July 6 - Thurs Night
Honors Rifchin with NEMA Victory at Thompson
|Thompson, CT: Randy Cabral of
Plymouth, MA drove the Bertrand Motorsports #47 to his second straight Northeastern Midget
Association (NEMA) win on Thursday Night at Thompson International Speedway in Thompson,
CT. The victory brought with it an increased payday and a level of prestige as the night
was dedicated to Marvin Rifchin. The 25-lap feature event was held to honor the legendary
Marvin Rifchin of M&H Tire.
No race means more to me than winning this race for Marvin, said Cabral.
He helped me out so much. Marvin got me started in Midget Racing.
Rifchin was on hand to celebrate the nights event and to congratulate Cabral in
I want to say thank you to all the people who helped me look so good over all these
years, said Rifchin from the front stretch at Thompson, where as a car owner he too
had celebrated victories.
Marvin Rifchin was an innovator. Through M&H Tires of Watertown, MA, a company he
owned with his late father Henry, Rifchin revolutionized the sport of drag racing with the
introduction of the modern-day drag slick. Don Garlits debuted the drag slick in 1957 to
become the first drag racer to break the 8-second barrier. Garlits later recorded the
first officially recognized 200-mph run on M&H tires.
His impact was felt as strong in short track racing with tires for nearly every
application-most notably the Midgets and Modifieds. He; however, may be best known for his
contributions to the racers themselves. Marvin Rifchin is a generous man who helped the
careers of many drivers with friendship, advice and sponsorship.
If people only knew how many teams Marvin has helped with tires, said Thompson
Speedway owner Donald Hoenig. I am proud to be here with him here this
NEMA Announcer Pete Falconi fittingly called Marvin a United States racing
A number of great retired drivers like Ron Bouchard, Dave Humphries, Leo Cleary, George
Summers, and Billy Harmon were on hand to honor Rifchin and to watch Cabral head to
Cabral methodically worked his way up from his twelfth place starting spot and into the
top-five within the opening laps of the 25-lap main event. He lay in wait during much of
the feature; making the race winning pass on Ben Seitz with only two laps to go.
This was a great race, continued Cabral. To race so close with guys like
Payne and Seitz is just awesome. I was driving that car for all it was worth every
In honor of Rifchin, the NEMA Midgets started the event old school in
three-wide formation with Barry Kittredge, Mike Keeler, and Chris Perley on the front row.
It was a picture-perfect three-wide with Kittredge getting the edge. But it was Chris
Perley on the move. The driver known as the Rowley Rocket was the new leader
before the completion of the first lap.
The action was short-lived as a spin by Tommy Spada brought out the first caution on lap
one. Greg Stoehr also slowed on the track. Mechanical woes sidelined Ryan Dolan as well
while under the caution.
Ben Seitz took advantage of the restart and motored into the top spot. Nokie Fornoro
followed through moving Perley back to third. The second caution flew on lap four for a
spin by Adam Cantor. Keeler brought his #55 down pit road under the caution ending his
good run. Shane Hammond would find the same fate with his mount on pit road.
By this time, Cabral and Joey Payne had moved inside the top-five. For the restart, Seitz
and Fornoro occupied the front row followed by Perley, Bertrand and Payne. Seitz jumped
out to a big lead quickly over Fornoro. Perley faded slightly making way for Payne, who
had edged ahead of Cabral.
On the move, Payne reeled in Fornoro while Cabral in fourth became part of the mix. Up
front, Seitz was stretching his lead over the pack. On lap eight, Cabral and Payne went
wheel-to-wheel for third giving Fornoro some breathing room.
The events third caution flew when Spada spun his machine exiting turn four to
complete lap nine. The double-file restart once again pitted Seitz and Fornoro and again
it was Seitz gaining the advantage. With a great restart, Payne moved into second. Cabral
made a move on the backstretch to get along side Fornoro. At the stripe #47 was third.
Jeff Horn, who had fallen back early on, was making his way back to the front when
disaster struck. Horn made hard contact with the outside wall on the backstretch on lap
The restart pit rivals Seitz and Payne on the front row to take the green flag. Cabral
remained in third followed by Perley, Fornoro and a fully-recovered Stoehr. Seitz was able
to retain his lead over Payne running in second.
The battle for second was brewing at the halfway marker. Cabral was finally able to take
the second position from Payne on lap 15. Cabral quickly closed the gap between his #47
and leader Seitz. Pole sitter and early leader Kittredge headed pit side on lap 17.
Lapped traffic became an issue as leader Seitz and Cabral diced through traffic. Perley
relinquished his top-five when a broken brake caliper ended his night. With five laps to
go, Seitz maintained his lead over Cabral and Payne.
The margin was getting smaller and smaller between Seitz and Cabral. Finally, Cabral got
alongside Seitz. The two contenders split a lapped car on the front stretch as they headed
for the stripe. On lap 21, Cabral was the new leader.
Stoehrs great run came to an end with only two laps remaining as his car stopped on
the front stretch necessitating the caution. The yellow should have set up a two-lap
shootout to determine the winner of the Rifchin race but, in a shocking turn of events,
Seitz headed down pit road also with a broken rear brake caliper.
This left Cabral to try to fend off Payne, Fornoro, and Mike Lugelle. Cabral was
successful. He motored out in front on the restart and went unchallenged to the checkers.
