Kuna Racer Dominates Teleperformance Twin 25s
Four fast racing divisions descended upon Meridian Speedway for Boys and Girl’s Club Night presented by Meridian Automotive at the quarter-mile asphalt oval. The Teleperformance Claimer Stocks, College of Western Idaho Super Stocks, winged Pepsi Crate Cars, and College of Western Idaho High School Tuners wrapped up spring action with a full night of thrills.
Ten Teleperformance Claimer Stocks rolled to the green flag of their first 25 lap feature. Outside pole sitter Jamie Hyde raced around Fred Nagele to lead lap one in his Wacky Shacks, Guppies Hot Rod Grill entry. Behind Boise, Idaho’s Hyde, Casey Hart stomped the gas pedal in his Hart Construction, CSDI Construction pickup, but the rear end swung around and he spun from second place. Nagele and Rich Lawson were swept up in the scrum. Luckily, the damage was minimal and all three racers were able to continue.
When the green flag waved again Hyde went back to the front, followed by his brother Brian Hyde and Kuna, Idaho racer Pat Young. Young went to work on Brian Hyde for second place on lap five, and piloted his Bell’s Automotive, Snap-on Tools by Shane Duncan machine to the runner up spot one lap later. Young’s assault on Hyde Brothers Racing continued as he pulled to the outside of Jamie Hyde and took the lead three laps later.
Next to challenge the Hyde brothers was Dan Lowther. As Lowther’s Fire Snacks, Allan Marsh Travel Center entry entered the fray, Brian Hyde hit the go pedal and passed brother Jamie for second place. Lowther followed Brian Hyde past Jamie Hyde for third, then with eight laps to go Lowther blew past Brian Hyde’s Affordable Rain Gutters, All Makes Auto Salvage racer for the runner up spot on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard.
Lowther wheeled his car hard to catch Young, but ran out of laps to make a move as the Kuna, Idaho racer claimed the win.
“This is awesome,” Young said in the Caleb’s Chop Shop Winner’s Circle.
The College of Western Idaho High School Tuners rolled onto the quarter-mile next for a twenty lap main event. On the break Nampa, Idaho’s Kendra Occhipinti shot past James Gates to put her Marv’s Tire Service, Dillon Auto Craft Performance Engines racer in the lap one lead. Meridian, Idaho’s Riley Rogers followed Occhipinti past Gates’ YMC, PBT Auto Sales entry, then swung out of line and took the lead for himself on lap two. As Rogers sailed to a comfortable lead, the battle for second heated up as Occhipinti fell into the clutches of her younger brother Taylor.
Taylor Occhipinti looked low and swung high to in his bid to find a way past Kendra Occhipinti. Finally with nine laps left Taylor Occhipinti faked high into turn one, then dove to the low line and took the position. Taylor Occhipinti laid down a barrage of fast laps as he pursued Rogers, but Rogers’ H&H Accounting, Goodwill Finance machine was faster, and he cruised across the line first.
“I need to thank Taylor and Kendra and James and everybody for racing me clean,” Rogers said. “We were still getting the car figured out.”
A winged contingent of Pepsi Crate Cars rumbled to the green flag of their thirty lap feature. Outside pole sitter Ryan Wiederich blasted past Justin Segura’s Garage Graffix, Mac Tools machine to lead lap one. Riley Rogers followed Wiederich’s System Kleen, Filter Factory Outlet Store racer to the front, then on lap three Rogers made his move to the top spot.
But Rogers wasn’t safe up front as his Extreme Towing and Recovery, Wildside Wraps sprinter came under heavy attack from Kuna, Idaho racer Casey Tillman, who wheeled his YMC machine hard in pursuit of the leader. After two laps of contact Tillman settled into the runner up spot and plotted his next move.
Tillman’s move came on lap fourteen as he unleashed a savage series of sliding dives in an attempt to move inside of Rogers. But the strain on Tillman’s machine proved too much and the runner up began to fade with a failing engine. Tillman would limp home in second place behind Meridian, Idaho’s Rogers.
