NEMA introduces new level of speed at Wiscasset
Wiscasset — It was a beautiful sunny day June 7 at Wiscasset Speedway. Fans packed the grandstands to watch a lineup of events. The Speedway celebrated NEMA Night (Northeast Midget Association).
NEMA and NEMA Lites raced on the track and reached speeds of more than 100 mph. This was the first time in 42 years the Midgets have visited the track, and NEMA drivers and fans want a return to the track next year.
Regular division races included Thunder 4s, Strictly Street, Mini Trucks and Late Model Sportsman.
The spotlighted race of the week was a 30-lap NEMA feature. The first NEMA race was the Midgets. Starting at the pole was Matt O’Brien. Behind him were Doug Cleveland and Ryan Bigelow. O’Brien was left behind as Cleveland, Bigelow and Jim Chambers passed him. A caution in lap four gave Ian Cumens the chance to join the race leaders. Chambers fell back and Cumens completed the pass to take third.
Ryan Bigelow in the lead, Cleveland in second and Cumens in third dominated the track. However, coming up from the back of the pack was Randy Cabral. Cabral ran fast laps, and completed the fastest lap of the night taking only 13.47 seconds.
Cabral looked for his chance to pass, and when a caution was called during lap 17, he took advantage of the restart and followed Cumens as they both passed Cleveland. Avery Stoehr also passed Cleveland and took third.
Cabral was not satisfied with second place, and when an opportunity arose during lap 19, he passed Cumens for the lead.
Cabral placed first. Cumens took second. Rounding out the top three was Avery Stoehr.
When the NEMA Lites drove onto the track, the fans erupted with cheers. Starting at the pole was Dennis O’Brien. Behind him were Megan Cugini and Jake Smith. When racing action began Megan Cugini took the lead, passing on the outside of turn one off the start. Andy Barrows moved quickly up the track. Barrows wove through track traffic and snagged the lead before lap two was completed. Jake Smith passed O’Brien and took third during the same lap.
Megan Cugini slowed on the track and Smith passed her for second during lap three. Scott Bigelow had been moving from his ninth place start, and he passed Megan Cugini during lap four for third.
Barrows led the race. In second was Smith. Scott Bigelow ran third. A caution during lap six changed everything. When racing action resumed Scott Bigelow headed to the inside and passed Smith and Barrows on turn one for the lead. Ryan Krachun moved up on the restart and passed Smith for third. Krachun passed Barrows for second.
Coming up from behind was Danny Cugini. During lap 13, Danny Cugini passed Barrows for third. Then, during lap 16 Danny Cugini passed Krachun for second on the inside of turn one. During lap 20, P.J. Stergios passed Krachun for third.
Race leaders remained constant until race conclusion. Scott Bigelow placed first. Bigelow ran the fastest lap of the race with a lap time of only 14.27-seconds. Danny Cugini finished second. Coming in third was P.J. Stergios.
Sixteen Thunder 4s took the track to compete in a 10-lap feature. Starting at the pole was Trey Brown. Behind him were Mike Mathieu and Bill Grover. When the green flag went down, Grover passed Brown on the inside of turn three for second. Lap two saw Curtis Anderson pass Mathieu for third on the inside of the back stretch. Then, during lap three, Leandra Martin passed Anderson for third on the inside of turn one to take third.
There was a caution during lap five. Mika Stover spun on the track and collected Grover. Grover was towed off the track with right front end damage and was out of the race. Martin moved to second. Ryan Chadwick moved to third.
When racing resumed Cody Robbins headed to the inside of turn two and passed both Chadwick and Martin to take second. Chadwick then passed Robbins on the inside of turn four during lap six. Chadwick then moved up the track looking for first. Brown held him off until Chadwick moved to the outside and passed on the outside of turn three for the lead during lap eight.
Robbins passed Brown on the outside of the front stretch during lap 12 to claim second. Cody Tribbet had been moving through lap traffic. He moved from his 11th place start and passed Brown for third.
