Randy Cabral pulled off “one for the ages” coming from last place in the NEMA feature to
pass teammate Todd Bertrand on the last lap at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park’s
Sunoco World Series of Racing this past Saturday evening. In Lites action, Scott Bigelow
dominated the feature event, despite a late race charge from John Zych Jr. Zych, the
night before, was crowned the NEMA champion for 2015, and his father, John Zych Sr. the
owner’s champion. In the Lites division, Anthony Payne won his first series championship
and Bigelow won the car owners title.
In the NEMA feature, Todd Bertrand jumped out into the lead in the Tim Bertrand owned
#74 machine. He quickly paced the field, pulling out to nearly a half straightaway lead
at one poiNt. Further back, John Zych Jr. had charged from his ninth starting spot to
take over the second spot by lap eight. Randy Cabral, who started scratch on the field,
was also making his way through the field and would reach the third spot by lap
Bertrand’s advantage would start to fade with ten laps remaining, as he suffered a
broken brake caliper bracket, sending the caliper rocketing across the track and into
the first turn wall. Zych got to within three carlengths of Bertrand with five laps
remaining, and at that point, Cabral was right in the mix as well. With three laps to
go, Cabral drove into turn one hot, on the bottom to take second away from Zych and he
then set his sights on Bertrand. Coming down the back stretch with two laps to go,
Cabral made up big ground on Bertrand and then dove in between the lapped car of Alan
Chambers and Bertrand, drawing even coming off of turn four to take the white flag. The
duo raced side by side into turn one, with Cabral coming out with the advantage. He went
on to take down the victory over Bertrand, putting both Tim Bertrand cars on the podium.
Zych would finish third and would lock up the series championship, and was followed by a
hard charging run by Seth Carlson, Avery Stoehr, Cole Carter, Jim Chambers, Paul Scally,
Alan Chambers and Jake Smith.
“I could see that Todd was getting loose and John was getting tight,” said Cabral. “My
car was literally the same from the drop of the green until the last lap. We struggled
all day, with one issue after another. A bad battery in the practice, a broken u-joint
prior to the heat race. With only three laps on the track all day, I’m amazed the car
was as good as it was. It was a great way to cap off the season,” he said.
A dejected Bertrand said “I totally lost the brakes when the caliper issued occurred,
and just couldn’t hold the car on the bottom anymore. It was a good run, but I really
wanted to win,” he said.
Cabral’s fastest lap of the feature came on the last circuit, a blistering 17.68 lap.
In the Lites feature, Scott Bigelow blasted out into the lead from his outside pole
starting spot. He wasted no time stretching out his lead, but further back Randy Cabral
was maneuvering his way through the pack in his family owned #35 from the tenth starting
spot. John Zych Jr. driving the Frank Manafort owned #76 was also working his way to the
Cabral would reach second by the halfway point, and was hotly pursued by Zych, as
Bigelow continued to lead. Zych would make a run by Cabral with nine laps to go, and set
his sights on Bigelow. A feature best lap of 19.70 for Zych would come shortly after,
but it would not be enough to catch Bigelow, as he would go on to take down both the
feature win, and clinch the owner’s title for the season.
Anthony Payne would have a strong fourth place run, locking up his first ever driver’s
championship driving the Scrivani owned #21. Cabral finished second in the driver’s
standings in both divisions.
NEMA’s season has concluded, and the club celebrates the season at its annual awards
banquet in early December.