The year 2022 is a special one for the Northeastern Midget Association, as the organization is in the midst of its 70th racing season. This weekend, the southern New England based NEMA Midgets and NEMA Lites are headed to Maine for what has become a great series road trip destination, the fast and wide Wiscasset Speedway.
So far in 2022 the winged NEMA Midget division has just one round in the books, that being at Lee USA Speedway on May 20 with Randy Cabral taking the victory. The spec-engine NEMA Lites have completed four events, including a Saturday-Sunday doubleheader this past weekend at Star Speedway and Hudson Speedway.
NEMA Lites winners so far this year include Todd Bertrand at Thompson Speedway, Dylan Coutu at Lee USA, Paul Scally at Star, and Avery Stoehr at Hudson.
The 2019 champion in the full-on NEMA Midget division, Stoehr regularly competes in the Lites. Set to run double duty this weekend at Wiscasset, the Massachusetts driver hopes to ride the winning feeling from his Lites triumph at Hudson.
“It’s always good to get the first one out of the way and really get it rolling for the year. We’re getting into the thick of it now after a pretty big break between the first and second races. We struggled with the Lites car those first two, but we built on it Saturday at Star and were able to get the win on Sunday at Hudson,” Stoehr told Racing America.
Competing for veteran car owner Tim Bertrand in the NEMA Midgets, Stoehr was in somewhat different surroundings for the opening round at Lee USA on May 20, running the Bertrand Motorsports No. 47, rather than his familiar No. 39.
“When I ran the first Midget race at Lee, I ran Timmy’s other car because I was waiting on pistons for my engine, the engine I ran in the No. 39 wasn’t done. So, I’m hoping to have that finished for this weekend, that’s what I’ve been working on. It’s all pretty last minute, but should be able to get it done.”
No matter what car he runs on Saturday, Stoehr is looking forward to taking on “Maine’s Fastest Track”.
“I really love Wiscasset, everything about it. The track is great to run, there’s always a bunch of people in the stands that are excited that we’re there. It’s become a nice stop for us, a bit of hike, but always worth it. It’s a very fast track, there’s just enough banking so you can drive the car far into the turns, and there’s plenty of room to move around. You can pass, you can try different lines. It’s a great track for Midget racing.
“I’ve won a few times there in the 39 car, and it always goes well there. We’ve really found something that works well there and it’s been really, really good. That’s the other reason I’ve got it circled on my calendar.”
While Stoehr is looking for his third NEMA Midget win at Wiscasset, he is still going for his first NEMA Lites win at the 3/8-mile oval. Lighter on both power and cost with the spec Ford Focus engines, the NEMA Lites have developed into a challenging series all their own since the division’s launch in 2008.
“The Lites Series is really good, there’s less power, and everybody’s on a more even pace. It’s all about holding the momentum. You really got to pay attention to what you’re doing in those cars, because in the full Midgets if you get yourself a little jammed up you can pull out of it quickly with the power. The Lites you can’t, so you got to be careful to make sure you don’t make them or you’ll pay for them in the Lites cars.”
Fresh off his 26th birthday this past Saturday, Stoehr has collected 14 Midget and 9 Lites wins so far in his NEMA career of a decade long. However, he has yet to score a weekend sweep when the Midgets and Lites are competing during the same racing event. This Saturday night, he hopes to claim one last late birthday present for himself, and claim his first ever sweep.
“Really like to, I’ve always got the confidence that Timmy’s car we always seem to go back to what works and have a fast car. Now we also got the Lites car going really well too, so I’m confident there. I’ve never swept a weekend before and it’s something I definitely want to do.”
Race fans across the worldwide web can watch along with the Wiscasset Speedway fans in attendance right here on RacingAmerica.tv. Post time for racing is 5pm ET with the NEMA Midgets and NEMA Lites joining Wiscasset’s Group 1 lineup of the Pro Stocks, Super Streets, Thunder 4 Minis, and 4-Cylinder Pros.