Story By: TIM BERTRAND / NEMA – THOMPSON, CT – It was a busy week for the Northeastern Midget Association, as the Lites visited Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park this past Wednesday night, with Danny Cugini taking down the win.
On Saturday, NEMA visited Bobby Webber’s Star Speedway for the Annual Butch Walsh Memorial. It was Randy Cabral taking down his second Walsh Memorial in a row in front of a strong NEMA field, with Ryan Locke ending weeks of heart break to capture his first Lites win of the season.
On Wednesday evening at Thompson, Avery Stoehr jumped out into an early lead from his third starting spot. It appeared as if Stoehr was going to run away and hide in the feature event, as he had stretched his lead out to nearly a half straightway at the halfway point, when Danny Cugini broke free of traffic.
A restart with twelve laps remaining bunched up the field, and on the restart Cugini blasted out into the lead. Further behind him, Stoehr’s car started to fade, and Randy Cabral started working his way to the front with Seth Carlson in tow. As the laps wound down, Carlson, who came from the last starting spot, worked his way by Cabral, but Cugini had set sail. Carlson would finish second, followed by Cabral, Stoehr, Meg Cugini, Ben Mikitarian, Kyle Valeri, Jim Cataldo, Richie Coy and John Zych.
“We had a really fast car right out of the trailer. The team is getting better at fine tuning a changing track conditions and i feel like we got a great handle on it. In the feature i knew the 21 would be strong as well as the 35. We had a great restart, the 21 beat us into the corner and our car was just hooked up through the center. It was a great run,” said Cugini.
At Star Speedway on Saturday, Alan Chambers jumped out into an early lead from the front row, but quickly was pursued by brother, Jim. A restart on lap three saw Randy Cabral, who started deep in the field, line up fourth. When the green flag flew, Cabral took the high line around the outside of Jim Chambers, and then around brother, Alan a lap later.
Two single file restarts with under five laps to go, gave Chambers another shot at Cabral, but Cabral went on to win unchallenged. Jim Chambers was second, followed by John Zych, Todd Bertrand, Alan Chambers, Paul Scally, Anthony Nocella, Kevin Park, Bethany Stoehr and Avery Stoehr.
“The car was on rails tonight. We actually ran the same tires all night – practice to the feature,” said Cabral. “Some nights, things just go your way, and tonight they did.”
In the Lites race, Ryan Locke ended a number of weeks of heartbreak after four engine failures, to take down an emotional victory for him and his family. A stress filled day saw Locke start the day with high school finals, and end the day victorious on Star’s victory lane.
Locke cruised to victory from his front row starting spot, but was not without competition, as Jim Chambers came from deep in the field to finish second, and Richie Coy who had his best run so far this year was third, Dan Cugini, Ben Mikitarian, Rob Richardi, Kyle Valeri, Jake Trainor, and Bruce Finley rounded out the top ten.
“The night before we spent the entire day on the car with the Cugini’s – being a stressful day already with me having finals that morning. Ended up getting the car together that night staying up till 3 in the morning Saturday to wake up at 7 that morning. We packed up everything and headed our way to the track. I kept thinking about the 4 motors we had been through already and the misfortune we had had in the previous races hoping that this would be different to at least get through practice. Car got through practice like a rocket ship handling great all day,” said Locke. “The race couldn’t have gone any better considering the start with 1st and 2nd both going wide in the second lap from there it was managing tires and managing the tightness in three and four changing lines to be faster. I can’t thank everyone enough when it comes to that nearly all nighter from the Cugini’s and my family to all the sponsors locke cranes services, Shawmut equipment, Chester general store, and sweet manufacturing for the support to get us where we are now,” said Locke .
1 51 Dan CuginI Marshfield, MA Dan Cugini
2 6 Seth Carlson Brimfield, MA – – –
3 35 Randy Cabral Kingston, MA Glen Cabral
4 21 Avery Stoehr Lakeville, MA Mike Scrivani
5 41 Meg CuginI Marshfield, MA Glenn Cugini
6 9 Ben Mikitarian Northborough, MA John Mikitarian
7 17 Kyle Valeri Monument Beach, MA Peter Valeri
8 1 Jim Cataldo Sterling, MA Jim Cataldo
9 19 Richie Coy Haskell, NJ Richie Coy
10 76 John Zych Jr. Mendon, MA Frant Manafort
DNS 99 Jim Santa Maria Burlington, CT Jim Santa Maria
Pos. # Driver Hometown Owner
1 74 Randy Cabral Kingston, MA Bertrand Motorsports
2 21 Jim Chambers Atkinson, NH Mike Chambers
3 9 John Zych Jr. Mendon, MA John Zych Sr.
4 48 Todd Bertrand Danielson, CT Bertrand Motorsports
5 7 Alan Chambers Atkinson, NH Mike Chambers
6 30 Paul Scally Raynham, MA Paul Scally
7 1 Anthony Nocella Woburn, MA Bertrand Motorsports
8 50 Pete Pernisiglio Jr. Ronkonkoma, NY Pete Pernisiglio Sr.
9 5B Bethany Stoehr Bridgewater, MA Greg Stoehr
10 47 Avery Stoehr Lakeville, MA Bertrand Motorsports
11 87 Doug Cleveland Sudbury, MA Doug Cleveland
12 16 Matt O’Brien Wilmington, MA Matt O’Brien
DNS A1 Mike Horn Ashland, MA Jeff Horn
1 38 Ryan Locke Chester, NH Ken Locke
2 12 Jim Chambers Atkinson, NH Jim Chambers
3 19 Richie Coy Haskell, NJ Richie Coy
4 51 Dan CuginI Marshfield, MA Dan Cugini
5 35 Randy Cabral Kingston, MA Glen Cabral
6 9 Ben Mikitarian Northborough, MA John Mikitarian
7 36 Rob Richardi Jr. – – – Glen Cabral
8 17 Kyle Valeri Monument Beach, MA Peter Valeri
9 8T Jake Trainor Medway, MA Mike Trainor
10 2 Bruce Finley Webster, MA Jim Cataldo
11 41 Meg CuginI Marshfield, MA Glenn Cugini
12 21 Avery Stoehr Lakeville, MA Mike Scrivani
13 52 Kevin Park Plainvillle, MA Kevin Park
14 1 Jim Cataldo Sterling, MA Jim Cataldo