Surprise Winners Dominate Full Moon Saturday Night
A full moon presided over Meridian Speedway’s Whelen Night at the Races. The NASCAR Whelen All-American Modified Series, College of Western Idaho Super Stocks, Project Filter Pro-4s, TEAM Mazda Mini Stocks, Domino’s Legends, and Junior Stingers took to the quarter-mile asphalt oval Saturday in search of their respective Precision Framing trophies.
The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modifieds kicked off main event action with the first of their twin thirty lap features. Pole sitter Joe Thuss overpowered Jerry Green to lead lap one while Meridian, Idaho’s Caitlin Stroebel and CJ Stirm sliced their way forward. On lap three Stroebel moved her Trinity Construction, D&R Drainage Systems machine around Thuss on the outside for the top spot. Stirm overtook Thuss for second four laps later and began to track down the leader.
While Stroebel and Stirm showed the way, quick qualifier Josh Jackson and point leader Colton Nelson navigated through the field and entered the lead fight. On lap eleven Jackson and Nelson raced past Stirm, then the duo passed Stroebel to take the top two slots on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard.
Nelson pedaled his Integrity Pools, Carbon Designs and Vinyl machine hard to keep the pressure on Jackson. With Jackson’s Motor Mayhem Chassis Dyno Tuning, Cyclone Cycles modified planted in the high lane, Nelson worked low. With seven to go the battle raged into turn three, where the leaders hit fluid and spun into the outside wall. Nelson was able to repair his modified, but Jackson was forced to retire from the event.
This left the lead to Boise, Idaho’s Larry Hull III and his Diversified Carpet Cleaning, Shake N’ Bake Racing modified. When the green flag waved Hull III held off Stroebel to maintain the lead, which left the lady racer in the clutches of Daytona Wurtz. Wurtz tried to force her Glen’s Towing, All Makes Affordable Towing machine into the runner up spot. As this battle raged Nelson piloted his repaired racer from the back of the pack and took the runner up spot for himself with three laps left. But all the action took place behind Hull III, who crossed the Caleb’s Chop Shop Victory Stripe first.
The Junior Stingers rolled onto the quarter-mile for their eighteen lap main event. On the green Meridian, Idaho’s Rusty Houpt carved his way through the field and put his Boise Spring Works, Catapult 3 racer in the lap one lead. An early caution brought Cody Castricone and Hailey Rogers into the lead battle. Rogers was first to make a move as she raced around both Castricone and Houpt on lap five.
With Rogers’ H&H Accounting, Goodwill Finance racer out front, Castricone went to work on Houpt. Castricone jabbed inside in a bid to take second place. But the strain on Castricone’s Linder Learning Academy, Meridian Chiropractic machine proved too much, and the youngster was sent to the pit area. This left Houpt alone to challenge Rogers, but a wild slide with five laps to go ended his bid for victory. Rogers navigated through lapped traffic for the final five laps and claimed her first main event victory.
The Project Filter Pro-4s brought ten fast competitors to green for a thirty lap feature. Payette, Idaho’s Travis Pavlacky used a good run through turns one and two to take the lap one lead over Sean Young while the field battled hard for position. First to clear the pack was Brandon McLean, who pulled his Kenny Chandler Racing entry even with Pavlacky on lap four, then took the top spot on lap five. On the move early was Kenny Chandler, who blew through the pack in eight laps, and by lap ten maneuvered his Project Filter, Clothes Line Cleaners machine past McLean for the race lead.
But Chandler wasn’t safe up front as familiar foes Joe Barton and Brendon Fries filled the Kuna, Idaho racer’s rearview mirror at the race’s halfway point. One lap later Nampa, Idaho’s Barton popped into the high lane and drove past Chandler out of turn two. Fries duplicated Barton’s effort one lap later as Chandler’s racer lost power.
With Chandler out of the picture Fries turned his full attention to Barton’s Tyco Structural Enterprises car. A flurry of fast laps brought Fries’ Chick-Fil-A of Meridian, Frogman Trucking machine within striking distance of the leader, but he would run out of time to catch Barton, who claimed his first victory of the season.
“I keep checking that mirror, and it seems [Fries] is closer every time,” Barton said as he collected his Precision Framing trophy.
The College of Western Idaho Super Stocks rolled a fast field to green on the Don VanSchoiack and Dee Forrey Memorial race. Boise, Idaho’s Ron Hayes rocketed to the early lead as pole sitter Gale Carter fell into the clutches of Ben Crow, Daniel Johnson, and Melissa Arte. Crow and Arte cleared the log jam first, and with the help of an early caution, caught Hayes on lap five.
On the restart Hayes hung tough in the inside line, but Crow’s Excel Equipment Co., Leathersoutwest.com machine proved too powerful and he sped to the lead on lap seven. Arte followed Crow past Hayes and immediately turned the pressure up on the new leader. Arte searched high and low for a way to move her Marv’s Tire Service, Dillon Performance Engines entry around Crow, but was unable to gain ground as the leaders passed the halfway point.
