Fast Five Claim Meridian Speedway Championships Saturday
Meridian Speedway closed its 65th season of Saturday night short track racing with TATES Rents Championship Night. The Pepsi Crate Cars, Idaho Sprintcar and Roadster League Super Sixes, College of Western Idaho Super Street Stocks, Domino’s Legends, Kendall Ford of Meridian Mini Stocks, and TATES Rents Hornets packed the quarter-mile asphalt oval with championships to settle.
The College of Western Idaho Super Street Stocks brought a full field of ten machines to their final green flag of the season. Pole sitter Pat Young piloted his Bell’s Automotive, J&S Services machine past Jordan Harris to lead lap one. Harris waited patiently for his set up to come in, and on lap five the young racer moved his Kim’s Kars entry around Young on the outside. Ben Crow, Josh Jackson, and Melissa Weaver-Arte followed Harris past Young and quickly established themselves as the lead pack.
Jackson was the first to challenge Harris for the lead, and he took it on lap ten. Weaver-Arte followed Jackson past Harris and settled into the second position. Weaver-Arte wheeled her Marv’s Tire Service, Bearclaw Graphics machine hard to keep pace with Jackson, and with fifteen laps to go the lady racer pulled even with Jackson, but had to yield to a lapped car. A restart with eighteen circuits left put Weaver-Arte even with Jackson, an opportunity she capitalized on in turns one and two.
With Nampa, Idaho’s Weaver-Arte out front, the battle was for fourth as Daniel Johnson went to work on Harris. Harris slid his machine through the corners, trying desperately to maintain as many championship points as he could over third place runner Crow. But Johnson was too strong, and drove his Darlene’s Printing, Red Line Auto Salvage entry around Harris with fifteen laps left.
Third place Crow’s Excel Equipment Company, Trenching Services Inc. racer was next in Johnson’s sights, but lapped traffic thwarted every opportunity that presented itself to Johnson. But all the action happened behind Weaver-Arte, who capped a dominant season with one final feature victory.
“It was a good race,” Weaver-Arte said. “We had a lot of fun.”
The Pepsi Crate Cars and Idaho Sprintcar and Roadster League Super Sixes brought nineteen open-wheelers to their 35 lap feature. On the green Thomas Harrod roared to the lead in his PBT Auto Sales entry, but came under immediate fire from Pat Young, who put his Dick’s Chevron, LaSasco machine to the outside. Young bolted to the lead on lap three, followed by Drew Crenshaw. Caldwell, Idaho’s Justin Segura knifed his way into the lead pack two laps later, and on lap seven Segura piloted his Garage Graffix, Mac Tools racer to the top spot.
Segura motored away from the pack while youngster Riley Rogers emerged from the pack to battle Crenshaw for the runner up spot. With eighteen laps left Rogers piloted his Extreme Towing and Recovery, H&H Accounting machine past Crenshaw and set to work tracking down Segura. Rogers’ task was made much easier two laps later as Segura and Mike Anderson tangled, sending both to the back of the pack for bringing out a caution flag.
On the restart Rogers rocketed to the lead while Segura blasted through the pack to take second place with a dozen circuits remaining. Rogers sped around the quarter-mile to preserve what he could of his two second lead, but lapped traffic bottled up the leader and brought Segura to Rogers’ tail tank with four to go.
Rogers fought to open a half car-length advantage, but Segura reloaded and unleashed his machine on the white flag lap. Try as Segura would he couldn’t find a way around Rogers, who wheeled his machine across the start finish line first.
Justin Segura was crowned the 2016 Pepsi Crate Car champion.
“This season has just been really awesome,” Segura said in the Caleb’s Chop Shop Winner’s Circle.
Dean Waltman was named the 2016 ISRL Super Six champion.
“I’ve got to thank the fans,” Waltman said.
The Kendall Ford of Meridian Mini Stocks packed eighteen competitors onto the quarter-mile for their 35 lap feature. On the break David Pywell put his machine up front, but Nampa, Idaho racers Josh Jackson and Mike Vester bested Pywell to take the top two positions on lap three.