Payne came home with a hard-fought runner-up finish followed by Fornoro. Erica Santos
drove the Ed Breault owned machine to a popular fifth-place finish.
From atop the wing of his winning mount in victory lane, Cabral greeted the crowd. Once
back on the ground, Cabral received a congratulatory handshake from Mr. Marvin Rifchin.
I cannot get any happier than I am right now, said an exuberant Cabral to put
the capper on an exciting night of NEMA Midget Racing.
Up next for the NEMA Midgets is CARQUEST Extreme Tuesday at Stafford Motor Speedway on
July 11, 2006.
For a look at all the excitement that is planned and the star-studded fields that
are expected log on to www.staffordmotorspeedway.com.
|NEMA Feature - Thompson - Thurs. 7/6/06
||Dix Hills, NY
||Mike Ordway Jr.
||Lake Grove, NY
||E. Bridgewater, MA
to Honor Rifchin
with Race at Thompson
Manchester, CT: The Northeastern
Midget Association will honor the legendary Marvin Rifchin with a tribute race at Thompson
International Speedway on Thursday, July 6, 2006. Rifchin is expected to serve as the
guest of honor and will be accompanied by a number of dignitaries from the New England
"He was one man who helped out a lot of people," said NEMA President Mike
Scrivani of Rifchin. "Marvin had an impact on the careers of many with his kindness
In his storied career as an owner and sponsor, Marvin Rifchin has seen it all. His cars
raced successfully at the Thompson International Speedway and the Waterford Speedbowl. He
is a championship car owner at Seekonk and Stafford Motor Speedways. His final foray into
car ownership was with Ronnie Bouchard, who later left to pursue his professional stock
car racing career as a then Winston Cup driver.
"Marvin has been a supporter of the Modifieds and the Midgets back to the days of the
Norwood Arena," continued Scrivani. "He would be there every Saturday
Ron Bouchard, George Summers, Bugsy Stevens, Leo Cleary and others are expected to join
the likes of NEMA competitors who will honor Rifchin on July 6th.
Although his on-track record speaks for itself, Marvin Rifchin is most widely known for
his contribution as a manufacturer. Having learned the tire trade from his father Harry,
who together made up M&H Tire, the Rifchins became innovators in the world of auto
Driven by the scarcity of speed-rated race tires, the Rifchins embarked on the
manufacturing of race tires in the 1940s in their Massachusetts location. M&H provided
tires for midgets, assorted stock car applications including Modifieds, formula cars and
dragsters until Marvin's retirement in 1986.
Rifchin was a pioneer in the world of drag racing with his development of the modern-day
drag racing slick. Drag racers used smooth-tread recapped passenger tires until Rifchin
and M&H Tires came along with the first drag slick in the late 50s. "Big
Daddy" Don Garlits was the first to break the 8-second barrier on this innovative new
tire in its debut in 1957. Garlits recorded the first officially recognized 200-mph run in
Great Meadows, NJ-again on M&H tires.
The innovation is considered by Hot Rod Magazine to be among the "20 Speed Parts That
Changed the World". Interco Tires purchased the rights to the M&H Racemaster tire
and continues its production today.
"The race is one small way to acknowledge all the great things that Rifchin did for
auto racing," added Scrivani.
Several former owners and drivers have pledged their support of the dedication race in the
form off added prize money. The likes of Russ Stoehr, Bruce Beane, Bouchard and others
have contributed to make this one of the most lucrative races on NEMA's schedule for 2006.
True to Rifchin's philosophy the $10,000 plus purse will be heavy on the bottom-end.
"Marvin helped a lot of low-buck people make it," said Scrivani. "He will
approve of the extra incentive for the little guy."
NEMA hopes to have a strong field that will allow a three-abreast start reminiscent of
Midget racing's heyday. It would be another element that would add to the feel of the
Marvin Rifchin special event.
A number of strong competitors will be on hand to vie for the lucrative purse including
the dynamic duo of Ben Seitz of Monument Beach, MA and Joey Payne of Fairlawn, NJ. Great
performances so far this season have continued to fuel this friendly rivalry.
"I would love to win this race in honor of Marvin," said Payne. "He has
been one of the biggest supporters of NEMA. And the things he has achieved in racing as a
tire builder are incredible. Marvin is" one of a kind "and I think it would be
wonderful for Gene to win as a car owner, being as he and Marvin have become such close
"I can promise you this," concluded Payne, "it would be one of my biggest
wins in a midget."
Other recent Thompson winners that will undoubtedly play a role in the outcome of the
event include the colorful Nokie Fornoro of Stroudsburg, PA and the always-exciting Randy
Cabral of Plymouth, MA. Might Marvin Rifchin be routing for underdogs like Shane Hammond
of Bridgewater, MA, Pete Pernesiglio of Ronkonkoma, NY, Andy Shlatz of Enfield, CT or
Shawn Torrey of Marshfield, MA? It is anyone's race on the ultra-fast high-banks of
Thompson International Speedway.
The action gets underway with qualifying events at approximately 5:45 with feature racing
immediately following. Thompson International Speedway will host the Northeastern Midget
Association along with a full card of NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series competition. For
additional information including pricing, please contact the Thompson Speedway office at