Fanopoulos, Wardle Score Military Appreciation Night Victories


Fanopoulos, Wardle Score Military Appreciation Night Victories

MERIDIAN, Idaho—Meridian Speedway honored past, present, and future members of the armed services Saturday, May 19, as the quarter-mile oval hosted Military Appreciation Night. The Project Filter Pro-4s, Teleperformance Claimer Stocks, TEAM Mazda Mini Stocks, Pepsi Crate Cars and ISRL Super Sixes, Coors Super Stocks, and Big Daddy’s Barbecue Hornets filled a Saturday night slate of good, old-fashioned short track racing.
The Teleperformance Claimer Stocks rumbled to green for their 25 lap main event. Josh Fanopoulos made the high lane the place to be as he stormed to the lead on lap one. Behind Fanopoulos’ Certified Services, A-1 Towing entry, Pat Tully, Kendra Occhipinti, and quick-qualifier Taylor Occhipinti parted the pack and pulled into second, third, and fourth on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard.
Before Tully could mount a challenge on Fanopoulos, siblings Kendra and Taylor Occhipinti pulled to the runner up’s rear bumper. With the top four separated by less than a second something had to give, and with six laps left it was Kendra Occhipinti that stepped out of line to challenge Tully in her Marv’s Tire Service, Dillon Performance Engines racer.
Kendra’s bid for second ended when she slid sideways and allowed younger brother Taylor Occhipinti to take the final podium position spot. But no one could catch Fanopoulos, who sped across the Caleb’s Chop Shop Victory Stripe first.
A full field of fourteen TEAM Mazda Mini Stocks crowed the quarter-mile oval for a 25 lap main event. The inside line was quick early and Meridian, Idaho’s Terrell Daffron used it to take his 208Tire.com, The Wrap Shop entry to the early lead. But Billy Shipp was on the move, and the Melba, Idaho pilot squeezed around the outside to claim the top spot on lap three. Shipp’s turn up front was short-lived as defending division champion Jason Sanders stormed from his mid-field starting spot to the front one circuit later.
Next to emerge from the pack was Jayson Wardle, who immediately started to trim Sanders’ lead. With ten laps to go Wardle’s Lazee Days R.V., Catapult 3 machine filled Sanders’ mirror, and two laps later Sanders lost control spun to the infield.
This left Wardle in the lead with Ian Michael Pedersen, Luke Wolverton and Fred Vigil in hot pursuit. The race restarted and Pedersen sped into turn one with Wardle along side. For a full lap the lead pair battled, but when they reached turn one again, an oil slick awaited. When the smoke cleared six cars sat sideways in turn two, but somehow all avoided serious damage.
The restart was retried, and Wardle resumed his place up front with Pedersen and Vigil behind him. Vigil applied heavy pressure to Pedersen’s SSLP Racing, HYLA North America machine, and as the two raced for second Wardle scooted out to a two second lead. That was all the Kuna, Idaho driver needed and Wardle flashed across the Caleb’s Chop Shop Victory Stripe for his second division win of the season.
Meridian Speedway honors the racing legends that put the quarter-mile oval under the big yellow water tower on the map with a Memorial Day double header this Saturday and Monday, May 26 and 28. Saturday night’s action includes the Naylor Classic for the Mountain Dew Interstate Winged Sprintcars, Pepsi Crate Cars, the Dee Forrey and Don VanSchoiack Memorial for the Coors Super Stocks, the Austin Christopherson and Eldon Cahill Memorial for the Domino’s Legends, the TEAM Mazda Mini Stocks, and the Super Modified Reunion. General admission to Saturday night’s action is just $13.50 for adults, $11 for seniors and military members, and $6.50 for kids 7-11. Monday night the NAPA Auto Parts Big 5 Latemodels contest the Bill Crow 50, the Project Filter Pro-4s battle for the Sean Miller Memorial, and the Teleperformance Claimer Stocks race in memory of LeeRoy Nelson. The PitStopUSA.com NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modifieds, Rebel Modifieds of Idaho, High School Tuners and Junior Stingers round out Monday’s slate of races. General admission is $11.50 for adults, $9 for seniors and military members on Monday. We’ll save you a seat this Saturday and Monday under the big yellow water tower at your NASCAR Home Track, Meridian Speedway.