Fenton Double Dips for NASCAR Modified Sweep at Meridian Speedway
MERIDIAN, Idaho—Meridian Speedway welcomed 2018 with a double dose of PitstopUSA.com NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modified action. The season’s first green flag waved and outside polesitter Rodney Houpt piloted his Boise Spring Works modified around the high line to lead the first of thirty circuits. Morgan Rasmussen was the first to carve his way through a chaotic pack and on lap ten the Twin Falls, Idaho driver passed Houpt for the lead.
An early caution flag bunched the field and brought hard-charging Colton Nelson and quick qualifier Chris Fenton into the lead battle. On the restart Nelson squeezed his Integrity Pools, Julie Hart Home Loans by Premier Mortgage machine past Rasmussen on the inside with Fenton in hot pursuit. A second caution flag allowed Fenton to draw even with Nelson, and on the restart the Meridian, Idaho racer steamed to the lead.
Fenton’s pace quickly drew him to the back of the field, and with a dozen laps remaining he waded into a swarm of slower cars. As Fenton looked for a line through traffic, Nelson ducked low and snatched the lead back. Nelson set sail from Fenton as the laps wound down, but traffic’s role in the race’s outcome wasn’t over.
With three laps left Nelson encountered the same group of traffic, and in a near replay of his pass for the lead, Fenton swung around the defending champion and raced his way back to the top spot. This left Nelson surrounded by lapped cars, and contact sent the runner-up spinning down the back straightaway to bring out another caution flag. On the restart Fenton held off brothers Larry and Jonathan Hull to claim the first main event of 2018.
With the sun low behind the bleachers the PitstopUSA.com NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modifieds rumbled back onto the asphalt quarter-mile for their second thirty lap main event of the night. On the break Tommy Harrod worked his racer into the lead. First main event contender Nelson was quick to move up from his mid-pack starting spot, and by lap five the Meridian, Idaho racer ran second. By lap seven Nelson worked outside of Harrod and took the lead.
After a slow start Chris Fenton found some speed in his modified and tore his way to third before a lap nine caution flag bunched the field and put him on Nelson’s rear bumper. The green flag waved and Fenton dove to the inside and took the lead from Nelson. This left Nelson in the clutches of Shake N’ Bake Racing, Diversified Carpet Cleaning teammates Larry and Jonathan Hull. Larry was the first to try Nelson, who protected the inside line and maintained the runner-up spot until mechanical woes sidelined his racer on lap nineteen.
With Nelson out of the picture, the Hull brothers worked to track down Fenton. Lapped traffic allowed Larry to catch Fenton with three laps left, but Fenton used his hard-won knowledge from the first main event to navigate his way through and make his second visit to the Caleb’s Chop Shop Winner’s Circle of the night.
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.