Danny Cugini, Randy Cabral Grab NEMA Wins At Iron Mike Memorial At Monadnock Speedway

(Press Release from Northeastern Midget Association)
Danny Cugini celebrates a NEMA Midget victory at Monadnock Speedway (Photo: NEMA/Norm Marx)

The Northeastern Midget Association descended upon the historic Monadnock Speedway for the prestigious Iron Mike Memorial Race.  The setting was a picture perfect evening in the hills of the Monadnock area of New Hampshire.  A strong field of 16 midgets took the green flag for 30 laps as nightfall had come upon the speedway.  The top story of the day was the debut of Danny Cugini in the #47 orange and black Bertand Motorsports NEMA midget.  The combination of Cugini and Bertrand proved to be a good one as Danny Cugini took the lead on lap 1 from his fourth starting spot and never relinquished it for all 30 of the green flag laps.  

Cugini was masterful behind the wheel of the Esslinger powered Lindblad/Drinan chassis car.  The Marshfield native continually clicking off near perfect laps maintaining a comfortable lead over 2nd place Randy Cabral in the Bertrand Motorsports #74 machine.  Cugini navigated his way through lapped traffic with the skills of a master only once letting Cabral get close enough for a chance at a pass. When asked about his keys to success Saturday night Cugini responded, “I have to give credit to the awesome setup that Bertrand Motorsports provided which was the biggest factor in getting the victory. Their car preparation is impressive.”  With Max Zachem on hand the combination seemed to gel right away.  Cugini was quick to thank his family and girlfriend for all their support and help throughout the days leading up to the event.  

Finishing in second place was the veteran Randy Cabral who took over the second place position on lap 2 from his 4th place starting position.  ” Danny is a good race car driver and he drove a great race tonight.  My congratulations to him.”  

The always humble Cabral finished with a great points day and a handshake from host Mike Scrivani in victory lane.  Avery Stoehr methodically worked his way from his 8th starting spot to take over the 3rd position on lap 27.  The long-time Lakeville, Massachusetts native from the Stoehr racing family tradition was impressive with his usual calculating aggressive style while making his way through lapped cars en route overtaking spots for position.  Finishing in the fourth position and completing an 4 car sweep for Bertrand Motorsports was Todd Bertrand in the family owned red # 48 beautifully prepared machine.  5th place was obtained by previous 3 time NEMA champion John Zych in his Circle Performance worked Esslinger powered Drinan #9.  The father and son team lacked their usual speed on this evening but will be sure to be back at it next event. Recent Dad, Dangerous Paul Scally finished 6th and fought hard all evening turning some very fast laps in the process. Paul’s “all-out” driving style moved him up from his 7th place starting position but just couldn’t advance to the front runners. Mike Horn and Matt O’brien were 7th and 8th on the night both veterans of the NEMA ranks.  Lanson Fornoro finished 9th in the beautifully prepared Pete Pernesiglio #50 white and red car.

The NEMA midgets will be back in action at the famed Thompson Motor Speedway on Wednesday August 14th which looks to be a sizzler so stay tuned and come out to see some 140 mph action.

The NEMA Lites race began with a very appropriate pacing by Lanson Fornoro, (grandson of Noki Fornoro) in the Iron Mike Scrivani #1 Vintage NEMA midget.  It was nostalgic watching the black and gold upright leading the 18 lite cars in a parade lap.  Mike Scrivani stated, ” It couldn’t have been a more fitting setting than that.”  Mentioned referencing honoring his late father and historic midget racer.  With the stage properly set the green flag dropped to some torrid action.  With tight racing in the pack behind, Megan Cugini (younger sister of NEMA winner Danny) took off to an early lead from the pole position and paced the field through the first seven laps.  Caution came out on lap 7 after a spin by the #39 Dominec Elicone which collected the #7 car who was unable to continue.  When the field returned to green Meg Cugini shot out to the lead again and looked strong in the Max Zachem prepared #41 car out front.  Another caution would fly as the #39 got tangled up with the #17 of Kyle Valeri and the #21 driven by Anthony Payne.  Green flag resumed with Megan Cugini holding the lead until lap 17.  

Up to challenge was the veteran Randy Cabral in the Frank Manafort owned Matt Seymour prepared #76 car.  “The Plymouth Fury” made quick work of the pass to take the lead and began to put distance between him and second place.  You could see the precision of the experienced pilot at the front of the pack as Cabral was showing the younger drivers what years of experience brings to the table.  Cabral looked unstoppable in the recently redesigned black and orange colored FMR machine.  However if you looked just a short way back in the pack you couldn’t help but notice the black #11 of PJ Stergios was passing cars with authority and gaining on Cabral with each lap. The Candia NH local driver with his smooth clean driving style was pulling up to the rear bumper of the #76 by lap 22.  Now the stage was set for a battle of talent not seen very often.  

Stergios in a masterful move would take the lead on lap 23 in a chess match of skills.  Cabal showing his experience went opposite on a lapped car and made a daring pass to take the lead on lap 25.  With 5 to go, and now on old tires, each driver ran nose-to-tail without either driver making a mistake down to the checkered with Cabral holding off Stergios for the victory.  Cabral stated, “I must give credit to Matt Seymour (his crew chief) for listening to my requests for changes and getting them done right.”  “That has been the key to out recent success.”  Matt Seymour was quick to point out, that, “Cabral made the car a winner tonight with his knowledge of the track and what he needed to win for set up. But make no mistake Randy’s driving won the race.”   3rd place went to New Hampshire native Ryan Locke who had a great run after starting back in 11th spot.  Locke made a late race pass on Anthony Marvuglio with 5 to go and held the position to take up the last spot in victory lane with host Mike Scrivani.  “Bug” Marvuglio put on a great performance but didn’t quite have what the top 2 cars had this evening.  The young phenom Jake Trainor could only manage a 5th place finish on the night but is having a stellar 2nd season.  Finishing sixth through tenth were Richie Coy, Anthony Payne, Matt Merry, Dominec Elicone, and Kyle Valeri.

The competitors were also quick to add the the Scrivani family put on such a great event and went all out with the trophies and preparations.  The racer are taking their hats off to you for your efforts Mike.  

 The NEMA Lites will campaign again on August 18th at Lee Speedway.  Look for some great wheel to wheel racing and come out to see it in person.

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