauson on lap 23, then slipped
behind Clauson at the white flag. On the final lap Clauson slid
high in turn three and Santos went on to the win in his Santos
Motorsports Beast/Esslinger Ford.
Pole starter Bobby East finished second ahead of Alex Bowman,
Brad Kuhn and Cole Whitt. Kuhn extended his National point lead
to 40 points over Brad Sweet, who finished 14th, while Western
Midget point leader Garrett Hansen finished 24th in Thursday’s
race. East led the first seven laps and Clauson led the next 15
before the final three lap dramatics.
FULL USAC COPPER WORLD STORY HERE
Team At Phoenix for Copper World Classic Nov. 12th
|Bertrand Motorsports, the
2009 Northeastern Midget Association owner champion, and driver
Cole Carter will team up for next Thursday’s 25-lap USAC Midget
race at Phoenix International Speedway’s Copper World Classic.
Carter’s Beast will be powered by Bertrand’s Circle Performance
built Esslinger motor. Bertrand and his wife Cara will be
providing some sponsorship as well.
The Carters took the motor out of Bertrand’s #47 after the NEMA
final race at Thompson Speedway. The motor, which carried both
driver Randy Cabral and Bertrand to their second straight
respective championships, did not suffer a single breakdown
throughout the season.
“Cole qualified sixth and finished third in last year’s race and
he did that with average equipment from an engine perspective,”
said Bertrand. ”We are excited about being with the Carter
family again especially on this level.”
Carter was part of the Bertrand’s “guest driver” program in 2009
earning two top fives, including a second, in three starts.
Sprint Cup star Ryan Newman and NASCAR Modified standout Ted
Christopher also drove for Bertrand over the season.
Follow the USAC
action and Cole Carter's progress at:
RACE UPDATE: Cole in his #7
qualified 19th & finished 27th
SANTOS TAKES “J.D.
BYRIDER 100,” 1ST TO WIN IN ALL 3 USAC SERIES
|USAC PRESS RELEASE -
Indianapolis, IN…….Bobby Santos III of Franklin, Mass. became
the first driver to win in all three 2009 USAC National racing
series with his victory in Thursday night’s 100-lap “J.D.
Byrider 100” at O’Reilly Raceway Park.
Santos grabbed the lead from pole starter Chet Fillip on lap 28
and led the rest of the way, averaging 109.224 mph in his Santos
Motor Sports Beast/Performance Technology K & N Silver Crown
Santos started on the front row and trailed Fillip for the first
27 laps but held off Bobby East for the win, while series point
leader Bud Kaeding took third ahead of Fillip and Tyler Walker.
NASCAR veteran Ryan Newman finished eighth after starting ninth
in the 30-car field.
NEMA LITES at the 2009 SpeedwayEXPO
Keeler, TSR #63
Eyeing NEMA Success
|Brockton, MA - Mike Keeler
refuses to pick a favorite. The Danbury, CT racer has driven
everything from Quarter Midgets to Dirt Modifieds. He cannot
deny, however, statistically he fits best in a Midget.
Since joining John Seaman's TSR #63 team in July of 2008, Keeler
posted seven top-10 finishes in eight Northeastern Midget
Association starts. He'll take a second place in NEMA's '09
opener at Monadnock into the Friday night, June 26 event at Lee
"I'm definitely fond of Lee," says Keeler who has driven a True
Modified and Supermodified as well as a Midget there. Being one
of the fastest cars at Monadnock - "I finally felt comfortable
there"- was a major boost.
Keeler needed some late heroics to beat Aaron and William Wall
Monadnock. Adam Cantor and John Zych Jr. also got off to
starts as they join veterans Nokie Fornoro and Russ and Greg
Stoehr as contenders to dethrone champion Randy Cabral and Tim
Bertrand. NASCAR Sprint Cup star Ryan Newman, in a second
Bertrand car, will be the Lee headliner.
"A victory is definitely in our future," predicts Keeler.
"expects to make all the NEMA events" he says the team "does not
talk about points. Jon wants us to have a good time but that
starts with good finishes. Getting a lot of points in not a bad
Keeler will also campaign a pair of ISMA Supermodifieds in '09.
looking forward to dates at Stafford Speedway (July 7),
Speedbowl (Aug. 15) and Thompson Speedway (Oct. 18) when NEMA
and ISMA are both on the agenda.
"I love twitchy race cars and the Midgets are twitchy," Keeler
"I love the movement. You can kind of throw a Midget around. I
absolutely love going through traffic in a Midget."
Driving his own car, he won at Waterford in 2006. In his third
with TSR he was second there last August. Keeler's first NEMA
finish was a second at Star Speedway in 2005.
Although the Southbury-based TSR operation is only minutes away,
Keeler leaves maintaining the #63 to Seaman. "He enjoys
tinkering," says Keeler, pointing out "the car is always ready
off the trailer. Jon runs a good team."
The #63 wound up ninth in owner points last year, Jeremy
collecting five top-eights before leaving.
The only finish outside of the top-10 for TSR came at Beech
Maine. Keeler was leading the feature when the fuel pump drive
Keeler operates MKM Property Management LLC in Danbury. It
stands for Mike Keeler Motorsports.
For Bertrand Team
|Brockton, MA - Jeff Horn, a
New England open-cockpit mainstay, will be the first of several
high profile names to drive a Bertrand midget in 2009
Northeastern Midget Association competition. Horn, who has 19
career NEMA wins, will drive the Esslinger-powered #39 Drinan
car at the club’s season opener Saturday night May 23 at
Tim Bertrand and Randy Cabral, in the #47, will begin defense of
the owner and driver championships at Monandock. It is the first
of 17 races on the ’09 schedule.
According to Bertrand, current Sprint Cup competitor and
one-time USAC open-cockpit star Ryan Newman will drive the #39
at Lee USA Speedway on Friday night, June 26. Current USAC
driver Cole Carter, son of the legendary open wheel chauffeur
Pancho Carter, will drive at Waterford Speedbowl on July 25 and
at Seekonk’s “Boston Louie” on Aug. 8 in a new car that is
currently being constructed.
