Thompson, CT – Taking control on a lap 16 restart, Nokie Fornoro captured the 25-lap Northeastern Midget Association feature Sunday at Thompson Speedway’s World Series.
The Marvin Rifchin Trophy Race was the final outing for Fornoro’s owner Mike Jarret. The season finale, it was the 110th career Midget victory for Fornoro, 45 of them in NEMA including three this year.
A second straight driving championship all but secured going in, five-time winner Randy Cabral gave Tim Bertrand his second straight owners title with a third place finish. Bertrand finished with a four-point bulge on Jarret.
Fornoro beat leader Jeff Horn into the first turn on the restart. Cabral secured third on the restart as well, falling in behind Horn. The top three ran to the checkered followed by Cabral’s teammate Cole Carter (Bertrand 39) and Jimmy Miller (Miller 3m).
“It is an emotional win,” said Fornoro, pointing out his relationship with Jarrett “is a lot deeper than a owner/driver thing. I wanted this for him.” He said he was ”focused” on “getting the car to run the way I like it here. You have to go really hard in the corner to make it turn right.”
“You live by the yellow and you die by the yellow,” offered Horn who had a half-a-straightaway advantage when yellowed appeared. Running hot, he said the car “bogged down on the restart. I was a dead beat. It came back but it was too late.”
Fornoro, who was also having motor problems (“there was smoke in the cockpit”) said he was not happy with the yellow either. In the end, he added, it came down to just how fast the restart would be. It was pretty fast and I just took it in very hard. The car was set up for the middle and the top.”
“It was the only time I went into one and the car actually stuck,” said Cabral on the pass for third that wound up giving Bertrand the owner crown. “Once I realized how bad my car was and how good he was, I knew I had to keep Nokie in view.”
Horn was the second leader. Russ Stoehr (Angelillo 45), who started sixth, had the lead before the race was a lap old. Stopped by a broken hose clamp, he gave up the lead to Horn on lap seven, the latter jumping out to a sizable lead.
Boxed in early, Fornoro actually dropped back from his seventh starting spot. “Once I got it up the race track I knew I could catch Russ and Jeff,” he said. It didn’t take him long to realize “I had the best car.”
After a spirited three-lap battle with Miller, Fornoro moved into second on lap 12.
He confident he’d catch Horn “maybe with two or three laps left.”
RESULTS: 1. Nokie Fornoro, 2. Jeff Horn, 3. Randy Cabral, 4. Cole Carter, 5. Jim Miller, 6. Mike Horn, 7. Chris DeRitis, 8.. Rich Gerbe, 9. Abby Martino, 10. John Zych Jr., 11. Lee Bundy, 12. Erica Santos, 13. Russ Stoehr, 14. Adam Cantor, 15. Lanson Fornoro, 16. Corey Cleary, 17. Bobby Santos III, 28. Doug Cleveland.
Sources: Pete Zanardi/NEMA PR