Speedbowl Midget History Filled With Magic Names

Speedbowl Midget History Filled With Magic Names

story courtesy nemaracing.com

Waterford Speedbowl’s Midget history is as old as the track itself. Johnny Thomson, a Lowell, MA product, won the first-ever Midget race at the Speedbowl, a fog-shortened 15-lap ARDC event on June 30, 1951. He was followed by Bert Brooks, Charlie Ethier, Nick Fornoro, Cliff Riggott, Georgie Rice and Johnny Kay, all legendary Midget names.

So, the NEMA winners at the Budweiser Blast Off March 31-April 1 join a win list that begins with the man still regarded by many as New England’s premier open-cockpit driver. The NEMA Lites’ 25-lap feature is part of Blast Off’s Saturday schedule while NEMA is set for Sunday.

The Midgets returned to the Speedbowl on July 14th that first year, Thomson again the winner of a 35-lapper.  The new facility, in fact, capped off its first season with a 100-lap Triple A event won by Art Cross, still another legendary character. Midwesterner George Tichenor won the pole with a 17.920 run almost five seconds off today’s top speeds on the third-mile oval.  Then, as now, it was regarded as an outstanding Midget facility.

Like Seekonk and Stafford Speedways, The Speedbowl is a “Charter Member” of NEMA, the latter beginning its 60th year at Blast Off. Bill Eldridge, en route to becoming NEMA’s inaugural champion, won Waterford’s first NEMA feature on May 31, 1953 in the Parmenter #55.  Sid Cook and Elmer Gunnerson followed.

The Speedbowl got in on the ground floor with the Lites as well in 2008.

Over a half century old, Speedbowl Midget win list includes magic names like Dutch Schaefer, Johnny Bernardi,  Lenny  Boyd, Joe Csiki, Chuck Arnold, Russ Klar and Johnny Coy Sr. Of more recent vintage, Randy Cabral, Russ Stoehr, Lou Cicconi, Bobby Santos III, Ben Seitz, Ted Christopher and Bobby Seymour have contributed to the Speedowl’s midget history.

Cabral is the Speedbowl’s all-time Midget winner with eight, one better that Russ Stoehr. That rivalry will continue at Blast Off. Bobby Seymour, who will field two Lites car at Blast Off, has been very successful at the Speedbowl both as a driver and owner. 

Bobby Santos III scored his first-ever Midget win at Waterford in a Seymour car. Teddy Christopher’s only Midget win came at Waterford after battling Seymour.

In addition to Cabral and Stoehr, Todd Bertrand, Adam Cantor, Chris deRitis, Barry Kittredge, Chris Leonard, Joey Payne, Jim Miller and Greg Stoehr, all probable Blast Off entries, have won at Waterford.

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