"It was an awesome night!" declared Todd Bertrand after claiming the prestigious 25-lap Northeastern Midget Association, Angelilo Memorial race, at the Waterford Speedbowl in Connecticut. Undaunted by practice, heat race and motor woes, Bertrand defined resiliency as he won the event for the third year in a row, shattering the track record in the process. Bertrand's best lap around of the three-eighths mile oval timed in as the fastest lap recorded by the division over the past several years. Adding to the extreme awesomeness of the night was teammate, Randy Cabral, finishing second. It was the second NEMA feature victory of the season for Bertrand, who won in the division's season opener at Waterford.
This was Bertrand’s third Angelilo Memorial win but clearly his favorite because of the many obstacles the team overcame to get it done
"The track was phenomenal," Bertrand said. "This is the best night of racing I think out of the whole year, because you've got so many open wheel divisions that all put good rubber down on the track.
In winning the 2013 NEMA Angelilo Memorial, Todd Bertrand shattered the existing track record
Bertrand's ultimately masterful display of track savvy added credence to the adage that it's not how you start, but how you finish that matters. In the first practice of the day Bertrand's car had a leaky oil-line fitting, necessitating a trip back to the shop for repairs, meaning he missed the rest of practice. Then, for the heat race, Bertrand made a decision based on overall team economics that he immediately regretted making. He chose a right rear tire that ran in a previous heat race with two heat cycles on it.
"I was just being cheap and I was like, yeah, I'll just run it. So I almost hit the wall because I got so loose, Bertrand admitted. "But I knew that the car was going to be good once we got a new tire on it."
The new tire clearly did the trick, as Bertrand laid down a blistering, record breaking, 12.79 second lap on his way to victory.
"It says a lot about our team's ability to fight off adversity," said Bertrand. "No matter how bad the heat race and practices went, we knew the track would be much different in the feature. We put our thoughts and ideas together on what we could do to make the car better, and we concentrated on that. Putting things in the past is the best way to go about succeeding in the future at moments like that."
"This win is even more special because we came from the 8th starting position. We didn't start up front like the other two (Angelillo Memorial) wins. Also this win was additionally special because it is one of the biggest events of the year, with five modified divisions competing and everyone was there watching."
Opening the season with a win at Waterford Speedbowl, and having experienced other successful outings there, it's apparent that the venue suits the K&N sponsored driver's driving style. "This track is a progressively banked oval. The corners are sweeping and long, which is what I like," Bertrand confirms. "The groove is narrow, but you can pass on the apron, or you can take the chance at passing outside. The track is extremely smooth, which is why I love it so much. It changes a lot throughout the day, so it keeps me on my game when making changes to the car."
"This was a brand new car at the start of the season, so we have been trying to figure out the best combination for what the car needs. The last four races we have been running in the top-2 at times during practice, but we have caught some bad luck during the features with batteries failing, and tires going down. We finished 5th at Lee Speedway earlier this year, as well as 2nd in the Shane Hammond Memorial race at Waterford when my team mate won. We are currently in 3rd place for points, and we need to win a couple more races to have a shot at the championship."
Bertrand Motorsports next race is back at Waterford Speedbowl. "The last five races in my Honda midget I have finished 2nd, 1st, 1st, 2nd and 1st," adds Todd Bertrand. "If we win this weekend, our team will have swept 4 out of 4 races this year at Waterford."