(Waterford, CT.) Starting the season off on a high note, Anthony Nocella won the 25-lap NEMA Lites “Budweiser Blastoff” feature at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday evening.
Outside pole-sitter Ryan Bigelow jumped into the lead at the drop of the green closely followed by Carl Mederios. By midway the duo became engaged in a tight battle for the lead. Running side-by-side on the back stretch, contact ensued with Bigelow spinning to the infield, unable to continue.
On the restart, Mederios inherited the lead, followed by Nocella who had been gradually making his way through traffic.
With 10-laps remaining, 2nd-generation racer Bethany Stoehr violently slammed the front stretch wall signaling the final caution period of the event. She was uninjured.
Winner Nocella inched-by Mederios on the restart, building a comfortable lead in the closing circuits. Rounding-out the top-five was Seth Carlson, Randy Cabral, James Santamaria, and Mederios.
Nocella seemed somewhat surprised to land in victory lane, as the race had not started well for the multi-time Lites Series winner. The Speedbowl remains one of his favorite tracks.
“We got messed-up in the opening laps, I jumped the wheel of the car in-front of me,” stated Nocella. “Luckily, it didn’t hurt anything. It seemed like the car actually got better & better as the race went-on. I really like this place as I’ve had great luck here.”
Second-place finisher Seth Carlson was satisfied with his performance in his first-ever Lites Series feature. A graduate of the dirt at the former Whip City Speedway in Massachusetts, he stated that his goals for the day were realized. “We wanted to bring the car home in one-piece, and that we accomplished. I’m happy with second place today.”
NEMA veteran Randy Cabral felt-likewise about his third-place, indicating that the Series continues to get tougher. “These darn kids beat-up on me pretty-good today. They’re getting faster & faster,” he said.
Ryan & Paul Bigelow won qualifying heats.
The NEMA Lites Series next sees action on May 7, once again at the Speedbowl. For more information, visit www.nemaracing.com
NEMA LITES RESULTS (25):
1. Anthony Nocella, 2. Seth Carson, 3. Randy Cabral,
4. James Santamaria, 5. Carl Mederios, 6. Paul Luggelle,
7. Brandon Igo, 8. Bethany Stoehr – DNF, 9. Paul Bigelow – DNF,
10. Ryan Bigelow – DNF, 11. Todd Bertrand – DNF,
12. Andy Barrows – DNF, 13. Joey Mucciaccaro – DNF