Hard Racing Dominates Saturday’s Stroebel Memorialadmin
MERIDIAN, Idaho—Meridian Speedway honored one of its own Saturday night as the Intermountain Outlaw Modified series ran the Allen Stroebel Memorial. Also featured in Saturday night’s festivities were the American Speed Association Pro Trucks, Cast Iron 360 Sprintcars, College of Western Idaho Professional Truck Driving Street Stocks and Tates Rents Rookie Hornets. While the stiff, cross-track breeze chilled the grandstands nothing could cool the action as these five classes burned around the quarter-mile.
The College of Western Idaho Professional Truck Driving Street Stocks took the track for 25 bumper-to-bumper laps. On the start Melissa Weaver, driving a car borrowed from fellow Street Stock competitor Roy Kirkland, jumped out to the early lead. Following Weaver was her father, Marv Weaver in his familiar Marv’s Tire Service car and Ray Otis in his Integrity Construction machine. Last week’s runner up Shaun Bush joined the race in his Walker’s Suspension and Alignment, Marsing Yacht Club car three laps down after encountering mechanical issues in the pits. Though Bush turned in fast lap after fast lap he was unable to make up the time lost. Otis was on his way to a podium finish when he broke a right rear hub in turn two, ending his evening. This caution left twelve laps to go and allowed Bush to pull beside Melissa Weaver in a repeat of last week’s final main event. This time Melissa Weaver would use the low line to surge ahead of Bush, who was then hit by Marv Weaver in turn one. Bush’s car wouldn’t be competitive after the contact, leaving just Melissa and Marv Weaver to settle the race. Melissa, driving in a seat lined with throw pillows, would run away with the victory, while Bush voiced his displeasure in the closing laps by slowing his pace to a crawl in front of second-place finisher Marv Weaver.
“It’s always hard borrowing a car,” said Weaver. “We could use some more pillows next time.”
The Cast Iron 360 Sprintcars continued their class development as five fast racers roared onto the quarter mile. Matt Elliott, trophy dash winner, used his pole position to pull ahead of Colton Nelson as the green flag flew. On the move early was Justin Segura, who used just two of the allotted 25 laps to take the second spot from Nelson. With Segura’s Garage Graphics racer in his mirror Elliott turned up the wick on his sprinter, maintaining a consistent if small lead over the young driver. Twelve laps into the event Nelson pulled his LFC Cleaning machine into the pits with mechanical issues, leaving Chris Ratterree in the third spot. As the leader Elliott worked lapped traffic Segura lost time, and that would be all Elliott needed to pilot his Westside Body Works car to the Arctic Circle Victory Lane.
“It’s been a year, but we’re having fun,” said Eliott.
Next the American Speed Association Pro Trucks banged their way through a 40 lap main event. Kendal Woll and Mason Newhouse wasted no time as they took the first and second positions on lap one. That pair would soon be joined by Johnny Pierre’s DL Evans truck and that trio would pull away from the rest of the competitors. Leading the second group of trucks was Sam Harris, who’d already rebuilt his Sendoa Homes truck after a heat race dust up with Drew Reitsma claimed his right front fender and suspension. It took only ten laps for the lead to change hands as Newhouse and Pierre rooted Woll out of the low groove and passed the Buhl, Idaho racer. After a caution Pierre would pull to the outside of Newhouse to challenge for the top spot. Newhouse would use a good amount fender to maintain the lead once the green flag fell, relegating Pierre to second spot and the clutches of ASA Pro Truck point leader Daniel Shirley. Another caution would put Shirley on the high side of Newhouse’s The Car Store number 29, and again young Newhouse would defended the top spot in turn one. Pierre would go to work on Shirley, eventually beating his way past the series point leader. As the final ten laps clicked off the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard Pierre started to close the gap between himself and Newhouse. The contact began with five laps to go, Pierre trying to knock Newhouse up the track to effect a pass. The paint trading would only get more vicious until, with just two laps remaining, Pierre turned Newhouse around in turn one. Third place Shirley could only lock us his brakes and pitch his Broadway Auto of Buhl racer sideways as he was collected as well. When the smoke cleared all competitors were able to continue, but both Newhouse and Pierre were sent to the back. This left Shirley with the lead and the task of fending off Alan Larson and Reitsma for the final two circuits. Shirley, sporting some damage from the turn one spin, was able to launch himself out of the low line to the lead on the restart to claim his first series victory.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better truck,” said Shirley. “It was a little sketchy…but it worked out all right for us.”
