Twin Fifties Turn Big 5 Latemodel Title Chase
With cockpit temperatures approaching one hundred fifty degrees a brave batch of competitors rolled into Meridian Speedway Saturday, August 11, for K&N Fan Appreciation Night. The NAPA Auto Parts Big 5 Latemodel Series and PitStopUSA.com NASCAR Modifieds provided a double helping of double main events, while the Pepsi Crate Cars and Idaho Sprintcar and Roadster League Super Sixes, Project Filter Pro-4s, and TEAM Mazda Mini Stocks battled for the Boise Boys Transportation hardware.
As heat waves rolled off the quarter-mile asphalt oval, a full field of NAPA Auto Parts Big 5 Latemodel Series competitors kicked off main event action with their first of two fifty lap main events. Pole sitter Josh Jackson used the inside line and piloted his Jackson Built Racing, Jackson Excavation machine to the early lead. Deep in the pack action was intense as Ukiah, California’s Kyle Tellstrom threaded his way through the pack, eager to gain maximum championship points over absent point leader Trevor Cristiani. The outside line proved treacherous early, and after a pair of unassisted spins in the early going bunched the field for a lap seven restart.
As the green flag waved a bumper bar bounced onto the racetrack in turn four. The caution flag was displayed as the field sped out of turn two. The pack slowed, contact was made, and Dylan Caldwell sailed hard into the turn three concrete. As Caldwell’s Hotbox Farms, Lamb Race Engines machine came to rest on the wall fire broke out. Thanks to quick action by the Neil Alan Fine Jewelry safety crew the Nampa, Idaho driver escaped the inferno unscathed, though shaken.
With the turn three calamity cleared the race resumed. Tellstrom made the most of this restart and put his PitStopUSA.com, Advanced Auto Parts entry atop the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard while quick-qualifier John Newhouse struggled to pass on the one groove racetrack. At the race’s halfway point Newhouse broke into the top three and set his sights on second place runner Ben Crow. Crow kept his Emerald Transportation, Trenching Services car pinned to the inside line, which forced Newhouse to look for a way around the outside. Newhouse would not, and settled for third behind Crow and feature winner Tellstrom.
The NAPA Auto Parts Big 5 Latemodel Series wrapped K&N Fan Appreciation Night festivities as they rumbled back onto the quarter-mile for their final fifty lap feature. On the break pole sitter Josh Jackson sped to the early lead with Jeff Wade and Dave Thomasson in tow. But quick qualifier John Newhouse was on the move, and by lap five the Twin Falls, Idaho driver held second place behind Wade’s D.L. Evans Bank, Southwind Farms machine.
Newhouse tested Wade, and on lap slung his The Car Store, Action Cycles and Sleds racer to the inside and sprinted to the point. Newhouse’s next mission was to open as much of a margin as he could before first main event winner Tellstrom broke into open race track.
Tellstrom cleared traffic five short laps later and wrestled his PitStopUSA.com, Joes Racing Products machine closer and closer to Newhouse. At the race’s halfway point lapped traffic loomed, but a spin slowed the field and set Tellstrom and Justin Ellis on Newhouse’s bumper for the restart.
The green flag waved and Newhouse pulled to a three car length lead over Tellstrom. This advantage evaporated as Tellstrom switched to a hybrid line in the corners, but Newhouse found a fast groove of his own and with fifteen laps left his lead again grew. Try as Tellstrom might he had nothing for Newhouse, who cruised into the Caleb’s Chop Shop Winner’s Circle.
Low and slow is the way to go next Saturday, August 18, as Meridian Speedway hosts the Ultra Touch Car Wash Hot August Cruze and Drag Night. Along with one of the Treasure Valley’s largest collections of hot rods, rest-mods, and one-of-a-kind customs, the Coors Super Stocks, Teleperformance Claimer Stocks, Big Daddy’s Barbecue Hornets, Junior Stingers, and Bombers take to the quarter-mile asphalt oval in search of the SCI Insurance trophy. General admission to a full night of racing and cruising is just $11.50 for adults, $6.50 for kids 7-11, and free for those 6 and under. Gates open at 4:45 p.m. Saturday with Time Trials at 5 p.m. and the first green flag at 6:45 p.m. Logon to www.meridianspeedway.com to keep up with the fastest crowd around, and text ‘meridianspeed’ to 84483 to receive exclusive updates from around the quarter-mile. We’ll see you Saturday, August 18, for Ultra Touch Car Wash Hot August Cruze and Drag Night under the big yellow water tower at your NASCAR Home Track, Meridian Speedway.