WESTPORT, Mass. – First-time champions were in the spotlight Saturday night at the Northeastern Midget Ass’n’s Awards Banquet at White’s of Westport.
Driver champions John Zych Jr. and Carl Medeiros Jr. along with owner champions John Zych Sr. and Donald Cugini carried off the bulk of the hardware as NEMA celebrated its 61st season. John Zych Sr. was honored as the Mechanic of the Year while John Zych Jr. was named the Joe Csiki Most Improved Driver Award winner and proud wife and mother Janice Zych garnered the Angelillo Memorial Women Behind the Man award.
Others receiving recognition: Ed Breault (the coveted Johnny Thomson Award), Mike Jarret (Wen Kelley Memorial), Kevin Park (Ray Roberts Memorial), Gene Feigel (Ralph Miller Memorial for Outstanding and Continuing Perseverance), Greg Stoehr (Jim O’Brien Outstanding Contribution to Family and Racing Award) and Avery Stoehr (Brian Caruso Hard Charger Award).
Glenn Cugini is the Lites’ Mechanic of the year while Dan Cugini was the division’s Most Improved Driver.
Also recognized were Ian Cumens and the Lites’ Richie Morocco (Ed Clotheir Rookies of the Year) and Bethany Stoehr and the Lites’ Megan Cugini (Pat Thibodeau Youth, Talent and Determination trophies). Megan Cugini joined Todd Bertrand in receiving the Shane Hammond Sportsmanship Awards.
Other hardware was given to the Lites’ Scott Bigelow and Cantor (Hard Luck), to Jim Chambers and the Lites’ Craig Rayvals (Associate Member Never Say Die Awards), to Lites’ drivers Kenny Johnson and Logan Rayvals (Up and Coming Drivers) and to Evans/Thrall Owner/Driver Trophy winners Todd Bertrand and Andy Barrows (Lites).
Nokie Fornoro earned a spot in the Dick Gallagher NEMA Hall of Fame. Peter Falcone, the master of ceremonies, became a lifetime member.
Perfect attendance kudos went to owners John Zych Sr., Paul Scally, Gene Feigel, Todd Bertrand, Tim Bertrand, Donald Cugini, Daryl Cugini and Craig Rayvals, the latter three Lites competitors
Also recognized were push truck operators Dave Shore, Pete Pernesiglio, Mike Jarret, Jackie Giananni, Brian Cleveland and Glen Cabral and officials race director Tom Fox, starter Steve Grant, Cyndi Scrivani, Melisa Tully, Ellen Pernesiglio, Tara Stoehr, Bob Blanchette, Paul Scally, Lu Jarret, Linda Cleveland, Deb Marvuglio and Bill Van Slyke.