2010 NEMA NEWS
Laura Kibbe Continues
Angelillo NEMA Dynasty
|Brockton, MA - The
Dumo’s Desire team will “definitely be in monkey suits”
at the Northeastern Midget Association Awards Banquet
Saturday night, Nov. 20 at Whites of Westport in
Westport, MA. “My mother would have insisted on it,”
reports Owner champion Laura Kibbe. It is the final step
in a championship effort for team and driver Russ Stoehr
dedicated to Laura’s folks, long-time NEMA stalwarts
Gene and Marilyn Angelillo.
It is almost poetic that Stoehr and the team
took the point lead for good at the Angelillo Memorial,
a race Kibbe sponsored in her parents memory at
Waterford Speedbowl in September. They left The ‘Bowl
with a 22-point lead. “I realized then the championship
was possible,” she recalls. “I said to myself, ‘Wow,
this could really happen.”
Stoehr, who now has six titles, four in
Angelillo equipment, put a bow on it with a third at
Thompson’s World Series.
When Kibbe gathered the
gang together on the day of her father’s funeral (he
died on March 1), she was not thinking about
championships. She had been part of every one of the 14
NEMA titles Gene and Marilyn (who died Sept. 4, 2007)
acquired. “I wanted being part of the NEMA family to
continue,” she says. “I felt the No. 45 had to be at
every NEMA show.” There was commitment from Stoehr and
long-time Angelillo friend Joe Fiori, the latter
insuring race headquarters would remain at Angelillo’s
garage in Oxford, CT.
“I’ll always remember the emotional experience
of watching the car take the green in the season opener
at Waterford so soon after Gene died,” says Kibbe, a
very successful attorney with an incredible
international agenda. “Honestly, I wasn’t concerned
about championships, even feature wins. I was concerned
with keeping the car on the track.”
But things came together. Scottie Law, for
instance, stepped up to take on tire responsibilities,
something he had never done before. Jack Giannini and
Kurt Kiermont, also longtime Angelillo associates,
contributed as did Brian Wynn, Paul Liphardt and Nick
In the final reckoning, Stoehr had three wins
among nine top threes and 11 top fives and no DNFs.
While the bad luck of defending champions Randy Cabral
and Bertrand Racing can’t be dismissed, it was the
Dumo’s Desire crew that prevailed. Stoehr, who insists
“You can’t do it without a good car and those guys did
the car,” was, at least unofficially, the crew chief.
“My father was like a tiebreaker,” explains
Kibbe. “People on the crew would disagree about an
approach to take and he would end it saying ‘do it this
way.’ We didn’t have that anymore. So, I announced Russ
is the tiebreaker because he has to be comfortable with
equipment under him.” She “checked” with Russ after
every race, learning “things were better each time we
“We never had a conversation about doing it for
Gene and Marilyn,” says Stoehr who won three straight
titles with Angelillo before retiring in 2002. He
returned to driving and Angelillo in 2009. “We wanted to
get the job done.”
In the end, Kibbe insists, it was “putting egos
aside and everybody coming together. We all had
important jobs to do and had we not done that, we would
have failed miserably.”
And missed an opportunity to put on those
Completes 58th Season
BY PETE ZANARDI
Brockton, MA - The Northeastern Midget Association
finished its 58th racing season at Thompson Speedway’s
World Series, Randy Cabral the 25-lap feature winner
while third-place finisher Russ Stoehr claimed
championships for himself and the Dumo’s Desire #45. The
championship battle clearly turned at Seekonk
Speedway’s D.Anthony Venditti Memorial, the admittedly
over-aggressive Cabral winding up 21st after an early
The “official” ending comes with
the usual host of presentations at the annual Awards
Banquet Saturday night, Nov 20 at White’s of Westport in
The championships were a fitting a
tribute to Angelillo’s daughter Laura Kibbe who decided
to carry on in honor of her mother Marilyn and father.