There was a caution during lap 16 when Stover again spun on the track and hit the front stretch wall. There was a full stop caution while he was being towed off the track. While sitting on the track, Robbins began experiencing a mechanical malfunction, and smoke billowed around his car. Robbins was towed off the track as well. Chadwick maintained the lead. Tribbet moved to second. Brown was in third. Race leaders remained the same until the conclusion. Chadwick in first. Tribbet placed second. Brown claimed third.
Chadwick came into Saturday’s race as points leader with 170 points. It was Chadwick’s third first place win this season. Second in points was Bill Grover with 146 points.
A 25-lap Strictly Streets feature was next. It was a hard-fought race throughout, with heated battles for position on the track. On the pole was Dave Brannon. Dan Brown and Jairet Harrison were behind him.
Rick Spaulding passed Harrison off the start for third. Brannon and Brown battled for first. They raced neck and neck about the track with no clear leader for three laps. Brown pulled ahead by a nose on the inside of turn three during lap three. However, a caution during lap five had the pair once again side by side, with each looking for first. There was no clear leader, the duo danced along beside each other, each taking the lead for brief periods.
The race for third was heated. Corey Morgan started in 13th position. By lap 13, he had caught the race leaders, and after an extended chase, he passed Spaulding on the outside of the backstretch for third. Spaulding did not want to relinquish his position, and fought hard to reclaim his position. Spaulding passed Morgan during lap 14. Spaulding and Morgan heatedly raced. Lap 16 saw Morgan pull ahead, clinching third.
In the battle for first, Brown and Brannon still raced side by side. When the checkered flag flew, Brown was first across the finish line. Brannon took second. Morgan placed third. This was Brown’s second top three finish of the season at Wiscasset. Brown was seventh in points coming into Saturday’s race with 102 points. The points leader was Corey Morgan with 168 points.
In a quick, straight-forward race, six Mini Trucks competed in a 15-lap race. Starting on the pole was Matt Curtis. Larry Marshall and Jeff Schmidt were behind him. When the green flag went down, Kris Knox passed Schmidt on the outside for third. Knox again went to the outside and passed Marshall for second during lap one for second. Gerry McKenna passed Schmidt in the inside of turn three for third during lap one.
Knox had his eye on first. Then during lap two he passed Curtis for first on the outside of turn three. Matt Weil headed inside during lap five and passed McKenna for third. McKenna and Weil battled for third. Then Weil spun on the track and McKenna passed Weil on the outside of turn three.
Knox claimed the win. Coming in second was Matt Curtis. Third place went to McKenna. Coming into the race, McKenna was the points leader with 172 points. Knox was in fourth place with 116 points.
Finishing the night was a 35-lap Late Model Sportsman feature. On the pole was Alex Waltz. Behind him were Chris Thorne and Steve Minott. Off the start, Thorne passed Waltz for the lead, and gained a three-car lead. Steve Reno passed Waltz on the outside of turn one claiming second.
Coming up from his sixth-place start was Nick Hinkley. Hinkley passed Waltz during lap two on the outside of turn three to claim third. A determined Hinkley fought Reno for second. It was not until lap nine that Hinkley was able to complete the pass, on the outside of turn three, to take second.
Ryan St. Clair moved up, weaving through track traffic, from his 11th place start. He was able to pass Reno during lap 18 on the outside of the front stretch for third.
There were no additional leader changes, and Thorne claimed his first victory of the season in his Trees Limited Chevy SS.
Placing second was Hinkley. Ryan St. Clair finished third.
