Adam Cantor took the lead when Nokie Fornoro ran out of gas on the last lap and went on to win the 25-lap Northeastern Midget feature Saturday night at Waterford Speedbowl. It was first win of the year and the fifth straight top-five for the Long Island driver.
Cantor (Cantor #7ny) thought “the race was over” when he saw Fornoro (Jarett #4), who had led since lap seven, slow in the backstretch. “”I said to myself ‘I’m going to go another lap’ because I’ve gotten myself in trouble before counting laps. You’ve got to just keep digging.”
Russ Stoehr (Angelillo #45) also got by Fornoro who coasted home third. Chris DeRitis (Power Point #99) and Jim Miller (Miller #3m) completed the top five in the caution-filled race.
It was the third career NEMA checkered for Cantor and the first since Adirondack in 2005.
“Never,” snapped the jaded Fornoro when asked if had ever run out of gas that late leading a race. Just a few minutes before he had gone under the white flag only to be “totally surprised when yellow showed again.”
Behind him Greg Stoehr and Cantor, running second and third, made contact resulting in Stoehr retiring to the pit.
Driving “the best car I’ve had since joining the Jarret crew,” he got away from Cantor, now in second, on the restart. He was well in command when the engine sputtered halfway down the backstretch.
“Nobody had anything for Nokie tonight,” admitted Cantor. Fornoro’s 13.144 was the fastest lap of the race.
“Somebody had to win and it might as well be me,” continued Cantor who had three gallons left in his tank. Starting third, he took the lead with a daring three wide move on the initial green sending him past front-row starters Erica Santos and DeRitis.
A rash of yellows followed. Cantor lost the lead to Greg Stoehr on a restart. He lost second to Fornoro, the latter then passing Stoehr with seven gone. He used a string of green laps to open a commanding edge.
Cole Carter (Bertrand #74) lost a motor on lap two resulting in a very long caution period. Shortly after the restart Randy Cabral (Bertrand #47) hit the front stretch wall triggering a multi-car crash that eliminated five cars including the Luggelle #28 which landed on its side with Doug Cleveland aboard.
“I just came out of four and the car kept going out to the fence,” said a dejected Cabral who was after a ninth win at the Speedbowl. “I am not happy.” The point leader, he had three wins and a second going into the race.
There were no heats, the Speedbowl needing time to pump the infield after heavy rain Friday night into Saturday morning.
NEMA returns to action this weekend with a New Hampshire doubleheader - Friday night at Twin State Speedway and Saturday night at Monadnock Speedway.