Tellstrom Takes Thrilling Treasure Valley 125
Picture perfect conditions greeted a packed Meridian Speedway Saturday, June 30, as the quarter-mile asphalt oval hosted the NAPA Auto Parts Big 5 Latemodel Series for their longest race of the season, the NAPA Auto Parts Treasure Valley 125. The PitStopUSA.com NASCAR Modifieds joined the Rebel Modifieds of Idaho to battle through the third of five PitStopUSA.com NASCAR Modified Shootout races, while the Project Filter Pro-4s, TEAM Mazda Mini Stocks, Coors Super Stocks, and Junior Stingers raced for their Darlene’s Printing trophies.
A full field of pavement-pounding NAPA Auto Parts Big 5 Latemodels rolled to the starting grid for the NAPA Auto Parts Treasure Valley 125. The green flag fell and Dylan Caldwell stormed to the top spot while chaos erupted behind him. Daytona Wurtz and Ben Crow made contact in turn two, which sent Crow’s Trenching Services, Emerald Transportation machine around and Wurtz’s All Makes Auto Salvage entry hard into the backstretch concrete.
Pre-race favorites Kyle Tellstrom and Trevor Cristiani, both of Ukiah, California, weaved their way through the carnage to restart third and fifth respectively. When the race resumed Tellstrom dispatched second place runner Dave Thomasson, then flew around Caldwell to put his PitStopUSA.com, Joes Racing Products machine up front. But Cristiani was eager to take the top spot, and two laps later he cleared Caldwell and set to work on Tellstrom.
Cristiani worked the inside line, but didn’t have enough in his Pepsi-Cola racer to make the pass. With this in mind, Cristiani pitted during a lap forty caution for a quick chassis adjustment. This left Daniel Johnson in pursuit of Tellstrom on the restart.
Johnson wheeled his Darlene’s Printing, Dillon Toyota Lift car hard to keep pace with Tellstrom while Cristiani marched his way forward. With fifty laps left Cristiani pulled to Johnson’s rear bumper and the fight for second was on.
Cristiani worked the high line, but Johnson held station on the inside. For eight laps the battle raged until Johnson broke loose and handed the second spot to Cristiani. As Cristiani closed on Tellstrom the caution flag waved, which bunched the field for a twenty lap dash to the checkers.
Tellstrom sprang to the lead on the green, but Cristiani followed suit and searched for a way around Tellstrom. Lap after lap Cristiani jabbed low as Tellstrom’s car slid into the second groove, but every time Tellstrom used his momentum to stay ahead. With the white flag in the air Cristiani tried a valiant dive into turn one, but Tellstrom drove in hard too and kept the spot. Lapped traffic stalled any run Cristiani could put together in turns three and four, and Tellstrom charged across the line to claim the NAPA Auto Parts Treasure Valley 125.
The PitStopUSA.com NASCAR Modifieds crowded the quarter-mile for their third fifty lap PitStopUSA.com NASCAR Modified Shootout. Outside pole sitter Casey Tillman blew by qualifying main event winner Chris Fenton to lead lap one while the pack jockeyed for position behind him. An air cleaner malfunction on lap three drew a caution flag and sent Fenton to the pits for repairs. This left Tillman in the lead with Donovan Parker, Joe Thuss, and Tommy Harrod up front for the restart.
The green flag waved and Tillman rolled around the outside line to put his YMC, Tailor Made Upholstery racer back in the top spot. Behind Tillman, Meridian, Idaho drivers Colton Nelson and Bryan Warf tore through the pack as they piloted their Integrity Pools of Idaho, Mulder Auto and Machine modifieds toward the top of the Pepsi-Cola Scoreboard. On lap seventeen Nelson caught Tillman, and one lap later Nelson flew around the outside and into the lead. Not to be outdone, Warf followed Nelson through and the teammates settled into a duel for the victory.
Warf surprised Nelson on a mid-race restart and scooted around his teammate for the lead. But Nelson refused to surrender and muscled his modified around Warf on the high side. Wheel-to-wheel and door-to-door the pair slid around the quarter-mile before Nelson finally claimed the lead for himself.
As the laps wound down Warf stayed in Nelson’s rearview mirror as he attacked harder and harder. This pressure paid off as with three laps left Nelson spun in turn four. This handed the lead to Warf, who sped away from the field on the green-white-checkered finish to grab the Darlene’s Printing hardware.
Meridian Speedway celebrates Independence Day in style this Wednesday, July 4, with the Stinker Stores Firecracker 100 for the Teleperformance Claimer Stocks. Wednesday’s action also features the annual INEX Legends Regional Qualifier, double PitStopUSA.com NASCAR Modified main events, Winged Pepsi Crate Cars, and fan favorite Midnight Ride of Paul Revere for the Big Daddy’s Barbecue Hornets. Not to be outdone by the on-track fireworks, the City of Meridian Fourth of July Fireworks display closes Wednesday night’s festivities. Gates open at 4:45 p.m. Wednesday with racing action going green at 6:45 p.m. General admission to a full night of short track racing and the biggest fireworks display in the valley is just $13.50 for adults, $11 for seniors and members of the military, and $6.50 for kids 7-11. Log on to meridianspeedway.com for all the latest news from around the quarter-mile, and text ‘meridianspeed’ to 84483 to receive exclusive offers and updates. We’ll see you this Wednesday, July 4, for the Stinker Stores Firecracker 100 and City of Meridian Fireworks at your NASCAR Home Track under the big yellow water tower, Meridian Speedway.