High Speed Thrills Dominate Interstate Winged Sprintcar Opener

High Speed Thrills Dominate Interstate Winged Sprintcar Opener

Seven strong divisions packed the Meridian Speedway pit area for Saturday, April 22’s Interstate Winged Sprintcar Season Opener. Along with the Interstate Winged Sprintcars, the Pepsi Crate Cars and Idaho Sprintcar and Roadster League Super Sixes, Project Filter Pro-4 Tri-Track Challenge, Domino’s Legends, Teleperformance Claimer Stocks, and College of Western Idaho High School Tuners turned out in force to speed through a night jam-packed with racing action.

The Teleperformance Claimer Stocks kicked off main event action with a 25 lap battle. Greg Croasdale fought off Caldwell, Idaho’s Fred Nagele to put his Certified Services machine in the early lead.  Rich Lawson was first to make a move on Croasdale and the Caldwell, Idaho racer put his Kline Alternators and Starters, Swan Falls Technology Websites and Computers machine in the top spot.  Micky Lawson and Dan Lowther followed Rich Lawson past Croasdale, and three laps later Micky Lawson raced her way to the top spot.  The lady racer wasn’t safe up front as Lowther immediately launched an assault which saw the Boise, Idaho racer take the point with fifteen circuits left.  Lowther sprinted away from the field in the closing laps to claim his second straight Teleperformance Claimer Stock win.

The Domino’s Legends brought fourteen competitors to green on their 35 lap feature. Meridian, Idaho’s Tyler Driever stormed around Ken Frickey to lead lap one.  An early restart bunched the field and allowed Kuna, Idaho driver Casey Tillman to roar through the field and put his Taylor Made Upholstery, YMC legend in the lead on lap four.  Behind Tillman, Meridian, Idaho racers Caity Miller and Ethan Jones settled into second and third.

The green flag waved with Tillman and Miller on the front row. Miller surprised Tillman when the green flag waved and put her Farm Bureau Insurance of Darrin Post, Custom Fab machine out front, but Tillman’s racer was too powerful and he zipped back to the lead in turns three and four.  Miller kept the pressure on Tillman, desperate to make her move in the lapped traffic ahead.  The traffic trapped Tillman, but it also boxed Miller in and allowed Tillman to cruise across the Caleb’s Chop Shop Victory Stripe first.  

The College of Western Idaho High School Tuners dashed through their 25 lap feature. Nampa, Idaho’s Kendra Occhipinti raced past pole sitter Shane Ahlrich to lead the first half of lap one, but Riley Rogers blasted past Occhipinti on the back straightaway to lead the second half of the first lap.  This left Kendra Occhipinti in the clutches of her brother Taylor Occhipinti.  Younger brother Taylor got the best of that battle and took his Marv’s Tire Service, Dillon Auto Craft Performance Engines machine to the runner up spot.  Taylor drove hard to catch Rogers’ H&H Accounting, Goodwill Finance car, but was forced to settle for second place.

The Pepsi Crate Cars and Idaho Sprintcar and Roadster League Super Sixes joined forces to roll seventeen sprinters to green. Brandel Glenn and Pat Young ran a dead heat on lap one before Glenn took the top spot on lap two in his Boise Metal Works, Big Nasty Hillclimb racer.  First to challenge Glenn was Boise, Idaho’s Tyler Barrow, who used the high line and drove his Valley Auto Alignment and Repair machine to the lead on lap five.  On the move early was Justin Segura, who sliced his way from a mid-field starting spot into the top four on lap five.  Fourth was the best Segura could muster in the early going and quickly turned his attention to quick-qualifier Rob Grice’s advances.

As Barrow worked his way through lapped traffic, second place Crenshaw kept his machine close, waiting to pounce. A lap twenty slide brought Crenshaw to Barrow’s tail tank and the Nampa, Idaho driver went to work on the leader.  With eight laps left Crenshaw edged below Barrow, but the two made contact.  Segura made the most of this opportunity and jumped into second behind Barrow.