The individual results were:
NEMA Midget (30 laps) — 1, Randy Cabral, Kingston, Mass.; 2, Ian Cumens, Lydell, Pa.; 3, Avery Stoehr, Lakeville, Mass.; 4, Bethany Stoehr, Bridgewater, Mass.; 5, Seth Carlson, Brimfield, Conn.; 6, Jim Santmaria, Burlington, Conn.; 7, Paul Scally, Raynham, Mass.; 8, Todd Bertrand, Suffield, Conn.; 9, Doug Cleveland, Sudbury, Mass.; 10, Ryan Bigelow, East Hampton, Conn.; 11, Kenney Johnson, Bethany, Conn.; 12, Joey Scanlon, no town given; 13, Matt Obrien, Wilmington, Mass.; 14, Jim Chambers, Atkinson, N.H.; and 15, Frank Swan, Plymouth.
NEMA Lites (25 laps) — 1, Scott Bigelow, East Hampton, Conn.; 2, Dan Cugini, Marshfield, Mass.; 3, P.J. Stergios, Candia, N.H.; 4, Ryan Krachun, Neschanic Station, N.J.; 5, Andy Barrows, New Ipswich, N.H.; 6, Juris Kupris, Williamsburg, N.Y.; 7, Jake Smith, Stroudsburg, Pa.; 8, Christian Briggs, Mattapoisett, Mass.; 9, Richie Morrocco, Plainsville, Mass.; 10, Dennis Obrien, Deerfield, N.H.; 11, Kevin Park, Foxboro, Mass.; 12, Meg Cugini, Marshfield, Mass.; 13, Miles DeVits, no town given; 14, Kevin Hutchens, East Waterboro; 15, Matt Swanson, Acton, Mass.; and 16, Paul Bigelow, Kensington, Conn.
Thunder 4s (20 laps) — 1, Ryan Chadwick, Wiscasset; 2, Cody Tribbet, Richmond; 3, Trey Brown, Winterport; 4, Leandra Martin, Richmond; 5, Jeff Davis, Woolwich; 6, Robert McDonald, Smithfield; 7, Curtis Anderson, Richmond; 8, Kyia Roussel, Portland; 9, Travis Pouliot, Madison; 10, Mike Mathieu, Oakland; 11, Jake Wight, Gardiner; 12, Cody Robbins, Winslow; 13, Mika Stover, Chelsea; 14, Bill Grover, Waterford; and 15, Alexis Roach, Brewer.
Strictly Street (25 laps) — 1, Dan Brown, Peru; 2, Dave Brannon, Lisbon; 3, Corey Morgan, Lewiston; 4, Zach Emerson, Sabattus; 5, Richard Spaulding, Lisbon; 6, Tasha Dyer, Freedom; 7, Mike Marshall, Dresden; 8, Guy Childs, Turner; 9, Jairet Harrison, Freeport; 10, Mike Wilson, Chelsea; 11, Jonathan Emerson, Sabattus; 12, Kimberly Knight, Chesterville; 13, Phil Main Sr, Boothbay; 14, Mike Stewart, Durham; 15, Thomas Smith, Edgecomb; and 16, Shawn Rines, Wiscasset.
Mini Trucks (15 laps) — 1, Kris Knox, Sanford; 2, Matt Curtis, Freeport; 3, Jerry McKenna, Milton; 4, Matt Weil, Biddeford; 5, Jeff Schmidt, Mechanic Falls; 6, Larry Marshall, Dresden.
Late Model Sportsman (35 laps) — 1, Chris Thorne, Sidney; 2, Nick Hinkley, Wiscasset; 3, Ryan St. Clair, Liberty; 4, Chris Bowie, New Glouster; 5, Josh St. Clair, Liberty; 6, Dave St. Clair, Liberty; 7, Steve Reno, West Bath; 8, Will Collins, Waldoboro; 9, Allan Moeller Sr, Dresden; 10, Richard Jordan, Kingfield; 11, Alex Waltz, Walpole; 12, Tyler Robbins, Montville; 13, Dave Patten, Westbrook; 14, Steve Minott, Windham; and 15, Bill Pinkham, Wiscasset.
Lisa Maguire writes for Wiscasset Speedway.