Veteran, second-year driver win showcase races Friday at Meridian
MERIDIAN, Idaho – The young and the wily took center stage Friday night at ASA-sanctioned Meridian Speedway.
Hometown driver Shelby Stroebel — and two-time reigning ASA Modifieds track champion — showed off the chops that earned him the 2012 ASA Member Track national title by winning his father’s memorial race for the third time.
Canadian Danny Matthews, the Washington Econo Sprint Car Organization’s 2012 rookie of the year, finally broke through for his first series victory of 2013 in WESCO’s first visit to the historic paved quarter-mile oval.
In other main events:
Eagle, Idaho’s Zach Blume broke through for his first feature win of the season in the Domino’s Pizza Legends.
Reigning College of Western Idaho Professional Truck Driving Street Stocks champion Melissa Weaver of Nampa, Idaho backed up her record-breaking qualifying run with a dominant victory in the 25-lap main event.
Garrett McLees of Olympia, Wash., was one of the lucky ones to transfer into the Washington Econo Sprint Car Organization-P
epsi Sprintcars feature race when he won the 18-lap consolation main.
Matthews entered Friday’s joint show with the local Pepsi Sprintcars with three third-place finishes in the WESCO season. He faced the daunting task of racing better than 22 other wingless sprinters.
Matthews was up to the challenge. He saw the checkered flag twice, winning a heat race then returning to top and 18-car field in the 30-lap feature.
Matthews, who hails from Mahalat, British Columbia, and racing teammate — and five-time series champion — Doug McLees, another Olympia, Wash., product, were the only out-of-towners in the main event’s top-five finishers. Ironically, Matthews and McLees finished the 2012 WESCO season second and third, respectively, behind points champion Tony Berry of Spokane, Wash. Berry decided to run a limited schedule this season.
In another show featuring two series, Stroebel made it 3-for-3 in the Allen Stroebel Open. Driving in a 13-car field featuring co
mpetitors from two different Idaho regions and Utah, Shelby Stroebel beat local rival Jentry Pisca by nearly three seconds in the 50-lap showcase.
Pisca, a Nampa driver, leads the Intermountain Outlaw Modifieds Series, in turn, was nearly 10 seconds in front of third-place Caitlin Stroebel, Shelby’s teenage daughter.
Shelby Stroebel padded his insurmountable lead in the local ASA Modifieds series and is well on his way to a threepeat at the track — much like the threepeat he pulled off in the race held in honor of his father, who lost his battle with cancer in 2010.
Pisca and the Stroebel father-daughter duo were the only racers on the lead lap Friday, which is a far cry from the inaugural Allen Stroebel Open when Shelby lapped the field.
Zach Blume picked an interesting time to notch a milestone victory.
Blume picked up his first win of the 2013 Legends season on a night when all but one racing division in action saw its track record broken.
Blume out-ran a field of 19 Legends cars, including Las Vegas, Nev., 15-year-old Peyton Saxton, who had broken the track record during qualifying.
Blume beat his nearest competitor — Nampa’s Sara Henry — by more than half a second. Series leader Phyl Zubizareta of Garden City, Idaho, who is also the reigning track champion, was in third place, nearly 2½ seconds in arrears.
Saxton set the track record with the first sub-15-second qualifying lap in Meridian Legends history. His 14.840-second run shattered Zubizareta’s record run of 15.033 seconds set on Sept. 1, 2012.
But his fast start couldn’t save Saxton from an early exit from contention in the main event. He completed only 10 laps and finished at the tail end of the 19-car field.
Melissa Weaver, who has all but wrapped up her second consecutive track championship, drove away from the field for good measure in the 25-lap Street Stocks feature.
It didn’t come as much of a surprise after she shattered her own three-week-old record in qualifying.
Weaver sped past her own top time with a 14.688-second circuit. The new fast time is nearly eight-tenths of a second fast
er than the lap Weaver laid down on Aug. 24 when she was clocked at 14.760.
The hits kept coming in the main event.
