Mid-Summer Rumble Opens Second Half of Speedway Season
A vibrant summer day greeted Meridian Speedway competitors as Idaho Central Credit Union presented the Candy Sugar Rush for Kids Saturday, July 22. The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modifieds, College of Western Idaho Super Stocks, TEAM Mazda Mini Stocks, Teleperformance Claimer Stocks, TATES Rents Hornets, and Junior Stingers packed the pit area for a night of mid-summer thrills under the big yellow water tower.
The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modifieds brought a full field of competitors to their first main event of the evening. On the green Meridian, Idaho’s Joe Thuss rolled his Avis Rent a Car Downtown, Aloha Auto Repair around the high line and took the early lead. Star, Idaho driver Daytona Wurtz and Kuna, Idaho competitor Casey Tillman followed Thuss to take over the second and third spots on lap two. Once free of the pack, Tillman piloted his Integrity Pools, Integrity Construction modified to the inside of Wurtz for second on lap three, then took the lead as leader Thuss slid into the turn three concrete two laps later.
On the restart Tillman powered past Larry Hull III’s Shake N’ Bake Racing, Diversified Carpet Cleaning machine to stay on top of the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard. This left Hull III to battle Meridian, Idaho’s Colton Nelson for the runner up spot. Nelson got the better of that battle five laps later and unleashed his Integrity Pools, YMC modified in pursuit of Tillman.
As the laps wound down Nelson ate into Tillman’s advantage, and with seven laps to go he arrived on Tillman’s rear bumper as the pair entered lapped traffic. With slow cars to the inside, Nelson could only watch as the checkers waved for Tillman.
A six pack of Teleperformance Claimer Stocks rumbled onto the quarter-mile for a 25 lap feature. The green flag waved and Caldwell, Idaho’s Scott Lawson sprinted around his Lawson Racing teammate Micky Lawson to take the early lead. Championship leaders Brian Hyde and Dan Lowther followed Scott Lawson around the high side before they dove low and took over the top two spots on lap three.
Hyde wheeled his Affordable Rain Gutters, Glen’s Towing racer had to keep ahead of Lowther’s Allan marsh Travel Center, Firesnacks entry, but by lap five Lowther pulled even with the leader. For the next fifteen laps the pair raced door-to-door, trading laps led back and forth until Lowther used a good launch off of turn two to take the top spot for good.
The eleven to fourteen year old competitors of the Junior Stinger division has eighteen laps to find a feature winner Saturday. The green flag waved and Nampa, Idaho’s Jessica Harris drover her Kim’s Kars, Challenger Auto Transport machine around Alyse Schildhauer to lead lap one. But Schildhauer wasn’t content with second, and on lap two the Nampa, Idaho driver raced her CCT entry back to the top spot.
On the move early was Meridian, Idaho’s Rusty Houpt, who worked his Boise Spring Works, Drip Catchers LLC racer high and low through the pack until he caught Schildhauer for the lead. After a three lap battle Houpt sped ahead and dropped Schildhauer into the clutches of Meridian, Idaho racers Cody Castricone and Hailey Rogers.
Schildhauer pedaled her machine hard to maintain second place, but with six laps left Castricone piloted his Linder Learning Academy, Meridian Chiropractic entry shot by on the high side with Rogers in tow. Rogers cleared Schildhauer and immediately threw her H&H Accounting, Goodwill Finance racer inside of Castricone to battle for second. With the white flag in the air Rogers completed her pass but settled for second behind Houpt.
The College of Western Idaho Super Stocks battled through their thirty lap main event. As the green flag waved front row starters John Riparetti and Ron Hayes came together. Hayes’ RC Willey, Taco Time machine got the worst of this exchange as he bounced off the front stretch wall and was forced to the pit area. This scuffle left Riparetti in the early lead with Caldwell, Idaho’s Daniel Johnson and Nampa, Idaho racer Melissa Arte on his back bumper.
Johnson piloted his Darlene’s Printing, American Redline Auto Salvage racer around Riparetti first, but Arte gained on Johnson as she followed suit. Arte stalked Johnson until lap eight, when she swung her Marv’s Tire Service, Dillon Auto Craft Performance Engines machine wide and passed Johnson on the outside.