Try as Arte might over the final fifteen laps, Crow was simply too much for the defending champion. Arte gave Crow her best shot with three laps to go, but a long slide through turns one and two put too much distance between the lady racer and Crow, who claimed the 2017 Don VanSchoiack and Dee Forrey memorial.
A full field of Domino’s Legends took the green flag for their thirty lap feature. Boise, Idaho’s Brok Kidd powered past Kyle Davis to lead lap one in his Vicky’s Country Gardens, Grinkers entry, but Davis got a good run on the inside and took his CMH, CB Tile racer to the lead on lap two. On the move early was the Colorado-based father-son tandem of Darrel J Stewart and Darrel Lee Stewart, who raced their way to the top two spots on lap six.
The Stewarts immediately had company as Meridian, Idaho’s Ethan Jones and Kuna, Idaho’s Casey Tillman broke through traffic and surged toward the point. With seventeen laps left Darrel J Stewart had Jones and Tillman on his rear bumper. With eight laps left a caution made a tight race that much closer as the field bunched up for the restart.
On the green Jones pedaled his machine hard and claimed the lead. A late caution for a Darrel J Stewart spin put Tillman to Jones’ outside, and with five laps to go Tillman pulled even with Jones. But Jones fought his way back around Tillman and raced his way to the win.
Seventeen strong TEAM Mazda Mini Stocks battled through their forty lap feature. Meridian, Idaho racer Rick Brees piloted his machine to the lap one lead while the field jockeyed for position. First to challenge Brees was Mike Vester, who squeezed his Pro Moto Billet, All Metal Classics machine into the outside lane and shot to the top on lap five. A caution one lap later put Mike Davis even with Vester when the race restarted.
Vester maintained the top spot over Davis and Fred Vigil. On lap twelve Vigil motored past Davis to put his Ben’s Auto Glass machine in the runner up spot. But Vigil’s time in second was short as Terrell Daffron powered first by Vigil, then Vester for the lead. As Vester and Vigil clashed for second, contact was made and the pair slid sideways through turn two. The field jumped on the brakes, scattered, and somehow kept their cars pointed in the right direction. However, the jam up handed Daffron and his Gilmore Meats of Weiser, Select Properties of Weiser machine a commanding half lap lead.
With Daffron out front Jayson Wardle battled Vigil for the runner up spot. Wardle pulled the pass off with a dozen circuits remaining, but faced the seemingly insurmountable task of tracking down Daffron. But a caution flag with seven laps remaining reset the field and brought Wardle to the leader’s outside when action resumed.
The green flag waved and Daffron motored back to the lead with Wardle’s Catapult 3, King’s Loyal Lawn Care racer in tow. As the white flag waved Daffron’s right front wheel broke, and the leader shot hard into the turn two concrete. This left Kuna, Idaho’s Wardle to collect the checkers ahead of Jason Sanders and Ian Michael Pedersen.
The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modifieds closed main event action with another thirty lap contest. CJ Stirm wasted no time as she moved her YMC, Meridian Drug Coalition machine to the lead on lap one before Rodney Houpt piloted his Boise Spring Works, Royal Purple Oil machine past Stirm for the lead on lap two. The revolving door up front continued to spin as Caitlin Stroebel worked the low line and took her Trinity Construction, Clearcreek Station modified to the top spot on lap three. Next to take a shot at the top spot was Larry Hull III, who grabbed the lead on lap seven.
Hull III opened a comfortable lead over Stroebel as she turned her attention to Colton Nelson. Nelson dispatched Stroebel on lap twelve and at the race’s halfway point found nothing but open racetrack between his Integrity Pools, Integrity Construction modified and the leader. While Nelson charged toward the front, the battle for third heated up as Daytona Wurtz and Stroebel went wheel-to-wheel through the race’s late stages. With three to go contact was made and Stroebel shot hard into the front stretch wall. The ensuing caution flag brought Nelson even with Hull III for the race’s final restart.
The green flag waved and Nelson and Hull III went to battled for the top spot. After two laps of hard driving the leaders made solid contact on the front stretch. The hit bent suspension parts on both Nelson and Hull III’s racers. As the top two slowed young Hunter Gates piloted his YMC, Blue Line Graphics machine to the lead and scored his first NASCAR Division 1 victory.
“I’m a little short for words right now,” Gates said as he collected his Precision Framing trophy. “That was absolutely insane.”
The action continues Saturday for Boys and Girls Club Night at Meridian Speedway presented by Meridian Automotive. The Teleperformance Claimer Stocks, Winged Pepsi Crate Cars, College of Western Idaho Super Stocks, College of Western Idaho High School Tuners, and Six Shooters take the quarter-mile asphalt in their bid for crucial mid-season victories. General admission for Saturday’s action is just $11 for adults, $8.50 for seniors and military members, and $6.50 for kids 7-11. Be sure to check meridianspeedway.com for official results and the latest news and notes from around the Concrete Jungle. We’ll see you Saturday, June 17, for Boys and Girls Club Night under the big yellow water tower at your NASCAR Home Track, Meridian Speedway.