NEMA Hammond Honors to Botelho

Waterford, CT –Keith Botelho won the 27-lap Northeastern Midget Association’ second annual Shane Hammond Memorial Race Saturday night at Waterford Speedbowl. Beating back a restart challenge from Russ Stoehr with five laps left was the only challenge for Botelho who led every lap.

“Just when I think I’m getting too old for this,” said the 48-year old Botelho whose No. 25 is owned by Russ and Greg Stoehr. Point leader Stoehr (Dumo’s Desire 45), Randy Cabral (Bertrand 47), Todd Bertrand (Bertrand 39) and Jeremy Frankoski (Canton 7ny) completed the top five.

Andy Barrows won the 27-lap Lites feature.

“This is a big one,” offered Botelho, a close friend of Hammond who passed away following a crash at Thompson Speedway three years ago.

Botelho, who credited crew Carl and Curt Kibbe with the win, was in command immediately. The apparent romp ended when Paul Scally (Scally 30), running second, lost a radiator hose. Mike Horn(Horn 93x), in third, spun in the water, ending up in the second turn wall.

“When the caution came out and the 45 and 47 are behind you, you don’t expect to win the race,” continued Botelho. Still, he “prayed that the right rear had six laps left” and “took two turns out of the weight jacker to tighten up the car.” He then got an impressive jump on the single-file restart.

“If I could have got up to the outside, maybe I had something for him,” said Stoehr, last year’s Hammond Memorial winner. “Keith moved up to check the spot. He did what I would have done. I’m happy for them.”

“Maybe I’ll get fired,” joked Cabral after passing teammate Todd Bertrand on the final lap to make the podium.

Stoehr and Botelho were the heat winners. “We were good in the heat but I didn’t expect to get away like we did in the feature,” said Botelho who had the fastest feature lap (13.201). “Credit Carl and Curt with this win.”

It was the fifth career win for Botelho. The No. 25 team captured last fall’s DAV at Seekonk.

The suddenly busy NEMA heads to Twin State Speedway Saturday night with five winners in the last five races.

NEMA NUGGETS – Botelho’s car is powered by Gaerte motor that Russ Stoehr has owned since 1991…Deb Marvuglio’s efforts again made it a memorable evening. It is already a coveted win for NEMA competitors…It was a heartbreaking night for both Scally and Horn who appeared to be headed for podium spots before the incident. It was Scally’s best run of the season…Randy Cabral’s 13.258 was the second fastest feature lap and it came after the caution. He also had the quickest heat lap (13.418)…Greg Stoehr, who came into the race second in points, was involved in the caution-producing incident and wound up seventh…

RESULTS: 1. Keith Botelho, 2. Russ Stoehr, 3. Randy Cabral, 4. Todd Bertrand, 5. Jeremy Frankoski, 6. B.J. MacDonald, 7. Greg Stoehr, 8. Anthony Nocella, 9. Chris Leonard, 10. Lee Bundy, 11. Matt O’Brien, 12. Paul Scally, 13. Mike Horn, 14. Erica Santos,, 15. John Zych.

Sources: Pete Zanardi/NEMA PR