Todd Bertrand NEMA First Timer
Waterford, CT – Patience paid dividends Saturday night for 20-year old Todd Bertrand. Driving the family No. 39, Bertrand won the Northeastern Midget Association’s 25-lap Angelillo Memorial at Waterford Speedowl’s Wings and Wheels. It was his first NEMA win.
Passing Paul Scally on lap 19, Bertrand covered the distance in a record 5:46.76 (97.330 mph) and finished three-seconds ahead of teammate Randy Cabral (Bertrand 47), the latter coming from 14th. In a mad scramble, Greg Stoehr (Stoehr 26), Scally (Scally 30) and Jeff Abold (Seymour 29) completed the top five.
Bertrand, the sixth winner this year, passed Scally with an inside move into turn three. Pole sitter Scally was the only other leader.
Believing Scally to be faster, Bertrand was content in second “staying patient, driving off the top” and “waiting for an opportunity.” It came when Scally drifted up going into three. Bertrand, looking to go outside, “shot to the inside instead” and into the lead.
Before the pass, Scally ran comfortably ahead of Bertrand, B.J. MacDonald and Cabral for several laps. Stoehr came up to challenge Cabral by lap 15.
“The win means so much because of the race,” continued Bertrand. “The Angelillos were so important to NEMA. And because Waterford is my favorite track.” It is another chapter in the Bertrand/Speedbowl love affair.
While victory belonged to Bertrand, “the move” belonged to Cabral. NEMA’s top Waterford winner, Cabral was part of a tight group battling behind Bertrand. With three laps remaining, he took second with a four-wide pass heading into three.
“Don’t know how I did it,” said Cabral, who was fourth by lap 12. “There was an opening and I think I shut my eyes and went for it.” His car, Cabral said, was “awful in practice and we changed everything. We were lucky.”
Greg Stoehr got faster as the race went on. “Hooked up on the outside,” Stoehr grabbed third on lap 22 and finished a half second behind Cabral.
A broken throttle spring plagued point leader and defending Angelillo Memorial champ Russ Stoehr who finished seventh.
Bertrand and Russ Stoehr were the heat winners.
NEMA gets two week off before returning to Seekonk for the prestigious Boston Louie Seymour Memorial on August 27.
NEMA NUGGETS: Laura Kibbe did an incredible job in honoring her mother and father Gene and Marilyn Angelillo ...“We don’t get to race like that often,” offered Greg Stoehr. Winning car owner Tim Bertrand saw it “as maybe the most exciting race I’ve seen since being associated with NEMA.”...In the past two races, Cabral actually passed Bertrand late in the race. This time he didn’t get close enough to do it...It was the eighth Waterford win for the Bertrand family. It started with Tim’s win back in 2002...Jim Miller had the fastest feature lap (13.105). Miller returned after a long layoff while Jeff Horn made his first start of the season.
Results: 1. Todd Bertrand, 2. Randy Cabral, 3. Greg Stoehr, 4. Paul Scally, 5. Jeff Abold, 6. B.J. MacDonald, 7. Russ Stoehr, 8. Jeremy Frankoski, 9.Mike Horn, 10. Jeff Horn, 11. Anthony Nocella, 12. Doug Cleveland, 13. Lee Bundy, 14. Jim Miller, 15. Keith Botelho.