When the Northeastern Midget Association rolls in to the Riverhead Raceway on June 3rd for the 2nd annual Allan Cantor Memorial, excitement and nostalgia will fill the air. NEMA will run for its biggest purse in nearly 20 years, boasting $2,000 to the winner of the NEMA feature and $1,000 to the winner of the Lites race, and $300 to start each feature. The race is sponsored by IGA/The Reichert Group and the Cantor Family.
From 2001 until 2013 Allan Cantor fielded a NEMA Midget based out of his lifelong hometown of Glen Cove with his son Adam driving for the majority of the seasons. Allan was well known in the Long Island racing circle well before he went midget racing in the late 1970′s and early 1980′s. He along with Tony Contarino designed and built the ultra successful Alto Chassis for the Mini Modified race cars. Allan along with his brother Barry also worked with the late “Tiger” Tom Baldwin on his NASCAR Modifieds and together operated Cantor’s Garage in Glen Cove. A multi time winning team in the NEMA ranks, midget racing was Cantor’s passion before passing away in 2015.
Named an “International Retailer of the Year”, Charlie Reichert and the Reichert Group IGA stores were a long time sponsor of Allan Cantor Racing.
“We are very excited to be returning to Riverhead Raceway for the Cantor Memorial,” said NEMA President, Tim Bertrand. “An unbelievable purse, and favors provided by the Cantor family, should make for an awesome night. Our racers have been talking about returning to Riverhead since we left last season,” he said.
“I’d also like to especially thank Adam (Cantor), his mom, Kim, and Charlie Reichert for their hard work in putting this show together, and of course, the Partridge family, for having NEMA back,” said Bertrand.
Last year saw incredibly tight racing on the quarter mile, with Joey Payne taking down the Lites win and Randy Cabral taking down the NEMA win.
On Mon, May 22, 2017 at 2:04 PM, Timothy Bertrand
Scally, Zych Rocket to Wiscasset, Ames True Value NEMA Wins
Picture perfect skies welcomed the Northeastern Midget Association to Wiscasset Speedway in Wiscasset, Maine this past weekend. An unbelievable, packed house was on hand as well, with eager fans filling every spot in the parking lot to greet the fastest winged midgets in the world.
When the double checkered flags flew at the end of the evening, the most talked about story in the pits was Paul Scally’s first NEMA win, breaking a long overdue streak for the family owned team, taking down the win in the Lites class. In the NEMA feature, John Zych proved he was the class of the field all day, coming from mid pack for a dominant victory.
In the Lites division, Scally jumped out into an early lead. Fast right from the start of the day, he paced the field, setting some of the quickest laps of the feature event. Behind Scally, youngsters Ryan Locke and Ben Mikitarian were putting on a show for the second spot, and further back, Danny Cugini was slicing his way through the pack from deep in the field.
In the closing laps, Cugini would slip past Mikitarian for third, and Locke began to close the gap on Scally in the front of the pack. Scally held his line and hit his marks, and Locke was unable to muster up enough to challenge. Scally would go on to take down the victory, a Cinderella story of sorts for the family owned team, who has been in NEMA since 1993. Mikitarian was third, followed by PJ Stergios and Kevin Ianarelli rounding out the top five.
“The win is long over due we have had so many heart breakers that we started believing we would never get there. We had two really good cars all night. After the big car broke while running very strong. It kind of made me feel like it’s now or never. I guess I just accepted the challenge. I stayed calm and didn’t try to overdrive it and it paid off,” said Scally.
A family operation through and through, Scally can often be seen with his two trusted counterparts, his Dad and girlfriend, Rachel.
“My Dad is the guy who started all of the racing back in 1989, he liked the mini sprints and got me into racing. Rachel is the oil the keeps the teams engine running she never quits and she has a passion for the competitiveness that sometimes more than mine,” he said.
In the NEMA feature, Jim Santa Maria and Paul Scally brought the field to the green flag. Santa Maria jumped out into the lead like he was shot out of a cannon. By lap five, Santa Maria and Scally had nearly a straightaway on the field, and John Zych had broken free from his sixth spot, into third.
Over the next laps, Scally began closing on Santa Maria, and as the cross flags appeared, Zych was within six carlengths of the leaders, and Scally had closed on Santa Maria.
