Intense Battles Cap July Action at Meridian Speedway
Intense Battle Cap July Action at Meridian Speedway
MERIDIAN, Idaho—With the dog days of summer in full swing five fast division descended on Meridian Speedway for Candlewood Suites Night presented by College of Western Idaho Professional Truck Driving. The Project Filter Pro-4s, Teleperformance Claimer Stocks, TEAM Mazda Mini Stocks, Domino’s Legends, and College of Western Idaho High School Tuners turned in a night packed with thrilling on track action.
The College of Western Idaho High School Tuners kicked off main event action with a twenty lap dash. Nampa, Idaho’s James Gates got to the gas pedal first and dashed to the early lead, but it was Kendra Occhipinti, in her brother’s Marv’s Tire Service, Dillon Auto Craft Performance Engines machine who was fast early. By lap two Occhipinti was alongside Gates’ YMC, PBT Auto Sales entry, and by lap six she held the top spot on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard.
But Occhipinti wasn’t safe out front as younger brother Taylor kept pace with his sister before he rocketed past his sibling on the inside. As Kendra Occhipinti battled to keep pace with Taylor late in the going, she lost the handle on her racer and skidded sideway, which allowed Gates to challenge the lady racer for second place. But Kendra Occhipinti recovered and retained the runner up spot behind feature winner Taylor Occhipinti.
“That got kind of scary,” Kendra Occhipinti said of her late race slide.
A fast field of Project Filter Pro-4s crowded the quarter-mile for their thirty lap main event. On the break Boise, Idaho’s Alex Duda blasted past Ray Bolinger to put his Boise Boys Transportation, Carbon Designs Custom Vinyl racer in the early lead. First to challenge Duda was Nampa, Idaho’s Jordan Harris, who powered his Fairly Reliable Bob’s, Mulder’s Auto Machine entry outside and to the lead on lap four. But Harris’ lead was short lived as Kuna, Idaho’s Kenny Chandler sliced though the field to take the lead on lap six.
Chandler piloted his Project Filter, Jim’s Drive Train machine away from the pack as Brendon Fries worked to take second away from Harris. With twenty circuits left Fries put his Chick-Fil-A of Meridian, Frogman Trucking racer in second place and began to eat into Chandler’s advantage. Nampa, Idaho’s Joe Barton followed Fries around Harris to settle into the third position.
Behind the leaders the battle for fourth raged as Harris fought to defend his position against trophy dash winner Ryan Bailey and heat race winner Jonathan Hull. Bailey would pilot his Les Schwab, Motorsports Consulting Service machine by with five laps left, and Hull with two, but they, along with the rest of the field, could only watch as Chandler sped across the Caleb’s Chop Shop Victory Stripe first.
The Teleperformance Claimer Stocks rumbled to the green flag with 25 laps to find a feature winner. Caldwell, Idaho’s Micky Lawson battled past Jerry Green’s Catapult 3, Voodoo Graphics machine to lead lap one, but it wasn’t long before defending division champion Brian Hyde pulled into the lead fight. Hyde rolled his Affordable Rain Gutters, Pak-Rat ride around the high side and took the lead on lap three as Lawson fell into the clutches of Boise, Idaho racers Jamie Hyde and Josh Fanopoulos.
The battle for the runner up spot was intense as Jamie Hyde wheeled his Wacky Shacks, Guppies Hot Rdo Grill racer around the high side and Lawson dug hard on the inside in her GR Farms, Roberts Draft Horses entry. Lap after lap the duo traded the runner up spot back and forth. A dozen, then fifteen laps passed as Jamie Hyde and Lawson piloted their Teleperformance Claimer Stocks in formation. As Brian Hyde roared to the victory, his brother Jamie Hyde got the better run out of turn four to take second from Lawson.
“I don’t think we ever touched once,” Jamie Hyde said of the epic runner up battle.
The TEAM Mazda Mini Stocks were next into the Concrete Jungle for a thirty lap main event. On the green Boise, Idaho driver Will Ostrum piloted his Diversified Carpet Cleaning, Volt Vapes machine to the front. Ostrum held the top spot for three laps until fellow Boisean Ian Michael Pedersen moved to the inside to take the top spot.
As Pedersen set sail in his Iron Built Sports Nutrition, Men’s Wearhouse entry, Ostrum turned his attention to Drew Crenshaw, who worked his racer hard in the inside line. But Ostrum was strong on the outside and held the runner up spot until a caution flag on lap twelve reset the field.
On the restart Pedersen raced back to the lead with Crenshaw and Jason Sanders in tow. Crenshaw looked high and low for a way by Pedersen, and Sanders joined the battle to make it three way fight for the win. With lapped traffic on the horizon Crenshaw tried to squeeze by Pedersen, but the two made contact. Pedersen slid wide with a cut left front tire while Crenshaw took the lead.
With Crenshaw out front, Sanders fought to find a way to the point. As the white flag waved Sanders drove his Divel Services, King’s Pro Tire entry low, but didn’t have enough to beat Crenshaw to the checkers. However, Crenshaw was assessed a one position penalty for his contact with Pedersen, which left Sanders with the victory.
Thirteen Domino’s Legends closed main event action with a thirty lap sprint to the checkers. The green flag waved and Meridian, Idaho’s Tyler Driever put his Moto One, Maxima machine in the early lead. But Driever wasn’t alone up front as Darin Turpen and Evan Brown pulled to the leader’s rear bumper. An early restart allowed Nampa, Idaho’s Turpen to put his Rocky Mountain Supply, Dowdy’s Automotive machine in the lead as Brown moved his Pro Power Clean, Harmon Smith Financial Group legend into second.
On the move early was Eagle, Idaho’s Zach Blume, who carved through the field from his back of the pack starting spot into second on lap five. Just one lap later Blume held the point with Ethan Jones and Casey Tillman in hot pursuit. Jones was not content in second and wheeled his machine hard in his bid for the lead. As laps ticked off the board at qualifying speed the top three motored into the race’s final ten laps and lapped traffic.
As the leaders navigated traffic Jones tried everything he could to take the lead, but Blume was too strong and he scooted to the main event win.
“What an amazing race,” Blume said in the Caleb’s Chop Shop Winner’s Circle. “[Jones and Tillman] filled up my mirror all race.”
This Saturday, August 5, Meridian Speedway hosts the Ninth Annual Eve of Destruction. World Famous Boat Racing, Hornets versus the Gauntlet, Auto Bowling, The Beast Jet Dragster Hornet Meltdown, Reverse Racing, Spectacular Drags, and fireworks provide the thrills Saturday night, while the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modifieds, Teleperformance Claimer Stocks, Pepsi Crate Cars and ISRL Super Sixes, TATES Rents Hornets, Six Shooters, and Thunder Dogs provide a full card of racing thrills. General admission tickets are just $13 for adults, $10.50 for seniors and military members, and $6.50 for kids 7-11. Tickets are selling out fast. Log on to meridianspeedway.com to purchase your advance tickets. Gates open at 4 p.m. Saturday with qualifying at 5:15 p.m. and destruction takes the green flag at 6:30 p.m. We’ll see you this Saturday, August 5, for Eve of Destruction 9 under the big yellow water tower at your NASCAR Home Track, Meridian Speedway.