MA – Anthony Nocella and Ian Cumens, teammates in Seymour Enterprises cars,
top the contenders list for the 25-lap Northeastern Midget Association Lites
feature at Waterford
Speedbowl’s Budweiser Blast Off March 31-April 1.
The Lites feature is part of the
Saturday night (March 31) agenda. The 25-lap NEMA feature is on the Sunday
(April 1) schedule. Both divisions qualify on Saturday.
A field in the mid twenties is
expected as “the Lites” begin their fifth campaign. The Speedbowl was one of
the first tracks to host the economically-motivated division back in 2008.
The NEMA Lites have become one of the fastest growing developmental divisions
in open-cockpit racing.
Nocella, who will be driving the
Seymour’s NEMA car later in the season, won two Lites events at the Speedbowl
last season including the Blast Off. Cumens is actually looking for two in a
row having won last year’s finale at Seekonk in the Seymour #9.
Andy Barrows, Ryan Bigelow and Paul
Luggelle were also Waterford
winners a year ago. Paul Bigelow, Christian Briggs, Jake Sturgis, Brandon
Igo, Kenney Johnson, Carl Modeiros and Jake Smith are expected as well. Joey
Mucciacciaro will be driving Paul Scally’s No. 4.
Blast Off will also mark the debut
of Avery Stoehr who will join cousin Bethany in Lites competition. Avery is
the son of Russ Stoehr while Bethany
is the daughter of Greg Stoehr. Other newcomers include youngsters Dan
Cugini, who takes over in the car Russ Wood Jr. drove last year, and Tyler
Rivard, the latter in Jennifer Scravani’s #21.
Bobby Seymour, the “unofficial”
Lites leader, points out the plan is to not only get younger drivers into
NEMA but to keep them there. It is working. Seth Carlson, Anthony Marvuglio,
Todd Bertrand and Jim Santa Maria, all Lites graduates, will be driving “full
midgets” in 2012. They’ll be part of a field that includes defending champion
Randy Cabral, former champions Russ Stoehr and Joey Payne and veteran
competitors Adam Cantor, Barry Kittredge and Greg Stoehr.
The division began with Oldsmobile
Quad-4 and Ford Focus engines. Both are still being used. Honda came aboard
and now EcoTec (Chevy) joins the party,
“We’ve been adjusting all the
time,” says Seymour,
“trying to level the playing field.” He admits to “changing the rules as we
go along making sure no car is too quick.” Everybody, he adds, “wants to
leave home feeling he has a shot at winning. That makes a series attractive.”