Paul Scally Wins NEMA Season Opener; Avery Stoehr Grabs Lites Victory

(Press Release from Northeastern Midget Association)

Paul Scally celebrates victory in the NEMA opener Saturday (Photo: NEMA/John DaDalt)

WATERFORD – In a David v. Goliath story, Paul Scally, who claimed his first Northeastern Midget Association victory last season in 20+ years of running, took down his second victory on Saturday evening over Bertrand Motorsports teammates Randy Cabral and Todd Bertrand. In the Lites, Avery Stoehr in the Scrivani 21 ended a frustrating evening to absolutely dominate the feature event, breaking the Lite track record enroute to victory.

In the NEMA feature, Doug Cleveland and Alan Chambers brought the feature to the green flag. Third place starter Scally took command on lap two, making a move to the bottom of turns three and four. Scally then began to set a torrid pace in the early laps of the feature, stretching out his lead to nearly a straightaway.

Further back, Randy Cabral had worked his way from the seventh starting spot into second by lap eight, as Chambers started to fade back into the field. Behind Scally and Cabral, the action was intense as Avery Stoehr, Jim Chambers, Todd Bertrand and Keith Rocco in the Bertrand 47 were all mixing it up right outside of the top five. Bertrand would advance to third place by the halfway marker, and would begin to set his sights on Cabral and Scally.

As Scally began to approach lapped traffic, Cabral would narrow the margin to five carlengths, and Bertrand would pull to within a few carlengths of Cabral. Scally worked the lapped traffic masterfully, and would go on to take down NEMA’s opening day victory for 2018. Cabral would finish second, and Bertrand, who captured the fastest lap of the feature (13.101) would finish third, on the podium. Jim Chambers would finish 4th, followed by Avery Stoehr, Alan Chambers, Doug Cleveland, Matt O’Brien, Pete Pernesiglio and Rocco, who dropped out with an ignition issue on lap sixteen.

“I want to thank all of the people who helped me get here. It is bittersweet though, as there are some people that I really wished were here to celebrate this victory with me,” said Scally. “It wasn’t an easy day, we broke the drive train in hot laps, but I knew we had a really good car right from when we unloaded,” he said.

In the Lites feature, outside pole starter, Avery Stoehr, jumped out quickly into the lead in the Scrivani 21. Stoehr quickly went to work distancing himself from the field, and started lighting up the scoreboard with quick times right off the bat. On lap six, Stoehr would set the current standard for the Lites, with a 13.68 track record setting lap.

Jimmy Cataldo in his own #5 car would settle into the second spot, while Paul Scally and Ben Mikitarian battled for the 3rd and 4th spots.

As the laps wound on, Stoehr would begin to further distance himself from the field, running laps consistently in the 13.8 and 13.9 range, and eighth place starter, Danny Cugini, was making his way to the front of the field taking second on lap sixteen, and sister, Meg in tow, making her way from the sixth starting spot to 3rd.

Stoehr would go on to take down the victory, unchallenged, as D. Cugini would finish second, followed by Meg Cugini, Ben Mikitarian, Randy Cabral, Jim Cataldo, Paul Scally, Jim Santa Maria, Kevin Iannarelli, and Ryan Locke.

“The car was a missile tonight. It felt really good after a very frustrating day. I was going to be hard pressed to let anyone beat me. We are thinking about Mike, who is home recuperating from an injury at work, wish he could have been here. The guys did a great job tonight though, I can’t thank all of them enough,” said Stoehr.

The Lites are on tap next at Star Speedway on Saturday May 19th, and the combined divisions will run next at Wiscasset Speedway on June 2nd.

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