by Jon Brown, MERIDIAN, Idaho – Dylan Caldwell didn’t want to be left out Saturday night at ASA-sanctioned Meridian Speedway.
Even though he didn’t have the best qualifying time, he found a way to be in the right place at the right time at the end of the night, winning his ninth NAPA Late Models feature at the paved quarter-mile oval since the start of the 2012 season.
“We’ll take ‘em where we can get them,” the Nampa, Idaho racecar driver said after the 35-lap race.
“This thing wasn’t the fastest out here, but my crew is fantastic. They put their nose to the grindstone and got it done.”
Caldwell is showing signs of the performance that pushed him to the Late Models championship last summer at Meridian.
In other action on Military Appreciation Night:
Nampa’s Joe Barton swept all three segments of the Project Filter Pro-4 All-Star Challenge to win the perpetual trophy for the third time in the five-year history of the event.
Boise, Idaho’s Justin Ellis was the top-finishing Coors Super Stocks driver in a tandem 35-lap main event with the Late Models.
Meridian, Idaho’s Mike Cullum backed up his fast qualifying time by winning the 35-lap Domino’s Pizza Legends main event.
In the Tates Hornets feature, which of course featured three-wide restarts and copious amounts of water on the racing surface, Nampa rookie Drew
At the end of the Hornets main event, Art Heath Memorial Enduro 200 winner Travis Pavlacky of Fruitland, Idaho, presented Stacy Heath his championship trophy from her husband’s tribute race earlier this year. On Saturday night, Stacy Heath raced the No. 84 car made famous by her husband during a championship career. Art Heath Sr., Art’s dad, raced that Ford Escort in his son’s memorial race. Crenshaw picked up his first victory.
Before Saturday’s heat races started, track management and race fans paid tribute to the branches of the U.S. military – Coast Guard, Marines, Army, Navy and Air Force. There was a procession of military vehicles, a color guard from the Idaho National Guard and a flyover by a pair of P-51 Mustangs World War II-era fighter planes.
Barton, who won the Challenge in 2009 and 2011, dueled with Chandler – the 2010 champion – in the first of three 33-lap segments earlier in the night.
The two men were wheel-to-wheel for the restart with 17 laps to go after rookie Larry Hull III of Boise spun out on the backstretch while leading the race.
Barton and Chandler pulled away from the field, but Barton maintained a two-car-length lead throughout the second half of the race.
The second segment race had a similar finish as Barton and Chandler worked to the front after another spin by Hull. Barton passed fellow Nampan Chet Thorson for the lead on the restart after Hull’s yellow flag and pulled away to a four-second cushion against Chandler.
In the Domino’s Pizza Legends feature, Cullum went to the lead with a low pass on Boise’s Chase Gilbertson nine laps to go.
Cullum then held off hard-charging Casey Tillman of Kuna, Idaho, and maintained the lead with 10 laps to go after Jamie Hyde of Boise stopped the action by stuffing his Legends car into the Turn 3 wall.
Phyl Zubizareta of Garden City, Idaho, who won the first Legends feature of the year, was able to pass Tillman for second place late in the race.
Ellis parlayed his fast qualifying time into a Super Stocks victory, finishing fourth overall in the combined Late Models-Super Stocks main event.
After the Hornets feature, Crenshaw revealed that this is his first season racing cars on an oval. He also shared a little secret – he blew up his motor at the end of the race.
Next Saturday marks the first Racing for Smiles of the Northwest night at the speedway. A special child will be honored throughout the night as Treasure Valley schoolteachers strap into Hornets for the Teacher Feature.
Also on tap are the Pepsi Sprintcars, Budweiser B Modifieds, College of Western Idaho Professional Truck Driving Street Stocks and TEAM Mazda Subaru Mini Stocks and Thunder Dogs.
Gates open at 4 p.m. with racing at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets are $10 with a $2.50 discount for senior citizens and a $4 discount for children ages 7-11. Children 5 and younger get in free. A family pass good for two adults and up to four children ages 7-11 is available for $30.
Visit www.meridianspeedway.com or “like” Meridian Speedway on Facebook to get up-to-date news on the track. Tickets also can be purchased at the website.
The racetrack can be reached by phone at (208) 888-2813.
