Tag Archives: NEMA


Riverhead, NY May 31st
by Bob Finan
When the 3rd annual Reichert Group IGA Food Markets Allan Cantor Memorial event for the NEMA Midgets takes the green flag at Riverhead Raceway Saturday night June 9th defending race winner Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville will be in the field seeking to back-up his 2017 triumph in the prestigious race. The NEMA Midgets along with their companion NEMA Lites will be joined by seven divisions of NASCAR Whelen All American Series racing providing fans with 205 laps of feature event racing plus qualifying races during the busy card.
2017 NEMA winner at Riverhead Raceway Justin Bonsignore (Photo Michael Jaworecki Myracenews)

Bonsignore the 2011 Riverhead Raceway NASCAR Modified champion and an 11-time winner at the track where he started is successful driving career will have a home track advantage over his NEMA foes when he straps into the ultra quick Bertrand Motorsports K&N Filters entry Saturday but will indeed face some stiff competition. Last year winning the IGA Food Markets Allan Cantor Memorial was no easy task for Bonsignore as he had to weave his way from the back of the field before he took the lead in the race on lap 18 to post a very popular victory. The win was especially made sweeter for Justin after having crashed out of the 2016 race due to suspension failure while charging his way towards the front. “I’m glad the Bertrand’s invited me back to drive after the 2016 race” Bonsignore reflected in victory lane last spring. “To win for them and especially in the Allan Cantor Memorial race meant so much to me as well for them. We’ll try to do so again this year” Bonsignore noted recently.

Jim Chambers of Atkinson, Ma and 2016 race winner Randy Cabral of Kingston, Ma. chased Bonsignore to the checkers last year and both will be favorites for the 2018 race win. Paul Scally of Raynham, Ma., Todd Bertrand of Danielson, Ct., Avery Stoehr of Lakeville, Ma. and local talent Peter Pernesiglio of Ronkonkoma are all expected to be contenders as well in the 25-lap feature event.
Chambers won last year’s NEMA Lites event at Riverhead Raceway and is expected to attempt to make it two in a row Saturday. Dan Cugini of Marshfield, Ma. and Chad Labastie of Uxbridge, Ma chased Chambers to the line last year and are hoping to visit victory lane this year. Meg Cugini of Marshfield, Ma., Ben Mikitarain of Boston, Ma along with Avery Stoehr and Randy Cabral will also be contenders in the 20-lap NEMA Lite prelim.
On the stock car side of the racing menu the NASCAR Modifieds will headline that portion of the program contesting a 40-lap feature event and be joined by Late Models (25-L), Eagle Auto Mall Modified Crates (25-L), Figure Eights (15-L), INEX Legend Race Cars (20-L), Street Stocks (20-L) and the Vintage Modifieds of LIVARS (15-L).
Qualifying will kick off things at 5:00pm with opening ceremonies and the first feature race of the evening set for approximately 6:00 pm. The complete race day event schedule for June 9th can be viewed @ www.riverheadraceway.com. Riverhead Raceway’s phone number remains 631-842-RACE.

Cabral Visits Victory Lane For 50th Time

Exciting things can happen when NEMA is in town and Saturday July 8, 2017 was no exception at Bobby Webbers’ Star Speedway. These mighty monsters are guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat.