Angelillo died on March 1. It was the sixth title for
Stoehr, the 15th for the Angelillo team.
the championship streak ended at two for Cabral and car
owner Tim Bertrand, it was a noteworthy season for the
Plymouth, MA competitor. It was the 11th straight season
he has won, a mark surpassed only by the legendary Dave
Humphrey. He moved into sixth place on NEMA’s all-time
win list with 30, just three behind Bill Eldridge. The
World Series triumph upped his Thompson total to nine.
Perhaps fittingly, Stoehr took the point lead
winning the Angelillo Memorial at Waterford Speedbowl,
the most emotional of his three wins. Stoehr now has 43
career wins, two behind third-place Nokie Fornoro.
NEMA’s top-two winners – Drew Fornoro (85) and Humphrey
(73) appear out of reach.
Stoehr and Cabral
shared the podium five times. They were one-two twice:
after losing to Cabral at Thompson’s Marvin Rifchin
Trophy race by inches, Stoehr prevailed at Monadnock.
There were seven winners including first-timers
Chris Leonard and Chris deRitis, both turning the trick
at Waterford, a charter-member of NEMA that now shows 45
winners going back to 1953. Other winners included Jeff
Abold, Lou Cicconi Jr., Adam Cantor and Keith Botelho.
Cicconi and Abold each drove the Seymour #4 in Seekonk’s
Open Wheel Wednesday and Boston Louie respectively.
Cicconi’s win could well be the most dominating
performance of the campaign.
Botelho’s success at
the DAV, his first win in 12 years, ranks as the upset
of 2010. The car is owned by Russ Stoehr, powered by a
20-plus year old Gaerte engine and crewed by
father-and-son Carl and Curt
Kibbe. Carl Kibbe, a
two-time NEMA owner champion with 18 NEMA wins, was a
winning crew chief for the first time since 1991 with
driver Joey Coy at Hudson Speedway.
scored points, with Russ and Greg Stoehr, Cabral,
Cantor, deRitis, Bundy, and Scally at all 13 events.
foursome of youngsters – Todd Bertrand, Lanson Fornoro,
Anthony Marvuglio and Anthony Nocella – were all
impressive in limited runs. All were active in NEMA
Lites action as well.
with 2010 updates
away at 7 PM on 12-24-10
Longtime NEMA supporter Stu Murray has had
serious health issues and been hospitalized for some
time. He would welcome hearing from old racing
friends. Cards and emails can be sent to the
address below (his new house – he and Connie moved a
month or two ago from the house in
103 Polly Ann Dr.
|Angelillo 45 Remains
Brockton, MA – The
beat goes on for the Dumo’s Desire/Marilyn’s Passion team. The
number 45 with Russ Stoehr aboard will be on hand when the
Northeastern Midget Association opens its 59th season March
26-27 at Waterford Speedbowl’s Budweiser Blastoff Weekend.
“We have decided to run because that’s what he would have
wanted,” said Laura Kibbe of her late father Gene Angelillo who
passed away March 1. “The car is ready.”
Stoehr will join a number
of drivers out to end defending champion Randy Cabral’s opening
day win streak at two. It’s three in a row for Bertrand who won
with Lou Cicconi back in ’07.’ The team will debut a Honda motor
at the opener.
Other top contenders include Greg Stoehr, Adam Cantor, who
finished strong last summer, and 2009 Rookie of the Year Chris
DeRitis, now driving for Lou Cicconi. Rookie of the Year
candidate Jesse State will be making his full Midget debut in
the Power Point car.
The NEMA Lites, beginning its third season, will also be part of
the busy weekend agenda. NEMA will qualify on Saturday and run
its feature on Sunday. The Lites will do both on Saturday.
“We are, of course, pleased that the 45 will be part of the 2010
season,” said NEMA president Mike Scrivani Jr. “There is no way
we will not miss Gene but the car being with us is great.”
