by Jon Brown, MERIDIAN, Idaho — Johnny the Jet called his shot Wednesday at ASA-sanctioned Meridian Speedway.
Hometown hot shoe Johnny Giesler rallied from a first-lap mishap to win the Mtn. Dew Winged Sprints Firecracker 50 during the Stinker Stores-sponsored midweek action at the historic quarter-mile oval.
Giesler pretty much laid down the law after winning the Winged Sprints trophy dash Saturday.
“I’m on a mission tonight. We’re going to get us another one these in about a half-hour or whatever it is,” Giesler said while holding the hardware from the dash.
Thanks to a rash of red and yellow flags flying on the Fourth of July, Giesler had to wait a lot longer than 30 minutes to fulfill his prophecy.
But when he did, he was untouchable, lapping all but the second- through fourth-place drivers while winning the 50-lap race by more than half a lap.
Middleton, Idaho’s Sierra Jackson, who tangled with Giesler immediately after taking the green flag to start the feature, followed her rival’s cue and ran from the back of the pack to finish second.
Giesler assumed control of the race with an inside-out move to get by Meridian’s Bryan Warf with 26 laps left. Warf slowed and exited the raceway after something went wrong with his sprinter as Giesler passed him.
In other main events:
Randy Schaff of Fife, Wash., made the trip nine other out-of-town drivers and won the Firecracker 50 for the Domino’s Pizza Legends.
Nampa, Idaho’s Dylan Caldwell won his fifth consecutive feature in the NAPA Late Models in a race that saw four caution flags.
B Modified rookie driver Josh Jackson of Payette, Idaho, collected the checkered flag in a 25-lap race of attrition.
Two Washington state drivers were among four to transfer out of the 20-lap Domino’s Pizza Legends B Main. Brent Mack of Burien, Wash., won the race, which was necessitated by a season-high 31 Legends racecars at the track.
The Tates Hornets squeezed in 25 laps during a 15-minute timed main event, and Kuna, Idaho’s Casey Tillman held off Nampa’s Art Heath to win. It was Tillman’s second main event victory in as many racing divisions in less than a week. He won the Pepsi Sprintcars feature on Saturday.
Schaff was one of 10 out-of-state Legends racers who towed to Meridian Speedway for the Fourth of July.
He was impressed with 4,000 spectators, and thrilled them by passing fellow Washington driver Duane Swanson out of Turn 4 heading for the white flag to cap a three-lap green-white-checkered sprint.
A total of 31 Legends cars raced Wednesday night, including 18 in the Firecracker 50. Ten of those cars wrecked on the first lap.
“There are a whole lot of great cars, and a whole lot of great fans. Look at all these people here. This is amazing,” Schaff said after collecting the main event trophy.
The NAPA Late Models have turned into Dylan Caldwell’s personal playground of late. He won for the fifth straight time Wednesday.
“We were struggling a little bit all day today,” Caldwell said. “Travis Anderson (a Boise, Idaho racer) and all those guys stepped up and gave us a run.
“(This is) five in a row, and we’re not going to slow down. We’re going to try to get as many as we can.”
Caldwell pressured early race leader Dan Lowther of Boise before winning a tire-to-tire duel with the Boise driver after the race’s second restart.
When Lowther lost control and slashed through the grass infield in Turn 1, Caldwell took control and didn’t look back.
He did have to wait out some more drama, though. Dennis Wurtz II of Kuna, and Connor Elliott of Boise were involved in a hard wreck with 19 laps left. When Wurtz slammed into the Turn 4 wall then slid backwards down the banked track, Elliott had nowhere to go and plowed into the No. 44 racecar, destroying the front half of the car.
Both stock cars were towed off the track.
In the B Modifieds, Jackson assumed the top spot when race leader Shelby Stroebel pulled off the track just six laps into the 25-lap main event.
Jackson’s victory marked the first time Stroebel hasn’t finished a race this season. In the ASA Modifieds division at the track, Stroebel has won 12 consecutive main events. The B Modified class has different rules, so the ASA Member Track National Championship standings leader still has his win streak intact.
Jackson’s easy victory was slowed when Nampa’s Jay Cook smashed into the Turn 3 wall with a loud thud that rivaled any Fourth of July fireworks for concussion.
“It was a good clean race,” Jackson said. “I wish more of the cars would have been able to finish it and go home in one piece.”
This is the first year for the B Modifieds, so technically everyone is a rookie, but Jackson carries a yellow flag on the rear of his racecar because he is truly a rookie to the group, having raced in a different division in 2011.
The speedway salutes youth with Boys and Girls Club Night on Saturday. And children will have a chance to race on the track as another round of Bicycle Races for Kids is held.
Stroebel looks to add to his ASA Modifieds division winning streak as the class tackles another double feature night. The Meridian driver leads the ASA Member Track National Championship standings and is the reigning track champion at Meridian Speedway. He’ll angle for his 10th and 11th wins of the season in a pair of 40-lap main events. He hasn’t lost an ASA Modified race since August, amassing a dozen consecutive checkered flags.
The SPI Super Sixes open-wheel tour will return to the quarter-mile oval, and racing will be seen from the Pit Stop Drive Thru Mini Stocks, the Project Filter Pro-4s and the Jr. Stingers.
Tickets are $10 for adults, $7.50 for military personnel with ID and senior citizens, $6 for children ages 7-11, and free for children 6 and younger. A family of two adults and up to four children ages 7-11 can see the races for $30.
Spectator gates open at 4 p.m. with qualifying at 5 p.m. and racing at 6:30 p.m.
The track will return to action quickly on Wednesday, July 4 for Stinker Stores Firecracker 50 night with the Idaho/Utah Sprintcar Challenge, a subdivision of the Canadian-American Western Winged Sprints that incorporates Meridian’s Mtn. Dew Winged Sprints division, leading the way.
