Lowther Outlasts Competition, Claims Pepsi 100
Ninety cars packed the pit area Saturday as Meridian Speedway hosted the Westcoast Vintage Sprintcars and Supermodifieds. The Teleperformance Claimer Stocks contested the Pepsi-Cola 100, The Project Filter Tri-Track Challenge Series crowned their season champion, while the Pepsi Crate Cars and ISRL Super Sixes, TEAM Mazda Mini Stocks, and TATES Rents Hornets raced toward the conclusion of their own seasons.
Fifteen TATES Rents Hornets sped to the green flag with twenty laps to find a victor. Nampa, Idaho’s James Pahl was first to the gas pedal and charged to the lap one lead. But Chuck Youngblood and Neil Wassmuth were quick to challenge the leader, and Youngblood took his PBT Auto Sales machine to the top spot on lap two. But Youngblood’s reign was short-lived as Meridian, Idaho driver Jamo Stevenson sliced through the pack and pulled to the leader’s rear bumper on lap eight.
Two laps later Stevenson was out front, but Youngblood stayed a close second. Lap after lap Youngblood searched for a way by Stevenson as the lead duo worked lapped traffic. With the white flag in the air Youngblood and Stevenson made contact, which sent Youngblood to the infield with right front suspension damage while Stevenson went for a wild slide through the turn one grass. Stevenson recovered from the contact and edged Nampa, Idaho’s Brandon Kelley at the Caleb’s Chop Shop Victory Stripe.
A full field of TEAM Mazda Mini Stocks rolled onto the quarter-mile for a 25 lap feature. On the green Boise, Idaho’s Katie Lober overpowered Will Ostrum to put her SL Painting machine in the early lead. But it was Caldwell, Idaho’s Jason Sanders, at the controls of a car borrowed after last Saturday’s hard turn one crash, who led lap one at the stripe. Sanders came under immediate fire from Ian Michael Pedersen, who piloted his SSLP, Iron Built Sports Nutrition machine around the low line to the lead on lap five.
An early caution bunched the field behind Pedersen and brought Boise, Idaho racer Luke Wolverton into the lead battle. But what was a duel on lap six became a scrum on lap nine as Kuna, Idaho’s Ray Bolinger worked his Mulder’s Auto Machine, 208 Picker racer out of traffic with his sights set on the lead. After two laps Bolinger dispatched Wolverton, and by the race’s halfway point Bolinger held station on Pedersen’s rear bumper.
The lead battle turned sour with eleven circuits remaining when Bolinger and Pedersen tangled in turn four. Pedersen spun down the front stretch while Bolinger pounded the concrete. Both racers were able to repair their entries and return to main event action.
This left the lead to Wolverton, who dashed out to a one second lead on the restart. Behind Wolverton’s Hart Construction, Highmark Construction entry, Sanders and Fred Vigil dueled for the runner up spot. Sanders got the better of that battle, but all the action happened behind Wolverton, who cruised to the main event win.
Nine Westcoast Vintage Sprintcars roared into the Concrete Jungle next for a twelve lap feature. On the break British Columbia, Canada’s Bob Nyeste rocketed to the top spot on lap one and set sail en route to the B-Main Event victory.
The Project Filter Tri-Track Challenge Series wrapped up their season with a forty lap dash to the checkers. On the green Nampa, Idaho’s Jordan Harris outmuscled Wes Summers to take his Fairly Reliable Bob’s, Jim’s Drive Trains entry to the early lead, but immediately had his hands full with Boise, Idaho’s Johnathan Hull. An early restart brought Hull to Harris’ rear bumper, and with three laps in the books Hull piloted his Diversified Carpet Cleaning, All American Towing racer to the lead. But series point leader Kenny Chandler was on the move as well, and after five laps Chandler was past Harris and headed for the leader.
Five fast laps wound off the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard while Chandler tracked down Hull. Kuna, Idaho’s Chandler worked the low side of the racetrack, but Hull held station out front as the leaders wound their way through lapped traffic. After twelve hard-fought laps Chandler and Hull made contact and spun on the front straightaway. This handed the lead to Brendon Fries and his Chick-Fil-A or Meridian, Boise Boys Transportation entry. Fries wouldn’t waste his opportunity and the Meridian, Idaho driver flashed across the Caleb’s Chop Shop Victory Stripe first.
