Hull Breaks Through, Takes First on the Fourth
Summer was in full swing Wednesday, July 4 as Meridian Speedway hosted the Stinker Stores Firecracker 100 for the Teleperformance Claimer Stocks. The INEX Legends contested their annual regional qualifier at the quarter-mile asphalt oval, while the PitStopUSA.com NASCAR Modifieds, Winged Pepsi Crate Cars, and Big Daddy’s Barbecue Hornets set the stage for the City of Meridian’s Independence Day fireworks display.
The PitStopUSA.com NASCAR Modifieds packed the quarter-mile for the first of their two thirty lap features. On the green qualifying race winner Colton Nelson got to the gas pedal first and drove his Integrity Construction, YMC Heating and Air machine into the early lead. But Nampa, Idaho’s Josh Jackson followed Nelson through, as did Meridian, Idaho racers Bryan Warf and Chris Fenton.
Jackson used an early race restart to challenge Nelson on the outside, but Nelson proved too strong and he stormed back to the lead. Warf took second from Jackson, then motored around the high side of Nelson to take the lead. This left Nelson in the clutches of Fenton, who wound his Pepsi-Cola, Cristiani Motorsports modified up in the high groove.
Nelson wrestled the wheel to keep Fenton at bay, but after a three lap battle Fenton held the runner up spot and closed on Warf. With ten to go Fenton arrived at the leader’s rear bumper and the lead battle was on. Warf dug hard on the inside to stay up front, but momentum was on Fenton’s side, and with six circuits left on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard Fenton snatched the lead. Try as Warf might he had nothing for Fenton, who sped across the Caleb’s Chop Shop Victory Stripe first.
Wings were the thing as a full field of Winged Pepsi Crate Cars charged into a thirty lap main event. Caldwell, Idaho’s Rich Montez charged to the point first in his North American Recycling, Abbot Home Inspections sprinter with Ryan Wiederich and Nate Little in trail. Little was the first to step out of line as he swung high and dispatched Wiederich’s Filter Factory Outlet Store, System Kleen machine, then roared past Montez for the lead on lap six. This opened the door for the outside line, and quick-qualifiers Rob Grice and Justin Segura also raced past Montez to take second and third.
Grice wasn’t content with second place, and wheeled his ART Speed Equipment, BLG Blue sprinter hard to catch Little. As Little’s lead shrank the Boise, Idaho racer took to the middle groove, which left Grice with few options to make a pass. Lapped traffic forced Little high with seven laps left and Grice dove for the inside. But the three-wide move came up short, and Grice filed back into the second spot. This turned out to be Grice’s last opportunity, and he had to settle for second behind Little’s Biz Print, Fishers Technology sprinter.
The PitStopUSA.com NASCAR Modifieds rumbled back onto the quarter-mile for their second main event. Pole sitter Larry Hull sprinted to the top spot in his Diversified Carpet Cleaning, All American Towing modified with Kuna, Idaho’s Casey Tillman in his tire tracks. Behind Hull, Neal Latham, Josh Jackson, and Colton Nelson made it through a lap one snarl and lined up behind the leader. Jackson was the first to step out in his Jackson Built Racing, Sticker Shack machine, and he stormed around Latham on the high side for third. This opened the flood gates and soon Jackson, Nelson, and first feature winner Chris Fenton caught and passed second place Tillman.
Nelson dove beneath Jackson for second, but then fell victim to Fenton as the Meridian, Idaho racer hooked the inside line. As Fenton sped toward the leader, a mechanical failure sent Taylor Canfield’s modified across the track and hard into Fenton in turn one. Fenton spun but continued, though he was relegated to the back of the pack for the restart.
The green flag waved and Hull held off Tillman to keep the top spot, but the leader had Nelson and Warf in his tire tracks. As Hull pulled away Warf ducked beneath Nelson and the teammates went to war for the runner up spot. Warf fought his way forward inch-by-inch in the low line, while Nelson sped around the top groove. With eleven laps left Warf finally claimed the position, but had a three second deficit to erase if he wanted to catch Hull.
Lapped traffic hampered Warf efforts in the closing stages, and as the laps wound down Warf’s focus turned to a resurgent Fenton. With Warf on the defensive Hull cruised to his first PitStopUSA.com NASCAR Modified victory of the season.
The Big Daddy’s Barbecue Hornets brought ten brightly-lit racers to green for their twenty minute dash in the dark known as the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere. Monica Heath saw the green flag first and dashed to the lap one lead. But James Pahl found the handle on his Ray’s Auto Care racer and rocketed into the top spot two circuits later.
Behind Pahl, Neil Wassmuth and Tommy Harrod dispatched Heath before the duo traded paint for the second spot. Harrod got the better of that transaction and he sprang on Pahl in a bid for the top spot. Harrod took the low line, but Pahl fought back in the high groove. Harrod and Pahl flew in formation until Harrod tangled with lapped traffic on lap seventeen.
Harrod regrouped and caught up to Pahl with the help of a lap 25 caution before the top two were sent to the back of the pack and water was dumped across the darkened track. This left Joe Petit in the lead with Jeff Matuska and Jett Nelson in tow.
But the man on the move was Pahl, who deftly cut through the pack to take second place on lap 31, then the lead on lap 34. A lap 43 caution flag set the stage for a green-white-checker finish, and when the flag dropped Pahl scooted away from the field and took the checkered flag.
The hits just keep on coming as this Saturday, July 7, Meridian Speedway hosts the Mega Massive Bike Giveaway presented by DL Evans Bank. The Pro Truck Series, Coors Super Stocks, Project Filter Pro-4s, TEAM Mazda Mini Stocks, High School Tuners and Bombers will be on hand to race for the Allison Concrete by Design hardware as they back up the biggest bike giveaway in Meridian Speedway history. Gates open at 4:45 p.m. and the first green flag falls at 6:45 p.m. General admission is just $11.50 for adults, $6.50 for kids 7-11, and as always kids 6 and under get in free. Skip the line at the gate and order your tickets online at meridianspeedway.com, and text ‘meridianspeed’ to 84483 to receive exclusive updates from around the quarter-mile. We’ll see you this Saturday, July 7, for the Mega Massive Bike Giveaway presented by DL Evans Bank at your NASCAR Home Track under the big yellow water tower, Meridian Speedway.