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.”
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.”
7—9-John Zych Jr.
11-99-Jim Santa Maria
Heat winners- #74-Cabral—#71-Carlson
Margin of Victory-1.391 sec.
Best lap by-#47-Kyle Hamilton
NEMA Lites Finish
Margin of Victory–3:43.465
Best lap time–12.660
Best lap by–#5-Duhaime
NEMA Press Release. Photo Credit: Crystal Snape