Nampa Racer Sweeps NASCAR Modified Opener
Under clear skies Meridian Speedway welcomed their premier racing division back to the quarter-mile for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modified Opener. The College of Western Idaho Super Stocks, TEAM Mazda Subaru Mini Stocks, TATES Rents Hornets, and Junior Stingers completed the lineup for an action packed night of short track racing.
The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modifieds rolled onto the quarter-mile for their first of two 35 lap main events. On the break Meridian, Idaho’s CJ Stirm rushed around Kuna, Idaho driver Gene Stroebel to lead the first lap in her Allegiant Powder Coating, YMC entry. Rodney Houpt followed Stirm past Stroebel and wedged his Boise Spring Works, Royal Purple Oil machine into the lead on lap two, bringing Nampa, Idaho competitors Beau Gillogly and Josh Jackson with him into the top three. Jackson blasted to second place on lap four before he powered past Houpt to put his Motor Mayhem Chassis Dyno, Cyclone Cycles modified in the top spot.
As Jackson pulled away from the field the battle for third raged as Dylan Caldwell and Larry Hull III scrapped for position. Caldwell eventually worked his way past Hull III and Houpt to take second and turned his sights to leader Jackson.
Colton Nelson as next to challenge Hull III’s Diversified Carpet Cleaning, Shake N’ Bake Racing machine. Nelson used a lap fifteen bobble to sneak below Hull III and put his Integrity Pools modified in third. Now in clear track Nelson went to work hunting second place Caldwell. With thirteen laps to go Nelson arrived at Cladwell’s rear bumper. The battle raged for nine laps before Nelson motored around Caldwell and set to work catching Jackson. Though a late caution bunched the field, Jackson’s mount was too strong and he sped to the Caleb’s Chop Shop Victory Stripe first.
Seven Junior Stingers crowded Meridian Speedway for an exciting eighteen lap feature. Adalyn Sharp was first to the gas pedal in her A-1 Chem Dry, PBT Auto Sales car, but Cody Castricone was quicker and the youngster tore his way through the field to lead lap one. Meridian, Idaho racers Hailey Rogers and Rusty Houpt followed Castricone through the pack and by lap five Rogers put her H&H Accounting, Goodwill Finance machine in the lead. Lapped traffic kept the lead battle close before a wayward car caused Rogers to spin through the infield and relinquish the lead on lap seven.
On the restart, Castricone outdueled Houpt to reclaim the top spot while Rogers picked her way through the pack. At the halfway point Rogers caught Houpt’s Boise Spring Works, Bess Racing machine and worked her way to the runner up spot, but faced a half track deficit to Castricone’s Certified services, Fast Glass racer. With four to go Rogers had cut the gap to half, but she ran out of laps to catch Castricone, who collected 2017’s first Junior Stinger victory.
The TATES Rents Hornets zipped through 25 hard-fought laps. Bill Malone powered to the lead from his second row starting spot as the field bashed and battled behind him. Michael Capps was first to battle Malone and the Meridian, Idaho driver took the lead on lap five. Monica Heath was next to mount a challenge for the lead in her PBT Auto Sales ride. This fight went sour three laps later when Heath and Capps tangled. Capps’ Boise Bath and Kitchen Company, Subline Electric entry made hard contact with the turn one wall, and in the ensuing jam up Josh Randolph maneuvered his Hungry Onion car into the lead with Josh Parkkila and Tommy Harrod in tow.
At the race’s halfway point Harrod worked his PBT Auto Sales racer outside of Parkkila’s H&H Accounting, Wildside Wraps machine to challenge for the runner up spot. Unable to make headway, Harrod settled back in line with nine laps to go. Though back in line Harrod kept the pressure on Parkkila. With two laps left Harrod took to the low line and grabbed the runner up spot. But nobody could run down Randolph who started his title defense with a victory.