This would have been Angelillo’s 30th consecutive season with
The 45 will continue to be maintained in Oxford, CT and the crew
– Joe Fiore, Curt Kibbe, Jackie Giannini, Kurt Kiermont, Scott
Law, Carl Kibbe, Paul Liphardt, Nick Rinaldi and Dave Shore –
The earliest opener in NEMA’s history, it is the fourth time in
the past six years the club has lifted the lid at Waterford.
Cabral is actually after a fourth opening day victory
which would tie him with Bill Eldridge and Dutch Schaefer. Drew
Fornoro is the leader with six.
HAS PASSED AWAY
Funeral Services will be on
Sat. March 27th - 11 AM
160 River Road, Lincoln,
New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame Member
Richard “Moon” Burgess Passes-Away
Pioneering New England stock car racer Richard "Moon" Burgess
passed-away on Wednesday, March 17 after suffering a serious
stroke earlier in the month.
Burgess started his career in the midgets during the 1940’s,
switching to stock cars later in the decade. He competed with
success at virtually every track in the region including
Thompson, Waterford, Plainville, Riverside Park, Kingston,
Candlelight Stadium, Cherry Park, West Haven, and others.
Teamed with car owner Joe Fontana, Burgess experienced his
greatest degree of success while behind the controls of the
potent “Flying Eagle” #1 coupe. He retired from the sport in
1953 after a relatively brief but spectacular career in which he
won over 200 races including 63 feature events in addition to a
Burgess was a founding member of the New England Antique Racers
(NEAR). He was inducted into the New England Auto Racing Hall of
Fame in 2003.
Mass will be on Saturday March 20 at 11:30 A.M. at Notre Dame
Catholic Church, 272 Main St. Durham, CT. Friends and family are
invited to later attend a celebration of Moon's life from
2:00-5:00 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 100 Berlin Road, Cromwell,
Burgess leaves his wife Rita, children Rich, Jr. and Sharon, and
|Jesse State, Chris Desrosiers
Eye NEMA Success
Brockton, MA – Jesse
State, a standout in the Lites two seasons ago, will move into
Chris Desrosiers’ #99 Power Point Racing car for the 2010
Northeastern Midget Association season. NEMA will open its 58th
campaign at Waterford Speedbowl on March 26-27.
“It’s the opportunity I’ve been looking for,” said State who
replaces Chris DeRitis in the Mazda-powered Spike chassis. A
junior at Rensselair Polytechnic Institute, the soon to be
21-year old will be making his “full midget” debut.
“An obvious choice,” said Desrosiers, “especially after looking
at the success he had with the Lites. We expect to do well. We
don’t expect rookie results.”
State spent three years in Ford Focus cars before a five-win
season with the Lites in ’08. He was an accomplished go karter
for eight seasons, winning five grand national crowns and two
national titles. The New Hyde Park, NY resident is looking
forward to the step up in horsepower.
Pointing to the influence of Bobby Seymour and NEMA President
Mike Scrivani, Desrosiers said State “comes highly recommended”
to the four-race old Spike car. With DeRitis aboard, the car was
fourth quickest at Seekonk’s DAV last fall. DeRitis, the ’09
Rookie of the Year, will drive a Lou Cicconi–owned car this
About to start his sixth season with NEMA, Desrosiers said the
engine has been redone. “I can’t say enough about Spike, Circle
Performance and our sponsor Marine Engines,” added the Freemont,
NH resident. “We are optimistic.”
Pointing out “you carry a lot of speed at Waterford and the wall
comes up quickly,” State hopes to get some testing in before the
Jesse State and Lites driver Shaun Gosselin are in
the same fraternity house at RPI. While pointing out nothing
beats seat time, State, a mechanical engineering major, says the
academic side “helps you stay focused and also helps in
understanding what the car is doing.”