Bertrand also said Newman is “tentatively scheduled” to drive
the car at Lee and Canaan Speedways in September. There is also
the possibility of other drivers to appear within the Bertrand
stable in 2009 dependent upon sponsorship opportunities that the
team is working on.
“Jeff Horn is the perfect choice to start this program off,”
said Bertrand. “We are there to race but he’ll also be feeling
the car out a little bit for us to ensure Ryan has a solid ride
for Lee. Monadnock is a place where experienced guys seem to do
well and few guys know the place better than Jeff. I also like
Jeff because he respects the equipment having owned his own cars
Plans for Newman to drive for Bertrand at Lee last year were
rained out. Currently driving the US Army car for the
Stewart-Hass team, Newman was one of the top open cockpit
drivers in the nation before moving to NASCAR. He has a Midget
and Silver Crown championship on his resume.
Carter, who will drive midgets, sprints and silver crown cars
this year, is the third generation of Carter racers beginning
with grandfather Duane and his late uncle Dana. Father Pancho, a sprint and champ car
stalwart for many years, made 17 Indianapolis 500 starts.
On NEMA’s Contender List
|Brockton, MA - For the
first time since joining the Northeastern Midget Association as
a 16-year old in 2001, Adam Cantor “feels confident in saying
I’m a contender.” Pointing out “it’s all about confidence and
seat time,” the Dix Hills, NY resident says “it is a matter of
feeling comfortable” in his surroundings
NEMA will return to action Friday night, June 26 at New
Hampshire’s Lee USA Speedway. Fourth at Lee last year, Cantor
points out “two definite grooves” makes Lee a challenge.
Cantor grabbed some interest with a hard-earned fifth in NEMA’s
opener at Monadnock Speedway. Part of a first-lap incident that
resulted in suspension damage, he came from last in a car “that
was very difficult to drive.” One of the top cars in the first
practice session, he’s convinced “we would have been one of the
cars to watch.”
Monadnock also made contenders out of Mike Keeler (TSR
Motorsports) and Wall Motorsports drivers William and Aaron Wall
– the second, third and fourth finishers between winner Randy
Cabral (Bertrand #47) and Cantor.
Nokie Fornoro (Jarret 4) , Greg Stoehr (Stoehr 26b), Russ Stoehr
(Angelillo 45) and Erica Santos (Breault 44) will go to Lee
hoping to rebound after disappointments at Monadnock.
A “realist,” Cantor, who drives for his dad Allen, is aiming for
consistency, believing “when you are consistent things take care
of themselves.” He made great improvements as a driver last
year, finishing fourth in both driver and owner points. He
posted 10 top fives including a second in the season finale at
Twin State Speedway.
Admitting he came to NEMA “with visions of grandeur,” the
one-time Go-Kart standout now understands “you go as far as your
resources will take you. There comes a point when you realize
you’ve done your best.” That's when, he continues, “you set
little goals and then go after them.”
A two-time winner, Cantor, part of the great young movement of
’01, remembers the feeling coming to NEMA. “I remember racing
against guys like Drew Fornoro, Bobby Seymour, Russ Stoehr,” he
says. “It was a privilege to race against them and you showed
them great respect when they were around. It was always on my
mind to not wreck them. You were there to learn from them.” He
believes there is “much less respect” now.
Cantor’s last win came at Adirondack Speedway in 2005. He also
won at All Star Speedway in 2003.
NUGGET: Among the
happiest drivers at Monadnock was Doug Cleveland. He and his
team arrived after practice and then broke before turning a lap
in his heat. Starting last in the feature, he came to 10th at
To Defend Crowns
|Brockton, MA - Tim Bertrand
and Randy Cabral #47 will begin defense of their respective
championships (owner and driver) when the Northeastern Midget
Association begins the 2009 season Saturday night (May 23) at
Monadnock Speedway. It will be the 57th season opener for NEMA.
“Rule changes have equaled competition up a little bit and it
has forced our team to be on our game a little more,” says
Bertrand. He expects a torrid battle for the championships that
will include, among others, Nokie Fornoro is the Mike Jarret #4,
Russ Stoehr in the Gene Angelillo #45 and Greg Stoehr in the
family #26. Other contenders include Erica Santos in the Ed
Breault #44 and Adam Cantor in the family #7ny.
“We are excited about beginning the defense of our
championships,” said Bertrand. “We expect it to be difficult.
Several cars have tested well.”
Getting off the mark with a strong effort will be the concern
for the likes of Doug and Brian Cleveland, Chris Leonard, Andy
Shlatz and Aaron Wall.
Monadnock, which kicks off a 17-race agenda, is one of the few
tracks where Cabral and Bertrand have not tasted victory. They
have, however, won three season openers including last year at
According to Bertrand, the #47 team has been purposefully quiet
over the off-season but has hardly been idle over the past
month. “We were just not very good at Monadnock last year,”
Bertrand continues. “With the help of Lou Cicconi, Danny Drinan
and Glen Cabral, we have made some significant
chassis/suspension changes on the Drinan chassis for Monadnock
that we believe will be hopeful for our overall short track
program. That’s all we’re saying for now and will hope for the
Greg Stoehr (2), Russ Stoehr and Fornoro have all been winners
at the tricky Monadnock that, Bertrand says, “favors” the
experienced, veteran competitors. On the owner’s side, Angelillo
is far and away the leader with 12 wins, 11 with the now retired
Drew Fornoro. The last one came last year with driver Joey
NUGGET: Nokie Fornoro
will begin his 34th year in Midgets looking for his 108th
victory. He recalls “actually lying” to get his first Midget
ride with George Ferguson at Wall Stadium back in 1976. “I told
him I was experienced and he finally got tired of hearing me,”
recalls Fornoro. “I went out and led much of the race before
being passed late by Lenny Boyd in Dewey Cali’s Badger. It was
only after the race when Boyd came out to congratulate me on my
first Midget ride that Ferguson knew about it. I did drive for
him some more.
A New Team Name,
Sponsors, and Engine Program for Andy Schlatz
|A new team
name, new sponsors, and a new engine program. Andy Schlatz
(Owner Lite #20 and Driver NEMA #77) is really looking forward
to the 2009 season.
