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FRI. JULY 17th, 2015
Story Book Ending as Stoehr, Cugini Take Rifchin Honors at LEE USA Speedway
Friday’s Northeastern Midget Association event could not ended with a more ideal finish for the young Avery Stoehr. A storybook ending topped the evening for the young, hard charger whose family has had a long affiliation with the late Marvin Rifchin and the M&H tire, who the race was in Memorial of. Rifchin, a long time NEMA supporter and owner of M&H tire, was well represented by his family, who joined the Stoehr family in victory lane.

Doug Cleveland and Paul Scally led the field to the green. Stoehr, who started third, quick blasted into the lead.

Further back, Randy Cabral – who started eighth, was on the prowl. Cabral moved into the second after a lap seven restart. When the green flag flew, Stoehr continued his run and dominated the feature event. When the checkered flag flew, Stoehr took down the victory by a half straightaway over 2014 series champion, Cabral. Seth Carlson had one of his best runs of the year to finish third, followed by a battled that raged the whole race between Jim Chambers, John Zych and Todd Bertrand for fourth - finishing in that order, Bethany Stoehr, Alan Chambers, Danny Cugini, and Paul Scally.

“Its an honor to win this event. Marvin supported my father’s racing for many years, and to win is memorial event is unbelievable,” said Stoehr.

“It was exceptional to have this event at LEE USA Speedway. The competitors were excited to come back, and it was fitting to have Marvin’s race at a facility that has so much history with NEMA,” Said NEMA President Russ Stoehr.

In the Lites division, Danny Cugini quickly worked his way from his fifth starting position into the lead. Cugini has been very strong in Lites competition in recent years at LEE USA, and this past Saturday night was no different.

“LEE is one of those tracks where tires play a big role, and we needed to conserve them as much as possible. I thought if I could go really hard early on, and get some breaks, I could conserve my tires when I get to the front. Once I got the lead, I concentrated on hitting my marks,” said Cugini.

“Winning the Rifchin trophy is unbelievable. I never had the opportunity to meet Marvin, but I understand that he was instrumental in NEMA’s success and many of the racers that he touched,” said Cugini.

Following Cugini across the line was Jim Chambers, PJ Stergios, Scott Bigelow, Dylan Duhaime, Paul Bigelow, Randy Cabral, Paul Scally, Anthony Payne and Jim Cataldo.

NEMA’s Saturday show, the Jim O’Brien Memorial was rained out at White Mountain Speedway. A make up date is being discussed.
Photos by
Norm Marx
Pos. # Driver  Hometown Owner
1 15a Avery Stoehr Lakeville, MA Russ Stoehr
2 47 Randy Cabral Plymouth, MA Tim Bertrand
3 71 Seth Carlson Brimfield, CT Gene Feigel
4 21 Jim Chambers Atkinson, NH Mike Chambers
5 9 John Zych Jr. Mendon,MA John Zych Sr.
6 39 Todd Bertrand Danielson, CT Todd Bertrand
7 44a Bethany Stoehr Bridgewater, MA Ed Breault
8 7 Alan Chambers Atkinson, NH Mike Chambers
9 51 Danny Cugini Marshfield, MA D.  Cugini
10 30 Paul Scally Raynham, MA Paul Scally
11 77 Steve Powers - Mike Luggelle
12 50 Kevin Park Foxboro, MA Pete Pernisiglio
13 87 Doug Cleveland  Sudbury, MA  Doug Cleveland  
NEMA LITES - LEE USA - 7/17/15
Pos. # Driver  Hometown Owner
1 51 Danny Cugini Marshfield, MA D.  Cugini
2 21w Jim Chambers Atkinson, NH Jim Chambers
3 11 PJ Stergois Candia, NH PJ Stergios
4 32 Scott Bigelow E. Hampton, CT Scott Bigelow
5 57  Dylan Duhaime  Loudon, NH  Shawn Duhaime 
6 31 Paul Bigelow Kensington, CT Paul Bigelow
7 35 Randy Cabral Plymouth, MA Glen Cabral
8 30b Paul Scally Raynham, MA Paul Scally
9 21 Anthony Payne Fairlawn, NJ Jennifer Scrivani
10 2 Jim Cataldo Sterling, MA Jim Cataldo
11 41 Megan CuginI Marshfield, MA D.  Cugini
12 16 Dennis O'Brien Deerfield, NH Chris O'Brien
03 Dennis Potter New Boston, NH Dennis Potter
29d Jeremy DeCourcey Rochester NH  Jeremy DeCourcey
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The July 6, 2006 NEMA race at Thompson honoring Marvin Rifchin
LEE USA Speedway Honors
Belong to Marvin Rifchin
The winner of this Friday night's Northeastern Midget Association feature at LEE USA Speedway will get away with the coveted Marvin Rifchin Memorial Trophy, presented by Rifchin's family, who will be at the event. The trophy race honors Rifchin, owner of M&H Tire and an integral part of NEMA from its inception in 1953. Rifchin died on June 3, 2009 at age 93.

"Everybody would like to have this one," says NEMA President Russ Stoehr. "The number of people he touched directly, the influence he had on our club over the years is immense. He was a long time supporter of many, including myself. I'm hoping we have a big turnout to honor him," he said.

John Zych heads into Lee USA Speedway having had a stellar start to the season, and is always hungry for another win. Other contenders include Randy Cabral, Avery Stoehr, Seth Carlson, Danny Cugini and Boston Louie winner, Todd Bertrand. Cabral was the winner of the "Marvin Rifchin Appreciation event in 2006 and the winner the last time NEMA visited Lee in the Fall of 2013.

In the Lites, Danny Cugini has been ultra fast in the last few visits to Lee, but will be chased by the hungry Anthony Payne, Randy Cabral and the Bigelow brothers, Paul and Scott. The young Meg Cugini has showed lots of promise so far this year, and is hungry for her first win as well.

"We want to thank LEE USA promoter Red MacDonald and his wife Judy for their participation in honoring Marvin and inviting NEMA back to the Speedway," adds Stoehr.

Midgets and, soon after, stock cars, captured Rifchin's attention in the immediate post World War II era. Joining his father Harry in the tire recapping business, M&H (the H stands for Harry) became one of the first companies to make tires specifically for racecars.

More than willing to take on the tire-making giants (notably Goodyear and Firestone), Rifchin's influence throughout motorsports grew to epic proportions over some five decades. His association with legend Don Garlits is part of drag racing folklore. He played a major role in the Modified glory days of the 1960s and 70s.

Rifchin's contributions are evidenced by his membership in four Halls of Fame including NEMA's. He is in the National Hot Rod Association, the New England Auto Racing and the Specialty Equipment Manufactures Association (SEMA) halls as well.
"Still," says long-time NEMA car owner and official Bruce Beane, "Marvin stayed close to NEMA. He was part of the family. The M&H logo was part of NEMA's image for many years for many very good reasons."

Beane points out Rifchin was outgoing not only with his product but also with his time and his intelligence.

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