Jerome’s Gomez Dominates Royal Purple Modified 75
The clouds parted for a night of chaos at Meridian Speedway as the quarter-mile asphalt oval hosted Smash-O-Rama 2018. The Royal Purple Modified Series, Pro Truck Series, High School Tuners, and Bombers provided Saturday night’s racing action, while daredevil Mr. Dizzy, World Famous Boat Racing, and a hard-hitting demolition derby provided the destruction.
The Royal Purple Modified Series packed Meridian Speedway for a 75 lap main event. Meridian, Idaho racer Casey Tillman got to the gas pedal first and took the early lead. Hot on Tillman’s bumper were Jonathan Gomez, John Grantjean, and Chris Fenton. Gomez took the fight to Tillman first and on lap four the Jerome, Idaho driver took his Century Boatland entry to the top spot.
Behind Gomez, Tillman, Grantjean, and Fenton went to war for second place. On lap eight this battle went wrong as Grantjean and Fenton made contact and spun in turn one. The beneficiary of this scuffle was Shelby Stroebel, who moved his daughter Caitlin’s Trinity Construction, D&R Drainage Systems modified into third behind Tillman and Gomez.
Stroebel wasted no time as he charged around the outside into second and set his sights on Gomez. While Stroebel chased Gomez, third place runner Aubree Wartman wheeled her A-1 Heating and Air Conditioning, Project Filter machine hard to stay ahead of Salt Lake City, Utah’s Eric Rhead. By lap 25 Rhead held third, and began to close the gap on Stroebel.
Stroebel’s attention soon shifted from leader Gomez to Rhead, who stalked the multi-time champion from the second groove through the race’s middle stages. As the laps wound down Stroebel’s engine soured, and Rhead reeled the Meridian, Idaho driver in. With five laps to go Rhead made his move to the outside, but tagged and climbed the back stretch wall.
Rhead landed his Redbone Trucking, Fat Boy Ice Cream machine and incredibly keep pace with Stroebel as the pair sped into the white flag lap. With one final push Rhead threw his modified hard into turn three, but slid out of the groove and pounded the concrete in front of the Big Smoke, Tobacco Connection North End Animals’ bleachers. This left Stroebel in the runner up spot behind a dominant Gomez.
With a full night of destruction in the books, Meridian Speedway turns its attention to the military Saturday, May 19, for the Project Filter Military Appreciation Night. The Project Filter Pro-4s run twin 25 lap main events, while the Pepsi Crate Cars and ISRL Super Sixes, Coors Super Stocks, Teleperformance Claimer Stocks, TEAM Mazda Mini Stocks, and Big Daddy’s Barbecue Hornets compete for the Boise Boys Transportation hardware. General admission to Saturday night’s action is free for military members and their families, $11.50 for adults, $9 for seniors, and $6.50 for kids 7-11. Log on to meridianspeedway.com for more Smash-O-Rama highlights, and be sure to text ‘meridianspeed’ to 84483 to receive exclusive updates from around the quarter-mile. We’ll see you this Saturday, May 19, for Project Filter Military Appreciation Night under the big yellow water tower at your NASCAR Home Track, Meridian Speedway.