Under the Hollywood Motorsports banner, Chris Haskell will be
piloting Andy's #20 in the NEMA Lites. Chris was the 2007 750cc
Champion at Whip City Raceway in Westfield, MA. D.J. Cavaliere
from Cavaliere Onsite Recycling and Equipment Sales in Stamford,
CT has signed on as a major sponsor. Long time friend and
sponsor Kurt Rafferty from Rafferty Fine Grading in Enfield, CT
will continue with his prized support for the team.
A new engine program is the major change. A PBH Indy Honda 2.4
NEMA Lite / Sportsman motor is going to be the power plant under
the hood of the COR Equipment Sales, REMU Screening Buckets,
Rubble Master,and Rafferty Fine Grading #20 Lite Midget.
PBHIndy.com has been
working hard on getting this engine program off the ground and
Andy is honored to be representing Honda in their first year in
Skeet Busher from PBH Indy has been a tremendous help to Andy.
An ever growing number of America’s top performance equipment
manufacturers see the Twin Cam Honda Midget engine as perhaps
part of the answer to the future of Midget Racing both in terms
of cost and performance. To use the example set by the Ford
Focus Midget Engine, the PBH Indy Twin Cam Midget Engine should
be able to run 40 races on a couple of sets of valve springs
costing about $700.00.
Dave Haskell and Andy having been working hard all off-season
getting the totally rebuilt #20 race ready.
In the NEMA Midgets, Andy is also excited to be back behind the
wheel of the Luggelle Motorsports #77 also with support from COR
Equipment Sales and Rafferty Fine Grading.
Andy looks forward to 2009 in the #77: "Mike was great to work
with last year. We really had some fun last year. In the last
couple months of the season we hit on some things and the car
started to get better and better each week. I really think we
will have a good season. I feel we can be a top ten car and I am
really ready to get the season started on May 23rd at Monadnock.
We may be an underdog team, but I think we will turn some heads
New car and new #21 for Abby
New Car Spurs
For NEMA’s Abby Martino
Northeastern Midget Association tabbed Abby Martino “Most likely
to wear pajama pants and flip flops in six feet of snow.” The
soon-to-be graduate (accounting) of Roger Williams University in
Rhode Island has a serious side as well.
The 21-year old Norfolk, MA resident heads into her third NEMA
campaign with a definite plan. “I want to consistently run in
the top-10,” she says. “We ran just outside the top-10 last year
and with the equipment we have now I believe top-10s is a
The Martino operation, which includes father Frank and mother
Joan, will campaign the Mopar-powered Beast chassis driven in
the past by Barry Kittredge. The team will, in fact, keep the
#21 on the car.
NEMA will open the ’09 campaign Saturday night, May 23 at New
Hampshire’s Monadnock Speedway. It is the first of a 17-race
campaign that will take the club to eight tracks.
Martino’s best ’09 finish was a 12th at Seekonk’s DAV Memorial.
“I was happy with last year,” she says. “I think we improved
every time out. Even when we had trouble, we got better because
She made her NEMA debut with a series of flips at Waterford
Speedbowl in 2006. She suffered a broken leg and didn’t return
until the final event. “Nobody knew who I was and then I went
out and flipped and all of a sudden everybody knew who I was. I
was on the cover of magazines. When I got back in the car I
wanted to drive harder.”
Coming to NEMA from the Focus Midgets, she spent much of ’08
adjusting to the wing (“you have more options”) and power (Autocraft).
While she refuses to signal any one individual when it comes to
the aid she’s received, Martino can’t help but acknowledge the
Santos clan of nearby Franklin. Headed by Bob Jr. and featuring
Bobby III and Erica, the Santos’ are one of New England’s
premier racing families.
It was Bob who talked to long-time friend Frank Martino about
“the family aspect” of auto racing. Discovering early that “team
sports were not my thing,” Martino found herself in a quarter
midget at age 12. She came to NEMA after two and a half years
driving a Focus Midget.
Frank, who “does all the work on the car” and Joan have “have
been there every step of the way.”
There was some “she’s just a girl” attitudes in the Focus Cars
but there has been no problem in NEMA. She’s quick to credit
close friend Erica Santos with some of that. The big thing, she
insists, is “respecting the other people in the club, the other
drivers on the track. “
Randy Cabral and Tim Bertrand will begin defense of their driver
and owner championships at Monadnock. The contenders include
Russ Stoehr back in the Angelillo #45, Adam Cantor in the
family-owned 7ny, Greg Stoehr in his own Mazda powered 26, Erica
Santos in Ed Breault’s #44, William Wall in the Wall Motorsports
#5 and Nokie Fornoro in Mike Jarret’s #4.
“Wants to Win Races”
|BROCKTON, MA: Don’t
ask Northeastern Midget Association competitor Erica Santos
about championships. Heading into NEMA’s 2009 opener May 23 at
Monadnock Speedway, the 26-year old has only one thing in mind.
“I really want to win races,” says Santos who plans a full
season in Ed Breault’s No. 44. “I don’t care about points. One
of the reasons is I don’t want to be known as a driver who won
only one race.” She scored a much-publicized win at Stafford
Motor Speedway in 2006, becoming the club’s first (and still
only) female winner.
Erica and brother Bobby III are part of one of New England’s
premier racing families. Although Santos’ father and brother
will be racing elsewhere they will be “involved in setting up”
the Breault car. Erica actually followed her brother into NEMA
and has been a contender since joining Breault in ’06.
Breault, a one-time competitor, says getting another win for
Santos is “high priority.”
About to begin her 19th year as a racer, the one-time quarter
midget competitor says last season was “a little disappointing.”
The team started strong and then ran into some mechanical woes
late in the season. Santos and Breault wound up sixth in driver
and owner standings respectively. She had three podium finishes
(including a second at Waterford) and eight top fives (including
one at Monadnock).
Santos, a registered nurse, is among NEMA’s top headliners,
sharing billing with the likes of defending champion Randy
Cabral and veterans Nokie Fornoro, Greg Stoehr, Adam Cantor and
Doug Cleveland and youngsters John Zych Jr. and Jeff Abold. Russ
Stoehr, who returns to the Gene Angelillo #45, is her pick as
the driver to beat.
