Brockton, MA – Commonly called “the best Midget track in the East,” Waterford Speedbowl’s Budweiser Blast Off is a fitting venue to inaugurate the Northeastern Midget Association’s 60th consecutive season. Both NEMA and the NEMA Lites are on the busy two-day agenda.
The Lites kicks off its fifth season with a 25-lap feature on Saturday night. The NEMA “full midgets” 25-lapper is on the Sunday agenda. Both divisions will qualify Saturday afternoon.
Defending champion Randy Cabral, NEMA’s all-time Speedbowl win leader with eight, leads the club into the weekend. Among the top challengers are Todd Bertrand, Cabral’s Bertrand Motorsports teammate, and Russ Stoehr (Dumo’s Desire) who won twice at Waterford last year and has missed the podium only once in the last 10 NEMA Speedbowl visits.
Anthony Nocella and Ian Cumens, teammates on the Seymour team, head up what is expected to be a bumper field for the Lites feature.
“Everybody seems to be at their best at the Speedbowl,” explains Stoehr. “Often, you look back and find the best you did all season was at Waterford.” Cabral “starts getting excited early in the weeks we come to the Speedbowl.”
It is the track’s “geography,” says Bobby Seymour who has enjoyed great success there as both a driver and owner. “Size, shape, surface, distance,” are all factors in the low 13 seconds runs on the third mile.
Sunday’s field could have a number of competitors who have won at Waterford in the past including Adam Cantor, who is moving back in the driver’s seat of the 7ny after a year away and veteran Joey Payne who’ll be piloting the Breault 44 this season. Others on that list include Barry Kittredge, Greg Stoehr, Jim Miller and Chris Leonard.
The rookie battle begins as well with Anthony Marvuglio, Seth Carlson and Jim Santa Maria all contenders, Marvuglio driving for Chris Derosiers. All, incidentally, are Lites graduates.
Paul and Ryan Bigelow, Bethany Stoehr, Andy Barrows, Christian Briggs, Jake Sturgis, Brandon Igo, Kenny Johnson, Carl Medeiros and Jack Smith are Lites probables. Avery Stoehr, Russ’ son, is among the newcomers.
NEMA NUGGETS – This is the sixth time since 2004 NEMA has opened its season at the Speedbowl…While he is the all-time leader, Cabral’s last Waterford win came in 2008… Four different sets of brothers are on the Waterford win list – Drew and Nokie Fornoro, Mike and Bobby Seymour, Greg and Russ Stoehr and Tim and Todd Bertrand…Dangerous Paul Scally comes to Blast Off filled with optimism based on his career-high fourth in last year’s Angelillo Memorial…Joey Mucciacciaro will drive Scally’s #4 Lites car.
Sources: Pete Zanardi/NEMA PR