Johnson kept the pressure on Arte through the race’s closing stages, but Arte held off all challenges on her way to the Caleb’s Chop Shop Victory Stripe.
The TEAM Mazda Mini Stocks rolled to the green flag as shadows stretched over the quarter-mile. Outside pole sitter Jason Sanders got a good start and piloted his Valley Property Management, Divel Services entry to the early lead. But Sanders wasn’t safe up front as Nampa, Idaho’s Fred Vigil raced his Ben’s Auto Glass machine to the leader’s rear bumper.
Behind Sanders and Vigil the field jockeyed for position. Ian Michael Pedersen was first to emerge from the scrum as the Boise, Idaho driver worked his Iron Built Sports Nutrition, Men’s Wearhouse racer into the third spot on lap three. Seven laps later Pedersen ducked inside of Vigil and took over the runner up spot. But Pedersen would have his hands full as Terrell Daffron found some open racetrack and motored to Pedersen’s rear bumper.
Daffron worked his Gilmore Meats of Weiser, Select Properties of Weiser entry high and low in his bid to pass Pedersen. As the laps wound down Daffron gained more and more on the runner up, but lapped traffic with two laps to go stymied Daffron’s run and the Meridian, Idaho driver had to settle for third behind Pedersen and Sanders.
The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modifieds reassembled for a 35 lap main event. On the green the field stacked up behind front row starters Joe Thuss and Jerry Green. As the field bounced off of one another something had to give, and in turn four it was Green’s Dog Wash and Boarding Facility, Josay’s Labradors machine that spun. The resulting pile up damaged eight modifieds, including first main event winner Casey Tillman and quick qualifier Colton Nelson.
With the track cleared and the field reset the green flag waved once again. Nelson overpowered Nampa, Idaho’s Hunter Gates to put his damaged Integrity Pools, Julie Hart Home Loans by Premier Mortgage racer up front. Larry Hull III followed Nelson forward and soon had his Shake N’ Bake Racing, Diversified Carpet Cleaning machine in the lead battle. As Nelson and Hull III fought for first, Tillman tore through the field, and by lap ten the Kuna, Idaho driver held third place on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard.
With Tillman closing Hull III pushed his modified hard to maintain the second spot, but a wild slide out of turn four allowed Tillman to take the spot. With Hull out of the way Tillman set his sights on the Saturday night sweep and rushed to close on Nelson.
With ten laps to go Tillman arrived at the leader’s bumper as the pair entered lapped traffic. Nelson navigated his way through the cluster of slower cars best, but faced a five lap open track shootout with Tillman to decide the winner. Tillman wasted no time as he shot to Nelson’s inside. Side by side the pair raced until a lapped car thwarted Tillman’s run with two laps left and allowed Nelson to sprint to victory.
The TATES Rents Hornets packed the quarter-mile with eighteen rough and tumble racers to close Saturday night’s action. On the green Caldwell, Idaho’s Joe Pettit drove his Drop Tine Oil Fields Services, Les Schwab of Caldwell machine to the early lead as pandemonium ensued behind him. First to emerge from the pack were Sean Young and James Pahl, who dispatched Pettit on lap two. By lap four Pahl had his Raceway Video, Printcraft machine out front.
Behind the lead battle, Tommy Harrod sliced his way through the writhing pack, and by lap seven had his PBT Auto Sales racer within striking distance of the lead. After a daring move to squeeze into second, Harrod dashed around Pahl to take the lead and the Caldwell, Idaho racer ran away with the victory.
Racing continues this Saturday, July 29 as Meridian Speedway hosts Candlewood Suites Night presented by College of Western Idaho Professional Truck Driving. The Domino’s Legends, Project Filter Pro-4s, TEAM Mazda Mini Stocks, Teleperformance Claimer Stocks, and College of Western Idaho High School Tuners will be on hand to send July out with a bang. General admission to this full night of short track racing is just $11 for adults, $6.50 for kids 7-11, and as always kids 6 and under are free. Gates open at 4 p.m. Saturday with qualifying at 5:15 p.m. and racing at 6:30 p.m. We’ll see you this Saturday, July 29, under the big yellow water tower at your NASCAR Home Track, Meridian Speedway.