MARLBOROUGH, Mass. – The Northeastern Midget Ass’n gathered Saturday evening to honor its champions at the annual awards gala, hosted at the Best Western Crown Plaza in Marlborough, Mass.
Hundreds of competitors, crew, fans and their families gathered for the event. NEMA’s announcer Pete Falconi was the host for the evening, assisted by NEMA President Russ Stoehr.
The crowd gave a rousing ovation to the night’s special guests – Dave Humphrey, a six time NEMA champion, and Star Speedway General Manager and Promoter Bobby Webber Jr. NEMA will return to Star Speedway on three occasions in 2016.
The team of John Zych Jr. and Sr. picked up their second championship in the last three years in the NEMA division, while Anthony Payne took down the Lites championship in the Scrivani No. 21 and Scott Bigelow took down the owner’s crown in the Lites.
Trophies and checks were awarded to the top 10 competitors in each division.
There were also many special awards given out, a hallmark of NEMA’s annual celebration.
Long time club member and car owner, Mike Scrivani, took down the Dick Gallagher Memorial Hall of Fame honors, while Glen Cugini was presented the prestigious Jim O’Brien Memorial award by the O’Brien family.
The Wen Kelley Memorial award, presented for outstanding dedication and service to the club was given to NEMA announcer and long time supporter, Pete Falconi. The Ralph Miller award for outstanding perseverance was given to Doug Cleveland, after a season of many mechanical issues on his family owned No. 87 machine.
The Joe Csiki most improved driver awards went to Anthony Payne in the Lites and to Alan Chambers in NEMA. Mechanic of the Year honors went to Scott Bigelow in the Lites and to John Zych Sr. in NEMA.
The Ray Roberts Memorial award went to veteran Paul Scally. Scally also took down the top owner/driver award, while Scott Bigelow took down that award for the Lites.
Rookie of the Year honors went to Jim Cataldo in the Lites and Alan Chambers in NEMA.
The Never Say Die Award, went to Jeremy Decourcey in the Lites and Doug Cleveland in NEMA. Decourcey also took down the Up & Coming driver award, while Avery Stoehr took down that award in NEMA. Meg Cugini took down the Pat Thibodeau Youth & Determination award, while Avery Stoehr took down the honors in NEMA.
Tara Stoehr, mother of driver Bethany and husband of long time competitor, Greg Stoehr, took down the Angelillo Memorial Award. Danny Cugini took down the club’s Hard Luck Award after losing an engine on his NEMA car and destroying his Lites car.
Glen Cabral took down the Lifetime Member Award.
Tim Bertrand took the Shane Hammond Sportsmanship award honors for NEMA and Paul Bigelow took down that award for the Lites.