Archive for April 19th, 2012

Jim Miller Looks Ahead to NEMA Birthday Race

Brockton, MA – History, especially Northeastern Midget Association history, is not lost on Jim Miller of Weymouth, MA. Indeed, he looks toward NEMA’s Diamond Anniversary celebration Saturday night, May 12 with great anticipation.

In addition to 60 feature laps – 30 apiece for the full Midgets and the Lites, NEMA president Mike Scrivani Jr. is rounding up a strong cast of characters that have helped to make NEMA New England’s oldest sanctioning body. The club began in 1953.

It will also be the Marvin Rifchin Trophy race. “A victory in this one will be huge,” says Miller, a competitor since 1986 when he went into battle with a Chevy II-powered Bob Higman “half bar.” His NEMA history actually goes back to the early 1980s when he “helped out” on his uncle John Lane’s team.

The Speedbowl is a special spot for Miller. He scored his first victory there in 1999, an event that remains vivid for him. “It was one of those nights,” he recalls. “I got out front quickly. I was looking all over for shadows, trying to determine if anybody was around me.” He drove a Gaerte-powered Beast Chassis he had purchased from Russ Stoehr.

Miller joins a sizable number in the Speedbowl NEMA winners club. Randy Cabral and Russ Stoehr have 15 Waterford wins between them. Cabral and Stoehr were second and third behind John Zych Jr. at this year’s Blast Off. Joey Payne, Todd Bertrand, Adam Cantor, Jeff Horn, Barry Kittredge, Chris Leonard and Greg Stoehr, all likely entries, have also won at Waterford.

He joins a chorus that sings praises to the Speedbowl – “one of the best Midget tracks in the East” –and says speeds in the 12 second bracket are “absolutely probable.” Because it’s a difficult place to play catch up, hammer down is the only acceptable strategy. “Lately,” he says, “there’s a surprise every time we go there.”

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