Stafford and Waterford are her favorite tracks. “There’s lots of
room at Waterford and lots of passing,” she says. Monadnock has
been tough but she’s been gaining on it and says the last run
there was her best yet.
“NEMA gets tougher and more competitive every year because there
is so much good equipment around,” says Santos.
Santos is also driving an SK-Light on Friday nights at Stafford
NUGGETS: How times
flies! There have been 27 NEMA races since Erica Santos won at
Stafford on July 10, 2007…Last year’s championship car - the
Bertrand #47- continues a trend. The last even-number to win the
NEMA owner championship was the #26 of Bruce and Ann Beane
(driven by Russ Stoher) way back in 1997. Before that it was the
Tapply #8 driven by Mike Seymour in 1994. Tapply won again in
’95 but with the No. 1. Since 1998, the Angelillo #45 won seven
titles and the Valeri #17 three…More on Linda and Doug
Cleveland: Their first date was a World of Outlaws event at
Lebanon Valley. Doug also remembers telling his future wife that
if she wanted to meet any of his NEMA buddies at the track she’d
have to do it herself because he would be too busy. She’s done a
|Brockton, MA - Randy Cabral
will be after a second-straight season-opening win when the
Northeastern Midget Association 2009 campaign begins Saturday
night, May 23 at Monadnock Speedway. Amazingly, two-straight
season-opening wins has been done only seven times in NEMA's 57
years, Ben Seitz the last to do it in 2004-05.
Others to accomplish it were Bill Eldridge (1954-55), Dutch
(1959-60), Walt Gale (1966-67), Johnny Coy (1970-71), Armond
Holley (1976-77) and Drew Fornoro (1982-83). Fornoro's six
opening wins top the list followed by Schaefer (4) and Eldridge
(4). Jeff Horn has three.
Monadnock is one of seven tracks on NEMA's 17-stop agenda. Lee
USA, Thompson, Stafford, Seekonk, Waterford, Twin State
(Claremont) and Canaan are also on the schedule. The NEMA Lites
will make 16 stops in 2009.
NEMA again will feature a mix of youth and veterans. The return
of Russ Stoehr in Gene Angelillo's #45 means that three of
NEMA's all-time top-10 winners will be in action this summer.
Stoehr, with 39 victories, sits fourth, three behind Nokie
top two - Drew Fornoro (85) and Dave Humphrey (72) - are far out
front of the field. Defending champion Randy Cabral is tied for
(with Lee Smith) with 21 victories. Ahead of Cabral are Johnny
(29), Bobby Seymour (23), Bill Eldridge (23) and Joe Csiki (22).
The Stoehr brothers will be racing against each other again for
first time in five years. Russ and Greg, in the Circle
Performance Machine-powered #29, are second only to the Fornoro
boys when it comes to brother combinations. They have 47 wins
with the Seymours - Bobby and Mike - in third with 41.
Cabral's eight victories in 17 races last year is tied for
eighth on the
list of "most dominating seasons" in NEMA history. Cabral's
percentage in the Bertrand Motorsports #47 was a lusty
First place belongs to Joe Csiki who "batted" .645 in 1963,
of 17 shows including a record six straight. Two .500 efforts -
Brown (five-of-10 in '61) and Drew Fornoro (eight-for-16 in '83)
tied for second. Nokie Fornoro's .478 (10-of-21 for Mike
'81) is fourth. A trio - Johnny Mann's five-for-11 in '74, Dave
Humphrey's 7-for-15 in '68 and Drew Fornoro's 7-for-15 in '89
fifth with a .450 mark.
Cabral shares eighth with Bobby White who won eight of 15 starts
back in 1979. NEMA's other ". 400 hitters" are Russ Stoehr
(6-for-14, .428) in '97 and Drew Fornoro (eight-for-19, .421) in
Cabral takes a streak of nine straight years (2000-'08) with at
one victory into the '09 season. That ties him with Drew Fornoro
(1982-1990) in that category behind Humphrey's 14 (1966-1980)
and Russ Stoehr's 10 (1993-2002).
Nokie Fornoro has won NEMA features on 14 different tracks, the
leader among active drivers. Russ Stoehr has won on 12. The
all-time leader is Dave Humphrey with 20, one better than Drew
Chris Deritis to
Deiritis will be piloting the Power Point Race Cars #99 in NEMA
competition in 2009. Lou Ciconni Jr. had been watching Chris'
performances in American Three Quarter Midget
Racing Association events and had given Chris a couple of
practice sessions in his full NEMA midget. Upon Lou's
recommendation, Chris and JK of Powerpoint offered the ride in
the #99. Check out some of
Chris' accomplishments at
www.atqmra.org in the Team Risqué #66.
Bent On Improvement
|Brockton, MA -
Basketball was John Zych Jr.’s first love. A standout at
Blackstone-Millville Regional High in Massachusetts and a
two-year letterman at New York’s Lemoyne College, the
25-year old is about to start his third year in the
Northeastern Midget Association.
Happy with a new motor (a Mazda from Circle Performance
Machine) after a test at Seekonk, John and his car-owner
dad, John Sr., are aiming at the season opener May 23 at
Monadnock, MA. “Without any major problems we plan on making
every race,” says Zych.
After five top-10s in 17 starts last year, they’re bent on
improvement. They have set a top 10 finish as a “realistic
goal” in some very heavy company. “With so many good drivers
and so much good equipment in NEMA, everybody is on their
game,” he says.
After a Memorial Day Weekend crash at Monadnock, Zych spent
much of 2008 chasing down problems. The final results – an
11th in the driver standings and 10th for his dad in the
owner standings – was “disappointing.”
Still, he says, “when we were struggling we made a lot of
changes and we learned a lot about the chassis (a Hawk).”
The winner of the last year’s Ralph Miller Memorial Award
for Outstanding and Continuing Perseverance is confident
those lessons are about to pay dividends.
What does Zych, a Sales Representative for Hershey Chocolate
in Syracuse, NY, carry over from basketball? “One of the
things you learn from playing sports is finding out what it
takes to be good, to be competitive,” he answers. “Some
people want it more than others and that’s the difference.”