Weaver beat a nine-car field handily, putting her father — runner-up Marv Weaver of Nampa — nearly nine-tenths of a second off the pace. Marsing, Idaho’s Shaun Bush finished third for one of his best showings of the season, but he was 1.35 seconds behind Melissa Weaver.
The two Ford Mustangs making debuts this season — driven by Ray Bolinger and Scott Shoecraft — broke into the top five. Meridian’s Bolinger was fourth and fellow division rookie Shoecraft of Boise was fifth.
In the WESCO-Pepsi Sprintcars consolation main, out-of-town drivers snagged three of the top five spots, with Garrett McLees leading the way with a spectacular display.
McLees finished the 18-lap race more than 2½ seconds ahead of runner-up Mike Anderson of Nampa. Third-place Spokane, Wash., driver Rafael Kurek was five seconds back.
Eight of the 11 drivers in the consolation field transferred to built the 18-car grid for the main event.
Weaver and Saxton weren’t the only record-breakers Friday night.
Meridian’s Shelby Stroebel tuned up for the 50-lap Allen Stroebel Open and outclassed his fellow ASA Modifieds and Intermountain Outlaw Modifieds Series drivers by running a 13.672-second lap.
Stroebel, who came into Friday 2-for-2 in his dad’s memorial race, shattered his previous track record of 13.853, which was set on July 23, 2011.
In the College of Western Idaho Professional Truck Driving Street Stocks, reigning division champion Melissa Weaver didn’t take long to break her own record. Less than a month after wiping out Chad Bess’ fastest lap, Weaver sped past her own top time with a 14.688-second circuit Friday night.
Weaver, who is on top the standings as the season winds down, had set the record at 14.760 on Aug. 24.
The only division in which a record wasn’t set Friday night was the tandem competition featuring the Washington Econo Sprint Car Organization and local Pepsi Sprintcars.
Meridian’s Chris Fenton, having already tackled the Late Model and Modifieds world, sent a message that the wingless sprintcar series wou
ldn’t be such a bad way to go. He delivered the fastest qualifying time at 13.216 seconds, which was less than three-tenths of a second off Johnny Giesler 3½-year-old mark of 12.922.
The racing continues tonight with the addition of a boat race and fireworks.
The WESCO and Pepsi Sprintcars will battle again, and the Legends will make a return appearance.
Also on the docket are the NAPA Late Models, Thunder Dogs and Tates Hornets.
The gates open at 4 p.m. with racing at 6:30 p.m.
Admission is $12 for adults, $9.50 for military and senior citizens and $8 for children 7-11. Children 6 and younger get in free.
Tickets are available online at www.meridianspeedway.com, giving fans the opportunity to buy and print tickets from home and skip what is sure to be a long line at the spectator gate Saturday night.
For more information or to purchased tickets in advance and print them off at home, visit www.meridianspeedway.com. You can follow Meridian Speedway on Facebook, too.
Third annual Alan Stroebel Open Show
Friday’s unofficial results
Third annual Allen Stroebel Open (ASA Modifieds with Intermountain Outlaw Modifieds Series, 50 laps)
— 1. Shelby Stroebel, Meridian, Idaho; 2. Jentry Pisca, Nampa, Idaho; 3. Caitlin Stroebel, Meridian; 4. Abe Carter, Salt Lake City, Utah; 5. Kyle Latham, Boise
Washington Econo Sprint Car Organization and Pepsi Sprintcars (30 laps) — 1. Danny Matthews, Malahat, British Columbia; 2. Ryan Newman, Caldwell, Idaho; 3. Chris Fenton, Meridian, Idaho; 4. Jasen Skyberg, Boise, Idaho; 5. Doug McLees, Olympia, Wash.