Heartbreak occurred for Scally on lap thirteen as he came to a stop on the back stretch. A broken ignition wire was the culprit.
On the restart, Santa Maria and Zych streaked down the front straightaway, with Zych taking the lead. He would set sail and never be seriously challenged.
Todd Bertrand came through the field to finish third, followed by Alan Chambers, Seth Carlson, Jim Chambers, Randy Cabral, Avery Stoehr, Paul Scally and Bethany Stoehr.
“The win was a great bounce back after week 1. That was just a tough situation. We were lucky we were quick right from the first practice. Didn’t really change a thing all day. The front row got out to a good start there, but I was patient and kept them in sight. The caution helped us,” Zych said. “We love Wiscasset!”.
NEMA’s next event is at Riverhead Raceway on June 3.
On Mon, May 15, 2017 at 2:43 PM, Tim Bertrand
Avery Stoehr, Dan Cugini Take NEMA Wins on 50 Legs/PASS Night at Star Speedway
As most other Northeastern race tracks were canceling their events for last Saturday evening, Bob Webber’s Star Speedway happened to be right in a pocket of dry weather, and the show went off without a hitch. NEMA and the NEMA Lites were part of a blockbuster racing card that included the Pro All Star Series (PASS) and Star’s weekly divisions, including the 350 Supers. Avery Stoehr visited victory lane for the second year in a row on opening day for NEMA, this time with a new team in Bertrand Motorsports. In the Lites, a heart breaking loss for Kevin Iannarelli occurred after a mistake was made on rear wheel offsets, resulting in a DQ and handing the win to Danny Cugini.
In the NEMA feature, after a track cleaning session due to oil on the racing surface from a previous division, the NEMA feature was ready to take the green. Avery Stoehr and Alan Chambers brought the field down to the green flag. After two called back start attempts by starter Bob Blanchette, Avery Stoehr jumped out into the lead.
The feature would go wire to wire, with Stoehr leading every lap. Brothers’ Jim and Alan Chambers put on an incredible battle for the second spot, with Jim coming out on top. Chambers did start to cut into Stoehr’s lead over the final laps, but ran out of time, with Stoehr winning by a straightaway. Seth Carlson, Todd Bertrand, Randy Cabral, Kyle Hamilton, John Zych, Paul Scally and Ryan Bigelow rounded out the top ten. Jim Chambers was the hard charger in the event.
“It was a big weight off my shoulders after the long off season moving to a new team to be able to go out and win the first race even though going over I knew the equipment and everything was top notch but whenever you come into a totally different car it will make you wonder a little bit,” said Stoehr. “It was awesome to win for Bertrand Motorsports after every year of racing against them and being welcomed in and everyone helping out was awesome,” he said.
In the NEMA Lites division, Kevin Iannarelli battled his way to the front in the early stages of the event. Iannarelli, who ran a blistering lap time of 12.6 earlier in the day in his heat race event, stretched out his lead in the early stages of the race.
Further back, Danny Cugini was slicing his way through the pack, and put on a battle with Jim Cataldo for second spot before breaking free from the pack. Behind them, Jim Chambers came from deep in the field and would pass Cataldo in the late stages of the race, and behind them, Kyle Hamilton and Ben Mikitarian were battling for position in the top five.
As the laps wound down, Cugini cut into Iannarelli’s lead by a carlength or two each lap, and with one to go was within two carlengths. He would make a move to the bottom, but wind up a half car length short at the line.
It appeared to be Cugini’s second straight second place finish, until it was found in post race tech inspection that Iannarelli had accidentally violated the club’s maximum offset rule. Cugini was awarded the victory, and was followed by Chambers, Cataldo, Hamilton, Mikitarian, Jeff Locke, Randy Cabral, Paul Scally, Dennis O’Brien and Ryan Locke.
“My Dad and I did a lot of setup work and spent some time in the shop to get the car done right, rolled it out of the trailer and it was pretty quick. We made a couple of small changes and the car was fast. When the feature started we hit a couple gaps and made our way to the front chasing down the 27 pretty much the whole race. Lap traffic played a good part in letting us reel him in. Crossed the finish line under him in 2nd. Not the way we would have liked to win, but we will take it,” said Cugini.
NEMA moves on to Wiscassett Speedway this Saturday evening on Ames True Value Night.