Zych and his dad were always fans so racing seemed the place
for him to take his competitive urges. “I always wanted to
do it,” he says. “I finally convinced my dad. We went to
Whip City Speedway and found something that looked
affordable for us.” After winning 750cc Rookie of the Year,
he scored his first win in the 1,200s in 2006 and also ran
some in New York State.
They moved to NEMA with a car purchased formally driven by
Greg Stoehr. The transition from dirt to asphalt has been
The car remains in Mendon, MA when John Sr. maintains the
car. Zych has high praise for the help of the Seymours, just
down the road in Marlboro, and Stoehrs.
Monadnock is the first of 17 races on the ’09 NEMA agenda.
drivers have carried an opening-day victory to the NEMA
championship, Randy Cabral the last to do it last year. Two
drivers – Bill Eldridge (1954, ‘58) and Ben Seitz (2004-05)
have done it twice. Others are Armond Holley (1976), Joey
Coy (1991) and Drew Fornoro (1998)…NEMA’s 1984 season-opener
was at Monadnock, Mike Seymour the winner…Star, Thompson and
the late Westboro Speedways each hosted NEMA openers 11
times. Others on the list include Empire Speedway (Menands
NY), Medford (MA) Bowl, Norwood (MA) Arena and Plainville
Stadium (CT), all long gone.
A young Mike
Scrivani Jr. stands behind the tail of the family car in Victory
Lane. Blackie LaMacchia, Mike's Dad and Frank Ferrara
stand behind driver Dave Humphrey.
Looks Back And Ahead
|Mike Scrivani Jr. was only
five but the memories are vivid. The Northeastern Midget
Association president, the son of a New England legend, figures
this is his 50th year of involvement with Midgets.
“I remember sleeping between the gear box and the tool box in
the back of an Oldsmobile station wagon that we towed with,”
Scrivani begins. “We never did get the smell of gear oil out of
that car. It made my mother so mad.”
They traveled all over the east. “Before we used to get to
Danbury, we’d stop at the Fornoro house for something to eat,”
he continues. “That’s’ how long I’ve known Drew and Nokie
Fornoro. They lived on a cul-de-sac and there were rigs all the
way up the road.”
Back in 1981, Fornoro drove a Scrivani-owned car to the
championship, posting 14 podium finishes in 20 starts. Mike Jr.
presently works on Fornoro’s current ride, the Jarret #4.
About to begin his sixth year as president, Scrivani has missed
very little of NEMA’s history. Still one of the most
forward-looking Midget clubs in the country, NEMA kicks off the
2009 campaign at Monadnock Speedway on May 23. It is the first
of 17 races and seven tracks.
Under Scrivani, NEMA has seen its popularity soar along with its
speeds. He’s been a guiding force in bringing new faces into the
club evidenced by the introduction of the NEMA Lites last year.
“I think we are in great shape,” he says. “We’ll be at
established tracks with established competitors.”
With the likes of defending champion Randy Cabral, both Stoehr
brothers, Erica Santos, Adam Cantor, Doug Cleveland, Chris
Leonard and Fornoro all dedicated to strong efforts, 2009 could
be one of the best seasons yet.
Scrivani has seen a lot of
them. By age 13, he was working in earnest on a car that over
the years was driven by Billy Eldridge, Ray Burke, Hank
Williams, Dave Humphrey, Billy Randall. He actually owned his
first car – a Ford 60 – before he had a driver’s license. His
father had sold his car to go Modified racing. “I found out
about it from somebody else. I was so mad I didn’t talk to him
for two or three days. Then he gave me some money and told me to
go buy a car from Wally White.”
It didn’t last long. With Meatball Orlando driving, they won a
heat at Star Speedway before scattering the engine. Mike Sr.
then bought the old car back and for a while they campaigned
both the midget and the modified.
for 34th NEMA Campaign
-Doug Cleveland, about to start his 34th season as a
Northeastern Midget Association competitor, is “one of the old
school guys.” He is currently making ready for NEMA’s 57th
season opener May 23 at Monadnock Speedway.
“If there is a race we’ll try to make it,” continues Sudbury, MA
resident Cleveland, part of a two-car team that includes brother
Brian. “We’re aiming for the opener and see what happens after
Doug and wife Linda, his partner since 1987, are the very
heartbeat of NEMA. Linda, involved as a scorer since 1993, won
the Wen Kelley Memorial Award last year. Cleveland has won
almost all of NEMA’s awards including the Ray Roberts (last
year) and Johnny Thomson (1999) trophies.
Ironically, 1987 was also the year Cleveland became an
owner/driver. He currently campaigns a self-built car powered by
a Mopar engine.
The 51-year old wound up 10th in driver points last summer. A
realist, he proudly sees himself as one of the guys “who would
collect bottles and cans to buy a tire” and defines “a good
night” as “when the car rolls on the trailer and I don’t have to
spend a lot of money fixing it.”
He’s been at it since jumping into a car owned by his late
father Jim and uncle Paul. His car continues to carry the family
number – 87 – and a tribute to his dad and cousin Mark, the
latter driving the car when Doug took other rides. “It is
absolutely important for us to do that,” he says. “Without it,
the young guys wouldn’t have a clue of the club’s history. Truth
is, they wouldn’t be there if wasn’t for guys like them.”
His single win came in Jimmy O’Brien’s car in Quebec (Sanair) in
1977. “They can’t take that away,” he says. “Neither of us had
any money but we pulled it off one night. We beat Bob Cicconi.”
He drove for a number of owners including Ed Czyzewski and Carl
Kibbe before going on his own.
The Clevelands travel with a truck and motor home and gas is a
big part of the yearly expenses that approaches $9,000. It has
to be a “close to the vest” operation. He does not crash a lot,
something he credits to experience more than economics. “I’ve
been doing is so long, I don’t stick my nose where it shouldn’t
be,” he says. Still, he insists, “once the helmet goes on I
don’t think about anything but driving” and he still impresses
himself with “wow moves.”
He is an unabashed cheerleader for NEMA, especially the
willingness to help each other. “It is more so than other
divisions,” says Cleveland, who received engine help from Circle
Performance Machine’s John Andruk last year. “It’s been like
that for as long as I can remember.”
