Waterford, CT – Avery Stoehr showed a flair for
the dramatic in winning the 27-lap Lites feature at the Northeastern
Midget Association’s Shane Hammond Memorial Saturday night at
Waterford Speedowl. His first victory left everybody gasping.
Stoehr, 16, didn’t secure the lead until after going under the white
flag. He got under RJ Tufano, the only other leader, coming out of
four. Heading into one, he drove the family 15b between a lapped car
on the bottom and Tufano to take command.
“I saw the hole. We had just gone past the white flag and if I
didn’t do it, I wasn’t going to pull it off,” explained Stoehr who
went on to beat Tufano by a second and a half. Ian Cumens (Seymour
9), Dylan Duhaime (Duhaime 57) and Stoehr’s cousin Bethany (Stoehr
26b) completed the top five.
Tufano had a commanding lead when caution flew with eight laps
remaining. It was at that point Stoehr, the son of six-time NEMA
champ Russ, noticed Tufano’s badly blistered right rear. Still, on
the restart, Stoehr dropped back and then closed in a rush over the
final three laps.
“Use your head and pass cars,” was the advice he got from his
A Lites rookie, Stoher was quick to admit the caution helped. “I
don’t think I was ever going to catch him,” he said. “I saw [Tufano]
get loose a couple times but catching him was not going to happen.”
While Tufano jumped into a commanding lead, Stoehr, who started
eighth, was doing battle with fellow third
generation driver Lanson Fornoro (Scrivani 21). When Stoehr cleared
Fornoro coming out of four with 17 laps remaining, Tufano was almost
a half-lap in front and already in heavy traffic.
“Didn’t want to see that caution,” said Tufano. “I knew the car was
While a broken panhard bar ended a great run for Fornoro, Randy
Cabral, a Lites winner at Star, was now a factor. Driving the family
car, Cabral had come from the 13th starting spot. Ian Cumens
(Seymour 9) was there as well. Cumens started 15th.
Tufano, despite the tire problem, got a great restart. Cabral’s car,
however, “went away” and it was Cumens who wound up with the best
view of Stoehr’s memorable pass.
Testimony to Tufano’s early dominance: he recorded the fastest
feature lap, a 13.893. It was the only sub 14 seconds circuit.
It was the third points race for the Lites. Point leader Carl
Medeiros Jr. was seventh behind Cabral at the checkered.
The car Stoehr drove, wrenched by Carl Kibbe, won at Waterford last
year with Keith Botelho driving. Kibbe remains the crew chief.
RESULTS: 1. Avery Stoehr, 2. RJ Tufano, 3. Ian Cumens, 4. Dylan
Duhaime, 5. Bethany Stoehr, 6. Randy Cabral, 7. Carl Medeiros Jr.,
8. Jake Smith, 9. Danny Cugini, 1o. Brandon Igo, 11. Paul Bigelow,
12. Scott Bigelow, 13. Ryan Bigelow, 14. Kenny Johnson, 15. Logan
Rayvals, 16. Paul Luggelle, 17. Lanson Fornoro.