Memorial Day History Made Monday
Summer arrived at Meridian Speedway just in time for Monday night’s Bill Crow Memorial 50. A hot, slick racetrack greeted the NAPA Auto Parts Big 5 Latemodel Series, Interstate Winged Sprintcars, Pepsi Crate Cars and Super Sixes, Teleperformance Claimer Stocks, and Thunderdogs as they closed Memorial Day festivities at the quarter-mile oval.
The Teleperformance Claimer Stocks kicked off main event action with a thirty lap fight for the Maxwell Plumbing trophy. On the break Chad Bess blew past Fred Nagele’s Canton Café machine to take the early lead. First to challenge for the top spot was Jamie Hyde, who unleashed his Wacky Shacks, Guppies Hot Rod Grille entry and pulled outside of Bess for the top spot on lap six. But Hyde’s move came with a high price as he slapped the front stretch wall as he completed the pass.
Hyde recovered from the hit momentarily, but broken suspension pieces slowed his mount and allowed Dan Lowther to challenge for the lead. On lap nine Lowther would claim the top spot on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard. Two laps later Jamie Hyde’s brother Brian worked his way by to take the runner up spot.
Now Brian Hyde set his sights on Lowther’s Fire Snacks, Alan Marsh Travel Center racer. As the laps wound down Hyde cut into Lowther’s healthy lead, but the Boise, Idaho racer ran out of laps to catch the Lowther, who sped across the Caleb’s Chop Shop Victory Stripe first.
“I’ve had more fun in this than I’ve had in years,” Lowther said of his winning Teleperformance Claimer Stock.
The Pepsi Crate Cars and Super Sixes joined forces to honor the late Sean Miller in a 40 lap Memorial Day feature. On the green Nampa, Idaho’s Mike Anderson overpowered Chris Tilden to lead lap one in his Bender Electric, Elda Properties entry. But Anderson wasn’t safe up front as Kyle Burrill sliced his way through traffic and took up residence on Anderson’s tail tank. Before Burrill could make his move, Caldwell, Idaho racer Rich Montez was pushed to the turn three wall and his Fast Track Auto Sales of Fruitland, Montes Racing sprinter hit the wall and cartwheeled to a rest in front of the Big Smoke and Tobacco Connection North End grandstands.
Montez climbed from his battered machine unharmed, but was forced to retire from the race.
The restart put Burrill to Anderson’s outside as the green flag waved. Burrill didn’t waste the opportunity and piloted his Big D Builders, SPI Transportation machine to the lead. Tyler Barrow followed Burrill past Anderson to second, and quick qualifier Rob Grice followed to take third.
A caution put Barrow even with Burrill for the restart, and that was all Barrow needed to shoot into the lead. Even as Barrow led the race he came under fire from early-season division winner Drew Crenshaw and his Quality Alignment, Discount Tire sprinter. On lap twelve Crenshaw took the top spot, which dropped Barrow into the clutches of Beau Gillogly. Contact one lap later sent Barrow first into the turn one concrete, then to the pit area for repairs.
Crenshaw kept the lead on the restart, but behind the leader Riley Rogers’ H&H Accounting, Wildside Wraps machine came to life and he sped from fifth to third in one lap. With twenty laps to go Rogers dispatched Gillogly to move into the runner up spot and chewed into Crenshaw’s lead. With fifteen laps left the young racer arrived at Crenshaw’s tail tank and the battle ensued.
Rogers’ first advance was from the low line, but Crenshaw slammed the door as the two made slight contact. Rogers regrouped and kept the pressure on as the pair entered lapped traffic. With six laps left Rogers changed tack and tried the outside line. When this didn’t work Rogers changed back, and with three to go the youngster from Meridian, Idaho hooked the inside line to take the lead and the Sean Miller Memorial victory.
“That was the hardest race I’ve ever raced,” Rogers said.
The NAPA Auto Parts Big 5 Latemodel Series roared onto the asphalt quarter-mile for the shortest, most storied race of their season, the Bill Crow 50. Nampa, Idaho driver Lynn Sharp led a fast field of competitors to the starting line as the sun set behind the West grandstands.
The green flag waved and Dylan Caldwell stormed around Sharp to grab the top spot in his Pro Power Clean, Performance Auto machine on lap one. Immediately Caldwell came under attack as Craig Bell and quick qualifier John Newhouse pulled to his rear bumper. Bell dug hard to get beneath Caldwell and take the lead in his Bell’s Automotive, Precision Framing racer. Next, Bell settled into a defensive posture as Newhouse and Chris Fenton battled to get past the Kuna, Idaho driver and take the lead for themselves.
