With some family members making a 1,400-mile to see the action of Eve of Destruction 5, the TEAM Mazda Subaru Mini Stocks series leader notched his fourth victory of the season.
The victory was the Boise, Idaho driver’s fourth in the past five main events.
“For the last few weeks, we’ve been fighting a little bit of a rough car, y’know,” he said. “It hasn’t been too good.”
A checkered flag has a funny way of salving a sore patch of racing, though.
Hull entered the night with an 11-point lead over Jason Sanders of Caldwell, Idaho. Sanders finished third Saturday night. He lost his grip on second place when he drifted up the track and division rookie Chad Barker of Kuna, Idaho, passed Sanders. Barker is the only driver not named Sanders or Hull to win a Mini Stocks main event this year (July 20).
Hull went to front when race leader Mike Davis’s Chevy Monza tangled with second-place Brendon Fries of Meridian coming out of Turn 2 with 16 laps to go.
In other main events:
Western Idaho Racing Association Hall of Famer Kenny Chandler of Kuna, Idaho, battled through engine woes to win the Project Filter Pro-4s feature.
The Baby Bull, a Hornet driven by Boise, Idaho’s James DeMello, won the Thunder Dogs 15-lap mini main.
Thomas Harrod of Nampa, Idaho, won the 35-lap Tates Hornets main event and then picked up the Tow Mater Reverse Race for the second year in a row.
In the Jr. Stingers division, open to ages 12-14, Daytona Wurtz of Kuna, Idaho picked up her second consecutive victory with a dominating show.
Chandler held off a challenge from divisional rookie Larry Hull III of Boise early on in the Project Filter Pro-4s main event with a little help from a caution flag. Hull was stalking Chandler with 14 laps to go when a yellow came out for debris in Turn 3.
Chandler stretched his lead back out to 2½ seconds after a restart in which his chief rival – and Saturday’s fastest qualifier in a new racecar – Joe Barton of Nampa was beside him.
“We still got that same miss in the car,” Chandler said of the misfiring engine. “We won’t know what it is until we can get it on the (diagnostic) machine).
Chandler held on to his points lead even as Barton returned to the form weeks after destroying his racecar in a wreck at the speedway.
Both Chandler and Barton are former track champions.
“Joe bought a really, really nice car, and once he gets it dialed in he should be real good,” Chandler said.
Tates Hornets veteran Thomas Harrod took a double-dip in the victory pool.
First, he pulled of a thrilling last-lap rally to win the 35-lap feature and then he came back to drive 13 laps in reverse, winning his second straight Tow Mater Reverse Race even as his radiator ran out of water and before his engine seized.
In the Hornets main, Caldwell, Idaho’s Charlie Atkinson looked to be ready to get his first win of the season.
But when Atkinson bobbled and bumped on the back stretch with Meridian, Idaho’s Rob Power, Harrod was ready to pounce.
“I just saw them starting to wreck and went on the outside,” Harrod said. “It’s a great car.”
The great car was destined to become speedway property because Saturday’s race was a claimer.
But Harrod didn’t seem to mind even if did roar from third to first over the final half a lap. He took advantage of the Atkinson-Powers contact and sped around turns 3 and 4 and into the lead as he and Atkinson approached the checkered flag.
“You got lucky, Thomas,” Powers yelled playfully to Harrod as the top three drivers lined up on the frontstretch for interviews.
Atkinson and Powers both survived competition with Gary Luck, who led the majority of the laps until his car’s handling went horribly wrong. He swerved and slalomed his way around the track even while leading and somehow didn’t take either Atkinson or Powers.
Later, Harrod took advantage of second dose of bad luck for Atkinson in nearly the same location as his misfortunate in the Hornets main event.
Atkinson overheated with six laps left in the reverse race, and Harrod took the lead.
With two laps left, Harrod’s car began to overheat, but he pushed the machine to its limits and took the checkered flag.
A second straight feature in Saturday’s 25-lap Jr. Stingers main event helped Daytona Wurtz move closer to second place in the standings. But her post-race remarks shouldn’t come as a shock considering she is the daughter of hard-scrabble veteran NAPA Late Models driver Dennis Wurtz II.
“Yeah, but I want to be first,” she said when informed she got a little closer to Boise’s Jordan Kirkland in the series standings.
Both racers crept up on reigning champion and current points leader Riley Rogers of Meridian. With his brakes overheating, Rogers was forced to retire early.
Kirkland made a bold last move to register second place in the feature. He passed Nampa, Idaho’s CJ Stirm while going three-wide with a lapped car heading toward the checkered flag.
In the Thunder Dogs mini main, Big Tuna was knocked out of commission on the second lap of the Thunder Dogs mini main event when Sledgehammer spun him into the Turn 4 wall. But while getting 50 bonus points for the spin, Sledgehammer also got knocked out because Big Tuna’s left rear tire became wedged under the racecar.
The Baby Bull, a Hornet driven by Boise, Idaho’s James DeMello, won the 15-lap mini main for the Thunder Dogs. DeMello jumped into the loaned Hornet because he blew the engine in Bulldacious during practice.
The second College of Western Idaho Professional Truck Driving Street Stocks 10×10 segment race will be held next Saturday. The Street Stocks will race 100 laps, but the marathon will be broken up into a series of sprints.
