BOTELHO NABS NEMA CROWN AT DAV
Attleboro driver Keith Botelho came back to the sport and midget racing after a long layoff, in a veteran car with a veteran motor and a veteran crew. The combination spelled victory for him as he took the lead away from John Zych, Jr. on lap 9 and lead the remaining 16 laps to the finish. “I was expecting somebody to come by me,” said Botelho of the surprising ease of his victory. “I knew Cicconi was back there and I was waiting for him or somebody else to come rolling by.” Nobody could do it, and Botelho found himself in Victory Lane at race’s end.
Greg Stoehr from Bridgewater, MA, took second and Zych finished third. Rounding out the top 10 were: Chris Leonard of Pelham, NH., Chris Deritis of Philadelphia, Anthony Nocella of Woburn, MA, Chris Abold of Pennellville, NY, Cicconi of Ashton, PA, Jim Miller of Weymouth, MA, and Russ Stoehr of Bridgewater. Russ Stoehr and Randy Cabral had come into the event with Cabral trailing the points leader by 22 points and Cabral had high hopes of gaining on Stoehr. But lap 4 trouble with a flat left front tire sidelined him from the race, dropping him to 21stoverall with just one event remaining in the NEMA season: the World Series at Thompson Speedway in Connecticut next weekend.
Zych, from Liverpool, NY, leapt off the pole and led the first nine circuits on the 63-year-old racetrack, designed originally for midget racing.
Zych had a firm handle on the early stages of the race, running away from the field after the lap 4 restart for Cabral’s flat. With Botelho on his outside shoulder, he wasted no time in blasting away and back into the top spot. He was easily moving away when, going into lap 10, Barry Kittredge’s motor quit on the backstretch, bringing out the caution.
On the restart, Botelho stood on his throttle and held it down until he was into the lead. Zych held onto second, and Greg Stoehr passed Chris Deritis for third. Now it was Botelho’s turn to run out to a big lead. Stoehr, who had taken over second from Zych on lap 13, gave chase. Over the last 10 laps, Stoehr ate up the distance and was on Botelho’s rear bumper on the 22nd circuit. But Botelho reached down and pulled ahead a half car length, winning over Stoehr at the line by .155 seconds.