OXFORD, ME — The young talent of the Northeastern Midget Association were fast and in charge Saturday night at Oxford Plains Speedway. The NEMA midgets returned to the Maine oval for the first time in several years as part of the track’s historic “250 Weekend.” Eighteen year old Avery Stoehr of Lakeville, MA won the NEMA main and 22 year old Jake Smith of Stroudsburg, PA took the checkers in the Lites feature. Both drivers had a straightaway lead at one point during their romp to victory. Both received the Marvin Rifkin Trophy for winning the race named for the late owner and operator of M & H Tire, honored for his endless support of NEMA and its competitors throughout the club’s long history.
Stoehr came from his third starting spot to get around early leader Paul Scally within the first five laps. Scally was left to battle Avery’s cousin Bethany Stoehr for the second spot. It wasn’t long before Randy Cabral had sliced his way through the field from his eighth starting position and began to reel in the leaders. Cabral had been the fastest in practice turning the track at 13.4 and was again setting a blistering pace with a feature fast lap of 13.7. The caution waved at lap 11 when Scally slowed on the track with brake problems ending his promising run. This set up a side by side restart between Stoehr and Cabral, with Stoehr getting the jump at the green. Cabral gave chase, but a misfiring engine a few laps later allowed Stoehr to get away and cruise to his second victory of the season. Cabral held on for second, followed by Bethany Stoehr, Jim Chambers and Todd Bertrand rounding out the top five. Paul Scally and Jim Chambers were qualifying heat winners. Avery Stoehr’s feature win keeps the top of the point battle tight between he and Cabral heading into the next event at Seekonk on Wednesday.
Jake Smith notched his first ever NEMA Lite victory by dominating their portion of night’s action. Smith came from his third starting spot to battle double-duty driver Randy Cabral in the early stages. He was able to clear Cabral within a lap and set sail on a torrid pace, leading better than a straightaway over Cabral. Danny Cugini caught and passed Cabral for second in the late stages of the 25 lap main. Cabral held on for third, followed by Kevin Hutchins and Matt Swanson. Smith and Ryan Krachun were heat winners. In victory lane, Smith thanked his parents who make the long tow from Pennsylvania and crew for him at the NEMA Lite events.