by Jon Brown, MERIDIAN, Idaho — Shelby Stroebel notched another couple victories Saturday night to extend his perfect season at ASA-sanctioned Meridian Speedway.
But the track’s reigning ASA Modifieds series champion needed to work hard to win the second 40-lap main event and continue his chase of a national championship.
“Our sights are still on the ASA points system,” the Meridian, Idaho driver said, referring to the sanctioning body’s member track national championship, which was the reason for the Modifieds double feature Saturday.
Stroebel is 7-for-7 this season in Meridian features. He entered Saturday’s Pit Stop Drive Thru EMS, Fire, Police and Correction Officer Appreciation Night with an 80-point edge in the local series and continued to pile up championship points by moving from the back to the front for both his victories.
In other main events:
Boise, Idaho’s Gale Carter ran in the best part of the racetrack to avoid trouble – out front – to win the 30-lap Pit Stop Drive Thru Super Stocks feature.
Earlier in the night, Nampa, Idaho’s Dennis Brodigan broke his own Super Stocks track record. He ran a 14.397-second qualifying lap, eclipsing the 14.623 that he achieved on April 21.
Phyl Zubizareta of Garden City, Idaho was declared the winner of the 30-lap Domino’s Pizza Legends feature after Kuna, Idaho’s Casey Tillman was disqualified after taking the checkered. Tillman lost the victory when a protest revealed his car had a non-conforming muffler.
Nampa, Idaho’s Dylan Caldwell won for the second time in 10 days, surviving a door-to-door battle with Meridian’s Chris Fenton for the checkered flag in the NAPA Late Models.
Boise’s Larry Hull III won the 20-lap Pit Stop Drive Thru Mini Stocks feature, taking advantage of a double-file restart to pass Fruitland, Idaho’s Travis Pavlacky for the lead five laps in.
In the first Modifieds main, Stroebel passed old nemesis Rus Ward of Boise midway through the race.
Four laps later, Stroebel had to race past Ward on a side-by-side restart when Wes Pogue of Star, Idaho triggered a yellow flag with a spin in Lap 2.
Stroebel needed few laps to stretch his advantage back out to a straightaway and grabbed the checkered flag.
Although he only required eight laps to get into the top five in the second Modifieds main event, Stroebel took longer to finally assume control.
Nampa’s Jentry Pisca roared out to a five-second lead 10 laps into the nightcap, but it only seemed like a matter of time before Stroebel would insert himself into the situation.
He steadily picked off the rest of the top five, but was still a straightaway behind Pisca after sliding past Monte Potter with 25 laps to go.
Once the race slipped under the 10-lap mark, Stroebel was bumper-to-bumper with Pisca. On Lap 32, Stroebel charged to the lead and stretched the advantage two seconds by the end of the race.
In the Legends feature, Zubizareta won the trophy after losing the race on the track. Tillman lost the championship points he earned in the main event.
The technical disqualification erased a win during which Tillman held off Zubizareta at the end of another grueling, tight, exciting Legends feature.
Tillman shot to the front in the Domino’s Pizza Legends feature after a single-file restart in which he found himself in second behind Nampa’s Sara Henry.
Tillman stretched his lead to four car lengths before Zubizareta began to creep into the picture. He went from fourth to second in six laps and positioned himself just behind Tillman with six laps remaining.
On the white flag lap, Zubizareta was literally on Tillman’s bumper, banging into the frontrunner a few times as they made their way down the backstretch for the final time.
Gale Carter had a hot racecar during Super Stocks action, and had the good fortune to stay out front and out of trouble as other racers either spun out, hit the wall or had their racecars catch fire during the 30-lap feature.
In fact, first place seemed to be the safest place to be.
Carter had a two-second lead on second-place Kim Bradford of Eagle, Idaho when Bradford’s cockpit filled with smoke and he spun on the backstretch.
Another racer met misfortunate as her ran in second place in the Super Stocks main. Justin Ellis of Boise caused another yellow flag by spewing power steering fluid on the race surface when a hose let go.
In the Late Models, Dylan Caldwell won a prolonged side-by-side battle with Meridian’s Chris Fenton over the final nine laps.
Fenton was two seconds in front of the field before Boise’s Terry Lawrence skidded through Turns 3 and 4 to bring out the first yellow flag of the 30-lap race just nine circuits from the end.
Caldwell and Fenton raced door-to-door for two laps before Caldwell drove strong out of Turn 2 to get the lead with five laps to go.
Caldwell had to do it all over again with three laps left when another spin by Lawrence triggered another yellow flag and another side-by-side start with Fenton.
In the Mini Stocks, reigning champion Larry Hull III grabbed his opportunity after a four-car crash low on the track in Turn 4 with 12 laps to go. The wreck involving Richard Brees and Duane Gerber of Boise, John Ellsworth of Kuna and David Edwards Jr. of Nampa ended a 23-lap stretch of green-flag racing for a class of racers who have seen their share of yellow flags this year.
“(Race officials) want us to show them that we can actually do it and make it a full race without a lot of cautions,” Hull said, “and I think we did our part tonight.”
After the four-car wreck, Hull lined up on the low side with race leader Travis Pavlacky next to him for a side-by-side restart.
