Waterford, CT — Russ Stoehr won Saturday evening’s 25-lap Northeastern Midget Association feature at the Waterford Speedbowl. It was the 4th feature victory of the season for the 6-time NEMA champion.
Commanding the outside lane, Stoehr passed pole-sitter Doug Cleveland and second-place Chris DeRitis in dramatic fashion to take the lead on the second-lap. The yellow flew only 2-circuits later when former champion Joey Pane wheeling the Ed Breault-owned #44 recently vacated by Erica Santos abruptly drove into the infield coming to a halt.
Moving into second on the restart, point leader Randy Cabral appeared to mount a serious challenge to Stoehr by lap-6 but suddenly slowed, his car momentarily loosing power.
Rounding-out the top-3 at halfway was Stoehr, DeRitis, and “Liquid Lou” Cicconi (making his first NEMA start of the year).
In the closing circuits, DeRitis seemed to be reeling-in the leader, but it was not to be as Stoehr prevailed by two car-lengths at the finish. Cicconi maintained the third-spot. Completing the top-5 were Jeff Abold and Ben Seitz. Point-leader Cabral rallied to an 8th-place finish.
“My guys told me that DeRitis was really-good on the bottom. Getting into the lead early and staying low was key to winning tonight,” said Stoehr in victory lane. “As-usual the crew gave me a great car. This win is dedicated to Nancy Gainnini who is presently seriously ill. Nancy is the wife of our longtime crewmember and close friend Jackie who is one of the people that makes all of this possible for the team.”
Runner-up DiRitis who pressured the winner for a period in the closing circuits admitted to “using-up his tires.” We might have had something for Russ in the end, but he was really, really-fast. It took its toll on my tires trying to reel-him-in. I just used the fronts-up during the last laps.”
Third-pace Cicconi was also quick to praise the efforts of his crew, and did-so in his typically-understated style. Stated the popular veteran racer; “This is the first-time I’ve raced with NEMA since last-year, and I had a great car. It drove just like a Cadillac. The crew did a super job.”
Winning qualifying heats were DeRitis and Russ Stoehr.
In NEMA Lites action, it was Anthony Nocella notching his 4th feature of the season in convincing fashion. Otherwise a quick and trouble-free event, it was marred by a red-flag period on lap-15 when the top-5 cars of Christian Briggs and Kenney Johnson tangled in spectacular fashion, the Briggs machine landing on its side. He was uninjured.
Completing the top-5 was Carl Medeiros Jr., Bethany Stoehr, Joe Mucciacciaro, and Brandon Igo.
Briggs & Igo were the Lites heat winners.
NEMA next sees action at Seekonk Speedway’s DAV Memorial Festival of Racing on the weekend of October 8-9. For more information, visit www.nemaracing.com
NEMA (25); 1. Russ Stoehr, 2. Chris DeRitis, 3. Lou Cicconi, 4. Jeff Abold, 5. Ben Seitz, 6. Greg Stoehr, 7. Todd Betrand, 8. Randy Cabral, 9. Doug Cleveland, 10. Joey Payne, 11. John Zych Jr., 12. Paul Scally, 13. Ryan Bigelow, 14. James SantaMaria.
NEMA LITES (25); 1. Anthony Nocella, 2. Carl Medeiros, Jr., 3. Bethany Stoehr, 4. Joe Mucciacciaro, 5. Brandon Igo, 6. Ian Cummings, 7. Andy Barrows, 8. Kenny Johnson, 9. Paul Luggelle, 10. Seth Carlson, 11. Anthony Marvuglio, 12. Josh Parker, 13. Howie Bumpus.
Sources: NEMA PR