Close Racing Dominates Military Appreciation Nightadmin
Meridian Speedway celebrated the men and women of our Armed Forces as the asphalt quarter-mile hosted Military Appreciation Night. The Project Filter Pro-4s, Pro Truck Series, College of Western Idaho Super Stocks, TEAM Mazda Mini Stocks, College of Western Idaho High School Tuners, and Queen Bees provide a full night of speedy thrills.
The Project Filter Pro-4s kicked off main event action with the first of their twin 25 lap features. On the green Brandon McLean roared past Wesley Summers’ Foundations LLC, Brundage Bone Concrete Pumping entry to take the top spot on lap one. Jonathan Hull followed McLean past Summers, and one lap later moved his Diversified Carpet Cleaning, All American Towing machine to the high line and took the lead in turn two. But Hull wasn’t alone as Joe Barton also moved past McLean and established himself in second place.
With the top two spots settled, the battle for fourth heated up as old foes Brendon Fries and Kenny Chandler rejoined their seasons-long battle. The pair sped past McLean and on lap five they joined the top two in a four-way battle for the lead. Feeling the pressure, Barton decided it was go time, and he launched an all out assault on Hull for the lead in his Tyco Structural Enterprises racer.
Barton jabbed high and low, looking for a way to the top of the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard. With seven laps to go Hull slid up the track in turn one and Barton raced to take the inside line. After two hard-fought laps, lapped traffic forced Barton back in line behind Hull. That same traffic allowed Chandler to dash past Fries in turn three to take the third spot. But all the action took place behind Hull, who claimed the first Project Filter Twin 25.
The College of Western Idaho High School Tuners zipped through their 25 lap main event. James Gates overpowered Caitlyn Sharp to take the early lead in his YMC, PBT Auto Sales racer. On lap two Taylor Occhipinti found his way past Sharp and put his Marv’s Tire Service, Dillon Auto Craft Performance Engines entry in the runner up spot. Occhipinti’s next victim was Gates, who surrendered the top spot on lap four.
With Taylor Occhipinti out front, older sister Kendra Occhipinti raced past Gates and took the second position for herself with eighteen laps left. Kendra laid down blazing fast laps, and with eight to go she caught her little brother. Kendra worked high and low in her bid to take the lead, and with two laps to go she muscled by to take the top spot. Surprised, Taylor wasn’t able to fight back and he settled for second place.
The Queen Bees made their Meridian Speedway debut with a twelve lap feature. Nikki Harris worked her way past Chanderae Southern to take the early lead. Harris wasn’t safe up front as big sister Kayla Harris pulled even with Nikki Harris on lap five. On lap six Kayla and Nikki made contact on the front stretch. Kayla Harris used this contact to take the lead, but Nikki Harris was forced to the pit area with a flat tire.
Once out front, Kayla Harris set sail to victory followed by Southern and Jennifer Wardle.
“I felt pretty bad that I took out my baby sister to get here,” Kayla Harris said as she collected her Boise Boys Transportation trophy. “Like a four [out of ten].”
The Project Filter Pro-4s returned to the concrete jungle for the second leg of their Twin 25’s. On the green Jordan Harris piloted his Fairly Reliable Bob’s, Kim’s Kars entry to the lead while contact deep in the pack sent Brendon Fries’ Chick-Fil-A, Jackson Group Peterbuilt machine spinning across the track. Miranda Miles had nowhere to go and clobbered Fries in her Bigelow Tea, DBI Speedshop racer.
On the restart Harris again shot to the lead with Kenny Chandler and Jonathan Hull in hot pursuit. Chandler was first to break ranks and he dove below Harris to take the lead in his Project Filter, Les Schwab Tire machine. With Chandler out front the battle for second heated up as Joe Barton and Ryan Bailey went to work on Harris and Hull. Only a lap ten caution quelled the battle, but it kept the field bunched up for another restart.
Chandler got the best of the restart and assumed the lead while Hull passed Harris for second. Barton followed Hull past Harris and was immediately on Hull’s read bumper. With ten to go Hull and Barton made contact in turn two. This paint trading lasted for two laps, and when the banging was done Barton set second, over two seconds behind Chandler. Barton was able to close the gap, but ran out of time as Chandler rolled across the Caleb’s Chop Shop Victory Stripe first.
The College of Western Idaho Super Stocks had 25 laps to find their main event winner. On the green Ron Hayes and Melissa Arte flew past pole sitter Hunter Gates. Arte kept her foot to the floor and emerged with the lap one lead. John Riparetti slid his Riparetti Cylinder Heads, MC Pallet of Kuna machine through the field to take the third spot before he and Ben Crow made contact and spun on lap two. The restart reset the field with Arte and Daniel Johnson on the front row.
