Greg Stoehr needed only five minutes and 46 seconds to capture the Northeastern Midget Association’s 25-lap Marilyn’s Passion Memorial Midget Race Saturday night at Monadnock Speedway. Starting fifth, Stoehr passed brother Russ on lap 13 and went on to beat Randy Cabral by five car lengths in the caution-free battle.
It capped a busy weekend for NEMA, Cabral claiming Friday night’s 25-lapper at Twin State Speedway after a torrid battle with Nokie Fornoro.
Anthony Nocella was the Lites winner at Twin State while P.J. Stergios ruled at Monadnock.
Backed by the Angelillo family, The Marilyn’s Passion event memorialized long-time NEMA stalwart and official Marilyn Angelillo.
“He was very fast,” Greg Stoehr said of his brother, who took over the Miller #3m after his regular ride, the Angelillo #45, had motor problems at Monadnock. “I was faster. I was better on the ends and I realized I had to get him between the rest of the field and myself.”
Cabral took second away from Russ on lap 18. Drew Fornoro (Seymour #29) celebrated his return with a resounding fourth followed by Jeff Horn (Horn #A1), Nokie Fornoro (Jarret #4), and Ted Christopher (Bertrand #74). Ten cars finished on the same lap.
Coming from fourth, Russ Stoehr had the lead heading into three on the first lap. Greg chased him down and tried the outside twice before the winning pass. “It was a move I learned watching him,” he said. “But he didn’t fall for it,” Greg continued, “and I had to force the issue.”
“He showed me the nose and I gave it all I could to hold him off,” says Russ. “We were loose and I knew I couldn’t hold him forever. He went right under me.”
Cabral, looking for a weekend sweep, took second from Russ Stoehr in turn two on lap 18. “The car was never better,” said the defending champion who started 10th. “I wanted so badly to catch Greg, not so much to pass him but to just race with him.”
Fast lap honors actually went to Cabral (a 12.022) on the eighth circuit. Greg Stoehr turned lap six in 12:036.
A lap 18 restart set up the classic Cabral-Fornoro duel at Twin State, the two running side-by side for four laps. They actually changed lanes at least once but Cabral, on the outside, finally got away exiting two just before the two-lap signal.
“I see Nokie outside of me,” said Cabral, “and then I see him on the inside of me. It was pretty exciting.” He said he watched the NEMA Lites RACE (the family had three car involved) and came away with a good idea of “where the best lane was.”
Cabral, who had the fastest lap at Twin State (12.389), and Fornoro, were followed by Greg Stoehr, Adam Cantor (Cantor #7ny) and Erica Santos (Breault #44).
“It was a tribute to a great lady, Marilyn Angelillo,” said grand marshal Dick Monahan, who served in many roles including president for NEMA over the years. He spoke of not only the race itself but also the entire day that included a picnic and very special T-shirts.
“If there was any rust I wore it off tonight,” said Drew Fornoro who, after a long layoff, drove the Seymour #29 to a fourth place at Monadnock. It was his worst ever finish at Monadnock where he had 11 wins in Angelillo cars. Citing stagger problems early and no brakes over the last eight laps, he seemed open to other driving opportunities.
“The guys who win here are the guys who know how to drive Midgets,” said Greg Stoehr after his third career win at Monadnock. He called brother Russ “the smartest driver I know and I watch him as much as I can.” Russ did a masterful job in Jim Miller’s #3m.
“It was the right thing to do,” Miller said of giving up his car.
The Stoehr brothers took away all the Marilyn's Passion Memorial lap money. Russ earned $300 for leading laps four, five, 10 and 12 (donated by Joe Iorio and Dave Shore) while Greg got the $100 from Curt and Laura Kibbe) for leading 14 and 15. William Wall passed seven cars and took the $75 hard charger prize donated by Bertrand Motorsports.
Abby Martino and Erica Santos split the special match race money from Marilyn’s grandchildren Tiana and Brooke Kibbe.
“That’s how drivers are supposed to compete in Midgets,” said owner Tim Bertrand after his driver Randy Cabral and Nokie Fornoro battled at Twin State. The battle had fans on their feet and found great favor with the promotion department at the Claremont, NH spot. Interestingly enough, Fornoro warmed the car up for the Bertrand team (and lost a wheel) when high school automotive teacher Cabral had to complete his school day.
After many races with few if any cautions, the Lites had five cautions at Monadnock, putting extra pressure on P.J. Stergios. The final one came with four laps left and he had to deny Anthony Nocella a weekend sweep.