Monadnock is the first of 17 races at eight different tracks on
the ’09 schedule.
a "young" Doug Cleveland in Jim O'Brien's original
"Pink Panther" that won in Canada way back in the day.
(From the O'Brien archives)
NEMA Race Director
will become the Northeastern Midget Association’s Race Director
when the 2009 season begins May 23 at Monadnock Speedway. NEMA
president Mike Scrivani Jr. announced the appointment.
NEMA, which has 17 races on the ’09 schedule, will “introduce”
Roberts at the SpeedwayExpo Feb. 27-Mar. 1 at Eastern States
Exposition in West Springfield, MA.
Race Director was one of the roles Roberts had over the past two
dozen seasons at Waterford Speedbowl. He has been a fan since
growing up watching the Midgets at Hickory Speedway in New
“Bill will be working with the personnel at the tracks we visit
and will have a big role in running our races,” said Scrivani.
“He comes to us with a great reputation of handling people and
Scrivani said NEMA “went without a race director for a while and
we suffered. We stretched ourselves a little too thin during the
races. Billy in the booth and me in infield improves that
“Over the years I’ve gotten to know a lot of the folks in NEMA
and I look forward to meeting many more,” said Roberts, a
one-time flagger. “NEMA is growing. It is a very exciting
division, making many new fans. Everybody wants that to
Scrivani said that NEMA, which will have a number of cars on
hand, will be part of SpeedwayExpo’s salute to Riverside Park.
Bobby and Mike Seymour, each two-time NEMA winners at “The Park”
will be signing autographs.
Between 1966 and 1989 (the final season), NEMA ran 15 events at
Riverside. Keith Botelho, in the Campanale car, won the last
NEMA race at the Park on June 14, 1989. Ray Roberts won the
first on May 30, 1966.
The 2009 NEMA Yearbook will also be on sale at SpeedwayExpo.
For Stoehr Brothers
|Greg and Russ
Stoehr will be Northeastern Midget Association foes again for
the first time since 1994. The sons of Paul Stoehr, they make up
the second winingest brother combination in NEMA history.
When NEMA opens its 57th season May 23 at Monadnock Speedway,
Greg will be in the Mazda-powered #26 that he drove to a pair of
wins in ’08. Over the past two seasons, Greg has won twice at
Russ, back in the seat after five years away, returns to the
Angelillo #45 team. That combination produced nine victories and
three-straight championships (2000-2002). His last win came at
Thompson’s World Series in 2002.
The Bridgewater, MA-based Stoehr brothers are part of NEMA’s
strong “veteran class” that includes Nokie Fornoro, Jeff Horn,
Doug Cleveland and defending champion Randy Cabral, the latter a
winner every year since 2000.
They’ll do battle over a 17-race agenda on eight different
tracks. Russ has won on five of them.
“The theory remains the same; the corners are all in the same
place,” says Russ concerning the layoff. The speeds, however,
are considerably faster – “like a full second at Thompson.”
They’re both championship contenders. “There are things you just
know when you accept that ride,” Russ says of the Angelillo
relationship. Greg hopes to bring acknowledgement to engine
builder Circle Performance Machine.
Still, don’t expect any sizzling sibling rivalry from the
co-owners of Motor Cars International in Bridgewater, MA. It is
home, in fact, for the #26. “We’ve done this before,” says Russ.
The 1993 Thompson World Series remains the greatest brother v.
brother battle in NEMA history, Greg, in the Zahar #38B, passing
Russ, in the Beane #26, on the last lap. “I do owe him for that
one,” says Russ who has not driven since taking a couple rides
Greg, who won twice at Seekonk in ’94, was mostly watching when
Russ won championship No. 2 with Beane in 1997 and three, four
and five with Angelillo. Russ’ first title came at age 26 with
Beane in 1990.
“We worked together well, always communicated well,” remembers
Russ, who replaced Drew Fornoro in the Angelillo car. “We just
jelled and put in all together for three years.”
The relationship with Beane remains close. Russ was very much
involved with Greg’s return. “We decided to use the Mazda engine
Bruce helped to develop,” says Russ. “It is still in the car.”
Last fall, Russ “had no interest” when Angelillo approached him
about driving again. He found himself having second thoughts and
talked it over with wife who responded with “if that’s what you
really want to do, then do it.” He then got back to Angelillo
and informed him
“if the opportunity comes up again…”
He replaces Joey Payne Jr., the guy who replaced him in the
NEMA’s Young Stars
MA - Racing wise, things have always fallen into place
nicely for William Wall. The 2008 Rookie of the Year, the
17-year old is one of the Northeastern Midget Association’s
brightest young stars.
So, when he says he’ll “take things as they come” in 2009,
it’s best to pay attention. NEMA opens its 17-race season
Saturday night, May 23 at Monadnock Speedway.
“We’re going to make as many races as we can,” says Wall.
“We’ll run the tracks we believe we can do well at.” The
team, headed up by father/owner Steve and including older
brother Aaron, runs Autocraft-powered Hawk chassis. Aaron,
three years older, is a student at the University of
The team is “anxious to try some new stuff we’ve thought
about over the winter.”
He was “a little bit surprised” with his first-ever
experience in a midget. Coming from Whip City Speedway – he
was the 270 Micro Sprint Champion in 2007 – it was a
learning process. His three top-fives came later in the
He and his dad wound up seventh in the respective standings.
He had a very impressive fifth-place run at Seekonk’s DAV.
“The hardest things was learning how to communicate back to
the car owner,” says Wall, a junior at Assabet Valley
Technical High School near his Shrewsbury, MA home. “The
Midgets are so technical, so tricky.”
Driver Adam Cantor, “was a real big help all year “ as was
car owner Mike Jarret “who knows the right questions to ask
a driver.” Cantor was part of the great young movement in
2001 that turned NEMA around. Engine builder Mike Seymour
was also a big factor.
William followed Aaron into racing. “Aaron wanted a go-kart
but somebody suggested Quarter Midgets and that’s the way it
went,” he says. The family raced as far away as Indianapolis
and Georgia but was basically mostly at Thompson’s “Little
He moved to Whip City, spending a season in the 250 sprints
before winning 270 Rookie honors two year ago. Still, he
credits the Quarter Midget experience with helping make the
transition to asphalt. “Quarter Midgets are suspension cars
and I could relate that to the full Midgets,” he explains.
