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L to R: NEMA Sponsor Mike Jarret of Helping Hands, NEMA VP Barry Kittredge,
NEMA President Mike Scrivani, 2004 Champion Driver Ben Seitz,
2004 Champion Owner Pete Valeri, and NEMA Sponsor Stu Murray of Wirtgen America.

NEMA Awards Banquet
celebrating the 2004 Season
Jan 15th at White's of Westport

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Ben Seitz Crowned NEMA Champion

Westport, MA:  On Saturday night January 15th, Ben Seitz of Monument Beach, MA was honored as the 2004 Northeastern Midget Association Champion. White's of Westport was the site of the festivities that celebrated not only the feats of Seitz and the Valeri Motorsports team but also those of his fellow competitors.


Seitz put together and impressive run this season, posting 11 top-five finishes in 12 starts including four trips to victory lane.  The season-long performance allowed the #17 team to best a stellar field of competitors including second-place finisher Randy Cabral of Plymouth, MA and Joey Payne of Fairlawn, NJ.  Mark Buonomo of Waltham, MA and Pete Pernesiglio of Ronkonkoma, NY rounded out the top-five finishers in the point standings.


“It is the knowledge, determination, and dedication of my car owner Peter Valeri that has gotten our team here,” said Seitz on Saturday night.  “The Valeri Family is the foundation for what we have accomplished.  They have given me every advantage from reliable equipment to unwavering support.”


In addition to his championship honor Seitz was also awarded the Joe Csiki Most Improved Driver Award.  The young driver credits the “step-up” in his performance to the quality and commitment of his team and the level of competition in this club.


That level of competition was found all season through out the entire roster.  Sixth place point-man Ed Breault of Lincoln, RI also took home the Evans/Thrall, Top Owner/Driver Award.  Tim Heath finished seventh in the point standings after posting his first career NEMA win in 2004.  Adam Cantor, Shane Hammond and Matt O’Brien rounded out the top-ten overall in 2004.  Hammond was presented with the Ed Clotheir Rookie-of-the Year honors as well. 


With it’s stories history, the Northeastern Midget Association presents a number of special awards that recognize the accomplishments of current drivers while honoring the memories of great individuals who left an indelible mark on the Club.  This year Bill Estabrook presented Mike Luggelle with the coveted Johnny Thomson Memorial Award and Pete Pernesiglio was honored with the Wen Kelley Memorial Award for his outstanding dedication and service to NEMA. 


Former champion driver Mike Seymour along with championship car owners Bill and Nickie Tapply were the 2004 inductees into the Dick Gallagher Memorial Hall of Fame.  Each received a trophy donated by Doug Steward in memory of Dick Gallagher and Helen Gallagher Donaghey. Other specialty award winners on the night included Jack Glockner with the Ray Roberts Memorial; Lee Bundy with the Associate Member Never Say Die Award; and Sean Dolan with the Pat Thibodeau Youth and Determination Award.  This year a new award was added to honor retiring long-time official Dick Annis.  The new award named "The Pat Hart Award" went to head scorer Linda Cleveland.  Mike Scrivini and Gene Angelio were recognized as Lifetime Members while Jennifer Scrivini, Angela Pernesiglio, Deb Fornoro, and Deb Marvuglio received Appreciation Awards.


Guests of honor of the night also included Mr. & Mrs. Stu Murray and Mr. & Mrs. Mike Jarret.  Series sponsors Murray of Wirtgen America and Jarrett of Helping Hands of America were presented with NEMA jackets for their dedication to the Series and it’s members.  Both sponsors addressed the crowd, speaking of their continued support for 2005 and their enthusiasm for the upcoming season. 


In true Mike Jarret-style, the owner of Helping Hands of America presented Valeri and Seitz with a bonus over and above the point fund. 


The 2005 schedule was discussed with enthusiasm.  The season will kick-off with the much anticipated Spring Sizzler at Stafford Motor Speedway on April 23 & 24, 2005.  The return to Star Speedway in Epping, NH and the addition of Twin State Speedway (formerly Claremont Speedway) to the line-up in 2005 promises even more excitement for the ground-pounding Midgets. 

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