When the green flag waved Johnson wheeled his Darlene’s Printing, Real Estate Unlimited machine hard and kept pace with the leader for a handful of laps. A bobble in turn one allowed Arte to take the top spot in her Marv’s Tire Service, Dillon Auto Craft Performance Engines entry, but Johnson kept the pressure on Arte. With Arte and Johnson focused on each other, Crow roared into the fray and made it a three car battle for the win.
With six laps left Crow pulled to Johnson’s outside, and two laps later Crow had the runner up spot. With four laps to track down Arte, Crow pedaled his Excel Equipment Company, G&S Excavation machine hard, but would run out of laps as Arte collected the victory.
The TEAM Mazda Mini Stocks brought a full field of strong competitors to the green flag. Ian Michael Pedersen motored by Billy Shipp to lead the first of the race’s thirty laps. On the move early was Jayson Wardle, who picked his way past Michael Vester’s Pro Moto Billet, All Metal Classics entry for the runner up spot on lap two before he unleashed his Catapult 3, Lazee Days RV Rentals machine on Pedersen for the top spot. Pedersen wheeled his Iron Built Sports Nutrition, Men’s Wearhouse racer hard to stay up front before a lap seven caution brought Wardle to his outside for a restart.
With the green flag back in the air Wardle blasted to the lead, followed by Terrell Daffron. Daffron wasted no time as he planted his Gilmore Meats of Weiser, Garrito Auto Body of Nampa machine in the inside line and pulled even with Wardle. For three laps the battle for the top spot raged before hard contact on the front stretch sent Wardle’s machine to the pit area. Even out front, Daffron wasn’t safe.
With fifteen laps to go Jason Sanders and quick-qualifier Donovan Johns emerged from the pack and closed in on Daffron. Sanders was first to try Daffron and the Caldwell, Idaho racer worked high and low to put his Divel Services, King’s Pro Tire racer out front. Daffron countered every move Sanders made over the race’s closing laps as he sped to victory.
The Pro Truck Series rumbled to the green flag of their fifty lap feature to close main event action Saturday. Pole sitter Jayden Park motored around John Wong to lead lap one. This dropped Wong’s Champion Produce, Wong Farms machine into the clutches of Spring Creek, Nevada’s Travis Monett. After two laps of beating and banging Monett put his Alternative maintenance Solutions, NAP Auto Parts truck in the runner up spot.
Deep in the field young guns Riley Rogers and Mason Newhouse joined forces as they sliced their way forward. By lap eight the pair sat fourth and fifth behind fellow youngster Jason Quale and his Quale’s Electronics, Heeling Construction entry. Lapped traffic slowed second place Monett and brought him back to this pack, and soon a four-way battle for the runner up spot developed.
Ten hard fought laps wound off the board as the battle for second place tightened up. Something had to give, and finally it was contact that sent Rogers’ H&H Accounting, Wildside Wraps machine around in the middle of the group. When the smoke cleared Rogers, Monett, and Quale sat in pieces on the back stretch. The three trucks would make quick repairs in the pit area and return to action for the restart.
On the green Park was once again strong out of the blocks and shot to the top spot in his Picks’ Insulation, King’s Camo truck. Mason Newhouse settled his dented The Car Store, Coca-Cola machine into second as his father John Newhouse raced his way to third. Mason Newhouse decided the best defense was a strong offense, and he took the high line to draw even with Park. Park withstood the challenge and used a lapped truck to pick Mason Newhouse off, shuffling the youngster back to second.
With the Newhouse family fighting for the runner up spot, Park set sail to the checkered flag.
“That was fun,” Park said as he collected his Boise Boys Transportation trophy. “When Mason and John got to me, I was like ‘Oh, [no].”
The action continues next Saturday and Monday at Meridian Speedway with Les Schwab Tire Race Night and the Bill Crow 50 and Naylor Memorial Classic. Saturday night’s action features the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modifieds, Domino’s Legends, TEAM Mazda Mini Stocks, TATES Rents Hornets, and Junior Stingers, plus an Idaho Mountain Touring Bike Race for Kids. Monday night includes The NAPA Big 5 Latemodel Series, the Interstate Winged Sprintcars, Pepsi Crate Cars and Super Sixes, Teleperformance Claimer Stocks, and Thunderdogs. General admission for each night of racing is just $11 for adults, $6.50 for kids 7-11, and, as always, kids 6 and under get in free. Log on to meridianspeedway.com to keep pace with all the latest news, notes, and official results from around the quarter-mile, and don’t forget to text ‘meridianspeed’ to 84483 for exclusive updates. We’ll see you this Saturday and Monday for racing under the big yellow water tower at your NASCAR Home Track, Meridian Speedway.