Waterford, CT – Avery Stoehr showed a flair for the dramatic in winning the 27-lap Lites feature at the Northeastern Midget Association’s Shane Hammond Memorial Saturday night at Waterford Speedowl. His first victory left everybody gasping.
Stoehr, 16, didn’t secure the lead until after going under the white flag. He got under RJ Tufano, the only other leader, coming out of four. Heading into one, he drove the family 15b between a lapped car on the bottom and Tufano to take command.
“I saw the hole. We had just gone past the white flag and if I didn’t do it, I wasn’t going to pull it off,” explained Stoehr who went on to be Tufano by a second and a half. Ian Cumens (Seymour 9), Dylan Duhaime (Duhaime 57) and Stoehr’s cousin Bethany (Stoehr 26b) completed the top five.
Tufano had a commanding lead when caution flew with eight laps remaining. It was at that point Stoehr, the son of six-time NEMA champ Russ, noticed Tufano’s badly blistered right rear. Still, on the restart, Stoehr dropped back and then closed in a rush over the final three laps.
“Use your head and pass cars,” was the advice he got from his father.
A Lites rookie, Stoher was quick to admit the caution helped. “I don’t think I was ever going to catch him,” he said. “I saw [Tufano] get loose a couple times but catching him was not going to happen.”
While Tufano jumped into a commanding lead, Stoehr, who started eighth, was doing battle with fellow third generation driver Lanson Fornoro (Scrivani 21). When Stoehr cleared Fornoro coming out of four with 17 laps remaining, Tufano was almost a half-lap in front and already in heavy traffic.
“Didn’t want to see that caution,” said Tufano. “I knew the car was going away.”
While a broken panhard bar ended a great run for Fornoro, Randy Cabral, a Lites winner at Star, was now a factor. Driving the family car, Cabral had come from the 13th starting spot. Ian Cumens (Seymour 9) was there as well. Cumens started 15th.
Tufano, despite the tire problem, got a great restart. Cabral’s car, however, “went away” and it was Cumens who wound up with the best view of Stoehr’s memorable pass.
Testimony to Tufano’s early dominance: he recorded the fastest feature lap, a 13.893. It was the only sub 14 seconds circuit.
It was the third points race for the Lites. Point leader Carl Medeiros Jr. was seventh behind Cabral at the checkered.
The car Stoehr drove, wrenched by Carl Kibbe, won at Waterford last year with Keith Botelho driving. Kibbe remains the crew chief.
NEMA LITES – Shane Memorial – 8/18/12
Pos. # Driver Hometown Owner
1 15b Avery Stoehr Lakeville, MA MC Racing LLC/Russ Stoehr
2 39 R. J. Tufano West Haven, CT R. J. Tufano
3 9 Ian Cumens Lydell, PA Bobby Seymour
4 57 Dylan Duhaime Loudon, NH Shawn Duhaime
5 26b Bethany Stoehr Bridgewater, MA MCI Racing/Greg Stoehr
6 35 Randy Cabral Plymouth, MA Glen Cabral
7 50 Carl Medeiros, Jr. Westport, MA Carl Medeiros
8 93 Jake Smith Stroudsburg, PA Ted Smith
9 51 Danny Cugini Marshfield, MA D. Cugini
10 45 Brandon Igo Wilbraham, MA David Igo
11 31 Paul Bigelow Berlin, CT Randy Bigelow
12 33b Scott Bigelow E. Hampton, CT Randy Bigelow
13 13 Ryan Bigelow E. Hampton, CT Randy Bigelow
14 46 Kenny Johnson Bethany, CT Jeff Johnson
15 4 Logan Rayvals Brockville, ONT Paul Scally
16 28 Paul Luggelle Holbrook, MA Paul Luggelle
17 DNF 21 Lanson Fornoro Stroudsburg, PA Jennifer Scrivani
Sources: Pete Zanardi/NEMA PR