   In the NEMA feature Seth Carlson out-dragged pole sitter Doug Cleaveland of Sudbury MA and attempted to distance himself from a hungry pack behind him. It was looking like the Brimfield CT driver was on his way to victory lane, when things went sour for him with ten laps to go as his right rear tire slowly lost air. All the while Randy Cabral of Kingston MA, who started third, took over second place from Cleaveland and drew a bead on race leader Carlson, slowly closing in as Carlson began to have handling issues.
   Cabral finally caught and passed Carlson on lap 19 and went on to his 50th NEMA win.
   “We were real lucky to start up front and go green to checkered like that. Its so tough now, everybody’s got such good equipment and they’re all good drivers. When your racing with Seth (Carlson) you’re racing with the best of them, its tough to get by the kid. His car went away at the end. His car was better than mine at first, my car was better than his at the end. Lapped traffic played into effect also”. He added “I didn’t know he had a flat tire at the end. Sometimes that kid has no luck but he’ll get his next week.”
   Kyle Hamilton started mid pack and eased himself forward throughout the event. The Indiana racer took over third place on lap eight and the chase was on to catch race leader Carlson and second place Cabral. By lap 19 Cabral was the new leader and Hamilton applied pressure on Carlson for the runner up spot. By lap 23 the pass was made but the laps ran out and Hamilton was second on the podium.
   “Starting back in 8th, it was tough. I knew it was going to be a tall order but the car was actually better that I thought. To be that close to the leaders was good for our team. It took a couple of laps to get by some guys. I could go right around on the outside and didn’t have to wait on some others. I would have liked to see a caution, but again I don’t want to see anyone wreck, but we’ll take it. And I got to thank everybody for bringing me out here from Indiana and we’re planning to run the world series at Thompson speedway.”
   Although Carlson jetted away and led a majority of the event, his tire issue relegated him to a third place finish. He had to be happy with the way his #71 performed and handled up to lap 18 and it looks like his team will visit victory lane in the near future.
   “We started off with the early lead, car handled really well, then had a tire bleeder fall out towards the end there so we loss air in the right rear and ended up third and didn’t wreck the car. I consider that still a pretty good day.”
1—74-Randy Cabral
2—47-Kyle Hamilton
3—71-Seth Carlson
4—21-Jim Chambers
5—7-Alan Chambers
6—30-Paul Scally
7—9-John Zych Jr.
8—33-Ben Seitz
9—Doug Cleaveland
10–39-Avery Stoehr
11-99-Jim Santa Maria
12-A1-Mike Horn
13-16-Matt O’Brien
DNS-77-Jesse Jakubajtys
Heat winners- #74-Cabral—#71-Carlson
Margin of Victory-1.391 sec.
Best time-12.039
Best speed-74.757
Best lap by-#47-Kyle Hamilton
Duhaime Shines At Star
   Meg Cugini of Marshfield MA and Richie Coy of Haskell NJ brought the NEMA Lites to the green flag. Cugini would lead three laps before a stout Jake Stergios of Candia NH took over the top spot looking for another NEMA Lite victory, while Dylan Duhaime of Loudon NH raced his way from deep in the pack picking off competitors. Stergios was blazing a trail to the checkered flag but Duhaime had other plans, using three caution periods to his advantage and picking up valuable spots each restart. The last restart on lap 19 found race leader Stergios and Duhaime side by side. When the green flag flew so did Duhaime. Duhaime led the last six laps with Stergios and Jim Chambers of Atkinson NH in tow.
   Chambers and Randy Cabral ran wheel to wheel for the last few laps before Chambers prevailed for a podium finish.
   In victory lane Duhaime said, “We got a lot of good breaks, the track was pretty loose because of the early rain and I capitalized on that. The inside groove was really working for me. On the last  restart on the outside I got a little shot from behind and that helped me get into the corner a little faster and got a good run on the back stretch. I didn’t expect to get a little bump to help me win but it was great.”
Margin of Victory–3:43.465
Best lap time–12.660
Best speed–71.090
Best lap by–#5-Duhaime
1—5-Dylan Duhaime
2–57-Jake Stergios
3–12-Jim Chambers
4–35-Randy Cabral
5–38-Ryan Locke
6–30-Paul Scally
7—9-Ben Mikitarain
8–14-Chad LaBastie
9—9-Jim Cataldo
10-19-Richie Coy
11-21-Anthony Payne
12-16-Dennis O’Brien
13-52-Kevin Park
14–3-Christopher Vose
15-41-Meg Cugini
16-51-Dan Cugini
17-34CT-Anthony Burr
by James Snape
photos by Crystal Snape

Todd Bertrand Set to Defend Icebreaker Victory at Thompson 125, presented by Whelen

Photo Michael Jaworecki Myracenews

Todd Bertrand Set to Defend Icebreaker Victory at Thompson 125, presented by Whelen

THOMPSON, CT – One of the highlights of Icebreaker 2017 was the photo finish between NEMA Lites drivers Todd Bertrand and Dan Cugini. The two battled wing-to-wing in the waning laps of the 20-lap affair, but it was Bertrand by the length of a bumper.  The 0.038 second margin of victory was the closest recorded in a NEMA Lites race at Thompson.

Bertrand recalls the sequence of events that day, which resulted in his first visit to Critical Signs victory lane, “The car was a little loose, meaning that I wouldn’t have as much traction on the track. I fixed that problem with using the heat tires for the featured race which really helped me out big time. I knew I had a fast car and if I got in front of Danny early than I would have a huge chance of winning. I got past him early and knew I was faster than everyone on the track so that gave me more leverage at winning. Near the end on the final three laps my car started to become loose and that gave Danny a huge advantage, due to me loosing traction; but I held my ground and stayed on the inside of him to lead me to a Thompson victory. I have never won a race at Thompson before so winning this race meant a lot to me.”

The car that Bertrand drove to victory has quite the story behind it. The CT-native explains, “This was the first time back in the No. 45 since running it last year in the World Series. We first acquired this car back when I started running in the NEMA Lites then sold it to a close friend of mine. Me and my team reacquired this car and wanted to use it for rental rides and I personally wanted to use it for racing at big tracks such as Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. This car had some problems in the winter due to a 15 year old motor, which we fixed with a brand new motor. These replacements to this car had a tremendous impact on my winning the Icebreaker.”

The Icebreaker is old news, though, and Bertrand knows that he must turn his attention to the next NEMA Lites race at Thompson, which is scheduled for June 14, as part of the Thompson 125, presented by Whelen.  Bertrand then discussed his strategy for the Thompson 125.

  “We are going to go with a similar package with some minor adjustments due to the temperature of track being different than it was back during Icebreaker and also changes from Global Rally Cross this past weekend. New Tires will be bought and maintained while getting all the aspects right on the car.”

Bertrand knows that he will have to be on top of his game heading into the event, as a handful of drivers will be challenging him in his quest to continue his Icebreaker success going.

“My biggest competition for next week will be No. 35 Randy Cabral who will always be fast. Next is No. 51 Dan Cugini who has won the last 3/4 races at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. Next is No. 12 Jim Chambers who is a hell of a driver in the 12 car. Last, but not least, is No. 57 PJ Stergios who crashed in the first lap of the Icebreaker but has won the World Series last year. Any of those guys will hold their ground and be huge contenders to win.”

The NEMA Lites will join the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, Sunoco Modifieds, Late Models, Limited Sportsman and Mini Stock on the race card for the Third Annual Thompson 125, presented by Whelen. Scheduled for June 14, the grandstands will open at 3:30pm with racing beginning at 5pm. For more information, visit thompsonspeedway.com