WATERFORD, Conn. — Todd Bertrand led from the start but had to beat teammate Randy Cabral in a classic restart tussle before claiming a second straight 30-lap Northeastern Midget Ass’n Angelillo Memorial victory Saturday night at Waterford Speedbowl.
Driving the family 39, Bertrand is the ninth NEMA winner in as many races this season. Cabral (Bertrand 47) strengthened his point lead with a second followed by Mike Horn (Horn 93x), Russ Stoehr (Dumo’s Desire 45) and Adam Cantor (Cantor 33).
The second caution with 19 remaining eliminated Bertrand’s half-straightaway lead and put Cabral beside him. “I knew I had to drive it in harder and get on the gas before him,” said Bertrand, pointing out Cabral’s electronic fuel injection gave him restart advantage.
They battled side-by-side for a lap before Bertrand finally took command exiting turn two. He assumed a commanding edge and went on to a 1.209 second victory over Cabral. Horn battled with Stoehr before claiming the third podium spot.
“I thought I had something for him but I needed to do it right away,” said Cabral. “When I didn’t I just settled in and did the good teammate thing, try to pass him on the inside.”
Cabral never got close enough despite Bertrand developing a push that forced him to “get down on the apron the last five laps.” Electing to use a harder compound, Bertrand actually had a “used right rear.”
Running on a “green” track (following a passing rain storm), Bertrand’s fastest lap – a 13.014 – came at midpoint of the race.
“I can’t believe I won this two years in a row,” said Bertrand. It was his second NEMA career win. It was the fourth straight Speedbowl runner-up finish for Cabral who also chased his teammate home in last year’s Angelillo race.
Starting fourth, Bertrand took the lead from polesitter Paul Scally on the first restart with just four laps gone. Cabral, who started seventh, passed Horn for third with 25 left. When, two circuits later, Cabral moved by Scally for third Bertrand was a half-straightaway in front.
“I don’t worry about Todd and Randy,” said car owner Tim Bertrand, explaining Todd has earned a reputation as a “clean’ driver. “They know if they crashed, they’d have to fix it and in this case, it wound have been a tough ride home.”