NEMA Heads to Thompson; Rifchin Trophy the Spoils

Brockton, MA — The Northeastern Midget Association returns to Thompson Speedway Thursday night, July 2 with some added incentive. The winner will go home with the Marvin Rifchin Trophy.

Rifchin, owner of M&H Tire, died on June 3 at age 94. “Considering how many lives Marvin touched,” said NEMA President Mike Scrivani Jr., “everybody wants this trophy. It is a beautiful piece of hardware.”

Defending champions Randy Cabral (driver) and Tim Bertrand (owner), undefeated in two races this year, head NEMA’s strongest field in recent memory. Cabral’s seven career wins, including the last three in Bertrand’s #47, tops NEMA’s Thompson win list.

“You can’t take anything for granted, especially at Thompson,” says Cabral, coming off a win last Friday night at Lee USA Speedway. “Usually, the track favors the veterans but nothing is guaranteed. Everybody goes to Thompson prepared.”

The five-eighths Thompson is the fastest stop for NEMA. “You come prepared to go fast,” says four-time Thompson winner Nokie Fornoro (Jarret 4). “You don’t ever forget winning one at Thompson.”

It will mark the first time since 1993 that the Stoehr brothers will be running against each other at Thompson. Greg, now driving the Mazda-powered 26b, beat brother Russ by inches back then. Russ, coming off a strong third at Lee in the Angelillo 45, has three Thompson wins.

Another set of brothers – William and Aaron Wall – are definite threats to collect their first-ever Thompson win.  Mike Keeler and Adam Cantor are strong possibilities as well. Both have been very impressive so far, Keeler in TSR #63 and Cantor in the family-owned 7ny.

Among the other crowd favorites are Erica Santos in the Ed Breault 44, Jim Miller in the 3M and Doug Cleveland in the familiar #87.

Thompson’s Midget history is without parallel in the northeast. It is the perfect place to honor Rifchin whose M&H Tires contributed immensely to Midget racing’s development and safety over five decades.  

“We want to thank Thompson promoter Don Hoenig for his participation in honoring Marvin,” said NEMA president Mike Scrivani Jr. “Marvin’s generosity not only with his product but with his time and expertise has made NEMA a better organization.”

NEMA Winners at Thompson
First – Dutch Schaefer, 1960
Last – Randy Cabral, 2008

No.      Driver                          First     Last
7          Randy Cabral              2001    2008
6          Johnny Mann              1972    1978
5          Drew Fornoro             1985    2003
4          Johnny Coy Sr.                       1969    1981
4          Nokie Fornoro             1982    2005
4          Armond Holley                       1976    1977
3          Bob Cicconi                1978    1987
3          Ben Seitz                     2005    2007
3          Russ Stoehr                 1994    2002
2          Mark Buonomo                       2001    2004
2          Dave Humphrey          1970    1971
2          Russ Klar                    1969    1972
2          Hank Rogers               1980    1980
2          Bobby White               1979    1979

One-time Thompson winners: Gene Bergin (1969), Lennie Boyd (1979), Kyle Carpenter (2002), Joey Coy (1992), Johnny Coy Jr. (1981), Ryan Dolan (2002), Leigh Earnshaw (1979), Ronnie Evans (1970), Mike Favulli (1989), George Ferguson Jr. (1978), Walt Gale (1968), George Monsen (1978), Joey Payne Jr. (2000), Bobby Santos III (2003), Dutch Schaefer (1960), Greg Stoehr (1993), Butch Walsh (1986), Hank Williams (1960).