Jeffrey Meads held off fellow Nampa, Idaho racer Melissa Weaver to win the College of Western Idaho Professional Truck Driving Street Stocks main event to highlight the historic track’s Stockcar Opener.
“I’ve always got a lot of family support,” Meads said from Arctic Circle Victory Lane. “I’m grateful for everyone who comes out.”
Meads was the only member of his family on the track Saturday night, but he had plenty of help in the pits, including his girlfriend, his grandchildren and his father.
He battled the Weaver Racing duo of Melissa Weaver and Marv Weaver. But he was able to stay just fast enough to keep Melissa, the 2012 track champion, in his rear-view mirror.
Other main event winners, included:
Reigning champion Dylan Caldwell of Nampa, Idaho, climbed the north-end safety fence again after his eighth NAPA Late Model feature victory since the start of the 2012 season.
Boise, Idaho driver Justin Ellis took home the first main event trophy for the Coors Super Stocks
Boise’s Kenny Chandler in the Project Filter Pro-4s
Caldwell, Idaho’s Jason Sanders walked away in the TEAM Mazda Subaru Mini Stocks
Reigning division champion Riley Rogers of Meridian in the Jr. Stingers A Main
Peter Woog of Meridian in the Jr. Stingers B Main
Meads, who has had previous showdowns with Melissa Weaver, skated out to a three-car-length lead over his nemesis about eight laps in.
However, Weaver was able to pull to within a car length by the end of the race as both drivers left the rest of the field five seconds behind.
Meads ran strong out of the corners to maintain the lead even though Weaver consistently ran faster laps down the stretch.
“We were fighting fuel issues all night and didn’t get a chance to work on the chassis, but obviously they all came together for me at the right time,” Meads said.
Caldwell, who turned 21 earlier in the month, was apologetic after accepting the main event victory in the NAPA Late Models. He pulled away for the victory after Meridian’s Chris Fenton backed off as the two racers headed for Turn 3 with 12 laps remaining. Caldwell’s car drifted up as the backstretch ended, and Fenton took action to avoid contact.
“First, I’ve got to say sorry to Chris,” Caldwell said. “We were running hard, and I don’t like to win like that, so I apologize.”
Fenton held on to finish second in the combination race with the Coors Super Stocks.
Ellis took the checkered flag in the Super Stocks after running with Meridian’s Rob Powers throughout the race.
Powers’ racecar lost power at the start-finish line as Fenton and Caldwell approached the checkered flag, but all racers avoided a bottleneck in the final race of the night.
In the 35-lap TEAM Mazda Subaru Mini Stocks feature, Sanders kept his momentum through frequent yellow-flag situations to start the year right with a checkered flag.
For most of the race, Sanders, Boise’s Jonathan Hull and Meridian’s Colton Nelson ran in a three-car runaway in the 18-car field.
As the laps ticked down, though, the caution flags began to pile up. Making his return to the track after a hiatus, Quentin Ward of Meridian slammed into the Turn 3 wall with 15 laps remaining.
Sanders pulled away from the final side-by-side restart and resumed his dominance. He eventually beat Hull to the checkered flag with a five-second cushion.
A veteran Project Filter Pro-4s driver, Chandler had a few issues with his new racecar, but survived the ordeal to win his division’s season opener.
“This is a brand-new car, and I’m a little tired right now,” the Western Idaho Racing Association Hall-of-Famer said. “The clutch pedal is too far away, and the accelerator is a little hard.”
That combination may have been the reason behind Chandler’s first scare in the 25-lap feature at the chilly, paved quarter-mile oval.
Chandler had a comfortable lead when Chet Thorson of Nampa spun his Boise State Bronco-themed race car in Turn 2 on Lap 7. It was the first bit of a bad luck for Thorson, who earlier had won the division’s Ultra Touch Best-looking Car award for his new paint black-and-silver paint scheme.
When the cars started parading around the track during the caution period, Chandler’s racecar stalled.
It was only a momentary lapse in momentum, though.
Shortly after the race went back to green, Chandler roared out to a three-second lead.
The race ended under caution when Pro-4s rookie Larry Hull III of Boise and Meridian’s Ryan Bailey got together in Turn 3-4 while running third and fourth, respectively.
In the Jr. Stingers 25-lap feature, Rogers withstood a rash of late caution flags to win the division’s first main event of the season. He also broke the 17-second barrier on his final lap of the night.
Daytona Wurtz of Kuna was second in the 18-lap race, and Jordan Kirkland of Boise pulled in third after Jordan Harris of Nampa spun out late.
After winning the 10-lap Jr. Stingers B Main, Woog transferred into the A Main. First-year racer Tyler Marston-Henderson survived a late, aggressive challenge from Boise’s Franco Garrett to collect the second transfer spot into the A main.
Jr. Stingers is a class of Hornet racecars reserved for boys and girls ages 12-14 as an entry division into racing.
Next Saturday gives fans the first chance to see Mtn. Dew Winged Sprints champion Mike Murgoitio of Meridian and Canadian-American Western Winged Sprintcar Series inaugural champ Sierra Jackson of Middleton, Idaho in action.
Both drivers are scheduled to be in the field when the Mtn. Dew Winged Sprints race for the Sprintcar Season Opener.
The night will also mark the first of three appearances by the SPI Super Sixes tour and the debut of the B Modifieds under the Budweiser sponsorship banner.
The Pepsi Sprintcars, ASA Modifieds and Tates Hornets also will kick off their seasons.
Tickets are $10 with a $2.50 discount for senior citizens and military personnel with ID, and a $4 discount for children ages 7-11. Children 5 and younger get in free. A family pass good for two adults and up to four children ages 7-11 is available for $30.