The College of Western Idaho Super Stocks rumbled to the green flag for a 25 lap shootout. Caldwell, Idaho’s Daniel Johnson and Nampa, Idaho’s Melissa Arte wasted no time as they raced through the pack and into the top two on lap one. Arte worked the outside line in her Marv’s Tire Service, Dillon Performance Engines machine and blew past Johnson for the lap three lead. Johnson kept pace with the lady racer in his Darlene’s Printing, American Redline Auto Salvage entry before he launched an all-out assault on the leader just after the race’s halfway point.
Johnson first ducked low to no avail, then looked high. With the pressure on Arte darted through lapped traffic, but Johnson matched her every move. With Arte camped in the low line Johnson pulled to the high groove on the final lap, but Arte held her ground and slid her racer across the Caleb’s Chop Shop Victory Stripe first.
Thirteen TEAM Mazda Subaru Mini Stocks flocked to the quarter-mile for a season-opening thirty lap feature. On the green Melba, Idaho’s Billy Shipp edged Nampa, Idaho’s David Pywell to lead lap one while the field jockeyed for position. On the move early was Jayson Wardle, who picked his way into the top five on lap two before he was trapped behind a fading Pywell. As Wardle’s run stalled Boise, Idaho’s Mike Davis and Payette, Idaho driver Travis Pavlacky challenged Shipp for the lead. Davis was first to make his move and piloted his Bigelow Tea, DBI Speedshop entry to the top spot on lap eight.
Jason Sanders and Ray Bolinger shot through the hole Davis made and put their racers in second and third. Caldwell, Idaho’s Sanders caught Davis at the race’s halfway point and the battle was on for the top spot. Sanders pinned his Divel Services, Excel Concrete Construction machine to the high line and picked Davis off on lapped traffic to take the lead. Once out front Sanders set sail from the field and claimed the main event trophy.
Mayhem ruled Saturday’s second NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modified main event. When the green flag waved front row starters Beau Gillogly and Larry Hull III broke loose and came together, stacking up the rest of the field. When the smoke cleared Gillogly’s Razor’s Edge Window Cleaning, GRC Custom Fabrication modified and Hull III’s Diversified Carpet Cleaning, Shake N’ Bake Racing entry were forced to retire with crash damage. First main event winner Josh Jackson found himself in the pit area for extensive repairs, but would make it back on track for the restart.
CJ Stirm and Gene Stroebel inherited the front row and led the field to green. Stirm was quick to the gas pedal and took her Allegiant Powder Coating, Meridian Drug Coalition modified to the lap one lead. Behind Stirm, Hunter Gates and Dylan Caldwell battled for second. Gates got the best of that fight and used that track position to take his YMC, Banner Promotions racer to the lead on lap three. Caldwell followed Gates past Stirm, then took the top spot for himself on lap four.
Caldwell was anything but safe up front as first main event winner Josh Jackson used an early caution to pull even with Caldwell before he took the lead one lap later. Behind Jackson’s Motor Mayhem Chassis Dyno, Cyclone Cycles machine Colton Nelson was on the move. With eighteen laps left Nelson arrived at Caldwell’s rear bumper and searched for a way to put his Integrity Pools, Shake N’ Bake Racing modified in the runner up spot.
Caldwell held his ground in the high line and countered every one of Nelson’s challenges as the laps wound down. With one last desperate effort Nelson ducked low on Caldwell as the white flag waved, but the Meridian, Idaho driver broke loose and had to settle for third behind Caldwell and Jackson.
Open wheel racing returns to Meridian Speedway this Saturday, April 22 as the Intermountain Winged Sprintcars make their 2017 debut on the quarter-mile. The Pepsi Crate Cars and Super Sixes will also be on hand to renew their yearly battle for supremacy. The Project Filter Pro-4 Tri-Track Challenge Series, College of Western Idaho High School Tuners, Domino’s Legends, and Teleperformance Claimer Stocks complete Saturday night’s thrilling line up. General admission to this six-pack of short track action are just $11 for adults, 6.50 for kids 7-11, and $8.50 for seniors and military members. Be sure to check meridianspeedway.com for the latest news from around the quarter-mile and official results. We’ll see you Saturday night under the big yellow water tower for the Winged Sprintcar Opener at your NASCAR Home Track Meridian Speedway.