State had a Wednesday night win at Waterford in 2008.
|Top Rookie deRitis Gets Cicconi
Brockton, MA – Chris
deRitis, the Northeastern Midget Association’s 2009 Rookie of
the Year, will be driving Lou Cicconi’s #75 Esslinger-powered
Drinan chassis in 2010. The three-year old car will be housed at
Bertrand Motorsports, Tim Bertrand serving as Crew Chief.
The car will be ready for NEMA’s opener March 27-28 at Waterford
Speedbowl. “We tested there in October and it was damn cold,”
said Chris’ father Dan. “Chris turned times that compare
favorably with those set by the fastest cars during the warm
DeRitis, 22, made his
full-midget debut last summer in the Chris Desrosiers’ Power
Point car, finishing fifth in points with eight top tens in 14
starts. He had a fourth at the Speedbowl.
“Power Point is a great team and we enjoyed it very much,”
continued DeRitis. “We now look forward to input from both Lou &
his Dad and Tim & his Dad.”
Bertrand, no stranger to Esslinger or Drinan, is NEMA’s two-time
defending owner champion. Cicconi drove the car a couple times
The move continues the tight relationship between Cicconi and
deRitis. “Lou got us involved with the TQs,” deRitis said, “and
he was instrumental in Chris’ ride with Power Point.”
Young deRitis brought a strong ACTQMRA resume to NEMA beginning
with a Rookie of the Year effort in 2006. He was second in
points in 2007, third in 2008. Dan was the 2008 owner champion.
“No doubt he proved himself in ’09,” said Bertrand, part of a
very successful team with two-time driving champion Randy
Cabral. “Chris is a talented driver and it is a good car. I am
looking forward to an exciting season.”
Honda Power for 2010
|Brockton, MA -
Two-time Northeastern Midget Association champion Bertrand
Motorsports will march to a different beat in 2010. Honda will
power the #47 when Randy Cabral begins his quest for a third
straight driving title in the season opener at Waterford
on March 27-28.
“It is, of course, a major change and challenge for us,” says
owner Tim Bertrand of the enhanced Dual Overhead Cam Honda “K
series” motor. Engineered by Stewart Racing Engines of
Indianapolis, it is found under the hood of the Honda CRV SUV.
Over the past 50 years no Midget group in the country has been
more forward thinking than NEMA. Bertrand, after a third
straight owners crown, sees a movement that could be the equal
of the “stock block” revolution of the 1960s when, among others,
the Falcon, Pinto and Chevy II motors were dominant.
“It utilizes a block and a head directly out of a street car and
has incredible reliability,” says Bertrand of the new motor. He
points out Greg Stoehr’s similarly powered Circle Performance
Mazda #26b has already provided an example of stock block
“There have been no failures attributable to any major component
in better than 1000 miles of both racing and testing,” Stewart
says of its “USAC/NEMA” motor.
The Bertrand endeavor will bring added luster to the 2010
season, a 15-race (six tracks) journey that will run into
October. Only Albany-Saratoga Speedway, back for the first time
since 1977, is not well known. There are few secrets left at
Waterford Speedbowl and at, Monadnock, Lee USA Speedway, Seekonk
and Thompson Speedways.
“We fully expect to run well with the Honda but we also expect a
very competitive season,” says Bertrand. “Considering the
equipment and the talent, the mix of veterans and youngsters,
and the speeds we achieve, this is as good as NEMA has been in a
The owners championship went to the final laps a year ago.
“However it may appear, nothing is easy in NEMA,” says Bertrand.
The competition includes motors. Honda will be doing battle with
some established powers. Esslinger was the number one winner in
’09 but Gaerte, Autocraft, Mopar and Mazda sat in Victory Lane
Bertrand is quick to point out that he is still committed to the
Esslinger Engineering, as a second and possibly third car will
still carry that power plant. “This was a great opportunity for
Randy and our team to expand our horizons with a new
opportunity, but we will still regularly run the Esslinger power
plant in our team cars,” said Bertrand.