As the pack jockeyed for positions three through eighteen something had to give, and on lap nine contact sent Twin Falls, Idaho’s Robbie Hyde and Nampa, Idaho’s Pywell spinning from fourth and fifth. This reset the field with Jackson’s Jacksonbuiltracing.com, Motor Mayhem Chassis Dyno Tuning machine beside Vester’s Discount Tire, Fastway by Promoto Billett mount on the restart. Jackson got the better of this battle and retained the lead while Donovan Johns made his way to third, Drew Crenshaw settled into fourth and Kuna, Idaho racer Jayson Wardle took fifth.
The strain was too much for Johns’ Volt Vapes, March Insurance Group mount, and with seventeen laps left Johns was forced to the pit area, leaving Crenshaw and Wardle in a battle for third. Wardle got on the gas hard and dispatched Crenshaw before a caution bunched the field for a lap 23 restart.
On the restart Vester motored past Jackson to take the lead. Wardle followed Vester through to put his Blohm’s Family Deli, Perfectly Posh machine in the runner up spot. With eight to go Wardle shot below Vester and took the lead. But Wardle was anything but safe up front as Vester and Jackson applied heavy pressure over the race’s closing laps. But Wardle weathered the storm and scored his first main event victory of the year.
“That guy right there,” Wardle said as he pointed to competitor Jason Sanders. “He’s the one that got us here.”
Though Wardle claimed the win, it was Sanders who took the 2016 Kendall Ford of Meridian Mini Stock season championship.
“Heck yeah,” Sanders hollered as he collected his championship honors.
The Domino’s Legends brought fifteen racer to bear on their final 35 lap main event of 2016. Pole sitter Lloyd Bigler outdueled young Tyler Driever to lead lap one as the field scrambled for position. On the move early was Boise, Idaho’s Chase Gilbertson, who navigated his Fokus Graphics and Design, Gilby’s Detail legend from a back of the pack starting spot to fourth by lap five. Gilbertson wasn’t done there as he flew around the outside line and into the lead two laps later.
After being stymied behind a mid-pack battle, Kuna, Idaho’s Casey Tillman took matter into his own hands and roared three-wide past slower traffic to put his Taylor Made Upholstery, YMC machine into the runner up spot with 21 laps to go. A caution flag two laps later erased Gilbertson’s nearly four second lead, bringing Tillman to his outside on the restart.
When the green flag waved Tillman motored around Gilbertson to take the lead, followed by Caity Miller and Ethan Jones. As the laps wore on Tillman only got faster, and as he entered lapped traffic with ten circuits left he held a one and a half second lead. Tillman navigated the traffic to perfection, but it was a caution flag with seven laps that eliminated his comfortable lead.
Tillman and Miller restarted on the front row. Miller dove her Farm Bureau Insurance entry hard into turn one, but Tillman rolled around the outside and back to the lead. This would prove to be the race’s winning move as Tillman captured the win and the 2016 Domino’s Legends championship.
“I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to get it where it is now,” Tillman said of his machine after a furious series of doughnuts in turn four.
Fifteen TATES Rents Hornets closed the final full race night of 2016 with a 35 lap feature. Cash Irish blasted to the early lead. Quick to Irish’s rear bumper were championship contenders Josh Randolph and Josh Parkkila. The pressure caused Irish to get loose in turn four, and before the young racer could collect his machine Randolph and Parkkila made their way around to take the top two positions.
Randolph pushed his Hungry Onion machine hard to keep Parkkila at bay. On lap sixteen Parkkila had had enough and used his H&H Accounting, Goodwill Finance entry’s front bumper to relieve Randolph of the top spot. Parkkila sped away from the pack until a lapped car spun the leader with ten laps to go. This left Thomas Harrod and Lynn Sharp in control of the field for the final ten lap shootout.
When the race went back green it wasn’t Harrod or Sharp who roared to the lead, but Parkkila, who dissected the field and put his machine back up front. Even a late race caution couldn’t slow Parkkila as the Boise, Idaho racer stormed to the win.
“That was a crazy race, man,” Parkkila said.
Just one race remains on Meridian Speedway’s 2016 schedule. The TATES Rents Hornets champion will be decided October 29, at the Trunk or Treat Halloween Enduro 250. General admission for this test of man and machine is just $6.50. Watch meridianspeedway.com for event details and text ‘meridianspeed’ to 84483 to receive exclusive updates from your local NASCAR Home Track. We’ll see you Saturday, October 29 under the big yellow water tower at Meridian Speedway.