Last Lap Slide Keeps Jones’ Streak Alive
The final two checkered flags fell on the five race PitStopUSA.com NASCAR Modified Shootout series Saturday, July 14, as Meridian Speedway played host to Whelen Night at the Races. The PitStopUSA.com NASCAR Modifieds contested twin fifty lap features to settle their championship within a championship. Not to be outdone, the Teleperformance Claimer Stocks sped through their own pair of main events, while the Rebel Modifieds, Coors Super Stocks, Domino’s Legends, and Junior Stingers chased their own Carl’s Cycle Sales trophies.
The Junior Stingers brought eight competitors to their fifteen lap feature. The green flag fell and Jessika Harris zipped past Logan Castricone to take her Kim’s Kars, Challenger Auto Transport racer to the early lead. But Harris soon had company as Jerome, Idaho driver Jodi Moen cleared the pack and pulled to her rear bumper. But before Moen could make a move, Meridian, Idaho’s Rusty Houpt emerged and piloted his Boise Spring Works, Drip Catchers LLC machine into the runner up spot.
On lap six the top two tangled and spun in turn four. Houpt was forced to the pit area with a blown right front tire while Harris was able to continue. This left the lead to Moen with quick-qualifier Cody Castricone in the runner up spot.
On the restart Cody Castricone hooked the inside line and dispatched Moen to second as Star, Idaho’s Hannah Scott battled Logan Castricone for third. Scott used the inside line to make the pass in her Western Sandblasting and Powdercoating, Guppies Hot Rod Grille racer, but soon came under fire from Houpt. A caution flag with five laps left bunched the field, and when the green flag waved Houpt sprang on both Scott and Moen to take the runner up spot in turns one and two. Houpt committed to the low line while Cody Castricone wheeled his Linder Learning Academy, Fast Glass racer hard to keep pace. But Houpt was too strong, and after a two lap battle the Meridian, Idaho racer took the lead and the victory.
Gale Carter and Chuck Youngblood led the Coors Super Stock field to their 25 lap Whelen Night at the Races feature. As the competitors rumbled through turn one fuel poured out of point leader Melissa Arte’s Marv’s Tire Service, Graphics by Rhonda Kellerer machine. The field saw Arte pull off track and slowed though no caution flag waved. Nampa, Idaho’s Josh Jackson was first to regain speed and took his Jackson Built Racing, Motor Mayhem Chassis Dyno machine to the point.
Behind Jackson, Carter and Youngblood fought hard for second on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard. Youngblood worked his PBT Auto Sales racer low on the track while Carter swung around the high side. Youngblood would complete the pass for second with three laps remaining, but had nothing for Jackson, who cruised to the checkers.
Nine strong Rebel Modifieds of Idaho roared to life for a 35 lap dash for the checkers. On the break Tony Ackerland got the better of his father Darvin to take the early lead. But Tony Ackerland quickly faced pressure from Mike Davis, Chris Fenton, and Daytona Wurtz. Fenton was the first to step out of line, and the Meridian, Idaho racer took his Cristiani Motorsports modified to the lead.
But Wurtz followed Fenton, and wasted no time as she worked the leader over in her bid for the win. With Wurtz all but glued to his bumper Fenton laid down a bevy of blistering fast laps, but Wurtz kept pace. Faster and faster the lead duo wound around the quarter-mile until Wurtz broke loose in turn one and pounded the concrete. Wurtz emerged from her wrecked racer okay but was forced to retire from the event.
Fenton and fast heat race winner Randy Keckley led the field to the restart. Fenton got to the gas pedal first and reestablished himself atop the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard. Keckley drove hard to keep pace with Fenton, but as the laps wound down his Pegasus Towing modified faded and he fell into a battle for second with Davis.
Davis rolled around the outside of Keckley and chopped into Fenton’s lead, but he ran out of laps to make a pass and Fenton claimed the Carl’s Cycle Sales hardware.
Eight speedy Domino’s Legends contested a quick 25 lap main event Saturday. Ken Frickey got the jump on Gary Luck to lead the first half of lap one, but Caity Miller followed Frickey and stormed around the inside to put her Farm Bureau Insurance of Darrin Post, Kustom Fab machine in the early lead. Miller sped around the quarter-mile, desperate to open a gap between herself and quick-qualifier Ethan Jones.
Division dominator Jones started in the back of the pack and by lap seven had dispatched Donovan Barr for the runner up spot. At the race’s halfway point Jones sat just one second out of the lead as he gained on Miller. With eight laps left Jones arrived at Miller’s rear bumper. But Miller answered the challenge and, with the help of lapped traffic began to ease away from Jones.
With two laps left the leaders sped into a pack of lapped cars. As he back markers scrambled to clear a lane they made contact and slid across the racetrack. Miller swerved high to avoid contact, but lost speed as she slid sideways through the marbles. Jones turned his machine down the track and passed Miller for the lead and the win to keep his streak of main event wins alive.
Mountain Dew Interstate Winged Sprintcars return to action Saturday, July 21 as High Desert Harley-Davidson Night presented by Idaho Central Credit Union invades Meridian Speedway. Along with the winged sprinters, the Pepsi Crate Cars and ISRL Super Sixes, Project Filter Pro-4s, TEAM Mazda Mini Stocks, Big Daddy’s Hornets, and High School Tuners battle for their Walking Sombrero Taco Truck trophies. General admission to Saturday night’s action is only $11.50 for adults, $6.50 for kids 7-11, and free for kids 6 and under. Gates open at 4:45 p.m. with racing at 6:45 p.m. Log on to meridianspeedway.com for all the latest news from around the quarter-mile oval and text ‘meridianspeed’ to 84483 to receive exclusive updates. We’ll save a seat for you this Saturday, July 21 for High Desert Harley-Davidson Night presented by Idaho Central Credit Union under the big yellow water tower at your NASCAR Home Track, Meridian Speedway.