Northeastern Midget Ass’n driver champion John Zych Jr. admits he looked at the championship standings going into the season finale last weekend at Thompson Int’l Speedway.
“I always had a pretty good idea where we stood,” he says. “I knew we had a shot at it and that made me drive harder.”
John and his dad, the owner’s champion, showed up expecting to win.
They needed a victory during the season finale. They went into the race five points behind two-time defending champion Randy Cabral. He actually battled Cabral for much of the 25 lapper before claiming his fifth victory of 2013.
Ironically, the Zychs, won with a Drinan chassis purchased from the Cabral’s car owner Bertrand Racing two years ago.
It was hardly an inspiring start to the season. A broken motor at Waterford Speedbowl actually resulted in a “Did Not Start.” But there was a month until the second race, enough time for the Esslinger motor to be shipped to California and back. He was third at Seekonk and a winner at Star Speedway.
“We worked for that win,” Zych said. “We didn’t start on the front row. We passed some cars early and we beat some good guys. When you do that, you get some confidence.”
Overcoming a “downer” at Monadnock (spinning while leading to avoid a lapped car), he won at Stafford and, four races later, conquered New York’s Airborne Speedway.
“While I can’t point to a definite time when I was totally comfortable, I did think three wins at the halfway point in the season was a really good place to be,” Zych said.
He won again at Riverside Speedway in Groveton, N.H., but could not get away from Cabral whose win at Lee put Zych in second heading into Thompson.
He said he appreciates winning the title under those challenging circumstances. Cabral and car owner Tim Bertrand have both been very helpful to the Zych since they came to NEMA in 2007 after a couple of Mini Sprint campaigns.
“This year we figured more things out for ourselves,” Zych claims, but quickly acknowledges the help of midget maestros Bobby Santos III and Lou Cicconi at the World Series.