Eighteen Intermountain Outlaw Modifieds thundered onto Meridian Speedway for the Allen Stroebel Memorial. Three-time Strobel Memorial winner Shelby Stroebel started deep in the field by virtue of his quick qualifying time with only 75 laps to work his way to another victory in the race named for his late father. When the green flag dropped Caitlin Stroebel, Allen Strobel’s granddaughter and outside pole sitter, encountered mechanical issues, causing an accordion-like jam up that collected Dennis Wurtz II and Scott Durbin among others. When the dust settled Brent Collins and Abe Carter paced the field to green, with Cody Kirkland and Kyle Latham in the second row. Carter got the jump and drove his Rob Schmidt Graphics, Mountain Performance modified to the lead, bringing Latham and Tim Elam with him to the front. Meanwhile Shelby Stroebel made steady progress through the field in his Trinity Construction, Canyon Windshield modified, reaching mid-pack by lap ten. Lap eleven saw Elam power around Carter to take the lead. Now Shelby Stroebel made his move, flying around the high side of the track to take position after position. By lap fifteen the former ASA Member Track Champion held third place behind Elam and Rus Ward.
It took six laps, but Stroebel would eventually overpower Ward’s A-1 Heating and Air Conditioning racer for second and turn his attention to leader Elam. Lap 26 saw Stroebel sail around the outside of Elam to take the point and Rodney Houpt take a vicious trip to the turn three concrete after his throttle hung wide open down the back chute.
“I had both feet on the brake pedal,” joked Houpt after he climbed from his demolished River Adventures, Boise Spring Works modified. “Thank God for HANS devices.”
Due to the timing of the caution Stroebel was sent back to second place and had to make another pass for the lead. This time the veteran racer would not be denied as he rocketed around Elam to claim the top spot. Behind Stroebel, Wurtz II and Bryan Warf wheeled their fast modifieds, trying to move from fourth and fifth up to battle Stroebel. Finally with 40 laps to go Wurtz II would work his Glen’s Towing, Curtis Clean Sweep ride under third place Ward. Ward would hold serve, leaving Wurtz II to find another way around. With 26 laps left the battle for second between Ward and Elam would turn ugly when Elam spun in turn two and collected Pete Trammell’s PJT Enterprises car. With Elam and Ward moved to the back of the pack it was time for Wurtz II and Bryan Warf to make their move.
When the race resumed Wurtz II motored to second place and pedaled his car hard to catch leader Stroebel. While Wurtz II laid down his fastest laps of the race Stroebel continued to outrun the field, opening at first a one second, then a one-point-five second gap over Wurtz II. Further back the most entertaining battle on the track was for tenth between Durbin and Collins, whose side-by-side race was joined by Ward and Elam as they fought their way from the back of the pack. With a dozen laps remaining the two battles would sort themselves out with Collins and Ward completing their passes. But up front it was all Shelby Stroebel as he claimed another trophy in honor of his late father at Meridian Speedway.
A dozen Tates Rents Rookie Hornets capped the evening’s action with 30 laps. The early mover was Joe Popper, who piloted his Hornet from seventh to second on lap one. Sean Young would also fly through the field to take second away from Popper. Now Young set to work reeling in leader Benson Atkinson. Six laps in Young would use a caution to restart on the outside of Atkinson. This would be the opportunity Young needed to drive his Kim’s Kars Hornet to the lead. Making slower progress through the field Rick Howe waited until the halfway point of the race to pick off Popper and claim a podium position on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard. Howe would continue to climb the scoreboard ladder, making his way around Atkinson for second, but Young would prove to be too strong as he cruised to the main event victory.
The final week of August is jam packed with racing as Meridian Speedway host not one, not two, but three events in the next seven days. Wednesday the Brasher’s Hornet Massacre takes to the quarter mile, featuring the Project Filter Pro-4s, Coors Super Stocks, and Thunderdogs along with the Tates Rents Hornets. Saturday night sees the Pepsi Sprintcars and Super 6s join with the Meridian Speedway Modifieds and Budweiser Modifieds, Tates Rents Hornets, and the TEAM Mazda Subaru Mini Stocks and Outlaw Compacts for Tates Rents Fan Night. Sunday is the Oldies Cruise and Drag Night, featuring the final chapter of the NAPA Auto Parts Big 5 Latemodel series, the second-to-last race for the Domino’s Pizza Legends, and another round of the TEAM Mini Stocks and Outlaw Compacts. Tickets for each night of this triple header are just $10.25 for adults.
As always this weekend’s action was sponsored by The Contingency Connection, which offers nearly $2000 in awards each week from NATIONAL manufacturers. See Meridian Speedway officials for more details about Contingency Connection.