Just as Segura did his sprinter lost power, handing the top two spots back to Barrow and Crenshaw. Barrow wheeled his car hard to keep ahead of Crenshaw, who dashed back to the leader’s rear bumper.  With the white flag waving Crenshaw threw his sprinter down low and took the top spot from Barrow, but was followed by Kuna, Idaho’s Casey Tillman, who diced his way to second.  A lapped car slowed Crenshaw into turn three, but Crenshaw was somehow able to pilot his machine across the Caleb’s Chop Shop Victory Stripe first to claim a wild main event win.

The Project Filter Pro-4 Tri-Track Challenge Series kicked off its season with a forty lap run to the checkers. On the break Nampa, Idaho’s Jordan Harris jumped to the lead in his Fairly Reliable Bob’s, Mulder’s Auto Machine entry, bringing Brandon McLean and Joe Barton into the top three.  Barton was the first to break ranks as he looked to the high side of McLean.  McLean decided offense was the best defense and stormed to the inside of Harris to take the lead on lap eight.  Barton wasn’t done harassing McLean, and the Nampa, Idaho racer put his Tyco Structural Enterprises machine in the top spot on lap ten.

Barton soon had his mirrors full of a familiar foe as Kenny Chandler pulled to his rear bumper. A restart put Chandler to Barton’s outside, and after two laps of hard racing Chandler had his Project Filter, Les Schwab Tire machine in the top spot.  This left Barton in the clutches of Brendon Fries and Ryan Bailey.  Fries dispatched Bailey with twenty laps left and turned his sights on Barton.  As the laps wound down Fries pushed his Chick-Fil-A, Sorrell Transportation racer hard to gain on Barton, but the effort was in vain as Barton sped away to claim second behind Chandler.

Eleven asphalt blistering Interstate Winged Sprintcars took the quarter-mile to cap Saturday night’s main event action with a 35 lap sprint. On the green Mill City, Oregon competitor Tony Thomas put his Wolverine Chassis, HPP machine in the top spot.  On the move early was quick qualifier Bryan Warf, who motored his way around the top side to third on lap five.  One lap later Meridian, Idaho’s Warf was past Mike Anderson’s Bender Electric, Adaptive Graphics sprinter for second and set his sights on Thomas for the top spot.

As Warf arrived at the leader’s tail tank, Thomas entered a cluster of lapped traffic. This delayed Warf’s advance, but not for long as Warf piloted his Allan Marsh Travel Center, Dave’s Quick Lube sprinter to the top spot on lap fourteen.  Behind the top two action heated up for fourth as Anderson dropped into the clutches of Adrian, Oregon’s Tristen Spiers and Justin Segura.  Segura’s sprinter came to life with fifteen circuits to go and he weaved his way to fourth.  No sooner had Segura set his sights on third place runner Stacey Jensen than his wing collapsed, forcing the youngster to the infield and bringing out a caution flag.

The restart left thirteen circuits on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard. When the green flag waved Warf was gone, leaving Thomas fend off Jensen and Anderson.  Thomas successfully retained the runner up spot, but could only watch as Warf sailed across the Caleb’s Chop Shop Victory Stripe first.

Wild racing continues this Saturday, April 29 as the NAPA Auto Parts Big 5 Latemodels make their 2017 debut on the quarter-mile on Ladies Night. The NASCAR Whelen All-American Modifieds, College of Western Idaho Super Stocks, TEAM Mazda Subaru Mini Stocks, and TATES Rents Hornets are all on tap for one hot night of short track racing.  General admission to this full night of racing action is just $11 for adults, $6.50 for kids 7-11.  All ladies are admitted free of charge Saturday night, and senior citizens and military members get in the gate for just $8.50.  Gates open at 4 p.m. with qualifying at 5 p.m. and racing at 6:30.  We’ll see you this Saturday, April 29 for Ladies Night under the big yellow water tower at your local NASCAR Home Track, Meridian Speedway.