Midget winners at
Waterford Speedbowl line up behind Johnny Thomson, generally considered to be the best
open-cockpit driver to ever come out of New England.
Thomson, a Lowell, MA product, posted an impressive record including two Midget
victories at the Speedbowl in 1951 - the facility's initial season.
Thomson won a fog-shortened race on July and a 35-lapper on July 14th, both ARDC
The Speedbowl is a "charter member" of the Northeastern Midget Association,
hosting the first of what is now 66 events, on May 31, 1953. Bill Eldridge, NEMA's first
champion, was the winner in the Parmenter #55, besting Sid Cook and Elmer Gunnerson. The
event followed by less than 24 hours NEMA's first-ever race at Seekonk Speedway.
Two active drivers top the all-time win list. Nine-time club champion Drew Fornoro heads
the list, winning six times between 1982 and 1999. Bobby Seymour has five between 1968 and
2000. Mark Buonomo has been very successful as well, the first in 1999.
Size and surface makes the Speedbowl one of the premiere Midget ovals in the northeast.
Over the decades speeds have increased dramatically. In the fall of 1951, New Jersey
driver Len Cross (who like Thomson wound up at Indianapolis) won an AAA-sanctioned 100
lapper. George Tichenor set fast time with a 17.92 -seconds plus lap. Joey Payne Jr. was
the quickest qualifier for the Boston Louie with 13.380 seconds run last year.
Among the more notable NEMA shows at the Speedbowl are Jeff Horn's 1993 triumph (giving
him three straight wins), Ted Christopher's Modified Nationals win in 1998 (in an
Angelillo back up car) and Paul Lawless 6:26 romp to victory in the 2001 Nationals.
NEMA WINNERS at The SPEEDBOWL
Bobby Santos III
Last Update 1/18/06