Experience Dominates Pepsi Season Opener at Meridian Speedway
The Project Filter Pro-4s opened their 2018 Meridian Speedway campaign with a 25 lap feature. The green flag waved and Nampa, Idaho driver Ryan Bailey piloted his Les Schwab, Fairly Reliable Bob’s machine to the early lead.
The outside groove was the place to be, and Meridian, Idaho’s Brendon Fries worked it to perfection as he moved his Chick-Fil-A of Meridian, Carbon Designs Custom Vinyl racer into second place on lap three. Fries reeled Bailey in, but a swarm of lapped traffic slowed the top two. Bailey fought his way through the back markers first, but Fries lost time, and soon had his hands full with defending division champion Kenny Chandler.
With ten laps left Fries and Chandler caught Bailey, and the top three ran nose-to-tail. Chandler was first to make a move, and he darted below Fries to take his Project Filter, Fairly Reliable Bob’s machine to second place on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard. The veteran campaigner then went to work on Bailey. But Bailey weathered the storm and parked his machine in the Caleb’s Chop Shop Winner’s Circle.
Thirteen lucky Hornets welcomed new division sponsor Big Daddy’s Barbecue with a 25 lap main event. Caldwell, Idaho’s Bill Malone dove three-wide into turn one when the green flag waved and made it out the other side with the lead as the pack scrambled four-wide behind him. Malone lead the first three laps before Neil Wassmuth took over the top spot in his Neil Alan Fine Jewelry, RPM Tire and Wheel machine.
A lap five caution brought fast heat race winner Brandon Kelley to Wassmuth’s outside, and the Nampa, Idaho driver sprang to the lead one lap later. Behind Kelley, Wassmuth fought hard to hold off Jamo Stephenson and Tommy Harrod for second place. Wassmuth was successful until lap thirteen, when Harrod motored around the outside to take second place.
With the leader’s Kelley Rooter racer in his sights, Harrod laid down a series of blistering laps to claim the top spot with five laps remaining. Kelley fought back as the leader worked lapped traffic, but Harrod’s PBT Auto Sales entry was too strong and he stormed across the Caleb’s Chop Shop Victory Stripe first.
A full dozen Teleperformance Claimer Stocks thundered onto the asphalt quarter-mile to settle a 25 lap feature. The green flag waved and Jamie Hyde overpowered Scott Kelly to take his Wacky Shacks, Guppie’s Hot Rod Grille racer to the lead. Rich Lawson followed Hyde forward and by lap five had his Kline Alternators and Starters, Swan Falls Technology Websites and Computers entry side-by-side with the leader.
Lawson completed the pass one lap later, but quickly came under fire from Josh Fanopoulos, Pat Tully, and Todd Seaver. Tully was first to clear the runner-up log jam and blew past Lawson. Todd Seaver followed suit, and soon held the second position.
With ten circuits left Seaver went to work on Tully’s Dean Wilson Racing, Kline Alternators and Starters racer. Two laps into his charge Seaver bounced off the front stretch wall, but continued to keep pace with the leader. Seaver worked high and low looking for a way past Tully. On the white flag lap mechanical issues slowed Tully, but Seaver was unable to capitalize and Tully held on for the victory.
Meridian Speedway cranks the intensity up even further this Saturday, April 21, with the Winged Sprintcar Opener. The Interstate Winged Sprintcars, Pepsi Crate Cars and Idaho Sprintcar and Roadster League Super Sixes, Coors Super Stocks, Teleperformance Claimer Stocks, Junior Stingers, and Bombers combine for a full night of short track racing at its best. General admission to Saturday night’s action is just $11.50 for adults, $9 for seniors and members of the armed forces, $6.50 for kids 7-11, and as always kids 6 and under get in free. Gates open at 4:45p.m. with the first green flag at 6:45 p.m. Log on to meridianspeedway.com for more highlights from last Saturday night and all the latest news and notes from around the quarter-mile. Sign up to receive exclusive speedway updates by texting ‘meridianspeed’ to 84483. We’ll save you a seat this Saturday, April 14 for the Winged Sprintcar Opener at your NASCAR Home Track under the big, yellow water tower, Meridian Speedway.