He again plans on a series of guest drivers for the #39. Last
year, Ryan Newman and Cole Carter were among the nationally
known drivers competing for Bertrand in NEMA races.
Midget Displayed at the The Racin' Preview
February 19-20 - The Portland Expo
|Russ Stoehr won Angelillo's 107th
NEMA feature last summer at Waterford.
|Gene and his
late wife Marilyn, who was so much a part of his racing career.
|Angelillo Set To Begin
30th NEMA Campaign
|Brockton, MA – Gene Angelillo’s 30th
consecutive season as a Midget owner will begin when the
Northeastern Midget Association opens its 58th season March
27-28 at Waterford Speedbowl. He returns with veteran driver
Stoehr and Angelillo “reunited” last season,
coming back from a devastating crash in the opener at Monadnock
to finish fourth in owner and driver points respectively. “The
crash really hurt us and we were frustrated by motor problems
all year,” says Angelillo. “And, Russ was back after five years
of not driving. We all should be better.”
The opener is part of a 15-race 2010 agenda that includes “old
standbys” Monadnock, Lee, Seekonk, Thompson and Stafford as well
as Waterford. “That serves us well but it’s good for the others
too,” says Angelillo. “We’re preparing the car (Esslinger/Beast)
expecting a competitive season.”
They’ll be out to duplicate a success at Waterford last season.
It was the teams only ’09 victory but the 107th career NEMA win
for Angelillo. The first came on August 2, 1981 with Drew
Fornoro at Hudson Speedway in NH. A 14-time NEMA owners
champion, Angelillo’s “regular” drivers have been Fornoro (an
incredible 20-year relationship), Stoehr, Joey Payne Jr. and
“Marilyn’s Passion” will again be prominent honoring Gene’s late
wife. Crew member Kurt Kiermont came up with Marilyn’s Passion
idea. It shares space on the car with two other things
associated with Angelillo – “Dumo’s Desire” and the number “45.”
“Marilyn insisted on the other two right from the start,”
Angelillo says. Dumo’s Desire acknowledges Angelillo’s dad, a
big fan who was constantly trying to convince his son to buy a
race car. Angelillo had just turned 45 when, in the winter of
1980-81 he purchased his first midget from Ohio’s Lyle Corcoran.
Dumo had passed away by then.
Midget legend Johnny Kay convinced Angelillo, part of a brief
sprint car venture a dozen years earlier, to go midget racing.
The biggest heartbreak of ’09 was being forced out of the first
Angelillo-sponsored Marilyn’s Passion Race by motor problems
last season. The race, honoring Marilyn’s long service to NEMA,
will be at Waterford in ’10 (Sept 11) and the Angelillo crew
expects to be fully armed.
Angelillo’s resume includes an ARDC
championship as well. In addition to his “regulars,” Nokie
Fornoro and Ted Christopher have won NEMA features in Angelillo
equipment. His cars have won NEMA features on 18 different
tracks with six different motors – VW, Datson, Mazda, Pontiac,
Gaerte and now Esslinger.
Announces 15-Race Schedule
|Brockton, MA – A
challenging 15-race schedule will mark the Northeastern Midget
Association’s 58th season. NEMA kicks off the 2010 agenda at
Waterford Speedbowl’s season-opener on March 27-28.
While familiar venues highlight the schedule – four races at
Waterford and three for both Monadnock and Seekonk – it includes
a new challenge as well. NEMA will tentatively be returning to
Albany-Saratoga Speedway (Sunday, May 9) for the first time
Thompson and Lee USA Speedways will also host NEMA in 2010. The
NEMA Lites division, heading into its third season, will be part
of 10 programs including the season-opener.
“We think we have an excellent schedule considering the economic
environment,” said NEMA President Mike Scrivani Jr. “We
certainly know how to get around the places we’ll visit and that
insures another very competitive season.”