By lap ten the top trio held a ten car length lead over the rest of the pack. But patience was already running short up front as Newhouse bashed Bell’s rear bumper. On lap sixteen the contact paid off as Newhouse forced his way outside of Bell and took the lead in his The Car Store, Action Cycles and Sleds mount. Next to Bell’s outside was Fenton, who worked his Big O Tires of Nampa, CF Floor Covering machine into the runner up spot with thirty laps left.
At the race’s halfway point Fenton arrived at Newhouse’s rear bumper and went to work on the leader. Fenton looked low first, but lapped traffic stymied the attempt. When Fenton tried to look low again Newhouse started to crowd the inside line. Something had to give and with seventeen laps left the leaders made contact and Newhouse spun out of turn number four.
The happiest man in the field was Bell, who inherited the lead. But Bell’s joy was short-lived as his car burst into flames under caution. Bell extinguished the flames himself, but the damage done ended his chances to repeat as the Bill Crow 50 champion. This left the lead to Sharp, with Jeff Wade and Justin Ellis in tow.
On the restart Wade rocketed to Sharp’s rear bumper before the leader slid sideways in turn four. As the field accordioned, Newhouse saw his opportunity and dashed through the infield to take the runner up spot. With ten laps left Newhouse caught Wade and overwhelmed the Paul, Idaho driver to take the lead, with Fenton glued to his rear bumper.
Fenton pushed his machine to the limit in his bid to catch Newhouse, and with two to go he pulled within striking distance. With the white flag in the air Fenton heaved his car into turn three, but the effort was in vain as Newhouse piloted his racer to victory in the Bill Crow 50.
“This is awesome,” Newhouse said. “All day we’ve been running around crazy…this is a huge team effort.”
With the Bill Crow 50 settled attention turned to the Bob and Tom Naylor Memorial Classic. In a pre-race ceremony honoring the late racing brothers, Meridian Speedway managing partner Adam Nelson announced the addition of Bob and Tom’s father, Glen, to the memorial race after his passing earlier in the year.
As the ceremonies cleared, a lightning fast batch of Interstate Winged Sprintcars rolled to green for the inaugural Bob, Tom, and Glen Naylor Memorial Classic. On the green Caldwell, Idaho racer Matt Elliott burst to the lead with Cory Lockwood and Colton Nelson in his tire tracks. On lap five Lockwood’s setup came in and he powered to Elliott’s outside.
But Elliott wasn’t ready to concede the lead and he fought hard to keep his Westside Body Works, Desert Sage machine up front. After a close battle Lockwood’s Boise Bath and Kitchen Company, Fat Guys Deli entry proved too strong for Elliott, and the Nampa, Idaho driver claimed the lead on lap nine of forty. Nelson followed Lockwood past Elliott, as did Bryan Warf to make the next lead battle a three-way fight.
Nelson made his move on lap seventeen as he slung his NelKuBe Racing, Bear Bones Training sprinter around the quarter-mile in the high line. After a three lap battle Nelson claimed the top spot for himself, but a caution with sixteen laps remaining erased the advantage the Meridian, Idaho racer had built and brought Warf to his outside.
With the green flag back in the air Warf slammed the gas pedal down and roared to the lead in his Alan Marsh Travel Center, PC Enterprises sprinter. Nelson worked hard to track Warf down as the leader worked lapped traffic. But Warf shot by this traffic on both the inside and outside to overall increase his lead over Nelson. In a flourish of methanol flames Warf roared to his fourth straight Naylor Memorial race victory.
“I’ll be the first to say that probably the best car in the field didn’t win tonight,” Warf said. “But we got that lucky yellow and took advantage of it.”
Warf is the first driver to score four successive victories in the Naylor Memorial Classic, and only the second driver in Meridian Speedway history to claim four straight victories in any memorial race.
Spray Bomb bashed and crashed its way to Thunderdog victory as Monday night’s action came to a close.
Fire and fury return to Meridian Speedway this Friday and Saturday night as Supermodifieds return to the Bob FM Diamond Cup presented by Star Diamonds lineup. Joining the Supermodifieds for both nights of racing action are the Royal Purple Northwest Sprintcar Racing Association Winged Sprintcars and the Royal Purple Modified Series. Friday night also features the TATES Rents Hornets. Saturday night’s action includes the Honda Performance Development Midgets, College of Western Idaho High School Tuners, Six Shooters, Spectacular Drags and fireworks. Gates open at 4 p.m. both nights, with qualifying at 5 p.m. and racing at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are going fast. Grab your advance tickets at meridianspeedway.com before they run out. General admission to each night of the Bob FM Diamond Cup festivities is $18 for adults, kids 7-11 get in for just $6.50, and as always kids 6 and under are free. We’ll see you this Friday and Saturday night for Supermodified racing action under the big yellow water tower at your NASCAR Home Track, Meridian Speedway.