The Westcoast Vintage Sprintcars brought eight machines to bear on their twelve lap A-Main Event. Spokane, Washington’s Shawn Priest got to the gas pedal first and charged to the lead, but had to fend off a late charge by Canada racer Ron Brewer to take the win.
Twenty-one Teleperformance Claimer Stocks assembled for Saturday’s Pepsi-Cola 100. The green flag waved and Boise, Idaho’s Shawn Hansen battled past Josh Jackson to lead lap one in his Coast to Coast Auto Transport, Northwest Auto Transport racer. Jackson soon sorted his Jacksonbuiltracing.com, Cyclone Cycles machine and roared to the lead on lap five.
Behind Jackson and Hansen, Brian Hyde, Colton Nelson, and Pat Tully went to war for the third position. Meridian, Idaho’s Nelson worked Hyde over on the high side, which allowed Dan Lowther and Jeffrey Meads to catch the contentious pack. Nelson picked Hyde off on lapped traffic to take third. Lowther and Tully followed, and the street fight for third rolled on through traffic.
Lowther overtook Nelson two laps later, and after a Hansen spin on the backstretch the Boise, Idaho driver inherited the runner up spot with a four second deficit to erase. The Pepsi-Cola 100 ran green for 36 circuits before Meads and Tully tangled as they battled for fifth. The ensuing caution brought Lowther to Jackson’s rear bumper as the race went back green on lap 45.
Lowther threw his Allan Marsh Travel Center, Firesnacks machine beneath Jackson and claimed the lead on lap 47. Lowther’s lead only grew until a caution flag reset the field and brought Jackson within striking distance of the leader. Jackson pushed hard to keep pace with Lowther, but the strain proved too much and Jackson and Caldwell, Idaho racer Rich Lawson spun in turn two. Meads was collected in the jam up and retired from the race with crash damage.
The lap 65 restart saw Lowther speed to the lead once again. Behind Lowther, Kuna, Idaho racer Pat Young and Nelson tore free of the pack and set their sights on Lowther. But traffic was heavy, and it allowed Tully to work his Dean Wilson Racing machine through the field. Tully took third from Nelson with eighteen laps left, then set to work on Young’s Bell’s Automotive, Snap-on Tools by Shane Duncan entry. Tully worked the high line, and after four hard laps held the runner up position with five seconds between himself and Lowther. Tully was able to close on Lowther, but ran out of laps and had to settle for second.
The Pepsi Crate Cars and ISRL Super Sixes packed the quarter-mile with sixteen machines for their thirty lap feature. On the green Boise, Idaho’s Steve Howell took the early lead in his Dick’s Chevron, Performance Cylinder Head Tech machine. As the inside line moved up, Nampa, Idaho racer Mike Anderson ducked traffic and diced his way into the top spot. Meridian, Idaho’s Jacob Bell followed Anderson and the pair opened a two-second lead over Tony Ackerland, Justin Segura and Rob Grice.
As the race neared the halfway point Bell applied pressure to Anderson, but traffic held the Meridian, Idaho racer at bay. This allowed Ackerland and Segura to catch the lead duo. Anderson worked traffic hard to keep his Royal Purple, Bender Electric sprinter out front, but Ackerland made his way around Bell’s Dick Sola, J&W Custom Homes entry with seven laps left and went immediately to work on the leader. A slingshot move in turn four put Ackerland up front and he sped into Caleb’s Chop Shop Winner’s Circle.
The rising stars of NASCAR invade Meridian Speedway this Saturday, September 30, as the quarter-mile oval welcomes NASCAR K&N Pro Series West competitors for the NAPA Auto Parts Idaho 208. The Royal Purple Modified Series, Domino’s Legends, and College of Western Idaho High School Tuners complete a jam-packed slate of racing. General admission to a full night of short track racing action is just $35. Gates open at 4 p.m. Saturday with qualifying at 5 p.m. and racing at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are going fast! Be sure to purchase your advance tickets online at meridianspeedway.com and text ‘meridianspeed’ to 84483 to receive exclusive updates. We’ll see you this Saturday, September 30 for the NAPA Auto Parts Idaho 208 featuring the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West under the big yellow water tower at your NASCAR Home Track, Meridian Speedway.