Jackson, Nelson Duel for Final NASCAR Mod Main
History was made Saturday, September 29, as the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West roared onto the asphalt quarter-mile at Meridian Speedway for the NAPA Auto Parts Idaho 208. Joining the rising stars of NASCAR, the Teleperformance Claimer Stocks, PitStopUSA.com NASCAR Modifieds, and Junior Stingers filled an action-packed Saturday night slate of short track racing.
The Teleperformance Claimer Stocks brought seventeen racers to Saturday’s first green flag. Scott Kelly found the handle on his Cross Hair Customs, Amanda Miller at Century 21 Realty pickup to lead the first of one hundred laps. Behind Kelly, Sam Newcomer bolted from his middle of the pack starting spot to put his machine atop the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard on lap fifteen.
With Newcomer out front, heavy hitters Kendra Occhipinti and Pat Tully made their move, and by lap 35 they held second and third, respectively. Occhipinti was first to break ranks, and she dove beneath Newcomer for the lead one lap later. Tully was next to Newcomer’s bumper, but couldn’t find a way to work his Dean Wilson Racing, Glen Alleman Custom Farming entry around the Apple Valley, California racer.
A midrace caution flag allowed Tully to work his way beneath Newcomer to take the runner up spot, and the Caldwell, Idaho racer sped to Occhipinti’s bumper. A restart with 35 laps left gave Tully the outside line, and when the green flag waved he motored around Occhipinti for first.
But Occhipinti wouldn’t settle for second, and she pushed her Marv’s Tire Service, Dillon Performance Engines racer hard in the race’s closing segments to keep pace with Tully. Though she was able to keep touch with the leader, Occhipinti’s extra effort proved too much and her transmission expired with four laps left. This allowed Josh Fanopoulos to sneak into the battle for first, but the Boise, Idaho driver would run out of time to catch Tully, who claimed his seventh victory of the season.
Fifteen Junior Stingers packed the tight confines of Meridian Speedway for their twenty lap feature. Slade Fisher was quick out of the blocks at the green flag, but Jody Moen was quicker, and in one lap the Jerome, Idaho racer made her way from fourth to first. Moen wasn’t the only one on the move, as behind the young lady racer championship rivals Rusty Houpt and Cody Castricone knifed their way through traffic to claim the top two posts on lap four.
Lapped traffic was heavy, and from lap five on Houpt and Castricone found themselves in a constant swarm of competitors. On lap nine this traffic grew too heavy for Houpt to handle, and he cut through the infield to avoid contact. This slowed the Meridian, Idaho racer and allowed Castricone to take the lead in his Fast Glass, Import Engine Supply racer.
After this incident, Houpt turned the wick up on his Boise Spring Works, All Makes Auto Salvage machine and marched back into the lead fight. With five laps left Houpt caught Castricone, and forced his way through the middle of three-wide to challenge Castricone. Try as Houpt might he didn’t have enough to track down Castricone, who rolled into the Caleb’s Shop Shop Winner’s Circle for the sixth time this season.
The PitStopUSA.com NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modifieds wrapped up their season Saturday night with a fifty lap feature. Joe Thuss led the field to green with Jerry Green and Jonathan Hull in tow. As Thuss struggled to keep his Aloha Auto Repair, Avise Budget of Downtown Boise racer out front quick-qualifiers Colton Nelson and Josh Jackson broke free of the pack and closed in. On lap five Nelson made his move, and piloted his Integrity Pools of Idaho, Integrity Construction racer from third to first in turn one.
Jackson followed Nelson to the front, and on lap ten the battle for the lead commenced. Jackson searched high and low in his Jackson Built Racing, Motor Mayhem Chassis Dyno for a way past Nelson, but the Nampa, Idaho driver found none. At the race’s halfway point the fight for the lead got physical as contact sent the top two sliding. Both drivers gathered their racers and Jackson continued his assault until a caution flag waved with twenty laps left.
As the laps wound down Jackson opened a comfortable lead over Nelson, whose attention turned to third place runner Larry Hull III. Hull III wheeled his Diversified Carpet Cleaning, All American Towing modified hard to catch Nelson, who could only watch as Jackson claimed the final main event of the 2018 PitStopUSA.com NASCAR Modified season.
Despite mechanical issues that sidelined the Meridian, Idaho racer in practice, Bryan Warf took home the PitStopUSA.com NASCAR Modified championship.
The next chapter in Meridian Speedway history is written this Saturday, October 6, as the quarter-mile oval hosts Pepsi Championship Night. The Mountain Dew Interstate Winged Sprintcars, Pepsi Crate Cars and Idaho Sprintcar and Roadster League Super Sixes, Domino’s Legends, Project Filter Pro-4s, Coors Super Stocks, Big Daddy’s Barbecue Hornets, and Bombers race to settle their seasons. General admission to Saturday’s full night of short track action is $11.50 for adults, $9 for seniors and military members, and $6.50 for kids 7-11. Gates open at 4:45 p.m. and racing goes green at 6:45 p.m. Keep pace with all the late season happenings at the Concrete Jungle by visiting meridianspeedway.com and text ‘meridianspeed’ to 84483 for exclusive text updates. We’ll see you for Pepsi Championship Night at your NASCAR Home Track under the big yellow water tower, Meridian Speedway.