Stopping two-time champions Randy Cabral (driver) and Tim
Bertrand (owner) will be the object of what promises to be an
NEMA’s traditional headliner, the Boston Louie Memorial, is
scheduled for Seekonk on Saturday night, Aug. 28. Two other
memorial races return for their second season – the Marvin
Trophy Race at Thompson on Thursday, July 1 and the Marilyn’s
Passion Race at Waterford on Saturday, Sept. 11.
Keeping with tradition, the club will be part of several of New
England’s major events including the Carquest Xtreme Tuesday
June 6 at Stafford Motor Speedway, Open Wheel Wednesday at
Seekonk July 21 and Waterford’s Wings & Wheels on Saturday, Aug.
The traditional finale is intact as well, Seekonk’s DAV (Oct.
9-10) and Thompson’s World Series (Oct. 16-17) bringing things
to a close.
Waterford will host the earliest season debut in NEMA’s history
… It will be the sixth time since 1999 that NEMA has opened the
season at the Connecticut oval … Defending champions Randy
Cabral (driver) and Tim Bertrand (owner) will be looking for a
third-straight season opener including 2008 at Waterford.
Drew Fornoro has won the most NEMA season openers – seven.
With the exception of Albany-Saratoga, only Nokie Fornoro and
Bobby Santos III have won a NEMA feature at every track on the
2010 schedule. Russ Stoehr and Cabral have missed only at
It will be NEMA’s 19th visit to Albany-Saratoga. Lee Smith won
the last visit on July 1, 1977.
Ferrara (tallest) with car owner
John Givans and driver Johnny Kay circa 1967.
Ferrara Named to
NEAR Hall of Fame
|Frank Ferrara, the
Northeastern Midget Association starter for seven years
(1965-71) and currently the co-owner of Whip City Speedway is
part of the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame’s Class of
Ferrara, already a member of the NEMA Hall of Fame, will be part
of the 13th annual induction banquet on Sunday, Jan 31, 2010 at
the LaRenaissance Banquet Hall in East Windsor, CT.
Starting as an owner/mechanic Springfield, MA native Ferrara has
served New England motorsports for well over 50 years. A
stockcar owner at Riverside Park in the early 1950s, he became
involved with Midgets following military service. He was also a
starter at Stafford Motor Speedway and a race sponsor through
the family business (Ferrara Spring) before becoming part of the
Whip City operation.
A number of NEMA and NEMA Lites drivers have come through Whip
Other members of the Class of 2010 include drivers Geoff Bodine,
Mike Murphy, George Savory and Pete Fiandaca and car owners
Billy Simons, Bob Garbarino and Vic Miller
Ticket forms will be on the New England Antique Racers website (www.Near1.com)
in the near future.
|Optimism Thrives As NEMA Lites
Series Enters Third Season
(Brockton, MA) It all
starts at the Waterford Speedbowl’s season-opening Budweiser
Blast-Off weekend on Saturday March 27, and concludes at Seekonk
Speedway’s DAV Memorial Festival of Racing on the weekend of
October 9 & 10.
In-total, the NEMA Lites Series will appear at five different
New England speedways ranging from the Connecticut shoreline’s
Waterford Speedbowl to New Hampshire’s Twin State Speedway.
Also on the slate are trips to Seekonk, Monadnock, and Lee
Additional dates may be added to what’s already shaping-up to be
the division’s most aggressive campaign to-date.
Considered almost a “perfect venue” for the Midgets, the
Speedbowl offers-up a true multi-groove surface for the
division. The track has a long association with NEMA dating back
to 1953 when Bill Eldridge took the first-ever NEMA event staged
at the Speedbowl. Eldridge narrowly defeated Sid Cook and Elmer
Gunnerson in the 25-lap Memorial Day event.
