LEE, N.H. – With the championship, the second straight and the fourth in five years, all but clinched, car owner Tim Bertrand informed driver Randy Cabral, “You know, all you have to do is start.”
“Did you hire me to win championships or win races?” asked Cabral, who then went out and did both, dominating a reduced field in the 25-lap Northeastern Midget Ass’n feature Sunday at Lee USA Speedway’s Ocktoberfest. It was Cabral’s fourth win of the season.
A first lap crash, which ended with Mike Horn violently sliding into the first turn, devastated the field and put Cabral in the second row of the 10-car feature that actually ran a couple hours after the crash.
NEMA and track officials agreed to push the feature deeper into the program in hopes some cars could be repaired.
“I guess the crash made my job easier,” stated Cabral after becoming NEMA’s first back-to-back winner in 22 races.
Cabral took the lead almost immediately from Jim Miller, the latter finishing second almost three seconds behind. Ian Cumens was third, besting John Zych, Jr. in a race-long battle. Paul Scally was fifth.
Heading into turn one of the initial start, Horn, who suffered a broken collarbone, went over the wheel of Zych, turned sideways in mid air, came down on the right side of car and slid into the wall. Jeff Horn’s A1 and Russ Stoehr’s 45 were eliminated in the resulting carnage.
The casualty list got longer when, following hot laps preceding the restart, NASCAR Whelen Modified Champion Doug Coby, making his midget debut in the Bertrand 39, pitted. Shortly after the start, Bethany Stoehr stalled in turn four. Both crews had worked to correct damage suffered in the crash.
The Stoehr family didn’t leave empty handed. Avery came from the sixth starting spot to win Sunday’s 20-lap NEMA Lites feature. It was the second win of the year for Russ’ son who finished ahead of Jim Chambers, Anthony Nocella, Bethany Stoehr and Dylan Duhaime.
Danny Cugini won Saturday night’s Lites feature. Cugini, who had the fastest lap (14.298) bested Bethany Stoehr by less than a second in the caution-filled feature. Nocella, Keith Rocco and Chambers completed the top five.