It took a couple races to control the higher speeds
(“Thompson is where you really feel it”) that have become
Studying welding, William “hopes to advance” as a race
driver but would also find satisfaction in a career working
Mike Seymour, Jeff Abold, Ellie Seymour, & Bobby Seymour.
NEMA’s Young Drivers
|Over the winter of 2000-01,
Bobby Seymour was at the forefront of an effort to make the
Northeastern Midget Association “more friendly” to younger
drivers. The minimum age for drivers was lowered considerably.
“It was a must,” says Seymour, “one of those things that had to
be done.” Young drivers, he says, had “a lot of different
avenues” coming out of go-karts and NEMA was not one of them. We
had to change or lose them.”
Bobby Santos III and Adam Cantor are products of that move.
The list continues with teenagers William Wall, the 2008 Rookie
of the Year, and Jeff Abold, 20, a winner last year at Seekonk
in the Seymour #29. “Actually, there are great young drivers all
over the place,” insists Seymour, adding “there are three or
four ready to move up from NEMA Lites.”
The Lites produced several candidates including Jake and P.J.
Stergios, Anthony Marvuglio, Todd Bertrand and Jesse State.
Aaron Wall is another hopeful. “Economics is a factor right
now,” Seymour says, “but they’re ready.”
The 58th NEMA season opens Saturday night May 23 at Monadnock
Speedway, the first of 17 dates on seven tracks. The NEMA Lites
second season begins Friday night, June 5 at Seekonk Speedway,
the first of 14 events. Seymour predicts an average field of
15-to-16 cars for the Lites this summer.
Veterans – defending champ Randy Cabral, Greg and Russ Stoehr,
Nokie Fornoro, Erica Santos, Doug Cleveland – are still the
lifeblood of NEMA. The club, however, continues to make room for
youth and the combination, suggests Seymour, “makes NEMA as good
as any regional series in the country” with at least
10-potential winners every race.
Wall, who finished seventh in points last season, plans on a
full-time ’09 assault in the family-owned #5. Last season was
the first time on asphalt for the Whip City Speedway product who
had three top fives. Abold will be very busy as well, his dance
card including not only NEMA but ISMA and some USAC Midget
dates. The second-generation driver had three podium finishes -
all at Seekonk.
Seymour remains a big supporter of the program, and hopes for
more recognition for the Lites in ’09. “My kids run Little T
(Thompson) so I’m there a lot,” he says. “I watch these kids 13,
14, 15 and marvel at what they’re capable of. They are very
Abold and Wall came to NEMA with plenty of experience in Quarter
Midgets and Go Karts.
“When you asked the young kids ‘where are you going to race
next?’ you would hear everything but midgets.” The cost of
motors and tires made the move to NEMA very difficult if not
impossible. The Lites, using Ford Focus or Oldsmobile Quad 4
engines, take aim at reducing those costs.
HERE AND THERE: Bobby Seymour was 21 when he drove a Midget for
the first time. Brother Mike was 23. For many years, drivers
didn’t get into Midgets until their late teens and early 20s and
that includes the greats…There has been at least one “first
time” winner in NEMA every year since 2001. The list includes
Ryan Dolan, Kyle Carpenter, Bobby Santos, Adam Cantor and Jeff
Abold. Although they were teenagers when they did it, they came
to NEMA with a lot of Quarter Midget and Go Kart experience…
As Voice of NEMA
|Brockton, MA - Pete Falconi,
the voice of the Northeastern Midget Association, remembers
being “a little scared” watching the Midgets at his family’s
Westboro Speedway. “As a young kid, they looked so dangerous,
you were almost afraid to watch them. You were afraid of what
He, of course, has conquered that “fear.” Falconi, 54, will
start his seventh season as NEMA’s announcer when the club opens
the 2009 season Saturday, May 23 at Monadnock Speedway.
“I enjoy the camaraderie in NEMA,” says the son of New England
Auto Racers Hall of Famer John Falconi. “The racing is, of
course, very exciting and I really love getting around to all
the different tracks. I enjoy seeing the different divisions of
NEMA, facing a 17-race schedule in ’09, will visit seven
different tracks. Ever-increasing speed has made NEMA a sought
after attraction. “Places like Waterford and Seekonk are so
fast,” Falconi says. “You look down and there’s only two or
three laps left. You’re amazed.”
It is also a never-ending challenge for Falconi.
“You have to get into the rhythm,” continues Falconi. “Stock
cars are a little more predictable. You have to follow Midgets
all the way around. Still, usually more happens than I can get
on the microphone.”
Sometimes, he “can see things shaping up,” the result of
“learning more about the drivers and the moves they like to
make.” Long-time NEMA competitors Mike and Bobby Seymour, he
says, were instrumental in his becoming a Midget announcer.
Part of New Hampshire International Speedway’s Sprint Cup
weekends for the past 10 years, Falconi had “stationary jobs at
Stafford Motor Speedway in the 1970s and at Lee USA in the 80s.
While he admits to being “raised on the stock car side of
things,” he was hardly a stranger to the Midgets in general and
NEMA in particular.
His father, a one-time car owner, moved into promotion at
Westboro (before owning it), Thompson and West Peabody. Pete
watched a lot of NEMA history including Dave Humphrey’s
exploits, Jerry Wall’s storied Yellow jacket and the Rollie
Lindblad-inspired Badger era. “I was at Westboro from the 1960s
until the place closed in 1985,” he says.
He remembers Nokie Fornoro dominating in the Scrivani car in the
early 80s. “I don’t think Nokie has lost a step,” says Falconi.
“He hasn’t lost a thing and what is amazing is the kids have
come up to run with him and guys like Joey Payne.” He is “very
impressed” with youngster Jeff Abold (“he just sort of glides
getting it done”). Defending champion Randy Cabral, Bobby and
Erica Santos, Adam Cantor fit “nicely” between them. He is
“looking forward” to battles between Greg and Russ Stoehr, the
latter back in Gene Angelillo’s #45.
