Rivals Fries, Chandler Duel for Pro-4 Title
After hosting over one thousand costumed children at its annual trunk or treat event, Meridian Speedway closed its summer season Saturday, October 27, as the quarter-mile oval hosted the Halloween Championship. The Teleperformance Claimer Stocks, Project Filter Pro-4s, TEAM Mazda Mini Stocks, Big Daddy’s Barbecue Hornets, High School Tuners and Junior Stingers provided a full evening of short track racing thrills.
Thirteen eleven to fourteen-year-old racers crowded the quarter-mile for the 25 lap Junior Stinger main event. Karly Hearne was quick out of the blocks and raced her way to the lead in her first main event start. But Jodi Moen was fast too, and on lap three the Jerome, Idaho racer took the low line to the lead.
Behind the front pack, quick-qualifiers Cody Castricone and Rusty Houpt sliced their way through the field, and by lap five the two held second and third on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard. One lap later Castricone dove to the bottom and claimed the point in his Lissa’s Learning Ladder, Fast Glass machine with Houpt’s Boise Spring Works, Drip Catchers racer in hot pursuit.
As the leaders wound their way through lapped traffic Castricone and Houpt came together, and as Castricone chased his car up the track Houpt to draw side-by-side for the lead with a bevy of lapped cars ahead. Houpt made a lane first through the middle, then around the third lane to clear the slower traffic. Castricone matched Houpt’s moves, and with five laps left closed on the leader’s rear bumper.
But Castricone’s run came up short and he settled for second behind Houpt. Though Castricone lost the race, his strong late season showing catapulted him to the Junior Stinger Championship.
After a hard-fought season the Project Filter Pro-s rolled into a thirty lap feature that would decide their title. On the break Nampa, Idaho’s Ben Harris shot to the lead in his Kim’s Kars, H&H Auto machine. But Ben’s brother Jordan Harris was on the march, and powered his way to the top of the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard on lap five. An early caution slowed the field and brought championship rivals Brendon Fries of Meridian, Idaho and Kenny Chandler of Kuna, Idaho to the outside groove on the restart.
The green flag waved and Fries sped into the lead with Chandler’s Project Filter, Fairly Reliable Bob’s racer on his rear bumper. Chandler jabbed high and low through the race’s middle stages as he looked for a way around Fries’ Chick-fil-A, Boise Boys Transportation entry, but found none. With time winding down Chandler tried to bump Fries out of the way, but Fries held station up front. Finally with the white flag in the air Chandler motored around the outside of Fries for the victory.
Though Chandler picked up his sixth win to tie Fries’ total on the season, Fries was awarded the Project Filter Pro-4 championship.
With another thrilling race season in the history books, Meridian Speedway turns its attention to the newly announced Winter Heat series. Stay tuned to meridianspeedway.com for event dates and race times, and keep up to speed with the fastest crowd in town by texting ‘meridianspeed’ to 84483. From all of us at Meridian Speedway, thank you for making the 2018 season a resounding success, and we look forward to seeing you back under the big yellow water tower soon. As always, we’ll have a seat waiting for you at your NASCAR Home Track, Meridian Speedway.