by Jon Brown, MERIDIAN, Idaho – It has been a busy summer for Jentry Pisca in more ways than one.
On Saturday, the Nampa, Idaho ASA Modifieds driver took time out from helping the fire fight in Idaho to win the ASA Modifieds 50 to highlight Aaron’s Sales & Lease Night at ASA-sanctioned Meridian Speedway.
With one top-notch Meridian, Idaho racer – Shelby Stroebel – taking the night off, another – winged sprintcar maven Bryan Warf – took up the challenge against Pisca.
Driving in his first Modifieds race of the season, Warf was out front until the midway point of the race when Pisca went to the lead right before the first yellow flag.
Pisca’s victory may help him in the ASA Member Track National Championship standings. He came into the night sitting in fourth place.
The Nampa driver has a heavy equipment company that has been providing machinery to build fire lines against the wildfires raging all over southwest and central Idaho.
Racing has been an escape from that responsibility. He and his family purchased an STR racecar a year ago, and he has been running Lucas Oil Series races in addition to the Meridian schedule this year.
“It’s a family thing,” he said. “We got together last year, put our heads together and got some money together and bought a new car.”
In other main events:
Boise, Idaho’s Dan Lowther was awarded the NAPA Late Models victory after reigning champion Dylan Caldwell of Nampa, Idaho failed the post-race inspection and was disqualified.
Jonathan Hull of Boise collected his second consecutive victory and fifth of the season in the TEAM Mazda Subaru Mini Stocks.
Randy Keckley won the Budweiser B Modifieds portion of the 50-lap Modifieds race.
Al Russell of Kuna, Idaho, won the 40-lap Tates Hornets claimer race. He also took $700 and gave up his racecar.
“It ain’t my car. I don’t care,” he said, drawing laughs from the crowd.
Jess Ryska of Meridian, Idaho, the race runner-up accepted the $700, giving up his racecar and keeping his second-place points. Brandon Hild, who finished third, made the same decision.
All three cars could be seen Wednesday night for the Brasher’s Hornet Massacre.
After selling his familiar lime-green No. 63 Late Model racecar earlier this season, Lowther showed up at the quarter-mile paved oval Saturday night with a new ride.
He put it to good use, too, leading for most of the 30-lap feature, which went from green flag to checkered flag without a caution.
Lowther was unable to hold off Caldwell – the young driver who won last year’s track championship and is making a strong run at a repeat.
With seven laps remaining, Caldwell began his final assault and engaged Lowther in a duel around the track.
After winning the 30-lap NAPA Late Models main, Caldwell climbed the fence in the north end to celebrate.
It may have been as much about celebrating as blowing off the tension of a fierce battle with Lowther.
The reigning division champion chased Lowther throughout the race, which went green flag to checkered flag without a caution.
Driving a new car, Lowther cruised in the lead for the first 22 laps.
With seven laps remaining, Caldwell began his final assault and engaged in a duel against Lowther.
“Dan was fast. They got the car figured out,” Caldwell said. “It was fun running side-by-side without rubbing.”
With five laps left, Caldwell finally completed his pass.
Track officials disqualified Caldwell during the post-race inspection when it was found that his racecar was lighter than the class minimum weight.
Caldwell’s DQ could open the door for Meridian, Idaho’s Chris Fenton in the championship chase. Fenton didn’t race Saturday night, but was only 26 points behind Caldwell heading into the weekend. Because of his disqualification, Caldwell loses all of the points he accumulated through the night, essentially remaining at the same tally he had coming in.
In the Mini Stocks, Hull worked his way from the back of a 15-car field and then bided his time to get to the front.
The season points leader got some help from double-file cone restarts after caution flags along the way.
Hull and former track champion Jason Sanders of Caldwell, Idaho – the top two drivers in the division standings – were hadn’t found their way into the top five by the race’s midway point.
On Lap 16, Mary Johnson slowed and the race’s first caution flag came out.
When the cone came out, Sanders and Hull lined up in the third and fourth rows, respectively, bumper-to-bumper.
Brandon Shira of Boise took the lead when the green flag fell, but he soon found himself out the race when he wrecked with TJ Labronte of Meridian on the front stretch with 12 laps to go. Up-and-coming racer Chad Barker of Kuna, Idaho, received extensive damage to his racecar as the three machines were strewn across the start-finish line.
On the next restart, Boise’s Keri Ballard – running her strongest race of the season – lined up next to Hull. Hull passed her on the high side of the track on lap later and never looked back.
Ballard lost her second-place finish and the points that accompany it when track officials ruled during a post-race inspection that her racecar’s weight didn’t meet the class minimum.
Keckley maintained his Budweiser B Modified series lead by finishing fourth overall in the 50-lap Modifieds race.
Reigning B Modifieds champion, Jay Cook of Nampa, was three spots behind Keckley when it was all said and done.
Russell, who is part-owner in the racetrack, took home the hardware in the Hornets race after driving past Meridian’s Jess Ryska on the backstretch during the final circuit of a 40-lap nightcap feature.
There’s a quick turnaround on the racing as the Brasher’s Hornet Massacre returns on Wednesday. In addition to the Hornet Massacre, action will be offered in the Domino’s Pizza Legends, Mini Stocks and Thunder Dogs divisions.
