The Northeastern Midget Association begins its 56th season at Thompson International Speedway’s Icebreaker April 5-6. Club President Mike Scrivani Jr. expects upward to 30 cars for the 25-lapper on what is the fastest track NEMA visits.

It is the first of 19 races for NEMA, the most in 20 years. It is the first of three ’08 visits to Thompson. The Budweiser Modified Nationals at Waterford Speedbowl follows a week later (April 12-13) providing the club with a demanding start.


Testing at Thompson has increased excitement, several cars turning competitive speeds.


“NEMA is in tremendous shape,” says Scrivani. “Car count, improved equipment, competitive cars, youngsters and veterans, number of races – it’s all excellent. We have had a great off-season. This is one of the most anticipated openers in a long time.”


Last fall’s World Series winner Randy Cabral, in the Bertrand # 47, leads NEMA into the 2008 season. He’ll be seeking his sixth career Thompson NEMA triumph that would equal the record currently held by Johnny Mann. 


Two very experienced drivers, Nokie Fornoro in Mike Jarret’s #4 and Joey Payne Jr. in Gene Angelillo’s # 45, will kick off what each hopes will be a championship season at the Icebreaker. Bobby

Santos III will be in the family # 98. His sister Erica returns in Ed Breault’s now Esslinger-powered #44. The Stoehr brothers, Greg and five-time champ Russ, are also on the roster.


The 2007 Rookie of the Year Jeremy Frankoski will be making his debut in the Seaman #63. The club’s celebrated youth corps includes Aaron Wall, who moves into the Power Point Race Cars

 # 99, and Chris Leonard in the family # 22.


Veterans Adam Cantor and Pete Pernesiglio and youngster John Zych Jr., all in the family equipment, are other contenders.


Cabral, who says Thompson demands the utmost respect, also believes a win will set the season off on the high note.


“The cooler the weather the faster we’re going to go,” says Fornoro, pointing out he and Bobby Santos III were in the “lower 17s” at last fall’s Icebreaker. Still, as Payne is quick to point out, “Thompson has always been filled with surprises, especially early and late in the season. The place can send you soaring and it can break your heart.”

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