Also scheduled are the Pepsi Sprintcars, the Coors Super Stocks and the Budweiser B Modifieds.
Another round of Spectator Drags also are set, so fans can bring their rides and go head-to-head with one another for one lap around the paved quarter-mile oval.
The gates open at 4 p.m. with qualifying at 5 p.m. and racing at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets are $10 for adults, $7.50 for senior citizens and military with ID, $6 for children ages 7-11 and, as always, free for children 6 and younger. A family pass good for two adults and up to four children ages 7-11 is $30.
Visit www.meridianspeedway.com or “like” Meridian Speedway on Facebook to get the latest information. You can also buy tickets on the track’s website and print them at home.
The racetrack can be reached by phone at (208) 888-2813.
Eve of Destruction 5
Saturday’s unofficial results
Project Filter Pro-4s (25 laps) – 1. Kenny Chandler, Kuna, Idaho; 2. Joe Barton, Nampa, Idaho; 3. Tyler Bailey, Meridian, Idaho; 4. Larry Hull III, Boise, Idaho; 5. Ron Hayes, Boise
TEAM Mazda Subaru Mini Stocks (35 laps) – 1. Jonathan Hull, Boise; 2. Chad Barker, Kuna, Idaho; 3. Jason Sanders, Caldwell, Idaho; 4. TJ Labronte, Meridian; 5. Jayson Wardle, Kuna
Thunder Dogs Mini Main winner (15 laps) – Baby Bull (James DeMello, Boise)
Tates Hornets (35 laps) – 1. Thomas Harrod, Nampa, Idaho; 2. Charlie Atkinson, Caldwell, Idaho; 3. Rob Powers, Meridian; 4. Brandon Hild, Boise; 5. Kevin Johnson, Kuna, Idaho
Jr. Stingers (25 laps) – 1. Daytona Wurtz, Kuna, Idaho; 2. Jordan Kirkland, Boise; 3. CJ Stirm, Nampa; 4. Jordan Harris, Nampa; 5. Stafford Smith, Eagle, Idaho
Tates Hornets Tow Mater Reverse Race (13 laps) – Harrod; 2. Rick Howe II, Meridian; 3. Fred Nagele, Boise; 4. Stacy Heath, Nampa; 5. Skeeter Stewart, Boise
Gauntlet Race winner – Hornets for fifth year in a row
Boat Race of Destruction winner – Hot Pursuit (James Cloud, Meridian)
Best boat design – Porky’s Revenge and the Big, Bad Wolf
Master of Disaster – The Pickup Man
(Eight laps each)
Project Filter Pro-4s
Fast Dash – 1. Chandler; 2. Larry Hull III; 3. Hayes; 4. Jeffery Snethen, Boise; 5. Barton
TEAM Mazda Subaru Mini Stocks
Fast Dash – 1. Jason Sanders, Caldwell, Idaho; 2. Brendon Fries, Meridian; 3. Chad Barker, Kuna; 4. Jonathan Hull, Boise; 5. Keri Ballard, Boise
B Dash – 1. Amber Rogers, Meridian, Idaho; 2. TJ Labronte, Meridian; 3. Jayson Wardle, Kuna; 4. Duane Gerber, Boise; 5. Brandon Shira, Boise
C Dash – 1. Mike Davis, Boise; 2. Denny Gerber, Boise; 3. Skeeter Stewart, Boise; 4. Nathan Dearing, Boise; 5. Richard Brees, Meridian, Idaho
(Six laps each)
Fast Dash – 1. Cody Garrett, Boise; 2. Rob Powers, Meridian; 3. Brandon Hild, Boise; 4. Cody Brizendine, Nampa; 5. Thomas Harrod, Nampa
B Dash – 1. Michael Capps, Meridian; 2. Rick Howe II, Meridian; 3. Antonio Ryska, Caldwell, Idaho; 4. Stacy Heath, Nampa; 5. Kenny Driebergen, Boise
C Dash – 1. Cody Kirkland, Meridian; 2. Kevin Johnson, Kuna; 3. Al Russell, Meridian; 4. DJ Everett, Garden City, Idaho; 5. Charlie Atkinson, Caldwell
D Dash – 1. Gary Luck; 2. Jim Langdon; 3. Neil Evans, Caldwell; 4. Eriq Arnold, Star, Idaho; 5. Robert Daugherty, Caldwell
Fast Dash – 1. Daytona Wurtz, Kuna; 2. Riley Rogers, Meridian; 3. Jordan Harris, Nampa; 4. Kendra Occhipinti, Nampa; 5. Jordan Kirkland, Boise
B Dash – 1. Stafford Smith, Eagle, Idaho; 2. Peter Woog, Meridian; 3. CJ Stirm, Nampa; 4. Matthew Gerber, Meridian; 5. Cora Munro, Eagle
C Dash – 1. Cherokee Arnold, Star; 2. Allie Hild, Boise; 3. Tayvia Morris, Nampa; 4. Caitlin Sharp, Nampa; 5. Jacob Thompson, Kuna
Project Filter Pro-4s – Barton, 14.573 seconds
TEAM Mazda Subaru Mini Stocks – Chad Barker, Kuna, 15.496
Jr. Stingers – Riley Rogers, Meridian, 16.671