Military Appreciation Night
Project Filter Pro-4 All-Star Challenge
Saturday’s unofficial results
Project Filter Pro-4 All-Star Challenge Segment 1 (33 laps) – 1. Joe Barton, Nampa, Idaho; 2. Kenny Chandler Jr., Boise, Idaho; 3. Dayne Amyx, Boise; 4. Terry Sherman, Boise; 5. Chet Thorson, Nampa
Project Filter Pro-4 All-Star Challenge Segment 2 (33 laps) – 1. Barton; 2. Chandler; 3. Thorson; 4. Ron Hayes, Boise; 5. Ryan Bailey, Meridian
Project Filter Pro-4 All-Star Challenge Segment 3 ( 33 laps) – 1. Barton; 2. Chandler; 3. Thorson; 4. Hayes; 5. Amyx
Project Filter Pro-4 All-Star Challenge champion – Barton
Domino’s Pizza Legends (35 laps) – 1. Mike Cullum, Meridian; 2. Phyl Zubizareta, Garden City, Idaho; 3. Johnathan Davis, Emmett, Idaho; 4. Casey Tillman, Kuna, Idaho; 5. Aubree Wartman, Boise
NAPA Late Models (35 laps) – 1. Dylan Caldwell, Nampa, Idaho; 2. Dennis Wurtz II, Boise; 3. Travis Anderson, Boise; 4. Dennis Brodigan, Nampa; 5. Lee Hackney, Boise
Coors Super Stocks (35 laps) – 1. Justin Ellis, Boise; 2. Rob Powers, Meridian; 3. Kim Bradford, Eagle, Idaho
Tates Hornets (35 laps) – 1. Drew Crenshaw, Nampa; 2. Thomas Harrod, Boise; 3. Chad Barker, Kuna; 4. Cody Kirland, Meridian; 5. Chuck Youngblood, Meridian
(Eight laps each)
Domino’s Pizza Legends
Fast Dash – 1. Mike Cullum; 2. Tillman; 3. Zubizareta; 4. Zach Blume, Eagle, Idaho; 5. Wartman
B Heat – 1. Chase Gilbertson, Boise; 2. Rob Collins, McCall, Idaho; 3. Chance Davis, Emmett, Idaho; 4. Sara Henry, Nampa; 5. Brent Collins, Boise
C Heat – 1. Johnathan Davis; 2. Steve Thimsen, Boise; 3. Mark Cirelli Jr., Nampa; 4. Andrew Tuttle, Eagle; 5. Erik Miller, Caldwell, Idaho
D Heat – 1. Cody Hollis, Payette, Idaho; 2. Daynna Skiver, Meridian, Idaho; 3. Jamie Hyde, Boise; 4. Jenna Cullum, Meridian; 5. Ethan Jones, Meridian
Coors Super Stocks
Fast Dash – 1. Justin Ellis, Boise; 2. Kim Bradford, Eagle; 3. Rob Powers, Meridian; 4. Josh Jackson, Payette; 5. Anthony Boven, Boise
NAPA Late Models
Fast Dash – 1. Dave Thomasson, Meridian; 2. Lee Hackney, Boise; 3. Dennis Wurtz II, Boise; 4. Dylan Caldwell, Nampa; 5. Travis Anderson, Boise
(Six laps each)
Fast Dash – 1. Cody Brizendine, Nampa; 2. Jess Ryska, Meridian; 3. Chuck Youngblood, Meridian; 4. Brandon Hild, Boise; 5. Cody Garrett, Boise
B Heat – 1. Thomas Harrod, Nampa; 2. Lynn Sharp, Nampa; 3. Chad Barker, Kuna; 4. Rob Powers, Meridian; 5. Stacy Heath, Nampa
C Heat – 1. Drew Crenshaw, Nampa; 2. Antonio Ryska, Caldwell; 3. Beau Faught, Caldwell; 4. Michael Capps, Meridian; 5. Kenny Driebergen, Boise
D Heat – 1. Kevin Johnson, Kuna; 2. Al Russell, Kuna; 3. Stafford Smith; 4. Tyler Hampton, Nampa; 5. No. 7
Project Filter Pro-4s – Barton, 14.585 seconds
Domino’s Pizza Legends – Blume, 15.349
Coors Super Stocks – Ellis, 14.498
NAPA Late Models –Wurtz, 14.213