“I need to thank everybody, it was a group effort just to get this car together,” Rogers said.
The College of Western Idaho Super Stocks brought seven quick competitors to bear on their thirty lap feature. On the break trophy dash winner Ron Hayes got the drop on Hunter Gates to lead lap one. Next to challenge Gates was Daniel Johnson, who worked his way into the runner up spot as Gates slid his YMC, PBT Auto Sales machine into the backstretch wall. The ensuing yellow flag reset the field with Caldwell, Idaho’s Johnson outside Boise, Idaho’s Hayes on the front row and Melissa Arte inside of Ben Crow in row two.
Johnson got the best of the restart and took his Darlene’s Printing, American Redline Auto Salvage racer to the lead, and Crow followed to battle Hayes for second place on the outside. Crow dispatched Hayes’ RC Willey, Taco Time entry on lap five, but on lap eight Crow hit fluid on the racing surface and his Excel Equipment Co., G&S Excavation racer spun, leaving the runner up spot to Arte, who restarted outside of Johnson.
The green flag waved and Arte motored around Johnson to plant her Marv’s Tire Service, Dillon Auto Craft Performance Engines entry in the top spot. Behind the lead pair Meridian, Idaho’s Crow tore through the pack and moved back into the top three with nineteen laps left. As laps wound off the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard Crow reeled Johnson in until a caution with nine laps to go bunched the field and put Johnson to Arte’s outside for the restart.
On the green Johnson pinned Arte low and held even with the lady racer for two laps before his machine skated high in turn four. With Nampa, Idaho’s Arte out front Johnson worked to fend off Crow. Lap after lap Johnson slid his car through the corners, and at the checkers he would claim the runner up spot behind Arte.
“We had a good race,” Arte said. “Those cautions were kind of scary.”
The Teleperformance Claimer Stocks capped Saturday’s main event action with their second 25 lap dash. Boise, Idaho’s Shawn Hansen got to the gas pedal first and drove his Hansen Family Racing machine to the lap one lead. On the move early was Meridian, Idaho’s Casey Hart, who drove his damaged Hart Construction, Ultimate Transmission pickup from back in the pack to the lead on lap six. Brian Hyde and Pat Young followed in Hart’s tire tracks and the pair soon occupied the second and third positions.
Young made his move for the runner up spot on lap eleven, then set to work tracking down Hart for the lead. With ten laps left Young piloted his Bell’s Automotive, J&S Services car to the outside, but Hart shut the door hard on the front stretch. Two laps later Young switched tactics and tried the low line, but again Hart slammed the door. Finally with five laps left Young drew even with Hart off of turn two and took the lead. Young looked to cruise to a Boys and Girls Club night sweep until a caution with two laps left reset the field for one final shootout.
On the restart Hart surprised Young and powered to the lead, but Young pulled back to the leader’s rear bumper on the white flag lap. As the pair dove into turn three Young popped Hart, who slid up the track and fell to fourth as Young sped to the checkers.
“I didn’t want to see it go down like that,” Young said. “That was some hard racing.”
Meridian Speedway celebrates the first week of summer with two night of racing action this week. On Wednesday, June 21 the Dirt Track at Meridian Speedway holds its first stand alone Wednesday Night Fever event with the Outlaw and Open Flat Karts. Dirt track racing goes green at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 24, the quarter-mile plays host to the College of Western Idaho Dairy Days Races and Carnival. Don’t miss the College of Western Idaho Super Stocks, TEAM Mazda Mini Stocks, TATES Rents Hornets, Thunderdogs, and Queen Bees as they race beneath the neon carnival lights. Gates for Saturday night’s action open at 4 p.m. with qualifications at 5:15 p.m. and racing at 6:30 p.m. Log on to meridianspeedway.com to purchase your advance tickets and text ‘meridianspeed’ to 84483 to receive exclusive updates from around the quarter-mile. We’ll see you this Wednesday and Saturday under the big yellow water tower at your NASCAR Home Track, Meridian Speedway.