The future for Midgets is “golden.” They have become a
stepping-stone thanks to the likes of Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart
and Ryan Newman. He is a big supporter of the NEMA Lites
pointing out “kids are now coming out of quarter midgets and go
karts, turning 16 and moving into Midgets. I think the Midgets
have as strong a future as any division anywhere.”
"SHANE RACE FOR FUN" - NOV. 29th
Jenn Jaffres Kodak Gallery of F1
|Thank you one and all for
participating in the First Annual Shane Race for Fun last month
at F1. It was a huge success. I learned that many of us are
procrastinators as I only had 35 racers 10 days prior to the
event. The word got out and WOW did things change in a hurry, 88
racers suited up. There were laughs, racing, billiards, food,
conversation with old and new friends & last but not least -
penalties ....gee didn't those flagmen know we are
I need to thank all those who
volunteered there time, efforts & materials & those who donated
raffle items. To my friends & family , thanks for putting up
with me getting this first event underway.
As promised at F1 to
keep the fun going the details for the next event:
NEMA Announces 17-Race ’09 Agenda
|The Northeastern Midget
Association heads into its 58th season with a 17-race campaign
that includes several “traditional” stops. NEMA, which dates
back to 1953, is one of the oldest Midget sanctioning bodies in
The winged wonders will open the 2009 campaign on Saturday
night, May 23 at New Hampshire’s Monadnock Speedway, one of
three stops for the New Hampshire quarter-mile. The agenda also
includes traditional venues Thompson and Stafford Speedways and
Waterford Speedbowl in Connecticut, Massachusetts’ Seekonk
Speedway and Lee USA Speedway in the Granite State.
Twin State Speedway and Canaan Fair Speedway are on the schedule
as well. It will be NEMA’s first visit to the third-mile Canaan
since 2002. Lee and Canaan share the Sept. 18-19
“We believe we have a solid, well-spaced schedule considering
the economy,” said NEMA President Mike Scrivani Jr. “These are
good Midget tracks. Guys know what they’re doing.
NEMA will share dates with the International Supermodified
Association (ISMA), True Value Modified Series (TVMS) and
American Canadian Tour (ACT) over the season.
The NEMA Lites division returns for its second campaign with a
13-race schedule that begins Friday night, June 5 at Seekonk.
The busy schedule includes Stafford’s Carquest Extreme Tuesday
(July 7), Seekonk’s Boston Louie (Aug. 8), Waterford’s Wings &
Wheels (Aug. 15), Twin State’s Open Wheel Sunday (Oct. 4),
Seekonk’s DAV (Oct. 11-12) and Thompson’s World Series (Oct.
The NEMA Lites, coming off a very successful inaugural effort,
faces a schedule made up of third and quarter miles. NEMA
expects as many as a half dozen new teams will join the Lites
Lee’s season-ending October fest (Oct. 24-25) remains tentative
for both NEMA and the Lites.
2009 NEMA SCHEDULE - Table Here
NEMA LITES SCHEDULE - Table Here
|Wolcott, CT –
Joey Payne Jr. is out of Gene Angelillo’s #45 Northeastern
Midget Association car. Russ Stoehr, one of the club’s all-time
winners, is back in.
“It is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do,” says New
Jersey resident Payne who won 15 races and a championship (2003)
over the past five year’s in Angelillo equipment. “I’ve known
Gene almost my whole life. He’s like family but NEMA’s midweek
shows have presented me with a very difficult economic
situation. It is the right decision for me.”
Bay Stater Stoehr, who won three straight (2000-2002)
championships and nine features with Angelillo, will be back in
the #45 when NEMA opens its 57th season Saturday night, May 23
at Monadnock Speedway.
Payne, who will be driving the Pat Strong #99 Supermodified at
Oswego this year, pointed out his two sons, both racers, and
daughter, a softball standout, “deserve more of my time as
well.” He does hope to grab a Midget ride now and again.
“I hate to lose Joey but I completely understand his situation,”
says Angelillo, NEMA’s all-time winner with over 100 features.
“It is a matter of priorities for him. We’ll miss him.”
Payne was aboard in Angelillo’s 100th win at Thompson on Oct.
15, 2000. Stoehr, in a second Angelillo car, was second.
Stoehr’s last victory – July 4th, 2002 at Thompson (his 39th
NEMA win) – came in Angelillo’s car. He all but left the
driver’s seat at the end of that year and over the past couple
of years has been listed as the crew chief of brother Greg
“Having Russ back is exciting,” continued Angelillo. “He clearly
is one of NEMA’s best as both a driver and mechanic. We’ve had a
lot of success together and we’ve looking forward to more.”
Dave Humphrey with
John McCarthy and Don Mandarosian
NEMA’s Dave Humphrey Earns
Midget Hall of Fame Spot
|Six time Northeastern
Midget Association champion Dave Humphrey has been elected to
the National Midget Hall of Fame. He will be inducted with Phil
Walters (aka Ted Tappett), Jeff Gordon and Kevin Doty.
The introduction will be Jan. 10 as part of the pre-race
ceremonies at the Chili Bowl Nationals in Tulsa, OK. The Midget
Hall of Fame is located at Angell Park Speedway in Sun Prairie,
Humphrey, a member of the New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame,
ranks second in all-time NEMA victories with 72. Driving for,
among others, Bob Pascale, Mike Scrivani and John McCarthy, he
was a NEMA standout for over two decades. Prior to NEMA, he was
successful in stock cars and sprint cars.
Fittingly, Humphrey’s first (July 5, 1965) and last (Oct. 12,
1986) NEMA wins came at Seekonk Speedway.
Long Islander Walters took the name “Ted Tappett” when he began
Midget racing before World War II. After the war, he was an ARDC
standout before spending a brief but very successful time in
stock cars. As Phil Walters, he moved up to sports cars with
Briggs Cunningham running all over the world.
Humphrey joins a group with impressive NEMA credentials
including Ken Breen Sr., Johnny Coy and Dutch Schaefer. He and
Tappett bolster the northeastern representation that includes
Johnny Thomson and Joe Sostillo. Both raced with the Bay State
Cub in the 40s and early 50s before going on to national fame.