In addition to Seekonk’s season-ending DAV Memorial Festival of
Racing and the Boston Louie Classic on August 28, the Lites will
also be part of the “Fast Friday” shows on June 4, 18, July 23,
and August 13 at the track known affectionately as the “Cement
Palace.” Like Waterford, the Seekonk Speedway has a decades-rich
history of hosting some of the best Midget racing in the
Since its inception in 2008, the Lites division has continually
provided fans with some of the most exciting open-wheel racing
in New England. Started with only a handful of competitors, the
class has served as both an economic starting-point for new
drivers to get involved in what remains one of the countries
“purest” forms of open-wheel competition, and also as a venue
for some of the most seasoned of NEMA competitors.
2009 saw Lites events drawing increased car-counts, proof that
the division has filled a niche in the realm of Midget racing.
Other than sporting a less-costly “spec-type” powerplant,
there’s little-difference between a Lites Series car and a
“full” Midget. The class offers-up the same degree of action
that fans of one of auto racing’s oldest and historically-rich
divisions have come to know and love.
The intensity of the Lites competitors is no-less than that of
their “full” Midget brethren.
2009 winners included Anthony Marvuglio, PJ & Jake Stergios,
Anthony Nocella, and Russ Wood.
|NEMA Lites Series
“More Than Ready” for
Budweiser Blastoff At Speedbowl
(Brockton, MA) “The
NEMA Lites Series is “more than ready” for this weekend’s opener
at the Waterford Speedbowl and we’re looking forward to a banner
Those were the comments from Lites Series Race Director Steve
Grant following a successful test session for the division held
recently at the Seekonk Speedway in Massachusetts.
Entering its third-year, the Lites Series is part of the
Waterford Speedbowl’s multi-division “Budweiser Blast-Off
Weekend” set to go-green on the weekend of March 27 & 28.
They’ll run qualifying and a 25-lap feature on Saturday.
The most-recent Lites winner at the Speedbowl was Anthony
Nocella who scored last season’s “Nostalgia Weekend” 25-lap
feature on July 25.
As expected, the Seekonk pre-season “test-session” yielded
“We held a recent test-session at Seekonk with a few of the
divisions experienced drivers and it went really-well,” states
Grant. “Even-though the track surface was “green” following the
winter months, the guys turned some very impressive lap-times.
The response to the division continues to be positive, with more
people expressing interest every day. We’re expecting a healthy
field at the Speedbowl opener, and we have every reason to
expect rising car-counts as the season progresses. People
continue to realize that this division is a “win-win” situation
for teams looking to get involved in an affordable open-wheel
division. Things are really taking-off,” he says.
With the exception of an affordable “spec” engine and a few
other differences, the Lites Series cars are identical to the
“full-midgets” of NEMA. The Helping Hands of America Foundation,
Hoosier Racing Tires, and Bobby Seymour’s Racers Depot serve as
the 2010 sponsors for the series.
With many of the Lites new driver’s recent graduates of the
“First-Turn Driving School”, and some with years of prior
experience in midgets, the class presents a well-balanced level
of competition. There were a total of 7-different feature
winners in 2009. Anthony Nocella headed-up the list with 4,
followed by Jake Stergios, PJ Stergios, and Russ Wood Jr. each
notching 2. William Wall, Anthony Marvuglio, and Paul Luggelle
Following the season-opener, the NEMA Lites Series heads to the
high-banks of Winchester, New Hampshire’s Monadnock Speedway on
May 29. It’s all part of a busy 2010 agenda that includes
fourteen events for the division.
Standout Bethany Viets
To Make NEMA Lites Debut
At Speedbowl Opener
|(Brockton, MA) Young, but already a
winning veteran racer with impressive credentials, Bethany Viets
makes her NEMA Lites debut later this month at the Waterford
Speedbowl. Part of an on-going “Youth Movement” within the
division, she’ll be wheeling the Charles Gunther-owned Drinan
The Lites are part of the Speedbowl’s Budweiser Blastoff on
March 27 & 28. The division will run qualifying and a 25-lap
feature on Saturday.
