by Jon Brown, MERIDIAN, Idaho — It seems the more things change, the more they stay the same these days at ASA-sanctioned Meridian Speedway.
On Saturday night, the third different man won an SPI Transportation Super Sixes feature in as many visits to the paved quarter-mile oval. But the old standby, Meridian, Idaho’s Shelby Stroebel, kept steaming along.
Stroebel saw some new faces behind visors in the ASA Modifieds 50, but he still managed to add another feature win to his perfect 12-0 ASA Modifieds record at Meridian this year. The reigning track champion and current ASA Member Track National Championship standings leader hasn’t lost a race in the division in nearly a year, amassing 14 consecutive checkered flags.
Kevin Detweiler became the third different racer to win a Meridian race in 2012 on the SPI Transportation Super Sixes tour. The Nampa, Idaho racer beat series leader Jasen Skyberg of Boise, Idaho by 0.374 seconds to join Skyberg and multiple-time series champion Bob Bachman of Kuna, Idaho as the drivers who have claimed checkereds this year on the open-wheel series Meridian stops.
Although Detweiler was a fresh face in victory lane Saturday, there were a few repeat feature winners:
Middleton, Idaho’s Jim Bailey had nearly a one-second margin of victory over Nampa’s Joe Barton in the 35-lap Project Filter Pro-4 main event.
Meridian’s Riley Rogers collected another victory in the Jr. Stingers, beating Boise’s Jordan Kirkland by 2.749 seconds at the end of a 20-lap feature.
In the Pit Stop Drive Thru Super Stocks, Meridian’s Justin Ellis picked up the victory, out-pacing Nampa’s Dennis Brodigan by 1.421 seconds.
During his 2011 championship run, Stroebel encountered one constant in the person of fellow Meridian driver Rus Ward. The two men swapped possession of the track’s qualifying record several times last summer.
Stroebel and Ward ran 1-2 again in Saturday’s 50-lap main event, but the outcome wasn’t nearly as close as last year’s rivalry. Stroebel put more than six seconds between he and Ward, and was 13.265 seconds (nearly a full lap) in front of Boise’s Tim Lawrence.
Lawrence was one of a few new drivers taking a shot at the Modifieds king Saturday. Chad Cannon, who has raced Super Sixes and Carbon X Rocky Mountain Challenge Series Late Models at Meridian Speedway, climbed into an ASA Modified and won the eight-lap A heat by 1.676 seconds over Lawrence.
Also making rare Modifieds appearances were former track Mini Stock champion Dell Scott of Nampa, current Pepsi Sprintcars title contender Casey Tillman of Kuna and Nampa driver Dustin Stephenson.
In the Super Sixes main event, Jasen Skyberg was runner-up for the second time in three Meridian races. The reigning series champion won earlier this year and then finished second to Bachman. Meridian teenager Colton Nelson, who has won a Jr. Stingers championship at the track and currently leads the Tates Hornets standings, drove the No. 22 six-cylinder open-wheeler to a fourth-place’ showing Saturday. He finished one lap behind the Detweiler and Skyberg – the only drivers to finish on the lead lap – in his Meridian SPI Super Sixes debut.
The current series leader held off two former champions in the Project Filter Pro-4s feature. Bailey parlayed the night’s fastest qualifying lap into another checkered flag in the main event, beating Barton by nearly a second and out-pacing Western Idaho Racing Association Hall of Famer and former track champion Kenny Chandler Jr. of Boise by 3.737 seconds.
Rogers took a big step toward unseating Nampa’s Hunter Gates atop the Jr. Stingers standings. Entering the day just 17 points behind Gates in the race division for 12- to 14-year-olds, Saturday’s top qualifier started in the back of the field but still dominated the 20-lap feature race. He finished fourth and one spot behind Gates in the six-lap A Heat earlier.
Gates completed every lap in the main event, but slid to an eighth-place finish in the series nightcap.
Meridian Speedway is closed next weekend as the Candian-American Western Winged Sprintcar Series takes Treasure Valley open-wheel racers north of the border to Western Speedway in Victoria, British Columbia for the two-day Daffodil Cup.
Meridian’s Johnny Giesler tries to stay out front in the WWS standings as he goes in search of his seventh and eighth victories of the 2012 open-wheel season in Canada.
ASA Modifieds 50
Saturday’s unofficial results
ASA Modifieds (50 laps) – 1. Shelby Stroebel, Meridian, Idaho; 2. Rus Ward, Meridian; 3. Tim Lawrence, Boise, Idaho; 4. Rodney Houpt, Nampa, Idaho; 5. Charlie Ham Jr., Kuna, Idaho
SPI Transportation Super Sixes (35 laps) – 1. Kevin Detweiler, Nampa; 2. Jasen Skyberg, Boise; 3. Steve Howell, Boise; 4. Colton Nelson, Meridian; 5. Dave Skyberg, Boise
Project Filter Pro-4s (35 laps) – 1. Jim Bailey, Middleton, Idaho; 2. Joe Barton, Nampa; 3. Kenny Chandler Jr., Boise; 4. Rob Taylor, Meridian; 5. Jordan Fitch, Meridian
Pit Stop Drive Thru Super Stocks (30 laps) – 1. Justin Ellis, Meridian; 2. Dennis Brodigan, Nampa; 3. Rob Powers, Meridian; 4. Gale Carter, Boise; 5. Kim Bradford, Eagle, Idaho
Jr. Stingers (20 laps) – 1. Riley Rogers, Meridian; 2. Jordan Kirkland, Boise; 3. Peter Woog, Meridian; 4. Jordan Harris, Boise; 5. Daytona Wurtz, Kuna
(Eight laps each)
A Heat – 1. Chad Cannon, Nampa; 2. Lawrence; 3. Stroebel; 4. Ham; 5. Josh Jackson, Payette, Idaho
B Heat – 1. Houpt; 2. Ward; 3. Dustin Stephenson, Nampa; 4. Dell Scott, Nampa; 5. Randy Keckley, Boise
SPI Transportation Super Sixes
A Heat – 1. Bruce Gilogily, Nampa; 2. Detweiler; 3. Bob Bachman, Kuna; 4. Jasen Skyberg; 5. Dean Bachman, Kuna
B Heat – 1. Andy Graybeal, Emmett, Idaho; 2. Dick Sola, Boise; 3. Dave Skyberg; 4. Nelson; 5. Howell
Project Filter Pro-4s
A Heat – 1. Barton; 2. Phil Dugan, Meridian; 3. Taylor; 4. Bailey; 5. Chandler
B Heat – 1. Fitch; 2. Larry Hull III, Boise; 3. Ron Hayes, Boise; 4. Terry Sherman, Boise; 5. Rob Bean, Kuna
Pit Stop Drive Thru Super Stocks
B Heat – 1. Ellis; 2. Brodigan; 3. Carter; 4. Dave Harris, Meridian
A Heat – 1. Powers; 2. Steve Gilbert, Emmett; 3. Bradford; 4. Josh Jackson
A Heat – 1. Kendra Occhipinti, Nampa; 2. Wurtz; 3. Hunter Gates, Nampa; 4. Rogers; 5. Kirkland
B Heat – 1. Woog; 2. Harris; 3. C.J. Stirm, Nampa; 4. Erin Huddleston, Meridian; 5. Eriq Arnold, Star, Idaho
ASA Modifieds – Stroebel, 14.067
SPI Transportation Super Sixes – Bob Bachman, 13.841
Project Filter Pro-4s – Bailey, 14.165
Pit Stop Drive Thru Super Stocks – Bradford, 14.708
Jr. Stingers – Rogers, 16.765