Favorites Fall on Fan Appreciation Nightadmin
Aaron’s Sales and Lease Fan Appreciation Night roared onto Meridian Speedway Saturday with six of the speedway’s most competitive divisions. Delivering the thrills Saturday were the CT400 Winged Sprintcars, Idaho Sprintcar and Roadster League Super Sixes, Project Filter Pro-4s, Coors Super Stocks, College of Western Idaho Professional Truck Driving Program Street Stocks, and Claimer Stocks.
The Project Filter Pro-4s kicked off main event action with a thirty lap sprint. Johnathan Hull used his outside pole position to rocket into the lead while Kenny Chandler and Larry Hull III joined forces on the high side of the racetrack and stormed their way to second and third on lap two. Chandler wasn’t done there as the Kuna, Idaho driver continued his march all the way to the top spot. As Chandler’s Project Filter, Fairly Reliable Bob’s car bolted away from the pack Brendon Fries broke free of traffic and set to work on third place Ryan Bailey.
On lap six Nampa, Idaho competitor Joe Barton hooked the high line and raced his way to the lead and through lapped traffic. With five laps to go Fries finally wrestled the third spot away from Bailey, but it looked as through the Meridian, Idaho driver was out of time to catch the leaders without a timely caution flag. With three laps to go the yellow flag waved and allowed Fries to join the lead shootout. When the green flag waved Barton thundered off the inside line to race around Chandler and take the win in his Tyco Structural Enterprises racer. Fries had to settle for third behind Chandler as Bailey and Larry Hull III rounded out the top five.
“It’s fun racing next to Kenny,” Barton said of his late-race duel. “It’s always clean and it’s always fun.”
A collection of CT400 Winged Sprintcars roared to action as shadows stretched across the speedway. The inside pole position prevailed on the green flag as Jasen Skyberg and his Big D Builders, SPI Transportation machine roared around Chris Ratterree to take the early lead. Kuna, Idaho racer Casey Tillman also bypassed Ratterree’s Banner promotions car to pull into the runner up position. Tillman used a mid-race restart to jump ahead of Skyberg and run away from a charging Ratterree to take the win.
“This feels awesome,” Tillman said of his first win in the YMC, Westside body Works sprintcar. “What an accomplishment.”
Eight Claimer Stocks rolled onto the quarter-mile to settle their first solo main event of the season. As the green flag fell Ray Otis shot around the high side of Fred Nagele to take the lead as Josh Hale and Ben Crow jockeyed for position in the second row. This fighting ended with Crow and Nagele beating and bashing down the front stretch to bring out the first caution on lap two. All drivers kept their vehicles on track and continued with minimal damage.
When the race restarted Crow sliced beneath a slowing Nagele to take the second spot in his Excel Equipment, Trenching Services racer. Now the fight was on for third as Josh Hale worked his ASAP Auto Services, Muscle Frm car inside of Tim Shelton. The complexion of the race changed completely on lap eight as the black flag came out for Crow. Race leader Otis saw the flag and ducked his Integrity Pools, Integrity Construction racer to the pit area as well. This handed the race lead to Hale and shuffled Shelton to the back of the pack.
A mid-race restart set Shelton to Hale’s outside after second place JD Ford of Homedale, Idaho was black flagged for a restart violation. Hale powered his way past Shelton to maintain the lead, but came under immediate attack as Shelton stuck his La Sasco racer to the high side and worked to pull alongside the race leader. Shelton finally made good on his advances with a dozen circuits remaining and ripped around the outside of Hale. Hale would never challenge Shelton over the final eight laps as the Kuna, Idaho driver cruised into Arctic Circle Victory Lane.
The Idaho Sprintcar and Roadster League’s Super Sixes had 35 laps to settle Saturday’s fastest feature. Cody South pulled to the early lead while Aaron McPeak knifed his way through traffic to take the top spot from South on lap two. Immediately on McPeak’s tail tank was fast dash winner Paxton Kaufman, who pulled his Dick’s Chevron sprinter beneath McPeak and took the lead on lap five. Dean Waltman followed Kaufman through and then muscled his way into the lead on lap eight.
Behind the lead-swapping pack Ben Hinkle lit the fuse on his Busted Spur Welding, Xtreme Outlaw Karts racer and surged through traffic to make his mark in the third slot on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard by lap fifteen. Hinkle wasn’t done there as he roared to the rear bumper of Kaufman. Hinkle made his move in turn three with fifteen circuits remaining and with tire-to-tire contact snagged the runner up spot. Now all Hinkle had to do was erase Waltman’s two second lead. Lapped traffic helped Hinkle’s cause and allowed him to close on the leader, but he would run out of laps to make a move as Waltman took his Twin Falls Boledrome, Rockhound Jewelry sprintcar to victory.
“I saw [Hinkle] the last couple laps and decided to pick it up,” Waltman said.
The Coors Super Stocks and College of Western Idaho Professional Truck Driving Program Street Stocks capped Aaron’s Sales and Lease Fan Appreciation night with a combined 35 lap slugfest. On the green flag Chad Bess and Ray Bolinger battled for the Coors Super Stock division lead. Bess pulled out front on lap three while back in the CWI Street Stock ranks Shawn Hansen was first to the front. Hansen’s lead would be short lived as Daniel Johnson hooked his Darlene’s Printing, Redline Auto Salvage car up to the high side and roared around Hansen to the lead on lap eight. Lap ten saw Nampa, Idaho’s Melissa Weaver make her way to the runner up spot. Weaver held second for about one hundred feet before her car lost power in a cloud of smoke in turn one.
On the ensuing restart Bess and Johnson reclaimed their class leads. Bess pulled away from now runner up Lynn Sharp and his A-1 Chem-Dry, LaSierra Tire and Wheel. Meanwhile Johnson was content to run consistently fast laps between the back of the Coors Super Stock pack and the CWI Street Stock second place battle between Shaun Bush, Marv Weaver and Hansen.
With ten laps to go Johnson’s car began to slow as his engine began to expire. Coughing and sputtering Johnson’s machine limped around the quarter-mile as he tried desperately to preserve the lead he’d so handily built. Marv Weaver closed to within one second of Johnson at the white flag, but somehow Johnson’s motor survived long enough to sputter into Arctic Circle Victory Lane. Meanwhile Bess navigated traffic best in his Coors Super Stock to claim a feature win in his first division start of the season.
“This means a lot to us,” Johnson said as he collected the Racing for Smiles of the Northwest trophy. “I was a little nervous there at the end. The car dropped a cylinder—or two or three.”
The racing thrills continue this Wednesday as Meridian Speedway hosts the College of Western Idaho Dairy Days Races and Carnival benefitting the Meridian Food Bank. Festivities will include the Pepsi Sprintcars, Budweiser Modifieds, College of Western Idaho Transportation Program High School Tuners, Idaho Tile and Granite Bike Races for Kids, and a Tates Rents Hornets 100 lap feature. Tickets for Wednesday’s action are just $10.25 for adults, $6.25 for kids 7-11. Make sure you check out meridianspeedway.com for all the latest news and notes from around the quarter-mile and text ‘meridianspeed’ to 84483 for exclusive information. Start your Dairy Days celebration off right Wednesday under the big yellow water tower at Meridian Speedway.