From William Vanslyke
Waterford CT — (April 13, 2014) — Two for two for a rookie driver and new car. Avery Stoehr (#15a) claimed his heat race as well as his first NEMA Midget feature win as he held off a strong restart challenge from Ian Cumens (#29).
A NEMA Lite standout for a number of years, this 17 year old states, “I’ve always wanted to drive a full NEMA midget my whole life after watching my father and uncle drive.” His ride, a Beast chassis with Gaerte power, is a sister car to cousin Bethany (#5b) who also won her first NEMA feature in 2013 at the Waterford Speedbowl.
At the start, the field was slowed on lap one for a multi car spin in turn three involving the #80 of Pete Pernesiglio, the #5b of Bethany Stoehr, and the #9 of John Zych.
Restarting in the original lineup, Ryan Bigelow, (#13), and Stoehr (#15a) battled side by side into turn one and down the back stretch, but Stoehr pulled ahead going into three.
Cumens raced into second from his fifth starting spot followed by Paul Scally (#30), Seth Carlson (#71), and Jim Chambers (#21).
Zych, from his ninth starting spot, moved up into the top five by lap 6.
Caution again came on lap 10 as Randy Cabral (#47) had his motor erupt in smoke and flame ending his day. Randy had been bringing his Bertrand owned ride steadily up through the field from his eight starting spot when the engine let go.
This set the stage for the most challenging restart as Cumens, from the outside front row, threw his #29 deep into turn one in an effort to show Stoehr his bumper and keep him low. Avery proved to be strong as he jumped ahead in turn four and pulled away from the #29 down the front straight.
A handfull of laps later, Zych, a past Speedbowl winner, got by Cumens for second. But his Drinan chassis had a worsening push, and he soon lost second back to Cumens. Seth Carlson stayed in the top five all day and finished forth. Coming all the way from his deep starting spot of twelfth, Todd Bertrand finished fifth in the family #74.
Ian would later say about that all-or-nothing restart, “I made one small adjustment from the cockpit to get it a little tighter and hoped it would stick so I could keep him low, but he was just too strong.”
John Zych said of his lap one spin, “It was definitely to avoid the other cars that spun, and I was not concerned about the car being hurt. The tight condition just got worse as the race went along.”