Waterford, CT – Wanting to “just get it over with,” defending champion Russ Stoehr grabbed the lead with four laps gone and went on to an impressive win in the Northeastern Midget Association’s 59th season opener Sunday at Waterford Speedbowl’s Bud Blast Off. Despite two restarts, Stoehr (Dumo’s Desire 45) was never seriously challenged.
Starting ninth, Stoehr had moved to second when the second yellow showed with 21 laps left. After a lap-long side-by-side battle with Chris Leonard, the only other leader, Stoehr took command out of two. “Chris beat me here last year so I just wanted to get it over with,” said Stoehr following his 44th career victory.
Randy Cabral (Bertrand 47) put on a dazzling display over the final two circuits (a green-white-checkered finish) to claim second followed by Jeremy Frankoski (Cantor 7ny), Jeff Abold (Abold 29) and Jim Miller (Miller 3m). It was Frankoski’s first ride in the Cantor car.
A brief early “jam up” was Stoehr’s only problem. Excelling on the outside, his 13.135 was the fastest lap of the day.
Leonard started second and, after a duel with Paul Scally, had the lead just as lap one was completed. After losing the lead to Stoehr, Leonard ran comfortably in second before spinning heading for the white flag, setting up the finish.
Stoehr, who could not see the scoreboard, was not sure who was behind him at that point. It was Frankoski who lined up outside him with Abold and Cabral in the second row. The trio had battled for third for much of the race.
“Green-white-checkered, you just have to put it all out there,” said Stoehr.
It was a perfect spot for Cabral who had a car “that after three laps would go away.” Getting away from Abold, he passed Frankoski heading into two on the final circuit. “The car was not that good and it was time for the driver to do his thing,” said Cabral, more than pleased with the effort.
Stoehr has been first or second in the last five NEMA races at the Bowl. “Gene was always able to set a car up to win here,” he said of the late Gene Angelillo, the long-time Dumo’s Desire owner. “That’s carried over.”
NEMA is now idle until a June 11th date at Twin State Speedway in New Hampshire.
NEMA MIDGETS RESULTS (25):
1. Russ Stoehr, 2. Randy Cabral, 3. Jeremy Frankoski, 4. Jeff Abold, 5. Jim Miller, 6. Chris Leonard, 7. Greg Stoehr, 8. Keith Botelho, 9. John Zych Jr., 10. Anthony Nocella, 11. Brandon Igo,
12. Joey Muccicciaro, 13. Andy Barrows, 14. Carl Medieros,
15. Paul Luggelle, 16. Jim Santa Maria, 17. Paul Scally,
18. Lee Bundy (DNS)