BROCKTON, Mass. – Picking the Northeastern Midget Ass’n winners at this weekend’s Fall Finale at Waterford Speedbowl’s is a foolhardy task.
Both NEMA and the NEMA Lites will be making their fifth visit of the year to the Connecticut shoreline three-eighths mile.
Four drivers will be looking for a second 2012 Waterford win in Sunday’s 25-lap NEMA feature. The same is true of the 25-lap Lites feature, the latter on the busy Saturday night schedule. Both divisions will qualify on Saturday.
John Zych, Jr., Greg Stoehr, Anthony Marvuglio and Todd Bertrand have scored at Waterford in NEMA competition this season. Ryan Bigelow, Brandon Igo, Avery Stoehr and stock car ace Keith Rocco have been Lites winners.
The one safe bet – NEMA will be quick. Stoehr, en route to a win last May, posted a season-best 12.937-second lap. In all four visits, the fast lap has never reached 13.1 meaning the full midgets are hitting speeds in excess of 105 mph on what many consider the best paved midget track in the northeast.
NEMA, enjoying one of the most competitive seasons in its history (10 winners in 11 starts) takes the show to one of its most competitive venues.
Randy Cabral, heading toward a second straight and fourth overall championship for himself and owner Tim Bertrand, and Ian Cumens, the driver of the Seymour Lites car, comes to the finale with tons of motivation as well. Both have finished second in three of the four Speedbowl races this year.
Although Cabral reigns as Waterford’s top NEMA winner with eight, there have been 14 NEMA visits since his last Waterbowl checkered, the 2008 finale. The Plymouth, Mass., school teacher has had six seconds and two thirds in that run in which Russ Stoehr won five times.
Cumens, a winner this summer at Oswego, was second to Rocco last month but did own the quickest lap, a 13.936. Three-time winner Carl Medeiros, Jr., whose 13.871 is the fastest Lites feature time of the season, and R.J. Tufano, who chased Avery Stoehr, have also had near misses at Waterford this season.
In addition to Zych, Greg Stoehr, Marvuglio and Bertrand, Mike Horn, Adam Cantor, Jim Miller, rookie Seth Carlson and Anthony Nocella have won in 2012. Cantor and Miller have won at Waterford in the past. The Speedbowl’s win list also includes likely finale starters Jeff Horn, Joey Payne, Pete Pernesiglio and Barry Kittredge. Nocella has won three times in Lites competition.
Cabral and Alan Chambers have also won Lites features this season. Other contenders include Bethany Stoehr, Danny Cugini, Brandon Martinez, Kenny Johnson, Christian Briggs and Logan Rayvals.