Spectator gates open at 4 p.m. with qualifying at 5 p.m. and racing at 6:30 p.m.
For more information about the races or to buy tickets, visit www.meridianspeedway.com or call (208) 888-2813 .
Stinker Stores Firecracker 50
Wednesday’s unofficial results
Mtn. Dew Winged Sprints/Idaho-Utah Sprintcar Challenge Firecracker 50 – 1. Johnny Giesler, Meridian, Idaho; 2. Sierra Jackson, Middleton, Idaho; 3. Cody Veenstra, Meridian; 4. Mike Murgoitio, Meridian; 5. Ryan Burdett, West Jordan, Utah
Domino’s Pizza Legends Firecracker 50 (A Main) – 1. Randy Schaff, Fife, Wash.; 2. Duane Swanson, Des Moine, Wash.; 3. James Landon, Puyallup, Wash.; 4. Cameron Cotta, Meridian; 5. Casey Tillman, Kuna, Idaho
B Modifieds (25 laps) – 1. Josh Jackson, Payette, Idaho; 2. Randy Keckley, Boise; 3. John Hensley, Meridian; 4. Jay Cook, Nampa; 5. Shelby Stroebel, Meridian
Domino’s Pizza Legends B Main (20 laps; top four transfer to A Main) – 1. Brent Mack, Burien, Wash.; 2. Darin Turpen, Nampa, Idaho; 3. Steve Thimsen, Boise; 4. Randy Beddow, Lake Tapps, Wash.; 5. Rod Stiller, Meridian
NAPA Late Models (30 laps) – 1. Dylan Caldwell, Nampa; 2. Dan Lowther, Boise; 3. Travis Anderson, Boise; 4. Chris Fenton, Meridian; 5. Dave Thomasson, Meridian
Tates Hornets winner (15 minutes) – 1. Casey Tillman, Kuna; 2. Art Heath, Nampa; 3. Colton Nelson, Meridian; 4. Tim Darling; 5. Rob Powers, Meridian
(Four laps each)
Mtn. Dew Winged Sprints – 1. Giesler; 2. Sara Henry, Nampa; 3. Murgoitio; 4. Jackson
NAPA Late Models – 1. Chris Fenton, Meridian; 2. Dennis Wurtz II, Kuna; 3. Anderson; 4. Caldwell
Domino’s Pizza Legends – 1. Landon; 2. Schaff; 3. Swanson; 4. Zach Blume, Eagle
B Modifieds – 1. Shelby Stroebel, Meridian; 2. Randy Keckley, Boise; 3. Rosalee Weller, Caldwell; 4. Jay Cook, Nampa
Tates Hornets – 1. Cody Garrett, Boise; 2. Heath; 3. Nelson; 4. Chuck Youngblood, Meridian
(Eight laps each)
Mtn. Dew Winged Sprints
A Heat – 1. Ryan Burdett, West Jordan, Utah; 2. Wyatt King, Meridian; 3. Giesler; 4. Jackson; 5. Henry
B Heat – 1. Bryan Warf, Meridian; 2. Cody Veenstra, Emmett; 3. Dave Parrie, Eagle; 4. Matt Elliott, Caldwell; 5. Dick Ingham, Boise
NAPA Late Models
A Heat – 1. Wurtz; 2. Anderson; 3. Fenton; 4. Caldwell; 5. Lowther
B Heat – 1. Dave Thomasson, Meridian; 2. Connor Elliott, Boise; 3. TJ Monroe, Meridian; 4. William Hale, Boise; 5. Jeff Wilson, Mountain Home
Domino’s Pizza Legends
A Heat – 1. Chance Overholt, West Richland, Wash.; 2. Camron Madsen, Boise; 3. Phyl Zubizareta, Garden City; 4. Schaff; 5. Landon
B Heat – 1. Johnathan Davis, Emmett; 2. Charlie Fiscus, Star; 3. Tillman; 4. Tom Matheson, Pasco, Wash.; 5. Cameron Cotta, Boise
C Heat – 1. Beddow; 2. Turpen; 3. Eric Shover, Kent, Wash.; 4. Thimsen; 5. Stiller
D Heat – 1. Don “Rabbit” Gist, Hermiston, Ore.; 2. Aly Clark, Boise; 3. Caitlin Stroebel, Meridian; 4. Victor Clark, Meridian; 5. Jenna Cullum, Meridian
A Heat – 1. Shelby Stroebel; 2. Jackson; 3. Keckley; 4. Cook; 5. Weller
(Six laps each)
A Heat – 1. Thomas Harrod, Nampa; 2. Lynn Sharp, Nampa; 3. Art Heath; 4. Garrett; 5. Nelson
B Heat – 1. Brandon Hild, Boise; 2. Kevin Johnson, Kuna; 3. Al Russell, Kuna; 4. Sharlet Pataro, Mountain Home; 5. Rob Powers, Meridian
C Heat – 1. Jack Martin, Caldwell; 2. Jason Rupp, Boise; 3. James Pahl, Caldwell; 4. Allen Arnold, Star; 5. Lisa Bahr, Nampa
D Heat – 1. Tillman; 2. Brenden Fries, Meridian; 3. Jess Ryska, Meridian; 4. Darling; 5. Michael Capps, Meridian
Mtn. Dew Winged Sprintcars –Murgoitio, 11.491 seconds
NAPA Late Models – Anderson, 13.997
Domino’s Pizza Legends – Schaff, 15.069
B Modifieds – Shelby Stroebel, 14.131 (track record; previous – Jentry Pisca, Nampa, 14.148, June 13, 2012