Jim Chambers beat back Seth Carlson on a lap eleven restart, and went on to dominate the remainder of the Northeastern Midget Association feature at Star Speedway this past Saturday evening. In the Lites, Anthony Payne muscled his way to the front in the early stages of the race and held off a hard charging Chambers to take down his first victory of the season in the Scrivani 21.
The race celebrated Marvin Rifchin, who was a long time supporter of NEMA. Marvin’s contributions to the industry have been nationally recognized. In 1999, he was inducted into the NEAR Hall of Fame. In 2003, he was inducted into the SEMA Hall of Fame. Throughout the 60′s, 70′s, 80′s, and into the 90′s, Marvin’s tires helped deliver countless NEMA victories and championships with guys like Bill Eldridge, Al Pillion, Dave Humphrey, Lee Smith, Joey Coy, and Drew Fornoro just to name a few.
When the Lites took the track on Saturday, Jim Cataldo in the #7 Beast machine jumped out into the early lead. Cataldo looked to be running away from the field, before a caution flew on lap five. On the restart, Anthony Payne in the Scrivani 21 blasted by Cataldo and into the lead. Jim Chambers, who started deep in the field, made quick work moving into the top three, and by lap eight, he was second. Chambers pressured Payne for a number of laps as the duo ran side by side, with Payne retaining the advantage.
Payne beat back Chambers on a late race restart, and began pulling away over the final laps. It was the first victory for the young Payne in 2017. Chambers was second, followed by Jake Stergios, Dan Cugini, Ryan Locke, Kevin Iannarelli, Ben Mikitarian, Meg Cugini, Dylan Duhaime and Jim Cataldo.
“This year me and the Scrivani team have been struggling. Luckily, with the endless effort of Mike and the crew they found some stuff wrong with car. We came to Star with a positive mind set. Car was on rails from when it rolled out the trailer to when it rolled into the trailer. Practice we made some changes. Went out in the heat won the heat race and set a blistering lap. We started 3rd in the feature took the lead earlier on in the race and planned on staying there until the checkered flags came out. When the cautions came out I saw on the score board who was behind me and knew I had to go. I’d like to say special thanks to Mike Scrivani, Jim Susi, Jason Parsons, Mike Dupray, Mike and Lu Jarret and Dave Shore,” said Payne.
In the NEMA feature, Bethany Stoehr and Doug Cleveland brought the field down to the green flag. The duo would battle for the lead over the first two laps, before fourth place starter Jim Chambers worked his way under Stoehr, and then Cleveland entering turn three to take the lead away. Immediately, Chambers began to set the pace for the field, pulling away. Behind him, Seth Carlson making his first start in the Bertrand 47 worked his way into second, but remained a steady distance from Chambers.
A lap ten caution flew for Bethany Stoehr in turn three, and brought the field back to double file formation. On the restart, Chambers got a clean jump off of turn four, as Carlson’s machine stumbled. Once green, Chambers quickly stretched out his lead again and was quickly into lapped traffic. As the laps wound down, Chambers approached Cleveland and Bethany Stoehr, and as he navigated between them, Carlson was able to close the gap to within three carlengths, but once free, Chambers pulled away and went on to take down the victory. Seth Carlson was second, followed by John Zych, Randy Cabral, Paul Scally, Avery Stoehr, Alan Chambers, Doug Cleveland, Anthony Payne, and Bethany Stoehr.
“With the competition and lap times being so close, I knew I had to get out front early. Once I got around the leaders, I just tried to hit my marks every lap. The car was awesome, and I have to thank my crew for giving me a really good piece tonight,” said Chambers