Hull darted to the front with 10 laps remaining, and Pavlacky fell back when his race truck began dropping water on the racetrack. It was an inglorious end to Pavlacky’s race, which feature him holding a half-straightaway lead 11 laps in.
Hull wound up with a winning margin of two seconds.
Racers and fans won’t have to wait too long to get back to the paved quarter-mile oval.
The Cricket Dairy Days & Carnival race night comes Wednesday with the second round of the Tates Rents Hornets 100 series as well as Project Filter Pro-4s, Pepsi Sprints, B Modifieds, Thunder Dogs. The annual Penny Gold Rush for Kids also will be held.
The gates open at 4 p.m. with qualifying at 5 p.m. and racing at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets are $10 for adults, $7.50 for senior citizens and military personnel with ID, $6 for children ages 7-11 and free for children 6 and younger. A family pass is $30 for two adults and up to four children ages 7-11.
Fans can get $6 tickets for all ages at www.myeasytix.com.
For more information about the races, visit www.meridianspeedway.com or call (208) 888-2813 .
Pit Stop Drive Thru EMS, Fire, Police and Correction Officer
Saturday’s unofficial results
ASA Modifieds No. 2 (40 laps) – 1. Shelby Stroebel, Meridian, Idaho; 2. Jentry Pisca, Nampa, Idaho; 3. Charlie Hame Jr., Kuna, Idaho; 4. Rus Ward, Boise, Idaho; 5. Casey Tillman, Kuna
ASA Modifieds No. 1 (40 laps) – 1. Stroebel; 2. Ward; 3. Tillman; 4. Ham, Kuna; 5. Tim Elam, Boise
Pit Stop Drive Thru Super Stocks (30 laps) – 1. Gale Carter, Boise; 2. Jeff Meads, Boise; 3. Steve Gilbert, Emmett, Idaho
Domino’s Pizza Legends (35 laps) – 1. Phyl Zubizareta, Garden City, Idaho; 2. Sara Henry, Nampa, Idaho; 3. Andrew Clark; 4. Chase Gilbertson, Boise; 5. Jimmy Ingham, Boise
Pit Stop Drive Thru Mini Stocks (35 laps) – 1. Larry Hull III, Boise; 2. Donovan Johns, Meridian; 3. Donovan Parker, Garden City; 4. Ray Bolinger, Meridian; 5. Sarah Shaw, Boise
NAPA Late Models (30 laps) – 1. Dylan Caldwell, Nampa; 2. Chris Fenton, Meridian; 3. Dennis Wurtz II, Kuna; 4. Travis Anderson, Boise; 5. Dave Thomasson, Meridian
(Eight laps each)
Domino’s Pizza Legends
Fast Dash – 1. Steve Thimsen, Boise; 2. Tillman; 3. Ingham; 4. Gilbertson; 5. Henry
B Heat – 1. Mike Cullum, Meridian; 2. Andrew Clark; 3. Charlie Fiscus, Star, Idaho; 4. Aubree Wartman, Boise; 5. Aly Clark
C Heat – 1. Jenna Cullum, Meridian; 2. Daynna Skiver, Meridian; 3. Caitlin Stroebel, Meridian; 4. Chance Davis, Emmett, Idaho; 5. Brad Gutenberger
NAPA Late Models
Fast Dash – 1. Fenton; 2. Terry Lawrence, Boise; 3. Caldwell; 4. Dan Lowther, Boise; 5. Anderson
B Heat – 1. TJ Monroe, Meridian; 2. Thomasson; 3. Wurtz; 4. Jeff Wilson, Mountain Home, Idaho
Pit Stop Drive Thru Super Stocks
Fast Dash – 1. Josh Jackson, Payette, Idaho; 2. Kim Bradford, Eagle, Idaho; 3. Carter; 4. Brodigan
B Heat – 1. Justin Ellis, Boise; 2. Steve Gilbert; 3. Jeffrey Meads, Nampa; 4. Dave Harris, Meridian
Pit Stop Drive Thru Mini Stocks
Fast Dash – 1. Jason Sanders, Caldwell, Idaho; 2. Larry Hull III; 3. Parker; 4. Johns; 5. Brenden Fries, Boise
B Heat – 1. Mike Davis, Boise; 2. Chad Barker, Kuna; 3. Sarah Shaw, Boise; 4. Johnathan Hull, Boise; 5. Colton Nelson, Meridian
C Heat – 1. Travis Pavlacky, Fruitland, Idaho; 2. Duane Gerber, Boise; 3. John Ellsworth, Kuna; 4. Art Heath, Nampa; 5. Brandon Shira, Boise
D Heat – 1. Steve Keuter, Meridian; 2. Everett Meeks, Garden City; 3. David Edwards Jr., Nampa; 4. Nathan Dearing, Boise
ASA Modifieds – Shelby Stroebel, 13.973 seconds
Domino’s Pizza Legends – Zubizareta, 15.241
Pit Stop Mini Stocks – Bolinger, 15.070
Pit Stop Super Stocks – Brodigan, 14.397 (track record; previous – Brodigan, 14.623, June 21, 2012)
NAPA Late Models – Caldwell, 13.855