The Hornet Massacre brings personnel from area car dealerships to the track to take their turn at racing four-cylinder cars loaned by the Tates Hornets division drivers.
Next Saturday, the Treasure Valley racing community comes together to help with Jeff Russell Road to Recovery race. Russell is a Meridian, Idaho racer who suffered serious injuries in an October 2010 Supermodified crash in Las Vegas.
The ASA Pro Trucks Series returns for the night, and local divisional racing will be seen from the Mtn. Dew Winged Sprintcars, Pepsi Sprintcars, Domino’s Pizza Legends and College of Western Idaho Professional Truck Driving Street Stocks.
The gates open at 4 p.m. each night with qualifying at 5 p.m. and racing at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets each night are $10 for adults, $7.50 for senior citizens and military with ID, $6 for children ages 7-11 and, as always, free for children 6 and younger. A family pass good for two adults and up to four children ages 7-11 is $30.
Visit www.meridianspeedway.com or “like” Meridian Speedway on Facebook to get the latest information. You can also buy tickets on the track’s website and print them at home.
The racetrack can be reached by phone at (208) 888-2813.
Aaron’s Sales & Lease Night
Saturday’s unofficial results
TEAM Mazda Subaru Mini Stocks (30 laps) – 1. Jonathan Hull, Boise, Idaho; 2. Jayson Wardle, Kuna, Idaho; 3. Brendon Fries, Meridian, Idaho; 4. Jason Sanders, Caldwell, Idaho
NAPA Late Models (30 laps) – 1. Dan Lowther, Boise; 2. Travis Anderson, Boise; 3. Dennis Wurtz II, Boise; 4. Dave Thomasson, Meridian
ASA Modifieds 50 – 1. Jentry Pisca, Nampa; 2. Bryan Warf, Meridian; 3. Kyle Latham, Boise; 4. Rich Friend, Pollock, Idaho; 5. Cade Hollon, Riggins, Idaho
Budweiser B Modifieds (50 laps) – 1. Randy Keckley, Boise; 2. Gene Stroebel, Meridian; 3. Jay Cook, Nampa; 4. Sharlet Wilson, Mountain Home, Idaho; 5. Rod Stiller
Tates Hornets (40 laps) – 1. Al Russell, Kuna; 2. Jess Ryska, Meridian; 3. Brandon Hild, Boise; 4. Thomas Harrod, Nampa; 5. Cody Brizendine, Nampa
(Four laps each)
ASA Modifieds – 1. Rus Ward, Boise, Idaho; 2. Pisca; 3. Warf; 4. Hollon
NAPA Late Models – 1. Thomasson; 2. Caldwell; 3. Wurtz; 4. Anderson
TEAM Mazda Subaru Mini Stocks – 1. Sanders; 2. Hull; 3. Chad Barker, Kuna, Idaho; 4. Wardle
Budweiser B Modifieds – 1. Cook; 2. Keckley; 3. Stroebel; 4. Stiller
Tates Hornets – 1. Brizendine; 2. Lynn Sharp, Nampa; 3. Drew Crenshaw, Nampa; 4. Harrod
(Eight laps each)
A Heat – 1. Warf; 2. Pisca; 3. Ward; 4. Hollon; 5. Rich Friend, Pollock, Idaho
NAPA Late Models
A Heat – 1. Dan Lowther, Boise; 2. Wurtz; 3. Caldwell; 4. Anderson; 5. Thomasson
TEAM Mazda Subaru Mini Stocks
A Heat – 1. Barker; 2. Hull; 3. Sanders; 4. Brendon Fries, Meridian; 5. Wardle
B Heat – 1. Colton Nelson, Meridian; 2. Denny Gerber, Boise; 3. Amber Rogers, Meridian; 4. Keri Ballard, Boise; 5. TJ Labronte, Meridian
C Heat – 1. Brandon Shira, Boise; 2. Skeeter Stewart, Boise; 3. Nathan Dearing, Boise; 4. Mike Davis, Boise; 5. Mary Johnson, Meridian
Budweiser B Modifieds
A Heat – 1. Rodney Houpt, Nampa; 2. Stiller; 3. Keckley; 4. Cook; 5. Sharlet Wilson, Mountain Home, Idaho
(Six laps each)
A Heat – 1. Hild; 2. Rob Powers, Meridian; 3. Brizendine; 4. Crenshaw; 5. Sharp
B Heat – 1. Al Russell, Kuna; 2. Cody Kirkland, Meridian; 3. Jess Ryska, Meridian; 4. Neil Evans, Caldwell; 5. Hunter Gates, Nampa
C Heat – 1. DJ Everett, Garden City, Idaho; 2. Monica Heath, Caldwell; 3. Fred Nagele, Boise; 4. James Pahl, Caldwell; 5. Robert Daugherty, Caldwell
D Heat – 1. Bill Allen, Meridian; 2. Stacy Heath, Nampa; 3. Russ Price; 4. Dylan Schmid/Gerber, Meridian
ASA Modifieds –Pisca, 14.424 seconds
Budweiser B Modifieds – Keckley, 14.720
NAPA Late Models – Anderson, 14.096
TEAM Mazda Subaru Mini Stocks – Barker, 15.519
Tates Hornets – Harrod, 16.853