Started in 2008, the Lites Series has become a melting pot for
up & coming talent. Viets is typical of the youthful open-wheel
competitors drawn to the division with its affordable “spec”
rules, and a diverse schedule that includes an assortment of
tracks throughout New England.
“We’re looking very-forward to running the NEMA Lites Series
this year,” states East Granby, CT. resident Viets, who belying
her youthful status, has years of experience running on the dirt
of Whip City Speedway in Massachusetts. “We ran weekly at Whip
City for a number of seasons. I started driving at age-12 in the
Micro Stock class in a car owned by my older brother John,
eventually advancing to the Midgets. The Lites schedule involves
some traveling, and that’s part of the allure of the division
for us. It’s going to be great to run at some different tracks.
Our team is excited about 2010 – it’s an opportunity for new
A third-generation racer, Viets’ family has a long history in
the sport. Both her grandfather Mike, and father Scott are
Car owner Gunther of Vernon, CT. is also optimistic about the
upcoming campaign. He says enlisting the talent of the young
driver to wheel his Midget in 2006 was an easy decision. “She’s
got a tremendous degree of talent, and her record at Whip City
certainly shows that,” states Gunther, a former driver himself
with decades of experience in a myriad of divisions including
Supers, Modifieds, and of-course, Midgets. “I raced against
Bethany, and I guess I just got tired of her beating-me,” he
Lites Series Race Director Steve Grant expects a good-showing
for the division at the Bowl’ opener. “Interest in the Lites is
ever-increasing, esp. with the younger drivers that are trying
to break-into Midget racing,” he says. “It’s an affordable
opportunity for these kids to gain experience at a variety of
tracks. There’s a lot of talent out-there, and this is the
perfect place for them to start. We’re very-pleased with the way
things are shaping-up for 2010.”
|Busy Season Ahead For NEMA Lites
Following a successful 2009 campaign, the Northeastern Midget
Association’s Lites series is poised for a busy season.
The Lites will be part of the Waterford Speedbowl’s opening
event on the weekend of March 27-28. It’s the earliest season
debut in NEMA history.
“We’re very-excited about our 2010 schedule,” states Lites Race
Director Steve Grant. “It gives our drivers an opportunity to
visit many different tracks including some of the best
open-wheel venues in the Northeast.”
Ten events are scheduled with a possibility of additional shows
to be added in the future.
Started in 2008, the division’s car-counts have increased
steadily, and the prevalent feeling is that the trend will
“We stared with only a handful of cars in 2008 with those
numbers growing steadily as interest in the series increased,”
says Grant. “It’s an attractive division for competitors looking
to get-into our brand of racing, and also for those looking for
an alternative to the cost of running a “full” Midget. It’s also
a great way to get your feet-wet in open-wheel racing before
progressing-up the ranks, which we expect will be the case with
a lot of teams.”
The Lites series cars rely on a different powerplant as compared
to their “Full Midget” counterparts. According to NEMA’s Bobby
Seymour, under normal-circumstances, the engines can last up-to
40 races without a major rebuild. Other than a few other minor
differences, the Lites cars very-comparable to “Full-Midgets.”
Like Grant, Seymour is pleased, but not-surprised with the
interest in the series.
“It’s a win-win situation for the novice competitor that’s
looking to enter our segment of the sport, and it’s a bit-easier
on the purse-strings,” he says. “It’s also a way to gain
experience in Midget racing, which is a unique form of racing
in-itself. With the schedule that the club has assembled, we’re
looking-forward to a great season and increased car-counts.”
In addition to drivers new to the Lites, fans can look-forward
to many returning favorites. On the “official-side” of things,
Steve Grant will serve as Race Director, while it’ll be Shawn
Torrey filling the role of Technical Inspector. Others include
Bob Blanchette (Pit Steward), and Deb Marvuglio (Scorer).