Visit www.meridianspeedway.com for more information or to buy tickets online and print them off at home. Like Meridian Speedway on Facebook as another way to get up-to-date news on the track.
The racetrack can be reached by phone at (208) 888-2813.
Stockcar Season Opener
Saturday’s unofficial results
Project Filter Pro-4s (25 laps) – 1. Kenny Chandler, Boise, Idaho; 2. Joe Barton, Nampa, Idaho; 3. Larry Hull III, Boise; 4. Ryan Bailey, Meridian, Idaho; 5. Chet Thorson, Nampa
College of Western Idaho Professional Truck Driving Street Stocks (30 laps) – 1. Jeffery Meads, Nampa; 2. Melissa Weaver, Nampa; 3. Marv Weaver, Nampa; 4. Rick Baldwin, Middleton, Idaho; 5. Bobby Riggs, Fruitland, Idaho
NAPA Late Models (30 laps) – 1. Dylan Caldwell, Nampa; 2. Chris Fenton, Meridian; 3. Dan Lowther, Boise; 4. Lee Hackney, Boise; 5. Mike Marston, Boise
Coors Super Stocks (30 laps) – 1. Justin Ellis, Boise; 2. Rob Powers, Meridian; 3. Gale Carter, Boise; 4. Josh Jackson, Payette, Idaho
TEAM Mazda Subaru Mini Stocks (35 laps) – 1. Jason Sanders, Caldwell, Idaho; 2. Jonathan Hull, Boise; 3. Colton Nelson, Meridian; 4. Brendan Fries, Meridian; 5. TJ Labronte, Meridian
Jr. Stingers A (18 laps) – 1. Riley Rogers, Meridian; 2. Daytona Wurtz, Kuna, Idaho; 3. Jordan Kirkland, Boise; 4. CJ Stirm, Nampa; 5. Taylor Occhipinti, Nampa
Jr. Stingers B (10 laps; top two transfer) – 1. Peter Woog, Meridian; 2. Tyler Marston-Henderson, Eagle, Idaho; 3. Franco Garrett, Boise; 4. Cherokee Arnold, Star, Idaho; 5. Cora Munro, Eagle
Ultra Touch Best-looking Car
Jr. Stingers – Tyler Marston-Henderson, No. 58, Eagle, Idaho
Project Filter Pro-4s – Chet Thorson, No. 81, Nampa
CWI PTD Street Stocks – Rick Baldwin, No. 28, Middleton, Idaho
TEAM Mazda Subaru Mini Stocks – Jayson Wardle, No. 24, Boise
Coors Super Stocks – Justin Ellis, No. 10, Boise
NAPA Late Models – Dylan Caldwell, No. 12, Nampa
(Eight laps each)
Project Filter Pro-4s
Fast Dash – 1. Kenny Chandler, Boise; 2. Joe Barton, Nampa; 3. Larry Hull III, Boise; 4. Chet Thorson, Nampa; 5. Terry Sherman, Boise
CWI PTD Street Stocks
Fast Dash – 1. Melissa Weaver, Nampa; 2. Rick Baldwin, Middleton; 3. Marv Weaver, Nampa; 4. Jeffrey Meads, Nampa; 5. Bobby Riggs, Fruitland, Idaho
B Heat – 1. Shaun Bush, Marsing, Idaho; 2. Ray Bolinger, Meridian; 3. Rick Moran, Meridian; 4. Micky Lawson, Caldwell; 5. Tommy Lumpkin, Nampa
TEAM Mazda Subaru Mini Stocks
Fast Dash – 1. Jason Sanders, Caldwell; 2. Donovan Johns, Meridian; 3. Jonathan Hull, Boise; 4. Colton Nelson, Meridian; 5. TJ Labronte, Meridian
B Heat – 1. Mary Johnson, Meridian; 2. Jayson Wardle, Boise; 3. Quentin Ward, Meridian; 4. Keri Ballard, Boise; 5. Brenden Fries, Meridian
C Heat – 1. Amber Rogers, Meridian; 2. Brandon Shira, Boise; 3. Denny Gerber, Boise; 4. Nathan Dearing, Boise; 5. Terry Dodge
Coors Super Stocks
Fast Dash – 1. Rob Powers, Meridian; 2. Justin Ellis, Boise; 3. Gale Carter, Boise; 4. Josh Jackson, Payette, Idaho; 5. Anthony Boven
NAPA Late Models
Fast Dash – 1. Mike Marston, Boise; 2. Lee Hackney, Boise; 3. TJ “The Torch” Monroe, Meridian; 4. Dan Lowther, Boise; 5. Dylan Caldwell, Nampa
(Six laps each)
A Heat – 1. Kendra Occhipinti, Nampa; 2. Daytona Wurtz, Kuna; 3. Jordan Kirkland, Boise; 4. Hunter Gates, Nampa; 5. Riley Rogers, Meridian
B Heat – 1. Taylor Occhipinti, Nampa; 2. Tyler Marston-Henderson, Eagle; 3. Stafford Smith, Meridian; 4. Matthew Gerber, Boise; 5. Jordan Harris, Nampa
C Heat – 1. Franco Garrett, Boise; 2. Peter Woog, Meridian; 3. Cherokee Arnold, Star; 4. Cora Munro, Eagle; 5. Lacy Nelson, Meridian
Project Filter Pro-4s – Barton, 14.343 seconds
CWI PTD Street Stocks – Melissa Weaver, 14.916
TEAM Mazda Subaru Mini Stocks – Colton Nelson, 15.764
Coors Super Stocks – Ellis, 14.615
NAPA Late Models – Chris Fenton, Meridian, 13.887