WESCO consolation (18 laps) — 1. Garrett McLees, Olympia, Wash.; 2. Mike Anderson, Nampa, Idaho; 3. Rafael Kurek, Spokane, Wash.; 4. Tim Halliday, Wenatchee, Wash.; 5. Mark Floyd, Boise
Domino’s Pizza Legends (35 laps) — 1. Zach Blume, Eagle, Idaho; 2. Sara Henry, Nampa; 3. Phyl Zubizareta, Garden City, Idaho; 4. Casey Tillman, Kuna, Idaho; 5. Chance Davis, Emmett, Idaho
College of Western Idaho Professional Truck Driving Street Stocks (25 laps) — 1. Melissa Weaver, Nampa; 2. Marv Weaver, Nampa; 3. Shaun Bush, Marsing, Idaho; 4. Ray Bolinger, Meridian; 5. Scott Shoecraft, Boise
(Eight laps each)
ASA Modifieds with Intermountain Outlaw Modifieds Series
Heat 1 — 1. Rick Fowble, Twin Falls, Idaho; 2. Zachary Webster; 3. Kyle Latham, Boise, Idaho; 4. Walt Calkins, Meridian
Heat 2 — 1. Jentry Pisca, Nampa, Idaho; 2. Rus Ward, Meridian, Idaho; 3. Rosalee Weller, Caldwell, Idaho; 4. Tony Phernetton, Ham
mett, Idaho; 5. Tony Flores, Meridian
Heat 3 — 1. Shelby Stroebel, Meridian; 2. Caitlin Stroebel, Meridian 3. Abe Carter, Salt Lake City, Utah; 4. Cody Kirkland, Meridian
WESCO and Pepsi Sprintcars
Fast Dash — 1. Ryan Newman, Caldwell; 2. Tony Ackerland, Star, Idaho; 3. Chris Fenton, Meridian; 4. Eric Ransom, Boise; 5. Ryan Wiederich, Nampa
B Heat — 1. Jasen Skyberg, Boise; 2. Matthews; 3. Cody Huddleston, Meridian; 4. Colton Nelson, Meridian; 5. Jimmy Gross, Fruitland, Idaho
C Heat — 1. Garrett McLees; 2. Halliday; 3. Justin Segura, Caldwell, Idaho; 4. Kevin Kressly, Nampa, Idaho; 5. Rafael Kurek, Spokane, Wash.
D Heat — 1. Mitch Holte, Wenatchee, Wash.; 2. Mark Floyd, Boise; 3. Lynn Sharp, Nampa, Idaho; 4. Dan Darrow; 5. Thomas Harrod, Nampa
Domino’s Pizza Legends
Fast Dash — 1. Jonathan Davis, Emmett, Idaho; 2. Sara Henry, Nampa, Idaho; 3. Peyton Saxton, Las Vegas, Nev.; 4. Casey Tillman, Kuna, Idaho; 5. Phyl Zubizareta, Garden City, Idaho
B Heat — 1. Mark Cirelli Jr., Nampa; 2. Chance Davis, Emmett; 3. Charlie Fiscus, Star, Idaho; 4. Zach Blume, Eagle, Idaho; 5. S
teve Thimsen, Boise, Idaho
C Heat — 1. Darin Turpen, Nampa; 2. Cody Hollis, Payette, Idaho; 3. Donovan Johns, Meridian; 4. Erik Miller, Caldwell, Idaho; 5. Jamie Hyde, Boise
CWI PTD Street Stocks
Fast Dash — 1. Melissa Weaver, Nampa; 2. Marv Weaver, Nampa; 3. Ray Bolinger, Meridian; 4. Daniel Johnson, Caldwell; 5. Shawn Hansen, Boise
B Heat — 1. Shaun Bush, Marsing, Idaho; 2. Scott Shoecraft, Boise; 3. Destiny Huber, Caldwell; 4. Rick Baldwin, Middleton, Idaho
ASA Modifieds and Intermountain Outlaw Modifieds Series — Shelby Stroebel, 13.672 (track record: previous: Stroebel, 13.853, July 23, 2011)WESCO and Pepsi Sprintcars — Fenton, 13.216 seconds
CWI PTD Street Stocks — Melissa Weaver, 14.688 seconds (track record; previous: Weaver, 14.760, Aug. 24, 2013)
Domino’s Pizza Legends — Saxton, 14.840 (track record; previous: Zubizareta, 15.033, Sept. 1, 2012)