Fireworks, Fenders Fly on Stinker Stores Firecracker 50 Nightadmin
Before the skies lit up with the City of Meridian Fireworks Extravaganza sparks flew on the Meridian Speedway asphalt during Stinker Stores Firecracker 50 night. The Intermountain Outlaw Modifieds, CT400 Sprintcars, Project Filter Pro-4s, Kendall Ford of Meridian Mini Stocks, Junior Stingers, and Tates Rents Hornets celebrated their Independence Day with close racing and tangled sheet metal.
The Junior Stingers rolled onto the quarter-mile for an eighteen lap main event. DJ Sirani was quick off the line as the green flag waved and led lap one. But Oasis, Idaho’s Sirani came under immediate attack from Evan Brown. While Sirani and Brown battled Taylor Occhipinti hung the low line and flew around both leaders to take the top spot. Sirani followed Occhipinti low around Brown’s Pro Power Clean, Nature’s Energy racer to claim second place. Brown stayed glued to Sirani’s rear bumper, and for the final fifteen laps Sirani had to focus more on fending off Brown that chasing down Nampa, Idaho competitor Occhipinti. As the checkered flag waved Sirani held off Brown to take second place behind Occhipinti’s Marv’s Tire Service, Bearclaw Graphics machine.
A fast field of Project Filter Pro-4s stormed the asphalt for a 25 lap feature Saturday. First on the gas pedal was Ron Hayes in his Boise Spring Works, Alpha Home Systems machine. Hayes had just two laps to enjoy his lead as Nampa, Idaho’s Joe Barton raced to the high side of the track and took the lead. Larry Hull III and John Riparetti followed Barton and set their sights on the top spot. Quick-qualifier Hull III was first to Barton’s rear bumper in his Mulder Machine, Diversified Carpet Cleaning car and went to work. Hull III stabbed high and low as he looked for a way around Barton’s Tyco Structural Enterprises car. Finally the high line worked and with a dozen circuits left Hull III took the lead, followed by Kenny Chandler.
Now Chandler wanted the lead, but before the veteran racer could make his move Hayes’ car broke down in smoke and flame in the infield. On the restart Hull III got the jump on Chandler’s Project Filter, Les Schwab Tire machine. This left Chandler to battle Joe Barton for second. This fight went sour with eight laps to go when the pair tangled and slammed the front stretch wall. Both racers were okay after the hard crash, but both racecars were destroyed. On the restart Brendon Fries pulled to the outside of Hull III to challenge for the top spot. Hull III’s car was too powerful for Fries, and Hull III motored away to the win.
The CT 400 Winged Sprintcars roared through their 25 lap main event even after a transformer explosion knocked out power to the speedway. Jasen Skyberg used his front row starting position to drive his Big D Builders, SPI Transportation sprinter to the lead. Chris Ratterree followed Skyberg through the pack to second and by lap four the Nampa, Idaho racer held second place. Ratterree wasn’t content there and with a bold charge in turn one he moved Skyberg and took the top spot in his Banner Promotions car. Casey Tillman decided it was time to go at the race’s halfway mark and unleashed his YMC Heating and Cooling, Westside Body Works sprinter. Even with a bevy of fast laps Tillman wasn’t able to reel in Ratterree who claimed the YMC Heating and Cooling trophy.
The Kendall Ford of Meridian Mini Stocks rolled fifteen racers to the green flag. On the green Garry Hussey and Mike Davis battled side by side for the lead. Davis won that battle in his Bigelow Teas, DBI Speed Shop racer and Meridian, Idaho racer Rick Brees followed to second. As the field jammed up behind Hussey, Brees pulled even with Davis and took the lead on lap four. The men on the move early in the race were Scott Shoecraft and Travis Pavlacky, who held the sixth and seventh positions respectively after a lap nine caution flag.
On the restart Brees overpowered Davis again, and brought Mike Vester, Pavlacky and Jayson Wardle up to the top four Pepsi-Cola scoreboard spots. Pavlacky wasn’t content to be second, and on the white flag lap he pulled to the outside of Brees. But Brees wouldn’t be denied and the veteran racer rocketed off turn four and won the drag race to the finish line.
Fourteen Intermountain Outlaw Modifieds roared onto a darkening track to settle the Stinker Stores Firecracker 50. On the break Twin Falls, Idaho racer Scott Gilligan bested Josh Jackson to lead lap one, but Jackson battled back on the inside to show the way on lap two. The battle for fourth place went wrong one lap later on the back stretch as Pasco, Wash racer Bobby Baker spun up into traffic and collected Brent Collins before the pair slammed the water barrels in turn three. Collins emerged from his destroyed Collins Auto Body, RC Customs racer unscathed. Shelby Stroebel, Rick Fowble, and Sharlett Wilson all sustained damage in the resultant melee. Only Twin Falls, Idaho’s Fowble rejoined the race.
Jackson was quick out of the blocks on the restart and grabbed the lead but Neil Latham was quick to challenge Jackson for the lead on the high side. Latham overpowered Jackson on lap ten, but the two tangled on lap eleven and spun in turn four. Race officials determined Latham was not at fault for the accident and he remained up front while Jackson was sent to the back of the pack.
Latham made the most of his opportunity out front and immediately set to work building a gap over second place racer Caitlin Stroebel. Stroebel would battle back and by lap twenty she was beating on Latham’s rear bumper. Stroebel tried an outside pass just before halfway, but the move backfired as she broke loose and slid to fifth.
Rick Fowble made the most of a mid-race restart as he stuck his Rosenau Funeral Home modified in the high groove and ran past Latham and Dennis Wurtz II for the lead. Fowble, his car bent and wrinkled from the lap three scrum, took command of the Stinker Stores Firecracker 50 on lap thirty and led the remaining twenty circuits on his way to Arctic Circle Victory Lane.
The Tates Rents Hornets raced into the night with a dozen competitors vying for the YMC Heating and Cooling trophy. On the green Eric Arnold shot into the lead, but Charlie Atkinson was right in his tire tracks. Eight laps into the race Thomas Harrod broke into the top two and took the lead in his PBT Auto Sales racecar. While Harrod raced to a commanding lead young CJ Stirm was on the move. By lap twenty she worked her Canyon Windshield Repair, Discount Tire racer up to third, and just six laps later the lady racer had her car in second and was closing the gap on Harris. Stirm was able to halve Harrod’s advantage by the white flag, but Harrod’s lead was too much to overcome and he claimed victory.
Next Saturday night Meridian Speedway hosts Kendall Ford Free Car Night and the Stinker Stores Splash and Go. Racing for the Boise Boys Transportation trophy are the Pepsi Sprintcars, Project Filter Pro-4s, Budweiser Modifieds, Domino’s Legends, and Tates Rents Hornets Rookies. Gates open at 4 p.m. Saturday with qualifying at 5 p.m. and racing at 6:30p.m. Check out meridianspeedway.com for speedway news and notes and text ‘meridianspeed’ to 84483 to get exclusive updates. We’ll see you Saturday under the big yellow water tower at Meridian Speedway.